Regional Coverage

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

It’s not the threats from abroad that worry Army Secretary John McHugh the most these days. During a visit at Syracuse University yesterday, he said an uncertain budget situation is the military's boogie man right now.  

McHugh got a close-up look at some programs at Syracuse University that help veterans and offer military degrees. Afterwards he spoke to reporters and admitted that the things that scare him now are potential budget cuts.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Residents in one Syracuse neighborhood are sprucing up their homes this spring with an extra incentive in mind

The Eastwood Neighborhood Association once again is recognizing homeowners who put in a little extra time and effort to beautify their home.  

Resident Minch Lewis says the Eastwood Neighborhood Curb Appeal Contest goes a long way to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood that anchors the east side of the city of Syracuse.

Ryan Somma / Flickr

There won’t be any crowing contests or poultry competitions at the New York State Fair this year. The decision is a proactive one, in response to the spread of a strain of avian flu.

The directive comes from the New York State Department of Agriculture, which is watching the spread of strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza, according to state veterinarian Dr. David Smith.

Solvejg Wastvedt / WRVO News

 

An affordable housing project in Oneonta just got nearly $7 million from New York state. Gary Herzig says the project fills a big need.

“We have very few affordable housing units for working families,” Herzig says. “In addition, we have a list, a long list, of vacant housing units that unfortunately is getting longer every year.”

borisvolodnikov / Flickr

A report released this spring labels much of Onondaga Lake as swimmable, and Onondaga County officials say this report should be a springboard to further discussions about the future of the lake.  

The Upstate Freshwater Institute says the northern two-thirds of the lake, that was once called the most polluted in the country, is swimmable. Tom Rhoads, Onondaga County’s Water and Environment Protection Commissioner, says that doesn’t necessarily mean residents should grab their swimsuits and jump in.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Clayton welcomed a slew of new visitors last week. A luxury cruise ship on its maiden voyage from Montreal stopped at the town’s docks. The ship was filled with nearly 200 tourists from France, and most on board were seeing the Thousand Islands for the first time.

The MS St. Laurent drifted down the St. Lawrence River and came to rest in Clayton just around 9 on Thursday morning. The ship is an eye-catcher, docked in the center of the village, its royal blue hull contrasting with the colorful row of Adirondack chairs facing the river,  

LeMoyne College has recently been through a couple of controversies lately, first about incidents related to its annual "Dolphy Day" student celebration, and then over its choice of Cardinal Timothy Dolan as its graduation speaker.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Taking care of dogs can help rehabilitate an inmate. That’s one of the theories behind the creation of the dog shelter at the Jamesville Correctional Facility.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A new program starts in Syracuse this weekend that’s meant to help people overcome one of the biggest impediments to finding work in central New York: transportation. 

It often isn’t so easy getting a job in central New York if you don’t have a car or access to public transportation. Providence Services of Syracuse President Deborah Hundley says the problems come at workplaces that are beyond the bus line, or shifts that begin or end when buses aren’t running.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office

Nicole Vaisey admitted in federal court Thursday that she helped her boyfriend kidnap two Amish sisters from their family's roadside farm stand last August, and sexually abused them before letting them go a day later. 

Vaisey, 25, also pleased guilty to a total of 10 felony charges, including nine charges of sexual exploitation and one charge of conspiracy. Vaisey was accused of abusing four other girls as well, all under the age of 12.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Public meetings began in Utica this week discussing whether residents are comfortable with a local farm applying to grow and dispense medical marijuana in New York.

Twelve-year-old Mackensie Kulawy was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy or Doose Syndrome when she was four and has been living with persistent seizures. Julie Kulawy, of New York Mills, is her mother.

Julia Botero

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has extended the state's ban on outdoor brush burning until May 21. He says conditions across the state are still too dry.

This week may have been a wet one here in central and northern New York, but until this latest round of storms, grasses and fields have been dry and several fires have been reported across the region. So, firefighters at Fort Drum are on alert.  

“With spring comes initial dryness. Even though the rain is coming, the vegetation on the range out there is dry,” said Kevin Hazen, who works in fire prevention at Fort Drum.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse's Upstate Medical University is taking a research project into the community, which will focus on older, frail adults.

Dr. Sharon Brangman, chief of geriatric medicine, says usually researchers start out with a thesis and then try to prove it. Armed with a $15,000 federal grant, they’ll work the other way around on this.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Prosecutors and police agencies across central New York are trying a new strategy as they continue to fight the rising use of synthetic marijuana. Not since the bath salts craze of 2012 have local police and emergency personnel come across so many agitated individuals high on synthetic drugs. 

Mike Kurtz

Bases across the country, including Fort Drum, are stepping up security. The United States military has increased the terrorism threat level on bases from Alpha to Bravo.

2nd Battalian, Fort Drum

1st Lt. John Levulis, 25  from Eden, New York,  was traveling in a military convoy the evening of May 1 when a car collided with his Humvee carrying three other soldiers.

The four soldiers, members of  the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, were traveling to  Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst near Trenton, New Jersey for military training at the time of the crash.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office

A St. Lawrence County man has admitted abducting two Amish girls from a farm stand last summer and abusing them in his home, while his girlfriend taped the sex acts. Stephen Howells pled guilty to all 21 counts in a federal indictment, including child pornography, in a Syracuse Courtroom Friday.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse University and Cazenovia College have joined the list of private colleges and universities across the state that are supporting the “Enough is Enough” campaign, an initiative of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration. The proposal is meant to push the State University of New York’s sexual assault policy into the private sector.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The New York State Fair began public meetings on Wednesday to discuss how it will spend $50 million in state funds to renovate the fairgrounds. So far, proposals for the renovations would require tearing down a piece of Syracuse history.

At stake is about 70 acres of land where the Grandstand at the New York State Fairgrounds currently sits.

County Executive Joanie Mahoney unveiled a plan back in March to replace the Grandstand and the oval-shaped Moody Mile dirt race track that surrounds it with an equestrian park, multi-use indoor ice complex and new RV park.

Zhu / Flickr

Monday night the St. Lawrence County Legislature voted to table a resolution that would ask the state to require Amish buggies to display orange, reflective triangles.

People on both sides of the buggy debate spoke at the meeting.

Mark Matthews, a member of the Kendrew Grange in DeKalb, the group that brought the buggy issue to legislator Larry Denesha, said his group is focused on safety.

"We’ve looked at it from the standpoint that it makes the roads safer for us," he said. "And it makes it safer for the Amish as well."

Hospice program comforts dying veterans

May 2, 2015
Michelle Faust / WXXI

“I started out in Southern France and ended up in Belgium," is how Palmer Gaetano describes his army service in World War II. The 92-year old lives in a hospice facility in the Rochester-area village of Spencerport, near his daughter and her family.

Gaetano is one of more than 9 million American military veterans over the age of 65, according to 2013 census bureau figures.  With an aging population that includes vets from Vietnam, Korea, and World War II, there are 1,800 veteran deaths each day. One program strived to meet their increased need for end-of-life care.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Some much needed affordable rental units will be coming to the Salina Street corridor in Syracuse, as part of the Salina Crossing project. Ground has been broken on the biggest site, a new mixed-use building on property that once was home to the crumbling Otisca Building on the city’s north side.  

Ben Lockwood, vice president of Housing Visions, the developer, says there is a big need for this kind of housing.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO News

New signs along the Onondaga Creekwalk in Syracuse offer a glimpse into central New York’s history to walkers, bikers and joggers as they pass by. 

Onondaga Historical Association curator Dennis Connors helped pull together the stories that are told through the signage and videos that can be accessed through a QR code.

New York rolls out pocket-size English lessons

Apr 29, 2015
Kenneth Buker / Flickr

Learning a new language is tough. And for immigrant farmworkers, long work days and lack of transportation can pose extra barriers. New York state has an idea to change that. It’s a language lesson that fits in your pocket. Just dial up the state’s new "English on the Go" line from your cell phone. The free lessons are interactive, with audio and text messages.

Part 1 of the interview:

As a broadcast journalist working for CBS and CNN, Kristina Borjesson experienced first-hand corporate push-back and retaliation for her investigative work on the crash of TWA Flight 800.  But she channeled that experience into two books, which draw out other prominent media figures to share their own experiences of corporate and government censorship.  This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher engages Borjesson in a provocative discussion of the books and the issues they raise.

Part two of the interview:

A Tiny Home for Good

Some very small homes are coming soon to Syracuse’s South Side.

These homes will be small, just a few hundred square feet. Three of them will be able to fit onto a single property lot. But it’s not a way to cope with urban congestion like in some bigger cities, Syracuse doesn’t have that problem. But it does face a shortage of affordable housing.

A Tiny Home for Good and local housing charity Operation Northern Comfort are getting ready to break ground on their first three tiny homes this spring.

Linda Garett / Fort Drum ACUB Program

Fort Drum has grown tremendously over the last decade. There are more soldiers working – and training – on its grounds. Fort Drum planners have been concerned new development just outside the base may come into conflict with that training mission. The base is paying property owners to keep their land undeveloped. A family dairy farm in Rutland, just south of Fort Drum, has struck the largest deal yet.

nysfair.org

State officials begin the master planning process for a new look State Fair next week. Armed with $50 million of state funds from the recently approved state budget, fair officials can get the ball rolling on proposed fair improvements they hope will transform the aging fairgrounds into a premier, multi-use facility.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Volunteer fire departments in central New York are having a difficult time getting enough trucks out of their firehouses.

When a call comes in at night, the Baldwinsville Fire Department is able to roll two trucks from each of its three stations. But district chief Tom Perkins says during the day, when volunteer firefighters are at their day jobs, it’s usually just one, "but they’re not going to be fully staffed."

Perkins says fewer volunteer firefighters in central New York also means departments no longer able to always back each other up during a major call.

nysfair.org

The New York State Fair is having trouble signing acts for the Grandstand Stage this year. Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner says usually by this time of the year, the fair has the lineup for the grandstand pretty much in place. While several big name acts have been announced at Chevy Court, like Nick Jonas and Meghan Trainor, only country singer Eric Church has committed to the grandstand so far. 

Pages