Regional Coverage

8:02am

Mon December 16, 2013
Crime

Attorney General's animal team shuts down illegal puppy flippers

Attorney General Eric Schneirdman talking about animal cruelty at the CNYSPCA.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The state attorney general’s recently created animal protection initiative has led to the shutdown of two illegal puppy sale operations.

The state’s top prosecutor says two dog sellers bought puppies for cheap or got them for free and then “flipped” the dogs for a profit.

One seller from central New York, Carissa Seaman of Cleveland, N.Y., agreed to stop selling dogs. The attorney general says he got a court order to stop a separate puppy-flipping operation, run by Stephanie Arcara, near Buffalo. Neither woman had a license to sell dogs.

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7:30am

Mon December 16, 2013
Regional Coverage

Simulation offers glimpse into world of poverty

A conference room plays host to about 100 people taking part in a poverty simulation.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

A small conference room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Syracuse was recently transformed into a world of poverty. A simulation run by the Syracuse anti-poverty group Visions for Change gave 100 people a chance to see what it is like to walk in the shoes of the poor helping those participating learn a valuable lesson.

A pretend corner market was a busy spot in the simulation, but it wasn’t the pretend food or prescriptions drawing the most interest. It was the bus passes.

"Do you want a weekly bus pass?" a woman asks. "Yes, please."

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1:03am

Mon December 16, 2013
Regional Coverage

Counseling service latest Watertown health care provider to get a lifeline

The Family Counseling Service is the second Watertown health care nonprofit to get a financial bailout in recent months.
Credit Joanna Richards

The North Country Family Health Center, in Watertown, is still working to gain long-term financial stability after nearly closing in October. Now, another Watertown health care provider is getting a bailout to stay afloat. This time, it’s Family Counseling Service of Northern New York. 

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8:16am

Fri December 13, 2013
Regional Coverage

STAR Tax rebate deadline looms large in central New York

New York state is ramping up its message to homeowners, urging them to reapply for the STAR Tax rebate if they haven’t done it yet. The deadline is the end of the month to get in on the tax break.

Looking at a map of the counties in New York state, Teresa Frank of the state’s Real Property Tax Services office, says a majority of homeowners in each county have reapplied for the property tax break, and there is a bit of a trend.

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8:12pm

Thu December 12, 2013
Regional Coverage

Ski season gets underway

Tim McAtee, owner of Dry Hill Ski Area in Watertown, says an early snowfall like this year's can get his business season off to a strong start.
Joanna Richards

The winter sports season is underway in the north country. Thanks to the pre-Thanksgiving snowstorm, some skiers in Jefferson County got an early start this year. 

A snowboarder twists and slides to a stop at Dry Hill Ski Area in Watertown. He unclips his boots and dashes into the clubhouse to warm up.

Josh Askins and a friend cozy up to the big stone fire pit.  “We were snowboarding, then we came inside to sit next to the fire. It smells really nice,” he says.

Askins teaches snowboarding lessons here.

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5:22pm

Thu December 12, 2013
Regional Coverage

DNA helps crack Syracuse cold case

Onondaga County District Attorney William speaks at the podium while Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler and relatives of murder victim Colleen Meadow look on.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse police have cracked an almost 30-year-old murder case using a combination of high tech DNA and intensive police work. The arrest of a Georgia man who had long been a suspect in the investigation of the death of his estranged wife, is the latest success in the Syracuse Police Department’s cold case unit.

Authorities say Ronald Meadow will be arraigned on second-degree murder charges in Syracuse later this month, in connection with the death of his estranged wife, Colleen Meadow, who was found strangled to death in her northside apartment in March 1985.  

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5:52am

Wed December 11, 2013
School Closings

School closings and delays

ecksunderscore Flickr

Last updated Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 5:05 am.

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7:11pm

Tue December 10, 2013
Regional Coverage

Cape Vincent tells state: we want decision on wind farm

Cape Vincent Town Councilman Brooks Bragdon addresses state officials about BP's proposed wind farm at a meeting Monday night at Cape Vincent Elementary School. He's flanked by other town officials.
Joanna Richards

The town of Cape Vincent, in Jefferson County, has been divided over a proposed wind farm for a decade. The latest company to pursue the project is BP. But now, with a potential sale in the works, residents told the state power project siting board they’re getting impatient with the uncertainty. 

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6:47am

Mon December 9, 2013
Regional Coverage

Meeting in Cape Vincent could shed light on wind farm's future

There could be a lot more if BP's proposed project moves forward under a new owner.
napaneegal via Flickr

A proposed wind farm in Cape Vincent, in Jefferson County, has been in limbo since energy company BP said earlier this year that it's planning to sell off its entire wind power division.

Town officials have been anxious for news about the wind farm's fate since then. The review process that produced one tense public meeting after another came to an abrupt halt earlier this year.

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10:11pm

Thu December 5, 2013
Regional Coverage

Work begins on Watertown's Woolworth building

Work begins on the Woolworth building in Watertown's Public Square.
Joanna Richards

Work has begun to revive a long-vacant eyesore at the center of downtown Watertown.

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4:39pm

Thu December 5, 2013
Regional Coverage

Maffei introducing new legislation to strengthen probation system

File photo
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Syracuse-area Congressman Dan Maffei is introducing legislation to crack down on people tampering with electronic probation devices and to hold federal probation offices more accountable.

Maffei is introducing the Federal Probation System Reform Act, which he says will make it a federal crime to tamper with an electronic monitoring device, and establish a nationwide standard for responding to bracelet alerts.

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8:35am

Thu December 5, 2013
Regional Coverage

Schumer calls for drone crash investigation to be made public

File photo
Ryan Delaney WRVO

New York's U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants the investigation into the crash of an Air National Guard unmanned drone to be made public.

The Air Force is investigation the crash of an MQ-9 Reaper into Lake Ontario last month while on a training flight with the 174th Air Guard Wing, based out of Syracuse. Training flights resumed two weeks after the incident.

Schumer, a Democrat, says that's alright since most drones are safe.

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4:02pm

Wed December 4, 2013
Regional Coverage

Oswego lawmakers face decision on property tax rate hike

A view of downtown Oswego from the Oswego River's east bank.
mtneer_man Flickr

Although Oswego's residents are facing a nearly 82 percent increase in their property taxes, the city's lawmakers say there isn't much fat left to cut from the proposed budget. They say the changing economic atmosphere in the city is weighing heavily on this year's budget.

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10:19pm

Tue December 3, 2013
Regional Coverage

Clayton supervisor fingered in Inspector General's report for misusing state vehicle

Clayton Town Supervisor Justin Taylor
David Sommerstein/NCPR

An Inspector General's report finds that Clayton's town supervisor is among dozens of current and former state prison officials who misused their work-issued vehicles at taxpayer expense. 

The report says 80 members of the Corrections Department leadership used their state vehicles mostly to commute to and from work for years. They did so with the blessing of former department Commissioner Brian Fischer. He continued to approve the practice long after a 2009 state policy shift meant to rein in such excesses.

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4:03pm

Tue December 3, 2013
Regional Coverage

Oswego Renaissance Association taking next step toward revitalization

The city of Oswego is trying to regain what years of population decline and lost manufacturing jobs have taken away. According to Mayor Thomas Gillen, part of that reclamation means revitalizing the city's neighborhoods.

Gillen said the Oswego Renaissance Association is speaking with local banks to secure funding for small loans, grants or matching funds to assist homeowners in making needed repairs.

The money would also be tied to neighborhood development, encouraging neighborhoods to take on projects together.

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10:13am

Tue December 3, 2013
Regional Coverage

Closing church auctions not only items, but memories

The church is selling off everything. The church itself will also be sold eventually.
David Chanatry NYRP-UC

As ringing bells herald this Christmas season, another city church has gone silent. The West Genesee  United Methodist Church in Syracuse has closed its doors, and last week it auctioned off its contents.

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8:18am

Tue December 3, 2013
Regional Coverage

Workers' Compensation Board hosts meetings to help improve services

New York state's Workers' Compensation Board has started a sweeping effort to examine the system, and look at how it could more effectively meet the needs of injured workers and employers. It's in the midst of holding sessions where injured workers can express their opinions.

The second of three sessions was held yesterday in Syracuse, and allowed injured workers to chime in on the discussion in central New York. Fidel, Alejandro Velacqueis Perez was among those telling stories.

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7:57am

Mon December 2, 2013
Regional Coverage

Giving Tuesday promotes central New York's non-profits

Giving Tuesday is taking hold in central New York.
Central New York Community Foundation

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday focus on spending for holiday gifts, a burgeoning movement is hoping to create that same kind of fervor when it comes to making charitable donations. Tomorrow has been dubbed Giving Tuesday in the world of non-profits.

Matt Seubert, Development Director of Enable and Transitional Living Services in Syracuse had never heard of Giving Tuesday when it started last year.

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3:29am

Sun December 1, 2013
Regional Coverage

Soldiers pitch in to help needy celebrate Christmas

Fort Drum soldiers take a break after carrying and unpacking boxes full of Christmas decorations at the Watertown Urban Mission.
Credit Joanna Richards

The Watertown Urban Mission is busy around the holidays. Along with running its regular programs like the food pantry and thrift store, it also distributes warm winter coats and Thanksgiving turkeys, puts on a craft fair, and holds a sale of Christmas items. Fortunately, it's gotten some help from a small army of volunteers – literally.

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9:55am

Fri November 29, 2013
Regional Coverage

Store owners gear up for Small Business Saturday

A view inside the River's End Bookstore in Oswego.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

Away from the hustle and bustle of Destiny USA and Great Northern Mall, mom and pop shops throughout the region are working hard to promote their own version of Black Friday -- Small Business Saturday.

The city of Oswego is no different. Bill Riley, owner of the River's End Bookstore, has embraced the event since its creation several years ago. His store is hosting two local authors on Saturday, including former political cartoonist Frank Cammuso and award winning author Laurie Halse Anderson.
 

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9:32am

Fri November 29, 2013
Regional Coverage

Destiny USA expects massive crowds on Black Friday

An aerial shot of Destiny USA.
US Embassy Canada Flickr

Shoppers hitting the stores on this Black Friday expect it to be crowded, since there will probably be more people than ever at central New York’s biggest shopping venue.

A year ago, the expansion to Destiny USA was still in its early stages, with storefronts not yet filled. This year, there are 80 or so more stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues than there were a year ago, according to Mall Manager Rob Schoeneck. That’s already meant more shoppers than in the past.

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1:00am

Fri November 29, 2013
Regional Coverage

Black Friday alternative at Watertown craft sale

Drew Mangione, director of development for the Watertown Urban Mission, stands in front of a capital campaign sign during the nonprofit's busy holiday season.
Joanna Richards WRVO

On Black Friday, people cram into stores, treating shopping like a full-contact sport. Others hold off for a calmer experience in front of their computer screens on Cyber Monday. But some people still want a fun, communal holiday shopping experience – minus the chaos.

Watertown's annual holiday craft fair is a good option for less competitive shoppers, or people searching for a few unique items. This Sunday, two floors of the Dulles State Office Building will fill with local vendors.

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5:05pm

Thu November 28, 2013
Regional Coverage

Advocates urge Cuomo to raise age for youth offenders

Some rights reserved x1klima

New York is one of only two states in the country where all children 16 and older are treated as adults in the criminal justice system. This month the Raise the Age initiative kicked off a statewide campaign in upstate New York, renewing their effort to keep kids under 18 out of adult prisons.

Kyle Chambers was incarcerated in an adult prison when he was 16 years old, and spent his 17th birthday inside.

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2:46pm

Wed November 27, 2013
Regional Coverage

Air National Guard defending its drone training program

Col. Greg Semmel, commander of the 174th Attack Wing of the Air National Guard, seen earlier this year.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Syracuse's Air National Guard unit is issuing assurance its drone training program is safe two weeks after one crashed into Lake Ontario on a training mission.

An MQ-9 Reaper crashed into the lake 20 miles northeast of Oswego on Nov. 12, which did not result in any injuries. The Air Force continues to investigate that crash.

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12:30pm

Wed November 27, 2013
Regional Coverage

Syracuse fire dept. donating used gear to city in Chile

The Syracuse fire department is donating more than 100 pieces of protective clothing to a volunteer department in La Serena, Chile.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

More than 100 pieces of used firefighting clothing from the Syracuse fire department is going to South America to help protect a volunteer fire department down there.

The Rotary International Club in Syracuse helped coordinate the donation of 55 protective jackets and 84 protective pants to the city of La Serena, Chile, which says firefighters there often battle flames in street clothes.

"This donation is going to very, very helpful to them in that now, at least, they have some protective clothing," the Rotary's Rev. Blessed Sikhosana.

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7:42am

Wed November 27, 2013
Regional Coverage

Gas prices for Thanksgiving travel hit three year low

Syracuse winter.
Doug Kerr Flickr

Today is the busiest travel day of the year, with an estimated 43.4 million travelers heading home for the holidays. But some Thanksgiving travelers are getting a bit of a break this year by spending less cash to fill their gas tanks on the way to their holiday destinations.

“It’s the lowest Thanksgiving gas price we’ve seen since 2010," says central New York AAA spokeswoman Diana Dibble.

Dibble says motorists will be paying an average of $3.49 in central New York, $3.56 statewide, and $3.21 for a gallon of gas nationally. That’s down 29 cents from last year in Syracuse.

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7:21am

Wed November 27, 2013
Regional Coverage

Oneida County enacts new cyberbullying law

Cyberbullying has become a front and center issue for Oneida County in recent months. Now those online attacks are a punishable offense.

The newly enacted local law makes several forms of computer bullying illegal, including posting doctored images, creating a fake profile or website, and making online statements that are meant to immediately provoke another person.

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2:57pm

Tue November 26, 2013
Weather

Plows hitting the roads this evening as snow starts

Will Merydith via Flickr

Snow plows in central New York are already out treating roads ahead of the double-digit snowfall expected to fall in the next 36 hours, which is coming at a bad time for travel. 

Onondaga County Transportation Commissioner Brian Donnelly said by nightfall his crews will be out in full force prepping roads. Snow and rain is expected to increase overnight and leave travelers for the Thanksgiving holiday with some hazardous conditions.

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10:37am

Tue November 26, 2013
Weather

Thanksgiving travel could be affected by winter storm

Projected snowfall totals for central New York through Wednesday night.
National Weather Service

Up to a foot of snow in parts of upstate New York will fall from Tuesday afternoon through Thursday morning, making travel for the Thanksgiving holiday slow and tricky.

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3:43pm

Mon November 25, 2013
Regional Coverage

Cellphones for vets program starts 6th season

State Sen. John DeFransisco kicks off the sixth season of a cellphones for veterans collection program.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

For the sixth year in a row, State Sen. John DeFransisco is asking central New Yorkers to go through their junk drawers to help someone in the military.

“You got some old cellphones," DeFransisco said Monday, "don’t let them gather dust.”

Instead DeFransisco is asking people to turn them in to locations across central New York bearing the "Cellphones for Soldiers" logo.

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