Regional Coverage

7:44am

Tue February 18, 2014
Regional Coverage

DEC proposal to kill invasive swans drawing protests

A mute swan.
Credit DEC website

Most people think swans are beautiful. But the agreement seems to end there, when it comes to a new state plan to manage them. A proposal by the Department of Environmental Conservation to kill invasive mute swans isn’t flying with some animal lovers. 

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7:36am

Tue February 18, 2014
Regional Coverage

Changes coming to make West Street more pedestrian friendly

West Street in Syracuse is six lanes wide in some parts and difficult to cross on foot.
dougtone via Flickr

Changes are coming to Syracuse’s West Street artery to make the roadway more pedestrian friendly and less of a barrier for the Near Westside neighborhood.

West Street was built in the middle of the last century, as Interstate 81 was paving through the city, as a way to move cars more easily. It’s six lanes wide and not pedestrian friendly, but many west side residents have to cross the street to get downtown or to the grocery store.

The Near Westside Initiative, a community advocacy group has been working with the state transportation department on a redesign.

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6:54am

Mon February 17, 2014
Transportation

Three upstate New York highways make 'futureless freeways' list

Interstate 81 is elevated for 1.4 miles through downtown Syracuse and is beginning to crumble.
oliver_hine via Flickr

Three big roadways in upstate New York cities have made a top 10 list of freeways that should be torn down or filled in.

The Congress for New Urbanism says Syracuse’s Interstate 81, Rochester’s Inner Loop and Buffalo’s Skyway bridge are all roadways that do damage to the community and should be replaced. They’re also on the "Freeways Without a Future" list because there’s growing momentum to remove them.

The Chicago-based group advocates for more walkable cities and smart growth.

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6:45am

Mon February 17, 2014
Regional Coverage

National pressures hit Carthage Area Hospital with 73 layoffs

Carthage Area Hospital says the same pressures that are facing all hospitals these days forced it to restructure.
Credit Joanna Richards

Hospitals around the country are all under the same pressures: a turn toward outpatient and preventive care, low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates, and increasing regulations. It’s the same in Carthage. 

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3:00pm

Fri February 14, 2014
Regional Coverage

SUNY Canton, Potsdam vice president indicted on theft charges

Natalie Higley, vice president for Business Affairs and Administration at both SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam.

The woman in charge of finances at both SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam has been indicted on theft charges in Georgia. Natalie Higley is charged with stealing from the state college where she used to work.

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8:15am

Fri February 14, 2014
Regional Coverage

School closings and delays for Friday

Jason Kuffer Flickr

Heavy snowfall and blowing winds have forced several schools to delay or close. This post will be updated regularly.

Adirondack Central: 2 hour delay; no a.m. pre-K, no a.m. BOCES

Auburn City Schools: 1 hour delay

Augustinian Academy: 2 hour delay; no a.m. pre-K

A-P-W Central: 2 hour delay

Baldwinsville Christian Academy: Closed

Beaver River Central: 2 hour delay

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11:46am

Thu February 13, 2014
Public Radio Presents

New York in the World

Join us Sunday, February 16 for an encore presentation of New York in the World. This documentary brings you stories of union workers in Buffalo, fashion designers in New York City, and farmers in the Finger Lakes - all talking about how they've found a place amid today's new economic realities.

From Niagara Falls to Long Island, from the North Country to the Southern Tier, Upstate, Downstate... we are nearly twenty million.

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8:16am

Tue February 11, 2014
Regional Coverage

Syracuse homicide rate at recent high in 2013

The Elmwood Presbyterian Church food pantry where Jim Gifford volunteered.
Tom Magnarelli WRVO

The homicide rate in Syracuse was at a recent high in 2013. The city had 22 homicides in 2013, a 60 percent increase from the 13 homicides in 2012.

Sargent Tom Connellan, the public information officer for the Syracuse Police Department, said it is very difficult to predict a homicide.

"We can target gun violence, we can target a lot of other crimes, but sometimes these are just crimes of opportunity or crimes of passion. Some involved domestic related incidents. I don't want to trivialize any of these homicides because one is one too many," he said.

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5:45am

Tue February 11, 2014
School Closings

School delays and closings for Tuesday

ecksunderscore Flickr

Heavy lake effect snow north of Syracuse is causing area schools to delay and close. This list will be updated often.

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1:41am

Tue February 11, 2014
Regional Coverage

Syracuse Common Council votes down fine for unshoveled sidewalks

East Fayette St. during a recent snow storm.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse Common Councilors have voted down a plan to fine property owners who don’t shovel their sidewalks. But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the story.

While lawmakers resoundingly voted down  the idea of a $50 fine for snow shoveling slackers, they admit there is still a problem. And Councilor Kathleen Joy, one of seven lawmakers who voted against the plan, thinks this whole debate over a fine could lead to more action in the end.

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3:24pm

Mon February 10, 2014
Regional Coverage

Oneida Rail Trail project receives grant to build new website

The Oneida Improvement Committee has received a grant, which the organization says will help promote efforts to build an 11-mile multi-use trail network surrounding the city.

Committee member Patti Meakin says the $1,500 grant from Parks and Trails New York will be used to communicate with the public and solicit donations.

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8:45am

Mon February 10, 2014
Regional Coverage

State comptroller says highway fund mostly used for state debt, operating costs

A recent report from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office found that most of the state's highway an bridge trust fund is being used for other things.
Ellen Abbott WRVO file photo

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says last fiscal year, less than a quarter of the state's dedicated highway and bridge trust fund was used to pay for infrastructure maintenance. He says the rest of the money was spent on state debt payments and other operating costs.

Republican Sen. Joe Griffo, who represents Utica, Rome and Massena, is one of several state lawmakers supporting the BRIDGE Act, which would require that funds added to the account are used only for infrastructure projects.

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8:20am

Mon February 10, 2014
Regional Coverage

Destiny USA asking Onondaga County for tax breaks for proposed hotel

An aerial shot of Destiny USA.
Destiny USA

The information gathering phase of a proposed 252-room hotel project next to the Destiny USA mall in Syracuse has started.

Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse both received letters last week from Destiny indicating a plan to build a hotel across the street from the mall. The developer is asking for tax breaks from the county consistent with deals other hotels have gotten. The difference, according to mayoral spokesman Tim Carroll, is that Destiny is going through the county.

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8:11am

Mon February 10, 2014
Regional Coverage

Hancock Air Base anti-drone protesters sentenced

Protester Ed Kinane speaks to DeWitt Town Justice David Gideon.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Twelve activists opposed to drone warfare are spending the next few weeks in an Onondaga County correctional facility. The sentencing capped off a month-long trial, with an admonition from a judge to avoid any more protests on Hancock Air Base property.

Video shot of the Hancock 17 war crimes protesters last October in front of Hancock Air Base near Syracuse, which houses the 174th Fighter Attack Wing, showed the protesters involved in some confrontations and near-miss traffic accidents. It was that video that prompted DeWitt Town Justice David Gideon to warn activists.

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6:13am

Fri February 7, 2014
Regional Coverage

Syracuse Common Council proposes fines for unshoveled sidewalks

A homeowner in Adams plows the sidewalk, following heavy snowfall that hit the region in early January.
Sarah Crisafulli

The snowiest city in America is debating whether to make property owners pay fines if they don’t clear the snow from their sidewalks and parking lots. Syracuse common councilors will vote Monday on whether the city should impose a fine on property owners who don’t shovel their sidewalks.  

District Councilor Bob Dougherty is the lawmaker behind the proposal. He lives near several schools in Syracuse’s Valley Neighborhood, and says it’s a matter of safety.

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3:49pm

Thu February 6, 2014
Regional Coverage

Children's museum wants to find a permanent home in Oswego

Although it doesn't have a permanent home, for the last year the Children's Museum of Oswego has brought its exhibits to local events like Harborfest and the Great Pumpkin Festival. But last week, the museum's board of trustees set its sights on finding a fixed location in the city.

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7:41am

Thu February 6, 2014
Regional Coverage

Crouse's opioid program expanding to meet rising needs for treatment

Crouse Hospital

A spike in heroin and prescription painkiller abuse in central New York is the reason behind the expansion of a program that helps addicts.

Crouse Hospital in Syracuse says it’s expanding its opioid program, the only one in the area, in response to a community need for methadone treatment. Monica Taylor, director of behavior health at Crouse, says it won’t happen overnight.

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6:51am

Thu February 6, 2014
Regional Coverage

United Way donations down, looking to St. Lawrence County for help

Credit United Way of Northern New York

The United Way is one of America’s largest charitable organizations, helping to sustain thousands of small nonprofits that in turn help millions of people. But the Northern New York chapter of the United Way is in need of some help itself. Its mid-year fundraising totals show significant declines in giving from last year in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. 

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3:12pm

Wed February 5, 2014
Regional Coverage

Financially struggling Cayuga Community College sets sights on 2020

Gino Geruntino WRVO

Cayuga Community College's interim president is working on a plan to correct the school's recent financial struggles.

In his recent State of the College address, President Gregory Decinque said a depleted fund balance and overestimated student enrollment figures have helped put the college in the red.

At the end of 2013, the college had a $56,000 fund balance deficit. The operating budget for the Auburn-based college is approximately $30 million a year. Although the numbers are not good, Decinque says the college should be able to rebuild its savings.

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2:50pm

Wed February 5, 2014
School Closings

School closings and delays for Wednesday

ecksunderscore Flickr

A winter storm moving through the region is causing some schools to close or delay opening. Check back throughout the day for updates.

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7:52am

Wed February 5, 2014
Winter Storm

State of emergency declared after winter storm closes schools, causes traffic problems

A winter storm is moving through the northeast over the next few days
National Weather Service

A fast moving winter storm is dumping heavy snow along the Southern Tier early this morning and could leave a foot or more of snow on the ground by this evening. 

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7:50am

Wed February 5, 2014
Regional Coverage

New Onondaga County program combines pet adoption with inmate rehabilitation

Republican Kevin Holmquist arguing on the floor of the Onondaga County Legislature against the kennel.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Onondaga County lawmakers approved a plan to put a dog kennel at the county jail in Jamesville, with the idea of helping inmates and stray dogs.

Stephanie Higgins of the Syracuse Pit Crew says the dog shelter will serve as an overflow facility for up to 25 dogs from the SPCA and Dewitt Animal Hospital. These are animals that would be otherwise euthanized.

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8:06am

Tue February 4, 2014
Regional Coverage

Vera House hosting teen dating violence town hall on Twitter

Vera House is encouraging adults and teens to talk about the issue of teen dating violence. The Syracuse agency hopes to get the conversation going by hosting a Twitter town hall session Tuesday.

As many as one in three teens will experience some kind of violence stemming from a romantic relationship, according to Vera House education director Loren Cunningham. But it’s often hard to get teens to open up about it.

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7:53am

Tue February 4, 2014
Weather

Winter storm could make for a messy morning commute Wednesday

A winter storm is expected to affect most of the northeastern United States over the next few days
National Weather Service

Winter storm warnings have been posted for all of central New York and parts of the North Country as a winter storm is expected move through the region Tuesday night and Wednesday. 

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5:30am

Mon February 3, 2014
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum among four locations to be studied for East Coast missile defense site

A 10th Mountain Division soldier trains at Fort Drum.
Credit Joanna Richards

The Defense Department has named Fort Drum as one of four military installations to house a possible East Coast missile defense facility. 

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7:25am

Fri January 31, 2014
Regional Coverage

Oswego decides against employee furloughs

Doug Kerr Flickr

The city of Oswego is making some changes to the budget it passed in December, by moving away from the city-wide furloughs it had previously imposed.

The furloughs included in this year's budget would have equated to about a four percent pay decrease to every city employee in Oswego. But now those mandatory days off aren't taking place, following the Common Council's decision to dip into the city's enterprise fund.

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6:16am

Fri January 31, 2014
Regional Coverage

Syracuse professor building case against Syrian human rights abusers

David Crane, professor of practice at Syracuse University's College of Law, is helping to build legal cases against the worst actors in the Syrian civil war.
Credit Syracuse University

A few weeks ago, David Crane got a call. The Syracuse University law professor was asked to join a team who would be examining a collection of tens of thousands of gruesome photographs. They appeared to show widespread torture and killings at detention facilities run by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Two days later, Crane was in the Middle East, with two other former war crimes prosecutors and forensics experts, poring over the images and interviewing the man who took them.

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11:37pm

Thu January 30, 2014
Transportation

Final decision on I-81's future is 18 months away, DOT says

Ryan Delaney WRVO

New York’s transportation commissioner says a final decision about the future of the elevated stretch of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse will be made in a year and a half.

DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald discussed the future of the aging raised highway at a budget hearing today in Albany. "It's not an easy project," she said.

McDonald says her department will be out in March with more information on what impact to other roadways changes to I-81 could create, then it's on to the next step.

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4:55pm

Thu January 30, 2014
Regional Coverage

News Briefs: Thursday, Jan. 30

Plans for a casino siting board are delayed; National Grid receives a credit to save customers some cash; New York shows positive workplace safety signs; and $1.24 million is sent toward state farms. Catch up on the news of the day with WRVO news briefs.

Siting board appointment likely behind schedule

Chances are becoming slim that a casino siting board will be appointed by the end of January as called for by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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5:50am

Thu January 30, 2014
Regional Coverage

School delays for Thursday

Jason Kuffer Flickr

Several area schools are delaying the start of classes this morning due to the weather. This post will be updated frequently.

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