Regional Coverage

5:54am

Fri July 18, 2014
Regional Coverage

Syracuse could become temporary home for immigrant children

Ellen Abbott WRVO

Syracuse could be a potential landing spot for unaccompanied immigrant children who’ve been crossing the Mexican border in droves in recent months. Mayor Stephanie Miner is hoping a letter to the president can bring those kids to central New York sooner rather than later.

Miner is asking President Barack Obama to consider forming a partnership between Syracuse and the federal government to help with the humanitarian needs of the kids, who are waiting for deportation hearings.

She says dealing with immigrants in the past, and in the present, is in Syracuse’s blood.

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3:41pm

Thu July 17, 2014
Regional Coverage

State police helicopter move leaves gap in service in Onondaga County

Onondaga County Sheriff's Office

The New York State Police helicopter operation based in has moved to Rochester, which will cause a gap in air support for police investigations and rescues in central New York. Onondaga County’s Air One helicopter will still fly, but needs more funding to provide those services.

Before the state police helicopter moved, the troopers generally took care of calls during the day, and Onondaga County’s Air One handled them in the evening. County Sheriff Kevin Walsh says the county’s crime fighting helicopter can’t fill those day time hours at this time.

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6:53am

Thu July 17, 2014
Regional Coverage

Small group protests housing Central American immigrants in Syracuse

Some central New Yorkers, including Maria Thomas of Syracuse (at left), are protesting the possibility of housing Central American immigrant children in Syracuse
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Some central New Yorkers opposed to the idea of housing immigrant children who are waiting to be deported in Syracuse are protesting.

A dozen or so protesters carried signs that said things like, “Honk if you support legal borders” in front of the Sisters of Saint Francis property on Syracuse’s Northside during rush hour Wednesday evening.

The site is a location federal officials have looked at as a potential place to house some of the immigrant children flooding across the border from Central America in recent months.  

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1:33pm

Wed July 16, 2014
Regional Coverage

Five percent tax cap plan will get public hearing in Oswego

Gino Geruntino WRVO

Homeowners in the city of Oswego will be able to voice their opinions at a pubic hearing on a proposal to reinstate the city's five percent property tax cap. The original limit was removed in 2011, but after the city's common council approved a 43 percent property tax increase in December, support has been growing to bring it back.

But Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen says this year's tax hike was unavoidable.

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9:07pm

Mon July 14, 2014
Regional Coverage

Schumer says Whole Foods considering downtown Syracuse location

Less than two weeks ago, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) vowed to help attract a grocery store to Syracuse’s Armory Square neighborhood. Monday, he announced that the trendy organic grocer Whole Foods has returned his call.

“They are interested in Armory Square. And they are going to visit -- myself, the mayor and representatives of Whole Foods -- in the fall,” said the senator.

Schumer says one thing that has grabbed Whole Foods attention is that the only other store in upstate New York, in Albany, has exceeded its sales projections.

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8:47am

Mon July 14, 2014
Regional Coverage

Air Force plane found deep below Lake Ontario from 1952 crash

A sonar image of the C-45 Air Force plane that crashed in 1952. It's now several hundred feet below the Lake Ontario surface.
Roger Pawlowski

A team of shipwreck explorers recently discovered an Air Force plane deep below the surface of Lake Ontario, more than 60 years after it crashed.

It was late at night on September 11, 1952 when an Air force C-45 was flying from Massachusetts to Grifiss Air Force base in Rome. But before it could reach Grifiss, it lost an engine. The pilot set the plane on autopilot and the five member crew parachuted out.

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7:53am

Mon July 14, 2014
Regional Coverage

With retirees eyeing urban setting, Ithaca faces housing crunch

Nine out of ten older people in Tompkins County want to stay close by for retirement, but a survey finds a majority want to move to more urban areas, which will put a strain on housing.

Ithaca is a city that already has a tight housing market. The Tompkins County Office for the Aging found it will likely get tighter. The agency conducted a survey of people who recently retired or are about to.

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11:53am

Fri July 11, 2014
Weather

Update: Five tornadoes hit upstate New York Tuesday

Tornado damage in Smithfield, Madison County, where four people were killed.
Ellen Abbot WRVO

Update, Friday, July 11:

A fifth tornado from Tuesday's swath of powerful thunderstorms and twisters has been confirmed by the National Weather Service in Albany. This one in the eastern Adirondacks. More from the Associated Press:

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6:14am

Fri July 11, 2014
I-81

SU: campus will be "dramatically" impacted by I-81 construction

Interstate 81's on-ramp back onto the highway, heading north, from University Hill.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The Syracuse University campus would be greatly impacted by the reconstruction of Interstate 81 through the city, a university working group has determined.

When visitors to the Syracuse University campus exit the Interstate 81 viaduct, they’re currently faced with an “unattractive city fabric,” the study concludes.

"The experience of the University is not such a good one because it’s not so clear how to get to the university," said dean of architecture Michael Speaks, who led the group, adding drivers must navigate a "cluttered path."

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12:05pm

Thu July 10, 2014
Public Radio Presents

Reveal, an investigative radio show

prx.org

Join us on Sunday July, 13 at 7:00 p.m. for Reveal, an investigative radio show from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. In this episode: an investigation into accidents and equipment failures in the military; a collaborative investigation into US water standards; and another in CIR's series of veteran investigations.

Profiting off of the GI Bill

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7:46am

Thu July 10, 2014
Regional Coverage

Details about $100 million Onondaga Lake West project announced, among some controversy

Residents listen to the presentation about the Onondaga Lake project at a meeting in Solvay Wednesday evening
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County fleshed out details of the $100 million Onondaga Lake West project for residents of Solvay Wednesday night.  

One of the highlights of the presentation was a virtual video tour of the lake view amphitheater, starting at a box office then winding down tree lined sidewalks, past a small amphitheater and festival grounds to the main amphitheater on Lakeview Point.

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4:08pm

Wed July 9, 2014
Regional Coverage

Smithfield community in shock after tornado strikes; governor offers condolences

This house in Smithfield was pulled off its foundation, seen in background, and destroyed.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The National Weather Service has determined that it was a tornado that touched down in a rural part of Madison County last night, killing four people, including an infant.  

Barbara Watson, lead meteorologist for the National Weather Service, made the tornado determination after surveying  damage along Goff Road in the town of Smithfield.

"It will be declared a significant tornado.  It had wind speeds well over 100 miles per hour,” said Watson.

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11:41am

Wed July 9, 2014
Regional Coverage

Tornado with winds at least 110 mph hit Smithfield

An aerial view of the damage in Smithfield
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The National Weather Service officially declared that it was a tornado that struck the town of Smithfield in Madison County, killing four people, destroying four homes and severely damaging three others.

Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley announced that the victims include Kimberly Hillard, 35; her four-month-old baby, Paris Newman; Virginia Warner, 70; and Arnie A.D. Allen, 53.

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5:58am

Wed July 9, 2014
Regional Coverage

Tornado kills 4 in Madison County; thunderstorms leave thousands without power around region

Damage from Tuesday's thunderstorm in Smithfield in Madison County where four people were killed
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The National Weather Service says a tornado struck the Smithfield area killing four people in Madison County and leaving tens of thousands without power and causing significant damage through the region.

A line of severe thunderstorms moved through the entire region of western, central and northern New York Tuesday evening causing damage in various areas, but Smithfield suffered the worse.

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9:41pm

Tue July 8, 2014
Weather

Powerful storm slams East Syracuse; fatalities in Madison County

An uprooted tree on McCool Ave. in East Syracuse after powerful storms tore through the village Tuesday.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Trees were on front yards, on cars, in roads, on power lines and on top of houses in East Syracuse after a powerful storm system swept through the village Tuesday evening.

A few hours later, residents were using the remaining daylight to survey damage, many walking around or sitting in their driveway, others checking in on neighbors. Chainsaws were already roaring to begin cleaning up.

Emergency crews requested power be shut off to the entire village as power lines were down across several streets and yards.

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7:47pm

Tue July 8, 2014
Regional Coverage

Severe storms kill 3 people in Madison County, damage homes, cause power outages throughout region

The screen at the Midway Drive-In in Minetto is destroyed by the storm
Photo courtesy of Oswego County resident Rick Grosvent

10:04 p.m. update:

The National Weather Service says three people died from the storms in Madison County.

Family members confirm to WRVO News that three people were killed in Peterboro when the homes they were in on Goff Road collapsed after being pounded by thunderstorms.

The deceased include a mother and her four-month-old daughter who were in a single family home. Another woman, approximately 70 years old, according to family members, was in a mobile home that was also destroyed. In all, four homes collapsed.

From earlier:

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7:21am

Tue July 8, 2014
Regional Coverage

Disaster readiness program encourages communities to pool knowledge and experience

An emergency backpack, along with some of the supplies needed in the case of an emergency.
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The National Weather Service predicts 2014 will be a relatively tame hurricane season. But memories of hurricanes like Sandy and Irene, as well as tropical storm Lee, have led Gov. Andrew Cuomo to create the Citizen Preparedness Corps in hopes of training New Yorkers to be their own first responders.

New York State Department of Homeland Security Commissioner Jerome Hauer didn't mince words when he spoke about the Citizen Preparedness Corps training classes.

“Getting the population to deal with a disaster on their own is absolutely critical,” Hauer said.

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5:37am

Tue July 8, 2014
Regional Coverage

Auburn Housing Authority bans smoking in public housing units

Dale M Moore Flickr

There will be no more smoking inside apartments operated by the Auburn Housing Authority.

Auburn Housing Authority Director Stephanie Hutchinson says the idea for the smoking ban began when non-smokers started speaking up.

"We had received a number of complaints from tenants whose neighbors smoked, saying they could smell inside their apartment units, and they were worried for their children’s health," Hutchinson said. "And that’s where it really started."

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9:08am

Mon July 7, 2014
Regional Coverage

Miner calls for increased broadband access in Syracuse

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says the city can't have a modern economy without access to high-speed Internet and strong phone service.

Miner has recently called for better broadband in Syracuse, and has signed a petition to the state's Public Service Commission asking for an investigation into broadband's rollout in the state.

"And what I have seen firsthand is a number of businesses who said they wanted to locate to Syracuse, or expand in Syracuse, but couldn't because of a lack of access to affordable broadband or telecommunications," Miner said.

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6:45am

Mon July 7, 2014
Transportation

Red to green: Syracuse working to upgrade traffic signal system

Traffic moves through downtown Syracuse at the intersection of Warren and East Washington Streets.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

It’s what every commuter hates when trying to get to work in the morning: red lights. They slow drive times down and waste gas, but the city of Syracuse is working to upgrade its traffic light system, so drivers see more green.

"By coordinating the traffic lights, what happens is, we can tell the traffic light not only how long to be green in a certain direction, but when to go green," explains Harry Carlson of the city's public works department.

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5:27am

Fri July 4, 2014
Regional Coverage

Fireman's Association says leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals

Derek Key

Fireworks are a staple of Fourth of July celebrations. But one statewide organization is worried about sparks that will start flying in backyard pyrotechnics displays this weekend.

More fires are reported on July 4th than any other day of the year, according to the Fireman’s Association of New York State. And 60 percent of all fireworks injuries happen in the weeks immediately before and after the holiday.  

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2:37pm

Thu July 3, 2014
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum unlikely to house Central American immigrant children

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says the chances are slim that undocumented children caught trying to cross the US-Mexican border illegally will be housed at Fort Drum.

The Army base is reportedly being considered to house hundreds of Central American immigrant children under a government program as soon as August

But Schumer says he’s spoken with officials at the Department of Health and Human Services:

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9:13am

Thu July 3, 2014
Regional Coverage

Fulton takes the next steps to try to get back to fiscal stability

Gino Geruntino WRVO

New York state's Financial Restructuring Board released its review and recommendations for the city of Fulton, which in recent years has faced serious fiscal issues. City leaders say they plan to take the state's advice.

Since 2011, Fulton has raised its tax rate by more than 15 percent to make up for a decline in property values. It also slashed full-time staff from more than 150 employees down to 135.

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4:51pm

Wed July 2, 2014
Drones

"Common problem" caused Air National Guard's drone to crash

An MQ-9 Reaper drone in the hanger at Hancock Airfield in Syracuse.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

An unmanned aircraft expert says a "not uncommon problem" caused an Air National Guard drone to smash into Lake Ontario last November.

The Air Force says multiple communication and navigation failures lead to the crash of an MQ-9 Reaper drone, piloted by the Syracuse-based 174th Attack Wing of the Air National Guard.

No one was hurt when the multi-ton aircraft plummeted into the lake 12 miles offshore, late last year.

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12:58pm

Tue July 1, 2014
drones

Air Guard's drone crash caused by multiple malfunctions

Ryan Delaney WRVO

Multiple communication and navigation failures on 174th Air National Guard Attack Wing's MQ-9 Reaper unmanned drone flying over central New York last November caused it to crash in Lake Ontario.

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9:29am

Mon June 30, 2014
Regional Coverage

New federal program seeks to provide homeless families with longer lasting housing solutions

Syracuse has the second highest number of homeless children in New York state outside of New York City, according to recent statistics. There are 957 homeless children in the city of Syracuse, 1,401 in all in Onondaga County. Now one organization that deals with that population is hoping a new program will help ease that number.

This is the time of year things start getting busy at local homeless shelters.  

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9:22am

Mon June 30, 2014
Regional Coverage

Audit faults Griffiss airfield development agency management

A state audit has criticized the management of the agency redeveloping the former Griffiss Air Force base in Rome.

The Authorities Budget Office is a state office overseeing economic development agencies. The ABO audit says the Griffiss Local Development Corp. took a “cavalier” approach to handling its funds.

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8:39am

Fri June 27, 2014
Transportation

Tighter curves could minimize impact of new I-81 viaduct

Ryan Delaney WRVO

Tighter curves built into a new Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse could mean fewer buildings along the highway’s path would need to be torn down.

Rebuilding the mile and a half of elevated interstate through the city is one of two options transportation planners are recommending for how to replace the current, aging viaduct.

But a new viaduct would have to be significantly wider than the current one in order to be up to highway standards. It could also be up to ten feet higher.

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6:17am

Tue June 24, 2014
Regional Coverage

Maffei promotes infrastructure plan in Syracuse

Dan maffei speaks to reporters about his plan to increase the amount of investements in infrastructure.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) has put together a wide-ranging program that would invest in central New York’s infrastructure, ranging from fixing crumbling roads and bridges to bringing high speed rail to the area. He says there has to be a mindset change in Washington for this to happen.

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3:39pm

Mon June 23, 2014
Transportation

Tunnel, depressed highway are out in plans for new I-81

Another public meeting on the future of Interstate 81 is set for Thursday.
Zack Seward WXXI

Syracuse looks less likely to go through its own Big Dig, as state highway transportation officials recommend a tunnel or depressed highway are not the best options for a rebuilt Interstate 81 through Syracuse.

Transportation officials have been considering several variations of four core options for a new I-81: a rebuilt viaduct, a street-level boulevard, a tunnel, or sunken roadway.

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