Regional Coverage

2:53pm

Fri February 21, 2014
Regional Coverage

Novelis workers decide whether or not to unionize

Novelis recently commissioned two new production lines at its Oswego plant in October.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

UpdateAccording to published reports, the vote to unionize failed by a total of 14 votes. 

Earlier coverage:

Employees of Novelis Aluminum in Oswego are voting today to determine whether or not 600 employees at the plant will unionize.

James Ridgeway, an international union representative for the United Steelworkers Union, says workers from Novelis contacted him in mid-December to begin the unionization process, citing several changes that have occurred since Novelis purchased the plant.

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11:33am

Fri February 21, 2014
Regional Coverage

Veteran journalist and SUNY Oswego professor Garrick Utley dies

Garrick Utley
Credit provided photo

Garrick Utley, a veteran journalist and later a professor at SUNY Oswego and WRVO contributor, has died at the age of 74.

He had been battling cancer, according to NBC News.

Utley spent much of last year producing a documentary for WRVO Public Media, New York in the World, which followed the rise and fall of New York's economy over the last century. 

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10:45am

Thu February 20, 2014
Regional Coverage

State of the Re:Union, a Black History Month special

stateofthereunion.com

During a month selected to celebrate “history,” we certainly are treated to a lot of the same familiar stories: the battles won for Civil Rights, the glory of Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, the hardships endured by slaves. And as important as those narratives are for us to collectively remember, many others get lost in trumpeting the same heroic tales. This week, State of the Re:Union zeroes in some of those alternate narratives, ones edited out of the mainstream imagining of Black History, deconstructing the popular perception of certain celebrated moments.

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7:25am

Thu February 20, 2014
Regional Coverage

Ice jams pose threats as weather warms up

tonydude919 Flickr

Most of central and northern New York will see a break from the bitterly cold temperatures that have gripped the region for weeks. But with those warmer temperatures comes the possibility of ice jams and flooding.

Ice jams affected parts of the region last month, closing down portions of I-81 and making travel dangerous and difficult. That could happen again later this week, as temperatures are expected to rise.

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6:44am

Thu February 20, 2014
Regional Coverage

Army officers anxious as they await word of cuts

A soldier trains at Fort Drum
Joanna Richards

In any company town, when the major employer is planning layoffs, people get worried. How will they earn a living if they lose their job? How will they remake their identity?

This is the picture for many Army officers stationed at Fort Drum. By early summer, some will find out they have to go.

It’s part of an overall downsizing of the military as the war in Afghanistan winds down. Evaluations this spring will determine whether some officers can stay in the service.

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12:47pm

Wed February 19, 2014
Regional Coverage

Jefferson County employer Hi-Lite to create new jobs with USDA loan

Hi-Lite Airfield Services began as a highway-striping company in 1989, according to its website.
Hi-Lite

A Jefferson County company is planning to expand with the help of a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Hi-Lite Airfield Services, in Adams Center, plans to create between eight and 10 new jobs, according to a news release from Rep. Bill Owens’s (D-Plattsburgh) office. The company also plans to buy new equipment with the $7.1 million loan from the USDA’s Rural Development program.

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8:32am

Wed February 19, 2014
Regional Coverage

Maffei hosts rural broadband symposium promoting high-speed Internet access

Doc Searls Flickr

Rural broadband experts, elected officials and school representatives were in Red Creek Tuesday evening as part of a broadband symposium hosted by Syracuse-area Congressman Dan Maffei.

Maffei, who has been a supporter of using technology to boost the impact of healthcare and education in the region, says by increasing access to high-speed Internet, it allows for a stronger middle class and could be critical to strengthening the upstate economy and promoting educational opportunities.

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7:20am

Wed February 19, 2014
Regional Coverage

Water mains and transportation focus of infrastructure forum

Greg Lancette of the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 267 union speaks with Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) at an infrastructure forum Tuesday.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Central New York's underground infrastructure - namely, water mains - was a big focus of a discussion about the region's infrastructure hosted by Rep. Dan Maffei Tuesday.

Maffei, a Democrat from Syracuse, gathered elected officials, engineers and administrators at the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse to discuss infrastructure. One main message was that upgrades and maintenance of the region's plumbing and water pipes has been an often ignored or delayed investment.

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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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