regional news

lindenbaum / Flickr

Maple sugar operators, scientists and forest managers have known for years that the sugar maple is very sensitive to acid rain. So when the federal acid rain levels dropped levels dramatically after federal regulation, it could only mean good news for one iconic tree that found living with acid rain difficult -- right? A recent study published by the SUNY School of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in Syracuse shows that hypothesis doesn’t hold water.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Friday is Plaid Friday, the independent, local business alternative to Black Friday, the major chains’ big sales day for consumers. The buy local movement continues its push in Syracuse.

The nonprofit SyracuseFirst launched the holiday giving season by organizing the Buy Local Bash in Syracuse. The event, which is in its sixth year, hosts venders from local businesses that give out samples, sell goods and educate the public about their companies.

Ithaca College

Ithaca College students will release the results of a confidence vote in their college president Monday, and the college faculty hold their own vote next month. President Tom Rochon has faced criticism and protests for his handling of racial incidents and what some call top-down leadership. 

He spoke to reporter Solvejg Wastvedt about how the college has responded and what he’s learned. Here are the highlights:

Payne Horning, Leah Landry / WRVO News

Oswego officials commemorated the completion of its $19 million breakwater wall renovation Wednesday. The Oswego Harbor's wall stops incoming waves, but the magnitude of 2012's Superstorm Sandy devastated the structure.

"Just three years ago, Superstorm Sandy ravaged the northeast," said Lt. Col. Karl Jansen, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo district. "A lot of that attention goes to the Atlantic coast, but it impacted the great lakes, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie to a degree as well."

Side Hill Farmers Meat & Market's Facebook page.

At tables across the country, Americans will be gathering around to eat turkey and the demand for local, pasture-raised turkeys is growing. The more expensive, small farm birds and the conventional turkeys from large farms both have their benefits and disadvantages.

According to recent statistics, 2.1 million New Yorkers are cheated out of $3.2 billion in wages and benefits. Activists are trying to get the word out that this wage theft is happening here in central New York.

Rebecca Fuentes is an organizer with the Workers’ Center of Central New York. She says wage theft happens when employers underpay workers, don’t pay overtime, or classify them in the wrong job description. And it makes it harder for a working family to get by.

Rescue Mission Alliance

Syracuse’s Rescue Mission is getting ready for Thanksgiving.

Alan Thornton, with the Rescue Mission, said you need a lot of food when you’re making meals for about 2,000 people.

“It’s about 1,200 pounds of turkey, 375 pies, 42 pans of stuffing and mixed vegetables, and mashed potatoes, 20 gallons of gravy," Thornton said. "I don’t know how many people measure gravy in gallons, but we do here at the Rescue Mission.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Some Syracuse residents are trying to focus the spotlight on poverty in the city.

More than a dozen members of some Syracuse churches marched through downtown during a busy midday, calling for more action to prevent poverty in the Salt City. Organizer Raymond Blackwell says there are three things that need to happen for Syracuse to lose the distinction of having the highest rate of concentrated poverty among minorities.

"One, is job training and job placement. Two, is fair housing policies, and three, is fully fund the public schools,” said Blackwell.

Bret Jaspers / WSKG News File Photo

The energy company Kinder Morgan has formally applied to install a pipeline connecting Pennsylvania gas wells with Massachusetts.


During an appearance in Massena Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the Alcoa's smelting plant would stay open for at least the next 3 1/2 years. Alcoa had previously announced that it would end its smelting operation at the end of this year, resulting in a loss of more than 500 jobs.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Anti-hunger advocates came to the state Capitol in Albany Monday to lobby for measures to help New York’s neediest.

The advocates placed empty paper shopping bags at the office doors of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislative  leaders, reminding them to remember the poorest New Yorkers in the upcoming legislative session.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Fayetteville Village Board voted unanimously in favor of a bait-and-cull program to control their deer population. The three month trial program will begin December 23.

Downtown Committee of Syracuse

The “Elf on the Shelf” is coming to downtown Syracuse.  The holiday icon is part of an attempt to get more visibility for downtown shops during the holiday season.

The Downtown Committee of Syracuse is calling him “Dash.”  The elf will be turning up in shops, restaurants and museums throughout downtown Syracuse during the holiday season. Alice Maggiore of the Downtown Committee says it’s all part of a push to get people thinking downtown when they think about holiday spending.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News file photo

Audio recordings released by the U.S. attorney’s office at the corruption trial of Sen. Dean Skelos aim to show that the former Senate leader and his son colluded to use Dean Skelos' official position to help his son get employment, in what turned out to be a succession of no-show jobs. But the phone recordings paint a revealing picture about how Albany really works behind the scenes.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Boces is expanding their career-embedded programs and opening a new high school in Cortland County. This comes as a high percentage of students in Cortland County attend career and technical education programs.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Uber and other ride sharing services are gearing up to win permission from the state legislature to operate in areas outside New York City. State Senators held a round table discussion of how to craft legislation.

Senators appear open to allowing Uber, Lyft, and other ride sharing services to operate in New York state, as long as they can come up with the right rules. Sen. Phil Boyle, chair of the Commerce and Economic Development Committee co chaired the discussion.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Students and faculty at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse are becoming more interested in the Native American approach to the environment. The college is making more of an effort to connect with the Onondaga Nation and the Haudenosaunee people.

County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency

Entergy said it will close the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant because it wasn't economically viable. Gov. Andrew Cuomo scolded that statement, saying there is much more in a company's "bottom line." As uncertainty about the plant's future grows, a new campaign to keep FitzPatrick open is putting a face on the issue.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A dispute over internet use at Syracuse City Hall is again headed to the courts. The issue over whether lawmakers should sign a city computer use policy hasn’t been able to be resolved through negotiations.

Councilor Kathleen Joy expects the Syracuse Common Council to file court papers in the next few days asking a judge to settle the issue of whether lawmakers should be forced to sign that computer use policy which is required of and agreed to by all city employees. A majority of councilors believe it would allow the Mayor’s office too much access to Council business. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says the city will welcome Syrian refugees despite security concerns prompted by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.  Miner says she has been assured by the White House that the screening process is thorough and detailed, and she’s confident these refugees will be vetted properly, and no one dangerous will make it to American shores.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

The New York State Legislature is seemingly back to business as usual, with majority parties holding planning meetings and the new session set to begin right after the holidays. But there has been little public discussion about a corruption crisis that has led to the two most powerful men in the Legislature both on trial in federal court this month.

It’s almost as though they’re taking place in two parallel worlds. In federal court in Manhattan, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Leader Dean Skelos are both on trial for corruption.


Despite two attempts at negotiations with New York state, Entergy said those talks were unsuccessful and are now over. The company will close the James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant at the end of its current fuel cycle in about a year.

David Sommerstein / NCPR


Energy giant Entergy’s decision to close its nuclear plant near Oswego shocked the central New York community. 615 people will lose their jobs. State officials tried to get Entergy to change its mind, but the company announced Wednesday that talks have ended. The news also sent shock waves through New York’s electricity markets.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

An organization that helps resettle refugees in central New York is celebrating the one year anniversary of its headquarters in Syracuse. The agency said it is fully committed to helping refugees from Syria if any are relocated to the area.

InterFaith Works unveiled a new sign outside the building they own, which is a big deal considering they have been renting different spaces since 1976 to provide refugees with the living, employment training and medical services that they offer.


Entergy informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Wednesday that it will "permanently cease power operations" at the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County at the end of its current fuel cycle. The company also told FitzPatrick's 615 employees that the plant will close at the end of 2016 or early 2017. 

timlewisnm / Flickr

The state’s education commissioner said parents who are thinking of opting their children out of standardized tests again this school year should stick with the exams because they will be different than last year’s tests. But, the state’s teacher’s union and a parents group says the changes don’t go far enough.

Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia is hoping to contain a movement that led 20 percent of students to boycott the third-eighth grade standardized tests last spring.

Julia Botero / WRVO news

Watertown is looking at cities like Syracuse and Rochester for a new way to handle abandoned homes. City officials say a land bank can help get properties back on the tax roll. 

Out on the corner of Coffeen and Waltham Streets in Watertown, the windows on a red brick house are broken.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A human trafficking and prostitution sting operation between federal, state and local law enforcement yielded multiple arrests during this year’s New York State Fair, according Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick. Many of the women arrested apparently became involved in prostitution because of drug addictions.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the leader of the Senate Republicans differ on whether New York State should accept Syrian refugees in light of the French terror attacks.

Zach Hirsch / NCPR

Colleges across the country are grappling with protest rallies and marches. They've been sparked by concerns about race relations and accusations of systemic bias against black and Hispanic students.

The State University of New York at Plattsburgh has seen its own series of rallies and forums. They started in late October after a student newspaper published a cartoon widely viewed as offensive.

Many students now say that image revealed a deeper culture of prejudice and inequality on the campus.