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There’s now one official candidate running for governor of New York in 2018, and that’s the Assembly’s Republican leader, Brian Kolb.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse was selected as the location for the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs Annual Conference and Expo for three years starting in 2019. But some officials are questioning who gets credit for Syracuse’s win.

The convention features 300 exhibitors, workshops and hands-on training. Visit Syracuse President and CEO Danny Liedka said the last time Syracuse hosted was in 2005.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

An international panel is asking businesses and property owners along Lake Ontario to complete an online survey about flood damage from record water levels this spring and summer.

The International Joint Commission says the survey takes about 10 to 25 minutes. The deadline to take it is Dec. 31.

The joint U.S.-Canadian panel says the survey gathers information on the extent of flooding, erosion, damage to shoreline structures and damage to homes and businesses.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

The deputy leader of the state Senate said 2018 will be a difficult year for balancing the state budget.

Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, predicted cutbacks in health care spending to help close a multibillion-dollar deficit.

DeFrancisco said the state’s $4.4 billion projected deficit, combined with potential effects of the federal tax overhaul on New York, will make the next state budget the most difficult one in at least seven years.

“It’s going to be a horrible budget,” DeFrancisco said.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Four churches in Syracuse have joined a growing number of religious organizations across the country that have declared themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants. The new Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition has formed to stand in solidarity with undocumented immigrants.

State Sen. John DeFrancisco / Facebook

At an event that’s become increasingly rare in state politics, two politicians from opposing parties sat down together and had a civil discussion about issues facing New York.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, a Democrat, and Republican state Sen. John DeFrancisco spoke in Albany during a forum about state issues and politics. 

“To have a vibrant civic dialogue is important,” said Miner. “The fact that it’s been missing, we’ve all suffered for it.”

DeFrancisco, who also is from Syracuse, agreed.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) sent out letters to the owners of the 45 properties located within the proposed footprint for its new hospital in downtown Utica. It's one of the most contentious aspects of the project since the properties include historical buildings and existing businesses.

Several people who attended a public forum for the new hospital last week expressed their frustration over the matter to MVHS officials present, including Pastor Chris Tringali, who says it will cause his nondenominational church on Columbia Street to close.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Utica residents got to weigh in recently on how the city will go about its effort to improve the lives of lower-income residents.

People packed the gymnasium at the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School during the poverty town hall meeting, casting their votes for five projects aimed at eliminating the barriers that prevent people from moving out of poverty.

The most popular project was a 24-hour child care center. Shamika Rather says she recently had to quit a job because of a lack of child care options.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor-elect Ben Walsh is hosting events to hear residents’ concerns before he takes office. Walsh has also organized a transition team and has begun hiring his administration.

Amid climate change, tiny bug causes big problems

Dec 9, 2017
Caitlin Whyte / Great Lakes Today

The hemlock woolly adelgid is almost impossible to see with the naked eye. But the tiny insect causes lots of damage to hemlock trees and their surroundings. That's likely to get even more serious as a warming climate allows it to move further north.

On a rainy day, City Forester Jeanne Grace takes me on a tour of the City Cemetery where tall, evergreen trees hang over many of the graves. Hemlock trees.

The cemetery has the peace and quiet of any cemetery, but if you take a closer look at the hemlocks -- real close -- you’ll spot the hemlock woolly adelgid.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

According to published reports, some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s hiring practices are the subject of an FBI investigation.

Mohawk Valley Health System

A public forum on the proposed new hospital in downtown Utica featured a very divided audience Thursday. The meeting that was intended to generate feedback about the hospital’s first design plans often devolved into arguments about whether the facility should even be built in that location.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The New York State Department of Transportation has selected an active rail yard in the town of DeWitt as the location for a central New York inland port. This comes after years of waiting for a decision on a few different sites.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

County leaders across New York are the latest to complain about the tax overhaul plan now being crafted in Congress. They predict higher taxes for many New Yorkers, declining home prices and slowed economic growth.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said the federal tax bill will lead to many middle- and upper-class New Yorkers paying higher taxes because of the proposed end to state and local tax deductions. And he said the state’s over $4 billion projected deficit and potential funding cuts aren’t helping either.

“Brace yourselves,” McCoy said.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO File Photo

The director of the Port of Oswego Authority resigned this week. The move comes as New York state's inspector general is investigating the port.

With no explanation given, the Port of Oswego's board of directors said in a statement Tuesday that it had accepted the resignation of Zelko Kirincich. Kirincich, who has served as executive director at the port since 2014, is leaving his position as the New York State Inspector General continues an investigation into the port.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

New York State Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer said if net neutrality rules are repealed by the Federal Communications Commission, it would benefit only the most powerful and wealthy. The rules require Internet service companies to provide the same service to everyone equally.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

New York faces fiscal challenges in 2018, but that has not stopped groups from asking for more money in the new state budget, including agencies that provide care to people with disabilities. 

Chanting, “Be fair to direct care,” about 200 New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, along with their family members and caregivers, gathered in a reception area outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office Wednesday to ask for more help in paying the workers more money. 

Greg Craybas

Onondaga County lawmakers have agreed to go ahead and spend $1.5 million building a bike trail extension on Murphy’s Island as part of the Loop the Lake trail project. Legislators have one request - that the county make accommodations for bald eagles that roost in the area.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County lawmakers voted Tuesday to raise the age to buy tobacco products in the county from 19 to 21.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News File Photo

One of the biggest challenges that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers will face in 2018 is balancing the state’s budget, which already has a structural deficit of more than $4 billion. On top of that, federal changes to taxes and health care could cost the state billions more in lost funding.

State tax revenues are down, contributing to the largest structural budget gap in seven years. State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli estimates the deficit to be about $4.4 billion.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A packed audience in Syracuse participated in a town hall on congressional Republicans’ tax bill Tuesday. The town hall was hosted by Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who is reconsidering a run against central New York Republican Rep. John Katko.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

SUNY Oswego has started the formal process of revoking the honorary degree it presented to journalist Charlie Rose in 2014. 

WSP

An independent study of the tunnel options to replace the Interstate-81 viaduct in Syracuse was released Monday. The study said tunnel options are feasible, which contrasts the analysis the New York State Department of Transportation made last year.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

Updated at 2:30p.m. Monday

The state Department of Transportation released a long-awaited study Monday on the feasibility of replacing the aging elevated section of I-81 that runs through downtown Syracuse with a tunnel or depressed highway. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

In January, Syracuse Mayor-elect Ben Walsh will become the first mayor of Syracuse not affiliated with any political party. When it comes to governing, that lack of a party label shouldn’t make it more difficult for Walsh to navigate City Hall.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Former Green Party Syracuse councilor at-large candidate Frank Cetera is calling for an open process to fill a soon-to-be vacant seat on the council. The issue stems from another council appointment that was made two years ago.

In 2015, the council voted to appoint Democrat Joe Nicoletti to a vacant seat. Cetera said Nicoletti’s appointment was made with no public notice or consideration of the candidates who ran for council that year.

Along Lake Ontario shoreline, high water and damage persist

Dec 2, 2017
Caitlyn Whyte / Great Lakes Today

As winter nears, Lake Ontario is still much higher than normal. And residents are shoring up walls of sandbags for protection against high waves.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Twenty state and national groups supporting a bill that would strengthen the state’s Freedom of Information Law are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign the measure into law as soon as he receives it from the state Legislature.

The bill, approved by the Senate and the Assembly in June, said if a court finds that a state agency unreasonably dragged its feet answering a Freedom of Information request, a judge could require the agency to pay the attorney’s fees for the person or group who made the FOIL request.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News file photo

Two rival factions of the Democratic Party in the New York state Senate are making moves toward unification. 

WRVO News (file photo)

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said members of Congress accused of sexual harassment allegations should resign. But Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is calling for investigations first.

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