regional news

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New rules for school vaccines in New York take effect September 1. The updates impact students entering kindergarten through seventh grade.

The major change is that kindergarteners need to have all their shots done before they start school. Previously, they could be part-way through the set of vaccines for four- to six-year-olds and still go to class.

The update also changes requirements for three vaccines that older kids get. It brings New York in line with federal recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The New York State Nurses Association held a rally at the state fairgrounds yesterday to launch their “Protect Quality Patient Care for Central New Yorkers” campaign. Many upstate medical centers and health department nurses are in the early stages of negotiating new contracts with hospital management.  Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, the president of the union, came out to the event and said they are pushing for an increase in nurse staffing and community input for care.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made his yearly visit to the New York State Fair yesterday. Between the sausage sandwiches and glad-handing, the Democrat made one stop that was profoundly personal.

It was just in front of the International Building that Cuomo, flanked by politicians, security and the media, heard the voice of Judy Rice of North Syracuse.

"How’s your girlfriend?” shouted out Rice.

“She’s doing better, thanks for asking,” replied Cuomo

Julia Botero / WRVO News

This month, two soldiers made history by becoming the first women to graduate from Army Ranger school. The course is the most exhausting and mentally demanding in the Army -- designed to create leaders who can excel amid the stresses of combat. This April marked the first time woman were admitted to Ranger School.

Capt. Michelle Kelly is the only woman from Fort Drum who qualified for the course. She didn’t pass, but she says she’s glad she tried. WRVO's Julia Botero sat down with Kelly to talk about that experience.

timlewisnm / Flickr

School administrators are closely watching a letter campaign that’s taking place in the as school starts that could lead to even more children opting out of state standardized tests.

Eileen Buckley / WBFO News file photo

New York State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen is clarifying her stand on the opt out movement in an interview with New York State Public Radio & Television.

This year, 20 percent of children boycotted the third through eight grade math and English tests associated with the Common Core learning standards.

Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says parents absolutely have the right to opt their kids out of state standardized tests, but she says she still wants to talk to them to try to bring them back into the fold.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A $57 million renovation will turn the former Hotel Syracuse into the new Marriott Downtown Syracuse,  scheduled to open in the spring of 2016. Now, the hotel is partnering with a branch of SUNY to help train inner city residents for some of the available jobs.

U.S. Treasurer speaks at a Seneca falls forum on the new $10 bill

Sep 1, 2015
GREG COTTERILL / WXXI News

A top U.S. Treasury official led a town hall meeting Monday at the Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls.

It was all about the discussion of putting a woman on the $10 bill. The Treasury Department is working on a redesign of the $10 bill, with plans to put a woman on that currency in time for the 100th anniversary of the amendment that gave women the right to vote.

Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios spoke before a standing room crowd in the Wesleyan Chapel. As she read through questions submitted by the audience, one came up again and again.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

SUNY’s latest strategy to try and help students graduate on time with less debt is a guarantee that credits will be transferred from one school to another

SUNY students begin the academic season this year with a promise from the state: they can transfer any general education requirements as well as some discipline-specific courses from one school to another in what Chancellor Nancy Zimpher calls the “guaranteed seamless transfer of credits.”

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s labor commissioner is likely in the next few days to finalize a phased in hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour for fast food workers. That action dismays some business groups, who say it will have some unintended consequences.

The governor, after unsuccessfully trying to raise the minimum wage further through the legislature, appointed a wage board, which voted in July to increase the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 an hour over the next several years. Cuomo spoke to jubilant fast food workers and union leaders when the vote was announced.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

There are about 1,800 vacant buildings in the city of Syracuse, according to the Syracuse Land Bank, which steps in to stabilize a property and resell it to responsible buyers when it gets foreclosed. A recently released audit of the land bank by Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse finds that while the organization has many successes, some potential problems lie ahead.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Politicians are a familiar sight at the New York State Fair. But it’s mostly central New York or statewide representatives that show up -- usually for an event, or the traditional eating of a hot sausage sandwich. But this year, the state’s new speaker decided to bring a downstate delegation to take in the fair.

Liz Truskowski

Eight thousand acres of pristine wetlands just north of Watertown in Jefferson County are open to visitors until Sunday. For most of the year, the Perch River Wildlife Management Area is off-limits to the public. The area is a breeding and nesting ground for threatened and endangered birds like bald eagles and black terns.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner was on the city’s west side on Thursday, highlighting efforts of police and other officials to improve troubled neighborhoods. But some residents are upset that some neighborhoods have been struggling for years.

stgermh / Flickr

A New York State Board of Elections investigator appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have found a back door way into breaking some of the secrecy surrounding a major campaign contribution loophole in New York.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

It may have been the most momentous sausage sandwich moment at the New York State Fair since Senate candidate Rick Lazio refused to eat the state fair staple the year he ran against Hillary Clinton. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul bought a sandwich for one of the protesting teachers trailing her on the fairgrounds opening day Thursday.

Dozens of educators dogged Hochul around the fairgrounds yesterday chanting and repeating many of the concerns they’ve had about the Cuomo administration’s education policy for years now. And communication seems to be a big part of the dispute.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Today is the opening day of the New York State Fair which always has a great impact on central New York at this time of the year.

Eileen Buckley / WBFO News file photo

The New York state education commissioner’s plans to quell the testing opt out movement is getting some back lash from some Republicans in the legislature, including a former teacher.  

At a recent conference held by the teacher’s group Educators for Excellence, New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says she plans to try to convince parents not have their children repeat this year’s boycott of standardized tests associated with the Common Core learning standards, which resulted in 20 percent of students statewide opting out of the tests.

Doug Kerr / Flickr

Almost a quarter of New York children live in poverty, and in the city of Binghamton, that figure is near 50 percent. State legislators and community leaders gathered in Binghamton Tuesday to discuss the problem.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced on Tuesday that construction is now complete on the new Lakeview Amphitheater along Onondaga Lake. Country singer Miranda Lambert will be the opening act, scheduled to perform on September 3.

Jenna Flanagan / WMHT

A small but passionate group of about 50 activists with the Sierra Club, gathered on the southern lawn of Albany’s Academy Park recently to deliver a 14,000 signature petition demanding Gov. Andrew Cuomo deny the bailout of the Cayuga Power Plant. 

The bailout would come via the New York Public Service Commission that currently subsidizes the plant to the tune of $4 million a month.

The Tompkins County installation has two units that burn coal, and one that uses natural gas or oil, depending on the market.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO

The controversial state ethics commission is in the midst of a review by a panel appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature. Government reform groups say they’ve already been asked to give their opinions on how to fix some of the commission’s problems.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County is among many communities across the country supporting the effort to “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive.”  A new temporary display at the War Memorial in Syracuse is meant to preserve the legacy of those who fought during World War II.

Ninety-year-old Ed Zaluski remembers the battle of Iwo Jima like it was yesterday.

“Feb. 19, 1945,  normally is we had to bail out, we would fly at  15,000 feet but in this case, because of tunnels and the holes and everything else, we had to be accurate and you had to fly at 5,000 feet,” Zaluski says.

Closed anti-poverty meeting held in Rochester

Aug 25, 2015
Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Members of the New York state Assembly are on a statewide tour to hear from people living in poverty and local elected officials who are trying to address the issue. The first stop was Rochester, which was given money in this year's budget to establish an anti-poverty task force.

The round table discussion was closed to press, but a statement says the meeting was an opportunity for leaders to discuss the impacts of poverty on the community.

wadester16 / Flickr

New York’s first openly gay state legislator says it’s time to appoint an LGBT person to the state’s highest court.

When Assemblywoman Deborah Glick was first elected to her job nearly a quarter century ago, she was the first state lawmaker to publicly disclose that she’s a lesbian. Back then, there was no same-sex marriage, and there was not even a law against discriminating against New Yorkers based on their sexual orientation. Glick helped that law get passed in 2002.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

With more than two-thirds of Oneida City School District students refusing to take the Common Core aligned exams this year, the district has one of the highest student opt out rates in New York state. But the standardized tests can provide the district with useful information that they will not have in 2015.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse’s Innovation Team is developing new infrastructure ideas for the city. Public forums are being held to gather input from the community.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner created the Innovation Team to think up solutions to the city’s big problems. The team is funded by a three-year grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Each year the team will choose a priority area and this year's area is infrastructure.  

Some of the ideas the participants came up with include public Internet service and consolidated city services, such as sewer and water.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

There’s been an unusual focus on upstate New York among top state politicians from the downstate area in recent weeks.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a speech in Utica Thursday, says downstate lawmakers -- who numerically dominate  the legislature -- have been unified in seeking aid and programs for New York City and Long Island. But he says upstate lawmakers are more balkanized and have been largely unsuccessful.

“There is no place called upstate,” said Cuomo, who said New Yorkers tend to identify with the city they leave nearest, like Syracuse or Buffalo or Rochester.

NYSFair/flickr

One of the biggest changes at the New York State Fair this year involves something everyone visiting the exposition will have to deal with -- tickets. This year, the fair in Geddes has started selling some tickets electronically.

Selling tickets at the state Fair hasn’t changed much over the years: you need a paper ticket to get through the turnstiles on any given day of the 12-day fair. And to figure out attendance, the fair counts them by hand, according to interim director Troy Waffner.

Alberto G. / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he doubts that there will be  federal sanctions for schools that have high rates of students who boycotted standardized tests this spring.

Twenty percent of students statewide boycotted the controversial exams associated with the Common Core learning standards, with higher rates upstate and on Long Island. Federal officials had the power to sanction schools with high opt our rates by withholding funding, and the state’s education commissioner said a few days ago that she was talking to officials and would not rule out the sanctions compete.

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