regional news

Oswego County emergency management officials say one of the emergency sirens that surround the county's three nuclear power plants inadvertently went off twice early Wednesday morning.

The siren, located on County Route 1 in Scriba near the entrance to the Novelis Aluminum plant, went off shortly after 3:00 a.m. and again just before 4:00 a.m. County 911 officials received a radio signal from the siren that indicated a malfunction.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The majority of Onondaga County residents that came out to a public hearing Tuesday in Liverpool on government consolidation in the county were concerned about two issues: their taxes going up and having less access to public officials.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Local governments and schools say they are struggling over a property tax cap that will allow what amounts to a zero percent increase in tax levies in the coming year. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo says they’ll likely have to stick with those rules.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Local progressive leaders, including a candidate for Congress, are putting pressure on Rep.  John Katko (R-Camillus) to support the SAVE Benefits Act, that would provide a one year bump in Social Security benefits.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

The Oswego Common Council is repealing a recently enacted law that requires city employees to live within 15 miles of downtown Oswego. In a 6-1 vote Monday, the council voted to repeal the residency requirement almost a year after it was added to the charter. Mayor Billy Barlow said it's a burden to families who may have to live in another area that has the services their families need. And, he said it hinders the hiring process.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo offered a rationale for Hillary Clinton’s candidacy over that of Democratic rival Bernie Sanders, saying Clinton’s approach is more practical.

Cuomo, who was HUD Secretary under former President Bill Clinton and who is helping Hillary Clinton’s election efforts in New York, says the former Secretary of State is presenting ideas that are “more realistic” that could actually be enacted if she were president.

stgermh / Flickr

The U.S. Attorney who convicted both of the leaders of the legislature came to Albany Monday to speak to a conference of the state’s mayors. But Preet Bharara was not invited to the State Capitol itself, and he did not meet directly with any lawmakers, even though Bharara and Governor Cuomo attended the same event, the swearing in of the state’ new chief judge.

Bharara addressed mayors from all over the state, gathered for their annual meeting, where he told them the point of his anti-corruption work is to “protect democracy.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A Democratic senator and Republican congressman in central New York stood at the same podium this week, pushing a bi-partisan effort to help create more manufacturing jobs.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse Common Council is holding off plans to prohibit the use of parking boots by property managers on cars parked illegally. A number of business-related items came up on the council’s agenda.

Councilor-at-large Steven Thompson said property managers are telling him that the parking boots are a good alternative to calling a tow truck when someone is parked illegally on their property.

High-speed internet still lags in rural areas

Feb 8, 2016
Bret Jaspers / WSKG News

Federal numbers on broadband access came out late last month, and although there were improvements over 2015, rural areas still showed high percentages of people without access to high speed internet.  

Rural areas are notorious for having low levels of online access because it’s not worth it for telecom companies to install new, faster infrastructure for a relatively small number of customers.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Last week was a bad week for historic buildings in Syracuse.  First, the city’s Land Bank demolished what was known as the Gothic Cottage, a more than 150-year-old historic home on South Salina Street.  A day later, a portion of a more than century old four-story brick building on South Salina Street’s 300 block collapsed. The building was vacant, but created a gaping hole and a dangerous situation for anyone who ventured nearby. The city demolished the building over the weekend.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO file photo

Senate Democrats are optimistic about their chances for winning a special election in April to replace convicted ex-Senate Leader Dean Skelos .

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, in an interview with public radio and television,  predicts the Democratic candidate in the race for the Skelos seat, Assemblyman and former prosecutor  Todd Kaminsky, will do “quite well”, and represents “a break from the past”.

“Which frankly, voters out there deserve and need,” Stewart Cousins said.

Kaminsky faces Republican Attorney Chris McGrath.

Zack Seward / WXXI

The State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) are drawing criticism from Gov. Andrew Cuomo for their administrative salaries. Some of the highest-paid employees at the publicly funded universities earn more than $400,000, at the same time that tuition is rising. 

World Bank Photo Collection

As New York state moves towards eradicating AIDS, there's one demographic where the disease continues to grow: the community of color. Syracuse isn’t immune to this trend, so advocates are trying new strategies to reach this population.

ACR Health AIDS educator Lanika Mabrey of Syracuse said her story is pretty typical. She didn’t realize her mother had AIDS until after she died six years ago. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse Truce is a collaboration between federal, state and local law enforcement to go after gun and gang violence in the city. Their most recent effort in the past three months resulted in 27 gang members being arrested on charges varying from murder to parole violation.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Two Democratic candidates running for New York's 24th Congressional District seat earned a joint endorsement Wednesday night from the Democratic parties in Cayuga, Oswego and Wayne counties. 

The counties are supporting Syracuse lawyer Steve Williams and Colleen Deacon, a former staffer for U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Syracuse University professor Eric Kingson, who is also running for the Democratic nomination, was not endorsed.

Zach Hirsch / NCPR File Photo

David Sweat said he escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility last summer to get away from abusive conditions inside the prison. And he apologized for the anxiety he caused when he broke out.

Sweat made those statements at a sentencing hearing in Plattsburgh yesterday, where he was sentenced to 7-14 years behind bars for felony charges related to the escape.

That penalty will be added to Sweat’s current life sentence. Sweat pleaded guilty last year. But in the judge’s chambers, before things got started, he tried to change his plea to “not guilty.”

Payne Horning / WRVO News

In a tie vote, the Democratic parties in Oswego, Cayuga and Wayne counties decided to endorse two of the three Democratic candidates in the race for New York's 24th Congressional district. 

quinn.anya / via Flickr

The Syracuse Common Council will vote Monday on prohibiting people from booting vehicles parked on private property. First Deputy Chief Joe Cecile with the Syracuse Police Department said it is a public safety issue as they have received calls on arguments over the booting.

“There’s no doubt that eventually you will have a physical alteration over one of these bootings," Cecile said. "The second reason was, there were no regulations whatsoever as far as fines, they could charge anything they wanted.”

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The issue of whether to tax the wealthiest New Yorkers at a higher rate is once again a topic at the State Capitol. Assembly Democrats are out with a tax plan that would redistribute some tax revenue from the richest to the poorest New Yorkers.

Members of an anti-drug nonprofit  in Watertown head to Capitol Hill this week. The group wants U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer to help fight the heroin crisis and the ways its affecting Jefferson County. 

Since 2011, there have been 79 deaths caused by heroin and opiate overdose in Jefferson County.

Anita Seefried-Brown’s own son died of a heroin overdose a day after he turned  33. He left a young daughter behind.

She says addiction is a disease, and it hurts more than just friends and families of the addicted.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The New York State Assembly approved a one-house bill to establish partial paid family leave in New York as Gov. Andrew Cuomo signaled he will amend his proposal to provide more money to those who take the leave.

Advocates of paid family leave, who have been lobbying on the issue for years, say movement on the matter from the Assembly Democrats and Cuomo has given them new hope. Donna Dolan leads a coalition.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Medical marijuana dispensaries opened across New York state in January despite the low number of registered patients, doctors that will prescribe it and locations to obtain it. The owners of one dispensary in Syracuse said the program is just in the beginning stages and they expect it will continue to grow. 

The Syracuse location is the third medical marijuana dispensary in New York State for Hillary Peckham’s company, Etain. She said right now she only has 25 registered patients in the two that have opened so far.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Community activists in Syracuse are calling on Onondaga County to make changes in policies that prevent family members from seeing deceased loved ones at the medical examiner’s office in a timely manner. This often involves who are pronounced dead at a crime scene, instead of a hospital.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

If campaign fundraising totals are any indication of the status of the Democratic race for New York's 24th Congressional district, it's a dead heat.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

There were more questions than answers at one of the first public hearings in Onondaga County on government consolidation since a report was released in January by Consensus CNY. Syracuse city residents spoke passionately and are concerned they will have less of a voice if city and county governments merge.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse is on the leading edge of using technology to deal with ways to fix a crumbling infrastructure. It’s the work of the city’s so called I-team that is bringing new technology to central New York.
 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County lawmakers are trying to figure out the future of the historic Carnegie Library building next to Columbus Circle in downtown Syracuse.In the past, there's been talk about moving some county offices there, but there’s been no movement on that issue recently.  

So Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon wants to find out what it’s worth on the open market. He’s asking the Onondaga County Legislature to approve a 90-day request for proposal to gauge private sector interest in the building.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

New York lawmakers are proposing policies that they hope can save struggling upstate nuclear power facilities, including Oswego County's FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant, from closing.

Tug Hill Commission

Last week, the Tug Hill Commission hired its first female executive director.

The Tug Hill is full of tiny isolated towns and villages spread out across the plateau. Supervisors of these towns are dealing with populations so small, they’re sometimes the only person on the job.  To handle anything from grant writing to balancing their town's budget, they sometimes reach out  to the Tug Hill Commission for advice. 

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