regional news

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

 

Democratic Assemblyman Sam Roberts was recently confirmed by the state Senate as the commissioner of the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. That means he has stepped down from the Assembly. Now, his district seat, which includes parts of Syracuse and the town of Onondaga, is up for grabs.

 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

After sitting unnoticed amidst weeds for two decades behind the Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse’s Armory Square, a section of the Berlin Wall is now the centerpiece of new peace garden. The slab of concrete that was a sign of the end of the Cold War, thanks to  an anonymous donor 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News file photo

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he has no interest in challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a primary in three years, saying he prefers to seek re-election as comptroller.

DiNapoli, a favorite among many state Democrats (especially in the party’s left-leaning base), says he has no interest in running in a primary against Cuomo. The state comptroller says he intends to seek another term in his current post and says he’s set up a campaign committee for the comptroller’s slot for 2018.

“I happen to love this job,” DiNapoli says. “I think it’s the best job in state government.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

An apartment building geared towards students is going up in the shadow of Syracuse University. The new complex reflects a real estate sector that developers say has been neglected.

A long-vacant medical building has been torn down, and in its place a six story 54-unit student apartment complex is being built on University Avenue. The $18 million project has been a dream of Syracuse University grad Jared Hutter, a lead developer on the project, ever since he and his college roommate lived together in a house on Madison street in Syracuse a decade ago.

Melinda Shelton / Flickr

Schools across the state are bracing for a potential zero percent growth in their tax levy next year. While the latest provisions of an ongoing tax cap won’t take effect until the 2016 school year, the state schools boards association says schools are starting to worry now.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

 

Dr. Robert Neulander was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison on Thursday for the murder of his wife Leslie Neulander in 2012. The trial of the prominent OB-GYN has shocked and fascinated the Syracuse community.

 

Onondaga County Court Judge Thomas Miller said he did not sentence Neulander to the maximum 25 years to life in prison because of the emotional toll taken on the Neulander family. They have maintained that Neulander is innocent. But Judge Miller also did not sentence the minimum 15 years in prison after scrutinizing the jurors' verdict.

 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There was no cake, but Medicare’s 50th birthday was serenaded by a few dozen Central New Yorkers in downtown Syracuse Thursday. 

Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law in 1965, and have been providing medical care for the poor and elderly ever since.  Robert O’Connor of Onondaga County’s AARP, says the milestone is worth noting.

Senate Democrats / Flickr

As the Obama Administration continues its effort to convince Congress to approve its nuclear deal with Iran, both senators from New York have yet to say how they will vote on a September resolution to approve the deal.

Congress is in the midst of a 60-day review period. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tells reporters she's still studying the agreement.

"I read the whole agreement. I studied it. I have talked to several experts. And I'm assessing the risks."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The final piece in the Onondaga County's Lakeview Amphitheater project is in place. Country singer Miranda Lambert has been inked as the first artist to play the venue. It’s taken just a little over year to get the sometimes controversial project ready for prime time.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Two more lawmakers, a former Senate Leader and the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate, were convicted of corruption in the past week. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to say it would not be a good idea to call state lawmakers back to the Capitol to enact more ethics reform measures.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency is reviewing the process of taking over the Roth Steel scrapyard along Onondaga Lake by eminent domain.

 

Ryan McMahon, chairman of the Onondaga County Legislature, asked the Industrial Development Agency to look into the procedure and says the IDA will do an environmental review of the property with potential public hearings.

 

Roth Steel, which closed the scrapyard in 2014, was recently sold to the Canadian-based company, American Iron & Metal.

 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Country music superstar Miranda Lambert will be the inaugural act at Onondaga County’s newly constructed Lakeview Amphitheater.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced Wednesday that Lambert will appear September 3. Even though that leaves promoters with five weeks to sell tickets, Mahoney is optimistic there will be a full house.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Attorney Greg Scicchitano will be running as a Republican for town supervisor in the town of DeWitt. Scicchitano is running against the incumbent Democrat Edward Michalenko, who has been the DeWitt town supervisor since 2008 and served on the town board before that.

 

“The position of an elected official should not be a career job," Scicchitano said. "It should be something that they do for a limited period of time and then move on. I don't think there are proper voices being heard I don't think there are perspectives being listened to.”

 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Dozens of Central New Yorkers gathered on the lawn in front of the East Genesee Street offices of Planned Parenthood in Syracuse Tuesday, saying they were spurred into action by undercover videos of the agency's executives apparently talking about the sale of body parts culled from aborted fetuses for medical research. 

"When somebody’s looking to find money to buy a Lamborghini, and is looking to sell body parts to do that, it’s a new low,” said one protester at Tuesday's rally.

Others at the rally shared the same sentiment.

Mitchell pleads guilty to helping prisoners escape

Jul 29, 2015
Clinton County Sheriff's Department

 

Joyce Mitchell, the former civilian employee at Clinton Correctional Facility, pleaded guilty Tuesday to helping convicted murdererers Richard Matt and David Sweat escape from the prison.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

Supporters of paid family leave in New York say they hope 2016 will be their year, but business groups are urging caution.

A measure to allow all workers in the state 12 weeks of paid leave to take care of a new baby or sick family member was approved in the New York State Assembly, and two measures gained support in the New York State Senate, but the issue fell by the wayside in the end of session rush to pass bills and adjourn for the summer.

Andrew Malone / Flickr

As egg prices continue to rise across the country because of the avian flu outbreak, lawmakers are proposing cutting $500 million in research funding from the federal budget that would look into ways to deal with the devastating bird flu. 

Sen. Charles Schumer calls these proposed Agriculture Department cuts mindless.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

 

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank, which acquires tax-delinquent properties with the goal of getting them back on the tax roll, is renegotiating its contract with the city. 

 

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

 

A $110 million federal grant will be matched with half a billion dollars in public and private investments in order to create a Photonics Research and Manufacturing Hub in Rochester.

Vice President Joe Biden, Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo came together with Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Rochester), Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren to make the announcement in Rochester.

Stigma around seeking treatment for mental health problems is a bigger barrier in communities of color. That's according to MaJose Carrasco the director of the Multicultural Action Center at the National Alliance on Mental Illness -- or NAMI.

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Representatives from NAMI say they’re fighting isolation many people living with mental illness experience.

www.newlabor.org

Over two million American workers are exposed to silica dust in industries like construction, mining, road repair and sand blasting. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is now pushing for tougher limits on how much silica dust they can be exposed to in the workplace.

But the proposed rules will come too late for many workers who’ve already contracted the potentially fatal lung disease, silicosis. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Don’t expect the decision last week by the New York State Wage Board to boost the minimum wage for New York’s fast food workers to $15 an hour to be the end of the story. At least one central New York lawmaker expects this to be the beginning of a bigger debate.

For Syracuse-area Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, there’s no question that the state’s minimum wage should be upped to $15 an hour for everyone.

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities

Disabled Veterans are getting a crash course in how to become entrepreneurs this week in Syracuse.

Dan Piston spent six years in the Navy.  When he got out two years ago, he realized he had a passion for the health and fitness field. And wanted to put that In action by doing something like owning a gym.

"I do not have much training in business. Right now my undergrad degree is in health and exercise science. And I’ve always had an interest in owning a business, but I didn’t know how to do it, or where to get started,” said Piston.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse hopes to use a $10 million infusion from a New York State Assembly fund for infrastructure as a springboard to even more cash to help repair the crumbling waterlines and sewer pipes that dog the city.  

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

While supporters are declaring victory over New York’s new higher minimum wage for fast food workers, the action, by a state wage board, highlights a larger question why are so many in the state dependent for their livelihoods on what are essentially entry level work force jobs.

The victory celebration by fast food workers and the state’s major union leaders also featured Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The governor, who appointed the board when Republicans in the legislature were reluctant to act, predicts more actions to come.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

 

A new dining experience in Syracuse brings local farmers, chefs and consumers together to teach people how to buy and cook local food year-round.

 

Before Alan Gandelman became the owner of Main Street Farms in Homer and Cortland four years ago, he was a high school teacher.

 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A central New York Mentorship program that pairs grandparents with first and second graders could become the victim of federal budget cuts.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says this funding is essential for the grandparents who help in Syracuse classrooms, by way of the Senior Corp Chapter in the city of Syracuse.

Volunteer Colleen Chestnut works with these kids in the Syracuse City School District, and doesn’t want to see the program go away.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Swimming in Onondaga Lake has been banned since 1940 but the commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Joe Martens, was among a group of local and state officials who jumped into the lake on Wednesday. The event was organized by the nonprofit Believe in Syracuse,  which highlights positive aspects of the city, to show that it is now safe enough to swim in the lake. The state DEC said low bacteria counts and high water clarity meet the standards for swimming. 

 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

SUNY faculty and students are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill that would mean more money for the state university system.  

Michael Lyon, professor at Upstate Medical University, knows what it’s like to be buried in student debt.

"I finished paying for my education when my first adult child started college. So it was a never-ending payment,” said Lyon.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

A state wage board has voted to phase in an increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 an hour, making New York the first state in the nation to increase the wage for a single segment of the work force.

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