regional news

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A coalition of peace organizations are making a 165-mile walk from Syracuse’s Hancock Air Base to the Niagara Falls Air Base, to bring attention to the military's drone operations that take place there. One of the goals is to educate the public on what it is like being in Afghanistan, where the fear of drones is a part of life for many.

For Julienne Oldfield and about 20 others, the day started at the Hancock Air Base where protesters have rallied against drone warfare for years.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, facing questions about the ongoing federal probe of contracts associated with his Buffalo Billion economic development project, was reluctant to say much about the progress of the investigation.

Cuomo was asked by journalists whether he or anyone on his staff has been questioned or subpoenaed by federal prosecutors looking into the awarding of state contracts as part of the massive economic development protect in western New York.

“I have not,” said Cuomo. “But I don’t want to get into commenting on the U.S. Attorney’s investigation.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo shot down rumors Wednesday that he might call a special session in December on raising the minimum wage to $15.

A Syracuse company has won $100,000 in federal funding to help it reduce electronic waste.  

Sitting in a garage on Shonnard Street in Syracuse is the prototype for something called a “depopulator,” which could revolutionize the way old electronics are recycled. It’s the brainchild of engineers at the Advanced Recovery and Recycling Company. President Byron Tietjen says it essentially shakes the circuit boards while they’re being heated to about 370 degrees Fahrenheit, and the electronic parts from the printed circuit board just fall off.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Many Syracuse residents came out to voice their support last night, for a proposed local hiring ordinance for the city’s construction and service contracts. One concern is to make sure contractors can connect with residents who have the right skill sets.

Last year, Charles Rivers of Syracuse was going to school full-time, working two part-time jobs, one seasonal job and struggling to make ends meet.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Central New York Regional Economic Development council is bullish that its proposal for the New York State Upstate Revitalization Initiative will be a winner.  

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News file photo

Despite a tumultuous summer, Wall Street saw its best performance in the first six months of this year since 2011. A report from the New York state comptroller's office released Tuesday found that the securities industry earned more than $11 billion first half of 2015, a 29 percent increase from the same period last year. In addition to higher profits, Wall Street salaries, bonuses and employment are all on the rise.

City of Syracuse/Department of Aviation

Updated at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday:

American Airlines has released the name of the pilot who died during a flight from Phoenix to Boston early Monday. That flight was diverted to Syracuse after the pilot became incapacitated. 

EPA Regional Director Judith Enck is calling central New York to take action when it comes to climate change.

Enck admits that taking on climate change is a big issue. But she says individuals shouldn't shy away from it.

“Sometimes climate change can be an overwhelming issue. You get paralyzed, you don’t know what’s the first thing you can do to address. But I actionably think there are no shortage of steps to take to reduce carbon pollution,” said Enck, in a recent interview with WRVO News.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been somewhat reticent about speaking out on the national stage, has lately been talking about the issue of gun violence, saying it should be a key topic in Congress and in the 2016 campaigns.

Cuomo called in to the New York City cable news channel NY-1 to talk about a potential hurricane, which later veered away from the East Coast. But quickly, the conversation turned to the recent mass shooting in Oregon and what to do about gun violence.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

According to the latest federal figures, there are more than 1,200 endangered species in the United States. Scientists across the country are trying to figure out ways to keep many of these species from dropping off the face of the Earth. 

Walking down the steep trail towards the bottom of Chittenango Falls in central New York, Cody Gilbertson carries a big white styrofoam cooler. But there aren’t any picnic treats for humans inside. Gilbertson’s cooler is filled with several plastic containers, stuffed with leaves that endangered Chittenango Ovate Amber Snails are munching on.

Shopping season for the Medicare Advantage plans is underway.

In Monroe, Ontario, and Wayne Counties, the average premium for 2016 Medicare Advantage plans is $74 dollars, about a 10 percent increase over last year.

On average in New York state, most monthly premiums are steady, but out-of-pocket costs for medications are up.

Older adults in New York may find they’re paying less each month for Medicare Advantage.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Rep. John Katko (R-NY) spoke at a rally to save the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant on Monday. The owners of the plant said they may have to close it next year because it is no longer profitable with the low price of electricity. Katko said nuclear energy is clean energy and with new federal carbon emission standards, New York state can't afford to lose nuclear power plants.

Key Foster / Flickr

The Onondaga County Drug Task Force continues to look for ways to keep prescription drugs out of the wrong hands. A new pilot program launched this month will place them in the hands of police.

Nine police agencies, including the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department, are putting out collection bins in their offices for unused prescription and non-prescription drugs, as well as used needles.

Gail Banach, of the Upstate New York Poison Center, says the idea is to create a safe place to drop drugs that otherwise could be abused.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Elected officials from the local, state and congressional level have organized a rally in support of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County. This comes after news that there is a possibility that it could close. Lower electricity prices are squeezing the profits from some nuclear plants. 

stgermh / Flickr

Questions continue about economic development practices by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, including the proposed sale of valuable piece of land from one state agency to another state entity for a dollar .

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is reported to be probing contracts awarded as part of Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion project, with questions over the timing of campaign contributions to the governor, as well as criteria used to choose the vendors.

10 women inducted at the National Women's Hall of Fame

Oct 4, 2015
Kelly Walker / For WXXI News

Ten women whose influence continues to be felt in the fields of science, the arts and civil rights are the newest inductees into the National Women's Hall of Fame. They include dance pioneer Martha Graham and Feminist Majority founder Eleanor Smeal. 

Also chosen to be inducted on Saturday were the founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Nancy Brinker, and Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency wants your old thermometers or thermostats. It’s an attempt to get mercury out of the waste stream.

If you look at an old thermometer or thermostat hanging around the house and see a ball of silver mercury in it, don’t throw it in the trash. Exposure to even small amounts of mercury can cause health damage to humans and wildlife.

Kathleen Carroll of Covanta, which runs Onondaga County’s trash burner, says they do have pollution controls that minimize the danger of the items containing mercury in the waste stream.

Adam W. / Flickr

Canadian media outlets report that the city of Montreal is suspending its plan to dump over two billion gallons of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River. This comes after city officials received a stream of phone calls when the city’s plans to dump the wastewater became public.

Rescue Mission

Some big changes are taking place at the Rescue Mission in Syracuse as the organization continues to fight homelessness in central New York.  

A new $7.2 million wing will increase the number of beds for temporary shelter and for the first time, will offer that service to women, according to Rescue Mission CEO Alan Thornton.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he’s already making  preparations, in case Hurricane Joaquin hits New York state full force in the coming days.

Cuomo says he’s staffing up emergency operations centers, notifying National Guard offices that they might have to be deployed,  and having work crews clear any trouble spots known to be prone to flooding.

The preparations are ongoing even though the track of the storm is still somewhat uncertain.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

One of the big questions in the wake of the state’s renovation of the New York state fairgrounds near Syracuse, was what will happen to Super Dirt Week once the grandstand and track come down. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, during his "Capital for a Day" visit in Syracuse Wednesday, announced that Oswego County will reap the economic benefits of the popular event.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

A New York comedian, who is also an activist on prison rights issues, is drawing attention to the state’s practice of investing a small amount of its pension fund in the private prison industry.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation and the former mayor of Syracuse, Matt Driscoll, returned to Syracuse on Wednesday to give an update on the I-81 viaduct project. Engineers are currently analyzing each proposal for the interstate's future.

Driscoll says he is seriously considering three plans: a new viaduct replacement, a community grid with the boulevard option or a tunnel. While each plan has its pros and cons, Driscoll said money should not be a deterrent for any of the options. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul met with the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council on Wednesday to discuss the region's proposal to win a portion of the $1.5 billion Urban Revitalization Initiative competition. Seven regions are competing and three winners will receive $500 million each, which will go towards permanent private sector jobs and investments.

Hochul, who was in Syracuse for the governor's Capital for a Day event, said central New York’s council has made a good effort to reach out to the community for input about its submission.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Syracuse was “Capital for a Day” Wednesday.  That meant the heads of several government agencies fanned out across central New York to talk about everything from opioid addiction to state parks. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was the master of ceremonies, urging the region to focus on the positive.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A recent poll shows the Republican candidate ahead in the all-important race for state Senate in the Binghamton area. Republicans across the state are keeping a close watch on a special election that could tip the scales of power in Albany.

The Time Warner Cable News/Sienna College poll shows 59 -percent of voters polled are ready to support Republican Fred Akshar, with only 31 percent prepared to vote for Democrat Barbara Fiala. That’s good news for Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco of Syracuse.

One of the least expensive insurers on the New York health insurance exchange will be gone by the end of the year. Federal and state regulators intervened to shut down Health Republic Insurance of New York. With about 200,000 enrollees, it’s the fourth and also the largest co-op to get the ax this year.

Spokesperson for the New York State Department of Financial Services, Matt Anderson says the co-op was on the road to insolvency.

"The premiums that they charged simply were too low and didn’t ultimately cover their expenses," said Anderson.

Ellie George, Paradox Lake, NY

If you’re been anywhere near a lake or a river this summer, you may have seen a big white bird diving into the water to catch fish. Ospreys have made a big comeback. But for many years, the bird was threatened. On Wellesley Island, for example,  Ospreys  are everywhere.

Max Klingensmith / Flickr

Teachers say they hope Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s newly appointed education commission will fix problems with the controversial Common Core learning standards. But they say a lot has to change, including the unpopular tests associated with the standards.  

The task force will include educators, teachers, parents, officials from the New York State Education Department and the teacher’s unions,” Cuomo said in a pre-recorded web video.