regional news

Catherine Loper / WRVO News

By now, most central New Yorkers have seen several political ads from both candidates running for the 24th Congressional District. Incumbent Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) has criticized his Democratic opponent Colleen Deacon for what he calls a lack of knowledge of national and international security. Deacon has tried to tie Katko to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The opioid epidemic claims more victims than those who die of an overdose. Families, friends and loved ones are left living through grief singed with shame and judgment. But there’s now somewhere they can go to get help in central New York.

Quinnika Ayers of Syracuse lost her son Drequan Robinson last year to a lethal cocktail of MDMA, Zanax and fentanyl. He was a student at SUNY Morrisville, and was found unresponsive at a friend’s home after a party. Ayers says Robinson had a troubled youth, but felt he’d turned a corner—or so she thought.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

With less than three weeks before Election Day, Hillary Clinton is even further ahead of Donald Trump in New York state, and that could affect downballot races, including seats for the state Senate.

Clinton is 24 points ahead of Trump, at 54 percent to 30 percent, a jump from when Siena College did a survey in September. Spokesman Steve Greenberg said the biggest change is independents moving over to the Democratic presidential candidate’s camp. A two-point lead among independents for Clinton has grown to a 17-point lead.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

A group of energy companies and power plants are challenging New York's recently approved Clean Energy Standard (CES), which aims to reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions in the state by subsidizing financially distressed nuclear power plants, including the FitzPatrick and Nine Mile Point plants in Oswego county. The plaintiffs in the case say the state has overstepped its legal boundaries.

PNI / Flickr

Pipeline companies are not having a lot of success in New York so far in 2016; opponents say they are dirty and continue New York’s over reliance on fossil fuels. Two projects have already been canceled. But a pipeline company representative says the projects are not as harmful as opponents say, and essential for the state’s current electric needs.

Until recently, expanding and building pipelines was not terribly controversial, as most people agreed that there was a common need to transport oil and gas for fuel and electricity.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

An experiment in government consolidation has failed in central New York -- a victim of a difference of opinion over how to create jobs and promote economic growth in Syracuse and Onondaga County and the continued deterioration of the relationship between the mayor and county executive.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Members of the Academic Governance body at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry plan to hold a vote of no confidence in President Quentin Wheeler. Some faculty members have been raising issues about Wheeler's leadership for more than a year.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Two candidates are running against one another in the 116th Assembly District that runs along the St. Lawrence River in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties. Republican candidate John Byrne, a former town councilman from Cape Vincent, is challenging incumbent Democrat Addie Russell for the second time. Both exchanged heated words during the race’s first debate last night. It was hosted by WWNY-TV in Watertown. 

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News File Photo

State lawmakers with disabled children, along with people with developmental disabilities and their caregivers, rallied Monday at the state Capitol for more money in the budget to pay caregivers a living wage. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature approved a gradual minimum wage increase to $15 an hour downstate and $12.50 an hour upstate, saying mega-companies like McDonald’s and Burger King can afford to pay their workers more.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Earlier this fall, the Indian River Central School District in Jefferson County identified lead contamination in five sites around the district. Last month, state law went into effect requiring all schools test their drinking water for the toxic material. Lead is extremely harmful to young children, often leading to lower IQ’s, behavioral problems and even brain damage.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Eight police departments in Onondaga County will now have needle and drug drop boxes installed at their facilities. They include the Baldwinsville, Camillus, Cicero, DeWitt, Geddes, Manlius, Marcellus and Syracuse police departments. It is part of an effort to reduce the number of heroin and opioid addictions in the county.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Nine central New York law enforcement agencies are supporting Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) in his re-election bid. Katko, a freshman Republican, worked with many police professionals during the years he was a federal prosecutor in Syracuse. 

At Forman Park in Syracuse Monday, Katko said there are ways he would like to support law enforcement at a time when racial issues surrounding police officers are widely reported.

Bret Jaspers / WSKG News


The American Legion Post 80 in Binghamton is one of Bert Proper's favorite places. Aside from the plaques, pictures and flags that remind him of military service history, he loves the feel of the building. "You're around people that have been there," he explained.

Proper means been deployed. He served during the Persian Gulf War and had a tough transition back home. "I went up to the VA in Syracuse and committed myself," he said. "It's a little hard to talk about."

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Empty and abandoned houses, known as zombie homes, are a big problem in the North Country. The State Attorney General has awarded a total of $13 million to cities and towns across the state to help tackle the problem.

Watertown City Planner Mike Lumbis says right now the office is notified about a new vacant home in the city only if a neighbor complains about it. The $150,000 grant will allow Watertown to create a database of all the homes that are empty or going into foreclosure. That database will have information on the homeowner, Lumbis says, usually a bank.

governorandrewcuomo / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has spent the past year walking a fine line between environmentalists who believe nuclear power is a necessary evil in reducing the state's carbon dioxide emissions and those who think the plants pose too great a danger. But, Cuomo is no stranger to this kind of juggling act on nuclear policy.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

A bill vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo this month would have given Madison County some of the cash the Oneida Indian nation pays to state as part of a compact that’s been in place between the state and the nation since 2013. Madison County didn’t have gaming at that time, but it does now, and officials say it’s only fair that the county should get in on some of the gambling revenue. 

State Sen. Dave Valesky (D-Oneida) says a veto usually means the end of a story.  But he’s sees a glimmer of hope in this case, in the governor’s veto message.

Jason Lawrence / Flickr

Along with insurance issues, handicapped accessibility has become one of the roadblocks to getting ride sharing services in upstate New York.

State lawmakers expect to make expanding ride sharing services to upstate New York a priority this upcoming legislative season, including Uber and Lyft. But they’ll have to get past the insurance and taxi lobbies, and also may also find roadblocks from the disabled community.

Access CNY Executive Director Paul Joslyn says it’s a matter of making sure disabled riders aren’t left out.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Advocates for the disabled in central New York aren’t standing still for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s veto of legislation that would have improved the working conditions of the professionals that take care of disabled New Yorkers. 

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

Reform groups say in light of the criminal charges against some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former associates, there are a number of changes that should be made to stop more corruption in the future.

The federal charges of bid-rigging and bribery center on Cuomo’s key economic development programs, including the Buffalo Billion.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A group of students at SUNY Oswego has spent the semester registering their peers to vote ahead of New York's registration deadline today. But the registration drive is only part of a larger campaign classroom experience.

quinn.anya / via Flickr

The Syracuse Common Council has passed legislation regulating how property owners can boot cars parked illegally on private property. Until now, property owners could charge whatever they wanted to have the boot removed.

Any property owners, who are booting in the city of Syracuse, will now have to get a license. They can charge $100 and the booter has to come and release it within 30 minutes from when they are called and the fine is paid.    

Payne Horning / WRVO News

At the first Super DIRT week held at the Oswego Speedway, fans packed the newly renovated grandstands and eagerly awaited the premiere race on Sunday. But it wasn't without a few bumps in the road.

Alyson Hurt / Flickr

After several years of debate, the Oswego Common Council said it has finally taken a step toward resolving persistent complaints about the city's winter parking policy.

The council unanimously passed a new law Tuesday that will ban parking on city streets from midnight to 6 a.m. starting in December and ending in March. Residents without a driveway or adequate parking spaces can apply for one $75 annual permit per address to leave their vehicle on the street.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The discord over the presidential election continues to filter down into a race for Congress in central New York. The question of whether freshman Republican Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) would support Donald Trump continues to dog the campaign for the 24th Congressional District.

The questions started coming this spring: would Katko, trying to win re-election in a district rated as a toss-up, support Trump, a controversial nominee.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Syracuse Common Council has joined in on an effort from advocates and elected officials to pressure Gov. Andrew Cuomo into signing a bill to give tax credits to geothermal energy. A 30 percent federal tax incentive for geothermal expires at the end of this year.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The beleaguered head of SUNY Polytechnic Institute has formally resigned from his post after being placed on leave without pay following criminal charges from state and federal officials.

Alain Kaloyeros, who is accused of helping to engineer bribery and kickback schemes involving state contracts for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development programs, on Monday sent State University officials a letter of resignation from his post as president of SUNY Polytechnic. The letter was first made public Tuesday.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Onondaga County Legislature has approved a $1.3 billion budget for next year. The spending plan includes the lowest tax rate ever in Onondaga County, and lawmakers agreed on a water agency consolidation that will save money down the road. But lawsuits and early retirement offers hung over much of the budget decision.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is keeping the heat on New York Republicans to disown Donald Trump after the GOP presidential candidate’s coarse remarks about women revealed in a video over the weekend.

Cuomo said he does not think Trump turned around his troubled candidacy in Sunday night’s debate performance and, for the third day in arrow, called on New York Republicans to reject their party’s presidential nominee.

“They should stand up and say ‘I’m a Republican, but I’m a New Yorker first,’” Cuomo said. “‘And we’ll have nothing to do with the degradation of women.'”

Green vs. gray: how can trees clean up the Great Lakes?

Oct 11, 2016
Elizabeth Miller / Great Lakes Today

A big threat to the Great Lakes comes from outdated sewer systems that can carry bacteria into waterways, and lead to closed beaches and drinking water warnings. Now, some cities are fighting back – with trees.

In nearly 200 communities, sewer systems handle both stormwater and sewage. When it rains a lot, these systems get overloaded, and untreated water -- or sewage -- runs into the Great Lakes or nearby streams and rivers.  

“These outflows happen up to 82 times per year at some spots in Cleveland,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Michelle Kondo.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Democratic candidate running in New York's 24th Congressional District, Colleen Deacon, advocated for a progressive environmental agenda while in Oswego with Rep. Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam), the former president of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Monday. She called for more investment in renewable energy sources, including in upstate.