regional news

The former Executive Director of the Central New York SPCA, and a veterinary technician at the shelter, have been arraigned on charges that they embezzled nearly $700,000 from shelter’s accounts.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Environmental critics of nuclear power are seizing on a few safety incidents at the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant detailed in a report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

After cutting the ribbon yesterday to open this year’s edition of the New York State Fair, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the $50 million renovations that have gone into the New York State Fair this year is just the beginning. The Democrat says he will be asking state lawmakers to help with more changes at the more than century old fairgrounds.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

IndyCar racing will have a home at Watkins Glen International at least for the next two years. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a deal to return the open car racing to the famed speedway while visiting the New York State Fair Thursday.

Track President Michael Printup says this is a landmark moment for the famed track.

"We now host every racing series in the country,” said Printup. “So it’s great to bring it back to the fans. It’s the pinnacle of racing. These are rockets on wheels.”

Democrats in Tompkins County will have a chance to hear from candidates for the nomination for district attorney tonight.

Tompkins County has to elect a new DA on a rushed schedule. That’s because Gwen Wilkinson resigned last month for health reasons. Her departure came so late that various party committees -- not primary voters -- will choose the nominees for the general election.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A solar project planned for Utica will now be built in the town of Lisbon in St. Lawrence County. The city of Utica can still receive all of the power from the site.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is leading a commission that will celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York State next year. In advance of that, she’s holding roundtables around the state to talk about female empowerment.

Joining her in Syracuse Wednesday, powerful women from central New York with stories about how they pushed beyond the stereotypes and barriers that often keep women out of the board rooms and legislative chambers across the state. Hochul believes mentorship is one way that women who are successful already, can reach the younger generation.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Preparations are almost complete for the New York State Fair, which starts Thursday. Things will look different at the fairgrounds this year, following a $50 million renovation. One of the biggest changes will be at the midway.

There is simply a lot more room for rides and attractions at the fair’s midway this year. The demolition of the grandstand and the race track has created a 15-acre rectangle that operator Wade Shows will fill with rides, games and attractions. Owner Frank Zaitshik admits it creates somewhat of a challenge.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

In addition to cutting more than a dozen jobs from Oswego's fire and police services at its Monday meeting, the city's common council also eliminated the entire planning and zoning department. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse has been awarded a grant of more than $100,000 for a pilot police body camera program. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said she hopes the cameras will improve accountability and community relations among police and the public.

Marriott Syracuse Downtown

It’s taken 12 years, but the former Hotel Syracuse is once again open to the public. Rebranded as the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, visitors began staying at the historic structure in downtown Syracuse on Friday. It means a huge boost not only economically, but to the psyche of central New York, a region battered by a faltering economy and dwindling population in recent years.

Why high lead ratings are always possible

Aug 23, 2016
Monica Sandreczki

Troubles with water quality have raised concerns over contamination across the country. Just last month, nine drinking sources in Ithaca came back with high lead levels. 

There are a couple of reasons there is lead still present in some of our faucets.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse has adopted new floodplain maps released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. More than 600 properties in Syracuse have been added, bringing the total to more than 1,600 properties that could be required to have flood insurance.

Syracuse Common Councilor Jean Kessner said the city needed to adopt the maps so affected residents can get a discount on flood insurance. That discount is about 15 percent. Kessner also said residents can appeal the decision if their property is now on the flood maps.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Despite pleas from a passionate crowd, the Oswego Common Council approved a budget Monday night that will eliminate 16 firefighter jobs and a city department next year. The city was facing a major budget deficit because a contract with the Onondaga County Water Authority for the sale of a water tunnel connected to Lake Ontario, which had provided the city with an annual  $1 million payment for 20 years, has expired.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse is applying for $136,000 in state funding for surveillance cameras in Skiddy and Kirk parks. Skiddy Park was where the party that resulted in the Father’s Day shooting in Syracuse started. An armed man was shot and killed by a police officer during a shootout where at least four to five semi-automatic weapons were shot a total of 30 times. That officer was cleared by a grand jury of any wrongdoing. Surveillance footage at an adjacent public housing complex showed some of what happened that night.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

The town of Geddes is floating the idea of imposing a $1 surcharge on every Lakeview Amphitheater ticket sold, to cover expenses created by visitors to the new music venue on Onondaga Lake.

Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon says he does not dismiss the idea out of hand.

“I’m willing to have conversations.”

But McMahon quickly adds that the town would have to demonstrate how the amphitheater has created a financial burden. So far town officials have expressed concerns about costs related to visitors from a public safety angle.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego has just won two New York state water fund grants that the city's mayor said is a huge breakthrough in their effort to tackle a major infrastructure project. The awards are worth a combined $3.6 million on two projects that will cost more than $14 million to complete. It's the next phase in the $87 million consent decree, a water and sewer separation project that is mandated by the state and federal governments to prevent future sewage runoff into Lake Ontario.  

Nik Stanbridge / Flickr

College students are returning to upstate campuses and facing a situation year-round residents have dealt with for most of the year -- a drought.

August rainfall has been above average for many areas in New York state, but the National Weather Service says totals for the year in some parts of the state are several inches below normal.

Blueberries: ripe for the picking

Aug 20, 2016
Julia Botero / WRVO News

Blueberries are ripe in the North Country right now. Think warm blueberry pies, sweet blueberry pancakes and blueberry buckle. If you'd like to spend a warm summer day outside collecting fresh berries to throw into a homemade summer dessert, it's time to find your nearest farm before the season ends.

Julia Botero stopped at the Tug Hill Vineyards with her friend Jen Degregorio and got to work picking highbush blueberries.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

An Onondaga County Court judge has ruled that statements made to police by a father accused of murdering his baby daughter can be used at his trial. Ryan Lawrence was charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping of his 21-month-old daughter Maddox in March. While in custody, Lawrence allegedly described to police how he killed his daughter and brought police to the location of her body.

Michael Vavonese, Lawrence’s attorney, said the issue will be Lawrence's mental state.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Human trafficking in central New York is on the rise, according to Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus). That was one of the takeaways at a roundtable discussion on security Thursday in Syracuse.

Katko says more and more women are being exploited by human trafficking in central New York. And he’s concerned about reports that some new players are becoming involved.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Proposed legislation in Syracuse which would require periodic interior inspections of rental properties, either by consent or warrant, every two years, is being put on hold. The Syracuse Common Council is reviewing information it has received from lawyers representing the Syracuse Property Owners Association.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

After a 10-year fight, legislation that toughens penalties for those convicted of boating while intoxicated, has been signed into law in New York state. Now, when judges decide on sentencing in boating while intoxicated cases, they must consider previous driving while intoxicated.

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) says Tiffany Heitkamp’s law will mean stiffer penalties for anyone convicted on a BWI charge who also has a DWI history.

Jim Kennard

 

An eighteenth century sloop called the Washington has been discovered off the coast of Oswego.

Jim Kennard, Roger Pawlowski, and Roland Stevens found the ship, which sank in 1803. It is the second oldest wreck discovered in Lake Ontario.

Kennard and his team used sonar technology and a remotely operated vehicle to locate the sloop.

"As an explorer, you can't be the first one to the top of a mountain because most mountains have been climbed, but you can be the first one to make a discovery of a shipwreck," said Kennard.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

The Watertown City Council is considering a new law that would require landlords to register their rental properties with the city. Homes would then be subject to inspection every three years. Councilman Steve Jennings says the measure will help improve the city’s housing, but landlords say the measure goes too far.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse Democratic Mayor Stephanie Miner said Republican Rep. John Katko has not asked her how he can help the city of Syracuse during his first term in office. Katko's office refuted the claim and said that the congressman has helped on a number of issues.  

New York State Senate

There’s more evidence that the presidential race may affect which party will control the state Senate.

Currently, the GOP is holding on, with the help of one Democrat who meets with them.

But a new Siena College poll finds that nearly two-thirds of voters think that Donald Trump at the top of the ticket will not help Republicans hold on to the Senate, and Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate will actually help Democrats regain the Senate, said Siena spokesman Steve Greenberg.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

About 11, 000 people in Onondaga County use housing choice vouchers or Section 8. It is legal in Syracuse and other parts of the state, for landlords to deny renters who use Section 8. Syracuse Common Councilor Jean Kessner wants to end that practice. She has held committee meetings in the past where she received pushback from the community.

“Landlords say, ‘If I do Section 8 it costs me money,’” Kessner said. “I don’t think the government should say we’re going to solve this problem by making you pay for it. I’m trying to find ways to make it revenue neutral.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County started a program this week at the Onondaga County Justice Center and the Jamesville Corrections Facility aimed at helping opioid addicts stay clean after they are released from jail. Now, some inmates who are also addicts will be offered a medication that takes away their craving for drugs.

Officials say almost one-third of the population at the Justice Center in downtown Syracuse is addicted to opiates, many of them no stranger to the holding facility.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

An ethics reform measure approved by the New York State Legislature at the end of the legislative session still hasn’t been signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. And some good-government groups say it shouldn’t.

During a year where both former leaders of the legislature were sentenced to lengthy prison terms for corruption after they abused their sources of outside income, Cuomo said he would seek to strictly limit lawmakers’ ability to earn extra pay.

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