regional news

6:25am

Wed August 27, 2014
State Fair

Classic midway prize missing from this year's state fair

Nine-year-old Kacen Chigaridis, left, and his brother Kyler, 7, play a game on this midway at the New York State Fair.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

It’s a common procedure at the state fair: step right up and try to win a prize at one of the midway’s many carnival games.

Pop a balloon with a dart; sink a basketball shot; hook a ring around a bottle. Do so, and spend the rest of a day at the fair slinging an oversized plush gorilla over the shoulder, or carrying a stuffed monkey under an arm.

But one game, and an iconic fair prize, is missing this year.

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3:00pm

Tue August 26, 2014
Regional Coverage

Snow shoveling legislation returns to Syracuse Common Council

People shovel snow along East Fayette St. following a February snowstorm. (file photo)
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Temperatures may still be in the 80s, but Syracuse's common councilors are looking beyond shorts and sandal weather. The issues of people not shoveling snow from their sidewalks is once again on the agenda.

Last year, Councilor Bob Dougherty couldn’t get the votes to pass a law that would have ticketed property owners who didn’t clear snow off their sidewalks. So he’s spent the summer looking at what went wrong and devising a way to encourage homeowners to keep sidewalks clear when the inevitable Syracuse snow begins to fall.

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11:24am

Tue August 26, 2014
Politics

Syracuse Common Council considers Ban the Box legislation

Syracuse lawmakers are making more changes to the proposed Ban the Box legislation. A scheduled vote has been put off until after another committee meeting, to discuss the latest iteration of the civil rights legislation.

Ban the Box legislation is meant to get rid of the check box on a hiring application that asks if applicants have a criminal history. For Brian Johnson of Syracuse, that box is keeping him from getting a job, even though it’s been seven years since his encounter with the law.

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6:57am

Tue August 26, 2014
higher ed

Syracuse University named top campus for LGBT students

Danilo Urbina via Flickr

Syracuse University has earned a top score for being a gay-friendly campus.

It’s hard for campus officials who work with the LGBT community to tell if more students today are coming to campus already out.

"I think they’re maybe a little more savvy and they realize that coming out is a continuous process. There’s no one way to do it," said Chase Catalano, director of the college's LGBT resource center. "And at least our hope is that coming out isn’t a requirement."

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5:34am

Tue August 26, 2014
Politics and Government

GOP continutes to wait for a viable GOP option to the Affordable Care Act

During the last two elections New York and Pennsylvania Republicans campaigned on repealing and replacing so-called Obamacare – but House Republicans have yet to vote on a replacement plan.

Remember “repeal and replace”? It’s the campaign slogan that helped Republicans gain control of the House in 2010 and keep that majority in 2012. House leaders have done what they can to repeal the law – the GOP has cast more than 40 votes to scrap or defund all or part of the Affordable Care Act. But where’s the replacement?

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4:34pm

Mon August 25, 2014
Business

Hotel Syracuse pilot program will help restore landmark to its former glory

George F via Flickr

Syracuse lawmakers agreed to a pilot program Monday that will ease the tax burden for developers renovating the historic Hotel Syracuse.

City Deputy Commissioner for Development Ben Walsh says this is a big step in moving the project forward.

“The project is complicated, and frankly, as expensive as this, it needs as much certainty and predictability as possible," Walsh said. "And that’s what the pilot provides. It provides a certain payment for a period of time when the hotel is most vulnerable in it’s initial years of operation.”

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6:57am

Mon August 25, 2014
Education

Beginning of college marks transition period for students and parents

Students leave their belongings on the sidewalk while they wait for help moving into their dorm rooms.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

As summer vacation comes to a close, many students will be heading back to school for the year. But for some parents, their children are leaving home for college. Parents and their kids both have their own worries about that day.

Jolie Cotner recently graduated from high school and is attending SUNY Oswego for her freshman year. Her family lives several hours away in Rockland County, but Cotner says being away from home isn't going to be an issue.

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5:35am

Mon August 25, 2014
Regional Coverage

Police departments get new vests through state-funded program

Bulletproof vests, like the one shown, have been given out to several regional law enforcement agencies, including the Syracuse and Utica Police Departments.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

A new state program is providing bulletproof vests for police departments across the state. One Syracuse Police detective is living proof of how important these vests are to an officer on the street.

It was April 13, 2009, when Syracuse Police Detective Richard Curran and his partner found themselves in a shootout on Syracuse’s south side with a wanted parolee who was carrying an illegal .357 handgun. Curran was wearing an up-to-date bulletproof vest, and was shot at close range.

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4:05pm

Fri August 22, 2014
Regional Coverage

New York State Fair offers visitors the chance to fix tax problems

Tom Mattox, tax department commissioner, explains how fairgoers can resolve tax issues and get their questions answered.
via New York State Tax Department

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is back at the New York State Fair this year. They had a very positive experience last year signing homeowners up for the STAR tax credit.

This year, Department Commissioner Tom Mattox says they’re taking it one step further by providing private assistance to resolve tax issues on the spot.

“Yesterday alone, we worked with a couple dozen taxpayers to resolve issues in real time," Mattox said. "Everything from eligibility for certain veterans exemptions to certain sales tax collection related issues."

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3:52pm

Fri August 22, 2014
Regional Coverage

Law enforcement officials remember lost officers at the state fair

Today is Law Enforcement Day at the New York State Fair. Police officials remembered officers lost in the line of duty with a special memorial. State Police Superintendent Joe D’Amico says it’s been a tough 15 months in his department, with five officers killed while on duty. He says it’s hard on morale.

“They’re friends, they're people you work with," D'Amico said. "You talk about the law enforcement family, and it really is. It’s more than just colleagues. People become very close, so it’s very difficult.”

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9:40am

Fri August 22, 2014
Business

Cuomo: State talking to Remington about renovations

Ryan Delaney/WRVO

A round of layoffs at Remington Arms and the relocation of some of its manufacturing isn't about New York, said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo was asked about layoffs at the century-old Mohawk Valley gun manufacturer while visiting the state fair Thursday.

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9:37am

Fri August 22, 2014
Environment

State Fair hydrofracking protests draw activists and politicians

Hydrofracking protesters rally against the controversial natural gas drilling process at the New York State Fair.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo says there has been no progress on a decision about hydrofracking in New York state, the movement opposing the controversial gas extracting technology gets louder. There are a couple of candidates in the upcoming election who want to tap into this anti-fracking fervor.

"We got the people power, la la la," yelled several protesters gathered at the New York State Fair in Syracuse. "We got the people power, la la la!"
 

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8:10am

Fri August 22, 2014
Politics

Cuomo won't say whether he'll debate Teachout, Astorino

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino visits the New York State Fair in Syracuse Thursday.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is non-committal about whether he’ll debate his Democratic and Republican opponents in the fall elections.

Cuomo, who spoke after an early morning stop at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, would not say whether he’ll debate Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino, or Democratic primary opponent Zephyr Teachout.

“I’ll leave that to the campaigns to talk through,” Cuomo said.

The governor was asked what he meant by the statement.

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7:39am

Fri August 22, 2014
Regional Coverage

Large class begins Syracuse police academy

A large class of new recruits has begun training to become Syracuse police officers, but if you ask Syracuse police chief Frank Fowler, it's still not enough cops.

"Keep bringing them," he said. "I tell you, I can find work for every police officer that you send my way. But this is a great start and I’m glad to have it."

Fowler was speaking after the swearing in of a new class of officers. Syracuse is buffeting its police ranks more than normal. It swore in 35 officers to begin six months of training on Thursday.

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5:35am

Fri August 22, 2014
Politics

Challenger in New York's attoney general race focuses on corruption commission

John Cahill says Attorney General Eric Schneiderman can discuss some aspects of the now defunct Moreland Commission. (file photo)
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The Republican challenger in the race for New York attorney general has begun airing TV ads, and is making an issue of incumbent Eric Schneiderman’s role in a controversial ethics commission.

John Cahill, the Republican candidate for attorney general, has made several stops around the state in recent days, focusing on the controversial Moreland Act Commission on corruption.

Cahill says there are unanswered questions about how deeply involved current Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was with the commission. The commissions’s actions are now under federal investigation.

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2:15pm

Thu August 21, 2014
Regional Coverage

Cuomo opens New York State Fair amid downpour

Governor Andrew Cuomo cutting the ribbon to open the Great New York State Fair.
Governor Andrew Cuomo via Flickr

It was an opening day to remember for Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the New York State Fair.

Cuomo opened the fair this morning with a ribbon cutting at the dairy cattle building. Standing next to politicians, goats and cows, he declared the 2014 edition of the fair open.

“On three, don’t cheat, don’t cheat," Cuomo said to those surrounding him. "One, two, three."

The skies opened up shortly after Cuomo left the Dairy Building to make his way to Dinosaur Barbecue for the traditional sausage sandwich.

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11:55am

Thu August 21, 2014
Sports

Student athletes at Nottingham get a new kind of lesson from coaches

Some Nottingham High School athletes will take part in a pilot program teaching them how to have better relationships.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

There’s a new kind of playbook for some of the athletic coaches in the Syracuse City School District. The district is teaming up with Vera House to pilot a program encouraging male athletes to have healthy relationships, especially with the women in their lives.

Coaches for Nottingham High School's football team, freshman basketball team and modified soccer team will be dealing with more than X’s an O’s when the season starts. They will also carry a playbook and flip cards that have topics like "Disrespecting Behavior towards Girls," and "Understanding Consent."

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6:16am

Thu August 21, 2014
Health

New unit at Upstate hospital helps seniors who need additional time healing

One of the beds found in Upstate Medical University's new Transitional Care Unit.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Upstate Medical University Hospital’s community campus has added a new unit for older patients who may need a little more time recovering from a hospital stay.

There’s already a waiting list for the new Transitional Care Unit that's on the fifth floor of the former Community General Hospital. Unit nursing director Amy Rottger, says the idea is to help senior patients who, while clinically stable, still need physician oversight and specialized services.

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5:30am

Thu August 21, 2014
Politics

Poll shows Cuomo still popular, but shows weakness on corruption issue

Diana Robinson Flickr

A Quinnipiac University poll shows the race for governor is virtually unchanged since the spring, with incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo far ahead of his Republican and Democratic challengers. 

The favorable ratings for Cuomo come after weeks of negative news stories about the governor’s alleged interference in an ethics panel and an ongoing federal investigation.

The Quinnipiac poll is the third in recent weeks that show the governor’s race in New York remains stagnant, with Cuomo ahead of Republican challenger Rob Astorino by nearly 25 percentage points.

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4:13pm

Wed August 20, 2014
Politics

Maffei says Katko crossed the line by talking about Democrat's wife, child

Dan Maffei and his wife, Abby, hold hands while walking to where Maffei held his press conference Wednesday.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The issue of central New York Congressman Dan Maffei's connections to Washington, D.C. has once again come up as a campaign issue. But it's the mention of his wife and newborn daughter that has the Democrat steaming.

Maffei called a news conference Wednesday, telling reporters that Republican candidate John Katko crossed the line when mentioning the fact that Maffei’s wife works in Washington, D.C, and his baby was born in a Washington, D.C. area hospital earlier this summer

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7:45am

Wed August 20, 2014
Politics and Government

Business group praises Senate GOP voting record, pans democrats

unshackleupstate.com

An upstate pro business group is out with ratings for the Senate and Assembly, and finds, not surprisingly, that more liberal Democrats are at odds with the group’s agenda than conservative leaning Republicans. Unshackle Upstate says that could have implications for the group’s interests if Democrats take over the Senate in November.

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7:25am

Wed August 20, 2014
Politics and Government

Supporters launch campaign for yes vote on redistricting ballot amendment

Columbia City Blog Flickr

Supporters of a November ballot amendment on redistricting say it will help prevent rampant partisan Gerrymandering when the next district lines are drawn in the Senate and the Assembly. The groups Citizens Union and League of Women Voters are making voters aware of the amendment and giving them reasons why voters should approve the measure.
 

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4:32pm

Tue August 19, 2014
Regional Coverage

Smartphone app allows drivers in Syracuse to pay for parking remotely

New Whoosh signs on the electronic parking meters.
Tom Magnarelli WRVO

A new smartphone app being used by the city of Syracuse will allow drivers to pay for parking without going to the meter. The app, called Whoosh, was developed by Parkeon, the same company that provides Syracuse with its electronic parking meters.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said the app is being tested on 90 of the 280 meters in the city, mainly in Armory Square. 
 

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6:45am

Tue August 19, 2014
Regional Coverage

Central, northern New York getting access to 211 phone service

Aiden Flickr

In January, all of New York state will be involved with the 211 call service. The plan is to reduce the number of calls to 911, while helping those who need assistance get help.

Brenda Episcopo, executive director of the United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area, says the service is a mix of 911 and 411.

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5:34am

Tue August 19, 2014
Education

Education Bond Act draws support, criticism from educators

Sean MacEntee Flickr

New York voters will decide in November whether the state should borrow $2 billion for new technology, including iPads, in school classrooms. Teachers and school administrators who could benefit from the funds say they are supportive, but want to see more details.

The Bond Act, as it reads on the November ballot, would provide access to classroom technology and high-speed Internet connections, as well as offer funds to build more pre-kindergarten classrooms and replace the trailers that some overcrowded schools in New York City have been using to teach students.

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5:40pm

Mon August 18, 2014
Politics

Utica councilman calls for public safety review

At least one member of Utica's Common Council is calling for the city's public safety commissioner to perform a top-down review of the city's safety policies, saying a rise in gun crime and the heroic actions of two residents are a call for change.

Councilman Joe Marino presented his request during a meeting last week and is calling on Mayor Robert Palmieri, who also serves as the city's public safety commissioner, to provide the council with a full review.

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11:55am

Mon August 18, 2014
Business

Port of Oswego says increase in aluminum shipments puts it on pace for record season

The Port of Oswego says its seeing huge gains this season. (file photo)
Gino Geruntino WRVO File

The Port of Oswego says its working toward a record year, thanks to an increase in shipments of aluminum coming in through the St. Lawrence Seaway for use at Oswego's Novelis aluminum plant.

Port Director Zelko Kirincich says it's been a great year, and that the facility is expecting to receive about 20 barges of aluminum from facilities in Quebec and Ontario.

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7:17am

Mon August 18, 2014
Regional Coverage

More charges expected against couple accused of kidnapping North Country girls

Nicole F. Vaisey, 25, left, and Stephen M. Howells II, 39, have been charged with kidnapping two Amish girls from a roadside farmstand in St. Lawrence County
St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office

More charges are expected this week against a St. Lawrence County couple who allegedly kidnapped two Amish girls.

Police gathered potential evidence from the home of Stephen Howells II and Nicole Vaisey of Hermon Sunday. The pair was arrested Friday night on charges of first-degree kidnapping with intent to harm two Amish girls, ages 6 and 12.

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6:12am

Sat August 16, 2014
Health

Horse dies of EEE in Oswego County

Gravitywave via Flickr

A horse in southern Oswego County has died of Eastern Equine Encephalitis. According to the Oswego County Health Department, the horse was stabled near the area where EEE had been found in Oswego and Onondaga counties. The horse was likely exposed to the virus in late July, before aerial spraying had taken place in the Toad Harbor - Three Mile Bay area. 

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12:51am

Sat August 16, 2014
Regional Coverage

Two arrested, charged with kidnapping North Country Amish girls

Nicole F. Vaisey, 25, left, and Stephen M. Howells II, 39, have been charged with kidnapping two Amish girls from a roadside farmstand in St. Lawrence County
St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office

Saturday, 10 a.m. update:

Police provided a few more details on the two people arrested and charged with kidnapping two Amish girls Wednesday. 

Stephen M. Howells II, 39, and Nicole F. Vaisey, 25, were arrested Friday and were charged with first-degree kidnapping and are currently being held at the St. Lawrence County jail without bail.

During a Saturday morning news conference, St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said, "the motive was to take these girls from their home and to victimize these girls."

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