regional news

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Anti-hunger advocates came to the state Capitol in Albany Monday to lobby for measures to help New York’s neediest.

The advocates placed empty paper shopping bags at the office doors of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislative  leaders, reminding them to remember the poorest New Yorkers in the upcoming legislative session.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Fayetteville Village Board voted unanimously in favor of a bait-and-cull program to control their deer population. The three month trial program will begin December 23.

Downtown Committee of Syracuse

The “Elf on the Shelf” is coming to downtown Syracuse.  The holiday icon is part of an attempt to get more visibility for downtown shops during the holiday season.

The Downtown Committee of Syracuse is calling him “Dash.”  The elf will be turning up in shops, restaurants and museums throughout downtown Syracuse during the holiday season. Alice Maggiore of the Downtown Committee says it’s all part of a push to get people thinking downtown when they think about holiday spending.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News file photo

Audio recordings released by the U.S. attorney’s office at the corruption trial of Sen. Dean Skelos aim to show that the former Senate leader and his son colluded to use Dean Skelos' official position to help his son get employment, in what turned out to be a succession of no-show jobs. But the phone recordings paint a revealing picture about how Albany really works behind the scenes.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Boces is expanding their career-embedded programs and opening a new high school in Cortland County. This comes as a high percentage of students in Cortland County attend career and technical education programs.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Uber and other ride sharing services are gearing up to win permission from the state legislature to operate in areas outside New York City. State Senators held a round table discussion of how to craft legislation.

Senators appear open to allowing Uber, Lyft, and other ride sharing services to operate in New York state, as long as they can come up with the right rules. Sen. Phil Boyle, chair of the Commerce and Economic Development Committee co chaired the discussion.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Students and faculty at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse are becoming more interested in the Native American approach to the environment. The college is making more of an effort to connect with the Onondaga Nation and the Haudenosaunee people.

County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency

Entergy said it will close the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant because it wasn't economically viable. Gov. Andrew Cuomo scolded that statement, saying there is much more in a company's "bottom line." As uncertainty about the plant's future grows, a new campaign to keep FitzPatrick open is putting a face on the issue.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A dispute over internet use at Syracuse City Hall is again headed to the courts. The issue over whether lawmakers should sign a city computer use policy hasn’t been able to be resolved through negotiations.

Councilor Kathleen Joy expects the Syracuse Common Council to file court papers in the next few days asking a judge to settle the issue of whether lawmakers should be forced to sign that computer use policy which is required of and agreed to by all city employees. A majority of councilors believe it would allow the Mayor’s office too much access to Council business. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says the city will welcome Syrian refugees despite security concerns prompted by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.  Miner says she has been assured by the White House that the screening process is thorough and detailed, and she’s confident these refugees will be vetted properly, and no one dangerous will make it to American shores.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

The New York State Legislature is seemingly back to business as usual, with majority parties holding planning meetings and the new session set to begin right after the holidays. But there has been little public discussion about a corruption crisis that has led to the two most powerful men in the Legislature both on trial in federal court this month.

It’s almost as though they’re taking place in two parallel worlds. In federal court in Manhattan, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Leader Dean Skelos are both on trial for corruption.


Despite two attempts at negotiations with New York state, Entergy said those talks were unsuccessful and are now over. The company will close the James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant at the end of its current fuel cycle in about a year.

David Sommerstein / NCPR


Energy giant Entergy’s decision to close its nuclear plant near Oswego shocked the central New York community. 615 people will lose their jobs. State officials tried to get Entergy to change its mind, but the company announced Wednesday that talks have ended. The news also sent shock waves through New York’s electricity markets.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

An organization that helps resettle refugees in central New York is celebrating the one year anniversary of its headquarters in Syracuse. The agency said it is fully committed to helping refugees from Syria if any are relocated to the area.

InterFaith Works unveiled a new sign outside the building they own, which is a big deal considering they have been renting different spaces since 1976 to provide refugees with the living, employment training and medical services that they offer.


Entergy informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Wednesday that it will "permanently cease power operations" at the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County at the end of its current fuel cycle. The company also told FitzPatrick's 615 employees that the plant will close at the end of 2016 or early 2017. 

timlewisnm / Flickr

The state’s education commissioner said parents who are thinking of opting their children out of standardized tests again this school year should stick with the exams because they will be different than last year’s tests. But, the state’s teacher’s union and a parents group says the changes don’t go far enough.

Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia is hoping to contain a movement that led 20 percent of students to boycott the third-eighth grade standardized tests last spring.

Julia Botero / WRVO news

Watertown is looking at cities like Syracuse and Rochester for a new way to handle abandoned homes. City officials say a land bank can help get properties back on the tax roll. 

Out on the corner of Coffeen and Waltham Streets in Watertown, the windows on a red brick house are broken.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A human trafficking and prostitution sting operation between federal, state and local law enforcement yielded multiple arrests during this year’s New York State Fair, according Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick. Many of the women arrested apparently became involved in prostitution because of drug addictions.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the leader of the Senate Republicans differ on whether New York State should accept Syrian refugees in light of the French terror attacks.

Zach Hirsch / NCPR

Colleges across the country are grappling with protest rallies and marches. They've been sparked by concerns about race relations and accusations of systemic bias against black and Hispanic students.

The State University of New York at Plattsburgh has seen its own series of rallies and forums. They started in late October after a student newspaper published a cartoon widely viewed as offensive.

Many students now say that image revealed a deeper culture of prejudice and inequality on the campus.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A report out of the House Task Force on Foreign Fighters is getting more attention following the Paris Terror attacks.  Central New York Rep. John Katko, who’s a co-chair of the group, hopes it means Washington will take some of their advice about how best stop the flow of foreign fighters between Syria and their home countries.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Starting Thursday, smoking will be banned in all of Syracuse’s public housing. The decision comes from a recommendation made by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development which may institute the ban nationwide.

Francine Whitman lives in one of the public housing complexes in Syracuse and she’s not thrilled about the smoking ban.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / via Flickr

The state’s latest teacher evaluation system, which was supposed to be in place November 15,  has essentially been put on hold, as 90 percent of school districts have been granted waivers to delay its implementation. It represents a reversal for a policy championed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo just last spring. 

The new rules for teacher evaluations were put in place last March, as part of the state budget.  

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A group of volunteers in Oswego are working with state officials to elevate Fort Ontario and its Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Museum to a national, and even possibly global, status.

First constructed in 1759, Fort Ontario has undergone many changes in its history. It was defended and destroyed by both the British and the United States. Then during World War II, Fort Ontario became a refugee camp for European Jews and in 1953, it opened as a state historic site. Now, a grassroots campaign hopes to see the fort transform once again. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Hancock International Airport has become the first airport in upstate New York to have a TSA PreCheck application center on site. That means airline passengers can apply at the airport for the program that lets them glide through the TSA security checks more quickly, and without some of the hassles flyers have become used to. 

At the modern looking booth at the center of Hancock, central New Yorkers are already lining up to get the perk.

Julia Botero / WRVO news

John Rogers grew up adjacent to Butterfield Lake in Redwood. That’s in the Indian Lakes region in Jefferson County.  When his grandparents passed they left him 100 acres of pristine wetland and grassland. Now, Rogers has transformed his backyard into a tourist attraction.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he won’t allow a natural gas transfer station to be built off of the coast of Long Island, saying  there are too many concerns, including damage form future hurricanes, and potential terrorism.  

The Port Ambrose transfer station was to be built off of  the beaches of Long Island, and would have allowed tanker ships to load up with liquefied natural gas, then distribute the gas into pipelines on the main land.

Cuomo made the announcement to an enthusiastic crowd of Long Island officials and activists.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Students, faculty and staff at Syracuse University are standing by students at other colleges and universities that have been plagued by racial tensions.   

Many of the protesting students wore black, the color of the University of Missouri, and they held fists high in the shadow of the Hall of Languages Thursday. They chanted “we do it for Mizzou” and “black lives matter.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Vice President Joe Biden spoke at Syracuse University yesterday calling for an end to sexual assault on college campuses. A nationwide campaign is asking students to change the culture on campuses and to speak up when they see sexual assault.

Chris Kreussling / via Flickr

A couple of upstate members of Congress are leading the charge to push back against proposed cuts to mass transit funding in the Northeast as part the transportation bill.