regional news

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

A bill that could address corruption in Albany is progressing in the state Legislature, but it might not be the measure that Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to become law.

Several former Cuomo associates, including a former top aide, face federal corruption trials on charges of bribery and bid-rigging in connection with the contracts for some of the governor’s signature economic development projects, including the Buffalo Billion.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Say Yes to Education program provides college tuition to students from the city of Syracuse. But now that New York state has its own free state college tuition program, there are questions as to what role Say Yes will play in the future. Officials that manage the Say Yes endowment say they are waiting on more details about the state’s plan.

President and CEO of the Central New York Community Foundation Peter Dunn said it is too soon to tell how the Say Yes scholarship might change because of the state’s new program.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The state and federal governments want to make up for decades lost enjoying Onondaga Lake because of massive pollution. They have a plan that includes 20 restoration projects along the shore of a lake once called the most polluted in America.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Dozens of alleged members of one of Syracuse’s most notorious gangs are off the street following Operation Bricktown, the first series of arrests in an initiative from the New York state attorney general’s office to get drugs off the streets.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman came to Syracuse Thursday to announce the arrest of more than 50 individuals with 370 crimes, ranging from drug dealing to murder conspiracy charges. Many of the individuals are allegedly members of the Bricktown Gang.

Gage Skidmore / via Flickr

Several New York state lawmakers are sponsoring a bill that they say would force President Donald Trump to make his state tax returns public.

Trump broke with a more than 40-year tradition of presidential candidates and presidents voluntarily releasing their tax returns. Trump has said he can’t release his returns because he is under audit.

In the 1970s, President Richard Nixon began the practice of releasing the tax filings, even though Nixon himself was under federal audit at the time. Since then, every president has voluntarily released his tax returns.

Jason Smith / WRVO News File Photo

More communities along the shoreline of Lake Ontario are being threatened as water levels continue to rise. As of April 24, water levels are more than 20 inches above the average for this time of year.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act into law in Auburn this week, and a big chunk is going to help officials along Owasco Lake clean drinking water threatened by algae blooms.

Auburn Mayor Michael Quill is pleased that the state will pony up about $2 million to help pay for filtration systems meant eliminate toxins produced by the blue-green algae blooms that plague Owasco Lake.

“It’s like having Christmas come early this year," Quill said. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A deficit of more than $18 million currently exists in the proposed budget of the city of Syracuse. About $13 million dollars is being allocated in overtime to the police and fire departments. Some councilors say the way to reduce overtime is to hire more staff.

Syracuse Fire Chief Paul Linnertz said the department has 28 firefighters in training.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

It’s become traditional to measure a president’s first 100 days in office. For President Donald Trump, that milestone occurs on Saturday. Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) says he isn’t ready to grade the president, but he does have some thoughts about how Trump has been doing.

Catherine Loper / WRVO News

State lawmakers and lobby groups say Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in error when he said that there was no political will to enact reforms in 2017.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Democrats in upstate New York say they may be down from the losses they suffered in the 2016 election, but not out. Party officials hope the pushback to the Republican administration in Washington, D.C., will sweep local Democrats to victory later this year. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Onondaga Creekwalk is a 2.5 mile pedestrian and bike trial along Onondaga Creek that runs from Onondaga Lake to downtown Syracuse. A new phase of the Creekwalk will extend the trail another two miles from downtown Syracuse to the city's south side.

Catherine Loper / WRVO News

A fiscal watchdog group is questioning the state’s century-old prevailing wage law for construction workers, saying it unnecessarily costs taxpayers billions of dollars a year in added expenses for big road, bridge and other projects.

The Empire Center, a fiscally conservative budget watchdog group, looked at the state’s constitutionally protected prevailing wage law. It requires contractors on public projects to pay their workers the amounts set in unions’ collective bargaining agreements.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

To the unknowing observer, charcoal may seem like an unlikely solution to toxic algae blooms in Owasco Lake. But that’s what Auburn city officials are hoping to use to prevent those toxins from getting into the city’s drinking water, which is sourced from the lake.

Toxins from algae are known to make humans and animals sick, and there are possible long-term health implications.

Auburn Mayor Michael Quill says active charcoal, as it’s called, is well-suited to blocking those toxins.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Developers are asking the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency for tax breaks to build a new Hampton Inn in Syracuse’s trendy Armory Square neighborhood. But it comes at a time when new hotels are sprouting up all over central New York.

SUNY / Twitter

The SUNY Board of Trustees appointed Kristina Johnson as the system's 13th chancellor Monday.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

With Lake Ontario's waters continuing to rise. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed state agencies to assist communities for possible flooding. 

More than 130,000 sandbags have been deployed to the region, as residents prepare for flooding in low-elevation areas.

In some areas, sandbags have been positioned in locations that experienced flooding in the past few days and weeks. Other state assets have been staged at the regional stockpile in Monroe County.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is voicing her objection to President Donald Trump’s proposal to eliminate funding of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. The cuts would have a direct effect on organizations in central New York.

At the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, Executive Director Natalie Stetson said federal funding allows them to do special projects. Funding helped them produce a documentary called, “Boom and Bust."

Catherine Loper / WRVO News

State legislators are due back at the Capitol Monday, following a break for Easter and Passover after they passed the new state budget. It contained numerous non-spending items -- like free public college tuition for some middle class students and an expansion of ride-hailing services. So what, if anything, do lawmakers still need to do before adjourning in June?

The Senate and Assembly are scheduled to meet for around two more months this year, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking a week after the budget was approved, told reporters that there isn’t much left to do.

Rep. John Katko / Facebook

Water levels continue rising along the southern shore of Lake Ontario. And while it’s unclear if Plan 2014 -- an initiative that changed the way water levels on the lake are controlled -- is responsible for the flooding, it’s put the controversial plan under the microscope.

Small NY cities wonder whether to fund stadiums

Apr 22, 2017
Gabe Altieri / WSKG News

Public money is often used to fund stadium upgrades. Elected officials say it builds up a local economy by attracting businesses, who want to set up nearby, and people, who spend their dollars in the city.

That claim is debated in major league cities around the country. But what about smaller cities, like Elmira and Binghamton? Could stadiums benefit those economies?

Nola Agha, a researcher at the University of San Francisco, set out to find the impact of minor league baseball stadiums on local economies.

Why sleep deprivation & driving don't mix

Apr 21, 2017
Saurabh Mishra / Flickr

Much attention has been given to the dangers of driving while drunk. But, if you're sleep deprived and you get behind the wheel, it can be just as risky. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with Jake Nelson, director of traffic safety advocacy and research for AAA, about the dangers of drowsy driving.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Residents who live along the shoreline of Lake Ontario have been trying to stay ahead of rising water levels that are threatening their properties.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Environmental advocates say that New York state officials could do a better job of cleaning up pollution sites caused by the fossil fuels industry that they say in some cases, have dragged on for decades. Cuomo’s environmental aides defend their record.

An Ithaca-based environmental research group analyzed data on dozens of alleged toxic spills for just one company -- Exxon Mobil.

Tom Magnarelli / Facebook / WRVO News / Facebook

Four diverse Democratic candidates are competing for a diverse, open district council seat in Syracuse. The district encompasses Syracuse University, a burgeoning downtown and some of the highest concentrations of poverty in the city.  

The candidates are all close in age, ranging from 29 to 31, but they are all bringing something different to the race. Jeremy DeChario runs a food cooperative in the Westcott neighborhood.

SUNY Oswego / Facebook

After a week of criticism from the left and the right of the political spectrum, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget director is among those defending the state’s new free public college tuition program for some middle-class students.

Conservatives say Cuomo was just trying to win a headline for a potential 2020 presidential campaign by convincing the state Legislature to enact a plan to offer free tuition to middle-class students attending public colleges and universities.

Campbell Public Affairs Institute

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney launched a new website to correct what she calls bad information regarding the Consensus recommendations on government consolidation. This comes after a debate was held at Syracuse University last week regarding the proposed city-county government merger.

Utica College

Some New York lawmakers and college administrators are worried about what the state's new free tuition policy at SUNY and CUNY could mean for private schools, including those at Utica College. The private college just cut its tuition rate by 42 percent last fall.

Onasill ~ Bill Badzo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the recently enacted state budget included the majority of the priorities that he named in his January State of the State message, including raising the age for adult criminal responsibility from 16 to 18, providing free public college tuition for some middle-class families and allowing ride-hailing services to operate upstate.

Topics such as ethics reform were left out of the final budget package for a reason, the governor said.

Vipal / Creative Commons

Gov. Andrew Cuomo got a lot of what he wanted in the state budget passed earlier this month. But the governor didn't get his way when it came to funding for K-12 education.

He wanted to scrap the basic formula for determining how much funding schools will get – called foundation aid. Lawmakers decided to keep that in place. They also added more than a billion dollars to the funding pot, which comes after years of financial cuts at the K-12 level.

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