regional news

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Otsego County has enacted a hiring freeze for all workers except for those at the county correctional facility as a way to address what officials say is a budget shortfall of almost $4.7 million.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The number of older New Yorkers who fall and suffer serious and deadly injuries is on the rise, but there are programs in across the state meant to help people avoid the dangers of a fall.

The latest statistics on the number of falls among older New Yorkers is a reflection of the growing elderly population in New York state, according to Amber Slichta, interim president for the Health Foundation of Western and Central New York.

“Falls related deaths have increased by 15 percent, and falls related hospitalizations have increased by 19 percent,” said Slichta.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins called for a debate after he announced that he is running against incumbent Marty Masterpole for Syracuse city auditor. Hawkins said not enough audits are being done by the city. Since taking office in 2011, Masterpole has been producing about four audits every year for the city. Prior to that and going back to 2004, the average had been about 10 audits every year. 

Hawkins said if he is elected, he will audit infrastructure planning and the long-term fiscal sustainability of the city.

Upstate Medical University

Upstate Medical University’s incoming president has spent some time this month getting to know her new community.

In January, Danielle Laraque-Arena will take the reins of institution that is a hospital, but also an educational center.  As vice president of Maimonides Infants and Children’s Hospital of Brooklyn, she’s been involved in a lot of community-based work, and expects that to continue in Syracuse. 

Adam W. / Flickr

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is speaking out against Montreal’s plan to dump 2 billion gallons of sewage into the St. Lawrence River next weekend.  Schumer is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to sit down with the Canadian government.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Residents of the village of Fayetteville in Onondaga County voiced their opinions at a public meeting on a proposed deer management program late last week. While some people questioned how the program’s success will be measured, most agreed that something needs to be done.

Jason Fridley, an associate professor of biology at Syracuse University, said the repercussions of deer overpopulation on forests are more immediate than climate change or invasive insects like the emerald ash borer.

Roker on the true 'Storm of the Century'

Oct 10, 2015

The most devastating hurricane in American history was not named Katrina or Sandy, but was a storm that struck Galveston, Texas in 1900. TV weatherman Al Roker has written a book about this storm, the people caught in it, and the lessons that were learned from it. Roker recently returned to his alma mater SUNY Oswego and spoke with WRVO's Catherine Loper about his new book "Storm of the Century.”

Feds move to curb overdose deaths

Oct 9, 2015

The federal government wants to curb the number of deaths from opioid drug overdoses. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hopes to make in-roads by funding intervention and prevention.

HHS Secretary Silvia Burwell recently announced initiatives that target heroin and opioid deaths and dependence across the country. $133 million has been allocated to programs for treatment and education.

Chris Jones, director of science policy at HHS, says much of the education about opioids needs to be directed at medical professionals.

jamelah / via Flickr

Friday is the deadline for New Yorkers to vote in this year’s elections. But there’s an added avenue to register to vote by the midnight deadline.

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council

Central New York's proposal for the state's economic development competition includes one project with the potential to create up to 2,000 jobs. Those jobs could go to a part of Syracuse that needs it the most.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been speaking out about the need for national gun control laws in recent days, but Cuomo says he doesn’t know when a key provision of New York’s own gun safety laws will be enacted.

Cuomo most recently appeared on Hardball with Christ Matthews on MSNBC.

“I passed what is probably the toughest  gun law in the nation,” said Cuomo, who said illegal guns continue to come to New York thorough other states with looser laws.

“The states can’t do this, it has to be the federal government,” Cuomo told Matthews.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A coalition of peace organizations are making a 165-mile walk from Syracuse’s Hancock Air Base to the Niagara Falls Air Base, to bring attention to the military's drone operations that take place there. One of the goals is to educate the public on what it is like being in Afghanistan, where the fear of drones is a part of life for many.

For Julienne Oldfield and about 20 others, the day started at the Hancock Air Base where protesters have rallied against drone warfare for years.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, facing questions about the ongoing federal probe of contracts associated with his Buffalo Billion economic development project, was reluctant to say much about the progress of the investigation.

Cuomo was asked by journalists whether he or anyone on his staff has been questioned or subpoenaed by federal prosecutors looking into the awarding of state contracts as part of the massive economic development protect in western New York.

“I have not,” said Cuomo. “But I don’t want to get into commenting on the U.S. Attorney’s investigation.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo shot down rumors Wednesday that he might call a special session in December on raising the minimum wage to $15.

A Syracuse company has won $100,000 in federal funding to help it reduce electronic waste.  

Sitting in a garage on Shonnard Street in Syracuse is the prototype for something called a “depopulator,” which could revolutionize the way old electronics are recycled. It’s the brainchild of engineers at the Advanced Recovery and Recycling Company. President Byron Tietjen says it essentially shakes the circuit boards while they’re being heated to about 370 degrees Fahrenheit, and the electronic parts from the printed circuit board just fall off.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Many Syracuse residents came out to voice their support last night, for a proposed local hiring ordinance for the city’s construction and service contracts. One concern is to make sure contractors can connect with residents who have the right skill sets.

Last year, Charles Rivers of Syracuse was going to school full-time, working two part-time jobs, one seasonal job and struggling to make ends meet.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Central New York Regional Economic Development council is bullish that its proposal for the New York State Upstate Revitalization Initiative will be a winner.  

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News file photo

Despite a tumultuous summer, Wall Street saw its best performance in the first six months of this year since 2011. A report from the New York state comptroller's office released Tuesday found that the securities industry earned more than $11 billion first half of 2015, a 29 percent increase from the same period last year. In addition to higher profits, Wall Street salaries, bonuses and employment are all on the rise.

City of Syracuse/Department of Aviation

Updated at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday:

American Airlines has released the name of the pilot who died during a flight from Phoenix to Boston early Monday. That flight was diverted to Syracuse after the pilot became incapacitated. 

EPA Regional Director Judith Enck is calling central New York to take action when it comes to climate change.

Enck admits that taking on climate change is a big issue. But she says individuals shouldn't shy away from it.

“Sometimes climate change can be an overwhelming issue. You get paralyzed, you don’t know what’s the first thing you can do to address. But I actionably think there are no shortage of steps to take to reduce carbon pollution,” said Enck, in a recent interview with WRVO News.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been somewhat reticent about speaking out on the national stage, has lately been talking about the issue of gun violence, saying it should be a key topic in Congress and in the 2016 campaigns.

Cuomo called in to the New York City cable news channel NY-1 to talk about a potential hurricane, which later veered away from the East Coast. But quickly, the conversation turned to the recent mass shooting in Oregon and what to do about gun violence.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

According to the latest federal figures, there are more than 1,200 endangered species in the United States. Scientists across the country are trying to figure out ways to keep many of these species from dropping off the face of the Earth. 

Walking down the steep trail towards the bottom of Chittenango Falls in central New York, Cody Gilbertson carries a big white styrofoam cooler. But there aren’t any picnic treats for humans inside. Gilbertson’s cooler is filled with several plastic containers, stuffed with leaves that endangered Chittenango Ovate Amber Snails are munching on.

Shopping season for the Medicare Advantage plans is underway.

In Monroe, Ontario, and Wayne Counties, the average premium for 2016 Medicare Advantage plans is $74 dollars, about a 10 percent increase over last year.

On average in New York state, most monthly premiums are steady, but out-of-pocket costs for medications are up.

Older adults in New York may find they’re paying less each month for Medicare Advantage.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Rep. John Katko (R-NY) spoke at a rally to save the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant on Monday. The owners of the plant said they may have to close it next year because it is no longer profitable with the low price of electricity. Katko said nuclear energy is clean energy and with new federal carbon emission standards, New York state can't afford to lose nuclear power plants.

Key Foster / Flickr

The Onondaga County Drug Task Force continues to look for ways to keep prescription drugs out of the wrong hands. A new pilot program launched this month will place them in the hands of police.

Nine police agencies, including the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department, are putting out collection bins in their offices for unused prescription and non-prescription drugs, as well as used needles.

Gail Banach, of the Upstate New York Poison Center, says the idea is to create a safe place to drop drugs that otherwise could be abused.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Elected officials from the local, state and congressional level have organized a rally in support of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County. This comes after news that there is a possibility that it could close. Lower electricity prices are squeezing the profits from some nuclear plants. 

stgermh / Flickr

Questions continue about economic development practices by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, including the proposed sale of valuable piece of land from one state agency to another state entity for a dollar .

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is reported to be probing contracts awarded as part of Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion project, with questions over the timing of campaign contributions to the governor, as well as criteria used to choose the vendors.

10 women inducted at the National Women's Hall of Fame

Oct 4, 2015
Kelly Walker / For WXXI News

Ten women whose influence continues to be felt in the fields of science, the arts and civil rights are the newest inductees into the National Women's Hall of Fame. They include dance pioneer Martha Graham and Feminist Majority founder Eleanor Smeal. 

Also chosen to be inducted on Saturday were the founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Nancy Brinker, and Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency wants your old thermometers or thermostats. It’s an attempt to get mercury out of the waste stream.

If you look at an old thermometer or thermostat hanging around the house and see a ball of silver mercury in it, don’t throw it in the trash. Exposure to even small amounts of mercury can cause health damage to humans and wildlife.

Kathleen Carroll of Covanta, which runs Onondaga County’s trash burner, says they do have pollution controls that minimize the danger of the items containing mercury in the waste stream.

Adam W. / Flickr

Canadian media outlets report that the city of Montreal is suspending its plan to dump over two billion gallons of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River. This comes after city officials received a stream of phone calls when the city’s plans to dump the wastewater became public.