regional news

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature are considering a commission to design a new teacher evaluation plan, in order to break an impasse over the state budget. But even some lawmakers admit that the compromise is just kicking the can down the road.

Cuomo has demanded that education policy changes be passed along with the state budget or he’ll hold up school aid increases.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield now has a better idea of why four out of every ten upstate New York adults don’t always take prescriptions as prescribed. The insurance company got the answers from patients through a comprehensive survey.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Maj. Gen. Jeffery Bannister has officially become the new commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, after a change of command ceremony on post Wednesday. 

Soldiers and a small audience stood at attention as the 10th Mountain Division band honored outgoing commanding general Maj. Gen. Stephen Townsend with ruffles and flourishes and a gun salute.

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Sen. Charles Schumer says increasing the amount of federal funding available as grants for sewer repairs and upgrades will make the work more affordable for local governments.

Last year New York was only allowed to give out $10 million in federal money as grants to towns villages for sewer projects. The rest had to be given as loans.

"Cash-strapped local government have difficulty affording the big wastewater infrastructure projects, so they have no choice, they put them off for another day," Schumer said Wednesday. 

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As budget discussions in Albany rumble towards a conclusion, supporters of the Rebuild New York Now coalition are pressing their case, that surplus money in the state budget should fix roads and bridges and water systems across the state.  

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders say they are making progress on the budget. Cuomo, after a private meeting with Senate Republicans, says he’s closer to an agreement on ethics reform, but the governor is getting some criticism for dropping some items out of the budget, including the Dream Act.

courtesy Justin Blodgett

During the wartime periods of American history, including the last decade, life in the military could be a career.  With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan officially over, and with troop cuts looming, the Army is sending soldiers a message - start thinking about your civilian life.

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A major instance of academic fraud with the Syracuse University basketball program was the work of "rogue individuals," according to now former S.U. athletic director Daryl Gross.

Gross, who stepped down last week following an NCAA investigation into Syracuse athletics, spoke with WRVO News Tuesday.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

A protest to raise the minimum wage drew hundreds to the state Capitol, and included a brief occupation of the building’s Dunkin' Donuts. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers are considering hiking the minimum wage in the new budget, but protesters say it is not enough.

The protesters, who have been holding rallies every week, stepped up their efforts when around 100 stormed into the Capitol’s Dunkin' Donuts and demanded that the state’s minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour.

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By using people with firsthand knowledge of guns and gangs, a program is trying to interrupt violence on Syracuse’s streets.

The national Cure Violence program was created by a former public health doctor and so it’s modeled off of treating infectious disease: you have to treat the cause of the illness, not just the symptoms.

Credit njxw / Flickr

 

Many working parents may find it hard to imagine a daycare center right in the same building as their job. But Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) wants to change that. She has introduced a bill to increase tax breaks for businesses that build onsite child care.

Having child care at work could make a big difference for parents like Stephanie Walsh. Walsh says sometimes she barely leaves the house in over a week. She used to go to work every morning, as an accountant at a Southern Tier construction company. But then she had her son Jacob.

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Union members at financially distressed hospitals across the state are taking action to urge state budget negotiators to include funding for these hospitals in the final state spending plan.  

The state’s biggest health care union, 1199SEIU, is highlighting what it says is a critical piece of funding, vital to keeping 28 financially troubled hospitals afloat.  

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The Oswego County hearing in the case of Heidi Allen resumes Tuesday after a six-week break. Gary Thibodeau is seeking a new trial, claiming there is new evidence pointing toward his innocence. He was convicted of kidnapping Allen from the convenience store where she worked in New Haven more than 20 years ago. The defense wrapped its case last month, but Syracuse Post-Standard reporter John O'Brien, who has been covering the hearing, reports that Thibodeau's attorney has asked the judge if she can call new witnesses before the prosecution begins its case.

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With just over a week until the state budget is due, there’s pressure to drop a number of unrelated items in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s state spending plan.

Cuomo has tied ethics reform and education policy changes to the budget, and threatened to hold up the spending plan if the legislature does not agree. 

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A new poll finds voters disagree with most of Gov. Andrew’s Cuomo’s tactics during the current budget negotiations. Cuomo has tied ethics reform and education policy changes to the budget, and threatened to hold up the spending plan if the legislature does not agree.  

A Siena College poll finds that, while New Yorkers think ethics reform and school funding are important, they don’t want the issues linked to the budget, and they say an on-time spending plan is important to them, says Siena’s Steve Greenberg.

Hearing in Heidi Allen case scheduled to resume Tuesday

Mar 23, 2015
www.co.oswego.ny.us

The Oswego County hearing in the case of Heidi Allen resumes tomorrow after a six-week break. Gary Thibodeau is seeking a new trial. He was convicted of kidnapping Allen more than 20 years ago. Allen was 18 when she disappeared while working at a convenience store in New Haven. WRVO news director Catherine Loper spoke with Syracuse Post-Standard reporter John O'Brien who has been covering this hearing from the beginning.

Catherine Loper: Can you bring us up to date on what happened when the hearing ended?

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Several thousand Fort Drum backers sent a loud message to the Pentagon Friday. They said the Army base near Watertown should be spared from deep cuts as the military downsizes after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Army brass toured Fort Drum and the region as they near the end of a review of 30 installations to determine where to cut.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Cyclists in the Syracuse University area have had it with the shutdown of a portion of some bike infrastructure. It was closed due to a lawsuit between Syracuse University and the potential builder of a bookstore on University Avenue.

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There’s still no final three way deal on an ethics reform proposal at the state Capitol.  And reform groups say a proposal offered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Assembly does not go far enough.

The plan by Cuomo and Assembly Democrats requires that lawmakers disclose the source of all outside income they receive above $1,000. Lawyers must reveal the names of their clients if they earn more than $5,000. They would also have to prove they are actually in Albany, through an electronic monitoring system, before receiving their expense payments.

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Among the issues up for discussion in budget talks this year is an overhaul of New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. It offers tax breaks for the development of contaminated industrial sites.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Sumitra and Maniran Paudel arrived in Syracuse from a refugee camp in Nepal in 2008, some of the first Bhutanese refugees to resettle on the city’s north side.

"When we came here the first time, we had a big dream," Maniran said.

Karen DeWitt/WRVO News

Teachers from the Finger Lakes traveled to Albany Friday to deliver 1,000 local apples to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The purpose was not to share in the bounty of the agricultural region, but to make a point about what they say is the governor’s lack of commitment to school spending.

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The town of DeWitt is looking to become more friendly to bikers and walkers. The suburban community, east of Syracuse, is gathering suggestions from residents and businesses before making any changes.

DeWittshire, one of the earliest housing developments in the DeWitt, was built in the 1920s and ‘30s. Its streets are lined with sidewalks. Many of Dewitt’s later developments, built in the 1950s and ‘60s, reflected America’s post-war love affair with cars. There’s not a sidewalk in sight.  

Karen DeWitt / WRVO file photo

 There’s just about a week-and-a-half left before the budget deadline, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers remain at odds over a number of issues, including whether ethics disclosure rules should apply to the governor as well as the legislature. They also disagree on a number of education reform proposals.

On Thursday, the Senate and Assembly called a public budget conference meeting. It lasted less than two minutes, and focused mainly on listing when subconference committees would meet and the relatively small amount of money they could haggle over.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro), John Katko (R-Camillus), Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) and Chris Gibson (R-Kinderhook), were in Clayton Thursday evening for a private reception to welcome Pentagon officials to the North Country. The four members of Congress are working together to defend Fort Drum from dramatic cuts.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse University basketball coach Jim Boeheim will appeal sanctions handed down on him from the NCAA, calling the penalties "unduly harsh."

For the first time since the NCAA released a report on the Syracuse athletic department March 6 charging the basketball program had run off the rails, Boeheim addressed the accusations. He spoke to the media for an hour Thursday at the Carrier Dome, saying he wanted to put forth his opinion on how events of academic fraud and poor oversight outlined by the NCAA took place.

  

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Amid talks to raise the minimum wage in New York, farmers are calling on the lawmakers to keep it where it is.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying to increase the minimum wage to $10.50 upstate and $11.50 downstate.

The New York Farm Bureau says the state has some of the highest agricultural labor costs in the country. They say farm workers in New York are paid $12.15 an hour on average.

Dean Norton, a farmer in western New York and president of the state Farm Bureau, says whenever there’s a minimum wage hike, he’s forced to raise his wages, too.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the speaker of the Assembly say they hope the state Senate will sign on to their joint proposal for ethics reform, as a new poll finds the governor with dropping job approval numbers.

Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie took the unusual step of calling their ethics measure a deal, even though they need the Senate to agree to the plan in order for it to become law.

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The career of basketball coach Jim Boeheim at Syracuse University now has an end date, with his announced retirement coming in the aftermath of an NCAA investigation into his program.

The university says Boeheim’s retirement in three years will bring certainty to the program and allow for "a successful, longer-term transition in coaching leadership," Chancellor Kent Syverud wrote in an open letter.

Medical Schools in New York state are asking the legislature to include $50 million for faculty development in the state budget. University leadership calls the  New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR) Faculty Development Program an investment needed to grow programs that will attract high-profile entrepreneurial biomedical researchers.

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