Syracuse

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

Syracuse’s mayor says the state government is reversing a long tradition of supporting infrastructure investments in its cities.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner told the Thursday Morning Roundtable that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reluctance to help Syracuse rebuild its water main system is “completely and totally at odds with New York state’s history.”

oliver_hine / via Flickr

A sharply divided city argues over whether to keep a major transit link running through downtown, or to route it around the outskirts of town.

It’s nearly the same debate going on today, but this was in the 1920s. Then, Syracuse was arguing over whether to build an elevated rail corridor through downtown, as Dennis Connors, curator of the Onondaga Historical Association explains.

"And there was a whole campaign, the pro-leave it downtown and elevate it, versus the move it out of downtown and put it around the north side of the city," he said.

If kids spend a lot of time in front of display screens, is it bad for the environment?  Having a visceral connection to the outdoors is key to good environmental stewardship, argues this week’s guest on the Campbell Conversations.  Grant Reeher talks about habitat, species, and politics with Collin O’Mara, the current President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. O’Mara is a former Delaware state cabinet official, a native of Camillus, New York, and the inventor of the City of Syracuse’s Syrastat system. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County lawmakers will again be able to weigh in on the decision about the future of Interstate 81. Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon will ask lawmakers to stand behind the option he believes is the best compromise among the plans being discussed.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The Syracuse school district could be down a million dollars because of an unintended consequence of vacant properties being sold to the land bank.

Property tax collection is a major source of funding for public schools, but there are thousands of properties in Syracuse that the property taxes aren’t being collected on – either because they’re vacant or the owner isn’t paying. For those properties, the city has been covering the portion that would go to schools out of its own pocket.

Regional police academy graduates 57 new officers

Feb 20, 2015
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

It was graduation day for a group of recruits from the Syracuse Police Academy.

Fifty-seven men and women were given their badges during a ceremony at the Palace Theater. Among them is Dan Medlock, who is joining the Syracuse Police Department. He says all the scrutiny police officers have been given in recent months was on his mind during the training.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Following a trend for downtown Syracuse real estate, an office building is being renovated to have residential space, but with a twist. 

The building at the corner of Jefferson and Warren Streets is transforming into a communal space, with room for both co-working and co-living, making it perhaps the most different addition to the neighborhood’s residential construction boom.

Troy Evans is converting two floors of empty office space into co-living space, where tenants will rent small rooms with individual bathrooms.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has found a warmer reception to her request for funds to fix her city’s underground infrastructure.

Miner met with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) while she was in the capital for a conference. The mayor’s office says it was a productive meeting and the senator was understanding of her plight.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

This week's snowstorm didn't slow down action at Hancock International Airport in Syracuse, in fact, the airport has stayed open through several storms this winter. Executive Director Christina Callahan says there were a few flights canceled, but only because of problems in destinations like New York, Chicago and Boston.

It's been a tough winter at the airport, Callahan admits, but adds the staff there is ready for the worst -- every year.

Courtesy of TSA

Security officers at Hancock International Airport in Syracuse caught a man with a loaded gun trying to get on a plane on Sunday. Authorities with the Transportation Security Administration say the loaded pistol was discovered in a carry-on bag as it passed through an X-ray machine.

The traveler told authorities he forgot the .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun was in his bag. The passenger, a man from Manlius, was allowed to catch his flight and the handgun was returned to a family member.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Syracuse-area Rep. John Katko is jumping into the discussion on the future of Interstate 81.  The Republican is calling on the New York state and federal governments to include all options for the future of I-81 when a scoping report is released to the public in the coming weeks.  

This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher continues his series on poverty in the Syracuse region, with a discussion of criminal legal representation for the poor.  Grant is joined by two attorneys who provide indigent legal representation, Sheldon Gould and Francis Walter.  Together they sketch out how the system of indigent representation works, its challenges, ways to improve it, and how their experiences have changed their own views toward the poor.

Rethink81

A group of architects and urban developers favoring the removal of the interstate through downtown Syracuse are out with a drawing of what the city could look like if the roadway was gone.

The group, ReThink 81, is making the argument that tearing down the elevated highway would make room for economic growth, where currently the roadway creates a gap in economic vitality between downtown and University Hill. The highway bisects those two neighborhoods.

This January’s Point-In-Time homeless count in the city of Syracuse shows both some success and fallbacks in the fight against homelessness in central New York.

The number of homeless individuals in central New York has increased, according to recent numbers compiled by the Housing and Homeless Coalition of Syracuse and Onondaga County.

“Last year we had 490 people stay in emergency shelters, and this year we had 547 people stay in emergency shelters,” said coalition coordinator Melissa Marrone.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The mayor of Syracuse says her city’s high poverty rate is always on her mind, even if she didn’t mention it in her 2015 agenda.

A third of Syracuse residents live in poverty and half of Syracuse’s children are poor. That has ripple effects like a high school graduation rates that hovers around only 50 percent.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The renovation of Hotel Syracuse has started creating jobs.  The first of several job fairs was held in the lobby of the historic hotel.

There hadn't been so many people in the lobby of the Hotel Syracuse since it closed over a decade ago. Hundreds of men and women filled out applications for Environmental Remediation Services Inc, the company that’s handling the demolition and asbestos removal portion of the renovation of the hotel in downtown Syracuse.

Chad Parks figures he’ll be sifting through between 600 and 800 applications for 30 to 40 jobs.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The business incubator that has helped spawn several businesses in downtown Syracuse is growing. The Tech Garden has had a waiting list for over two years at it's original space on Warren Street, so it's expanding -- by 18,000 square feet.

Tech Garden II, on the ground floor of AXA Tower II, opens up more opportunities for startups who can take advantage of the support and facilities offered at the Tech Garden. Dave Bulger is starting up a company called tuzag, something he says he couldn't have done without that support.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO file photo

A program to encourage healthy living in one of Syracuse’s most low income neighborhoods is getting a big funding push.

The New York State Health Foundation is giving the Lerner Center at Syracuse University a quarter million dollars to expand its healthy eating and exercise program on the city’s Near West Side. The Lerner Center is working with Nojaims Supermarket and the fairly new St. Joseph’s hospital health clinic that’s right next door.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

It takes several tries for the medical transport van to back up the snow-covered driveway and onto the frozen front yard. The tires spin in the snow, which crunches in the cold air. The van has to get close enough for the ramp that slides out the back to bridge the gap from the van to the porch, rising over the three steps to the door.

Wooden porches like this don the front of many of Syracuse’s old homes, constructed during the city’s boom era.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Syracuse Police Department will soon be using a data-driven approach to reducing gun and other violent crime.

The police department will launch a program that it says will help it better pinpoint where in the city to target crime prevention efforts, which Mayor Stephanie Miner spoke about it in her recent state of the city address.

"This data-oriented strategy will enable our officers to systematically diagnose trends in gun violence," she said.

It’s called the Problem Oriented Policing program, or POP.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner has laid out her agenda for 2015. It focuses on the fundamentals of local government and recurring themes from her.

Miner, a Democrat, is entering her fifth year in the city's top elected office. In an address at the studios of public broadcaster WCNY, she talked about the successes the city saw in 2014, such as its high school graduation rate finally rising above 50 percent. 

Then she touched on the tension within the Syracuse school district that has embroiled it for much of the past year.

ephesuslighting.com

This weekend’s Super Bowl won’t only be showcasing the NFL’s top football teams. It will also show off a new stadium lighting system that was created in Syracuse.  

  Ephesus Lighting founder Joe Casper is amazed at the publicity his company’s high-performance LED lights have been getting in the run-up to the Super Bowl. There’s been mention of the semi-conductor based technology in Forbes magazine, USA Today and the Washington Post.  And the enhanced lighting fixtures have even made their way into deflate-gate conversations.

One hundred forty central New Yorkers learned first hand what it's like to live in the grip of poverty this week. Visions for Change shined a light on the issue through it's poverty simulation.

Ashlee Hines works at the homeless shelter at the Salvation Army in Syracuse. You’d think she’d be aware of some of the issues people living in poverty face, but playing the role of a mom, going to school, working, and taking care of children was an eye opener.

"What I had to do was really hard. I kind of panicked,” Hines said. “And I know how to do day-to-day stuff.”

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A central New York organization that tries to poke a cynical Syracuse mindset into something more positive is now two years old. The founder of the group Believe in Syracuse says they’ll be getting their message across in more ways as they continue to grow.

John DeSantis started the group two years ago when he found himself continuously watching friends leave central New York after graduating from college.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse lawmakers have gone on record calling on the New York State Department of Transportation to replace the Interstate-81 viaduct that runs through the city with a street-level boulevard. The move further defines the debate over what to do with the aging highway, which is reaching the end of its lifespan.

Common councilors have voted unanimously to support the option that would tear down I-81 and force traffic around the city, using Interstate-481.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

There will be another competition for state economic development dollars, if the state legislature approves spending $1.5 billion for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed Upstate New York Economic Revitalization Competition. At least one Central New York Economic development official is ready for the challenge.

Syracuse city council calls for I-81 to be torn down

Jan 22, 2015
Zack Seward / WXXI

The Syracuse Common Council is taking a formal stand on what should be done with the aging infrastructure of Interstate 81. The lawmakers will tell the state they want the viaduct gone.

The future of the mile and a half of elevated highway cutting through downtown has become a urban versus suburban divide. Man city residents and elected leaders say the highway is just that: a divide through the middle of the city, which blocks economic growth and isolates communities.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO file photo

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank is encouraging certain city employees to buy tax delinquent homes that have been sold to the city.

Last year, police officers and fire fighters employed by the city, and teachers who worked for the city school district, were offered a 10 percent discount if they bought one of the land bank properties. Nobody did. So the land bank’s board has okayed raising that discount to 50 percent.

The Land Bank’s executive director Katelyn Wright says they’ll push the program more aggressively this year.

Doug Kerr / Flickr

The holidays are a time for people to travel home to be with family. A community group that works to promote Syracuse to young adults is hoping to take advantage of that.

The organization 40 Below figures most people in their 20s and 30s who are home for the holidays will be going out for drinks this weekend anyway. They want to use that to convince people to move back to central New York.

Syracuse will create an innovation team with grant

Dec 16, 2014
Daniel Lobo/flickr

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner will soon have an innovation team to help develop new ways to solve city problems.

Syracuse is one of a dozen cities to win a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to create an innovation team. Miner says they’ll look at using big data to solve some of what she calls the city’s "intractable problems."

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