Syracuse

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy has been beating a path back and forth across upstate New York, as he campaigns for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget initiatives.

Duffy made his second stop in Syracuse this week on Thursday, this time to drum up support for changes to pensions and Medicaid funding.

But this time he brought some friends.

Duffy led a hearing of the 11-member Mandate Relief Council [PDF], made up of members of Cuomo’s administration and elected lawmakers. The group heard testimony from central New York government and business leaders at Le Moyne College.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The move to downtown Syracuse was three years in the making for Nicole Samolis. That’s how long it took her to convince her husband to forgo their home in the suburbs.

The couple lives in the newly renovated Dey’s Plaza. The building was once a large department store, and then failed as an office building.

But since it was converted to apartments a few years ago, there’s been a waiting list to get in. Samolis was sold on the place by its view of Syracuse landmarks like the county courthouse.

They weren't quite the Transformers from the movies, but once the bell rang inside the Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse, the robot's wheels turned, gears spun and metal arms extended.

The VEX Robotics Competition was the culmination of weeks of engineering and problem solving for central New York students. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

For property developers Rich DeVito and Bob Doucette of Paramount Realty, the motivation for taking on large scale renovations of downtown Syracuse’s previously empty buildings was this:

“We wanted to make money,” says DeVito flatly, though Doucette chuckles at the simplicity of the answer. “It’s where the market is,” DeVito goes on to say.

And make money they did.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney works on the front lines of the "unfunded mandate" issue, a phrase we've been hearing with increasing frequency at all levels of political discussion.  What exactly is the problem with unfunded mandates? 

Dougtone / via Flickr

New York’s Canal Corporation was 0 for 3 in its efforts to find someone interested in redeveloping Syracuse’s Inner Harbor.

Their last request for proposals, a few years back, garnered zero submissions.

But now, the City of Syracuse is in charge, after stepping up and asking to be put in charge of the project. And today the city made public its ambitious new plan to redevelop the harbor.

CenterState CEO in Syracuse is trying to get more companies in Central New York to do business outside the area.  Syracuse is one of four metropolitan areas in the U-S that are working with the Brookings Institution to increase exports over the next five years.  As part of two initiatives, they are asking local business for data about their exports, and encouraging them to look at more business opportunities outside the area.  

An IT company will keep its local offices in Syracuse and create more jobs thanks to a state tax break.

The Empire State Development Corporation is giving ShoreGroup $3 million in tax credits over the next 5 years to expand its footprint and job force in Syracuse.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer is continuing his efforts to land a chip fabrication plant in central New York. Monday he visited a potential site, just north of Syracuse, with the CEO of chipmaker APIC.

A chip fabrication plant at Electronics Park in Salina isn’t a done deal, but Sen. Schumer said it’s just a matter of all the pieces coming together at a press conference Monday. The biggest hurdle is APIC first signing a contract with the US Navy.

Sen. Charles Schumer is using some political muscle to try and land central New York a high-tech chip maker. But the deal is contingent on the company first getting a contract from a spending-conscious Defense Department.

Occupy Syracuse is marking its first 99 days at Perseverance Park on South Salina Street.  And folks who are carrying the message of Occupy Wall Street expect to keep their tents and lean-tos up for the long haul, despite a potentially cold and snowy winter.

"Our passion will keep us here pretty much through anything that I can see coming, weather-wise," said Caitlin Shanahan, a 20-year old from Mattydale who's been living there since October 3rd.

The organization that investigates police brutality by the Syracuse Police Department could be coming back to life.  Syracuse Lawmakers December 19th will decide whether to approve a revised law that solves some of the issues that have plagued the Citizen's Review Board over it's 17 year history. 

A little over 100 days ago, Sharon Contreras began her appointment as the superintendent of the Syracuse City School District.  She inherited deep challenges--low test scores and graduation rates, and an austere budget climate.  Following her "first 100 days" period of listening and assessment, she is issuing a strategic plan to improve the city's educational system. 

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse is Celebrating it's 125th anniversary this year.  It culminated yesterday with a special mass  at the cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Syracuse celebrated by over 100 priests and deacons and bishops from across new york state.   As WRVO's Ellen Abbott reports,  probably the best known cleric joining the celebration, the man who's taken over the high profile job of Archbishop of New York.

You won't see many fully functioning stores as you walk into the addition from an entrance next to the Disney store. ..but you will get a taste of what destiny u-s-a is going to look like.  And the broad boulevard look underneath exposed steel beams doesn't appeal to everyone.

"it reminds my of New York City,  going through the bus station.  Port Authority,  that's what it reminds me of.  Said Sophie Lafontaine of Syracuse.

The expansion of Syracuse’s Carousel Center Mall—the first stage of the grander and still-planned project called Destiny USA—seems to be getting some traction of late.  Parts of the expansion will be open later this month.  David Aitken, a Destiny executive and spokesperson, discusses the expansion and the future plans for the project, and reflects on why the Destiny project has been such a political and economic lightning rod for the region’s residents and the media.  He also discusses the exterior appearance of the expansion and the possible tensions—and synergy—between this project and t

Perhaps the most intriguing local race this November is the match-up in the fourth City Council district between Democrat and Working Families Party candidate Khalid Bey and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins. Hawkins has run for many seats in the past, including governor and U.S. Senator, and not come close to winning, but the last time he ran for city council he garnered about 40 percent of the vote.

Ellen Abbott

22 years ago, in a shiny new mall in downtown Syracuse, the central library set up housekeeping.  But where department stores and food courts once enticed visitors, now offices and specialty shops hang their shingles and dramatic changes have also taken place in the library

 “When this library opened, there were 30 librarians,” said Elizabeth Daily, Executive Director of the Onondaga County Public Library System. “They spent time doing things like filing cards.  Now we have 17 librarians.  The work that takes up their time is totally different."

It started in January when Sharon Sherman noticed an increase in the number of complaints from tenants about bedbugs.

Sherman, the Executive Director of the Greater Syracuse Tenants Network, says the complaints came from everywhere.

"We are getting more calls from the north side of Syracuse," Sherman said. "But they are all over Syracuse, Solvay , Liverpool. There's not a place where it's not a problem right now."

Leonard Bernard was a platoon leader with the First Cavalry Division and saw plenty of action. 

"I saw a lot of combat," said Bernard. "We had 96 guys in my company and in 6 months 48 were killed."

It was June 20, 1967 when he suffered massive head and chest injuries while fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. He spent the next year in hospitals and was finally able to come home. At that time, the anti-war movement was escalating with everyone from college students to celebrities criticizing the government for a war that seemed unwinnable. 

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