Syracuse

3:33pm

Fri November 8, 2013
Regional Coverage

Onondaga County DA Fitzpatrick says Moreland Commission has uncovered criminal activity

The Moreland Act Commission appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is releasing a preliminary report on public corruption in a few weeks. The commission is charged with investigating corruption in state governmental agencies, and has already gone after the state Board of Elections and the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or J-COPE, at recent public hearings.

During an interview with Grant Reeher, host of WRVO's Campbell Conversations, commission co-chairman and Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick says the commission's investigation has uncovered criminal activity.

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8:09am

Thu November 7, 2013
Health

Health navigators say Affordable Care Act sign-ups have been successful

There may be problems in other states for people signing up for health care under the Affordable Care Act, but things are moving smoothly in New York state, according to one organization in the midst of it. ACR Health in Syracuse says it has nothing but success stories.

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8:20am

Wed November 6, 2013
Politics and Government

Miner wins reelection in Syracuse, Greens say party shows strength

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner addresses the crowd following the announcement of her re-election victory.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Syracuse and Onondaga County's local political landscape remains pretty much intact after yesterday's election. Republicans rule the suburbs and County government; while democrats maintain a stranglehold over Syracuse city hall. Mayor Stephanie Miner won re-election easily with 68 percent of the vote against two third-party challengers, and got a surprise congratulations call from Washington.

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1:48am

Wed November 6, 2013
Election 2013

GOP hoping to edge out a spot on Syracuse's Common Council

Republican Joe Carni trails Democratic Common Councilor Jake Barrett by just a few dozen votes in Syracuse's First District.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Syracuse Republicans are just a few dozen votes shy of winning back a city office as a race for Common Council will come down to absentee ballots, but the rest of city hall remained solidly Democratic after Tuesday's election.

The two new faces we know of for sure on the Common Council are Chad Ryan in the Second District and Pamela Hunter in an at-large spot. Ryan won Pat Hogan’s old seat, who was term-limited, by beating Republican Alex Walsh with 59 percent of the unofficial vote.

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8:15am

Mon November 4, 2013
Politics and Government

Onondaga County Elections Commissioners struggle to get people to polls

Polling machines like this one will be used throughout Onondaga County for Tuesday's elections.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Elections officials in Onondaga County aren't counting on a busy day tomorrow, as they're predicting record low turnout rates.

Republican Elections Commissioner Helen Kiggens Walsh thinks it'll be a struggle to get more voters out this year than two years ago, which was the lowest turnout ever.

"Our record low is 25 percent," Kiggens Walsh said. "I think we're going to go below that this year. I'm guessing the low 20s."

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5:00pm

Fri November 1, 2013
Politics

Green Party mayoral candidate says Syracuse needs more community policing

Green Party Syracuse mayoral candidate Kevin Bott
Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

The Green Party candidate running for mayor of Syracuse says the that office needs more tools to deal with a homicide crisis in the city.  Kevin Bott says if he is elected, he would fully embrace the concept of community policing to get at the root of this year's rash of killings across the city.

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7:51am

Fri November 1, 2013
Politics

Election day could bring youth to Syracuse Common Council

The four candidates competing for seats on Syracuse's Common Council. From left: Joe Carni, Jake Barrett, Alex Walsh and Chad Ryan.
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

A new generation of politicians in the city of Syracuse are following in their families' footsteps and running for office.

Barring an election day surprise, Syracuse's next common councilor from the 2nd district will be under 30. These candidates say their youth will benefit the city.

Democratic nominee and funeral director Chad Ryan is 28 years old and the son of former Onondaga County Legislator Ed Ryan.

The younger Ryan said the best way to improve the city is to get more residents involved, like by attending neighborhood meetings.

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6:54pm

Thu October 31, 2013
Regional Coverage

Onondaga County has its own spooky stories to share on Halloween

An artist's rendering of the ghost Clarissa
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Ghost stories abound during the Halloween season and the Onondaga Historical Association has collected some of the best known ghostly tales in Onondaga County.

One of the most told ghost stories in central New York is "the Bride of the 13 Curves."  OHA Curator of History Dennis Conners said it starts on Cedarvale Road.

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8:49am

Wed October 30, 2013
Regional Coverage

Renovations give Syracuse more affordable housing options

One of the renovated buildings, Kasson Place, on James Street.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The pool of affordable housing in Syracuse is growing with the development of four multi-family apartment buildings along the James Street corridor.

City neighborhood and development commissioner Paul Driscoll doesn't think there are any other housing projects like it in the city: a mix of market rate apartments with affordable apartments in one building. The city is opening these four new apartment buildings after major renovations, and Driscoll said the affordability factor is key.

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8:05am

Wed October 30, 2013
Regional Coverage

TSA's PreCheck program finds success in Syracuse

A view of the new TSA PreCheck program at Syracuse's Hancock International Airport.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The PreCheck program at Hancock International Airport in Syracuse has exceeded expectations so far, and the Transportation Security Administration says it's expanding the expedited screening program.

"This makes flying fun again, it's just like the old days," says Darry Srago, a frequent flyer out of Hancock. He's happy with the PreCheck program because it makes getting through security easier.

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4:34pm

Tue October 29, 2013
Politics

Syracuse Mayor Miner hosts Twitter town hall

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner answered resident's questions on Twitter Tuesday. (file photo)
Ryan Delaney WRVO

A week before hoping to win re-election, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner hosted her first Twitter town hall, one of her few large public engagement efforts this campaign season.

Miner spent just under an hour Tuesday fielding questions on the social media site via the hashtag #AskMayorMiner and responded through the city's official account.

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4:06pm

Tue October 29, 2013
Regional Coverage

Proposed law would give police new tool to deal with 'disorderly houses'

The proposal is discussed at a Syracuse Common Council meeting.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse lawmakers are trying to work out concerns over a proposed law that would allow police to crack down on problem houses in city neighborhoods.

It's a case where constitutional rights collide with neighborhood concerns. Councilor Khalid Bey wants to use a 100-year-old law, which was once used to crack down on brothels, as a way to rid neighborhoods of houses that have become hangouts for drug dealers and other criminals.

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7:59am

Wed October 23, 2013
Technology

Upstate Medical University says new labs will promote brain research

Empty labs will soon become the home for more collaborative brain research.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Upstate Medical University's new Neuroscience Research Building is on the cusp of bringing brain researchers together at last. The $72 million building is an expansion at Upstate's Institute for Human Performance.

VIPs toured the block-long, five-story building this week. At this point it's a shell, full of empty labs and dark rooms. It's the $50 million worth of high tech equipment coming later this year that'll make a difference in brain research, according to Upstate's Vice President for Research Rosemary Rochford.

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9:36am

Thu October 17, 2013
Environment

Scientists work to bring back American chestnut tree

Andy Newhouse, a researcher for SUNY ESF, at work. He is one of the researchers helping rebuild the American chestnut population.
David Chanatry/NYRP-UC

The American chestnut tree was once known as the king of the eastern forest. It tree grew more than 100 feet tall and six feet across, and accounted for a quarter of the timber in the woods. Its straight-grained wood was remarkably resistant to rot, and its nuts were a reliable source of food.

The chestnut was wiped out by blight in the early 20th century, but now scientists in Syracuse think they’re close to bringing it back.

Bill Coffin, 84, has spent a lifetime in love with the woods.

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6:13am

Thu October 17, 2013
Politics

Greens call for more state aid and local income tax

Kevin Bott, the Green Party candidate for Syracuse mayor, says a scaled local income tax would not be a burden.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Syracuse’s Green Party office seekers want to see state aid return to historic levels and a new scaled local income tax on city residents and those that work in it.

Mayoral candidate Kevin Bott and Common Council hopeful Howie Hawkins say that will help solve the city’s fiscal problems.

Low wage earners would pay less than a percent on their income and it would work up to a few percentage points for higher earners, they propose.

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6:01am

Wed October 16, 2013
Regional Coverage

New food co-op in Syracuse brings healthy options to southside neighborhood

The interior of the Eat to Live Food Co-op.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A new food co-op on Syracuse's southside has opened its doors. Neighbors are welcoming the new Eat to Live Food Cooperative on South Salina Street, an area that doesn't have many options when it comes to buying healthy food.  

Joseph Bryant, president of the Southside Community Coalition said the co-op ultimately eliminates a food desert.

"Fifty-two percent of the people in this census tract use public transportation or walk. So not having the ability to drive to a grocery store is one thing, so now we can provide midday shopping trips in the neighborhood," Bryant said.

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5:23pm

Mon October 14, 2013
Business

New authority hopes to improve operations at Syracuse airport

mrsmecomber via Flickr

Correction: The authority planned to take over operations of the airport is a public benefit authority and not private.

Early next year control of day-to-day operations at Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport will transfer from a city department to a private public benefit authority, a move city and airport officials say will mean benefits for travelers.

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7:33am

Fri October 11, 2013
Politics and Government

Green Party candidates offer voters another option in Syracuse elections

Green Party candidate Kevin Bott makes his announcement to run for mayor of Syracuse on September 11, 2013.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

This is turning out to be a quiet election season in Syracuse despite a race for mayor. Without a Republican running against Mayor Stephanie Miner, and with Democrats having with a stranglehold in most common council and school board races, Green Party candidates are emerging as alternatives for voters in a handful of races. All three Green Party hopefuls appeared on the Campbell Conversations with Grant Reeher.

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7:25am

Thu October 10, 2013
Business

Syracuse land bank becomes a landlord

The Syracuse land bank became a landlord this week as part of its work to put more city land on the tax rolls.

The land bank, known formally as the Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation, closed on the sale of 17 properties that are vacant or owners were significantly behind on their property taxes.

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6:17am

Tue October 8, 2013
Business

Syracuse council delays vote on airport authority transfer

Syracuse is in the process of transfering control of its airport over to a private authority.
mrsmecomber via Flickr

The Syracuse Common Council says it has delayed fully turning over control of the airport to a private authority in order to get the deal right.

Councilor Pat Hogan, who chairs the airport committee, says several union representatives and employees still had questions about the deal, which would be a 40 year lease.

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4:27pm

Mon October 7, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse lawmakers will rewrite drone ban language

Joe Kummer, president of Propulsive Wing in Elbridge, N.Y. demonstrates his prototype unmanned aerial vehicle.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Syracuse lawmakers are re-working their proposed ban on the use of surveillance drones over city skies.

A draft of regulations were introduced on the council agenda at a study session last week, but were quickly withdrawn.

New draft federal guidelines out on drone use prompted the re-write. The federal rules will be incorporated into the city's, according to councilor Jake Barrett, who chairs the public safety committee.

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7:52am

Mon October 7, 2013
Arts

Empty building provides graffiti artists with temporary outlet

Tim Van Beveren paints on an outside wall of the empty Tully Street building in Syracuse.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

For the last few years, graffiti artists have been going to an empty building on Syracuse's Near West Side, where they can paint without fear of legal hassle. But while dozens of artists have used this building as their outlet, has it helped decrease the amount of illegal graffiti citywide?

The smells and sounds of spray paint fill the air surrounding the vacant structure at then end of Tully Street, as two men paint thin blue lines while another paints a large, pink alien holding a laser gun.

An outlet to paint

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7:53am

Fri October 4, 2013
Regional Coverage

Search begins for new State Fair director

File photo
Stu Gallagher New York State Fair

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets announced Wednesday it is searching for a new director for the New York State Fair. While in Syracuse Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters the new director should be someone who can move the fair forward.

"What's the next evolution of the fair, right? How does the fair continue to grow and develop, so we attract even more people? And if fair management is becoming more and more sophisticated and they're now multi-entertainment venues,  someone who brings that expertise I think would be great."

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7:44am

Fri October 4, 2013
Politics and Government

Land Bank law amended, counties can now buy vacant properties

A new state law amends New York's land bank legislation introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration in 2011. Land banks are mechanisms for acquiring or demolishing abandoned properties that are delinquent on their taxes. The bill removes previous barriers that restricted counties and municipalities from purchasing properties without judicial authorization, allowing them to bid at public sales. Republican state Sen. Mark Grisanti sponsored the legislation.

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6:29am

Fri October 4, 2013
Business

Upscale hotel coming to Syracuse's Inner Harbor

Starwood Hotels development director John Salvatore, left, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, listen to COR Development's Steve Aiello outline the Inner Harbor redevelopment project.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

An upscale hotel chain has signed on as the first tenant in the redevelopment of Syracuse's Inner Harbor.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts announced Thursday that will build an $18 million, 130 room "Aloft" hotel at the former barge canal, as part of a larger redevelopment of the now rarely used site.

In all, COR Development is working on a $350 million overhaul of the site. It plans more commercial and residential space.

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7:35am

Wed October 2, 2013
Health

New Yorkers flock to register on state health exchange

Willie Terrell gets advice from a navigator about what health care coverage plans are available.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The health exchanges that are part of the Affordable Care Act opened Tuesday, and in short order there were two million hits on the New York state website that's selling health insurance policies. People who weren't turning to the website in central New York were lining up to get face-to-face information on how to choose a plan.

Willie Terrell, of Syracuse, has been waiting for this day since he lost his health insurance a year ago.

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7:35am

Tue October 1, 2013
Business

Utica launching Syracuse-modeled student business incubator project

File photo
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The city of Utica will soon become the home of a new business incubator, modeled after Syracuse's Student Sandbox. Utica's thINCubator project, which stands for The Home of Innovative New Companies, is spearheaded by the Mohawk Valley Community College Foundation and local investors, who are contributing $100,000 to start the program.

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7:18pm

Wed September 25, 2013
Transportation

I-81 debate is personal for those who live in highway's shadow

Interstate 81 carries tens of thousands of cars through downtown Syracuse every day, but its infrastructure is aging.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

A decision on one of Syracuse's largest development projects of the century is still years away, but already opinions are becoming entrenched as others plea for more talking and new ideas.

A 1.4 mile elevated stretch of Interstate 81 running right through downtown Syracuse, known as the viaduct, will soon need to be replaced and state and federal transportation officials are in the midst of a lengthy decision process to decide how the next incarnation of the roadway will look and work. A decision is penciled in for 2017.

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3:13pm

Wed September 25, 2013
Regional Coverage

Turning guns to jewelry to help fight gun violence

Jewelry pieces crafted from guns and bullets by Liberty United
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The city of Syracuse is joining forces with a company that turns the remnants of guns and bullets into jewelry, and turns the profits towards helping reduce gun violence.

At a press conference in Syracuse Wednesday, Peter Thum, founder of Liberty United, showed off some of the jewelry that's been created from the remnants of melted-down guns and bullets confiscated by police -- some of them from Syracuse.

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7:27am

Wed September 25, 2013
Regional Coverage

New series of public meetings being held to decide I-81's future

A series of neighborhood meetings will help the Department of Transportation decide I-81's future.
Zack Seward WXXI

New York state is holding another round of meetings regarding a topic that could change the face of Syracuse. The Department of Transportation begins a series of neighborhood sessions on Wednesday meant to get more feedback on the future of the Interstate 81 viaduct through downtown Syracuse.

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