Syracuse

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.

Scientists work to bring back American chestnut tree

Oct 17, 2013
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Search begins for new State Fair director

Oct 4, 2013
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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO

Syracuse's Green Party mayoral candidate, Kevin Bott, met his opponent, current Mayor Stephanie Miner, for the first time Monday night and challenged her to a debate.

Miner said she was willing to listen to what he had to say and that her campaign manager would get back to him.

Bott says the people of Syracuse deserve to hear different viewpoints debate each other in a general election.

The city of Syracuse has joined the federal government in a legal motion that could end up changing the civil service tests that are the baseline for hiring police and firefighters across the state.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse's Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital is the first in the nation using laser technology to treat a rare, genetic disease with a multi-staged approach. The new use of laser ablation technology has changed the lives of families with children suffering from tuberous sclerosis in central New York.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

For the first time in a century, there won't be a candidate on the Republican line in the race for Syracuse mayor this November. The GOP held off as long as it could to try to find a candidate, before calling off the the search.

"We gave it a yeoman's effort to try and find a candidate," Onondaga County Republican Party Chair Tom Dadey said. "That's why we went to the extraordinary lengths we went to, to preserve our ballot line for as long as we could, in hopes that that candidate would come forward, who's never come forward."

Members of the Syracuse Common Council are considering beefing up fines for residents accused of disturbing the peace.

These are the kinds of complaints lawmakers hear a lot, according to northside Syracuse councilor Jake Barrett. He says these types of complaints affect the quality of life of city residents, and can be big or small.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

Syracuse's Green Party is optimistic about the race for mayor of Syracuse. Candidate Kevin Bott kicked off his campaign on the steps of City Hall yesterday, suggesting that even though incumbent mayor Stephanie Miner won a three-way Democratic primary, there are signs her political support isn't that strong.

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner took a step toward a second term in yesterday's Democratic mayoral primary, after winning more than half of the votes cast in a three-way race for the Democratic spot on the November ballot.

"Tonight we heard loudly and clearly, that the people of this party are looking forward and not backward," Miner said.

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

A vigil was held at Syracuse University Monday evening in opposition to a proposed U.S. led military strike in Syria. About 30 people came to show support. Syria is currently in a civil war, and the United Nationas estimates more than 100,000 people have died since 2011.

Columbia City Blog / Flickr

It's primary day in New York state, and city halls throughout the region are at the center of voting. Probably the highest profile mayoral race is in New York City, but voters will also be choosing candidates for mayor in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Watertown and Syracuse.

While the polls give an edge to incumbents in these races, Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says candidates can't afford to take anything for granted.

Syracuse Common Councilors have agreed to begin foreclosure proceedings on more than two dozen addition tax delinquent properties, that will be turned over to the land bank. This is the third round of foreclosure decisions by lawmakers in the last month. But, there is an end game in sight.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse's Hancock International Airport is one of the medium size airports that will offer the TSA's new PreCheck program, becoming one of 60 across the country that will be able to take advantage of the expedited screening.

The PreCheck initiative is a frequent traveler screening program that will make it easier for frequent fliers to get through the screening process. Syracuse Aviation Commissioner Christina Callahan says there should be demand in Central New York.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has some local environmentalists on her side in her race for reelection.

The local and regional arm of the Sierra Club is supporting Miner in her bid for mayor, citing what they say is her ambitious environmental vision for Syracuse. Shortly after becoming mayor, Miner created the Bureau of Sustainability and Environment, dedicated to environmental issues in the city. Miner says these are important issues, even in a time of fiscal instability. She also says city residents appreciate the focus on this issue.

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