Syracuse

NYSFair/flickr

Among the improvements to the infrastructure of the New York State Fairgrounds this year, is an upgrade of the fair's surveillance system.  New high-tech cameras are replacing an older system that will keep an eye on anyone visiting the 375 acre fairgrounds.

Phase one of the installation involves laying down the infrastructure for the new cameras and installing them in certain areas, according to Assistant Fair Director Troy Waffner.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Students at the SUNY campus of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse will be able to borrow not only books, but a bike from the library starting this semester.

The new program is starting small, with five bikes available for students to borrow from the campus' Moon Library. All they have to do is fill out a waiver and rental agreement and pay a $20 bike membership fee, then they'll be entitled to unlimited rentals through the year.   

Tom Fazzio

The three candidates vying for the Democratic Party line in the upcoming City of Syracuse mayoral election could only agree to two public forums.  What follows is one of them.  On this week’s edition of the Campbell Conversations, we present the first segment of a two-part series—the second part airing next Sunday, September 1.  The topic for this week, moderated by host Grant Reeher, is the political process and executive leadership.

Activists protest outside Obama speech in Syracuse

Aug 23, 2013
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Protesters against hydrofracking, the controversial gas drilling process, followed President Barack Obama to Syracuse from his first stop in Buffalo on Thursday.

"Ban fracking now! Obama! Ban fracking now! Obama!"

The voices of about one hundred protesters were united in their opposition to hydrofracking. Julianne Skinner came from Montrose, Pa., an area where fracking is allowed.

"They [gas companies] didn't exercise caution," Skinner said. "They were in there, do it quick, do it dirty, get our money and let's go."  

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

President Obama brought his message of affordable education for the middle class to Syracuse yesterday. It was an intimate atmosphere inside the gym at Henninger High School, with the crowd interacting with the president as he laid the groundwork for his plan.

"There aren't a lot of things that are more important than making sure people get a good education," Obama said. "That is key to upward mobility. That is key to a growing economy.  That is key to a strong middle class."

The crowd then started calling out and shouting to him.

"Love you back."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

President Obama was at Henninger High School in Syracuse on Thursday evening to discuss plans to make higher education more affordable for students. Congressman Dan Maffei, whose district includes Syracuse, says the president's speech included the introduction of a new college grading method that could influence how federal financial aid is distributed to the nation's colleges.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy filled in for Gov. Andrew Cuomo during the official opening of the New York State Fair in Syracuse today.  While Cuomo was hosting President Obama in Buffalo, Duffy was tasting New York state products in the new Taste New York Tent at the Fair.

Top state and national Republican leaders hammered President Barack Obama and questioned his motives for a planned bus tour of upstate New York to discuss access to higher education. The tour begins in Buffalo on Thursday.

Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, called Mr. Obama’s planned trip a “lame duck bus tour," and predicted that the president would focus on the same old policies that he says haven't worked.

State lawmakers were looking for suggestions to prevent municipal bankruptcies in New York state at a hearing in Syracuse Tuesday on the first stop for the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Local Government.

The situation in Detroit hung over the hearing. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner warned that cities like Syracuse continue to edge towards the brink of insolvency because revenues can't keep up with expenditures. And until the state helps with that, more cities in New York state will continue to spiral towards insolvency.

Tom Fazzio

The three candidates in the Democratic primary race for mayor of Syracuse squared off during a forum on WRVO's Campbell Conversations on Tuesday. Incumbent Stephanie Miner will face Common Councilor Pat Hogan, and challenger Alfonso Davis, to see who gets on the Democratic party line in November.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse Common Councilor Pat Hogan unveiled the final platform of his campaign challenge to unseat Mayor Stephanie Miner on Monday with his neighborhood agenda.

The Democratic challenger says he wants to put a new focus on the city’s diverse neighborhoods by promoting local businesses and supporting neighborhood associations.

Hogan is challenging current mayor Miner as well as Alfonso Davis in a party primary.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A recent case involving a disabled man tased by Syracuse Police on a CENTRO bus in May has Syracuse lawmakers looking into the police department's policy on using the electronic devices. In a meeting this week, common councilors heard from advocates who would like to see that policy updated.

Young entrepreneurs compete to impress investors

Aug 19, 2013
Tom Magnarelli

College students from across upstate New York pitched their businesses to an audience of potential investors. It was the end of a 12-week program called the Syracuse Student Sandbox, which mentors young entrepreneurs on generating revenue for their startups.

"Teams are coming out of the sandbox at the end of the summer already having some funding, already having products, already having some customers," said John Liddy, the director of the program he helped start in 2009.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

For a recent mid-week doubleheader against the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Syracuse Chiefs baseball team announced an attendance of 6,119 at NBT Bank Stadium - a number based on tickets distributed, not people through the turnstile.

The following night an announced crowd of 10,842 came out to the ballpark. A glance around the 11,000 seat stadium on both days would suspect much smaller actual crowds.

Last season the Triple A affiliate of the Washington Nationals drew an average of 5,288 fans to the ballpark, their lowest since the 2004 season.

Obama to make a stop in Syracuse

Aug 14, 2013
whitehouse.gov

The White House has confirmed that President Barack Obama will travel to Syracuse next week as part of a two-day bus tour to lay out his plan for reducing college costs.The president will also stop in Buffalo, Binghamton and northeastern Pennsylvania.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse Common Councilor Pat Hogan has unveiled an equal rights plan as part of his campaign for mayor and criticized the city’s handling of police use of force on a bus patron in the spring.

Hogan is challenging fellow Democrat Mayor Stephanie Miner in a primary next month.

The councilor, from the Tipp Hill neighborhood, says he’s deeply troubled by the case of Brad Hulett. Hulett, who has a disability, was hit by a taser by city police officers in May while on a public bus after he refused to sit down.

(Editor's note: Common Councilor Jean Kessner was invited to participate in the panel, but was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict)

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The once heavily-polluted Onondaga Lake has a new environmental steward. The Environmental Protection Agency will fund the position for two years with a $200,000 grant.

Three candidates running for Syracuse Common Councilor-at-Large in a September primary joined Grant Reheer's Campbell Conversation to talk about the role of the city's legislative branch of government.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has announced that more police cameras will be going up in a part of the city's north side that has seen some high profile crime recently. The Syracuse Police Department will add seven cameras to the two currently tracking crime on Butternut Street. She says residents asked for more cameras, including Pond Street businessman Jai Suvedi, who says the current cameras have made a difference.

"So as we see Butternut Street between now and before, is totally changed, in this corridor," Suvedi said. "A lot of the crimes have decreased."

Syracuse Common Councilors started the process of turning over tax-delinquent properties to the new Land Bank of Syracuse and Onondaga County on Monday, beginning a new era as the city tries to get rid of many dilapidated or abandoned properties that have been a blight on some neighborhoods, and a burden for tax collectors.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Updated, 11:33 a.m.:

Surprise inspections of 10 corner markets in Syracuse on Tuesday uncovered numerous code violations, including fire safety, sewage and electrical violations. One was ordered to close immediately and the others were given 24 hour notices to shut down.

At the store ordered to close immediately, Delaware Market on the corner of South Geddes Street and Delaware Street, inspectors found a gas leak. S&R Market on South Avenue was running electrical wiring to an adjacent building, inspectors found.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

After a few weeks delay, transportation planners in central New York are moving forward with the next step in the lengthy process of deciding Interstate 81's fate in downtown Syracuse.

The 1.4 mile stretch of elevated highway through downtown, known as the viaduct, is reaching the end of its useable lifespan.

On Monday, the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council approved a $32 million study as part of the next phase of the project. This coming after a lengthy public engagement process and studies by SMTC itself.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse mayoral hopeful Pat Hogan is proposing a ten-point education program for the Syracuse City School District. He's one of four candidates in a Democratic primary for mayor that includes incumbent Stephanie Miner.

Hogan calls education the elephant in the room when it comes to issues facing the city today. He says it's the perceived state of the city schools that drives many families to the suburbs.   

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The first year of Destiny USA has been a boon to the tourism industry in central New York, according to tourism officials. David Holder, president of the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau says hotel occupancy figures show a marked increase in visitors when the bureau promotes the mall/entertainment venue. He says the geographic origin of those visitors also tells the tale.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Brushing off concerns it may be too little, too late, a new group of business owners and lawmakers has formed to oppose the seemingly narrowed options for the next incarnation of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse.

Save 81 launched Thursday to call for more options for what to do about the aging 1.4 mile stretch of I-81 through the city. While the group is opposed to the "urban boulevard" idea pushed for by many city residents, it said it has no "pre-ordained design" as an alternative.

City of Syracuse/Department of Aviation

Syracuse's Hancock Airport is getting a $4.5 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration that officials say will help keep flights on time.  Airport Commissioner Christina Callahan says the funds will pay for a new taxiway, and area where diverted planes can go.

The city of Syracuse is cracking down on property owners who don't pay taxes. But, as lawmakers prepare to vote on whether the city should seize over 100 tax delinquent properties, there are some concerns about those properties that aren't vacant.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Score one for the self-proclaimed clout of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer. Thanks largely to recent efforts of the senator, a former gas station on Syracuse's south side will be redeveloped.

The intersection of East Brighton Avenue and Seneca Turnpike is home to three vacant properties: two former gas stations and an old car wash. Two of them are owned by gas station chain Sunoco.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is looking to raise the amount of money that can go to cleaning up former industrial sites in a move she says will spark for redevelopment.

On Monday she crossed upstate New York promoting the Brownfields Utilization Investment and Local Development Act, or BUILD Act.

Most former industrial sites are contaminated with solvents or metals that leaked into the ground. They're known as brownfields and require remediation before they can be redeveloped.

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