Utica

6:06am

Tue June 3, 2014
Regional Coverage

First CNY bourbon product of state's craft distillery initiatives

Oak barrels that Aidrondack Distilling Company stores their bourbon in.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The bourbon being produced at a Utica distillery is being described as the first legal bourbon produced in central New York. It's proof that the craft liquor industry is growing in New York state.

The Adirondack Distilling Company started out by crafting vodka. Then they moved to gin and, most recently, white whiskey. Now, master distiller Jordan Karp says the company is moving on to that quintessential American drink.

"Bourbon is an American spirit made with at least 51 percent corn, and stored and aged in a charred, new, oak American barrel,” Karp explained.

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6:50am

Fri May 30, 2014
Regional Coverage

Drug Court offers offenders rehabilitation instead of jail time

As the use of heroin surges, many people arrested for drug-related crimes are ending up in drug court, one of the so-called "problem solving courts" that have been started in recent years.

Every Thursday afternoon in the Oneida County Courthouse, the Judge John Balzano seems to be equal parts judge, guidance counselor and the leader of a support group.

This is drug court. Balzano dispenses justice here with an emphasis on rehabilitation.

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7:59am

Fri May 23, 2014
Regional Coverage

Utica's Union Station honors 100 years of service

Decorated tables for a dance fill the main concourse of Utica's Union Station.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

Utica's Union Station has been a mainstay in the city's historic Bagg's Square neighborhood since 1914. In that time, the train station went from a bustling transit hub, to nearly being demolished in the 1970s, to a recent resurgence as a public gathering place. This weekend, Utica is celebrating the station's 100th anniversary and some of the things that make it unique.

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7:29am

Thu May 8, 2014
Education

Charter school application sparks debate in Utica

James F Clay Flickr

Concern is once again rising in the cash-strapped Utica City School District as the state mulls over the possibility of allowing another charter school to open.

A group led by Christina Johnson, an educator and local resident, applied to the SUNY Charter Schools Institute earlier this year to establish the Mohawk Valley Community Charter School within the Utica School District to serve elementary-aged children.

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8:27am

Mon April 28, 2014
The Upstate Economy

Overwhelming demand to attend job fair for Nano Utica

Construction of the Nano Utica complex on the campus of SUNY-IT in Utica in October. (file photo)
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Registration for a job fair to work at the new nano technology facility in Utica had to be cut off several days early because there was too much demand for the 300 open positions.

The job fair for the QUAD-C computer chip center on the campus of the SUNY Institute of Technology is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. But after 1,500 people had registered by Thursday, organizers cut it off.

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6:25am

Wed April 16, 2014
The Upstate Economy

Utica considers launching freedom trail

Doug Kerr Flickr

Almost 200 years ago, Utica was home to a passionate abolitionist community determined to rid the young nation of slavery. Now a local group is trying to remind the public of the significance of the city’s role in the anti-slavery movement.

Nearly sixty people came out recently on a typically chilly winter morning to walk downtown Utica streets, each of which had a story to tell from the days of the Underground Railroad.

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7:51am

Tue April 15, 2014
Regional Coverage

Utica's arterial project provides city with next step in revitalization process

An outline of the changes that will take place along the north-south arterial.
NYS Department of Transportation

In the city of Utica, the north-south arterial, which connects three major state routes, has divided the west side from the rest of the city. But after years of debate, the state Department of Transportation is now rebuilding the road, with the goal to make the arterial safer and allow people and cars to move more freely between the two sections of Utica. The city says the project will also help its revitalization effort.

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8:14am

Mon March 24, 2014
Regional Coverage

Utica loves its chicken riggies, but would it taste good as a potato chip?

A typical bowl of chicken riggies served at Babe's Macaroni Bar and Grill in North Utica.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

Syracuse has salt potatoes, Rochester has the garbage plate and Buffalo has the chicken wing. And for the Mohawk Valley, the iconic food has to be chicken riggies. The central New York pasta dish has become so popular it commands its own festival. Now, one Utica resident has entered the unique flavor of peppers, chicken, rigatoni and pink tomato sauce into a national contest.

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3:46pm

Wed March 19, 2014
Education

Utica City School District discusses layoffs to help balance budget

The Utica City School District is looking at another year of layoffs, though the final budget has not been completed.
Gino Geruntino WRVO

For the fourth straight year, the Utica City School District is facing a deficit, causing the school board to consider layoffs. School Business Official Maureen Albanese says right now the district, which is among the state's poorest, is having trouble balancing its nearly $146 million budget.

"We had a $3.8 million deficit in the general fund, and we're looking at a $2.6 [million] deficit in our federal grants, which brought our total budget deficit to $6.4 million," Albanese said.

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5:59am

Wed February 5, 2014
drones

N.Y. drone testing coalition still needs $1.2 million in funding

Dan Pacheco flies a small drone as part of a demonstration last month in Syracuse.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

There was no federal funding attached to the Federal Aviation Administration’s designation of upstate New York as a drone research site, but the coalition that will run the testing needs money to begin operations itself.

The coalition that won the bid just before the New Year, known as NUAIR, will be based at the former Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome. The research lab there is upgrading a former hanger to house drones and equipment.

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9:01am

Tue February 4, 2014
Politics and Government

Hanna seeks re-election, says there's more to be done in Congress

RichardHannaforCongress.com

Rep. Richard Hanna says he's seeking a third term in Congress because there's more work to be done.

The Republican announced his re-election intentions late last week. He was first elected to serve what's now New York's 22nd Congressional District in 2010. Hanna is from Barneveld, just north of Utica, and represents that city as well as Binghamton and areas in between.

He says there's a lot of opportunities in Congress right now.

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7:43am

Mon February 3, 2014
The Upstate Economy

Utica's continued growth fuels chamber of commerce's name change

The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce attends a ribbon cutting ceremony for Bella Regina in downtown Utica.
Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce

The city of Utica is showing signs of growth, whether it's the introduction of the Utica Comets hockey team, the massive investments into Nano Utica, or the recent completion of the Utica tower. To match the spirit of the city around them, the former Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce has also made a change, rebranding itself as the Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce in 2014.

Although its reach will still include Madison, Herkimer and Oneida counties, executive director Pamela Matt says the city of Utica is showing a resiliency that will help propel it into the future.

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9:00am

Wed January 29, 2014
The Upstate Economy

Nano Utica provides spark in Rust Belt city

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the announcement of a $1.5 billion investment into Nano Utica in mid-October.
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

In the Utica area, there’s been a lot of buzz lately about nanotechnology, and the possibility that a major nanotech manufacturing facility will soon locate  there. But what exactly is Nano Utica?

On a chilly November morning, contractors are giving public tours of a construction site at the SUNY Institute of Technology in Utica. But it’s not a classroom building or new dorm they’re walking around. The public is getting a sneak peak at something known here as Quad-C, the Computer Chip Commercialization Center.

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5:07pm

Fri January 10, 2014
Politics and Government

Gillibrand proposes paid family leave legislation

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announces her family leave proposal in Utica
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is proposing new federal legislation that would create paid family and medical leave. She says the idea is to establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program, that would allow anyone who needs time off for a family emergency, to be able to take this time off while still getting paid.

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8:13am

Mon November 18, 2013
Refugee Resettlement

Refugee communities pump new energy into post-industrial Utica

Stepanda Zhushma in a community garden in Utica. She came to upstate New York from Belarus on Sept. 23, 1989, a date that rolls off her tongue.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Since 2004, upstate New York has taken 90 percent of all refugee resettlements in the state. This is the first part of the Innovation Trail reporting series looking at how upstate New York's refugee population is influencing the region's economy.

Utica has long seen itself as a city of immigrants. The arrival of Italians, Germans and Irish drove the city’s population to peak at around 100,000. During the mid 1970s in the wake of major changes to the city's industrial base and dwindling employment opportunities, the population fell by nearly half.

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4:01pm

Mon November 4, 2013
Politics

Cross-party endorsements create complicated comptroller race in Utica

The comptroller race in the city of Utica has taken an odd turn. At an event last week, the city's Democrat Mayor Robert Palmieri endorsed Independence Party candidate William Morehouse, rather than fellow Democrat Jim Zecca.

In a written statement, Palmieri explained that he believes says the city needs to elect people who “believe in working together and have the city of Utica's best interest at heart.”

Zecca says even though he doesn't have the support of most of Utica's elected Democrats, it hasn’t derailed his campaign.

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4:57pm

Tue October 29, 2013
Regional Coverage

News Briefs: Tuesday, Oct. 29

Oneida nation to discuss Redskins controversy with NFL

The Oneida Indian Nation will meet Wednesday with National Football League officials to discuss its desire to have the Washington Redskins team change its name.

The Oneida say the name is a racial slur to Native Americans. They've been putting pressure on the league and team in recent weeks to change it. The team's owner has defended the name, saying it's a badge of honor.

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4:40pm

Fri October 11, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Utica welcomes new hockey team, investments to city

The Utica Memorial Auditorium has undergone renovations to support the Comets.
Gino Geruntino/WRVO

The Mohawk Valley has had a hockey team for most of the last 90 years, but 1993 was the last time a professional hockey team took to the ice in Utica. Earlier this year, the city landed a new American Hockey League team, called the Utica Comets, and a chance to bring more than just hockey back to the city.

Frank DuRoss is co-owner of the new Utica Comets, a Vancouver Canucks affiliate. He says the new AHL team is one of many things giving the region a reason to cheer.

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4:29pm

Thu October 10, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Six companies will help make Utica 'second nanotech hub'

Officials view the chip packaging facility under construction at SUNY IT in Utica. It will now be expanded.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Utica finally looks ready to become New York state's second major hub of nanotechnology with the announcement of a six-company investment in the city on Thursday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was on the campus of the State University of New York's Institute of Technology in Utica to announce a $1.5 billion investment. He predicted 1,000 new jobs would come to the computer chip facility under construction at the school.

"And the industry is just starting," Cuomo said.

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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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9:45am

Thu July 18, 2013
Education

A tale of two buildings: schools face differing futures after being shut down

The Roosevelt Elementary School in Utica has been vacant for two decades and may need to be torn down.
Gino Geruntino/WRVO

When school districts consolidate or are faced with budget cuts, sometimes school buildings become a casualty of the process.

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2:19pm

Wed January 30, 2013
Regional Coverage

State report shows Utica in fiscal decline

A new state report describes the city of Utica as a city in fiscal decline. The state Comptroller's office has released a fiscal snapshot of the city as part of its new fiscal monitoring system.

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6:04am

Wed December 19, 2012
Regional Coverage

Saranac brewery cuts ribbon on new biodigester

F.X. Matt Brewing CEO Nick Matt, in blazer, checks plans for a biodigester in June. The system will begin operating next month.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The historic F.X. Matt Brewery, maker of the popular Saranac line of beers, is getting more "green" next month. It won't be making green beer on a regular basis, as some brewers do for St. Patrick's Day, but it will flip the switch on a new anaerobic digester.

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11:21am

Thu October 4, 2012
Politics

Hanna re-election bid in full swing

Representative Richard Hanna marked what he called the official kick off to his re-election bid -- opening one of his campaign offices in Utica Wednesday. The one-term Republican has been running for re-election in the newly drawn 22nd congressional district, and in fact has already had one debate with his opponent, Democrat Dan Lamb.

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9:40am

Thu September 20, 2012
Regional Coverage

Oneida County bath salts use down, but drugs still a problem

The use of synthetic drugs like bath salts became a growing health and law enforcement problem in upstate New York this summer.  Wednesday, the public had a chance to learn more about this latest trend in drug abuse at a forum in Utica.

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10:00am

Wed September 19, 2012
Regional Coverage

Utica's Burmese community excited about Aung San Suu Kyi visit to US

Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is on the third day of her tour of the United States. Wednesday she will be honored at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. In the audience to witness Suu Kyi receiving the highest honor Congress can give, will be several Burmese refugees now living in Utica.

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4:41pm

Fri August 10, 2012
Education

New charter school proposed for Utica

A charter school in Syracuse is hoping to expand to another part of central New York. The school believes it can provide another option for children and parents.

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8:03am

Tue June 26, 2012
The Upstate Economy

New York's craft breweries bubble on thanks to tax credit deal

The F.X. Matt Brewery makes several types of beers, including Saranac ales and lagers, at its Utica, N.Y. brew house.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Nick Matt ducks into side doors and up staircases while rattling off the history of the F.X. Matt Brewery in Utica.

The brew house is like a second home to Matt because it was his grandfather, F.X., who first opened the brewery 124 years ago.

If you're racking your brain to see if you've ever heard of F.X. Matt Brewery, try this: they make Saranac ales and lagers. For the older generations, does Utica Club ring a bell?

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9:23am

Mon June 18, 2012
Regional Coverage

How the maker of Saranac beer is turning wastewater into energy

Matt Brewing CEO Nick Matt, in blue blazer, discusses the brewery's addition of an anaerobic digester.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Five big new tanks have arrived at the F.X. Matt Brewing Company in Utica. But they won't be used to make the brewery's signature Saranac brand craft beer.

Instead, the tanks will act as anaerobic digesters for the brewery's wastewater.

Special bacteria will munch on the yeast and grains left floating around. The process will get the water about 85 percent cleaner before it's discharged into the sewer system, according to CEO Nick Matt.

But the digestion process also gives off methane gas and carbon dioxide.

That methane will be used to power a generator. CEO Matt says the new system will cover up to 40 percent of the brewery's electricity needs.

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4:00pm

Thu May 17, 2012
Utica Psych Center

Utica residents try to save psychiatric center

Utica area lawmakers, activists  and residents are trying to save the Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center.  The community is galvanizing its support of the facility, which has been in the area for over a century.

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