Utica

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Legislators from the Mohawk Valley say they are disappointed with this year's budget process, but pleased with the outcome.

Katie Keier / Flickr

Several central and northern New York legislators are praising the state's new budget as a win for the region's schools, but they say it was a hard-fought battle that is not over yet.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The joint effort between New York state and officials in Oneida County to recover from this week's massive snowstorm continue, but some lawmakers say the recovery was hampered by an inaccurate weather forecast that wasted precious time and resources.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Utica city officials have begun crafting their budget for the next year and the mayor's proposed version includes no tax increases. 

Mayor Robert Palmieri says it's evidence that the city's financial recovery continues to make great strides. Back in 2012, the city faced an $8 million budget gap and depleted fund reserves. Today, Palmieri's $69-million budget would not raise taxes nor would it draw from Utica's fund reserves, which have swelled to more than $5 million.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Included in the governor's proposed budget is money to build a new hospital in downtown Utica. After years of planning, Mohawk Valley Health System officials are optimistic that progress will finally be made on their project this year. But some residents are still trying to change the hospital's proposed location before construction begins.

The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees / Facebook

Officials with the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees say their philanthropic work has been interrupted by President Donald Trump's attempts to temporarily halt refugees from entering the country, and that's taking a human toll on families who were ready to start a new life in the U.S.

Alliance for Quality Education

The Alliance for Quality Education says Gov. Andrew Cuomo is misleading the public in a debate about school funding. The school advocacy group has published a new report that criticizes the governor's proposed education spending plan and his attempts to defend it. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

At the annual Mohawk Valley legislative forum in Utica, state and local leaders said the region's economy is poised to expand thanks to several major projects, but  the endangered status of the nano technology center in Marcy loomed throughout the discussion.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A third of the city of Utica lives below the poverty line, including 47 percent of its children. That is the starting point for the city's new poverty reduction initiative task force. At its first public forum last week, those involved with the project revealed that the problem is even worse for African American children, 72 percent of whom are affected.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

Lawmakers from the Mohawk Valley are criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo for not visiting or even mentioning their area this week during his six State of the State addresses. They believe the snub comes at an especially tumultuous time for the region, where the economic recovery has been slower than in other areas of the state.

LtGovHochulNY / Flickr

Officials in the Mohawk Valley are scrambling to find a replacement tenant for a semiconductor chip fabrication plant in Marcy after its main corporate partner dropped out. But officials say they are still optimistic about the future of the project.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul made a few stops in central New York on Tuesday focusing on smart growth and sustainability. Hochul toured Syracuse University’s Center of Excellence where students and professors are working on new ways to conserve energy through air conditioning.

That research is through a U.S. Department of Energy grant and is in partnership with the Carrier Corporation. Hochul said these centers of excellence across the state have raised billions in revenue and create thousands of jobs.

Office of the Utica Mayor

At a time when many communities across the country are wrestling with how to improve the relationship between the police and residents they serve after horrific events like a police shooting, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri says his city is taking a proactive approach.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Voters in Utica supported the common council's plan to pave every road in the city in a referendum on Election Day with 60 percent of the vote. Now, Utica leaders are preparing to embark on the ambitious 15-year project, which is expected to cost $75 million.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

For the first time since 1990, the Utica Zoo is embarking on comprehensive master plan. The proposed "Dream Big" project would expand the facility from 40 acres to 80 acres over the next 20 years. The goal is to raise $75 million, mainly through fundraising. If achieved, it will mean new animals, like tigers, bears and orangutans, as well as improved homes for some of its current tenants.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News File Photo

The parents and children in Utica and seven other upstate school districts involved in the so-called "Small Cities Lawsuit" say their fight for obtaining more education funding is not done yet.

They are appealing a state supreme court judge's recent ruling that New York state has met its constitutional obligation to provide additional money from an earlier court decision in 2006. But the plaintiff's attorney Wendy Lecker said New York never fully phased in that remedy, which was called the Foundation Aid Formula.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Utica College is welcoming its largest freshman class ever. The private school's officials say it's just one of the many benefits it's seeing from the "reset" of undergraduate tuition rates. It dropped from $35,000 a year to $20,000. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Utica Common Council is moving forward with a plan to re-pave every road in the city after they voted last week to override the mayor's veto. The 15-year project will cost $75 million.

Mayor Robert Palmieri opposed the plan because it could require Utica to borrow more than $48 million. He said locking the city into long-term debt is ill advised. Councilman David Testa is also skeptical about the cost, noting that the plan already calls for an annual .74 percent property tax increase. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Utica Common Council has rejected a plan to build an asphalt plant on the north side of the city that many residents said threatened the community's progress. 

At a standing-room only meeting at Utica city hall Wednesday night, the restless crowd waited for the committee meeting to end ahead of the full council session.

Impatience eventually boiled over after they got wind that the council was considering tabling the vote on the sale of the property. So, they stormed into the adjacent room where the council committee meeting was taking place.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri has vetoed a plan from the Utica Common Council to re-pave every city road over the next 15 years. Palmieri said the $75 million project would place a "substantive burden" on the city's residents. 

Utica's charter currently requires the city to invest $2 million a year in paving. Under the common council's plan, residents would be asked in a referendum this fall to increase that amount to $5 million.  

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

A solar project planned for Utica will now be built in the town of Lisbon in St. Lawrence County. The city of Utica can still receive all of the power from the site.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

  Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is calling on the Federal Highway Administration and the New York State Department of Transportation to unlock funds for the city of Utica to use in a new project. The funds were frozen because they were earmarked for a different project that never went through.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Complaints from Utica residents about the city's roads have reached a fever pitch. 

"It has been a long time since required paving has been increased and there is a big public outcry to fix the roads, it was blatantly apparent in the last campaign season," said Common Council President Michael Galime.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

The Utica City School District has settled a lawsuit with New York state over allegations that it denied equal education opportunities to some refugee and immigrant students. The school district had diverted some foreign students to an alternative education program that taught them English, which the lawsuit claimed was inferior. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A recent report from the New York State Financial Restructuring Board praised Utica officials for stabilizing the city's financial condition. The assessment came at the request of Utica's mayor and common council after they took painstaking steps to reverse an $8 million budget gap and depleted fund reserves in 2012.

Redeemer Cup brings new & old Uticans together

Jun 8, 2016
David Chanatry/NY Reporting Project

The sounds of sport filled the air in Utica this past weekend, but despite the time of year, it wasn’t the crack of the bat that was heard. More than 10 percent of the city’s population is made up of refugees, and they were playing a different game.

In Utica’s Proctor Park, between a baseball diamond and basketball court, several fields were full of sounds of “the beautiful game.”

It’s the sixth Redeemer Cup international soccer tournament, a sort of mini-World Cup in central New York. Fifteen teams competed this year, comprised of refugees and immigrants.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried to find a compromise over how to best utilize a corridor in the Adirondacks, he opened old wounds from a decades-long debate.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The race in New York's 22nd Congressional District is considered by the Cook Political Report to be one of the most competitive in the nation. At least five candidates are seeking the seat that three-term Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) is vacating at the end of the year. The district stretches from the eastern part of Oswego County to the Mohawk valley to the Southern Tier and includes all or part of eight counties.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Ahead of the Empire State's April 19 primary, Donald Trump supporters in central New York are organizing to gain support for the presidential candidate.

In Utica's historic train station, a group of Mohawk Valley citizens gathered to say they think the country is off track and Trump is the only candidate who can help.

"We've been going in the wrong direction for too long, in particular the last eight years," Perry Onderdonk said. "He's achieved personal greatness and I think he can apply his business acumen to fixing what's wrong with our country today."

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente says the number of governments in the county is unsustainable. In his annual State of the County speech Tuedsay, he renewed his call for downsizing the size of government, noting that sales tax revenues in Oneida County are down by $3.8 million. The county has 47 government units and 345 taxing jurisdictions. Picente said that ultimately leads to overlapping public services.

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