Utica

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Nano Utica provides spark in Rust Belt city

Jan 29, 2014
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.

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.

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.

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.

News Briefs: Tuesday, Oct. 29

Oct 29, 2013

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.

Utica welcomes new hockey team, investments to city

Oct 11, 2013
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.

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.

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.

Gino Geruntino/WRVO file photo

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

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.

Saranac brewery cuts ribbon on new biodigester

Dec 19, 2012
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.

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.

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.

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.

New charter school proposed for Utica

Aug 10, 2012

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.

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?

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.

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.

You might not think of central New York as a home for world-class sculpture, but it is.  Utica's annualS culpture-Space brings artists from all over, to enjoy the freedom to create all kinds of sculpture.

Sarah Beck gives us a tour of the city's sculpture landscape.

There are well-known communities around the world that embrace sculpture as a community art form.  You see it in the photos from places such as Athens and Rome. But many sculptors on this side of the Atlantic recognize a place in Utica as a home for sculpture as well.

In the first of two stories, WRVO's Sarah Beck introduces us to Utica's "Sculpture-Space."

Hear Part Two of Sarah's story Wednesday on WRVO's Morning Edition.

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