Tom Magnarelli

Reporter, Syracuse

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro said a compromise approach to replace the aging Interstate-81 viaduct in downtown Syracuse seems to be the most appropriate way to move forward. Molinaro also criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo for taking too long to make a decision.

Speaking in Syracuse Thursday, Molinaro weighed in on the I-81 debate and said a tunnel with a street-level community grid above it, makes perfect sense.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

As summer comes to an end, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh’s administration is anticipating the problems that plague the city during the winter months. This year, the city will try a new sidewalk snow removal program.

U.S. House of Representatives/Julio Urrutia

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) and his Democratic opponent Dana Balter are responding to President Donald Trump’s latest round of tariffs, including $200 billion on Chinese goods. Over the past year, reaction to the tariffs have been mixed across the region.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Law enforcement officials in central New York are supporting “red flag” legislation introduced by Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus). The bill aims to allow police to temporarily restrict access to firearms of an individual at extreme risk to themselves or others.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney released her proposed budget for 2019. Mahoney highlighted a positive outlook for the county. She said her guess is it will be a pretty smooth budget process.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

In what could be a stunning victory, Democratic challenger Rachel May leads incumbent state Sen. Dave Valesky by 600 votes in Thursday’s Democratic primary election in the 53rd State Senate District. May did not declare victory Thursday, and Valesky did not concede. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A Syracuse common councilor, who has been absent for four months, returned to the council Wednesday. Councilor Chad Ryan said he was at a treatment center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a severe substance abuse issue.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

As the new school year begins, school districts in central New York will begin to implement a list of recommendations to increase school safety following the Parkland, Florida school shooting earlier this year. Onondaga County officials released a school safety task force report last month. 

Cynthia Nixon Twitter Page

It is a David and Goliath battle according to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, in regards to her primary race against Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sept. 13. But Nixon said she would not be running if she could not win.

Senator Chuck Schumer Facebook Page

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is remembering the late Sen. John McCain who died Saturday. Schumer has also been pressing to rename a Senate office building in McCain’s honor.

Schumer said McCain was a great man, a patriot and always willing to reach across the aisle.

"He would figure out what was right, and then figure out the politics after that," Schumer said. "Most politicians figure out the politics first and then decide whether they can afford to do what's right."

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for changes from the Federal Railroad Administration, after an elevated railroad’s sidewall collapsed in Syracuse last month. Schumer wants the FRA to hire more inspectors and change its policy on releasing inspection reports.

Schumer said even though no one was hurt, the sidewall collapse raises serious concerns regarding the safety of rail bridges.

“The number of collapses is going to increase as the bridges get older and the inspections get less frequent,” Schumer said.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) hosted U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in Cortland to hear the concerns of dairy farmers in the region. Dairy farmers told Perdue about the dire situation the industry is facing.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

As the New York State Fair gets underway, immigration rights advocates are calling attention to the need for undocumented farm workers to be able to drive. Undocumented workers are currently barred from obtaining a driver’s license. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO Public Media File Photo

Syracuse Common Councilor Chad Ryan has been absent from the council for four months because of what's described as a medical issue. Ryan was recently removed as the chair of the council’s public works committee.

On Monday, the council approved the purchase of 17,000 street lights from National Grid for $38 million. The agenda item was on behalf of the Department of Public Works. Council President Helen Hudson said she needed council oversight of it and with Ryan gone she asked Councilor-at-Large Michael Greene to handle it.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media File Photo

The city of Syracuse has released the results of the community’s input on what criteria they want from the next chief of police. Residents said they want the next chief to bring more transparency and public engagement.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

During the summer months, the Boys & Girls Club in Syracuse serves hundreds of free meals to kids who lose access to free and reduced meals at school. Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is pushing legislation to expand summer food service programs.

Seven-year-old Memah plays with her friends at the Boys & Girls Club in Syracuse.

“You learn a lot, there’s a lot of food and you can play a lot,” Memah said.

She eats twice a day at the Boy & Girls Club. She likes pancakes for breakfast and hamburgers for lunch. Katko helped serve lunch to the kids.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media File Photo

The city of Syracuse is entering into a three-year agreement with a dog licensing system. The goal is to raise the city’s participation rate in the state mandated dog license program.

Syracuse has only a seven percent participation rate, slightly lower than the national average. DocuPet, a Canadian corporation based in Kingston, Ontario, helps municipalities improve the experience and participation in the dog licensing program. CEO Grant Goodwin said it is important to license pets so they can be identified.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The city of Syracuse could spend $38 million to buy 17,000 street lights from National Grid and convert them to LED lighting with smart city technology. The project is expected to save the city money, operate more efficiently and improve its digital connections.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Democratic candidate for New York State Senate in the 50th District, John Mannion, said the state needs a more coordinated effort to address harmful algal blooms in lakes. Mannion, a 25-year biology teacher at West Genesee High School, said volunteer groups and local representatives believe they are in a crisis situation.

Kathy Gorr said residents living alongside Skaneateles Lake, have been very concerned about its water quality since harmful algal blooms appeared last year.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Following President Donald Trump’s visit to Fort Drum and Utica Monday, Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said he would be willing to host anyone, including the president, if it advances Katko’s agenda for central New York. 

David Sommerstein / NCPR

The National Defense Authorization Act for 2019 gives troops their largest pay increase in nearly a decade and starts laying the groundwork for the president's proposed Space Force.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were at Fort Drum today today where Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which included more than $700 billion in military spending.

Gotcha Bike

The Syracuse Common Council approved a two-year deal with Gotcha Bike at the end of July to start the city’s bike-share program. The city is also applying for state grant funding to construct more bike lanes.

Councilor Joe Driscoll said pricing was the biggest sticking point for him when deciding to go with Gotcha Bike over the other contenders. Most of the programs were coming in at a $75-$100 annual fee. Gotcha was able to get it closer to $25 a year.  

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Updated at 8am Saturday, August 11

According to data from the Onondaga County Health Department, no toxins have been detected at the water intake pipes in Skaneateles Lake for the last three days. On August 7, tests showed 0.3 parts per billion of mycrocystins, the lowest possible detection level. Starting August 8, the level of mycrocystins was undetectable. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Members of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office are training for different active shooter scenarios. Lt. Paul Brennan said the ways in which officers respond to shootings are always changing.

"This is different than the last time we did active shooter training," Brennan said.

On Tuesday, officers in road patrol used simunitions, replica handguns shooting small plastic projectiles, as they moved through a scenario in a vacant building, simulating a group of people detained by someone with a gun. Officers entered and confronted the suspect.

Anthony Brindisi for Congress YouTube Page

A political ad by Democratic congressional candidate Anthony Brindisi has been rejected from airing on Charter Spectrum cable channels. Brindisi said the company is censoring him by refusing to air it.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) is calling for more infrastructure investment as she visits a range of different businesses and organizations in her district. She is also highlighting what she calls the positive impact the tax overhaul is having on the upstate economy.

Kris-Tech Wire in Rome manufactures copper wire and sells it to utilities and contractors. Graham Brodock, the owner and CEO, said their business is tied to the overall economy.

“So when the economy is strong, our copper prices go up, when the economy is weak, copper prices go down,” Brodock said.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) toured the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County Wednesday as part of his push to “make nuclear cool again.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Democratic congressional candidate Dana Balter is refusing to accept donations from corporate PACs, or political action committees. Balter, who is running in the 24th Congressional District, outlined an agenda focused on campaign finance reform, transparency and constituent engagement.

Balter said it is critically important to know where candidates and elected officials are getting their money from.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The city of Syracuse will pay the legal fees of a self-described ‘Christian evangelist’ protester after a federal judge ruled his free speech was violated. Some residents were demanding Syracuse common councilors not approve the payment.