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

Teachers in the Baldwinsville Central School District participated in an active shooter scenario at Baker High School last week, to learn more on how to respond to a school shooting. Baldwinsville teachers have been training for years, but recent mass shootings, like the latest in Thousand Oaks, California, make it all the more timely.

Sam Northrup / WRVO News

More absentee ballots were sent in all eight counties covering the 22nd Congressional District in this past midterm election compared to four years ago. And all those ballots, totaling more than 12,000, as well as affidavit ballots, will need to be counted, as the race between Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) and Democrat Anthony Brindisi, is too close to call. Brindisi leads by just under 1,300 votes. Election commissioners have dealt with some problems and are eager to get the results.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

In a race too close to call between incumbent Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) and her Democratic opponent Anthony Brindisi, Brindisi has the lead by 1,400 votes. But there could be more than 10,000 absentee ballots in the 22nd Congressional District. 

Dana Balter for Congress Facebook

By the time polls open Tuesday, most voters have seen or heard a lot of negative political ads. The number of negative ads in federal races is up 60 percent this year from the 2014 midterms, according to The Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks broadcast political advertisements. But negative ads can have some useful features for voters.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Ryan McMahon is the new Onondaga County executive. He took over the position from Joanie Mahoney. The 38-year-old Republican and father of three, who grew up in the city of Syracuse, will get the chance to show the public what his administration looks like before voters choose a candidate for the office next year. 

An early test for McMahon came in 2003. After working at an internship in Albany for an assemblyman, McMahon realized he wanted to run for office. The first time he did, in a race for a seat on the Syracuse Common Council, he lost.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

More than $60 million in renovations to Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport has been completed. The project is meant to improve the traveler experience and the region's image.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo cut the ribbon in the redesigned terminal with new interior and exterior signage, more natural light and kiosks. Gone is the outside concrete canopy, replaced with a new façade and two glass pedestrian bridges. Cuomo said airports are key for driving tourism and new businesses.

WRVO News

Central New York Democratic State Sen. Dave Valesky, first elected in 2004, was one of six members of the former Independent Democratic Conference to lose in primaries this year. That has opened the 53rd Senate District seat up to Democrat Rachel May, who defeated Valesky, and Republican Janet Burman, both of whom live in Syracuse. The winner will move the district from the center to either a more progressive or conservative ideology.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Some snow plow contractors in Syracuse were under the impression that the city was no longer requiring a license to operate, according to city officials. No licenses were issued last year, until Mayor Ben Walsh’s administration stepped up enforcement of the law. Now the city has updated its ordinance on snow removal contractors to increase further compliance.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The search for the next chief of police in Syracuse has been narrowed down to three candidates. One has extensive experience in the Syracuse Police Department and the other two come from outside New York State.

Syracuse Common Councilor-at-Large Steven Thompson, who was also a former police chief, was a member of the search committee that asked the candidates questions as to how they would decrease the shootings and violence occurring in the city, as well as how they would structure the police department and interact with other agencies.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Central New York Community Foundation will spend $2 million over four years to help end childhood lead poisoning by making residences in Syracuse lead safe. The investments target new housing construction and existing home renovations.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Eric Trump, son of President Donald Trump, fired up a crowd of volunteers and supporters of Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) Tuesday. Trump was at Republican headquarters in New Hartford where he credited Republican tax cuts for creating a hot economy with record low unemployment. He highlighted the importance of Trump supporters voting in the midterm elections. And he said Tenney is a pragmatic business person and a Washington D.C. outsider.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The city of Syracuse is trying to make it easier for food trucks to do business. But at least one food truck owner has questions over the new laws governing their operation.

Syracuse Common Councilor Michael Greene said other cities have a vibrant food truck culture that Syracuse is lacking. So, the council approved lowering the license fee from $1500 to $500 and expanding the locations where food trucks can set up shop.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Thirty police officers in Onondaga County completed a crisis intervention team training last week that helps them recognize and respond to people with mental illnesses. The goal, when possible, is to divert those with mental illness from the criminal justice system towards treatment services.

The training is a combination of police officers understanding what people with mental issues go through and how to steer them towards receiving the proper care at a psychiatric center, mental health clinic or detox program.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

A 14-year-old was shot in Syracuse last weekend and it is part of a recent increase in youth violence in the city. Syracuse’s mayor said while the issue of gun violence is not new to the city, the age of the victims and perpetrators of recent crimes has given everyone in the community additional cause for concern.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Absentee ballots have been mailed out in Onondaga County, after there was some confusion over whether the names of Republican and Conservative candidates for state Supreme Court would appear on the ballots. A judge ruled that the convention process for those candidates was improper and removed them from the ballot.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

The New York Mets will stay in Syracuse for the next 25 years, thanks to a deal that will invest $25 million into Onondaga County’s NBT Bank baseball stadium. The deal includes a name change from the Syracuse Chiefs to the Syracuse Mets. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral John Okon, who is originally from central New York, spoke to students at the Public Service Leadership Academy at Fowler High School in Syracuse last week. Okon emphasized the qualities of leadership and resilience.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Friday is the last day to register to vote in New York State for November’s general election. The state Board of Elections is warning the public about scammers claiming to register people through phone calls and texts.

Brett Levin / Flickr

Residents across New York State have been participating in listening sessions on whether the state should legalize recreational marijuana. Most of the people at the listening sessions support a regulated marijuana program, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Syracuse City School District is entering into a three-year agreement with the city of Syracuse, in which the district will pay for any additional school resource officers. But having police officers in the schools is still a contentious issue among some of the stakeholders.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse University students told personal stories of their own sexual assault experiences and rape culture on campus at a walkout Thursday against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who is accused of sexual misconduct. Sarah Epelman, a senior, said there is no accountability from the Trump administration and she encouraged the crowd to stick together.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media

As negotiations continue between Onondaga County and the New York Mets to keep the region’s minor league baseball team, the Syracuse Chiefs, in central New York, the county is offering a multimillion dollar package to keep the Mets in Syracuse for decades.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The service that allows police to detect where gunshots are being fired in the city of Syracuse, is up for renewal. ShotSpotter is assisting police with investigations, but also driving up the statistics in one area of crime.

First Deputy Chief of Police Joe Cecile said in almost every category, most calls for crime in the city of Syracuse are down except for shots fired.

WRVO Public Media

A new Siena College poll has Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo leading over his Republican challenger Marc Molinaro by 22 points among likely voters in the gubernatorial race. Three other minor party candidates, including former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, received less than five percent in the poll.

Miner, who is running as an independent, said she is not surprised she is polling at only one percent.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative is in its third year of awarding communities $10 million to fund projects that improve city centers. The strategy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office is also to emphasize the importance of waterfront development. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Anti-poverty programs are up and running in Oswego thanks to nearly $400,000 in state funding through the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative. Last year, officials selected programs from local organizations to receive the funding.

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said they wanted to create programs that would help get people out of poverty and be self-sustaining.

“Our programs are developed around workforce development situations where we can help people get the skills they need to get a job and keep a job,” Barlow said. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Violence Against Women Act, which provides funding, services and other legislative impacts for domestic and sexual violence survivors, is set to expire at the end of the month. Local advocates are calling on Congress to extend the law.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

After serving eleven years as the Onondaga County Executive, Joanie Mahoney is stepping down for a job as the chief operating officer at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. County legislature chairman Ryan McMahon is seeking to fill out the remainder of her term.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

After more than a year, Congress has passed legislation to study the feasibility of designating Fort Ontario and the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum in Oswego as a national park. 

The House passed the legislation in January 2017. The Senate passed the bill last week. 

In 1944, Fort Ontario acted as the only emergency shelter in the United States for nearly 1,000 refugees who escaped the Holocaust.

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.

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