City of Syracuse

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse and Onondaga County are joining forces to get some chronically homeless individuals off the streets and into a job. 

City of Syracuse

The city of Syracuse has once again changed its snow plow license law, after updating it in October. The city’s common council was divided among themselves and Mayor Ben Walsh’s administration over how to deter illegal snow dumping, while also not overburdening businesses.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse is putting a paid parental leave policy in place starting this month. Non-unionized employees in the city will get the benefit, receiving 12 weeks of paid leave which can be used in the cases of a new birth, adoption or foster placement. The city had no paid leave policy in place before this, according to Mayor Ben Walsh

City of Syracuse

Residents in the city of Syracuse complained to city officials about unplowed streets following last week’s snowstorm, where nearly a foot of snow fell across central New York. Syracuse's Department of Public Works Commissioner Jeremy Robinson admitted Monday they were caught off guard. 

City of Syracuse

The Syracuse Common Council is expected to vote Monday on getting rid of a required city license for snow plow drivers. Last winter, Mayor Ben Walsh's administration began actively enforcing the license law, which has been on the books since the 1970s.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse may get rid of requiring snow plow contractors to have a license to operate in the city. This comes just a month after the common council voted on updating some antiquated aspects of the law.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A collaboration between the city of Syracuse and Syracuse University’s X Lab has helped the city recoup more than a million dollars in back taxes.

The initiative undertaken between the X Lab team and the city focused on the letters that go out alerting property owners that they are behind in their taxes. What they found out, was that letters with handwriting on the envelope were more likely to be opened.

Once opened, a different way explaining a late tax bill made a difference. according to X Lab Managing Director  Joe Boskovski.

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.

New York State Police

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — The city of Syracuse is getting help from New York state in combatting a spate of gun violence that has killed two children and wounded several other youths and adults in recent weeks.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that state police will expand patrols and operations and boost intelligence sharing with local law enforcement agencies in Syracuse. The Democrat says the plan also includes meetings with community leaders and elected officials to come up with ways to stem violence in the city’s crime-plagued neighborhoods.

Onondaga County Health Department

The number of children exposed to lead in the city of Syracuse has dropped significantly in recent years. 

The problem that leads to lead poisoning in cities like Syracuse is the old housing stock. Before 1978, lead paint was often used to paint homes. 90 percent of housing in the city can have lead paint that needs remediating. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Police say a 22-year-old man has been charged with murder in the shooting of a 12-year-old Syracuse boy who was hit by a stray bullet from a nearby fight that erupted into gunfire.

Police Chief Frank Fowler says Alberto Pinet was arrested Friday for the shooting Wednesday night of sixth-grader James Springer III. Springer was hit in the stomach and was driven to a hospital by a woman at the scene. He later died. Springer was the second child fatally shot on a Syracuse street in a week.

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.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse remembered 9/11 and those lost in the terrorist attack at a somber ceremony at Forman Park. A moment of silence stretched on for 17 minutes -- the time between the first and second attacks on the twin towers in New York City 17 years ago.

Mayor Ben Walsh says it was powerful.

"Oftentimes we get caught up in our day to lives and daily activities,” Walsh said. “And standing in silence for 17 minutes and reflecting back on that day, on those we lost and those who still serve, it was very touching.”

Sometimes silence says more than words.

City of Syracuse

The city of Syracuse has started taking steps to "demystify" local government, according to Mayor Ben Walsh.

A new performance management program is now online, that can tell citizens of the city what goals government has, and whether they are being reached. It can be as basic as how quickly potholes are patched, to whether the city is duplicating services by sending workers to the same scene more than once. 

Walsh said this tool will help the city be more accountable to taxpayers.

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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.

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In addition to tax cuts, the recently passed federal tax overhaul includes a measure to encourage the private industry to invest in low-wealth areas. The program offers tax discounts and other incentives for people to put their profits from stocks and other holdings to work in so-called Opportunity Zones. Those resources can then be invested in businesses and other economic development projects in rural and urban districts that are plagued by high levels of poverty.

Benjamin Farr YouTube Page

A federal judge has ordered the city of Syracuse to pay a judgment of more than $100,000, following a lawsuit from a protester of the city’s annual LGBTQ pride parade. The ruling states the protester’s free speech was violated.

James Deferio, a self-described ‘Christian evangelist,’ who preaches and protests events like the CNY Pride Parade with a banner and “personal voice amplifier,” brought a lawsuit against the city after police ordered him to move across the street from the festival’s entrance in 2014 and 2015.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The quality of trees in the City of Syracuse is on the decline, which has prompted tree enthusiasts to launch a new initiative to ensure the future health of trees in the city.

City Arborist Stephen Harris says it’s not the number of trees in Syracuse that tells the tale.

"Since the Labor Day storm, which was almost 20 years ago, canopy cover has remained the same, at about 27 percent," said Harris. "But when you look under the hood you see a decline in tree quality."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

Another spike of synthetic marijuana overdoses has the law enforcement and health communities looking for answers. 

VIP Structures

The Post-Standard building in downtown Syracuse will undergo a $30 million renovation by VIP Structures, the architecture and engineering company that recently purchased the building. Developers are seeking tax breaks from the city.

VIP Structures will relocate its offices into the building that was the former headquarters of The Post-Standard. The newspaper is still printed in the space. Nora Spillane, the executive director of the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency, said construction includes three new stories with 40 luxury and premium apartments and ten affordable units.

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Syracuse hospitals had 10-15 overdoses coming in almost every day last week, believed to be from synthetic cannabinoids or “spike.” The number of overdoses from spike are up significantly and health officials worry about another potential threat.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released action plans for 12 waterbodies affected by harmful algal blooms. The state is partnering with local communities to reduce and eliminate the blooms.

WRVO Public Media

The problems facing the city of Syracuse are widely discussed, but what about the city's suburbs? This week, grant Reeher talks with Town of Dewitt Supervisor Ed Michalenko, and Dewitt Town Planner Sam Gordon. They discuss some of the issues facing the suburbs and the relationship between the city and suburbs. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Officials in Syracuse say they are still waiting for safety information from the federal government on all railroad bridges in the city. 

City of Syracuse

The 500 block of Clinton St. in Syracuse remains closed Friday after the sidewall of an elevated railroad track in downtown Syracuse collapsed Thursday afternoon. No one was injured, but the debris did knock over a streetlight. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News file photo

The Syracuse Social Security field office holds a dubious distinction in New York. It has the largest backlog of any office in the state.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says it can’t keep up with requests because of a lack of resources, and a flood of new retirees.

"The Syracuse hearing office has a backlog of 9,000 claims," Schumer said. "That’s a lot of people in a city of 200,000. It takes 620 days for a hearing. So if they’ve not given you the money your entitled, you will wait two years, or one and three quarters.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse is expanding a program meant to improve compliance with housing codes.

The Tenant-Owner-Proactive (TOP) program started last fall on the city’s northside. It makes the code inspection system more proactive. Code inspectors establish relationships with tenants and landlords before code violations get too bad, and the city is forced to take legal action.

"We’re shocked by the numbers we’re seeing with owner compliance without sending out violation letters," said Ken Towsley, head of code enforcement.

Syracuse City School District

Thousands of children in the city of Syracuse recieve free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches during the school year. Now that summer vacation has started, however, those lunches go away. So the Syracuse City School Disrict is once again this trying to bridge the hunger gap this summer.

Giorgio Quattrone / Flickr

Syracuse lawmakers  voted unanimously Monday to protect animals left outside in extreme temperatures. The legislation, called Adrian’s Law, passed at the city level, after Onondaga County lawmakers rejected it earlier this year.

Common Councilors unanimously approved the legislation, named after a pit bull that died after being tied up outside in below freezing temperatures in January.  

Jason Driscoll is the dog control officer who found him.

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