Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Hunter favors community grid option to replace 81 in Syracuse

State Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter said she’s supporting the community grid option for replacing the elevated portion of Interstate 81 that cuts through downtown Syracuse. Her decision comes as a long-awaited environmental impact statement from the state is expected soon.

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Syracuse, NY – Syracuse police arrested a man attempting to carry a loaded handgun onto a plane at Hancock Aiport on Christmas day.

They are not releasing the man's name or what charges he may face.

Federal authorities will say that he is not a known or suspected terrorist.

Airport screeners found a .45 caliber weapon in the man's carry on bag early in the morning as he tried to board an American Airlines flight to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Albany. NY – A new program aims to keep skilled nursing directors at the state's long term care facilities.

Directors of Nursing from seventeen nursing homes have graduated from the Nursing Leadership Program.

Nancy Levelle, a spokeswoman for the New York State Health Facilities Association, says directors of nursing tend to have a high turnover rate. They will generally work nine to eleven months and then move on.

Albany, NY – Respondents to a Siena College poll say they want to get more exercise in 2003.

It is the top New Year's resolution New Yorkers are making according to the survey.

The poll was conducted last month with random phone calls to over 400 capitol region residents.

It found that only a fifth of those polled made resolutions. Less than 60% of those kept the resolutions they made.

The Siena College Top Five Resolutions for 2003:

1. Exercise more

2. Lose weight/diet

New York State – The long-anticipated Women's Health Care Act becomes law. Insurers will be forced to cover mammograms, osteoporosis exams, and doctor-prescribed oral contraceptives. Regligious entities will be exempt from the contraceptive requirement.

Another law will increase the standard deduction for married couples who don't itemize deducations.

One measure raises the college tuition take credit by 25%.

Albany, NY – Governor George Pataki is appealing to past contributors to help him wipe out a debt of $305 thousand.

The money was spent during his 2002 race for governor.

The race was the most expensive non-presidnetial campaign in American history, due in large part of massive spending by independent billionaire Thomas Golisano.

Pataki spent more than $44 million on his campaign. He's asking "Friends of Pataki" to help him pay off his debts.

He must pay off that debt by the end of the month.

Central New York – Upstate New York is way ahead of last year when it comes to cumulative snow totals.

The National Weather service is reporting high snow totals all across the state thanks in part to Wednesday's high snow totals in Eastern New York and the Mohawk Valley.

Most areas experienced their first snowfall on November first. Since then, weather conditions have resulted in higher snow totals.

Here are the snow totals for the three major upstate cities:

Syracuse = 56"

Albany = 46"

Albany, NY – The state's Retail Council says this year's holiday sales appear to equal last season.

Senior Vice President for the Retail Council, Ted Potrikus, says stores cutting prices at the last minute did encourage some last minute shoppers.

Potrikus says the overall shopping season cannot be called successful.

Some retailers are facing a serious deficit.

Albany, NY – A health care company has launched a new web tool that allows consumers to research hospitals in their area.

The Excellus website now offers a database where consumers can find out the number of procedures a hospital does, the number of successful surgeries, and surveys of patient satisfaction.

Albany, NY – "Seans Law" takes effect today.

The legislation shortens the time it takes to get teenage drunk drivers off the road.

Previously, judges could not suspend the license of a driver under the age of 18 until all court proceedings were complete.

"Sean's Law" will allow judges to immediately suspend the junior licenses of driver who have been charged with DWI.

Oswego, NY –
Environemental Activists in New York have an answer to help alleviate the state's fiscal crisis -- Expand the the state's 20-year old Bottle Bill. WRVO's Chris Ulanowski has the story.