One area where Democrats and Republicans agree, is on the nation's opioid crisis. It's been ravaging parts of the coutnry and will require some serious interventions. This week, Grant Reeher talks with Brian Mann, a reporter with North Country Public Radio. Brian has been covering the opioid crisis for NPR. They discuss the opioid epidemic, the response so far, and what could be done to stop it. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County is putting the finishing touches on the latest improvements to the St. Joseph’s Health Ampitheater at Lakeview as the summer concert season begins. It’s year four for the Amp, which has found its footing after a controversial start, according to County Executive Ryan McMahon.

"Look at our 2018 season. We had over 200,000 tickets sold. We had over a $25 million economic impact," said McMahon. "The facility itself made almost $300,000. The majority of parks don’t make money, this made money."

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A Norwich City School District bus driver is being called a hero for saving a student from a car last week that illegally passed the bus. The district released a video of the incident, which went viral and was shared around the world. Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) honored the bus driver and is pushing legislation to improve school bus safety.

The video shows Samantha Call, the bus driver, grab the back of a student who was exiting the bus, just as a car passed along the right-hand side.

stgermh / Flickr

Advocates for a bill that would allow terminally ill New Yorkers to end their own lives say the legislation has its best chance yet for passage in the Democratic-controlled state Legislature. 

The bill would permit physicians to prescribe a lethal dose of pills to patients who are diagnosed with a terminal illness and who ask for the drugs. 

Stephen Voss / NPR

WRVO is bringing another well-known NPR personality to the central New York area this fall. Rachel Martin, host of “Morning Edition,” is visiting Syracuse in September for an evening with listeners and members of the station. She’ll share her experience as host of the most-listened-to news radio program in the country and as National Security Correspondent for NPR.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The number of veterans and military-related students at Syracuse University continues to grow. And SU officials believe the construction of the new National Veterans Resource Center will do more to help the 5% of the campus population that’s currently connected to the military.

Katy Quartaro spent eight years in the Marines before choosing a college, and SU hooked her right away.

Katherine Long / Catholic Sun

Nearly 18 months after the four churches in the city of Oswego announced their decision to unite, a consensus has been reached to move to St. Paul's Church.

Deacon Nick Alvaro, administrator of St. Joseph and St. Stephen the King churches in Oswego, says it was not an easy path as committees made up of members from each of the parishes initially came to a stalemate. St. Paul's ultimately won out because of its size and proximity to Oswego's lone Catholic school, Trinity Catholic School.

New York State Senate

The New York State Senate Wednesday passed measures that they say will improve safety on the state’s roads, including adding cameras to the stop arms of school buses.

Sen. Tim Kennedy, a Buffalo Democrat who is chair of the Transportation Committee, said an estimated 50,000 drivers per day in New York pass a stopped school bus. He said that happens despite the buses’ red flashing lights and a stop sign arm.

-JvL- / Flickr

Two bills that challenge President Donald Trump and his policies are advancing in the New York State Assembly.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Democrats in his house are ready to act on a measure to amend New York’s double jeopardy laws. It would give state prosecutors the right to pursue cases against potential crimes committed in New York, even if the person is pardoned by the president.  

“There’s enough support to pass double jeopardy,” Heastie told reporters Tuesday. “It will be on the agenda next week.”

Brett Levin / Flickr

After the failure to include legalized recreational marijuana in the New York state budget earlier this year, sponsors of the legislation say they are introducing a new bill that they hope stands a better chance at becoming law.

Sen. Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat who is a longtime supporter of legalizing the drug, said the new bill incorporates some of the ideas the governor and Legislature came up with when they talked about the issue during budget talks.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

ACR Health in Syracuse is trying to get more businesses to complete training on how to administer Narcan, to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The training can help save lives, as one downtown business found out firsthand.

City of Syracuse YouTube

A series of rent reform bills are being considered in the New York State Legislature, and some of the proposed laws could affect upstate municipalities. Tenant advocates made their case to expand renter protections at two recent public hearings in Syracuse.  

The bill that advocates said will have the greatest impact on cities like Syracuse, is the “good cause” measure, which protects tenants against arbitrary evictions and unconscionable rent hikes.  It’s a bill sponsored by Syracuse Assemblywoman Pam Hunter.

NYCLU / Twitter

Progressive groups, including the New York Civil Liberties Union, say they’re frustrated that action on left-leaning issues has stalled in New York in the final weeks of the legislative session.

They held a rally Monday to get Democrats who lead the state Senate and Assembly to move faster on items like granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants and workers’ rights for farm laborers, and they are hopeful those measures will pass before the session ends on June 19.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Opponents of bills to decriminalize prostitution in New York say it will only strengthen the worldwide sex trafficking industry and increase incidents of abuse in New York. Anti-sex trafficking groups and their allies spoke out at the state Capitol. 

Attorney Dorchen Leidholdt has represented hundreds of women who were abused by domestic violence and sex trafficking. She is co-chair of the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition.

Leah Landry / WRVO News

This month, an art exhibition at Baltimore Woods Nature Center in Marcellus doesn't showcase the work of esteemed photographers or classically-trained painters. The exhibit features the work of students from area schools, specially chosen for display.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The number of people who applied to work as a corrections officer in Oswego County dropped from 221 in 2012 to 49 this year and those applying to be a patrol officer dropped from 171 in 2012 to 108 in 2019. Oswego County Sheriff Don Hilton says it's consistent with a nationwide decline in candidates for law enforcement jobs. So he petitioned the legislature to remove the requirement that corrections and patrol officers lives in Oswego County.

Emily Russell / NCPR

The Thousand Islands is a major tourist destination, but right now it's flooding. Water levels in the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario are higher than average and they’re expected to keep rising.

Like stepping back in time

Plenty of places along the St. Lawrence River cater to summer tourists, but the community of Thousand Islands Park boasts a special kind of charm.

“Oh it’s wonderful," said year round resident Holly Pelland. "It’s like stepping back in time."

WBFO (file photo)

There could be a major shakeup in the leadership of the Republican Party in New York state this summer. Onondaga County Republican Party Chair Tom Dadey is among those calling for a change atop the party leadership in the state.

Ed Cox, a 72-year old Wall Street lawyer and son-in-law of former President Richard Nixon, is facing a spirited race from Nick Langworthy, who heads the Erie County Republican Party. Cox has held his position for the last decade, and Dadey said no Republican has won a statewide race during that time.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — An aide to Democratic U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi of New York was charged by state police with patronizing a prostitute Friday, New York State Police announced.

The aide, John Stemen, was fired from his position as a caseworker Thursday when Brindisi’s office learned of the allegations, according to a statement emailed to reporters.

"As soon as we were made aware of the charges, John Stemen was immediately terminated," according to the statement.

Stemen did not immediately return a phone message left for him Friday.

The threat of high water along the Lake Ontario shoreline is often felt first in low-lying places like Sodus Point.

Village Mayor Dave McDowell said that right now, Sodus Point is about as prepared as it can be.

"We have 40,000 sandbags, give or take, deployed around the low spots of the village, they’re holding; we’ve got National Guard back shoring up a couple of spots on the south side with this heavy south wind, but our streets are all dry, the businesses are all open and thriving," McDowell said.

stgermh / Flickr

New York City’s rent laws expire June 15, and tenant advocates and some state lawmakers think a renewal of the laws should include cities outside of New York, including upstate.

A hearing held by the state Assembly sought input on that proposal and eight other rent reform bills introduced in both houses of the Democratic-controlled legislature.

WRVO News File Photo

SUNY ESF in Syracuse is ready to use the community grid option for replacing the Interstate 81 viaduct as a research opportunity. Interim President David Amberg said the proposal, which the state supports, offers more than 100 ways for students and staff to use their expertise.

"And not merely the aspects of where the community grid is, even as they expand 481 to become the new 81, a lot of wet lands a lot of forests," Amberg said. "There’s just a lot of touchpoints for our faculty to weigh in on and help make sure that we get the most out of this project."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse is joining a movement calling on New York state to divest $13 billion from its public pension fund currently invested in fossil fuel companies.

Specifically, a majority of Syracuse Common Councilors want State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who is in charge of the state’s $200 billion retirement fund, to divest the largest 200 fossil fuel companies from the state’s portfolio over the next five years. Syracuse Common Councilor Joe Driscoll said it’s a win-win proposition.

New York State Senate / youtube

Two bills approved Wednesday in the state Senate could affect President Donald Trump and his associates.

One would permit the state tax department to give the president’s New York tax returns to congressional committees. The other would ensure that anyone the president pardons for federal crimes could still be prosecuted for crimes committed in New York state. 

Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins predicted the measures will have a "major impact both nationally and in New York state."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the recently passed state budget makes an unprecedented commitment to invest $150 billion in infrastructure projects over the next five years, some of which will go to fix upstate's highways, bridges, and tunnels. But many local government leaders, like East Syracuse Mayor Robert Tackman, say that's not enough.

City of Syracuse YouTube

The city of Syracuse is delaying a vote to deploy 5G wireless technology from Verizon, a priority of Mayor Ben Walsh. One common councilor said it’s to make sure they are doing all they can to protect the workers installing the new facilities.

Sam Edelstein, chief data officer with the city of Syracuse, said 5G has the potential to allow new technologies, like autonomous systems.

“The kind of connectivity, the low latency and the high bandwidth 5G offers is what enables that," Edelstein said. "Certainly, being one of the first cities to enable 5G is exciting.”

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

More than 100 sex workers came to the Capitol on Tuesday to lobby for two bills that they say would help keep them safe and end some of the stigma associated with their jobs. 

The workers, joined by lawmakers who back the bills, told stories of what led them to the work.

Jessica Raven, a mother and community organizer with the group DecrimNY, is a former sex worker. She said she needed to earn money to survive when she became homeless at age 15 after being sexually assaulted in the foster care system.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A mobile mammogram van will soon hit the road in eight counties in central and northern New York as part of a partnership between Upstate University Hospital and the state to increase access to breast cancer screenings.

The 45-foot long pink and blue van is an all-in-one clinic complete with a reception area, dressing rooms, and the same type of state-of-the-art 3-D Mammography equipment that's used at Upstate. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says that technology can now reach a much wider range of patients.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Supporters hope that their efforts to change an 80-year-old law that excludes farmworkers from many of the protections afforded to other workers in New York, may finally meet with success in the all Democratic-led State Legislature.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse homeowners will continue to get their STAR rebate checks, now that the city’s common council has approved a budget that keeps a property tax increase below the state’s tax cap. But to make up for the lost revenue, the city is going to raise the parking meter rate.