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New York State Police

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — A jury has found a former Army sergeant guilty of murdering his wife and a state trooper answering a domestic violence call in northern New York.

Justin Walters showed no reaction when the verdict was read Wednesday morning in Jefferson County Court. WWNY-TV reports friends and relatives of victims Nichole Walters and Trooper Joel Davis clapped and hugged as Walters was led out in handcuffs.

woodstock.com

NEW YORK (AP) — Jay-Z, Dead & Company and the Killers will headline one of the 50th anniversary shows commemorating the groundbreaking Woodstock festival this summer.

Ryan Zalduondo / WRVO

As the 25th anniversary of Heidi Allen's kidnapping approaches on April 3, WRVO is bringing you a special series on the story that has transfixed residents of Central and Northern New York for decades. Your host is Ryan Zalduondo, a senior at SUNY Oswego. Here's more from Ryan:

I only learned about Heidi Allen's story about a year and a half ago, in December of 2017.

A friend and I were on our way up to Potsdam to cover one of our school’s hockey games for the student newspaper, when we passed a Valero gas station pretty early in the trip.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

A push to enact a statewide system of public campaign finance for political races appears to be floundering in New York. But advocates have not given up on a proposal that they say would change the culture of a state Capitol where many lawmakers have grown dependent on donations from special interest groups.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A new state law that goes into effect soon will impact some homeowners across New York.

After April 1, you won’t be able to buy a smoke detector with removable, nine volt batteries in New York State. Instead, smoke alarms will be powered by a sealed, lithium battery that last 10 years.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The city of Oswego may start notifying residents when there are issues affecting city services around where they live. The city has received a number of complaints from people regarding a lack of notification.  

After three years in office, Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said the issue is one the city continually has to address.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

This month, the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese hopes to release a report on how its settlement program for people who have been abused by clergy has gone.

It’s called an independent reconciliation and compensation program, or IRCP. The Syracuse Diocese covers part of Central New York and the Southern Tier including Binghamton and Cortland.

WSKG looked into how this program went for the diocese and those who participated. A listener note: this story contains graphic details of sexual abuse.

Remembering Abuse

Payne Horning / WRVO News

With Lake Ontario's water levels about a foot above average, communities along its shoreline are trying to get help in preventing the flooding that devastated the area in 2017.

WRVO News (file photo)

In response to a state requirement, the city of Watertown will be placing a second courtroom in its City Hall. The Watertown City Council unanimously agreed to the decision last week after much debate with the state over what many council members and citizens say is an unfunded mandate.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

White, suburban men are reaping the benefits of public construction projects in the Syracuse area, despite the city's demographics, according to a new report. Advocacy groups are sounding the alarm, before a decision is made regarding the future of the Interstate-81 viaduct in Syracuse.

WRVO News (file photo)

Local government elections in New York state are several months away, but the membership of the Oswego County Legislature is already changing.

At least six of the 25 members of the Oswego County Legislature have announced that they are not running for re-election. The reasons for their departures are seemingly unrelated. Two legislators are leaving to run for another office, three are choosing to retire, and one is leaving to focus on family and business.

NYS Senate / File Photo

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Supporters of a bill to require schools to offer education on sexual abuse awareness are returning to Albany to make another push.

The bill, known as Erin’s Law, would mandate age-appropriate lessons to help children understand the difference between inappropriate and appropriate touching, as well as how to report abuse to a trusted adult.

WRVO Public Media

NPR's Nina Totenberg joined NPR in 1975 and has covered the Supreme Court in the decades since. This week, Grant Reeher speaks with Totenberg about her career, as well as the polarized politics surrounding judicial nominations, the Supreme Court, and Brett Kavanaugh. They also discuss a very special violin.

Carol / Flickr

Another plot of land on the site of the former Nestle plant in Fulton has been sold.

Fulton officials have been working overtime in recent years to get the 24 acres of land where the Nestle factory once stood back on the tax rolls. The city took another step toward that goal this month when its Common Council approved a resolution to sell a 9,000-square-foot parcel to Construction Design and Management, Inc., a Cicero-based business.

Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward says Construction Design and Management plans to lease the building to Charter Communications.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County lawmakers are asking Amazon to consider a site in the town of Clay for its next headquarters. But some Democrats spoke out against the resolution at a meeting last week.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

In a changing climate, people living on Lake Ontario may be more at risk for flooding and extreme weather, so what compels them to stay?

Carol Rodas has being living on the south Shore of Lake Ontario for 55 years.

"It's hypnotic," she said about the waterfront. "I joke with people, I tell them they’re going to have to carry me out feet first."

Like a lot of people along the south shore, Rodas experienced flooding in 2017 that dumped water into her home, compromised the sewage system, and damaged her property.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Hearings are underway in Syracuse that could lead to more charter schools in the city. There are four charter schools in Syracuse right now, and New York State is considering proposals for two more.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Some drug users in central and northern New York are using tiny test strips to determine if the heroin or cocaine they are about to shoot up contains fentanyl, a powerful opioid that is often mixed in with street drugs. 

Fentanyl is responsible for an uptick in drug overdoses and deaths in recent years. ACR Health in Syracuse is distributing the strips as part of its syringe exchange and overdose prevention programs in a nine-county area. Roberto Gonzalez, director of ACR Health's syringe exchange program, said it’s been well received so far. 

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

With just a little over two weeks to go before the state budget is due, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top budget officials say they have to revise their spending proposal, now that President Donald Trump has released a budget plan that they say could devastate New York’s health care system.

They’re pressuring the Legislature to rein in their spending proposals as well.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Budget talks are intensifying in Albany as the deadline nears, and they are revealing tensions and divides between Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the all-Democratic State Legislature.

Cuomo began the week with a list of items that he said he needs in the state budget in order for him to agree to it.

They include a property tax cap, criminal justice reforms and a congestion pricing plan for parts of Manhattan to help pay for fixing public transit.

Onondaga County Legislature

A resolution to form an independent commission to make recommendations on how to redraw the Onondaga County Legislature districts, was defeated last week. But there may be other plans to open up the process.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr (File Photo)

New York Attorney General Tish James said she’s reached an agreement with the state legislature to amend the state’s double jeopardy laws to make it easier to go after people accused of crimes in New York, even if a president pardons them.

The measure is aimed at holding associates of President Donald Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, accountable for crimes they may have committed within New York’s boundaries, even if the president pardons them of federal crimes that they have been convicted of.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Onondaga County Democratic Committee selected Tony Malavenda as its candidate to run for county executive this year. Malavenda is a businessman, born and raised in central New York. 

FINGER LAKES PERFORMING PROVIDER SYSTEM

The number of people without health insurance in Steuben County has been cut in half since 2014. That should mean more people have access to the health care system. But that’s not always the case, according to Erin Bankey, who manages funds from a state program aimed at reducing hospital visits in the Finger Lakes.

"The story starts there, with trying to get people insurance, but then we found even people who have insurance don’t necessarily have the relationship with a primary care provider, or transportation, or healthy food,” Bankey said.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

 

With three weeks to go until the April 1 budget deadline, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is drawing some lines in the sand on items that he said must be in the spending plan, like a permanent property tax cap.

But Cuomo said a proposal to legalize the adult use of marijuana likely will not be finished in time.

Jim Bowen / Flickr

The state Senate and Assembly are due to release their own versions of the state budget this week. They come as Gov. Andrew Cuomo is demanding that a number of unrelated provisions be included in the spending plan. Without them, he threatens, the budget could be late.

The governor’s budget director, Robert Mujica, listed in a statement the items that he said must be in the budget in order for Cuomo to agree to it. They include a congestion pricing plan in Manhattan to help pay to fix the subway system, and making the temporary property tax cap permanent.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Freshman Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) is setting a moderate tone as he settles into his first year in Congress, joining a coalition of fellow Democrats called the Blue Dogs. He is one of the co-chairs of the group that describes itself as fiscally conservative while supporting a strong national defense and bipartisanship.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A number of former refugees are running for office in Syracuse this year. One of them looks to challenge the city’s only Republican councilor.

Jay Subedi was born in Bhutan and became a refugee at the age of 12. Before coming to Syracuse in 2008, he spent 17 years at a refugee camp in Nepal.

“But that taught me so much,” Subedi said. “I’m here today to give back. My experience as a person who live in a refugee camp, very under poverty, where there is no better education, no good sleeping nights, no good water to drink every day.”

WRVO Public Media

The midterm elections in November produced a record number of women in Congress, and a record number of women have come forward as candidates for president. How important are these changes for our democracy, and what's driving them? Is it a reaction to President Trump, or something more lasting? This week, Grant Reeher talks with Susan Carroll, a senior scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. 

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Students in the public university systems rallied this week at the State Capitol to end what they say is a built-in flaw in the state’s student aid policies.

They say it’s costing the State and City University systems nearly $150 million a year. But their requests for more money come at a time when the state’s finances are tightening. 

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