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This week WRVO’s Madison Ruffo met all four Syracuse mayoral candidates who will appear on the June 22 primary ballot. While current mayor Ben Walsh may not be on June’s ballot, Ruffo sat down with him to talk about why he thinks he should be reelected. 

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Travel experts from AAA are warning young drivers and their families about the “100 deadliest days.” That’s the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day when fatal crashes involving teens spike across the state.

Research from AAA shows that from 2010-2019 in New York state, 196 people were killed in crashes involving teens between those dates.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Two new, affordable homes have been built in Syracuse, on what were vacant lots. They’re the first homes completed as part of Mayor Ben Walsh’s goal of 50 new single-family, affordable homes to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods.

Sheona Williams, mother of two kids, is one of the new homeowners on the city’s north side. She was living in Syracuse public housing and took home-buying classes through Home HeadQuarters. She started saving and months later, was given this opportunity.

“It’s like a dream come true,” Williams said.

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Broadway in Syracuse is returning this fall, and it couldn’t come soon enough for the Landmark Theatre, which, by the time of its season opener in October, will have been closed for a year and a half, since the start of the pandemic. Two shows will launch their national tours from Syracuse, giving downtown a much-needed boost.

Jessica Cain

Children at a North Syracuse school are celebrating the grand opening of a new playground, and the project is breaking down barriers.

Bright smiles and laughter fill the air outdoors at the North Syracuse Early Education Program. About half of the school’s students have special needs, and the project is succeeding at what it set out to do: giving students of all abilities a safe and accessible space to play together.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

With Syracuse’s mayoral primaries right around the corner, WRVO’s Madison Ruffo spoke with each candidate to discuss their platforms. Each of the five candidates is being featured throughout this week continuing today with one of the city’s two Republican candidates: Janet Burman.

Janet Burman says her time in workers’ compensation, learning to provide people with the most help while minimizing cost, has equipped her to be Syracuse’s next mayor.

Thomas Babilon

With Syracuse’s mayoral primaries right around the corner, WRVO’s Madison Ruffo spoke with each candidate to discuss their platforms. Each of the five candidates is being featured throughout this week, continuing today with one of the city’s two Republican candidates: Thomas Babilon.

While currently a family court lawyer, Thomas Babilon has previously been an attorney for three mayoral administrations including the current mayor, Ben Walsh. A common theme among those administrations? Babilon said much of the advice he gave to officials was dismissed.

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After Senate Republicans blocked an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), who negotiated the agreement with Democrats in the House, said it’s not over yet.

Five people were killed, including three law enforcement officers, in a riot at the Capitol, following a rally for then-President Trump. More than a hundred officers were injured. Katko said he’ll keep pushing for the commission and the reforms that are needed. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

New York state has started the second phase of a $40 million “I LOVE NY” campaign, meant to convince a pandemic-weary population to vacation in the Empire State.

governorandrewcuomo / flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that he’s lifting all remaining state COVID-19 restrictions, including requirements for masks and social distancing, and capacity limits at events, now that New York has reached the governor’s goal of 70% of adults receiving at least one dose of the vaccine.

Cuomo, in a campaign style event held before a cheering crowd of union leaders and others at the World Trade Center in New York City, said the goal was reached sometime on Monday, according to numbers compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

With Syracuse’s mayoral primaries right around the corner, WRVO’s Madison Ruffo spoke with each candidate to discuss their platforms. Each of the five candidates is being featured throughout this week continuing today with one of the city’s two Democratic candidates: Khalid Bey.

Khalid Bey prides himself on his Syracuse roots. As a graduate of Corcoran high school, resident on Syracuse’s south side, and common council member for the past decade -- Bey doesn’t see his mayoral campaign as a personal goal, but as an obligation to his community.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A $3 million renovation is complete at Wright’s Landing Marina in the city of Oswego. It’s part of a larger redevelopment of the city’s waterfront area along Lake Ontario.

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said since 2017, Wright’s Landing Marina has had to be totally or partially closed for four out of five years, because of flooding from the water management plan of Lake Ontario. The docks, parking lot and kayak launch were flooded and the city incurred more than $5 million of damage.

“So, we had a real problem on our hands,” Barlow said.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The New York State Fair will be back at full capacity this summer. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the move as the state’s COVID-19 infection rate dropped to .41% Sunday.

Speaking at the New York State Fairgrounds near Syracuse Monday, Cuomo said he’s looking forward to a great summer.

“This summer has to make up all we’ve had to go through the past year,” said Cuomo.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

The City of Syracuse’s bank account has swelled substantially, after some of the federal government’s American Rescue Plan funding, and Mayor Ben Walsh wants to start spending it as soon as possible.

The feds deposited about $61 million in the city’s bank account last week. That’s about half of the $123 million that has been allocated for the city, and Walsh has a strategy for using it. Some has already been allocated to fill the hole the pandemic left in the city budget. But there’s an urgency to spend the rest.

Jessica Cain

A major outreach effort is underway in Oneida County to make sure diverse communities have access to COVID-19 vaccines and information.

Enthusiastic workers set up tables filled with water and snacks in Utica’s Oneida Square and stood at the ready to help community members figure out how and where they could get COVID-19 vaccines.

WRVO News (file photo)

With Syracuse’s mayoral primaries right around the corner, WRVO’s Madison Ruffo spoke with each candidate to discuss their platforms. Each of the five candidates will be featured throughout this week starting today with one of the city’s two Democratic candidates: Michael Greene.

 

 

The Republican primary for Mayor of the City Syracuse is June 22nd. On this week's episode of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher speaks with candidates Thomas Babilon and Janet Burman about their visions and goals for the future of the city.

Timothy Vollmer / Flickr

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York cannot require internet providers to offer broadband service for low-income customers for as little as $15-a-month starting next week, a federal judge ruled on Friday.

The low-income broadband consumers law passed in the state budget in April, which was supposed to come into effect on Tuesday. It allowed the state’s attorney general to issue penalties up to $1,000 per violation from providers.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A group of central New Yorkers held a protest in Syracuse Thursday, calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to end the mask mandate for children, as the number of coronavirus cases continues to drop in New York.

Christine Wood of Liverpool said the continued state regulations that require masks in schools has forced her son to continue learning from home, instead of going to school.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

New York lawmakers wapped up the legislative session without extending alcohol to-go at restaurants and bars. Restaurant and tavern owners, who are still struggling financially, expressed their disappointment.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo allowed restaurants and bars to offer alcoholic beverages to go along with take out food orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has extended that executive order several times.

New York State Senate

New York’s legislative session wrapped up late Thursday, without the usual frenzy of hallways crowded with lobbyists and protesters and few last minute backroom deals. For the second year in a row, the New York State Capitol has been off limits to visitors, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, facing multiple scandals, is largely isolated from the negotiations.  

COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have been lifted in New York in recent weeks, and sports stadiums, theaters, restaurants and bars are opening back up.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Southwest Airlines, one of the largest low-cost carriers, will begin flying out of Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport with nonstop service to Baltimore, a first for the airport, and Orlando starting in November. Local leaders hailed it as a victory, years in the making.  

Jessica Cain

Starting Thursday, small businesses in central New York will be able to apply for their chance at state grants of up to $50,000. It’s part of the “New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program.” 

The new grants are designed to help small and microbusinesses, as well as for-profit arts and cultural organizations. Priority will be given to socially and economically disadvantaged business owners, including minorities, women, and veterans.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Parks thrived last year as people looked to get out of their homes during the summer months of the pandemic. But parks programming in Syracuse was all but shut down. That’s changing now, but staffing is an issue.

Syracuse Parks Commissioner Julie LaFave, said they’re not at full force yet, but compared to last year, they’re leaps and bounds ahead of where they were.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York election workers would have to start counting absentee ballots earlier under legislation that passed the state Senate Wednesday.

Lawmakers, including Sen. Mike Gianaris, say the state must prevent another election year like 2020, when delays, litigation and mistakes by election boards who faced a flood of absentee ballots led to days, weeks and in some instances months of confusion over election results in New York.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News (file photo)

The 2021 New York legislative session is in its final hours, with many items yet to be resolved. Criminal justice reforms continue to dominate at the end of the session, just as they have for the past two years.

Here’s a look at what seems to be in, and what seems to be out.

A bill that would seal some criminal records for those convicted of misdemeanors and some felonies will be ready for a vote in the Senate and Assembly by the sessions’ final day.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News (file photo)

The New York State Senate’s Judiciary Committee held — what was at times — a contentious confirmation hearing for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s nominees to the state’s highest court.

Nominee Madeline Singas, the Nassau County district attorney, faced some tough questions from senators on the left and right. In the end, Singas and the governor’s other judicial appointees, won approval in the Senate. 

Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly jobs report. Liz Schmitt, an economics professor at SUNY Oswego, said if she could describe it in one word she’d say it's “vexing.”

Schmitt said while there was some job growth -- in fact there were nearly 560,000 new jobs added in May -- that’s not as much as experts wanted or expected. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media

The City of Syracuse now has a Police Athletic League. Officials hope it fosters a better relationship between police and the youth of the community.

Mayor Ben Walsh said the time is right to start up something like this in Syracuse, noting relations between communities and law enforcement has been strained.

"The way you break down barriers and build relationships is by spending time with each other,” Walsh said. “And not at a point of crisis, which is typically when law enforcement officers engage with the community, but when we’re having fun."

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Onondaga County officials say the county is no longer facing a COVID-19 emergency from a public health standpoint. 

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon says on Monday, he’ll be reviewing all emergency orders related to responding to COVID-19, and he won’t be continuing most of them.

That’s assuming the current trends continue. McMahon said there are fewer than 100 active COVID-19 cases in the community, the lowest number since the second week of the pandemic.

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