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As New York’s medical marijuana program continues to expand, the program faces new challenges and more work to be done, especially with recreational legalization on the horizon, according to our next guest on "Take Care."

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Early voting comes to New York this fall, but in Onondaga County, it’s not without some partisan controversy.

According to state law, counties will be required to open at least one early voting site for every 50,000 registered voters. Onondaga County selected six locations. Two are in the city of Syracuse, with four others spread around the rest of the county. 

Now some Democrats are saying that’s not enough. Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny would like to see eight locations, adding Onondaga Community College, and Cicero Town Hall to the mix.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The second hearing on sexual harassment in New York state government will be held Friday in New York City. Ahead of the hearing, a group of former legislative staffers who say they have been victims of harassment joined lawmakers to introduce bills to strengthen New York’s laws.

The first hearing, held in February in Albany, featured harrowing accounts from several women and men who detailed harassment by former senators and Assembly members. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Watertown officials are preparing to vote on a budget that stays within the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap and includes no increase in sewer or water rates.

Watertown Mayor Joe Butler says the 2019 city budget is one of the easiest he's dealt with. The proposed $44 million plan is actually smaller than last year's budget and requires only a 1.6 percent property tax increase. He attributes that to a number of factors, including savings in the city-funded health insurance.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

For the first time in 40 years, the City of Oswego has a new zoning code. Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow says this comprehensive rewrite will position the city for growth and development for at least a couple decades.

formulanone / Flickr

The New York State Legislature took final action on measures that could be used against President Donald Trump and his associates, including a backdoor way for Congress to view the president’s tax returns.

The first bill would authorize the state tax department to release the tax returns of Trump and other elected officials and high-ranking political appointees who live in New York to some congressional committees conducting inquiries.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A collaboration of faith-based organizations held a community forum recently to give residents on Syracuse’s south side more information pertaining to the future of the I-81 viaduct through the city. Presenters said south side residents will be impacted most by the project, and they should have a louder voice in the process.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Anheuser-Busch brewery in Baldwinsville will now be partially powered by a 2.7 megawatt solar farm, the largest off-site solar installation of any Anheuser-Busch brewery in the country.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

There’s going to be a change at the top in the state’s Republican Party.

Erie County GOP Chair Nick Langworthy has gathered the support of the majority of county chairs and will be replacing Ed Cox in July. The two met with the media Tuesday to talk about the transition.

On the surface, it is an amicable change of leadership.

Cox, who oversaw the party for the past 10 years and is the son-in-law of former President Richard Nixon, said he’s pleased with his new position as part of a team to help finance President Donald Trump’s re-election effort.

Marco Varisco / Flickr

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A presidential pardon won’t be enough to clear someone associated with the commander-in-chief of similar state charges under legislation approved by New York state lawmakers Tuesday.

The bill, which now moves to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, revises the exceptions to the state’s double jeopardy law in an effort to ensure the state’s ongoing investigations into the Republican president and his associates can’t be derailed by a White House pardon.

WRVO News (file photo)

OLCOTT, N.Y. (AP) — New York officials have declared a state of emergency for the counties along Lake Ontario as water levels continue to rise.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday directed state agencies to assist local governments and residents in responding to potential flooding in the coming days and weeks. Rising lake waters caused extensive damage in 2017, and work crews are fortifying flood-prone areas with barriers to avoid a repeat.

A state of emergency has been declared in eight counties: Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wayne.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

5G wireless technology from Verizon is coming to the city of Syracuse, which would make it one of the first cities in the country with the new facilities for faster connectivity. But the vote to pass the measure did not go smoothly.

At a council meeting to approve the deal, Davy Campbell and other Syracuse residents voiced their opposition to the new technology to councilors, because of health concerns and risks from radiation.

Mohawk Valley Health System

The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) has started closing on privately owned properties in downtown Utica to make way for its new hospital. Officials hope to break ground on the $480 million facility by the end of the year. But MVHS will first have to deal with a lawsuit filed by a group that's opposed to the project.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon issued an executive order, which holds public assistance payments to multi-family properties if lead is detected in any of the units. It’s part of the county’s plan to get property owners to fix the problem, in some of the area’s older housing stock.

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.

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