News

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kirsten Gillibrand was the first Democratic senator to call for her colleague Al Franken’s resignation in 2017 as he faced allegations of sexual misconduct, building a profile as a leading advocate for women that became the centerpiece of her 2020 presidential bid.

But the New York senator is taking a different approach when it comes to sexual harassment allegations hitting closer to home, those against her state’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

NEW YORK (AP) — One of the women who accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexually harassing her at the workplace said she was motivated to come forward after another woman contacted her sharing similar allegations and following the Democratic governor’s name being floated as a potential nominee for a cabinet position in President Joe Biden’s administration.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the first time publicly addressed sexual harassment accusations against him, saying Wednesday that he did not intend to make anyone uncomfortable and that he is truly sorry.

Many are calling for his resignation, including some members of Cuomo’s own Democratic Party, but the governor says he’s not leaving.

At times welling with emotion, Cuomo looked into the camera and offered an apology to all New Yorkers, and to the women who say he harassed them.

Waterville Residential Care Center

Oneida County houses 17 nursing homes–the most in the Mohawk Valley. But despite the state loosening restrictions on nursing home visits last Friday, only about one-third of those facilities are actually allowing visitors.

This past Sunday, Eastern Star Home in Oriskany opened its doors for family members to visit its residents.

“This will be the first time in quite a period of time they've actually had an inside visit,” said Eastern Star’s administrator, Jeff French. He said his facility was one of the lucky ones throughout the pandemic.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

For the past three years, the Oswego Police Department has been working on a kind of diversion program for 911 calls that involve a mental health issue. Rather than just arresting individuals or taking them to the hospital, the police call in mental health counselors from Liberty Resources, a behavioral health agency serving central New York, to deescalate the situation and provide treatment on scene.

Theresa Humennyj, director of this Regional Mobile Crisis Program with Liberty, said it's been well received by the community.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo intends to remain in office in the face of sexual harassment allegations that have weakened his support and led to calls for his resignation, he said Wednesday.

The Democratic governor, speaking somberly in his first public appearance since three women accused him of inappropriate touching and offensive remarks, apologized and said that he “learned an important lesson” about his behavior around women.

ceedub13 / Flickr, Creative Commons

With all of the Great Lakes below where they were at this time last year, including Lake Ontario which is down almost 2 feet and is forecast to rise only a few inches by the end of March, the international body that helps regulate the Lake's water levels is taking its foot off the gas a bit. The Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board will no longer deviate from its water management plan, called Plan 2014, meaning it's now going to reduce how much water is released from the lake to the St. Lawrence River through the Moses-Saunders Dam.

New York state will begin administering the newly approved COVID-19 vaccine from pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson this week at three of the state’s mass vaccination sites, where they’ll be administered overnight.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a statement, said Tuesday that each of those sites will begin a pilot program for inoculating people in the overnight hours, freeing up more time for appointments.

“This pilot plan will maximize the initial doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and get as many shots in arms as possible,” Cuomo said.

Jim Bowen / Flickr

New York state legislative leaders have announced agreement on a bill to curb Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measure comes as Cuomo is embroiled in two scandals:  One over his nursing home policies during the health crisis, and another over accusations that he sexually harassed former staffers.

Jason Smith

More COVID-19 vaccine is making its way to central and northern New York this week. Onondaga County alone is in line to receive nearly 7,000 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the most ever in one week.  This latest allocation is about three times what the county has been getting in recent weeks.

"There’s a lot of pharmacies getting supply, and then the state site that we help staff at the fairgrounds has a lot of supply, so there’s going to be a lot of people vaccinated this week,” said County Executive Ryan McMahon Monday.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh is being endorsed by the Independence Party as he kicks off his re-election campaign. Walsh, who is an independent, said the party specifically cited his ability to work across the political spectrum.

The Independence Party no longer has an established line on the ballot. Walsh said his campaign will start passing petitions and collecting signatures in April to get back on the ballot.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

NEW YORK (AP) — Calls for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation intensified late Monday after a third woman accused him of offensive behavior, saying he’d touched her face and back and asked to kiss her moments after they met at a wedding reception.

Anna Ruch told The New York Times late Monday that she removed the Democratic governor’s hand from her back, but he said she seemed “aggressive,” promptly put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the first confirmed coronavirus case in New York. Since then, over 38,000 New Yorkers have died from COVID-19 and more than 1.5 million who were sickened.

At this point last year, though, nobody imagined what was in store.

On the evening of March 1, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a press release, announcing that a case of COVID-19 had been found in New York. 

SUNY Oswego

A SUNY Oswego professor has co-launched a new academic journal focused on mass violence research. The authors say the various topics they cover can be difficult to get into major publications. 

Jaclyn Schildkraut, an associate professor of criminal justice at SUNY Oswego, specializes in mass shootings and school shootings. She said there can be some bias against mass violence research, which can be viewed more critically and harder for publishers to assess.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

 

A second woman has come forward and accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment. Cuomo denies the allegations, but has agreed to make a referral to state Attorney General Letitia James to conduct an investigation.

Loretto

Nursing homes in New York state can now allow more visitors in their facilities, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo, expanded the guidelines for visitations. Some state legislators say long-term reform of the nursing home industry is also needed.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his staff were in damage control mode Thursday as they faced two scandals: the governor’s handling of nursing home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic and the months-long suppression of the true number of residents’ deaths, and allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed a former staffer. 

Cuomo’s health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, testified at a long-awaited legislative budget hearing. Zucker -- who had postponed his testimony, originally scheduled for three weeks ago -- appeared 2½ hours late. He immediately addressed the nursing home controversy.

Cuomo, legislature still far apart on marijuana legalization

Feb 25, 2021
Brett Levin / Flickr

With only about a month left before Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York legislature must agree on a budget for the next year, the two parties are still far apart on a proposal to legalize adult use marijuana.

Last week, Cuomo amended his legalization proposal, the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation act, in three particular areas. It added provisions to allow for delivery services for marijuana products, reduced felony punishments for illicit sale of marijuana, and outlined some specifics on how particular tax proceeds would be administered for social and racial equity programs.

Ellen Abbott

The experience of Onondaga County during the pandemic is now part of the Congressional Record. County Executive Ryan McMahon provided lawmakers with a boots-on-the-ground insight during a congressional hearing Wednesday.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Two female former aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo are accusing him of bad behavior, with one saying the governor sexually harassed her in incidents that included inappropriate touching and an invitation to play strip poker. Cuomo denies the allegations.

WRVO Public Media (File Photos)

U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) has invited Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon to deliver testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security at a hearing this morning, Wednesday, February 24 at 9:30 a.m. EST. The County Executive will serve as a witness at the hearing entitled, "Confronting the Coronavirus: Perspectives on the COVID-19 Pandemic One Year Later." Rep.

Vaughn Golden / WSKG News

A group tasked with reimagining public safety in Ithaca and Tompkins County has submitted a draft set of recommendations including a proposal to abolish the Ithaca Police Department.

Upstate New York Poison Center

The Upstate New York Poison Center didn’t get more calls than usual during 2020. But the pandemic did lead to some changes in the kinds of calls, as well as a possible insight to more serious issues.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

For a time in 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was considered one of the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic for his steady and focused daily briefings when national leadership was lacking.

But recently, the governor has suffered a reversal of fortune, as a scandal over the suppression of the number of nursing home deaths dominates news coverage of his administration. Additionally, a new poll finds the majority of New Yorkers now think the governor did something wrong.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

It took three months after Election Day for Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) to be declared the winner, but the 22nd Congressional District now finally has representation in Congress. Tenney is serving her second term in office, after being unseated in 2018. She reflected on the frustrating legal process over the last few months, as well as the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

Doctors tackle COVID-19 vaccine mistrust through outreach

Feb 23, 2021
Tompkins County / YouTube Screenshot

When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, doctors are often responsible for giving out information. But not everyone has a doctor they trust, especially in communities of color.

Jada Hamilton is a family physician and deputy medical director at Cornell Health. Hamilton, who is Black, spoke with Tompkins County residents during a Q&A session hosted by the county’s health department this month focused on concerns from people of color about the vaccine.

Syracuse VA Medical Center Facebook

The Syracuse VA Medical Center is working on getting coronavirus vaccines to veterans in a 14-county area stretching from the North Country to the Southern Tier.

More than 6,000 eligible and enrolled veterans have already started the vaccination process; either at the Syracuse hospital, or clinics in Rome, Binghamton and Watertown. Syracuse VA Medical Center Director Frank Pearson said the VA has been expanding clinics since it started vaccinating vets against COVID-19.

New York State Senate

New York state could require nursing homes to spend a certain amount of their revenue on direct patient care, mandate transparent reporting of COVID-19 deaths of residents at those facilities, and more under a package of bills passed by the State Senate Monday.

The legislation is the result of a pair of public hearings on the state’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes last summer, coupled with new revelations about the Cuomo administration.

Dan Clark / New York Now

There’s a consensus among Democrats in the State Assembly that action must be taken against the Cuomo administration for withholding information on COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told reporters Monday.

Heastie made the remarks after Democrats in the Assembly met for six hours Monday to discuss next steps, including a potential removal of Cuomo’s emergency pandemic powers.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Residents of nursing homes in New York state will be able to have visitors again, starting this Friday, Feb. 26, under new rules laid out by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state health officials.

State officials delayed reopening the nursing homes, closed to visitors since last March, until all the residents were offered a chance to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, 73% of residents have now agreed to receive both doses. So far, 15,000 elderly residents in nursing homes or other long-term adult care facilities have died of COVID-19, the vast majority of them alone. 

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