Lewis County Sheriff's Office

Residents across parts of northern Oswego, Jefferson and Lewis counties are digging out after more than three feet of lake effect snow fell in less than 24 hours. The snow was so heavy at times Thursday, the city of Watertown had to pull its plows from city streets.

Matt Ryan / New York Now (file photo)

More than 200 groups are pushing for New York state to enact a public campaign finance system for statewide candidates. And they say they’ve never been closer to achieving their goal.

The coalition, known as Fair Elections for New York, includes dozens of unions, the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and the Sierra Club.

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Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials arrived in the Village of Whitesboro to help evacuate homes and mitigate the damage caused by ice jam flooding. The CSX railroad bridge that sits low over the Sauquoit Creek was clogged with large chunks of ice and other debris, which sent water over its banks.

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Utica Councilman Joe Marino announced Wednesday that he is running for mayor of the city of Utica, this year. The current Utica mayor, Robert Palmieri, said he would make an announcement about his future in the coming weeks.

Both Marino and Palmieri are Democrats, but Marino has been critical of Palmieri in several areas. If elected, Marino said one of the first things he would do is reverse the extension of term limits from eight to 12 years, approved by the Utica Common Council and Palmieri in 2017.

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A feud has been growing between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the Catholic Church over an abortion rights bill the governor signed last week. The governor has been fueling the flames of the disagreement.

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With frigid temperatures and dangerous wind chills affecting central and northern New York over the next few days, health officials are warning residents how to stay safe in subzero temperatures. 

It’s all pretty much common sense stuff says Onondaga County Health Department Medical Director Quoc Nguyen said it doesn’t take much time for frostbite to develop in these harsh weather conditions.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

Updated at 4:20 a.m.

Central and northern New York is getting hit with an Arctic blast that, combined with strong winds, is causing dangerously cold wind chills, along with lake effect snow that could add up to four feet in some spots around the North Country.

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The New York State Legislature built on the state’s 2013 gun control laws Tuesday, passing measures to extend the waiting period for background checks for some purchasers and to forbid teachers from bringing guns to school.

At a news conference before the measures were voted on, Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said there have been 27 mass shootings in the U.S. already in 2019.

“Every day, it seems, we wake up to the headlines of another mass shooting, another horrific gun crime,” Stewart-Cousins said.

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Onondaga County continues taking the steps it needs to build a swimmable beach along the northern shore of Onondaga Lake. That includes a series of public meetings showcasing what it would take to create a beach along what was once called the most polluted lake in the country.

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Towns and villages across New York State are joining forces to ask the state to restore funding for towns and villages that was mostly eliminated from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $176 billion budget.

Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) has been a stalwart revenue stream for towns and villages for years. Losing it leaves big holes in the budgets of central New York governments. The village of Solvay stands to lose $175,000, the town of Cicero will lose $178,000.

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Syracuse Common Councilor Susan Boyle is stepping down to take a job working for Onondaga County, and the process of replacing her is getting some blowback. A majority on the Democratic-controlled council said they will vote to replace Boyle with the district candidate chosen by the Democratic committee.

Matt Ryan / New York Now

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse are hailing the passage of the Child Victims Act at the New York State Capitol, which will give victims their day in court.

At a rally at the Capitol, survivors and their advocates celebrated just before the vote was held in the state Senate and Assembly.

Michael Polenberg with Safe Horizons, a group that provides social services for victims of abuse and violent crime, said survivors have had a long wait for justice.

“For too long, we’ve had one of the most restrictive laws in the nation,” Polenberg said. “And that changes today.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Local elected officials are reacting to voting reform measures passed in the Democratic-controlled New York State Legislature last week and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Thursday. While some Republicans supported the efforts, others said the changes are too costly and could disenfranchise voters.

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The New York State Senate has passed a bill to make the state’s 8-year-old property tax cap permanent. So far, the Assembly has not approved the measure.

Since the legislative session began, Democrats who control both chambers have approved several major measures, including the Reproductive Health Act and early voting, with minority party Republicans voting no.

One rare instance of bipartisan unity – in the Senate, at least – involved making the state’s temporary 2 percent annual property tax cap permanent.

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The Child Victims Act is scheduled to be approved in the state Legislature next week. Sponsors said they have fixed a perceived flaw in the legislation that opponents said could provide a loophole for public schools in sexual abuse cases.

The Catholic Church recently pulled back on its long-standing opposition to provisions of the Child Victims Act that end the statute of limitations for survivors to bring suits against their abusers.

WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County has a new executive. Ryan McMahon took over the position in November, when former county executive Joanie Mahoney left office for a new job at SUNY ESF. McMahon comes to the position with experience at both the county and city levels, has a made a reputation for himself as a high energy deal maker. This week, Grant Reeher talks with McMahon about the assets and challenges that he's inherited, his leadership style, and what has most surprised the veteran lawmaker. 

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Updated at 10:30 a.m. Friday

Syracuse Common Councilors passed a Walsh Administration proposal today to clear snow from sidewalks in targeted high trafficked areas in Syracuse. The vote was 6-1. Councilor Joe Carni voted against it, saying while he is in support of the idea of the city removing snow from sidewalks, he said the lack of a general liability policy could leave the city vulnerable. 

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The stalemate in Washington, D.C., that has created the nation's longest federal government shutdown has shuttered national parks across the country, including several in upstate New York.

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed off on changes to New York’s election laws Thursday that are designed to make it easier to vote, including allowing people to cast ballots before Election Day and preregistering student drivers so they’ll be automatically eligible to vote when they turn 18.

Matt Ryan / New York Now

The New York State Legislature late Wednesday approved a measure known as the Dream Act that would offer college aid for children of undocumented immigrants. But they stopped short of acting on a measure to offer driver’s licenses to immigrants in New York without documentation.

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The New York State Legislature has approved a measure that ends a mandate that teacher evaluations be based on the results of their students’ standardized tests.

It’s another step toward ending a 10-year-old bitter fight between teachers and their unions and politicians, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, over the implementation of the controversial Common Core learning standards.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

It was only a little more than a decade ago when the Sunoco ethanol plant sat vacant. But thanks to more than $200 million worth of investments, it was transformed into facility that now processes corn into more than 85 million gallons of ethanol every year. Attis Industries, a company involved in renewable energy and healthcare technologies, is now acquiring the plant and the adjacent 1886 Malt House for $20 million.

Company CEO Jeff Cosman says once that sale is finalized, the plant will become the centerpiece of a grand design.

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The Syracuse Common Council put the final stamp of approval on a sales tax distribution agreement with Onondaga County Tuesday that will last for the next 11 years.

City lawmakers unanimously agreed to extend the current sales tax deal. Finance Committee Chair Tim Rudd called it a smart move.

"I think it’s a fair agreement for the city and it’s more than we could get if collected our own sales tax," Rudd said.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) and Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) have introduced legislation that would pay transportation security officers during the partial federal government shutdown. It is an example of the bipartisanship and compromise Katko, a Republican, and Brindisi, a Democrat, say is needed to end the shutdown.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump offered a deal to Democrats to reopen the government: a three-year extension of DACA or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, in exchange for more than $5 billion for a wall along the Southern Border.

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The New York State Legislature voted Tuesday to codify the abortion rights in the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade into New York law, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed it into law immediately after the vote.  

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Oswego residents could soon see a $200 decrease in their annual sewer and water bill. The proposed rollback was announced during Mayor Billy Barlow's State of the City address last week.

It was almost three years ago that the council raised those rates as a way to pay for a federally mandated sewer and water separation project. Council President Rob Corradino, who took office with Barlow after those rates were increased, remembers the public outrage at his first meeting.

Matt Ryan / New York Now (file photo)

The New York State legislature is poised to approve a bill to codify the abortion rights in the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade into state law. For supporters, including the majority of Senators and Assemblymembers, it’s been a long time coming. But for opponents, it’s a bitter disappointment.

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There have been numerous reactions to many of the policy items in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s state budget. But how did the governor’s budgeting skills measure up? Two budget watchdog organizations are giving him mixed reviews.

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All 19 town supervisors in Onondaga County have come out against the community grid-only option to replace the I-81 viaduct in Syracuse. The other alternatives are a tunnel or a new elevated highway. Supporters of the grid continue to hold events around the city. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

This weekend’s snowstorm did not stop hundreds of people from participating in Syracuse Women’s March Saturday. The diverse group walked from the Everson Museum of Art in downtown to the University United Methodist Church, carrying signs that were critical of President Donald Trump's admiminstration.