Syracuse, NY – Central New York Congressman Jim Walsh will remain in a powerful position in the 108th Congress which reconvenes today. In this interview with WRVO's Chris Ulanowski, the seven-term house member talked about his priorities in the new Congress.

Fulton – Fewer people are entering the field of nursing...making it difficult for hospitals to fill nursing positions. Cayuga Community College is helping to address the problem by expanding its nursing program.

WRVO's Amy Cavalier has this report:

update – update update update

Syracuse, NY – Central New York Congressman Jim Walsh will remain in a powerful position in the 108th Congress which reconvenes today. In this interview with WRVO's Chris Ulanowski, the seven-term house member talked about his priorities in the new Congress.

Syracuse, NY – There are still two unresolved issues related to the Destiny USA project.

Chris Ulanowski has the story.


New York State – Thousands of miles of snowmobile trails were closed this weekend despite an overabundance of snow.

Snowmobile clubs had to purchase insurance for their trails from a new provider this year. Recently, it was discovered that the policies have an exclusion clause that declines to cover snowmobile accidents.

That's forced the clubs to close trails.

State Insurance Department officials plant to meet with the snowmobile clubs and the Northfield Insurance Company today to try to resolve the dispute.

WRVO – The effects of a weak holiday shopping season will be felt well into the new year.

WRVO's Amy Cavalier has this report.

WRVO – Upstate New York Congressman John Mchugh says making military service mandatory is not a new idea and isn't apt to happen anytime soon.

Mchugh says doesn't see a need for changing the current method of military recruitment.

As it stands now, he says, all males having reached the age of 18 must sign up for the draft.

Mchugh says Congress has not recieved any details of the proposal from Congressman Rangel yet.

WRVO – A more stringent D-W-I law recently passed by the State Legislature and signed by Governor Pataki is just the first step in the fight against drunk driving according to Mother's Against Drunk Driving.

WRVO's Amy Cavalier reports:

Syracuse, NY – Syracuse police arrested a man attempting to carry a loaded handgun onto a plane at Hancock Aiport on Christmas day.

They are not releasing the man's name or what charges he may face.

Federal authorities will say that he is not a known or suspected terrorist.

Airport screeners found a .45 caliber weapon in the man's carry on bag early in the morning as he tried to board an American Airlines flight to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Albany. NY – A new program aims to keep skilled nursing directors at the state's long term care facilities.

Directors of Nursing from seventeen nursing homes have graduated from the Nursing Leadership Program.

Nancy Levelle, a spokeswoman for the New York State Health Facilities Association, says directors of nursing tend to have a high turnover rate. They will generally work nine to eleven months and then move on.

Albany, NY – Respondents to a Siena College poll say they want to get more exercise in 2003.

It is the top New Year's resolution New Yorkers are making according to the survey.

The poll was conducted last month with random phone calls to over 400 capitol region residents.

It found that only a fifth of those polled made resolutions. Less than 60% of those kept the resolutions they made.

The Siena College Top Five Resolutions for 2003:

1. Exercise more

2. Lose weight/diet

New York State – The long-anticipated Women's Health Care Act becomes law. Insurers will be forced to cover mammograms, osteoporosis exams, and doctor-prescribed oral contraceptives. Regligious entities will be exempt from the contraceptive requirement.

Another law will increase the standard deduction for married couples who don't itemize deducations.

One measure raises the college tuition take credit by 25%.

Albany, NY – Governor George Pataki is appealing to past contributors to help him wipe out a debt of $305 thousand.

The money was spent during his 2002 race for governor.

The race was the most expensive non-presidnetial campaign in American history, due in large part of massive spending by independent billionaire Thomas Golisano.

Pataki spent more than $44 million on his campaign. He's asking "Friends of Pataki" to help him pay off his debts.

He must pay off that debt by the end of the month.

Central New York – Upstate New York is way ahead of last year when it comes to cumulative snow totals.

The National Weather service is reporting high snow totals all across the state thanks in part to Wednesday's high snow totals in Eastern New York and the Mohawk Valley.

Most areas experienced their first snowfall on November first. Since then, weather conditions have resulted in higher snow totals.

Here are the snow totals for the three major upstate cities:

Syracuse = 56"

Albany = 46"

Albany, NY – The state's Retail Council says this year's holiday sales appear to equal last season.

Senior Vice President for the Retail Council, Ted Potrikus, says stores cutting prices at the last minute did encourage some last minute shoppers.

Potrikus says the overall shopping season cannot be called successful.

Some retailers are facing a serious deficit.

Albany, NY – A health care company has launched a new web tool that allows consumers to research hospitals in their area.

The Excellus website now offers a database where consumers can find out the number of procedures a hospital does, the number of successful surgeries, and surveys of patient satisfaction.

Albany, NY – "Seans Law" takes effect today.

The legislation shortens the time it takes to get teenage drunk drivers off the road.

Previously, judges could not suspend the license of a driver under the age of 18 until all court proceedings were complete.

"Sean's Law" will allow judges to immediately suspend the junior licenses of driver who have been charged with DWI.

Oswego, NY –
Environemental Activists in New York have an answer to help alleviate the state's fiscal crisis -- Expand the the state's 20-year old Bottle Bill. WRVO's Chris Ulanowski has the story.

Albany, NY – The State Univeristy of New York Trustees have decided to delay releasing their budget proposal until February.

That has some critics wondering if tuition will rise in the new year.

CLICK on the icon above to hear Elizabeth Christensen's full report.

Syracuse – The Syracuse Peace Council is helping Syracuse-area youth speak out against a possible war in Iraq.

"Youth Empowerment for Peace", a group of eighteen Syracuse youth from four high schools, sponsored an educational program last night titled, "Behind the war; What youth need to know".

Andy Mager, co-coordinator of the Peace Council says young people have a role in addressing issues of war and peace and will feel the effects of a war in Iraq.

WRVO – Family members of people who were imprisoned under New York's harsh Rockefeller-era drug laws are disappointed that the state legislature failed this year to reform the 30-year-old law.

But they're not giving up, according to this report from WRVO's Chris Ulanowski.

WRVO – The Senate passed SONDA and Governor George Pataki signed it into law last night. It's the first time in the 31-year history of the bill that the measure has been allowed to go for a vote.

Yesterday, before the official votes were cast, WRVO's Chris Ulanowski asked Syracuse-area Republican John DeFrancisco how he planned to vote on SONDA and other matters before the State Senate.

WRVO – Retailers are counting on last minute and post-holiday shopping to bolster their bottom line.

WRVO's Amy Cavalier reports on the Retail Council of New York State's latest report on holiday shopping.

Syracuse, NY – Onondaga County finally has an indoor smoking policy.

An amended version of the Clean Indoor Air Act, also known as the Warner Winslow bill, was adopted by the full legislature yesterday.

The bill will prohibit smoking in public places such as restaurants, bars, and bowling alleys.

Smaller businesses, those with less than 50 seats, will be given 18 months to two years to comply with the new law.

Albany, NY – The state's largest public employees union is getting out in front in the debate over the state budget.

New York is facing a budget deficit which could be as high as 10 billion dollars.

Civil Services Employees Association spokesman Stephen Madarasz says his union is worried that members will become "scapegoats" in budget deliberations.

He's scared that state employees will not get the pay raise they've been asking for.

New York, New York – Governor Pataki has proposed borrowing four billion dollars from the state's tobacco settlement fund to help relieve New York's mounting fiscal crisis.

That has some fiscal conservatives fuming.

Chairman of the state's Conservative party, Michael Long, says using the tobacco money is wrong.

He says it will increase New York's indebtedness.

Long says the fiscal crisis will be solved in the long term by sound economic development initiatives, not by throwing money at the problem.

Albany, NY – A higher education advocacy group is releasing some information about the economic impact of private colleges on the towns where they're located.

It hopes the figures will encourage lawmakers to spend more on independent schools.

CLICK on the icon above to hear Elizabeth Christensen's full report.

Syracuse, NY – The Onondaga County legislature is expected to vote on an amended clean indoor air bill today.

The anti-smoking legislation passed two weeks ago was changed slightly after County Executive Nick Pirro threatened to veto the measure.

This time around, smaller businesses will be given longer to comply with the bill, which outlaws indoor smoking in public places.

Albany, NY – Despite New York's fiscal woes, the state's Board of Regent wants the legislature to spend more on education.

CLICK on the icon above to hear the full report from Capitol Bureau Correspondent Karen Dewitt.