Tom Magnarelli

Reporter, Syracuse

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York. 

Rep. John Katko / Facebook

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) made his second appearance in two days at the White House Wednesday as negotiations continued between Democrats and President Donald Trump to reopen the federal government. The issue is over funding for a wall along the Southern Border, which Katko said he supports, but he has also voted to end the shutdown without wall funding.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The executive director of the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority, which operates Hancock International Airport is stepping down. Christina Callahan oversaw $120 million in renovations to the airport, over the past several years.

Callahan said one big investment completed in 2013 was a brand new security checkpoint.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

As central New York starts to see some significant snowfall, the city of Syracuse is no longer moving forward with the private contractor it selected for its sidewalk snow removal program. Negotiations ended with the contractor last month over too many unanswered questions over how the pilot project would work.   

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

SUNY Upstate Medical University has a new interim president. Dr. Mantosh Dewan takes over during a tumultuous time for the institution.

SUNY Upstate is under investigation by the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office and the state inspector general and comptroller offices for paying some former employees off-campus assignments for little or no work, including a former hospital CEO. Dewan said he is aware of the investigations.

Rep. Anthony Brindisi's office

Newly sworn-in Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) already fulfilled one campaign promise Thursday by not voting for Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House. In a protest vote, Brindisi voted for former Vice President Joe Biden, but Pelosi won the speakership anyway. Democrats regained control of the House in the midst of a government shutdown.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Onondaga County Legislature passed an agenda Wednesday that legislators said will determine the success or failure of the county for years to come. In addition to some significant financial decisions, the county passed a resolution on the future of Interstate-81.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Syracuse Fire Department said heating is the second leading cause of home fires in the region, and there is an increase in fires during the winter months. Officials said they find a lot of winter fires are caused by heating equipment that has not been serviced properly.

Deputy Fire Chief Elton Davis said furnaces, boilers and chimneys need to be serviced and cleaned every year.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Minimum wage workers across New York State are getting a raise. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it shows government can make a difference in people's lives, but central New York businesses are mixed on its impact.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A new federal proposal would change the way New York’s military installations get milk, and could hurt local dairy farmers. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is trying to stop it.

Byrne Dairy, which buys milk from more than 250 dairy farms in central new york, delivers more than 250,000 gallons of it to military installations across the state each year. But instead of just directly shipping the milk to bases like Fort Drum, the new plan would send products to a warehouse down south, before coming back up to New York. Byrne Dairy CEO Carl Byrne said he doesn’t want to see that happen.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Nottingham High School Junior Varsity Football team in Syracuse was honored by the city council for fully embracing one of their teammates who has Down syndrome. Brandon Pearson, 16, was recognized for his hard work and dedication to the team.

Jim Bowen / Flickr

New York lawmakers' pay raises, which are being challenged in court, are expected to go into effect Jan. 1 and would increase legislators' pay by more than 60 percent over three years. Central New York's state Assembly members are split on the raises. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media File Photo

The White House has signaled it may not shut down the government over $5 billion for a wall along the Southern Border. But central New York’s congressional representative said the issue is not going away.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

With some hesitation, the Syracuse Common Council voted unanimously Monday to authorize up to $170,000 with a private contractor to clear some of the city’s sidewalks of snow. But councilors still have concerns.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

President Donald Trump this week is expected to sign the 2018 Farm Bill that passed Congress last week. The bill includes some relief for struggling dairy farmers.

Milk prices have been low for four years now. Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) said the farm bill makes changes to a margin insurance program and lowers premiums for smaller dairy farms to protect their revenue.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Local and state officials are promoting farm-fresh Christmas trees this holiday season. It’s an $8 million industry in New York State and the trees are also good for the environment.

Rep. John Katko / Facebook

Next year will be the first time some upstate House Republicans will be in the minority. Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said he has built a lot of bridges with Democrats over the last four years.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Kids in Syracuse city schools received 11,000 donated hats and gloves for the winter. It is an ongoing need, with some kids walking up to a mile and a half to school every day in freezing temperatures.

At Webster Elementary, first-grader Harlon Adamy showed off his new gear. 

"So my gloves are little bit like black and blue," Adamy said. "And then my hat is a little like silver and grey color. I’m very happy and thankful."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media File Photo

Upstate Republican House members are trying to get some spending priorities accomplished before the end of the year. They are also trying to avoid a potential government shutdown over the issue of border security.

James F Clay / Flickr

Three schools in the Syracuse City School District, that were designated as struggling by the New York State Education Department, have not made enough improvements and will be placed under an independent receiver, who will assume full managerial and operation authority of the schools. The school district has 60 days to come up with a plan.

City of Syracuse

The city of Syracuse has once again changed its snow plow license law, after updating it in October. The city’s common council was divided among themselves and Mayor Ben Walsh’s administration over how to deter illegal snow dumping, while also not overburdening businesses.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

One race that may have flown under the radar this past election, was a councilor-at-large seat on the Syracuse Common Council. Michael Greene, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year, won the election overwhelmingly, after losing a Democratic primary council race last year.

Greene won with 70 percent of the vote, defeating Republican Norm Snyder and Green Party candidate Frank Cetera.

Greene said the first time he ran for office, last year, was a challenging experience.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Today is Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler’s last day on the job and with the new chief, Kenton Buckner, being sworn in Monday, some advocacy groups see it as an opportunity to start a conversation about the police department’s use of force policy with a new administration. 

Blue Hat Photography

The Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse has selected Tony-nominated actor Hunter Foster as its next artistic director. Foster said he wants to elevate the status of the theater to have more name recognition around the country.

“I’m hoping that we develop new work that makes its way to New York at some point," Foster said. "I’m hoping it’s a destination people want to come to."

Foster has lived in New York City for 25 years and he said having a connection there will help Redhouse.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Democratic Congressman-elect Anthony Brindisi, who won a narrow victory over Mohawk Valley Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford), is sticking to his commitment against voting for Nancy Pelosi as the next speaker of the House. This comes even after some Democrats who initially opposed Pelosi, have switched to backing her.

Don McCullough / Flickr

Reaction has been mixed to Amazon’s selection of Long Island City in Queens as one of its new headquarters, promising 25,000 high-paying jobs. But Syracuse business leaders said they are expecting a spill-over effect of investment in central New York, because of the region’s drone corridor.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Clear Path for Veterans, a nonprofit veteran resource center in Chittenango, will host a Thanksgiving meal for veterans and their families Thursday. The feast is just one way the organization shows its appreciation for veterans.

Mark Wasileski, who served in the coast guard during the Vietnam War, is one of a few volunteers prepping Thursday's food. He’s blanching broccoli while others are cutting beets.

City of Syracuse

Residents in the city of Syracuse complained to city officials about unplowed streets following last week’s snowstorm, where nearly a foot of snow fell across central New York. Syracuse's Department of Public Works Commissioner Jeremy Robinson admitted Monday they were caught off guard. 

City of Syracuse

The Syracuse Common Council is expected to vote Monday on getting rid of a required city license for snow plow drivers. Last winter, Mayor Ben Walsh's administration began actively enforcing the license law, which has been on the books since the 1970s.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse may get rid of requiring snow plow contractors to have a license to operate in the city. This comes just a month after the common council voted on updating some antiquated aspects of the law.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Officials in Auburn opened the $10 million Equal Rights Heritage Center, a place for visitors to learn about the important social movements throughout New York State history. It is meant to drive tourism and educate the public on the historic significance of the region.

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