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. 

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Democrat Roger Misso is staying in the race for central New York’s 24th Congressional District. Three candidates will compete for the Democratic nomination in a June primary. The winner will take on Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) in November.

Misso, a navy veteran, who was raised in Red Creek, said the district is more than 50% rural and his campaign stands with communities that feel left behind.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Updated at 7:00 a.m. Wednesday

Syracuse University officials have taken a noticeably tougher stance against protests by #NotAgainSU, a group of students that says the administration hasn't done enough to address racist and anti-Semitic incidents on campus in the last few months.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh’s administration said if the city’s Common Council does not give specific changes, then the administration will submit a police union contract for council approval in two weeks. It’s the same contract, agreed on by Walsh and the union, that the administration asked to withdraw from the council agenda in December, because there were not enough votes to pass it. Some councilors have set a specific threshold of what they could support. 

Ellen Abbott/Angi for State Senate/Facebook

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo has set a special election to fill a state Senate seat in central New York, vacated by Republican Bob Antonacci, after he was elected to the state Supreme Court, last year. But the Onondaga County Republican Chair is calling the special election rigged in Democrats’ favor.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

At a public meeting Wednesday night, Syracuse residents spoke overwhelmingly in favor of a proposed lead ordinance in the city that would make the presence of lead a code violation in rental housing. 

Genius NY

Five teams are competing for $1 million in investment funding through the Genius NY competition, a one year, in-residence startup accelerator for businesses involved with drones and other technology. The startup companies come from around the world to Syracuse. But one finalist is a former middle school science teacher from central New York.

Wayne Marshall / via Flickr

The city of Syracuse has started a public comment period on an environmental impact study regarding a proposed law that would make the presence of lead a code violation in rental housing. One of the intended goals of the more than 200-page report is to try to cover the city from any lawsuits. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

County fair administrators said they were blindsided by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement to extend the dates of the New York State Fair from 13 to 18 days. It’s a concern because now the state fair will overlap with eight other fairs, including Erie County. Officials were worried those extra five days could conflict with ride commitments, vendors and competitions. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

United States Census officials say there is a dire need for temporary workers in Onondaga County, who will go and knock on the doors of those who have not completed the 2020 census by May. Another challenge is to find workers that live in hard-to-count neighborhoods.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Board of elections commissioners in central New York met with federal cybersecurity officials to talk about what issues and vulnerabilities they face leading up to the 2020 election. Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said New York is much further ahead in election cybersecurity than other states. 

In My Father's Kitchen Facebook

Groups of volunteers and human service professionals with the Housing & Homeless Coalition of Central New York will be canvassing Oswego, Onondaga and Cayuga counties Wednesday to get a count of how many people are homeless in the area. The count last year found nearly 600 men, women and children in central New York were experiencing homelessness, which includes emergency shelters and transitional living facilities. 

Utica Municipal Housing Authority Facebook

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and in honor of the civil rights leader, the Utica Municipal Housing Authority is teaming up with AmeriCorps volunteers for a homeless outreach program. The goal is to get homeless people into shelters and eventually, permanent housing. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The New York Counts 2020 Coalition, which is made up of a large number of community based organizations across the state, is preparing central New Yorkers with the plans they need to ensure an accurate count of the population is made for the 2020 census. Several challenges face organizers this year, including a citizenship question, which was blocked by federal judges last year. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A political newcomer and former Syracuse University football player announced his candidacy to challenge state Sen. Rachel May (D-Syracuse). Republican Sam Rodgers, 28, said May consistently aligns and votes with a downstate coalition.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul highlighted some of the big proposals outlined in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State speech, while in Auburn this week. Hochul also addressed some of the more controversial challenges facing Cuomo’s administration. 

Montante Construction LLC

Another warehouse distribution center is being proposed in central New York, this time in the Town of DeWitt. That’s in addition to a giant facility approved for the Town of Clay, with the promise of 1,000 new jobs. But one local expert said there are reasons to be concerned.

Sutphen Corporation

Syracuse officials described a crisis and critical shortage of snow plows and firetrucks at a common council meeting on Wednesday. New vehicles could cost the city millions of dollars. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is supporting the creation of a countywide STEAM high school in Syracuse, focused on science and technology, in his State of the State speech Wednesday. The $75 million project will transform the former Central Tech High School into an education and workforce training center. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

More anti-Semitic incidents happened in New York City over the weekend. This comes after a stabbing at a Hanukkah party in Monsey, New York, injured five people in December. Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it a hate crime and terrorism. He said he’s going to encourage the legislature to pass a domestic terrorism law. Central and northern New York State Sen. Joe Griffo introduced a bill last spring that would make anti-Semitic attacks a hate crime. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A deer and tick management plan that involves culling deer, is underway in the city of Syracuse. The program started this month and is meant to reduce an overpopulation of deer. It involves federal sharpshooters shooting deer from various locations. But some residents have expressed concern that they can hear the gunshots. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

The Syracuse Common Council has changed the way it will select a new councilor when there is a vacancy. The process has caused confusion with councilors and applicants in the past, with vacancies sometimes sitting open for months. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

At the request of Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh’s administration, the city council withdrew legislation on a four-and-a-half year contract with the police union. That’s because, councilors said, the measure was going to be voted down. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse common councilors questioned if the city can afford a new police union contract that will cost nearly $20 million extra by 2022. Police and city officials said the contract is needed to move the police department forward. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh issued his first veto on Monday, rejecting legislation that gives the mayor, councilors and city auditor pay raises. But the council had the final say and over-rode his veto. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

This is the third year a SUNY Oswego professor is collecting holiday cards, hand written by students and other volunteers, for kids who lost family members to mass shootings across the country. 

Will Johnson, a senior political science major at SUNY Oswego checks off the names on a list of 74 children impacted by shootings in Las Vegas, Parkland and Aurora. Scattered across a table are colorful Christmas cards with images of winter scenes. 

WRVO News File Photo

The Green Light law allows for undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses in New York State, and it goes into effect Saturday. Some county clerks say their offices are not ready, and it’s been a significant challenge for them to get more information from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Syracuse Common Council passed legislation meant to clarify a tax exemption for projects that convert non-residential property into mixed use. Councilors admit, that exemption has done some good developing vacant or under-used properties. But some councilors said a change to the law is needed, because some developers are taking advantage of it. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse University student protesters walked out of classes Thursday, demanding the resignations of the chancellor, public safety chief and others. Protesters said they do not have confidence in those officials to carry out the changes they said are needed, after racist graffiti, vandalism and other incidents occurred on campus last month. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Some Syracuse councilors are receptive to a police union contract, already agreed to by the mayor and the union. The council is expected to vote on the contract in two weeks. 

Councilor-at-Large Michael Greene said the biggest benefit is a provision that requires all new members of the police union to live in the city of Syracuse for their first five years.

“I think that it’s an important thing that we’ve heard from a lot of constituents is having a better connection between the police officers and the community,” Greene said.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES

There were five overdoses in Jefferson County in a 24-hour period from Sunday to Monday morning and one person died. Opioids are suspected to be the cause of the overdoses. First responders are now using a software system that allows the county’s health department to track the overdoses in real time.

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