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. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Protesters are continuing their demand for the removal of a statue of Christopher Columbus in downtown Syracuse. More than 12,000 people have signed an online petition to remove it.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Central and northern New York, the Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions are set to enter Phase 4 of reopening on Friday, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. That includes guidance on reopening higher education, arts and entertainment, professional sports and movie productions. 

Balter/Conole campaigns

Updated at 10 a.m. Wednesday In the Democratic primary race for the 24th Congressional District, Dana Balter leads Francis Conole by more than 4,700 votes with early and primary day ballots counted. But there are still more than 28,000 absentee ballots for the race throughout the district that need to be counted, and a winner might not be declared until after the July 4 holiday.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh issued his first executive order on Friday, which includes 16 reform measures to the city’s police department. At the top of the list is implementing parts of New York City’s Right to Know Act.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Syracuse Police Department has received more than 750 complaints about illegal fireworks going off in the city. Officers have been assigned to respond to the complaints, but police also need help from the public.

Residents across the City of Syracuse have been hearing the fireworks on a nightly basis. Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said it’s not just a quality-of-life issue, people’s health and safety are at risk.

New York State School Boards Association Facebook

School district budget votes are seeing three to eight times the normal turnout this year as compared to years past. An executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo required all of the voting be done by absentee ballot instead of in-person, because of the coronavirus pandemic. But mail-in voting can be expensive. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

As thousands of absentee ballots are returned, central New York could have a record-breaking turnout for the June primary, next week. Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order allowing all eligible voters to request absentee ballots, to limit the number of people voting in person, because of the coronavirus pandemic. And for those who do vote in person, they will have to follow some new health safety measures.

WRVO Public Media File Photo

One hundred fifty-nine deer were killed in the first year of the City of Syracuse’s deer management plan. The program is meant to reduce deer overpopulation, which causes property and ecological damage and can spread ticks and Lyme disease.

A proposed lead ordinance in the city of Syracuse, expected to be voted on soon, would make the presence of lead paint chipping a code violation for rental properties. Lead poisoning can cause irreversible damage to children. Syracuse common councilors held an online public meeting last week to give presentations on implementing the law, and city residents shared their concerns.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Syracuse Peace Council and the Pan African Community of Central New York are calling for the demilitarization of police. Activists say the killing of George Floyd has exposed major issues of policing in the country. YouTube

The Syracuse Common Council is unanimously calling for the immediate suspension of a Syracuse police officer that broke rank and pushed a Post Standard news photographer to the ground during one of the city's protests against police brutality. It happened on the night when protests turned violent, windows were smashed and stores were looted.

Baldwinsville Central School District Facebook

As the school year comes to an end, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York state will allow drive-in and drive-through student graduations. He also announced on Sunday that outdoor graduation ceremonies will be allowed starting June 26, but only for up to 150 people. Schools will also have to have strict social distancing guidelines in place. Last week, school districts in central New York had already started to put some graduation ceremony plans in place.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

A massive crowd of protesters gathered in front of Syracuse City Hall on Saturday to rally against police brutality and the oppression of black people. Police were expecting 2,000 people to show up and the protest could have exceeded those numbers. It was organized by Black Lives Matter Syracuse and featured many different speakers. People chanted, “No justice, no peace!” Signs read, “White silence is violence.” And some speakers called for defunding the police department. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said he will do everything in his power to open public pools this summer. But there are a lot of factors working against the city. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Protesters against police brutality continued marching around the city of Syracuse on Tuesday. But in an effort to make sure their voices are heard on Election Day, some set up a table to register people to vote. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse officials thanked the community Sunday for their cooperation over a chaotic weekend that saw hundreds of protesters, but few arrests. 

"Much of [Saturday] was filled with peaceful protest, and that is something we will always support," Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said during a news conference Sunday.

WRVO News (file photo)

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said over the last 24 hours, the behind-the-scenes restart process played out in public. It was confusing, draining and emotional, he said, but at the end of the day, everyone got the result they wanted. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier Friday, that the central New York region could now move into Phase Two. 

At his Friday press conference, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that five regions in phase one of reopening, including central New York, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes, and Southern Tier, are ready for phase two. 

CrossFit Syracuse Facebook

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said the central New York region is ready for a phase two reopening on Friday, which will include professional services, hair stylists and more retail. But New York state has not yet put out guidance on what phase two looks like, although that should be coming soon. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County has reopened the Oneida Shores beach, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo and libraries will reopen Tuesday. County Executive Ryan McMahon said while he’s not as concerned about a rise in COVID cases because of those reopenings, his team will be watching the county's infection rate.  

Belinda Cornell

Barbershops, hair and nail salons were ordered to close on March 21, by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Last week, Cuomo announced hair stylists are in phase two of reopening parts of New York State. Although the state has not yet provided any guidance on what that might look like, salon owners are taking it upon themselves to start planning. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media

Ten regions that make up New York State each have a regional control room with members that will review the infection, testing and hospitalization rates of the coronavirus daily, so action can be taken if positive cases increase significantly. Central New York’s control room has been able to get more clarification from the state on what businesses are allowed to reopen, but questions still remain. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

There were six more deaths in nursing homes Thursday, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon announced on Friday. The total number of deaths in Onondaga County is up to 90.

The Central New York region is its first day of phase one reopening. But McMahon said that doesn’t mean that social gatherings of more than 10 people are going to be allowed. 

“There is risk involved in even having 10 people together,” McMahon said. “You can always see mom or dad. It’s whether or not seeing mom or dad brings more risk, and whether it’s the smart thing to do.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Update: New York State has released guidelines for industries reopening in phase one. A summary of the guidelines for retail can be found here.  

Retail is one industry which will have some of its restrictions lifted on Friday, as part of the first phase to reopening parts of New York State. But if Central New York is allowed to start phase one, it won’t be business as usual, as retailers face a new reality. 

Onondaga County Facebook

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the Central New York and North Country regions meet six out of seven metrics he has given for parts of the state to begin reopening some businesses by Friday. Both regions need to increase testing for the coronavirus. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said central New York will meet its testing goal this week. 

Syracuse VA Medical Center Facebook

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is pressing the Department of Veterans Affairs to send more personal protective equipment to VA facilities, especially in New York, to fight against COVID-19. This follows an Inspector General report in March that said 33 out of 54 facilities that were studied across the country, had inadequate supplies and equipment. 

WRVO News (file photo)

The Syracuse Common Council unanimously passed the city’s 2020-21 budget using $5 million dollars less of its fund balance than what Mayor Ben Walsh originally proposed. The extra savings are meant to avoid a state financial control board. 

Van Duyn Center For Rehabilitation and Nursing Facebook

Update: Data released Wednesday brought the total number of deaths from the coronavirus at nursing homes in Onondaga County, to 19. A previous version of this story had the total at 17.

There have been 19 confirmed or presumed coronavirus deaths at nursing homes in Onondaga County, according to the latest data released by the New York State Department of Health. While the county is proactively testing workers and seniors at assisted living facilities, regardless of if they have Covid symptoms, that’s not necessarily the case at nursing homes, which are regulated by the state. 

YMCA of Central New York

Giving Tuesday usually takes place after Thanksgiving, as a way for people to remember to donate to charities during the holiday season. But this year, it’s also being held on Tuesday as an event called Giving Tuesday Now, meant to support nonprofits through the COVID-19 crisis. The YMCA of Central New York is using the day to highlight the work they're still doing.

Thousands of YMCA members in central New York have put their memberships on hold, since gyms were ordered to close.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse City School District Superintendent Jaime Alicea said he agrees with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to keep schools closed for the remainder of the academic year. More than 70% of students are working online, which will continue, as will delivering paperwork packets to students. The district has lent out thousands of laptops to students. Educational programming, taught by local teachers on WCNY public television will continue as well.