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

In the 22nd Congressional District race, the last undecided congressional race in the nation, a judge has ordered the Oneida County Board of Elections to review more than 1,000 rejected affidavit ballots. Republican Claudia Tenney has a lead over incumbent Democrat Anthony Brindisi of just 29 votes.

Senator Chuck Schumer Facebook

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), soon to be the majority leader, said he specifically raised the Interstate-81 reconstruction project in Syracuse with Pete Buttigieg, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for U.S. transportation secretary. In a virtual meeting, Schumer told Buttigieg it’s one of his top priorities for New York state.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Syracuse Democratic mayoral candidate Michael Greene kicked off his campaign last week at an abandoned KFC restaurant on the city’s north side. The 33-year-old city councilor said it was the perfect context to highlight the problems facing the city.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in the last of four speeches outlining his 2021 plans, detailed billions of dollars in new and ongoing infrastructure projects that he hopes can provide jobs in the post-pandemic economy.

WRVO Public Media

Republican Congress members from central and northern New York were split on their votes in the House of Representatives for the second impeachment of President Donald Trump.

WRVO Public Media

Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said he will vote to impeach President Donald Trump. This comes after an attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters, following a Trump rally, left five people dead. In a statement, Katko, a Republican, said allowing the president to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of democracy.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

SUNY Upstate Medical University has distributed all of its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine, and is now administering the second dose. Upstate has vaccinated 6,000 people in the first phase of New York’s vaccination program.

Don Sniegowski / Flickr

Congressional representatives from central, northern New York and the Finger Lakes region are all condemning the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) called it shameful, completely unacceptable and said it endangered the lives of law enforcement and others.

Elise Stefanik YouTube

North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro) said she will reject the presidential results of the Electoral College, when Congress meets on Wednesday to count the votes. In a video posted to YouTube on Monday, Stefanik said she plans to object to certain contested electors because of serious questions she has with respect to the presidential election.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media File Photo

Syracuse-area Rep. John Katko said his history as a moderate Republican will be in play as Congress begins its 117th session in Washington. Katko expects more sway from moderates and his reputation will be a positive.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The race for mayor in the city of Syracuse is becoming clearer. Mayor Ben Walsh, an independent, will at least face a Democrat as he runs for reelection.


Nursing home residents, who have recovered from COVID-19, but are still testing positive for the virus and can’t leave the hospital, will now be able to move to another facility, so they can free up hospital beds.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in 18 counties in the Capitol Region, Southern Tier and Hudson Valley on Thursday after a heavy snowfall. Some places, like Binghamton, got more than three feet of snow.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

A very deadly day from COVID-19 was reported by Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon on Wednesday. He said 18 people died over a 24-hour period; six in hospitals, the rest in nursing homes.

Ronnie White Jr. - Syracuse Councilor at Large Facebook

The Syracuse Common Council has appointed its part-time attorney to fill a councilor-at-large seat that was vacated when Tim Rudd took a job in Mayor Walsh’s administration. Ronnie White Jr. beat out 14 others for the position. Citywide WiFi and changes to policing are among his top priorities.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Frontline health care workers at Upstate University Hospital were the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Onondaga County on Tuesday. Vaccines were administered within an hour and a half of the hospital receiving them.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said he believes the county will receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by next week. But he added that the county is still in a very big fight with the virus.

Divest NY Facebook

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced that the state’s pension fund, the third-largest in the country, will transition to an investment portfolio with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Elected officials in central New York are celebrating the change and calling it groundbreaking.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A judge has ruled that the county boards of elections in the 22nd Congressional District must correct all errors, past objections, and recanvass the ballots, when necessary, in the race between Democratic incumbent Rep. Anthony Brindisi and Republican challenger Claudia Tenney. State Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte wrote in his order that seven boards of elections had “careless or inadvertent failures” in canvassing affidavit and absentee ballots, and preserving challenges to those ballots.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon Sunday vetoed a $7,000 a year pay cut for the two county election commissioners, saying the move had the "unintended consequence of increasing political partisanship and causing division within our community at a time when we can least afford discord."

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Republicans in the Onondaga County Legislature passed the county’s 2021 budget along party lines. Democrats rejected what they’re calling inequities in the Republicans’ budget priorities.

Brindisi/Tenney campaigns

The 22nd Congressional District race between Republican Claudia Tenney and Democratic incumbent Anthony Brindisi, is one of the closest in the country. A month after Election Day, there is still no winner, and one might not be determined anytime soon. A judge has to rule on challenges to more than 2,000 absentee and affidavit ballots. At the moment, the race is only separated by 12 votes, with Tenney leading. Besides the razor thin margin, the absentee ballot counting process has been plagued by some errors and inefficiencies made by election officials.

Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office

Onondaga County is on track to have its highest number of opioid-related deaths in almost 10 years. It’s a trend happening across upstate and the rest of the country. The pandemic is making substance-use disorder worse. Local treatment facilities are struggling. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is urging the federal government to help.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has sent a letter to the Trump administration and President-elect Joe Biden, raising concerns about the federal government’s vaccination program, and proposing some changes. The governor said distributing the vaccine will be the greatest governmental undertaking since the start of the pandemic.

Assemblyman Al Stirpe, Venesky for Assembly Facebook

Onondaga County Democratic Assemblyman Al Stirpe is claiming victory in his reelection bid over Republican challenger, and former Cicero town supervisor, Mark Venesky. Stirpe leads by 6,000 votes after being down by 1,000 votes on election night.


Democrat John Mannion is claiming victory in the 50th State Senate District race over Republican Angi Renna, who led by more than 7,000 votes on election night. Mannion took the lead on Monday by close to 2,300 votes. Onondaga County has resumed counting absentee ballots, after an outbreak of COVID-19 infections stopped the count, more than two weeks ago.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media

Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, will be different as COVID-19 restrictions have limited in-person shopping, and demand intensifies online. The deals and promotions started weeks in advance.

Michael John Heagerty Facebook

Orange zone restrictions are set to take effect in Syracuse on Wednesday. That means gyms and hair salons must close and restaurants can only do takeout and outdoor dining. It’s another hit for certain industries that have been struggling particularly hard throughout the pandemic.

Randy Sabourin is the owner of the Metro Fitness clubs in Syracuse and Fayetteville. They were already closed for about six months this year. Now, facing the closure of at least his Syracuse location, he said it gets more difficult to convince people that going to the gym is safe.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

The Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Bureau distribution of toys and food to low-income families in Syracuse will look a little different this year, due to the pandemic. The organization is still expecting a big turnout.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The counting of absentee ballots in Onondaga County might not resume until the end of the month, after eight positive cases of COVID-19 were reported among staffers at the county Board of Elections. But the elections commissioners have a plan, as a state deadline looms.