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

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.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The salaries of Syracuse councilors, the mayor, council president and city auditor will likely be going up, after the council approved the pay raises on Monday. Those positions, with the exception of the mayor, also get 2% annual increases until 2023.

It has been 16 years since councilors had a salary increase. They will go from $21,000 to $30,000 a year. Councilor-at-Large Tim Rudd said they should be paid at least a living wage for a job some councilors work at full time.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media File Photo

The city of Syracuse has reached a tentative agreement with the police union over a four-and-a-half year contract. It still needs to be voted on by the union and Syracuse Common Council. The proposed contract includes a residency requirement, pay raises, and a potential change in officers’ shift schedule. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul joined local elected officials at the Spanish Action League in Syracuse Tuesday to give away 200 turkeys to needy families for Thanksgiving. Some of those families settled in Onondaga County after being displaced by Hurricane Maria, when it hit Puerto Rico in 2017. 

Congressman John Katko Facebook

Bipartisan legislation, recently introduced in Congress, would increase funding for local domestic violence and sexual assault service agencies. Workers with those agencies said it would help keep the lights on, enhance certain services and reach underserved communities.  

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Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said so far, the evidence laid out in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. Katko said it all goes back to a July phone call, where Trump asked the Ukrainian president for an investigation into his political rival, Joe Biden. 

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Law enforcement officials and district attorneys from central New York joined in an effort across the state, to voice concern over criminal justice reforms, set to go into effect in January. They’re upset that they were kept out of the process when the reforms were passed by the state legislature, earlier this year, as a part of the budget. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

New York State Republican Chair Nick Langworthy joined Republican congressional candidate Claudia Tenney and Trump supporters in Utica Wednesday, calling on Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) to denounce the impeachment inquiry against the president. Brindisi voted to open the impeachment inquiry last month.

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Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud has responded to a list of demands from a student sit-in that has been going on for a week, over racist incidents that have occurred recently on campus. In the past two weeks, SU has been rocked by at least 10 incidents including racist graffiti, yelling racial slurs and hateful emails. 

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Syracuse common councilors are reviewing a change to a property tax exemption that some say, is being exploited by developers. The amendment is meant to tighten the exemption. 

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Oswego and Cayuga counties will receive $43 million in state funding for projects meant to mitigate flooding from Lake Ontario, which reached record high levels this year. Most of the 31 projects will improve infrastructure in the area. 

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A Syracuse Common Council committee meeting turned into a yelling match Wednesday, over a proposal to amend the law governing the Citizen Review Board, which reviews allegations of police misconduct. The change was meant to ensure that the findings of the CRB would not be used in lawsuits against the city. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media File Photo

Mohawk Valley Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) is again targeting cable and internet providers like Spectrum, who are raising prices. Brindisi said his plan would investigate the rising costs and propose federal penalties to cable and internet companies fined by a state.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Democrats were only able to pick up one seat in the Onondaga County Legislature on election night, despite running challengers to most of the Republican incumbents. That keeps Democrats in the minority, bringing their total to six out of 17 seats, even though they have a 30,000 active voter advantage over Republicans in the county. Democrats were able to break up the Republican supermajority in the legislature. 

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Microsoft has selected the city of Syracuse as the location for a new smart cities technology hub. It will provide help to startup tech companies, digital literacy and workforce training, and development of artificial intelligence.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Democrat Chol Majok is now the first former refugee to be elected to the Syracuse Common Council. The demographics of the council are changing after Tuesday’s election. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

More than 100,000 residents came out to vote Tuesday night in Onondaga County, a significant increase since the last county executive race was held in 2015. But posting the election night results became a problem for the Onondaga County Board of Elections. 

Jason Smith / WRVO Public Media

Tuesday is Election Day, but for the first time, more than 8,000 residents in Onondaga County already voted during New York State’s nine days of early voting. Local elections commissioners are split on the success of the new rollout. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

It has been almost 16 years since Syracuse common councilors had a salary increase. The council is now reviewing whether pay raises are needed.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency has approved $70 million in property, sales and mortgage tax relief for the construction of a massive warehouse distribution center in the town of Clay. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

A proposal to raise the salaries of Syracuse councilors and the mayor is already causing tension at city hall. During Wednesday’s council meeting, Councilor-at-Large Khalid Bey took issue with a Syracuse.com article about the pay raises and comments made by Mayor Ben Walsh. 

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With less than a week until Election Day, Republican Onondaga County Comptroller Matt Beadnell, who was appointed to the position by the county legislature earlier this year, is running to keep his job against Democratic challenger and Syracuse city auditor, Marty Masterpole. An investigation into the Democratic elections commissioner, Dustin Czarny, started by the comptroller’s office, has overshadowed much of the race. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media File Photo

As part of its push to clean up the city, Oswego is banning the sale and use of Styrofoam and is also banning smoking and vaping on city-owned properties. The Oswego Common Council voted in favor of Mayor Billy Barlow’s “Keep Oswego Clean Initiative,” Monday night. 

Chol Majok, Rita Paniagua Facebook

Most of the seats on the Syracuse Common Council are up for election this year. After a couple of upsets in the June primary, some new faces with diverse backgrounds are making bids for the positions. 

Landmark Theatre

After waiting decades, the Landmark Theatre in downtown Syracuse will finally be getting new seats and a new marquee, in time for its 2020-21 season. The upgrades are meant to increase attendance and bring in bigger shows for longer runs. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The developer of a proposed 3.8 million square foot distribution facility in the Town of Clay, is now seeking $70 million in tax breaks from the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency, after the cost of the project increased. At a public hearing Tuesday, local residents voiced concerns with the project, many pertaining to the environment. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Updated at 3:00 p.m. Monday

The Syracuse Common Council has voted to expand its sidewalk snow removal program from 20 to 38 miles. The measure passed 7-1. This will be the first full season of the pilot program, which started in January. The city has budgeted out $250,000 for a private company to run the program. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office has found that the county’s Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny, did not violate the law when he drove for Uber and Lyft during office hours.

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