News Briefs: Tuesday, Jan. 28

Jan 28, 2014

A new law requires New York hospitals to screen newborns for heart defects; unemployment rates are down in the state (for the most part); if you don't feel like shoveling that sidewalk, you may end up with a fine; and $56 million in funds has been awarded to New York hospitals. Catch up on the news of the day with WRVO's news briefs.

Heart defect screening now required for newborns

New York hospitals are now required to screen newborns to provide early detection of heart defects, after a new law that went into effect on Monday. The one minute test is called pulse oximetry screening and uses light beamed at a small sensor taped to a baby's foot to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood. This test is more accurate than other more common tests, and is already in use at some hospitals. The American Heart Association says nearly one in every 100 babies born annually has a congenital heart defect.

Most unemployment rates down in New York

Unemployment rates are down in most cities in central New York, according to the New York State Labor Department. Statewide, the jobless rate was 7.1 percent in December. Syracuse and Utica-Rome fared slightly better than the state average, and both cities had unemployment rates that were 2 percent lower than a year ago. Ithaca had the best jobs picture with a 4.1 percent rate. But jobs in the North Country are still hard to come by. Jefferson and Lewis counties had the third and fourth highest unemployment rate in the state at approximately 9 percent.

Proposed legislation would fine for not shoveling in Syracuse

Syracuse Common Council member Bob Dougherty wants property owners to face a $100 fine if they don't shovel their sidewalks within a day of a storm. He says he plans to introduce legislation creating the fine because it drives him "nuts" when children are forced to walk in the streets when sidewalks are not shoveled. Syracuse already has an ordinance that requires property owners to clear their sidewalks of snow, but there's no penalty.

New York hospitals awarded funds

New York state health officials have awarded $56 million to a dozen hospitals and nursing homes around the state. The funding is meant for community-based care for the poor and elderly. In Northern New York, River Hospital in Alexandria Bay is being granted nearly $1.5 million and Carthage Area Hospital will be given $200,000. Oswego Hospital is also scheduled to get $300,000 this fiscal year.