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When Heather Woock was in her late 20s, she started researching her family history. As part of the project she spit into a tube and sent it to Ancestry, a consumer DNA testing service. Then in 2017, she started getting messages about the results from people who said they could be half-siblings.

"I immediately called my mom and said, 'Mom, is it possible that I have random siblings out there somewhere?'" Woock says. She remembers her mom responded, "No, why? That's ridiculous."

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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. 

Vaughn Golden for WRVO News

Women's Marches took place across New York and the nation this past weekend, including in Syracuse and Seneca Falls, which marked the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote. Seneca Falls was also the site of the Convention on Women's Rights.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the leading suffragists at that convention in 1848. Her great-great-grandaughter, Coline Jenkins, marched on the same grounds 172 years later pushing people to exercise those rights.

Matt Ryan / New York Now (file photo)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo releases his state budget plan Tuesday afternoon, and he’s expected to detail how he will close a $6 billion budget gap. With resistance in the State Legislature to new taxes and spending cuts, the governor may have to get creative to thread that needle. 

The budget gap is largely due to overspending on Medicaid beyond Cuomo’s self-imposed 2% per year spending cap. Factors include increases in the minimum wage, resulting in higher labor costs, and a spike in New Yorkers using Medicaid to pay for their health costs, as part of the Affordable Care Act.  

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It happens every single week. Thousands of people gather in Tehran for Friday prayers. But this morning, they were joined by Iran's supreme leader. And for the first time in eight years, he delivered the sermon.

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Weeks after a powerful earthquake and dozens of aftershocks in Puerto Rico, President Trump has signed a major disaster declaration, which means federal money can now be used to help damaged towns along the island's southern coast.

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Good morning. I'm Rachel Martin.

You might call the impeachment process a very complicated dance between both chambers of Congress, but how about a polka?

(SOUNDBITE OF PERFORMANCE OF CHARLES BLAKE'S "IMPEACHMENT POLKA")

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Good morning. I'm Noel King. Do you ever feel bad about leaving Spot home alone? Well, Spotify has something that might ease your guilt.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PUP FICTION (WITH RALPH INESON)")

RALPH INESON: (As character) Hello, you.

On an unusually warm January afternoon, 28-year-old Icy Coomber attended a poster-making session for the fourth annual Women's March in Washington, D.C.

Unlike the friend she accompanied to the event, Coomber did not participate in any of the previous anti-Trump demonstrations. Three years ago, the first march drew hundreds of thousands of people to the nation's capital and hosted sister marches in cities around the world.

Rep. John Lewis is the last living speaker from the March on Washington, the 1963 landmark civil rights protest that culminated with Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

But before Lewis dedicated his life to fighting for racial equality, he grew up in Troy, Ala., with dreams of becoming a different kind of orator.

"When I was very young, I wanted to preach the gospel," Lewis said on a visit to StoryCorps in February 2018.

He wanted to be a minister. His nearest congregation was the family livestock.

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. 

City of Syracuse / Twitter

It was a year ago in his State of the City address, that Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh introduced the idea of the Syracuse Surge, a massive development plan meant to lift parts of the city out of poverty. During this year’s address, Walsh said Syracuse is surging, but noted there are still things to be done.

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Oh, man. This week "Jeopardy!" crowned its greatest contestant of all time.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JEOPARDY!")

ALEX TREBEK: Ken Jennings...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Congrats, Ken. That's the best...

TREBEK: ...You are the champion.

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Brian Mann / NCPR

The fight over bail reform intensified again yesterday in Albany. Supporters of the controversial new policy rallied against efforts by Republicans and some Democrats to roll back or suspend many of its provisions.

Bail reform seen as civil rights issue in many neighborhoods

Gathered in the State Capitol, dozens of activists from criminal justice reform groups drew a line in the sand, chanting "Leave our bail reform intact, we will not accept rollbacks."

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Teri Hines was in her mid-40s when she started to notice that her body was changing.

Her period became irregular and more intense. "It increased in frequency, it increased in intensity and it increased in duration," she says.

She began to have hot flashes, gained weight and her energy levels took a nosedive.

"I just did not have the energy to do the things I wanted to do," she says, like the long morning walks she loved to take with her dogs, or planning solo travel.

In early December at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, two anxious scientists were about to send 20 years of research into orbit.

"I feel like our heart and soul is going up in that thing," Dr. Emily Germain-Lee told her husband, Dr. Se-Jin Lee, as they waited arm-in-arm for a SpaceX rocket to launch.

Healthy Families Onondaga Facebook

There has been progress and improvements in the health of babies in the City of Syracuse, according to recent statistics. But there is one area that Onondaga County health officials want to work on going forward. 

Nyasha Boldon, project director of the Syracuse Healthy Start program, said there is one group of worrying statistics when looking at numbers from 2018; a lag in the time it takes women to begin prenatal care.

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.

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