Onondaga County

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County is taking aim at the digital divide with the help of county libraries. $100,000 has been allocated for libraries to buy technology packs that will bring the internet into homes that don’t have it.

Janet Park, executive director of the Onondaga County Library System sees the impact of the digital divide first hand.

“When you come by our library sometimes at night, there will be people sitting in the parking lot, and I’ve had people thinking they’re up to no good. But they want our wireless," said Park.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

A voting reform package approved in Albany this year will have some costs to local governments. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon is among those calling on the state to fully fund the early voting portion of the package.

Early voting this year will allow voters to cast ballots in person 10 days before an election. McMahon said that is going to mean more expenses for the counties that run the Board of Elections.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

All 19 town supervisors in Onondaga County have come out against the community grid-only option to replace the I-81 viaduct in Syracuse. The other alternatives are a tunnel or a new elevated highway. Supporters of the grid continue to hold events around the city. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Onondaga County Legislature passed an agenda Wednesday that legislators said will determine the success or failure of the county for years to come. In addition to some significant financial decisions, the county passed a resolution on the future of Interstate-81.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Thirty-three village and town executives in Onondaga County wrote a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials last week urging them to keep high-speed access along the I-81 corridor in Syracuse. The local officials say rebuilding the viaduct or replacing it with a tunnel are both better options than the community grid for which many in Syracuse are advocating.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County has worked out a deal to provide increased funding to villages over the next decade. 

This enhanced village improvement program will allocate millions of dollars to the 15 village governments within Onondaga County, based on their size.

The first funds would be available in 2020.

Fayetteville Mayor Mark Olson said this is important at a time when village budgets are strapped, especially when it comes to paying for infrastructure improvements.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse and Onondaga County are joining forces to get some chronically homeless individuals off the streets and into a job. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon has been on the job for just over a month now. He’s in the midst of a series of town hall meetings meant to introduce himself, and his governing style, to the community.

McMahon was appointed to the job earlier this fall when longtime County Executive Joanie Mahoney left to take a job with SUNY ESF in Syracuse. Since then, he’s been a familiar sight at events across the county, something indicative of what he calls his aggressive style.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County Democratic Committee Chair Pam Hunter hopes to unite the local Democratic Party in the wake of Election Day.

An energized progressive movement has been at odds with the party, evidenced by a couple of Democratic primaries earlier this year where the party-backed candidate lost. Hunter said she does not like splitting the party into different tables.

NPR

The latest results of races in New York state for state Assembly and Senate, as well as results in the races for Onondaga County sheriff and Syracuse Common Council at-large seat. Check back as updates are available.

WRVO News File Photo

Joanie Mahoney begins her new job at SUNY ESF and Upstate Medical University in Syracuse this month, and she expects a smooth transition into a job that was created for her.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News file photo

After 11 years, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney leaves office this week to start a new phase of her career with SUNY ESF and SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. 

In January 2008, Mahoney became only the 3rd county executive in Onondaga County history, and she had a plan for staying there.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Thirty police officers in Onondaga County completed a crisis intervention team training last week that helps them recognize and respond to people with mental illnesses. The goal, when possible, is to divert those with mental illness from the criminal justice system towards treatment services.

The training is a combination of police officers understanding what people with mental issues go through and how to steer them towards receiving the proper care at a psychiatric center, mental health clinic or detox program.

Alex Proimos / flickr

Zero suicide is a concept that is a model for reducing suicide across the country. It essentially integrates questions about suicide for patients at all health care visits. New York State has won a grant to use a Onondaga County as a kind of a test lab to see if it can be successfully integrated into an entire community health system.

"Nearly 50 percent of people who die by suicide had a primary care visit within 30 days of their death," said Dr. Jay Carruthers, New York State Suicide Prevention Director.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Clean up of a piece of blighted property in Syracuse’s Inner Harbor should clear the way for more development in a neighborhood that’s seen a lot of growth recently. 

For years, the high-profile plot of land along Onondaga Lake owned by Roth Steel was defined by overgrown vegetation and junked cars. But after the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency bought the parcel three years ago, work began to clean it up. Dozens of drums of liquid waste were removed, along with 2,500 tons of the shattered bits of junk cars. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County officials said they are willing to find an operator and developer for the new inland port. This comes after the state announced a $19 million investment to CSX Railways for the improvements to a DeWitt rail yard.

Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon said if CSX does not strike a private agreement, he wants the county’s industrial development agency to keep the momentum moving on the project.

Onondaga Citizens League

The Onondaga Citizens League is trying to get a sense of just how plugged in central New Yorkers are to their community with a year-long study that found some issues, and suggestions on how to improve things. Researchers found plenty of agencies and organizations that help a plethora of issues, but they also found many struggling. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Democrat Gail Tosh has worked a variety of jobs during her lifetime - a language consultant for video games, English teacher in eastern Europe and currrently the owner of a small chicken farm in Baldwinsville. But she's never held elected office.

Now is the time for change though, she says, not only for her but for all residents of the 120th Assembly District, which covers parts of Oswego, Onondaga and Jefferson counties.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

One of the side effects of the opioid epidemic in central New York is the explosion of the number of Hepatitis C cases. Onondaga County now has one of the highest rates of the disease in New York State.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Sales tax receipts are up in Onondaga County. Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said it shows there has been a return on the investment in things like the St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney has started publicly making her case over how she would like to distribute the sales tax revenue collected in the county.

Mahoney said she is worried about potential anti-city sentiment ruling the day, in negotiations that create a formula to share sales tax revenue between the county and local governments. So, she turned a portion of this year’s State of the County speech into a primer about ways the county helps town and village governments.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney have voiced that collaboration between city and county governments is close at hand.

After being in office just over a month, Walsh said cooperation between governments is one of the key elements of his Syracuse Rising agenda.  In his state of the city speech, he said work has already started finding ways the city can collaborate with Onondaga County.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against pharmaceutical companies and others for their part in the continuing opioid crisis.

The county is accusing drug companies and distributors of painkillers made from opioids of downplaying the risks of those kinds of drugs that have fueled a nationwide epidemic of opioid addiction. Onondaga County in particular has been hit hard by the epidemic, with the number of opioid-related deaths tripling since 2012. 

County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the county bears a cost from this suffering on a couple of fronts.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego County is the latest New York county to file a lawsuit against drug manufacturers and distributors for the costs its incurred dealing with the opioid crisis.

In the lawsuit, Oswego County says it lost at least 67 residents to opioid-related overdoses between 2009 and 2014. And the number of emergency department admissions related to opioids in 2014 increased 113 percent from 2010.

It's financially strained Oswego County's government, including social services, the judicial system and law enforcement.

401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Town halls across upstate New York are seeing a steady stream of residents paying their 2018 town and county property taxes before the end of 2017. The new federal tax code limits local property tax deductions.

Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Big animals at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse will be getting a new medical treatment facility in the next few years.

Right now, zoo director Ted Fox says the biggest animal that can be treated in the current clinic is the snow leopard.

“So the tigers, the lions, the elephants, the bison, the white lipped deer have to be treated in the field,” said Fox.

The bigger animals could need a variety of treatments without the proper setting to do them.

WBFO News File Photo

Onondaga County is making it easier to pay town and county taxes early with a new online system, and it comes at a time when some taxpayers are considering paying their local taxes early.

A new program called E-Tax launches Wednesday that will allow Onondaga County residents to get an early look at their local government tax bills, before paper copies of those bills are mailed later in the week. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There’s a new way for disabled motorists to get help on a couple of major interstate highways in Onondaga County. 

The State Department of Transportation has expanded the HELP Roadside Service to central New York. Assistant DOT Commissioner Sean Hennessey says the emergency local service has started patrolling a 70-mile stretch of Interstate’s 81 and 690 during morning and evening rush hour.

Greg Craybas

Onondaga County lawmakers have agreed to go ahead and spend $1.5 million building a bike trail extension on Murphy’s Island as part of the Loop the Lake trail project. Legislators have one request - that the county make accommodations for bald eagles that roost in the area.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

A proposition on Tuesday’s ballot for Onondaga County voters would transfer control of the Jamesville Correctional Facility from the county executive to the sheriff’s department. The move is meant to save money and was approved by the Onondaga County Legislature.  

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