regional news

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh gave his second State of the City address in front packed crowd at the Redhouse Arts Center Thursday evening, and went into detail on what he calls the biggest economic growth initiative in the city’s history.

-JvL- / Flickr

The New York State Legislature has announced it will hold hearings on Feb. 13 about sexual harassment in state government.

The announcement was hailed by a group of women who have experienced or reported being victims of sexual harassment by state lawmakers. 

Six Assembly and Senate committees will take testimony from those they call “relevant stakeholders,” and said they hope to engage in a “meaningful dialogue” on the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace. But they said they won’t take any individual sexual harassment complaints at the hearing.

Gillibrand kicks off 2020 presidential campaign

Jan 17, 2019
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced her intention to run for president Tuesday during an appearance “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Hours later, the Democrat returned to her native Capital Region for her first campaign event.

On a chilly January morning, at a roadside diner she called her favorite, Gillibrand made her White House pitch.

“I’m going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom I’m going to fight for your children as hard as I would fight for my own,” said Gillibrand.

Jim Bowen / Flickr

The New York State Legislature has been more active during the first few days of the session than it has in many years.

On Monday, both houses of the Legislature got together and approved matching bills to expand voting in the state beyond just Election Day to 11 full days.

On Tuesday, they extended rights in employment and housing to transgender New Yorkers. The bills are now being sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign or veto.

Rep. John Katko / Facebook

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) made his second appearance in two days at the White House Wednesday as negotiations continued between Democrats and President Donald Trump to reopen the federal government. The issue is over funding for a wall along the Southern Border, which Katko said he supports, but he has also voted to end the shutdown without wall funding.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Local gender rights advocates are applauding passage in the state legislature this week of the transgender rights bill known as GENDA.

Mallory Livingston, a Syracuse Attorney and founder of the local group Transgender Alliance, has been personally advocating for GENDA for seven years now.

"This bill being passed is a kind of note of hope during a time for trans people where there seems to be a shortage of hope," said Livingston.

Brett Levin / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday released details of his plan to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Under the proposal, the drug would be taxed, regulated and sold to those 21 and over. It's expected to pass the state legislature this year, and drug prevention advocates are getting ready.

Kein Trease is an educator at the Prevention Network in Syracuse. He said when he goes to professional conferences, the talk is not about if marijuana becomes legal in New York, but when, and how to deal with that eventuality.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The New York State Legislature for the first time granted civil rights to transgender New Yorkers. And on a busy day at the State Capitol, Gov. Andrew Cuomo also released his $175 billion budget plan. 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his annual state budget proposal Tuesday to a New York Legislature that is controlled by his fellow Democrats for the first time in a decade.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is using the shortage of a vaccine in central New York to showcase the impact of a record long partial government shutdown. 

Schumer and reporters jammed into the tiny Burnet Pharmacy in Syracuse Monday to talk about shingles, and how the government shutdown is compounding a shingle shot shortage. 

"This is a glaring example of the shutdown causing real problems," said Schumer.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The Senate and Assembly approved measures Monday to expand the window in which New Yorkers can vote in elections, from one day to 11 days. The action comes at the start at what is anticipated to be a busy week at the State Capitol that includes the release of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget plan.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The executive director of the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority, which operates Hancock International Airport is stepping down. Christina Callahan oversaw $120 million in renovations to the airport, over the past several years.

Callahan said one big investment completed in 2013 was a brand new security checkpoint.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News (file photo)

The Democratic-led New York State Legislature is set for a big week.

Action is planned on Monday to implement early voting in the state, and on Tuesday to grant more civil rights to transgender New Yorkers. Gov. Andrew Cuomo also will release his budget proposal.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow took office, city residents had seen four consecutive tax increases and then a major spike in their sewer and water rates to help pay for a federally mandated sewer and water separation project. And things were about to get worse as a contract that provided Oswego with $1 million in revenue each year was coming to an end.

Two concerts commemorating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock will take place this summer, with one of them being held in central New York. 

Woodstock 50, organized by one of the producers of the original event, Michael Lang will be hosted at Watkins Glen International August 16 through 18th. Woodstock 1969 was held August 15 to 17th.

Chris Banker is the Director of Public Relations for Watkins Glen International and says it’s been incredible to partner with an iconic brand like Woodstock.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

As central New York starts to see some significant snowfall, the city of Syracuse is no longer moving forward with the private contractor it selected for its sidewalk snow removal program. Negotiations ended with the contractor last month over too many unanswered questions over how the pilot project would work.   

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The New York state legislative session began with ceremonies and excitement as Democrats claimed their solid majority in the state Senate and made history with the election of a new female leader.

They promised to act quickly on a long list of progressive issues, including strengthening abortion rights and expanding voter access.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, in her role as Senate president, was the first to introduce Andrea Stewart-Cousins in her groundbreaking role as the first woman and African-American woman to serve as Senate leader in the body’s 241 years.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO Public Media

Researchers at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse have joined those at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Health in advancing a novel approach to treating heroin addicts. They hope a heroin vaccine can be a factor in the fight against opioid addiction.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Scientists at SUNY ESF have been trying to bring back the American chestnut tree for decades.  Three to four billion of the trees were destroyed by blight in the first half of the 20th century, but researchers are now getting close to bringing back an American chestnut resistant to blight.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The partial government shutdown could be having an impact on some students who get federal financial aid. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Department of Motor Vehicle offices across the state are expecting to be busier than usual the next few years as new federal standards for driver’s licenses go into effect. One central New York DMV office is gearing up for the extra time it takes to process these licenses. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A new court specifically aimed at helping individuals addicted to opioids has started in the city of Syracuse. It’s meant to cope with an opioid addiction crisis that has ballooned in recent years.

Brett Levin / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to release details of a plan to make recreational marijuana legal in New York state when he outlines his budget proposal later this month. Even the governor concedes, though, that there are many unanswered questions about how to proceed.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

SUNY Upstate Medical University has a new interim president. Dr. Mantosh Dewan takes over during a tumultuous time for the institution.

SUNY Upstate is under investigation by the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office and the state inspector general and comptroller offices for paying some former employees off-campus assignments for little or no work, including a former hospital CEO. Dewan said he is aware of the investigations.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News (file photo)

Democratic state legislators are beginning the New Year with some resentment towards Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo over a deal that gives them a big raise – but comes with several strings attached.

In March 2018, Cuomo and the legislature agreed to set up a pay commission to examine the salaries of Senators, Assemblymembers, and the Governor, who had not seen a raise in 20 years.

The deal permitted the commission to have the final say on whether pay would go up, so lawmakers would not be required to cast a potentially unpopular vote to raise their own salaries.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

As the new session of Congress opens in Washington, activists are continuing to keep the pressure on central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus). At a rally in Syracuse Thursday, they focused on the issue of campaign finance reform.

A few dozen people gathered in front of Katko’s office in downtown Syracuse with one message. They want Katko to vote for H.R. 1,  a package of good government and election reforms proposed by Democrats.

Rep. Anthony Brindisi's office

Newly sworn-in Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) already fulfilled one campaign promise Thursday by not voting for Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House. In a protest vote, Brindisi voted for former Vice President Joe Biden, but Pelosi won the speakership anyway. Democrats regained control of the House in the midst of a government shutdown.

Wayne Marshall / via Flickr

The city of Syracuse is considering legislation that would continue to fight the city's lead poisoning crisis, now that the federal government is once again providing funding for lead abatement programs in the city.

New York State Senate

On Jan. 9, Democrats will officially take over the state Senate for only the third time in more than a century.

They expect to act quickly on a number of measures that have been bottled up in the chamber for years — but there could be some friction between them and the state’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo.

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.