regional news


The results of primary races in Onondaga, Oneida and Jefferson counties are in.

WRVO News File Photo

The recently passed Green Light Act will allow undocumented immigrants in New York to apply for a driver's license with foreign passports, consular identification documents, and foreign driver's licenses. These changes won't take effect until December, but Seneca County Clerk Christina Lotz says as of now, she does not plan to comply.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

County Executive Ryan McMahon hopes what he calls the "ongoing soap opera,” involving back taxes on Shoppingtown Mall in Dewitt, is over by the end of the year.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

Tuesday is primary day for local offices in New York State. It is the first time local races are having primaries in June, since the legislature passed voting reforms earlier this year. Some election officials in Onondaga County are worried about a lower voter turnout.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Among those struggling with record high lake levels and rain along the southern shore of Lake Ontario this year, are those who make their living from water tourism. Businesses that line Little Sodus Bay are having the same problems this year as they had in 2017, the last time the lake level was this high.

WRVO News (file photo)

Oswego County businesses have long complained about the lack of a skilled workforce in the area. Local officials are now trying to address the issue with a workforce development program that could lower the unemployment rate and put Oswego County on the map.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

People wanting to live in downtown Syracuse continues to drive the revitalization of the area. According to the Downtown Committee of Syracuse's annual report, there has been a 70% increase in the number of people who call downtown home over the last decade.

Right now there are 4,000 downtown residents, and there’s not much room for more, with a 99% occupancy rate.  

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The 2019 legislative session was among the most productive in several years, with the passage of bills that ranged from strengthening abortion rights to allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses.

If you’re a liberal Democrat, there’s a lot to like. But conservative Republicans are not as pleased.

The 2019 session ended when the Assembly gaveled out shortly after 7 a.m. Friday.

-JvL- / Flickr

Now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers have conceded defeat in their effort to legalize adult recreational marijuana, they have agreed to further decriminalize the drug. 

The new law treats possession of up to two ounces of cannabis as a violation, with a fine of up to $200.  Past records of those arrested for having two ounces or less of marijuana will be expunged.

But, In the final hours of the session, agreements on expanding the state’s limited medical marijuana program appeared unlikely.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a catalyst moment in the LGBTQ community's equal rights movement. Larger cities typically host events each June to commemorate the event, but the celebration is growing across upstate.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News (file photo)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Democratic-led state Legislature have agreed on the most ambitious goals in the nation for reducing carbon emissions in the next few decades. 

But both supporters and opponents say the key to the measure's success or failure is in the details of how it will be carried out.                          

The CNY Fair Housing Council and eight women announced this week that they have settled a federal civil rights lawsuit against Oswego landlord Doug Waterbury.

Doug Kerr / Flickr

The New York State legislature has approved new protections for farmworkers that supporters say are long overdue.  

The measures give farmworkers the right to receive overtime pay of one and a half times their regular wages after they have worked more than 60 hours in a week. They also now have the right to one full day of rest per week, will be eligible for unemployment insurance and workers compensation coverage. And they will be granted the right to organize to join a union and to collectively bargain.

del Lago Resort & Casino

The New York Gaming Commission voted this month to allow wagers on sports games to take place at any of the four commercial casinos and tribal facilities in upstate. The gambling is restricted to in-person bets at a casino's designated sports lounge, as opposed to online or through mobile devices.

The approval was met with praise at the del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County, where construction on one of these lounges is already underway. del Lago General Manager Mark Juliano says the lounge will offer their customers a unique experience.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Big changes are coming to Syracuse as the state prepares to replace the elevated portion of Interstate 81. At the same time, the community that was shattered by construction of that highway will be reborn. The non-profit Blueprint 15, which will be in charge of that transformation, has found a leader to turn plans into reality.

Vincent B. Love grew up in Pioneer Homes, a public housing project that lives in the shadow of I-81. He remembers the community that was known as the 15th ward, before the highway was built.

Brett Levin / Flickr

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A push to legalize recreational marijuana in New York has failed after state leaders did not reach a consensus on several key details in the final days of the legislative session.

Sen. Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat and the lead sponsor of the main legalization bill in her chamber, confirmed Wednesday that her legislation would not pass this year.

“Through months of negotiation and conversation ... we made great strides,” she said in a statement. “We came very close to crossing the finish line, but we ran out of time.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Central New York residents got their first chance to see some of the new designs for the Interstate-81 project through Syracuse.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Starting July 1, Catholics in Oswego will merge their four churches into one because of the dwindling number of worshipers and limited resources in the community. Although many parishioners understand the need for the consolidation, several are unhappy with where the new faith community will celebrate mass.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) toured flood ravaged portions of Lake Ontario Monday, and he’s presenting a three-tiered plan to deal with the record high water levels.

Standing just a few feet from puddles, piled-up sandbags and flooded docks at a marina in the Cayuga County village of Fair Haven, Schumer spoke to worried lake residents.

“If you look at the marina we’re standing in, you see the devastation. And things are particularly dire here in Fair Haven and Little Sodus Bay, because some of the critical infrastructure has collapsed," Schumer said.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

After an internal review, Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner said that police officers’ use of force in an incident that was recorded and shared on social media, was appropriate. But Buckner said the officers’ language and initial manner of interaction was not consistent with department policy.

New York State Senate

The New York state Senate voted 33- 29 Monday evening to allow undocumented immigrants to receive standard driver’s licenses. Gov. Andrew Cuomo raised some last minute objections, saying he fears that that some data that the state department of motor vehicles collects on the immigrants might be accessed by the federal government and immigration officials. Later in the evening, Cuomo signed the bill into law. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Syracuse Common Council unanimously voted Monday to approve a management plan to control the deer and tick population that includes a cull, or killing of some deer using federal sharpshooters. Some Syracuse residents said they are opposed to culling.

Jan Markarian with the People for Animal Rights of Central New York and others are advocating for nonlethal methods to reduce the deer population like surgical sterilization and immunocontraception.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A coalition of New York property owners plans to sue the International Joint Commission (IJC), the international body that regulates water levels on Lake Ontario.

At the first meeting of the newly formed Lake Ontario Landowners Association, a crowd of more than 100 packed into a restaurant in Pulaski and cheered on the founder Jim Shea as he railed against the IJC and its board members.

Wallyg / via Flickr


In what supporters called a "watershed moment," the New York Legislature on Friday approved and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed what Democratic lawmakers and tenant groups say are the strongest tenant protections in a generation.

Tenants cheered, some chanting "thank you" and others crying, as Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins arrived at a victory rally organized by tenants' groups just before the vote took place.

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

In recent testimony before Congress, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin revealed that the new $20 bill will not be released until 2028 because federal officials are working to shore up its security features as a way to combat counterfeiting. That will be an eight-year postponement from the date Jack Lew, Mnuchin's predecessor from the Obama Administration, had announced that a new note featuring Harriet Tubman, the famed conductor of the Underground Railroad, would debut.

A Health Club / Flickr

Limitless. That's the potential that the American Medical Association says artificial intelligence can offer to the way health care is currently delivered. This machine learning is already in use in many hospitals, but as AI continues to evolve, so to too are the ways in which it is transforming the very practice of medicine.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The Syracuse Police Department is expected to soon release the results of an internal investigation into an incident of alleged police brutality, which was caught on video and shared on Facebook. Some Syracuse common councilors have spoken out against the use of force displayed in the video, and have called for the officers involved to be suspended, pending the investigation.


All week long, New Yorkers have been weighing in on a proposed project that would help preserve some of the oldest shipwrecks in the Great Lakes. The federal government is considering creating a 1,700-square-mile national marine sanctuary in the southeastern portion of Lake Ontario. And as part of the designation process, federal officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) spent time visiting the communities that stand to be impacted by the transformative project.

Emily Russell / NCPR

The commission that manages water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River is calling an emergency meeting to review its current management plan.

The International Joint Commission is a binational U.S.-Canada agency that oversees management of water levels in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

The IJC put a new management plan, Plan 2014, in place three years ago. Two out of those three years have brought severe flooding and millions of dollars in damage to the region.

stgermh / Flickr

The state Assembly narrowly approved a measure to remove the religious exemption for vaccinations in the wake of a severe measles outbreak that began in communities with a high percentage of unvaccinated children in New York and is steadily spreading to other states.

The measure almost didn't make it out of the health committee, and the chair of that committee voted against the bill on the Assembly floor.