Tom Magnarelli

Tom Magnarelli is a freelance reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

The New York State Conference of Mayors say they are united in calling on the federal government for aid to support municipalities struggling with tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue, due to the coronavirus. Some upstate mayors pushed back against the narrative that the money is a bailout for their cities.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

SUNY Oswego will go back to in-person classes starting Monday.

Aspen Athletic Clubs / Facebook

Indoor gyms are some of the few, last remaining businesses that have had to stay closed in New York State, and there is no word yet from Gov. Andrew Cuomo as to when they can reopen. Gym owners continue to suffer from the closures, but health experts say gyms can pose a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.

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The New York State Fair will not open this year, due to the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference on Monday.

Buffalo VA Medical Center

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is pressing the Department of Veterans Affairs to send more personal protective equipment to VA facilities, especially in New York, to fight against COVID-19. This follows an Inspector General report in March that said 33 out of 54 facilities that were studied across the country had inadequate supplies and equipment.

Lively Run Dairy

Local dairy farmers are reacting positively to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan for New York State to connect farms with companies who will buy excess milk, process it into yogurt and cheese, and donate it to food banks in need. Dairy farms have had to dump milk because processing plants ran out of capacity. But one local farm has already been doing what the governor is proposing.

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Syracuse University will suspend residential instruction from this Friday until at least March 30 and move to online classes, over concerns from the coronavirus that continues to spread across New York, the university announced Tuesday.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Some convenience store owners in New York State are worried about the new plastic bag ban going into effect this weekend. Their concerns are over the possible cost increase and limited availability of paper bags, as stores make the switch.

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Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will lead an investigation of Syracuse University’s Department of Public Safety. SU Chancellor Kent Syverrud made the announcement Monday.

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Syracuse University officials have taken a noticeably tougher stance against protests by #NotAgainSU, a group of students that says the administration hasn't done enough to address racist and anti-Semitic incidents on campus in the last few months.

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The New York Counts 2020 Coalition, which is made up of a large number of community-based organizations across the state, is preparing 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.

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Syracuse University student protesters walked out of classes Thursday, demanding the resignations of the chancellor, public safety chief and others. Protesters said they do not have confidence in those officials to carry out the changes they said are needed, after racist graffiti, vandalism and other incidents occurred on campus last month.

New York State Republican Chair Nick Langworthy joined Republican congressional candidate Claudia Tenney and Trump supporters in Utica Wednesday, calling on Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) to denounce the impeachment inquiry against the president. Brindisi voted to open the impeachment inquiry last month.

Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud has responded to a list of demands from a student sit-in that has been going on for a week, over racist incidents that have occurred recently on campus. In the past two weeks, SU has been rocked by at least 10 incidents including racist graffiti, yelling racial slurs and hateful emails. 

Rep. John Katko

This week, central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) brought acting administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Pete Gaynor, to tour some of the flooding damage along the Lake Ontario shoreline. The purpose was to figure out how to get funding for those affected.

Katko said it starts with local authorities aggregating the extent of the damages. The state will decide if it warrants a disaster declaration. Then, it goes to the president, which if he approves it, would release funds.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

New York State Attorney General Letitia James has announced $9 million in grants from her office to address what are called “zombie homes” - or vacant, abandoned homes - across the state. The “Zombies 2.0” program provides funding to municipalities, including nearly $2.5 million to Western New York this round.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO Public Media

Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) hosted U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in Geneva Wednesday for a roundtable discussion with local farmers. Trade deals, China and labor were highlights of the conversation.

Google Maps

The abrupt closings of 14 Friendly's restaurants across Upstate New York and another nine in New England  this week is continuing to stir not-so-friendly feelings for the corporate chain. The chain says those feelings are unwarranted.

Herika Martinez/AFP/Getty Images / National Public Radio

Upstate Republican House members are trying to get some spending priorities accomplished before the end of the year. They are also trying to avoid a potential government shutdown over the issue of border security.

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Officials in Auburn have opened the $10 million Equal Rights Heritage Center, a place for visitors to learn about the important social movements throughout New York State history. It is meant to drive tourism and educate the public on the historic significance of the region.

Twitter

By Election Day, most voters have seen or heard a lot of negative political ads. The number of negative ads in federal races is up 60 percent this year from the 2014 midterms, according to The Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks broadcast political advertisements. But negative ads can have some useful features for voters.

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After more than a year, Congress has passed legislation to study the feasibility of designating Fort Ontario and the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum in Oswego as a national park.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released action plans for 12 waterbodies affected by harmful algal blooms. The state is partnering with local communities to reduce and eliminate the blooms.

Ivanka Trump, daughter and advisor to President Donald Trump, highlighted the benefits of Republicans’ tax law while in Tully Monday at the Suit-Kote paving company. Trump said six million Americans across the country have directly benefited from the tax plan through wage increases or bonuses.

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The New York State Public Service Commission has approved National Grid rate hikes.

WRVO's Tom Magnarelli

Central New York Republican State Sen. John DeFrancisco has been traveling around upstate meeting with members of his party to discuss the possibility of him running for governor next year. DeFrancisco said there is discontent with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on both sides of the aisle.

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Converting from fossil fuel heating systems to electric will help meet New York state’s climate goals and make home heating more affordable, according to a new study. The initial cost of installing electric systems is steep, but the report says there are ways the state could help.

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is pushing legislation to help seniors who have been financially exploited by phone and online scams. Scammers hack personal information and trick seniors into giving them money.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse has opened its cord blood bank, only the second facility of its kind in the state and the first outside New York City. Blood from umbilical cords is processed for stem cells, which can treat cancers and other diseases. The bank is open for public and private use.

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Several names are popping up as possible contenders to run against Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2018. One Republican business expert is exploring that idea and attacking what he calls Cuomo’s lack of understanding of how businesses create jobs.

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