Tom Magnarelli

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

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(WRVO) A new state law has now gone into effect that will require annual vehicle inspections to test car windows and how much they are tinted. Critics say the law will be burdensome to drivers and auto shops. 

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(WRVO) A $12 million renovation is underway at the Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Syracuse. The cathedral has many maintenance problems similar to what other older churches face in the city. 

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(WRVO) A remembrance ceremony for the bombing victims of Pan Am Flight 103 was held at Syracuse University yesterday. To commemorate the anniversary, a small ceremony was held for friends and families at Hendricks Chapel and a service at Arlington National Cemetery took place simultaneously.

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(WRVO) For the last four years, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said she has been trying to create five food hubs to help centralize food processing and distribution upstate. Gillibrand said one food bank in Rochester is stepping up its operations and she wants one in Syracuse to do the same. 

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(WRVO) State Department of Transportation officials said it is possible a tunnel could be reconsidered as an option for the I-81 reconstruction project in Syracuse. But I-81 project director Mark Frechette made it very clear at a public meeting why the tunnel option was eliminated. 

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For more than 30 years, the Seneca Meadows Landfill has operated in Seneca County. But a recently passed local law will close the landfill in nine years. The landfill provides jobs and revenue to the area, but some residents see this region moving in a different direction for its future.

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(WRVO) State officials helped deliver Thanksgiving dinners to residents in need in cities all across New York. In Syracuse, that happened at the Southwest Community Center, which targeted seniors and others who could use the meals the most. 

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(WRVO) Three more tiny homes for homeless veterans have been built on Syracuse’s south side. The nonprofit, A Tiny Home for Good, finished their first two homes earlier this year. 

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(WRVO) While New York would not be as greatly affected as other states if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, there could be some changes to the health exchange. Republicans, controlling the House, Senate and soon the presidency, are now positioned to repeal President Obama’s healthcare law. 

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Republican Rep. John Katko is the first incumbent in more than a decade to be reelected to the 24th Congressional District. The district flipped back and forth between Republicans and Democrats in the past four congressional election cycles.

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The central New York economy is the focus of a new report by the state comptroller’s office. An analysis of how the region has recovered since the recession shows some improvements but also many challenges. 

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In upstate, the minimum wage is at $9, but will rise to $12.50 by the end of 2020. It is an issue that affects many across upstate, from farmers and small business owners to the workers themselves.

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Syracuse University professor and former Democratic congressional candidate Eric Kingson is doubling down on his criticism of Rep. John Kakto (R-Camillus), calling his claim to be moderate "smoke and mirrors." Kingson said he does support Democratic congressional nominee Colleen Deacon and would be willing to do more to get her elected. 

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(WRVO) Republican Rep. John Katko and Democratic challenger Colleen Deacon had their first televised debate Tuesday on Time Warner Cable News. The two candidates clashed on a number of national issues including how to defeat ISIS. Deacon said using ground troops should be a last resort. Katko said he would only support ground troops if the generals said that is what they need. 

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Republican Assemblyman Gary Finch will face a rematch in New York’s 126th Assembly District as he runs for re-election against Democratic challenger Diane Dwire again. The two candidates share similar concerns on the big issues facing the district.

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Members of the Academic Governance body at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry plan to hold a vote of no confidence in President Quentin Wheeler. Some faculty members have been raising issues about Wheeler's leadership for more than a year. 

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(WRVO) The Syracuse Common Council has joined in on an effort from advocates and elected officials to pressure Gov. Andrew Cuomo into signing a bill to give tax credits to geothermal energy. A 30 percent federal tax incentive for geothermal expires at the end of this year. 

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Republican Rep. John Katko said he will not be voting for his party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, after sexually aggressive comments Trump made about women in 2005 were leaked. 

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Empire State Development is funding a startup competition called Genius NY to attract teams with ideas to innovate drone technology. The business accelerator is meant to highlight the region’s commitment to building a new economy around unmanned systems.

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(WRVO) Local and state labor groups rallied in the Village of Liverpool outside of Syracuse Tuesday for a $15 an hour minimum wage in upstate New York. The state approved an increase to the minimum wage earlier this year that will bump it up to $12.50 an hour in upstate in five years. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he eventually wants upstate to reach $15 an hour. 

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(WRVO) Colleges and universities in central New York are reaching out to ITT Technical Institute students after the school announced it would be closing all of its campuses across the country. 

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(WRVO) Democratic congressional candidate Kim Myers toured the Fenner Wind Farm in Madison County on Thursday calling for more renewable energy. Myers said she would support more tax breaks and incentives for renewable energy if she is elected.

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(WRVO) The Syracuse Fire Department is making a change from using EpiPen auto-injectors to treat life-threatening allergic reactions. More than 460 agencies statewide are participating in the Check & Inject NY training program to use syringes rather than the EpiPens. 

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(WRVO) The city of Syracuse has adopted new floodplain maps released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. More than 600 properties in Syracuse have been added, bringing the total to more than 1,600 properties that could be required to have flood insurance.

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(WRVO) Gov. Andrew Cuomo reiterated his positions on some major issues facing central New York while giving a speech in Syracuse on Thursday. Cuomo gave a positive outlook for upstate and double downed on his commitment to investing in the region.

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(WRVO) Nine months after Entergy said it would close the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Scriba, the company announced it would be selling the financially struggling plant to Exelon instead. The sale saves more than 600 high-paying jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy. 

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Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is pushing for legislation that would ban 22 chemicals used for making synthetic drugs. The Upstate New York Poison Center reported 500 cases involving synthetic marijuana and similar drugs in 2015. The majority of those cases occurred in Onondaga County which also had six deaths in 2015 linked to synthetic drugs.

US Drought Monitor

Parts of western and central New York, including the Southern Tier, remain in a severe drought category according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. More dry weather could impact the state in the months ahead.

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(WRVO) Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) added his voice to a chorus of criticism regarding Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s comments to the Muslim parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq.

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(WRVO) The House of Representative’s Science Committee has issued subpoenas to the state attorney generals of New York and Massachusetts over an investigation those offices are conducting into fossil fuel companies including ExxonMobil. 

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