WAER 88.3 News | NPR from Central New York

Local news feed from the WAER 88.3 in Syracuse, NY. National Public Radio for the greater Central New York region. The latest local and community news from Syracuse Public Radio.

WAER Syracuse Public Radio NPR

DA Committee to Look into Creating Guidelines for School Safety Training
March 15, 2018, 7:33 pm | Source
Students, parents, and teachers in Central New York might be wondering what comes next after Wednesday’s school walk-outs marking the one month anniversary of the Parkland, Florida massacre. There's a county-wide effort to find ways to keep students safe. Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick has created a subcommittee as part of the already existing School Safety Task Force to create some guidelines for teacher and student training. He’s tapped West Genesee Superintendent Chris Brown to lead the effort. “You don’t want to have people making it a school specific," Brown said. "So, what we are trying to do is to establish just some general best practices that any school could employ if they want to in terms types of training drills, frequency, different things you might able to do for your building to make them more secure, communication mechanisms, all of that.” Brown says the most common requests so far from the community include having a school resource officer in every

Spring Construction or Landscaping Project? Call to 811 Could Avoid Explosion, Electrocution, etc.
March 14, 2018, 2:53 pm | Source
Construction season in Central New York is coming, with Spring a week away. Safety officials want to make sure people know what’s underground before starting to dig – for anything from a home or building, to a pool or fence post. Dig Safely New York hosted contractors at Onondaga Community College today. Executive Director Kevin Hopper says they’ll contact utilities to identify underground problems. “Whether it’s your gas company, your water company, fiber, phone, television, whatever utilities are there. Then they have two days to come out and mark those utility lines. They’ll report back to Dig Safely New York and say, ‘we’ve marked it; it’s clear; we don’t have anything affected.’ Then when we have all the information, we’ll send that information to you. We call that an automated positive response.” A contractor or a homeowner will then know where power or other utilities are located before digging for any project. Brandon Schroeder didn’t make the call when he was on a job as an

Low Milk Prices + Higher Labor Costs + Pricing System = Closing CNY Dairy Farms
March 9, 2018, 11:16 pm | Source
Some Central New York dairy farmers are facing such difficult times that they’re considering leaving the business altogether. A combination of persistently low prices of milk and rising labor costs are forcing long-time farmers to make some tough decisions. For Mark Tucker, dairy farming is all he’s known. He’s been working his family’s fourth generation farm in Skaneateles full time for over 40 years. "You spend your life doing this, and now you can't make a profit at it. It really puts the pressure on someone where they feel like they've been working all their life to have a good income...or a decent income, anyway." John F. Tucker and Sons has 140 milking cows, with another 80 so-called young stock. They also grow corn, soybeans, oats, wheat, and alfalfa hay for the cows on their 1,200 acres. Mark Tucker says it’s just he and his brother, along with a few hired hands. The other six siblings and his grown children aren’t interested in the long hours and hard work. So, he says, that

Hackathon Results Could Bring New Ways to Keep Syracuse Streets Clear of Snow
March 7, 2018, 9:38 pm | Source
Who knew crunching data might result in better ways to keep Syracuse streets clear of snow? The City of Syracuse announced the winners of this year’s Plowing through Data Hackathon Wednesday. The city partnered with AT&T and Syracuse University’s iSchool to call on the community to analyze Syracuse’s snowplow data and create new technologies to better manage the snowfall. Mayor Ben Walsh says they weren’t making the most of the data collected by the plow’s GPS software. "The good news was I could see the little dots moving around, so I knew where the plows were, but I couldn't tell where they had been. And so if somebody said a plow hasn't been on my street I either had to reach out to DPW and track down the actual plow driver to find out whether or not they had or Sam [Edelstein, Chief Data Officer] about 24 hours later when they had taken all the data and updated all the maps accordingly." Dean Olin and Alex Sinfarosa took first place with a project that lets the City see when

The United States Bowling Congress Set to Kick Off Championship Season at the Oncenter
March 6, 2018, 10:13 pm | Source
48 lanes in 48 days. That’s how long it took the United States Bowling Congress to set up for its 2018 Championships at the Oncenter. The event is weeks away, but they will host a trio of events to kick off their time in Syracuse, including a state competition for high school students starting Friday. Senior Director of Tournament Programming, Greg Moore, says the kickoff is their way of introducing championships to the community. "By having the other ancillary events, the high school event and the city tournament, we hope that that, you know, helps bring some of the folks in. The USBC Masters will attract people." Moore took the media on a tour of the convention hall, which has been transformed for the tournaments. He says there have been a number of improvements since the USBC’s last championship in Syracuse in 2011. "What you'll find here is a state of the art sound system, a custom built $5 million LED scoreboard indicative of a location prepared to host the highest level of

Southwest Community Center Hopes to Send Powerful Messages with Black History Play
February 28, 2018, 9:10 pm | Source
The Southwest Community Center in Syracuse has been spending time during Black History Month rehearsing an emotionally-heated play that premieres this Friday. It follows African Americans from the Civil War through today. Valerie Hill is the Director of Community Services at Syracuse Community Connections and the woman responsible for writing the play. She spoke about a pattern of unfortunate incidents that inspired her to write it. "Talking to a lot of families in the community is what I do. And hearing the grief that they are suffering from in regards to a lot of the police brutality, the killings, the black on black crime, the selling and use of drugs, and I said you know what, we need to do something about it." The play is being performed this Friday at the Southwest Community Center. Hill says holding the play just after Black History Month sends a message about celebrating and making progress all year long, rather than keeping the conversation tied down to just one month of the

How Might DeWitt Police Handle Reports of a Student Who Might be a Threat?
February 26, 2018, 10:37 pm | Source
The police chief in DeWitt says numerous entities are ready to jump in to action if there’s a report of someone who might become a threat at a school or in the community at large. Meanwhile, the debate continues in Florida over what people knew about the shooter and what could have been done to stop him. DeWitt police chief John Anton says it all starts with noticing different behavior. He says it’s important for everyone to work together and be diligent. There are school teachers, counselors and administrators. Then there’s law enforcement and mental health experts. Perhaps most importantly, he says are family and friends. "If just one student, one parent, one brother or sister reaches out and says, 'Yeah, I believe Johnny has these tendencies, plays a lot of shooting games online, has access to weapons, draws these dark, demented photos and are being bullied,' then maybe we can prevent something like that from happening. " Anton says his department receives a call of a school threat

What Makes the Olympics Special for Spectators? Expert Says Reasons Vary from Culture to Sports
February 24, 2018, 11:00 am | Source
The past couple of weeks, Central New Yorkers from all walks of life have been focused on and excited about one major world event, the Winter Olympics. As the Winter Olympics come to a close, now is the opportunity to ask yourselves: what is it about the Olympics that everyone loves? Jason Burns instructs a sports in American society course at Excelsior College in Albany. “One of the biggest things about the Olympics in general is the idea that it does break down barriers. Those barriers are both on the sports’ fields themselves and in the world of cultural, economic, and political viewpoints. Burns says sports give you a chance to look beyond what divides you and allows you to de-stress and have something in common with a person whether they are a diehard fan or not. “And it builds memories moving forward: pictures, moments, times to reflect on. People can get behind stories of players and teams. Many being able to relate to a situation where they had to overcome an obstacle or they

Undocumented Syracuse Immigrant is Freed on Bond after Court Hearing in Western NY
February 20, 2018, 9:44 pm | Source
An undocumented Syracuse immigrant has been released on bail after a court hearing Tuesday in western New York. Organizers from the Workers’ Center of Central New York traveled to the federal detention center in Batavia to support Hector Navarro. He was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, at his Syracuse home on December 21 st . WAER News caught up with Nikeeta Slade from the Workers’ Center while she was in Batavia. She says his bond demonstrates how important he is to the community. " The judge did acknowledge there were nine of of there supporting him, posting bond. We've been very public with his campaign, and he's had a lot of widespread public support here in Batavia, Rochester, and western New York” Members of the Syracuse community helped Navarro post five-thousand dollar bail. Navarro is from Guatemala and has been in the U-S since 2004. Slade says he has lived in Syracuse for nearly seven years. She says Tuesday's hearing is just the latest in a series of

Syracuse Residents Propose Snow Clearing Solutions at Snow Safety Summit
February 16, 2018, 9:29 pm | Source
Well over one hundred Syracuse residents turned out Thursday evening at Doctor Week’s School for a “Snow Safety Summit” aimed at finding a long-term solution to keeping sidewalks clear of snow. The Walsh Administration hopes to turn the feedback into legislation. Tony Patane lives on the north side, and says it’s about time the city starts to hold landlords and others responsible. “I got a lazy neighbor. Nobody has been shoveling snow the whole freakin’ winter long. Not one person comes out and shovels snow. I’m not going to go over to do it. I try to help some of the neighbors that aren’t capable of doing it. But these people are capable of doing it and they’re just not doing it. Therefore, somebody has gotta get at it. Get this job done.” Patane says landlords are especially notorious for not clearing their sidewalks. One of the ideas being tossed around at the summit was matching shovels to volunteers. Eli McDonald is co-founder of Onondaga Earth Corps, and has been asked to start a

Elevating Erie Project Releases Concept Images For Reimagined Erie Boulevard
February 16, 2018, 8:51 pm | Source
Designers of the project to re-envision Erie Boulevard presented concept sketches to the public Friday, giving Onondaga County residents a more concrete idea of their plans. Elevating Erie is set to be completed by 2020, and will feature a biking and walking trail in the median of Erie Boulevard East. The path is part of a state-wide initiative to create an Empire State Trail which will span 760-plus miles from Buffalo to Manhattan and up to Canada. Samuel Gordon is the Director of Planning and Zoning for the Town of DeWitt. He says the magnitude of the project will be a struggle. “This is the most challenging segment of the gaps in the Canal Way Trail system across the state and that’s why they’ve allocated the largest pot of money to address the issue.” $18.3 million in state funding has been allocated to the Erie Boulevard project. An additional $3.5 million will go towards constructing the remaining sections of the trail in Onondaga County. While this project is large, Gordon says

Onondaga County Lawmakers Weigh New Law to Protect Dogs from Extreme Weather
February 15, 2018, 11:00 am | Source
It could soon be a crime in Onondaga County to leave a dog outside in rain, sleet, snow, or extreme heat or cold for any more than two hours. County lawmakers are making changes to the proposed Adrian’s Law to protect man’s best friend. Adrian was a pit bull that froze to death in December in Syracuse. Legislator Chris Ryan revised language in the bill to make it simple to enforce … for any breed of dog. " The owner who may be in violation of this law might say 'well, my dog is a cold weather dog.' I didn't want to mired in those specifics and have someone use that as a defense. We're saying two hours is it for a tethered dog. Beyond that, some dogs could develop frostbite." In addition to the two-hour limit, the measure says each day a dog is tethered in extreme weather would be a separate violation. Violators would face 15 days in jail and $250 fines. Stephanie Heath is with 'Cuse Pit Crew that protects pit bills and other dogs. She says part of the problem is ignorance. " A lot of

New Edition of Autobiography to Mark 200th Birthday of Frederick Douglass
February 14, 2018, 11:04 pm | Source
Syracuse Cultural Workers is collaborating with the family of Frederick Douglass to mark the 200 th birthday of the abolitionist with a new edition of his autobiography. The goal is to distribute one-million copies of the book to young people across the U.S. Cultural Workers Sales manager Andy Mager says Douglass’s legacy still resonates today, especially when it comes to immigrants in the U.S. “Frederick Douglass was one of the most prominent and visible former slaves across the country who had escaped and therefore could be considered a fugitive. And it makes me think about our current day where there are many, many people who face the similar prospect of being seized and deported in this case. Not returned to slavery, but returned to very dangerous situations.” Mager says Douglass spoke in Syracuse often when he was living in Rochester, and that he worked closely with local activists who helped plan and execute the Jerry Rescue. Mager says Douglass made a notable fourth-of-July

Syracuse Diocese Offers Financial Compensation to Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse
February 14, 2018, 9:57 pm | Source
A new program announced Wednesday by The Diocese of Syracuse aims to provide financial compensation to victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy. Funding for the program will be coming out of the diocese’s general liability insurance, not from charitable donations made by parishioners. Bishop Robert Cunningham says the adoption of the program in Syracuse follows the success of similar programs at other New York dioceses. "The response from survivors and their families has been extremely positive. We know and we acknowledge that we cannot reverse the damage that has been done in the past, but our hope is that this new effort will provide an opportunity to seek forgiveness and perhaps bring a sense of healing to some." The early phase of the program will focus on the 76 individuals who have made claims in the past, but received no satisfactory response. Cunningham says the program is strictly about compensation for the victims, not about taking action against priests. Not all of

City Limits- Overcoming the Language Barrier
February 14, 2018, 8:06 pm | Source
Struggling to find a good paying job and being able to pay your bills at times is a significant challenge. Now imagine that you do not speak the language native to your home. How would you find work? Where would you turn to for assistance? City Limits' Brian Moore attempts to answer these question in this latest report. Catch up on previous reports and find out more information on the project by going to CityLimitsProject.org

Local Ethiopian Chef Shares Her Love Of Food And Cooking
February 13, 2018, 3:34 pm | Source
Twice a year in Syracuse an event called My Lucky Tummy invites people from all over the world to cook food from their home country. It’s a celebration of local tastes and international culture. In the latest event, more than 350 people gathered in the basement of a local church to share food from Vietnam, Iran, Laos, Ethiopia, and Savannah. WAER's Kijin Higashibaba brings us the story of the chef from Ethiopia and the people who enjoyed her food. Habiba Boru fled Ethiopia as a child and grew up watching her mother cook in a refugee camp in Kenya. She came to the United States when she was fourteen and Syracuse has been her home ever since. She has five children, who are already learning to cook like her, and caters events for people who want Ethiopian and East African cuisine. Her dream is to open her own restaurant . You can learn more about Boru's food and catering at Habiba's Ethiopian Cuisine . Photos for this article were taken by Saniya More from Globalists at Syracuse

Syracuse University Students form a Tenant Association to Address Unsafe Living Conditions
February 7, 2018, 10:02 pm | Source
Current and former Syracuse University graduate students have formed a new tenant association in an effort to address what they say is a pattern of unsafe living conditions at dozens of properties operated by Syracuse Quality Living. Many of the students have been bounced from apartment to apartment, only to find conditions worse than before while paying sharply higher rent. Phalande Jean, Benesemon Simmons, Susima Weerakoon, and Eli Gebler shared their experiences. Jean started by telling her move-in story: "When I moved in, the apartment wasn't clean, the toilet wasn't working, the shower head fell off, my furniture just got delivered and I had to assemble the furniture. I was without furniture for about three or four weeks, almost the whole month of January. I didn't have hot water for a couple of days, eventually they came and fixed that." Simmons says she faced different problems: "Upon move in, it was filthy. I basically cleaned up mouse poop throughout the entire apartment,

City Officials Stress Teamwork to Keep Roads and Sidewalks Clear During and After Snowstorm
February 7, 2018, 3:55 am | Source
Central New York is preparing for some significant snowfall Wednesday, and the City of Syracuse is asking those who live and work in the city to do their part to keep roads and sidewalks clear. About 4 to 8 inches of snow is expected to fall between late Wednesday morning into the evening. Director of Operations Corey Driscoll Dunham says the plows need space to do their work. “ Priority areas remain in effect, mainly the narrow streets with 25 percent or more of two and three family houses on one block. Illegally parked cars can really limit plow access to streets. Our DPW is working hard, but we know as a city this is a work in progress." She says a list of priority parking enforcement areas is available on the city’s website syrgov.net. Police will be ticketing and towing parking violators, including those who don’t follow the odd-even parking regulations. “When you live on a street that has alternate side parking, we really need people to abide by that. It provides a more open

"Voices in Harmony" InterFaith Assembly Aims to Unify Community of Many Backgrounds, Traditions
February 4, 2018, 7:00 am | Source
Several hundred people are expected to turn out Monday evening for an event aimed at bringing together people of many faiths. WAER News caught up with one of the coordinators of the eighth annual World InterFaith Harmony Assembly being held in DeWitt. Interfaith Works of Central New York and Women Transcending Boundaries is bringing you an evening of culture though food and conversation. Betty Lamb is the past President of Women Transcending Boundaries and said bring people of all backgrounds together is a way to help unify the community. " It is important because everyone likes their own space, they like their own comfort zone. A lot of religions have very distinct rubrics, and there's comfort in that. It's not always easy to share outside of your own religious household." Lamb said this is an opportunity to foster a culture of peace. The event will have representatives from twelve faith communities, who want to expand their understanding of local groups within Syracuse. " We have so

Syracuse Demonstrators Mark Anniv. of Airport "Muslim Ban" Protest With March to Sheriff's Office
January 30, 2018, 12:00 am | Source
A crowd of about 100 Central New Yorkers marched along Syracuse City streets Monday to oppose Trump administration immigration policies. Demonstrators chose this specific day to send a direct message, chanting "immigrants are welcome here." It was one year ago that hundreds of thousands flooded airports in protest of the Trump administrations so-called Muslim ban. That included hundreds that turned out impromptu to Syracuse’s Hancock Airport. Marchers left city hall Monday heading toward the Sheriff’s office to not have the community feel the impacts of immigration and customs enforcement – or ICE. Yusuf Abdul-Qadir of the New York Civil Liberties Union tried to charge up the crowd. "We need to be demanding that Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway ensures that he will not cooperate with ICE!" he said to cheers. " There can be no middle ground! There can be no compromise!" He asked more of the crowd than just marching in protest of increased enforcement or deportation of undocumented

WAER News Source: