Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Proposed Bike Plan

Syracuse, N.Y. ~ A meeting will be held tonight where two different bike plans will be discussed to connect University Hill and downtown.

One plan has bike lanes on both sides of the street and the other has two bike lanes restricted to one side of the street.Official are trying to get people out of cars and out enjoying the city. "We need to choose a plan and move forward, said Eric Person, Community Director. Tonight we're hoping for feedback."

The lines will starting on East Genessee and head down Fayette creating a clear cut path from
University Hill to downtown Syracuse. "The purpose is to accommodate all types of travel," said Steve Kearny, City Planner.

NCC News Kate Sheehy has the detail on the proposed plan.

Onondaga Prayer

Syracuse, N.Y. ~ This afternoon people came together at Onondaga lake park for prayer.
They are praying for the lake because it is not drinkable due to heavy pollution. The Onondaga nation wants the lake to be clean from the pollution, so they prayed for purification of the lake, by pouring clean spring water into it this afternoon. More than 20 people gathered for the ceremony and according to the New York State Department Onondaga lake is one of the most polluted lakes in North America.

Arts & Culture: Impact The Economy

Syracuse, N.Y. ~ The Downtown Committee held a meeting to recognize the Arts and Cultural Organization in Onondaga County, which generates more than $62 million per year in economic revenue.
The Downtown committee's revealed their economic initiative to enhance intellectual and economic growth.

"The real opportunity is for people to realize that a lot of these arts and cultural institutions become the new anchors for downtown," said Stephen Butler, Exec. Dir. of Cultural Council. The Committee hopes the momentum of their Downtown projects and commercial will create local government revenue.

It's refreshing to have so many members of the business community taking the arts so seriously and recognizing that those kinds of partners are needed for a thriving Downtown." David Mankiewicz, Downtown Committee Exec. Dir.
NCC News Reporter Brittni Smallwood has the details on the what the organization is planing for the future of downtown Syracuse.

Ed McMahon Dies In Los Angeles

Syracuse, N.Y. ~ Ed McMahon, the loyal "Tonight Show" sidekick passed away.

Tonight show legend Ed McMahon died earlier at Ronald Reagan UCLA Hospital. He was 86. For thirty years he famously introduced Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.
There is no word yet on what the cause of death. McMahon broke his neck in a fall in March 2007, which prevented him from working and he suffered from many health problems in the past few months. He survived by his wife and five children. No funeral arrangements have yet been made.

Chase Corporate Challenge

Liverpool, N.Y.~ People are lacing up their running shoes and hitting parkway.

Tonight more than 6,000 runners, from nearly two-hundred and fifty companies, are expected to hit Onondaga Lake Parkway, for the 27th annual Chase Corporate Challenge which includes a 3.5 mile road race that begins and ends at Griffin Stadium.
The event kicks off at 6:25 tonight and all proceeds will go to the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection. Employees can expect to see a different competitive edge from their co-workers.

Swamp Rat Run

Syracuse, N.Y. ~ Staying fit is a growing concern for kids. Local elementary schools are encouraging their boys and girls to enter in the annual Swamp Rat Runs at Oneida Shores Park.

Race Director Richard Nastasi has seen growth in participation in this event over the years because local elementary schools are pushing their kids to get fit. "We're now in the computer age and the computer games where you sit and you sit and you don't do anything physical, said Nastasi, Race Director. And I think it is important to encourage kids to get involved in athletic types of activities."

There were around 700 entrants in the boys and girls mile runs combined. The Swamp Rat Runs included a 5k followed by a 10k race. Many parents bring their kids to events like this to keep them active. "Running is an athletic activity and it helps them in terms of the physical fitness," said Nastasi.

All mile runners were given souvenir ribbons to show they competed in the races, but only the top finishers received awards and for some, crossing the finish line was just not good enough. "You gotta run smart for the first couple of mile, so you can ruin stupid, said Chris Raulli. Kids are mainly encourage to enter the race, but there is no age limit, making it an enjoyable day for anyone looking for a little fun in the sun, exercise or friendly competition.

Women Box

Syracuse, N.Y. ~ Boxing is a sport traditionally dominated by men but more women are determined to go pro.

There are very few woman boxers, but Tasmyn Davis standing at 5' 9" and 180 pounds says she was born to be a prizefighter. "I'm giving myself a year, said Tasmyn Daivs, female boxer. I'm gonna train hard every day."

Davis had received a lot of negative feedback but she is not letting that stop her from achieving her dream. "The type of life I come from, people don't do much with themselves said Davis. I want to show my little brothers that you can do something with you life. That its okay to dream."

And being a pro-boxer is a dream that Davis has been pursuing for about four months. With daily training, her coach and her teammates say they can see her on TV one day, but it won't happen over night. "But if she sticks with it, said John Jones, UFC Fighter. I don't see why we won't be seeing her on HBO in a few years."

Metro Transit Train Crash: Old Fleet

Syracuse, N.Y. ~ Investigators and officials continue to work at the scene of a rush-hour collision between two Metro transit trains in northeast Washington, D.C.

Two subway trains collided in a Metro Transit System in northeast Washington, D.C., Tuesday morning, killing seven people in the nation's capital and sending more than 70 people to the hospital.

Officials said the trains were apart of an old fleet and needed to be phased out because of safety concerns but "Metrorail transit system kept the old trains running despite warnings in 2006," said Debbie Hersman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
The NTSB accused Metro authorities of ignoring its recommendations, but Hersman said she wanted to be cautious of what caused the rear-end collision.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Kodachrome Becomes Extinct

The classic film is no longer being sold

SYRACUSE- Today marks the final day Kodachrome will be sold due to the constantly decreasing demand. Once popular for its great color and grain quality, the film has been replaced by newer technology.

"No one's brought me a role of Kodachrome in years," said Sharon Pickard, manager of Industrial Color Labs in Syracuse.

Paul Simon helped get the name Kodachrome stuck in the minds of Americans with the release of his song "Kodachrome" in 1973.

Kodachrome, originally produced by Rochester-based Kodak, has grown unpopular to consumers. NCC News asked about a dozen people their thoughts on Kodachrome passing and the answer we got most often was some version of, "Kodachrome...I have no idea what that is."

Although today marks the end of a great era in film, it might stand for the progress of newer technology even more.

NCC reporter Courtney Petrouski's story can be seen by clicking on the link below.

Syracuse Construction is Very Visible

One of the numerous construction sites in Syracuse

SYRACUSE- Construction can be seen in Syracuse at many locations. While that might frustrate drivers, there's no way to get around it.

The only good news commuters can hear is some of the projects are scheduled to be completed on time or even early. For example, constrcution foreman Joseph Lang was asked about the progress made on a steam pipe relocation on Comstock Avenue.

"It's due to be completed, 100% complete, by August 7th, but we expect to be completed two weeks early," Lang said.

However, the major state funded projects will take more time.

"In Central New York, we have a very compressed construction season when all work can be done. So, weather dictates a lot of what we can do and when we can do it," said Michelle Clark of the State Department of Transportation.

Interstate 690 eastbound and the Interstate 81 south bound ramp are closed for resurfacing and should be opened the third week of July.

"Sometime after the first week of July we'll be resurfacing I-690 by Teall Avenue and 481. That'll be a project that's a heavily travelled stretch of highway," Clark said.

The New York Department of Transportation has regular updates on its website.

NCC reporter Leigh Paynter's package can be seen by clicking below.

Hancock Airport Gets a Check-Up

Check-up occurs every 15 years

SYRACUSE- Hancock International Airport gets a check-up every 15 years. This year it's the runways that need some work.
"We will be rehabilitating the runway intersection. We will be rehabilitating a portion a portion of the taxi way in addition to some other projects," said Public Informational officer Chris Reale.
Hancock International Airport put in a bid to get funding from the Department of Transportation and the FAA to pay for the construction.
"It will be resurfaced, repaved, have new lighting and new signage," said Reale.
Today, the Common Council voted "yes" on funding the very expensive 63 million dollar project.
"It is a good thing both for the airport and for the area," Reale said.
Reale also says the project will start in August and should be done in 30 days.
NCC reporter Megan Rowls' package can be seen below by clicking on the link.

Patti Cooper Sentenced Today

Cooper receives sentence

SYRACUSE- Patti Cooper was sentenced to five years probation this morning at the Onondaga County Criminal Courthouse. She accepted a plea deal, avoiding the possibility of being convicted of murder and keeping her out of prison for life.

The body of a baby was found in a trash can in Onondaga Park in 1981. Cooper was charged with second-degree murder last year after police linked her to murder by DNA testing on cigarette butts taken from her trash.

However, with the plea deal, all DNA evidence is thrown out and only a mitochondria DNA test--which only proves Cooper's genealogy--they didn't have.

"We never hid from the fact that this case was weak," said prosecutor Rick Trunfio. "Evidence from the original case investigation had been inadvertently destroyed or discarded so we had no physical evidence."

Cooper has not admitted she did it or even that it was her baby. Still she took the deal.

"There is a possibility--like anything else--that you could lose," defense attorney Richard Priest said. "And, if you lose, you're going to go to jail for the rest of your life."

The defense didn't want to risk a lifetime sentence, so the 27 year case concludes today with a punishment for Cooper--but no jail time.

Drumlins' Greenskeeper Busy Behind the Scenes

Greenskeeper doesn't get much recognition for the hard work

SYRACUSE- As the head Greenskeeper at Drumlins Golf Course, Peter McPartland knows the amount of work it takes to maintain a course.

"Usually we're out here by 6:00 AM, five o'clock on weekends and we work anywhere from eight to 12 hours a day," McPartland said.

According to McPartland, he mows about ten thousand yards of grass a day down to tiny millimeters depending on if he's cutting the rough or the fairway. This is the standard job day for the maintenance crew.

"We have everything from weed whackers and push mowers that most people would use on a lawn, to big unit fairway mowers that can cut down to fractions of an inch," said Matt Bednarski, an assistant to McPartland.

Most people would hate waking up before the sun rises every day, but maintenance worker Michael Frasher doesn't mind at all.

"I love being out here, you know what I mean?" said Frasher. "It's a challenge being out here and prepping a course."

At the end of the day, with new divots scattered across the course, the Greenskeeper and his maintenance staff know the next day starts pretty soon.

NCC sports reporter Mario Sacco's package can be seen by clicking below.

Legacy of Civil War Still Alive

Volunteers seek to educate others about the Civil War

JAMESVILLE, N.Y.-The 28th Volunteer Infantry of New York hit the battlefield in Jamesville over the weekend. The group put on a reenactment of the war that divided the nation in two.

The Volunteer Infantry makes several stops in Central New York and play both sides of the war: North vs. South. While the actual fighting may merely be a reenactment, the muskets and the rifles they use are real.

"Contrary to what most believe, we don't do this to play with guns, we do this because we're passionate about the history and enjoy educating people," said Timothy Buckham, captain of the 28th Volunteer Infantry Company.

The performance not only shows a battle on the field, but it also showcases how soldiers lived away from the battlefield.

"I would of stayed home...kept the home going, the farm going, sending clothes they would need to where they are...a lot of letters," said Buckham.

Most of the volunteers enjoy reenacting the Civil War because they have family ties to it.

"My grandfather fought on one side and my other grandfather fought with the North," said Marilyn Dirk.

More than anything, the Civil War reenactment is a dedication to the over 600,000 lives that were lost.

NCC reporter Mike Krafcik's television package about the Civil War reenactment can be seen below.

Man Seriously Injured in Hydroplane Race

Despite injury, Shaw planning to return to racing

SYRACUSE- Richard Shaw is a special education history teacher. But he also enjoys racing hydroplanes. He raced in last weekend's Syracuse Hydrofest.

Unfortunately, Shaw never finished the race because his boat hit some slow but large waves called rollers that sent him into the air.

"It used the wave more as a ramp...and I felt the engine wind up and I knew I was completely out of the water and...the back of the boat slapped against the same roller and I nosed it on the right side," said Shaw.

The boat landed upside down in the water and he was stuck underneath it.

"I somersaulted I couldn't tell you how many times...and when it finally stopped I was upside down and my air helmet wasn't working and I had the wind knocked out of me and I was sucking water," said Shaw.

Despite the injuries sustained in yesterday's accident, Shaw says he is looking forward to returning to racing.

"I've had incidents before where I've spun out and every time I got back into the boat it seemed like I was going to spin again," Shaw said. "It takes you a heat or two to get your confidence back."

Shaw says racing has been in his blood since childhood.

"My father raced since 1973 and I went to my first boat race when I was two weeks old," said Shaw. "I started driving when I was 14, so I literally grew up in the sport and I love it."

Despite the sport not being popular, Shaw's love of the game motivates him to race each and every time.

NCC reporter Vijeta Kadarmendalgi's story can be seen below.

Tropical Storm Andres Strengthens off SW Mexico

Andres is first storm of Eastern Pacific hurricane season

Tropical Storm Andres is getting stronger off the southwestern coast of Mexico early this morning. Forecasters say the coming days could see it become a hurricane.

A tropical storm watch has been issued along part of the Mexico coast, even though it is too soon to tell if the storm will make landfall.

Late last night, Andres became the first named storm of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, which is typically busiest between July and September.

Forecasters say it's been 40 years since it took so long in the Eastern Pacific season to officially name a tropical storm.

Obama to Announce Agreement with Drug Companies

Agreement to help close the gap in prescription drug coverage

President Obama will make a formal announcement Monday stating an agreement has been made by the pharmaceutical industry to assist in closing a gap in prescription drug coverage under Medicare.

The president has invited Barry Rand, head of AARP, to appear with him.

The drug companies have promised to spend $80 billion over the next ten years to reduce the cost of drugs for seniors. The money will also pay for part of Obama's health care legislation.

The deal was originally struck with Senator Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, as well as the White House.

North Korea Issues Nuclear Threat

Obama says U.S. is prepared

North Korea is declaring itself a "proud nuclear power" and will strike if provoked. Japan's Coast Guard says it has received notice from North Korea's maritime authority that ships will be banned off the North Korean coast starting Thursday because of "military exercises."

President Obama is telling Americans that his administration is "fully prepared" for any move Pyongyang might make. Obama says he won't reward "belligerence and provocation in the way that's been done in the past."

Meanwhile, a member of South Korean intelligence says a North Korean cargo ship possibly carrying banned weapons appears to be headed towards Myanmar.

New U.N. Security Council sanctions require member states to inspect vessels believed to contain prohibited goods. The sanctions are intended to punish North Korea for conducting a secret nuclear test last month

Deadly Bombs Hit Baghdad

Violence escalates ahead of June 30 withdrawal of U.S. forces

Several bombings have killed at least 13 people in the Baghdad metropolitan area. In the deadliest incident, Iraqi police say at least 5 people were killed and 20 wounded by a car bomb.

A roadside bomb exploded in Sadr City next to a bus carrying Iraqi high school students, killing at least three and wounding 13.

Police say another car bomb went off on the east side of the Tigris River, killing two people and wounding nine.

Violence has been prevalent ahead of the June 30th deadline calling for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from major cities in Iraq. Iraqi administrators expect militants to step up bombing attacks around the deadline.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Threatens Protesters

Guard issues warning against protestors

Iran's Revolutionary Guard has issued a warning today to opponents disputing a presedential election.

Protestors have been fighting in the streets for weeks disputing a national election in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected. The protestors believe the election was rigged and that Mir Hossein Mousavi should have won.

The Revolutionary Guard, considered to be the most powerful security force in Iran, says any further opposition protests would be met with "revolutionary confrontation."

Meantime, Iran's highest electoral authority, the Guardian Council, has reported voting irregularities in 50 electoral districs in the June 12th vote.

Mousavi encourages the people of Iran to keep up the protests, saying "The country belongs to you. Prostesting lies and fraud is your right."

Journalists Escape in Afghanistan

The two were held captive for seven months

Two journalists held over seven months by the Taliban in Pakistan successfully escaped from jail. Afghan journalist Tahir Ludin was held captive along with New York Times Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist David Rhode.

Ludin and Rhode escaped by tricking guards and dropping down a 20-foot wall with a rope. Ludin says the last two to three months seemed so hopeless, he considered committing suicide with a knife.

The journalists were abducted November 10th south of the Afghan capital of Kabul.

Ludin climbed a five-foot high wall before spraining his right foot when he went down the 20-foot drop that followed.

Ludin says they wanted to make their escape when the city had electrical power because a noisy air conditioner would block out some sound.

Fifteen minutes after their initial escape, the two arrived at a Pakistani militia post, where guards threatened to kill them thinking they were suicide bombers.

Eventually, the journalists were transferred to Islambad, Pakistan's capital, and then to an American military base outside Kabul.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pilot Dies In Flight, Plane Lands Safely

Continental flight 61, en route from Brussels to Newark, landed safety around noon today at Newark International Airport, after the pilot died mid-flight.

The airline reported that the 60-year-old Newark-based pilot died of natural causes.

The crew only told passengers there was a medical emergency but many realized something bigger may have happened when fire trucks and medical personnel met the plane on the runway.

The airline said the pilot had 32 years of service with Continental.

Protests Continue In Iran

Thousands of supporters of Mir Hossein Moussavi-Iran's top opposition presidential candidate-protested in silence today as they marched the streets wearing black.

Moussavi addressed the peaceful crowd of thousands, asking for a new vote in the election that was called in favor of presidential incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The government called the election last Friday in Ahmadinejad's favor, a move that sparked violent protests.

In Washington D.C., Iranian-Americans also took to the streets. Angered by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, they protested his reception and recognition of Ahmadinejad as the Iranian president.

Washington Nationals Pick Top Pitcher

NCC News sports reporter Ben Gellman

Secaucus, N.J.--The Washington Nationals selected pitcher Stephen Strasburg as first pick in Major League Baseball's Tuesday night amateur draft.

Strasburg's 102 mph fastball has attracted attention and baseball analysts consider him one of the most talented picks in amateur baseball right now.

So talented in fact that some are saying Strasburg might skip the minors and go straight to the majors.

This means Strasburg could potentially bypass pitching for the National's AAA affiliate, our own Syracuse Chiefs.

But as NCC sports reporter Ben Gellman found out, for now, nothing is for sure. Despite Strasburg's obvious talent, organizers, managers, and teammates are all skeptical of the possibility of that big move.

Phoenix Pharmacy's Plan to Prevent Pharming

NCC Reporter Kate Sheehy

Parents who suspect their kids might be popping pills can pick up free drug test kits at a Phoenix Pharmacy.

Phoenix, N.Y. -- The Medicine Place pharmacy started out with 40 drug test kits but they have had to order 35 more.

Phoenix parents who suspect their kids might be abusing prescription drugs can get one of these kits anonymously and free of charge.

Only a few weeks old, the program was created in reaction to a national increase in prescription drug abuse, a trend also known as pharming.

So, as the supply of free kits dwindles, Phoenix residents react. NCC reporter Kate Sheehy is in Phoenix and will have more on this story later today.

CNY Reacts to Same Sex Health Care

NCC Reporter Kate Peskor

Syracuse, N.Y.-- President Obama's Wednesday announcement, detailing same-sex marriage benefits for federal employees, has sparked controversy on both sides of the issue.

In his speech, Obama said federal employees with same-sex partners would be offered specific limited benefits not including some of the most basic like health insurance and retirements.

NCC News reporter Kate Peskor is covering Central New Yorker's reactions to this story and will have a full report later today.

Perogies and Polka at Clinton Square!

NCC Reporter Crystal Thune

The Syracuse Polish Festival starts this Friday.

Syracuse, N.Y.-- Clinton square will be packed with polish food and plenty of polka starting at 4:00 p.m. on Friday. The Syracuse Polish Festival will celebrate it's 55th year this weekend and is one of the oldest ethnic festivals in the area.

Festival-goers can expect to enjoy a full line-up of Polish entertainment: music, dancing, food, and artisans.

For more information and a full schedule of events call 315-687-1076, or visit http://www.polishscholarship.com/.

NCC Reporter Crystal Thune will have more on this story as preparations begin in Clinton Square later on today.

A Syracuse Society Recaptures the Renaissance

NCC Lifestyle Reporter Jessica Nahmias

Medieval combatants storm Syracuse city parks as they recreate the Renaissance.

Syracuse, N.Y.-- Members of this ancient association hail from a place that they call the Barony of Delftwood. In modern day terms, this means Syracuse and it's surrounding areas.

These people are part of a group called the SCA, short for the Society for Creative Anachronism, that aims to re-create European life before the 17th century. This means sword-play, fencing, archery and other, less violent, pursuits like theater and jewelry making.

The Syracuse SCA meets once a week with weapons in hand to practice combat techniques and incorporate a bit of the Middle Ages into their 21th century lives.

They even take on new names like Anastasie deLamoure and Olafr Thorvardarson to fit their ancient alter-egos.

Nearly 100 people belong to this particular SCA chapter but worldwide membership has grown to a whopping 26,000 since the society’s creation in 1968.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thornden Park Roses

NCC Reporter Jocelyn Ehnstrom

The E.M. Mills Garden in Thornden Park is in full bloom with over 4,000 roses on display. The roses come from a variety of different donors, some orange roses for example, were donated to the garden by Syracuse University. Volunteers at the garden held a celebration today and invited guests to listen to live music, eat snacks, and compete in hat decorating contests. The celebration is honoring the Syracuse Rose Society's 85th anniversary, making it the oldest continuous rose society in the United States.  The month of June also happens to be the month of the rose, and with all the beautiful colors and warm June weather it was easy to see why the month and flower were matched together. 

But not all people can enjoy the garden without wanting to take a little home. Last night two women stole some roses from the garden and were chased by police. The women weren't caught and some of the volunteers think cameras at the garden would help prevent this."It's a public garden, it's for the public to enjoy, not for individuals, you want to walk around, look at the roses, you're more than welcome to. But not to take them home," said Dan Magero. Magero has volunteered for the garden for over 25 years and said this was not the first time the garden has been targeted. 

But the volunteers and small crowd who made it out to the garden today weren't deterred and say they hope the garden lasts another 85 years.

For more information visit:

Ten Months Later: Still No Progress On Ronald McDonald Home

It was almost a year ago when the Civil War era home on East Genesee was demolished so the Ronald McDonald House could be built.

"They were so fast to tear it down and you would think they would put something up," said Gloria Sage, Syracuse Neighbor in Favor of Historical Preservation.

Sage also said she feels the Ronald McDonald House could have been built in many other locations.

RMH Executive Director Beth Trunfio said last August that the project would take only ten months to a year to complete. Its opening was to coincide with the Children's Hospital opening at Upstate Medical. Children's Hospital is scheduled to open September 2009. But on eleven hundred East Genesee Street, there are still no signs of construction.

Common Councilor Patrick Hogan voted against historical designation but is confident that the council made the right decision.

The house needed a super majority vote of at least seven members to vote for the approval but the house had only six members vote in their favor.

"The progress was broken, " said Michael Stanton, President of the South East University Neighborhood Association. "The city has since gone back to amend the ordinance that allowed the super majority requirement for this to be saved and that won't happen again, but the damage has been done."

But almost a year after the lot was purchased and the house was destroyed only an empty lot sits at the corner of East Genesee and University Avenue.

N-C-C News Reporter Leigh Paynter has the story.

Local Food Pantries Benefit from Stimulus Money

Syracuse, N.Y. - The economy is not only hurting families, it's also hurting food banks and pantries.

That can be troublesome, when you factor in that now is the time hurting families need food banks the most.

The Food Bank of Central New York reports a 12 percent increase in people seeking food assistance.

But, local pantries don't have to worry about running out of food.

"One of the things across the nation is you're seeing a lot of empty pantries, you're not seeing that here," says Beth Slater, from the Food Bank of Central New York.

That's because the federal government is stepping in through the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

Under this program, economic stimulus money can be designated for food banks and pantries.

The Food Bank of Central New York just received a shipment with 350,000 pounds of food.

That is roughly 275,000 meals worth of food. And, it is going to local pantries such as Catholic Charities and P.E.A.C.E., Inc.

Instead of turning away people, these pantries can serve them in their time of need.

"That's what kept me and my wife on my feet," says John Whittaker of Syracuse.

And, it's what kept food in their mouths.

NCC News' Mike Krafcik reports on local food pantries:

Community College Sees Increased Enrollment In Poor Economy

Syracuse, N.Y. - Community Colleges, such as Onondaga Community College, are becoming more popular among high school graduates uncertain about what they want to do in the future.

Over the past five years, the enrollment has increased from 8,000 students to 11,000 students (both figures are approximates).

One of the most attractive features of these 2-year institutions is that they are much less expensive than traditional, 4-year universities.

"The cost of coming here was a lot cheaper, you know, to test the waters if you are not sure what field you want to go into," says Michael McLean, an O.C.C student.

The annual tuition cost at O.C.C is less than $9,000.

It is possible to attend OCC for four years at this rate before one approaches the approximate annual tuition of Syracuse University.

Of course, it usually doesn't take four years to earn a degree from O.C.C.

"Typically it's two and a half [years]. Life gets in the way often, (for instance) if you're working," says Kathy Perry, Director of Admissions.

Mario Sacco heads out to Onondaga Community College:

Obama to Approve Benefits for Same-Sex Partners of Federal Workers

Washington, D.C. - President Obama is expected to sign a memorandum in the Oval Office this afternoon, which gives some health care benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

It is unclear as to which benefits will be granted to the couples, however, it is not expected that the President will grant full health coverage.

This comes days after the Justice Department filed a brief supporting the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and appeared to equate gay-marriage with incest.

DOMA was signed into effect by President Bill Clinton in 1996. It effectively prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage.

The law defines marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband wife" and a spouse as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."

President Obama's expected memorandum signing also comes just over a week after the Supreme Court refused to hear a legal challenge to the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Triche Ball

Brandon Triche

DeWitt, N.Y. - He made the varsity basketball team at Jamesville-Dewitt High School as a freshman.

Not only did he make the team, he averaged 20 points per game.

Not too shabby.

But 12 games into his sophomore season, Brandon Triche suffered a career-threatening setback.

He tore the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) of his left knee.

It was a given his season was over.

"I felt devastated 'cuz everybody worked so hard for the season," says Triche.

The Red Rams wound up falling short of the state title that season.

Triche returned for his junior season and helped J-D win the 2008 New York Class A State Championship. The team went undefeated.

Even so, there were doubts as to whether or not Triche had fully healed.

The scouts backed off. His ability to play college ball was questioned.

But, that just meant one thing for Triche's senior season:

"I'm trying to go out with a bang try to do it as best as I can," he says.

And, that's exactly what he did. J-D won the state title again Triche's senior season. He averaged 22 points per game as well as 8 assists and 8 rebounds.

He was given two very prestigious awards: 1) Gatorade's New York Boys Basketball Player of the Year and 2) New York's Mr. Basketball.

This fall, Triche will be a member of the Syracuse University Men's Basketball team.

Somewhere, the college scouts that gave up on him are knee-deep in regret.....

NCC Sports' Sean Bell gives us a look at J-D hoops phenom (and future Orange) Brandon Triche:

Sneeze Patrol

A CNY etiquette expert disagrees with these CDC recommendations

Syracuse, N.Y. - We all sneeze. From little children to famous politicians, it happens to the best of us. Even animals, such as pandas, sneeze.

NCC News' Jocelyn Ehnstrom has been caught in the act as well

But, while everybody sneezes, we all sneeze in different ways.

While one can make the traditional "Ah-CHOO!" sound, other people have trademark facial expressions that are revealed when they are about to sneeze.

Some people sneeze into their hands, while others sneeze into one of their arms.

And there is debate as to which one of these two techniques spreads fewer germs and, thus, demonstrates better manners.

"I do not recommend that you sneeze into the hand ever," says Miesje Havens. Havens is the founder of The Refined School of Protocol and Etiquette in Syracuse.

She is a proponent of sneezing into one's arm (provided you are wearing sleeves at the time) as it is more sanitary in her opinion, especially when people are eating.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still believes that one should sneeze into one's hands while using a tissue.

At least in this heated debate the CDC and Havens can agree on one thing: both recommend that you never shake someone's hand after sneezing.

That is, unless you have washed your hands........


NCC News reporter Haley Burton explores the sneezing debate below:

Paint Ballin'

Syracuse, N.Y. - For Jean Negron the paintball addiction started innocently enough.

"A friend of mine, he got a little set up in his backyard. He just told me I should come there one time to play with him; and I did it; and ever since I've been hooked," says Negron.

Chris Barbay has been playing for a decade.

"I think I bought my first gun that Christmas and I've been playing ever since," says Barbay.

Both Negron and Barbay are members of the Boss Ballers, a paintball group that has been together "two, three years at least" according to Barbay.

It has grown from four members to eleven members over this time. This has allowed the group to enter two separate teams in the New York Paintball League.

Besides the excitement that paintball brings, the group also enjoys the friendships and camaraderie that come with playing together.

"We're a family," says Barbay (as a teammate jokingly strokes the top of his head).

A family that enjoys running around and shooting each other with paintballs.

Click below to view Vijeta Kadarmandalgi's story:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Say It. Don't Spray It.

For some, graffiti is a true art, but one that's unwelcome by Westcott shop owners

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Westcott-area shop owners are angry. Angry that it took so long to find the teen who’s been “tagging” their walls.

“It takes a long time to draw this stuff and no one sees them...it's incredible,” said Ron DeLuca, owner of Abdo’s Grocery.

Angry about having to buy paint and hire painters to cover the “art” left on facades by spray-painter Jordan Wood, 19.

“It’s $110 for the gallon of paint and then I call someone in to paint the building,” said Dino Sentra, owner of Westcott Florists.

Wood, who has been arrested 28 times, was picked up by police yesterday. It was his sixth arrest of the year for graffiti.

But Monday morning, shopkeepers say, a bottle-collector, a familiar face around the Westcott neighborhood, placed a call to police to tell them he spotted the vandal in-the-act.

But shopkeepers say they are worried another arrest won’t stop the rogue artist from spraying again.

NCC News reporter Kate Sheehy has a report about the Westcott vandal.

Fayetteville Fire Department Facelift: Vote

Captain John Falgiatano, Fayatteville Fire Department

FAYETTEVILLE, N.Y. -- At six this morning the polls opened. Four hours later only 40 ballots were cast. But the department says it expects more people to show up after work, to decide the fate of the Fayetteville Fire Department.

If the vote passes, the Fire Department will try to get federal stimulus money to expand and renovate the station. The cost is an estimated $6.45 million.

“Our quarters are very crammed. We have no room for future expansion if we were to add vehicles, add personnel.

Our storage is at a maximum,” lamented Fire Chief John Falgiatano. Only people who live in the Village of Fayetteville are eligible to vote, even though the Fire Department covers parts of Minoa and Manlius.

Each day the fire station responds to an average of nine calls. NCC News reporter Crystal Thune says the firefighters’ hard work does not go unnoticed by the people of Fayetteville.

“I have a scanner at home, so I hear every single call they go out on. And they are busy,” said May Becker, of Fayetteville. The polls close at nine tonight, and by the time a decision is reached, the busy firefighters themselves will have gone down the station’s poll, several times.

NCC News reporter Crystal Thune has a report on the vote:

Greenhouse or Go-Karts?

From Singapore (above) to Oswego, Go-Kart racing is a popular fastime

OSWEGO, N.Y. -- On Sunday nights in Oswego beautiful beds of flowers bite the dust. Literally.

Surrounded by a go kart track, Galletta’s greenhouse moonlights as a place to put the pedal to the metal.

“Sometimes, people will come up and be looking at the plants and see a go kart track and be like, ‘Look at this thing!’” said Chris Stevens, co-founder of Galletta’s Go-Karts.

Stevens and his brother Matt started racing Go-Karts in the 1990s but after Oswego speedway drove them off its track last year, the brothers took matters into their own…feet.

Every Sunday night, Galletta’s plays host to Go-Kart races. The Stevens brothers don’t charge for track time, only rentals, and prefer keeping the Kart track a place for fun, friends and fast racing.

“We like it the way it is now. Although we always leave the door open to something bigger,” said Matt Stevens.

And though the races rev on, the owners say it’s not about winning, but about whipping around corners, and having fun.

“We don’t have trophies…nothing like that. None of us will ever drive Nascar or anything like that, probably, but we still have fun,” said Rusell Hockey a regular Galletta’s racer.

NCC News reporter Zachary James reports on a Sunday-night sport that takes place in Oswe-GO

Lottery Grows when Economy Slows

The Silverbush family won the $35 million lotto

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- In economically turbulent times, people turn to chance to try to top their bank accounts.

Lottery sales are up $177 million in New York State from last year, a 5.1% increase, Scientific Games reported.

“They [lottery pots] grow a little in hard times when some people turn to them,” said Syracuse University Economics Professor John Yinger.

“A dollar and a dream. That’s it. That’s my philosophy with the numbers,” said Craig Davis, the owner of Seven Styles Store, the owner of a convenience store that is selling a lot of lotto tickets on South Salina.

While Davis hasn’t sold any big winning tickets lately, on the other side of town, Bob Fantacone, owner of Chase Cigar Store, sold the Silverbush family the $35 million ticket that had Syracuse in suspense.

The family came out publicly yesterday to claim their millions, a dream that many Central New Yorkers have.

“A week doesn't go by that we don’t have a thousand dollar winner, a couple of five hundred dollar winners, things like that on the instant tickets. We sell so many of them…that there have been a lot of winners,” said Fantacone.

In an economy where keeping a job feels like winning the lottery, a little luck, means a big win.

NCC News Reporter Nicky Byiliangiro reports on New York's thriving lotto

Taking to Tehran's Streets

President Ahmadinejad's reelection has sparked massive protests

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian state media are reporting that a government-backed protest is filling the streets of downtown Tehran.

Protestors are demanding punishment for yesterday’s rioters.

Hundreds of thousands of people swarmed the city’s streets last night in protest against the results of the country’s recent federal elections, in which incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won.

Opponents of Ahmadinejad say the election was fixed and have demanded a recount.

The country’s official leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who has the final say in all matters, is prepared to allow a limited recount of the election. Ahmadinejad’s fiercest opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has asked for another round of elections, which the Ayatollah has not yet granted.

All journalists working for foreign media have been banned from covering the protests on the ground and foreign reporters who went to cover the elections last week are leaving as their visa’s are not being extended.

Bar Mitzvah Behind Bars

The Tombs, a Manhattan jail, played host to a Bar Mitzvah celebration in December

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Chief Peter Curcio, a New York City corrections official, will retire after allowing an inmate to hold a Bar Mitzvah for his son at a Manhattan lockup called “The Tombs.”

About 60 guests attended the catered party that took place on December 30, 2008, in which a Orthodox singer performed.

Tuvia Stern, a convicted scam artist, was given permission by Curcio to host the Bar Mitzvah party and an engagement party in the jail for months later.

Stern is in jail for bail jumping and grand larceny.

Binghamton Couple Dead in Murder-Suicide

Home of Sy and Keng Thongthip

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- A 71-year-old man and his 61-year-old wife are dead because of a domestic dispute, Binghamton police say.
Sy Thongthip, originally from Laos, shot his wife and then shot himself late Sunday night.
Police have not said what the dispute was about, but have said the couple had no history of domestic violence. The two lived with their two adult sons in a first-floor apartment in Binghamton.

Guantanamo Prisoner in NY Court Today

Ghailani will appear in NYC Federal Court today

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The Guantanamo detainee brought to the U.S. for trial on terrorism charges will appear in a New York City court today.
Ahmed Ghailani will appear in Manhattan federal court.
He is accused of conspiring in the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa in August 1998. Ghailani has pleaded not guilty to taking part in the bombings that killed 124 people.

Destiny's Destiny?

A sketch of proposed Destiny USA

Developing Story

SYRACUSE, N.Y -- Attorneys representing the developer of Destiny USA, Robert Congel, will be in state Supreme Court today.

The developer is taking Citigroup to court because of the bank’s decision to suspend Destiny’s multimillion dollar loan. Congel claims Citigroup is retracting the loan because of the bank’s own financial problems.

Citigroup stopped advancing money, alleging the developer failed to use its own money or obtain additional financing to cover additional costs. So far, Citigroup has loaned the project around $85 million.

NCC News reporter Leigh Paterson is following the story. It will be updated here throughout the day.

NCC NEWS UPDATE: Patterson Sentenced Today

20-month-old Imani Jennings was beaten to death in November 2008

Updated 12:03PM:

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Syracuse woman accused of criminally negligent homicide in the death of her 20-month-old daughter was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.

County Judge William Walsh handed the sentence to 20-year-old Cherron Patterson, in court today, where she openly sobbed. Patterson’s boyfriend at the time of the toddler’s death, Anthony Weakfall Jr. is being charged as an adult in the second-degree murder of Imani Jennings. She died on November 21, 2008 from being severely beaten. While in custody Patterson gave birth to a child fathered by Weakfall.

A family court proceeding for parental rights and custody is pending.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The woman accused of criminally negligent homicide, in the death of her 20-month-old daughter, will be sentenced in Onondaga County Criminal Court today.
18-year-old Cherron Patterson faces up to four years in prison for failing to get medical attention for her daughter after her 16-year-old boyfriend, severely beat the toddler to death.
NCC News reporter Brendan Reisdorf will be at the courthouse and this story will be updated throughout the day.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lottery Store

Robert Fantacone is the owner of the Chase Cigar Store in Syracuse and received $10, 000 dollars for selling the winning ticket.

The Store sold a winning ticket worth 35 millions dollars. The store found out it sold the winning ticket several weeks ago but the winner's name was announced today.

This is the fourth time his store has sold a winning ticket. Fantacone has owned this store for 26 years. This is the first time he sold a ticket worth millions.

"Selling the winning ticket puts you on the map," said Fantacone. Fantacone hopes his story will be viewed as a lucky store and will attract more people to his store.

Click on the video below to see more about the story from Kim Hrabovsky.

Rose Garden

Rose day at the Thornden Park Rose Garden is two days away and Dan Margaro is working on the finishing touches. Margaro has volunteered for the Rose Garden for 25 years.

"When I started working 25 years ago I put these all in," said Margaro. "The enjoyment that people get is what I get out of it." The garden is around 85 years old and has over 4,000 different types of flowers in it. Margaro says thousands of people come each year just to smell the flowers.

"We don't mind to do the work because it is a beautiful sight," said Margaro. He is currently working on the final touches for the rose pedals.

Click on the video below to find out more from Vijeta Kadarmandalgi

John Smoltz

John Smoltz performance for the Pawtucket Red Sox against the Syracuse Chief Monday was deemed to be a success. Smoltz actually lost the game giving up four runs in six innings.

Smoltz is trying to come back from a shoulder surgery which has kept him out for alomost a year. "I'm not going to lie its been very difficult," said Smoltz. "I don't even think I have been in the same city for more than four days over the last two months."

Smoltz is now with the Boston Red Sox and wants to prove to his old team, the Atlanta Braves, he still has the ability to pitch. The Braves offered Smoltz a contract in the offseason but Smoltz said the kind of offer was a sign the Braves wanted him to retire.

Smoltz says he will know when it is time to retire but the time has not yet come.

John Crisafulli has more about this story in the video below.

Lottery Winner

The winner of the 35 million dollar lottery ticket was announced to be the Silverbush family. Abe Silverbush bought the ticket from the Chase Cigar Store in Eastwood.

After taxes the family will get a little more than 14 millions dollars. The family of seven will split the money among the seven.

Abe and Celia Silverbush lived and worked in Syracuse all their lives. They plan to continue to work there regular jobs. Abe and Celia plan to buy a new house with the lottery money.

The Silverbushes have five children the oldest being 53 and the youngest is 37. They plan to put money away for their children's college tuition and they say they will do a little bit of shopping.

Learn more about the family by watching Jocelyn Ehnstrom's report below.