Students Gather Data On Vacant City Lots To Inspire Future Use

(WXXI) – There are about 2,100 vacant, city-owned lots in Rochester. Three hundred of them are in the Marketview Heights neighborhood alone. That’s where a team of students spent the summer gathering information that can be used to turn some of those abandoned properties into assets for their community. Students from city high schools and RIT went from lot to lot using phone apps to record specific facts about what they saw. “Are there trees on the lot?”


Central NY Legislators Say DEC Needs More Flexibility To Issue Deer Culling Permits

(WRVO) – Central New York state legislators have introduced a bill that would give the state Department of Environmental Conservation more flexibility with issuing deer control permits. This comes after DEC officials determined they were steering too far away from the current law. David Skeval of Cornell Coorperative Extension of Onondaga County said after an internal review at the DEC, officials realized their process of issuing deer culling permits is cumbersome, and also not following environmental law. “It’s not so much that the DEC said, ‘we’re going to change our minds and our law,'” Skeval said. “They’re not changing the law, they are trying to follow it a little closer.


Thruway Bridge Set To Open, But Questions Remain On Future Tolls


Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to open on Thursday the first span of the new Thruway bridge over the Hudson River, known as the Tappan Zee Bridge and to be renamed the Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge. But questions still linger over how, ultimately, the bridge will be paid for. Cuomo has been reluctant to divulge details on how the tolls on the bridge will be affected after the multi-billion-dollar project to replace the over three-mile-long span is completed. Part of the estimated $4 billion project has been financed through one-time payments from banks as part of settlements after the financial crisis. There’s a $1.6 billion federal loan, and the Thruway Authority has taken out about three-quarters of a billion dollars in bonds.

Binghamton's Porchfest Continues to Grow


This year’s Binghamton Porchfest has expanded to one hundred and ten musical groups on forty porches around Binghamton’s West Side on Sunday, August 27 from noon to seven.  Organizer Chris Bodnarczuk takes time out from his preparations to talk about the Porchfest phenomenon that started in Ithaca and has spread across the nation.


Photo credit: Patti Schwartz for Binghamton Porchfest

Nova: Eclipse Over America

On August 21, 2017, millions of Americans witnessed the first total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States in 99 years. As in all total solar eclipses, the moon blocked the sun and revealed its ethereal outer atmosphere – its corona – in a wondrous celestial spectacle. While hordes of citizens flocked to the eclipse’s path of totality, scientists, too, staked out spots for a very different reason: to investigate the secrets of the sun’s elusive atmosphere. During the eclipse’s precious seconds of darkness, they gathered new clues on how our sun works, how it can produce deadly solar storms, and why its atmosphere is so hot. NOVA investigates the storied history of solar eclipse science and joins both seasoned and citizen-scientists alike as they don their eclipse glasses, tune their telescopes, and behold the Eclipse Over America. Nova: Eclipse Over America reairs Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 8:00 pm.


NYS Test Scores Inch Up


The results of this year’s Common Core-related standardized tests show scores for New York’s schoolchildren inching up.  About one-fifth of the children boycotted the tests altogether because of continued controversy over the Common Core learning standards. State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia said she’s pleased with the progress made in the 2017 test results. While scores improved by nearly 2 percent from last year, the results show that only about 40 percent of students in grades three through eight are considered proficient in English and math. Elia said she’s keeping her eye on the big picture and trying to see the positive in the results. “We are on a trajectory of moving forward and upward,” Elia said.


Civil War Re-enactors Consider The Use Of The Confederate Flag

(WXXI) With the removal of Confederate statues happening across the country, how does that backlash affect Civil War re-enactors? Captain of the Western New York Federal re-enacting unit Reynolds Battery L John Beatty said some groups representing the Confederacy are moving away from using the red flag with the blue “X” completely in their re-enactments, since it has become associated with so many hate and white supremacist groups. He said the actual flag of the Confederacy looks much different, but those are also more difficult to come by. People are often surprised to hear about Confederate re-enactors living in western New York, says Beatty. “It’s basically because they can point to an ancestor that did it; it’s not that they’re big into any political agenda whatsoever.

Not A Total Eclipse, But New York Had A Special Day Nonetheless


Ampersand Mountain Summit. photo credits: Nancy Coddington 

​New Yorkers who stayed in-state didn’t see the total eclipse of the sun on Monday. But that didn’t stop people from enjoying the moment. People gathered from all over the state to watch the solar eclipse happen in a variety of places. As Director of Science at WSKG, I had a personal interest in watching the eclipse from a unique vantage point.


Myrick: Supervised Injection Proposal Pushed The Treatment Conversation


Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick made headlines last year for his plan to combat the heroin epidemic. The most controversial idea is to build a supervised injection site. That’s where people can use drugs under medical supervision. Myrick thinks the proposal’s made the conversation around drug policy more progressive. In an interview, Myrick said supervised injection has helped increase funding to other drug-related programs, because it got so much attention.