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Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

New York is coming off a year of what Governor Andrew Cuomo calls great economic growth and social progress. 

"Crime is down statewide, we have a cleaner environment, we have a fairer criminal justice system, we have more high school graduates who are attending colleges, we have preserved more land than ever before, enacted a more progressive tax code, launched the most ambitious building program in the country."

Governor Cuomo's flickr page

Governor Cuomo delivers his State of the State address on Wednesday. The speech kicks off a challenging year of budget deficits and re- election races.

Cuomo begins his eighth year in office facing the largest budget deficit since 2011. New York is short $4.4 billion, and there’s uncertainty over federal policies, including the overhaul of the tax code, that could leave the state with even a bigger budget hole in the future.

syracusecityschools.com

The new year is bringing some changes to a Syracuse organization that helps underprivileged youth get into college and succeed afterward.  On Point for College is moving out of its long-time Catholic Charities Home …and into Onondaga Commons, the former Rural Metro building closer to downtown.  Executive Director Sam Rowser is seeing quite a bit of growth from its beginnings 16 years ago.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Onondaga County leaders will be listening closely to Governor Cuomo’s state of the state address Wednesday to find out how he might address the state’s budget deficit.  Priorities laid out in the speech are a strong indicator of the spending plan to be presented to state lawmakers.  The state is at least $4 billion in the red, and county legislature chairman Ryan McMahon says the state will have to tighten its belt, hopefully without burdening residents.

www.nysmokefree.com

A lot of people will start 2018 with the goal – call it a resolution or not – of quitting smoking.  The New York State Smokers Quitline has coaches that can be the missing piece in keeping with the goal.  Darlene Drake is a lead supervisor of the Quit Coaches ... who can help you break habits.  Before she quit, Darlene was lighting-up right when she woke up.

https://www.facebook.com/AssemblymanAlStirpe/

The New Year rings in some state laws that could increase your paycheck and make it easier on your family. As of January first, the hourly minimum wage will increase from $9.70 to $10.40 an hour.  Fast-food workers outside of New York City see  jump to $11.75.  Assembly member Al Stirpe from Cicero, says this change should just be a first step.

Scott Willis/WAER News

The Syracuse Common Council loses a familiar face this year in four-term councilor Nader Maroun.  The democrat was known for asking his share of questions and not blindly following the democratic mayor.

“I’m always an advocate of robust debate.  It’s not a matter of whether you’re aligned with a particular administration or not.  Listen well to what the administration is putting forward, but be prepared to do your homework and understand the not-so-obvious consequences of decisions that you make.”

WAER file

One of the long-time members of the Syracuse Common Council who’s leaving this year has seen a lot of change in the city.  Van Robinson ends 18 years of service as president and a councilor.  His tenure in the city has an interesting spanning-of-generations since he came to Syracuse.

“The mayor was Bill Walsh.  And as I leave my political life, it’s ironic but the mayor-elect is his grandson Ben Walsh.  I wish the incoming administration all the luck in the world.  There’s a new city that has to be built.”

This weekend we will say good bye to 2017 and welcome in a brand new year. And with that many of us will look to achieve new goals. Lose weight, travel outside the country, maybe even spend more time in the kitchen.

John Smith/WAER News

An end-of-year gift to Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital today will support pediatric cancer research and specialized support to kids and families struggling with the disease.  Paige’s Butterfly Run is held every June and the organization presented $210,000. 

Paige was diagnosed with cancer while completing the end of first grade in 1993 and lost her fight one year later.  Her father Chris Arnold wants to make patients and families going through the same tragedy  as comfortable as possible.

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