A giant helium balloon was launched from the SUNY E-S-F campus at the end of April. It was unknown if the attached pay-loader, with a computer, camera and science experiments inside, would ever be found.  That's until a hiker came across the module in a swamp near Cortland.

  Family members taking care of relatives at home may be receiving more thorough training about how to look after their loved ones.  Both the New York State Senate and the Assembly passed the CARE Act which mandates education for family care givers.  Tracy Murphy of Syracuse has to look after her mother when she came home from the hospital.

Scott Willis, WAER News / WAER News

  A Syracuse University counter-terrorism expert says the changes to federal surveillance powers will result in needed oversight and transparency of the government’s activity. In six months, the national security agency will no longer be able to collect bulk data from all domestic phone records.  Instead, the NSA will have to request the information on a case-by-case basis from the phone companies by obtaining a court order.  William Banks directs SU's Institute for National Security and Counter Terrorism, and says the additional oversight is welcome.

Banks says the balance between security and liberty is an elusive one, which can make it hard to cut back or justify the programs.  He says part of the problem is no one really knows how effective the phone record surveillance program has been.

From Earl Colvin's Facebook Page

  A pioneer of gay rights in Central New York in the 1970’s is being remembered for his persistence at a time when the LGBT community was virtually ostracized, or at least ignored.  Earl Colvin died May 24th at age 82, and will be honored with a ceremony Wednesday evening at city hall. 

Long-time activist Bonnie Strunk worked with Colvin on many early gay pride events.  She recalls when one media outlet learned of one gathering, and young kids began throwing stones.

Long-time Syracuse New Times reporter Walt Shepperd recalls Colvin as someone who had a way of putting people at ease during a time when the larger community was very clearly divided about gay rights .  Bonne Strunk says Colvin was never shy about sharing his opinion, and forging ahead.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

  Central New York Congressmember John Katko is optimistic that the Senate will ultimately approve legislation that restores surveillance authority of domestic phone records.  The provision of the USA Patriot Act expired Monday after Senator Rand Paul blocked an extension.  Katko says the USA Freedom Act already approved by the house is basically a renewal, but includes safeguards to prevent abuses of the data collected.

  Drug prevention experts say the finding of the latest methamphetamine lab in Cicero this past week is an opportunity for the community to learn more about the drug and its impacts.  A tip led Onondaga County Sheriff’s Deputies to a home on Bellwood Circle where they found materials for a home Meth lab throughout the house.  Prevention Network Executive Director Beth Hurney explains the chemicals used are dangerous and volatile.

  How much can we learn about our current democracy from looking back at key events and time periods in US history?  That’s what NPR’s Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep sought to do when he began reading documents, letters and studying 1820s America.  What he found was a story that fascinated him about Andrew Jackson and the conflicts over land between the US and Native  Americans, particularly the Cherokee. 

Chris Bolt/WAER News

  Most people know about the Central New York S-P-C-A and its efforts to take care of dogs and cats…but they also take in other animals that get neglected or mistreated.  One special example involved a Cazenovia horse farm.  There's also a fundraiser next month to bring more attention to large animal rescue.

Marion Secor owns Skanda Equine in Cazenovia.  She never intended to take in mistreated animals…but knows a thing or two about them.

Somebody giving a fleeting glance while passing room G22 in Jamesville-DeWitt High School around 2:30 p.m. earlier this week might think that second-year teacher Kristin Hardy had invited a student up front for an English class presentation.

Scott Willis / WAER News

About 100 law enforcement officials from a dozen different agencies wore the same uniform Thursday as they ran or walked from Camillus to the eastern end of Syracuse.  The 13-mile Torch Run raised $10,000  for New York’s Special Olympics athletes.

State Police Troop D spokesperson Jack Keller says it’s a fun event for a good cause.