Chris Bolt

News Director

Maybe I was destined for a career in radio when I built my first stereo receiver from a Heathkit box…then later spent time running wires over beer-stained floors for local bands in Colorado bars.  I remember becoming enamored with Public Radio's story-telling style covering an exiled music group that had come to Syracuse from El Salvador.  The piece involved interviewing through an interpreter and mixing in the music with a strongly-political story of death squads.  Over the next 23 years I’ve enjoyed covering the issues, people, events, challenges and accomplishments of Central New York. 

I came to Syracuse to finish a Broadcast Journalism degree at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School.  I’ve worked at WAER since 1990 and truly enjoy our mission of educating and engaging the community, while training aspiring journalists and broadcasters.  I’m passionate about the area’s lifestyle and efforts to improve its vitality.   When not on a story, in a studio or editing and mentoring students, I can probably be found outside.  I love Central New York’s natural areas and waterways, as well as golfing and biking opportunities.  

Ways to Connect

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."

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.

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.”

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.

WAER file

One of the faces that will be leaving the Syracuse Common Council as the year ends has been in City Hall over decades.  Joe Nicoletti did not run for his council seat, instead making an unsuccessful bid for mayor.  Over two council stints and other positions in city hall, he spanned five different mayors.  And Nicoletti says he’ll miss most the unsung city employees.

WAER file

As the year ends, so do the Common Council terms of several well-known faces.  Councilor-at-Large Jean Kessner ends an eight-year run.  She hopes she’s remembered more for helping people than for any specific bills or laws she helped pass.

“When you go to ban-the-box or section-8 housing (measures), or any of the other things that we’ve passed, is that we just want to give people opportunity.  We don’t have money to hand out, but we can provide a level playing field.  That’s really, really important to me.” 

irs.gov

A Cornell University Professor Law who specializes in financial and monetary law and economics is not impressed by the G-O-P’s $1.5-Trillion federal tax cut bill.  Robert Hockett feels that the Republican majority had a lack-luster year of getting things done and this was its last chance.  He calls the plan, which places a cap on state and local tax deductions - a Civil War Tax Bill.

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