Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways To Connect

Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance

The leader of the union representing tipped service workers in the Syracuse area says the base wage hike will not only benefit employees, but also the larger economy. The State Labor Department this week approved a $7.50 hourly wage to take effect at year's end for waitstaff, banquet servers, and other hospitality workers who also receive tips. President of Unite Here Local 150, Ann Marie Taliercio, says the 50% increase will help some at the bottom of the scale and shouldn't hurt business.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  

The leaders of five SUNY Schools today put their collective voices behind a plea to state lawmakers for more investment in their institutions as the they begin budget negotiations this week. The leaders gathered at SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, where president Quentin Wheeler said almost half of the buildings in the SUNY System are 45 years old or older.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

UPDATED 2/25 @ 5:00 P.M. 

  Syracuse residents are getting their chance to say how they might walk along Onondaga creek, or bike or access a creek path from their neighborhood.   The first of three public meetings on expanding the Onondaga Creekwalk was last night.  Syracuse Facilities engineer Russell Houck has been working on phase two of the Creekwalk for two years and says the first portion has been beneficial.

There’s that recreation connection from downtown to the lake; it opened areas along that section as well.  We’ve seen additional development in the Inner Harbor are and I think the Creekwalk has had a big impact on that to promote that development.  We hope the Creekwalk phase II promotes some additional development south of the city as well.

There’s been a plan to extend the trail for years; a 2008 feasibility study laid out potential routes for the trail, but no plans are definite.  The City of Syracuse wants to find the best location for the trail and how it might integrate into various neighborhoods. Houck says individuals, developers, or commercial entities will see an improvement in a neighborhood and want to take part.

We talked about promoting development, improving the streetscape and the look of the neighborhoods along the creek corridor, creating more access to the creek corridor itself.  Those are the goals.  

  The second public meeting takes place Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. in the Southwest Community Center;  a third introductory meeting is March 4th at the MOST.  After those meetings, final design plans will be brought back in front of the public for more input.  

The City of Syracuse is starting to plan for the next phase of the Onondaga Creekwalk, and residents are invited to add their thoughts.  

  

PREVIOUS COVERAGE  

Three public information meetings will be held throughout the city to give the public an opportunity to comment on design options for Phase II of the  Creekwalk.  The proposed second phase of the Creekwalk will extend 2.2 miles, from Armory Square to West Colvin Street.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Some Central New Yorkers could unknowingly be moving into a house that once was a methamphetamine lab. Senator Chuck Schumer announced legislation Wednesday that would require home sellers and landlords who know a home was used as a meth lab to disclose that information to potential buyers or renters. 

  He stopped by a neighborhood in East Syracuse to make his point, just down the street from last week's raid of a meth lab.

Chris Bolt / WAER News

The future of I-81 in Syracuse and access to adolescent mental health services  are among 11 priorities Rep. John Katko laid out Tuesday for his inaugural term in office.  Katko says he has lobbied the state, spoken with the federal highway administration, and met with local businesses regarding the future of the highway viaduct through Syracuse.  He wants to stay in front of the issue… 

Central New York Congressmember  John Katko  is hoping to hear from residents on a variety of issues as he launches listening sessions planned for each county of his district.     In a release, Katko says each listening session will focus on a unique topic, providing a platform for a discussion of district-wide priorities.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Central New York Boat Show is underway, and new this year is an interactive exhibit aimed at preparing inexperienced boaters for potential emergencies on the water. “Suddenly in Command” is an educational drill geared toward making passengers comfortable and ready to take command in case the captain is unable to.    Recreation Specialist with the New York Sea Grant Dave White says the program will teach participants how to gain control of the boat and how to communicate using marine radio, distress flags, and flares when there is no cell phone service. 

White says the training gives participants the opportunity to learn boating terminology, equipment and operations without having to enroll in a boating class.  Boat Show Manger Drew Wickham says the experience is a great addition to the usual array of fishing boats, personal watercraft, small runabouts, cruisers, and pontoon boats. 

Onondaga Historical Association

 Onondaga Lake is on the road to revitalization with its clean-up in progress, the extension of the loop the lake trail and plans to build an Amphitheater.   But the importance of the lake's history and culture has been added to its continued  rejuvenation with a County Legislature committee approval of $100,000 from  create the  Skä•noñh - Great Law of Peace Center. If approved by all lawmakers, the funding will come from the County's room occupancy taxes.  The center is planned to be located on the former grounds of the living history museum Sainte Marie Among the Iroquois which closed about 3 years ago.  Onondaga Historical Association Executive Director Gregg Tripoli says the new center is a result of different parties coming together.

John Smith / WAER News

There are thousands of beers on shelves and in bars and pubs across the world, but for the latest “on-tap” at the Empire Brewery in Syracuse, the owner says it could actually have some health benefits.  The main ingredient was imported from China in by chance partnership.    The first batch was sampled officially Tuesday morning, and contains brick tea produced by Jing-Way Fu Tea Company.  Vice President Luo Ping spoke through a translator.

Rethink 81

The group of property owners, businesses, and residents who want to see the I-81 viaduct torn down revealed computer generated renderings showing what a boulevard may look like. Developer Bob Doucette with Rethink 81 says their analysis of land values in the path and around the freeways shows a street level solution could generate $140 million in property value.

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