Congressmember Dan Maffei

Scott Willis / WAER News

The renovation of older buildings in Syracuse and Upstate New York could face a more uncertain future without a popular economic development tool.  Those hoping to save the federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit form the chopping block in Congress gathered Tuesday in the Persian Terrace at the Hotel Syracuse to sound the alarm.  The hotel’s lead developer Ed Riley has his credit already in hand, and says the project wouldn’t be possible without it.

  Congressional candidate John Katko thinks he just might have the background to help clean up some of the problems at the Veterans Administration should he get elected.  

John Smith / WAER News

Most Central New Yorkers are probably keeping an eye on the price at the gas pumps as we head into the holiday weekend.  The Republican Candidate for the 24th Congressional District is partially blaming his opponent for not allowing prices to go down.  John Katko claims that Democratic Congressmember Dan Maffei voted against a bill last week that would have lowered the Federal gas tax.  

  He stood near a gas station on 7th North Street in Liverpool.

John Smith/WAER News

A Central New York Vietnam Veteran who likely died of cancer from Agent Orange exposure now has his name on proposed legislation to support other veterans and families.  The Lawrence J. Hackett, Jr. Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange Fairness Act unveiled today would ensure that veterans and their families would get the necessary healthcare and compensation to cover them.  A longtime friend of Hackett’s, Judge Joseph Fahey says his friend’s story is similar to others.

Scott Willis / WAER News

It’s probably happened to some of us – we’re focused on checking email or texting on the go that we might not be aware of our surroundings.  Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said smartphone robberies are becoming more of a problem because it can mean easy money. 

“People who are on their smartphones often are distracted,” he said, “you know, if they’re listening to music or something. People just knock them over, grab [the cell phone], and it’s too easy.”  

A rise in smartphone robberies is why Schneiderman and the San Francisco District Attorney began the “Secure Our Smartphones Coalition.” Unlike other cities, Syracuse is lucky and has yet to report any fatality due to cell phone robberies. However, Frank Fowler, Syracuse Police Chief, said phone thefts have risen in the past year. According to Fowler, they account for more than 1/3 of all robberies.

Robberies of any type of property places people in harm’s way. When we can discourage this type of robbery, we can have an opportunity to decrease our robberies by 35%, and that’s a great number.”    The "kill switches" would make the phones less appealing to thieves.  But Schneiderman says  there's also little incentive for manufacturers and even the service providers, who are not cooperating. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Experts and community leaders joined Congressmember Dan Maffei Tuesday at the Erie Canal Museum for a roundtable meeting to talk about the state of the region's infrastructure.   

 The City of Syracuse, for example, has been dealing with dozens of water main breaks because of the extreme cold.   Much of the water system is at least 100 years old.  C & S Companies Engineer Orrin MacMurray  says Syracuse is not alone.

Maffei Announces Plan to Improve Education

Oct 28, 2013
Scott Willis / WAER News

Representative Dan Maffei has joined the discussion on education reform by releasing his new plan for strengthening education in Central New York. Also in attendance were local education leaders including the Syracuse Teachers Association President, a transfer counselor from Cayuga Community College and the Vice President of the Syracuse University Student Association.