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.  

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Congress member John Katko from Upstate New York is the first republican to say he’ll back the impeachment effort against Donald Trump by the House.  The attack on the Capitol led the former federal prosecutor to reverse support for the President.

Katko said in a release that as a prosecutor, he looked at the facts and couldn’t ignore President Trump’s role in the January 6th attack. 

Governor Cuomo's Flickr page

How might the state move forward positively after all the negative impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic?  Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday laid out plans to help the unemployed, revitalize the arts community, and boost green energy.  It was the second part of his State of the State Address, and Cuomo says we cannot rely on the coronavirus vaccine to bring things back to normal.

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New York State’s prison system is an overlooked hotspot for the COVID-19 virus, according to prison reform group New Yorkers United for Justice.  They’re calling for a range of changes to decrease its spread. Executive Director Alexander Horwitz reported that December saw a 71% increase in positive cases in prisons, with now more than 3,000 positive cases.

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Central New York reactions continue after the insurrection in Washington D.C., including calls to remove the President for promoting violence.  WAER’s Chris Bolt reports on legal ramifications and how to move forward after the shocking activities in the seat of our government.

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Reactions to the storming of the U.S. Capitol building by a large number of President Trump supporters Wednesday sparked some strong reactions from New York's Congressional delegation and political experts in Central New York. Among them was Rep. John Katko who issued this statement just after 5:00 p.m:

"I am grateful to all of those who have reached out regarding my safety today.  The support and concern expressed is humbling. I am in a safe location.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

A Syracuse common councilor announced his bid to run for Mayor Tuesday. Democrat Michael Greene made his campaign launch in an admittedly uncommon location.

The Syracuse University community lost a legend when Floyd Little died Friday from Cancer at age 78.  Little played football at SU from 1964-66, during which time he amassed 39 touchdowns and played in the Sugar Bowl and Gator Bowl with the Orange (then Orangemen).  He has a 1000-yard season in 1965. 

Unshackle Upstate

An Upstate New York business group is ready to make the case for more help for small businesses who are suffering from the pandemic’s economic impacts.  Unshackle Upstate this month named a new executive director.  Justin Wilcox says federal relief programs are helping many businesses … but New York State is not providing enough help to businesses.

“New York State really failed to understand the seriousness of this crisis for so many employers. That’s why I think it’s really important that policy makers try to really listen to the small business owners,” said Wilcox.

An upstate New York conservation group has purchased hundreds of acres of land that will protect some of the finger lakes from pollution … and ultimately protect drinking water.  The Nature Conservancy move, aided by a state matching grant, adds to work by the Finger lakes Land Trust to conserve areas that could have been farmed or developed – activities that contribute to harmful algal blooms the lakes have suffered.

If you are wondering whether the holiday period exposed you to the coronavirus, there are numerous opportunities to get tested this week.  Onondaga County has added a number of community locations for tests of those without symptoms.  County officials conitnue to say asymptomatic testing is vital to slow the spread of the virus, since many people never have symptoms but can still make others sick.