Syracuse local news

James Corrigan/WAER News

Like millions of Americans, Michael Schapely has been apprehensive about leaving his home during the pandemic. As a smoker for forty years, the 67-year-old knows that he is at a higher risk of suffering serious symptoms if he were to contract COVID-19.

“It's not the time of the world to meet a lot of strangers. I was using a mask and gloves on long before it was recommended. I try to stay away from even my own family members as much as possible.”

As a former smoker, however, Schapely finds himself at greater risk for something else: Lung cancer.

Tom Page /

The former Director of the National Securities Studies Program at SU’s Maxwell School says President Trump not conceding to Joe Biden and a continuation of a delayed transition to power can create an international security threat to the US. Bill Smullen says a poll last year revealed that only one-third of Europeans surveyed thought America was headed in the right direction and they trusted the US as an ally. 

Smullen believes President-elect Joe Biden will mend these frayed alliances, but says he won’t be able to do so until President Trump concedes.

Biden has not been able to begin the process to transition, which hinders his ability to prepare for his new position.

“Joe Biden can’t even have access to intelligence until Trump concedes. So, we’re in kind of a holding period here and this is not helpful; and the victims of this are you and I, the American people,“ Smullen said.

Part of the transition process includes filling critical positions in Biden’s new administration and cabinet, but he’s not allowed to make appointments until Trump concedes.  Smullen says Trump has been recently displaying his unrestricted power

“Trump has unrestricted, unconditional power in these last 70 days to do things that are not very helpful and one of them was when he essentially fired the senior leadership in the Department of Defense.”

Smullen also worries of the uncertainty America will be in as the country’s vulnerabilities are exposed to foreign nations, including countries with which America is not allies.

“This would be a very opportune time for any one of them to take a run at the United States in any way they would want to. They’re not going to attack the United States, but they can do things to make life very uncomfortable for America.”

Syracuse Veterans’ Writing Group Shares Stories on Veterans' Day to Heal, Connect

Nov 9, 2020
Syracuse Veterans' Writing Group

On this Veterans’ Day, members of a Syracuse Writing Group will share their stories to help them come to terms with their military experiences. Sometimes it’s easier to write your feelings down on paper. Eileen Schell leads the writing group and says it creates connections for local veterans. 

Flicker/Creative Commons

Central New York political science professors are weighing in on what might happen over the several remaining weeks of President Trump’s time in office. Syracuse University professor Shana Gadarian says while a new COVID relief package might be prioritized, New Yorkers shouldn’t expect results.

Brad Klein/WAER News

Election results in the Central New York area mirror those nationwide … some paint a clear picture while others remain blurred.  Voters cast their ballots for congressional candidates, as well as those for state senate and assembly seats, and other local officials. 

(Onondaga County Vote Totals click here)

How Could the 2020 Election Reshape Elections in the Future?

Nov 2, 2020

This election year has already been unlike any other due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At least ninety-five million Americans have voted before Election Day thanks to early voting and mail-in ballots; which makes up more than two-thirds of the total voter turnout for the 2016 presidential election. Deputy Director for League of Women Voters in New York State, Jennifer Wilson, says this large turnout before the election shows how useful early voting can be.

James Corrigan/WAER News

 Candidates used the weekend to make final pitches to voters, including in the close contest in the 24th congressional district.  WAER's James Corrigan reports both candidates took to the streets and believe they've made their case before election wraps up Tuesday.  

James Corrigan/WAER News

The recent hot and dry summer in Central New York mirrors the shift in climate patterns across the country.  Fires in Western states, and storms and flooding down South have also brought more attention to the issue this election, even during a pandemic.  Our listeners told us it was among the most important in WAER’s Election Blueprint.  How is it affecting people in CNY and in the campaigns?

Jordan Macknick/NREL

How can New York State’s climate change efforts progress during a global pandemic? 

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory says one way is to have solar developments on the state’s farmland.

James Corrigan/WAER News

The start of early voting across New York Saturday was met with great enthusiasm, judging by the participation at some of the six polling sites in Onondaga County.  People reported waiting in lines to vote anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours or more. 

Lines at the Southwest Community Center wound through several blocks by mid-morning.  People waited mostly patiently in line before going into the center to vote.  Veteran Mick Dunmore was among the morning wave of voters and wanted to register his vote based on certain issues.