Category Archives: Spring 2014

Issue: Student Debt

In exchange for his education, DJ Summers carries a $96,000 financial burden upon his shoulders. “Every day, I wake up thinking about those loans,” said Summers, 26, a graduate student in journalism at Syracuse University. “And every night, I go … Continue reading

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Issue: Veterans’ Becoming Civilians

For military veteran Glen Wheelock Jr., one of the biggest obstacles in becoming a civilian is losing the precise and structured lifestyle he had in the military. “It was stringent. It was strict. It was calculated. Rigid. We had a … Continue reading

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Connective Corridor Rolls Toward Completion

On a cold, dreary spring Saturday afternoon, a yellow-and-blue Connective Corridor bus pulls away the Irving Avenue edge of the Syracuse University campus. It bears six passengers – all arts students headed for the University’s downtown Warehouse of offices, studios … Continue reading

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Symphoria Hits a High Note for Community

To ensure the future of their orchestra, musicians of the startup operation Symphoria agree to be paid last. “The musicians are vested in the organization, so they’re committed both financially and philosophically,” said Catherine Underhill, Symphoria’s managing director. In 2011, … Continue reading

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Issue: Pay Equity and Gender Divide

$132. That’s how much less women earn than men each week in Onondaga County. “Women have never gotten past the subservient stigma,” said Jean Kessner, D-Syracuse, a Councilor-at-Large on the Common Council. “The pay gap exemplifies that.” This number came … Continue reading

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Issue: Unions for College Athletes?

When 85 scholarship football players at Northwestern University cast an historic vote this spring, they potentially drew up the play for unions in college sports. “The basic idea is the players want to have a seat at the table,” said … Continue reading

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Nurse Practioners Get More Independence in Patients’ Care

Patients should get faster medical care and more places to receive it under a new law that gives increased authority to nurse practitioners, say supporters of the law. “It eliminates barriers that once prevented nurses from working in their full … Continue reading

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Becoming a Candidate: How To

Want to be the next “Mr. Smith” to go to Washington? Sure, you’ll need to campaign frequently and raise money — but you’ll also have another obstacle to getting elected: Getting your name on the ballot. Unless you’re planning to … Continue reading

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Different Mission for Fowler High School: Public Service Leadership Academy

Fowler High School will begin fading away this fall, but students will be able to choose education paths for public-service jobs with its replacement. “I think it’s something good,” Bob Gardino, a retired teacher and former president of advocacy group … Continue reading

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Issue: Natural Gas Pipelines

When a natural gas pipeline is proposed, it digs up an ongoing controversy between environmentalists and pipeline advocacy agencies. “We’re trying to make the transportation route shorter, more efficient for everyone,” said Cathy Landry, communications director for The Interstate Natural … Continue reading

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ISSUE: Smartphone Theft

In early spring of 2012, when Julie McMahon lost her iPhone 4 in a professor’s office at the fourth floor of Newhouse School in Syracuse University, she was in a panic. She had put almost everything in the phone, including … Continue reading

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E-Cigs Face Possible Taxation

The electronic cigarettes business in Syracuse is growing– and it is facing new potential taxes. “The business is going fantastic,” said Emily King, owner of the Unique Cigs, a Cicero-based electronic cigarettes specialty store. Unique Cigs started to sell E … Continue reading

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Peace Council: Portrait in Protest

They stand in rain, sleet and snow to protest military drones at Hancock Air Base. They rally to ban fracking in New York. They churn out — in print and in pixels — a newsletter they hope will prick consciences. … Continue reading

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New Life as Mosque for Catholic Church

An historic Christian landmark now represents the Syracuse-area’s new population. The former Holy Trinity Catholic Church of the North Side community is becoming  “Masjid Isa Ibn Maryam,” which means Mosque of Jesus, Son of Mary. “A lot of people that … Continue reading

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Issue: Affordable Housing

For more than 3,000 people in Syracuse, the best hope for affordable homes is being on the city’s waitlist for public housing. And for another 7,000 the best hope is the waitlist for Section 8 vouchers for subsidized housing. “The … Continue reading

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50th State Senate District: DeFrancisco for GOP

Syracuse-area voters likely will have one choice when they cast their ballots for the 50th State Senate seat this fall – incumbent Republican John A. DeFrancisco. But just because he lacks an opponent as of early April 2014 does not … Continue reading

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Onondaga County Sheriff: Open Race Draws Four Candidates

In the first open race for Onondaga County sheriff in 20 years, voters will have a choice among four candidates. On March 1, the Onondaga County Republican Committee chose DeWitt Police Chief Gene Conway as its nominee. In April, retired … Continue reading

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129th State Assembly: Incumbent Dem Magnarelli vs GOP’s Zaccaria

Voters will again have a choice between incumbent Bill Magnarelli, D-Syracuse, and a Republican newcomer in the race for the 129th State Assembly District in the fall 2014 election. The newcomer is Rick Zaccaria, a Republican businessman from Van Buren. … Continue reading

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126th State Assembly District: Incumbent Finch Alone for GOP

State Assemblyman Gary Finch, R-Springport, is seeking re-election for another term and has no challenger in the fall. Finch has been in the State Assembly since 1999. He is also a mortician and owner of Brew-Finch Funeral Homes.  “When I … Continue reading

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24th Congressional District: Newcomer Katko for GOP

A political newcomer is the Republican challenger to Rep. Dan Maffei, D-Syracuse, for the 24th Congressional District seat in the fall election. The challenger is John Katko, a former federal prosecutor from Camillus, N.Y. Katko’s novice status could be a … Continue reading

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New City Court Judge postion: 3 Dems Hope for Party’s Nomination

Syracuse voters will choose an additional city court judge in the November election. Syracuse is one of 20 cities in New York to add new judgeship positions. The New York State Legislature created the positions to alleviate caseload, according to … Continue reading

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128th State Assembly District: Roberts, D-Syracuse

Voters’ only choice for the 128th State Assembly District in the fall election is likely to be incumbent Sam Roberts, D-Syracuse. As of  early April, Roberts’ aide said he suspects that Roberts will run again, although no official announcement has … Continue reading

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120th State Assembly District: Barclay, R-Pulaski

Voters in the 120th State Assembly District  are likely to have only one choice in the fall 2014 election: Incumbent William Barclay, R-Pulaski. In an interview in early April, Barclay said he is running for re-election.  “I’d like to still … Continue reading

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127th State Assembly District: Incumbent Dem Stirpe Challenged by DeMarco for GOP

A former prosecutor is challenging incumbent Al Stirpe, D-Cicero, for the 127th State Assembly District in the fall. The former prosecutor is Robert DeMarco. In February, he stepped down as an assistant district attorney to work at a law firm … Continue reading

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Your Vote, Your Voice: How To Register

Before your voice can be heard in this year’s election, you must register to vote. “The biggest problem in New York state is that you have to register several weeks before to vote so we have people show-up last minute … Continue reading

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Don’t Miss Election Day: How to Vote by Absentee Ballot

What if you have registered to vote at Onondaga County but can’t appear at the polls in person on Election Day? How can you vote if you are a student temporarily staying in Onondaga County? Absentee ballots are the answer … Continue reading

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24th Congressional District: Democrat Maffei in Battleground Race

Voters in Central New York will witness one of the most competitive political battles in the country when campaigning for the 24th Congressional District seat starts, say local political science experts. The reason: U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei, D-Syracuse, is seeking … Continue reading

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53rd State Senate District: Democrat Valesky Unopposed

For the second consecutive election, voters in the 53rd State Senate District could be limited to only one choice at the voting booth in November. As of March 29, state Sen. David J. Valesky, D-Oneida, is running unopposed again. And … Continue reading

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More Diversity Needed in Technology Classes, Jobs

Too few girls and too few minorities are enrolled in technology classes, say educators. “It’s a slow process interesting students who aren’t comfortable with tech,” said Michael Foley, vice president of the Syracuse Teachers Association. The College Board’s Advanced Placement … Continue reading

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New Efforts to Fight Rape on Campuses

When Carmen Puentes was drugged and sexually assaulted, she did not report it to police or Syracuse University officials. “I felt like if I came to someone, especially someone who deals with these kinds of cases, it would be like, … Continue reading

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Syracuse Latin to Open in Fall for 2014-15 School Year

High-achieving students in Syracuse will soon have a brand-new school, say city school district officials. “Kids that can achieve more than the average student should be able to excel,” said Max Ruckdeschel, Syracuse board of education vice president. The new … Continue reading

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Tax-Time Warning about Technology and Fraud

Tax season and technology are creating more fraud and more problems for taxpayers, say federal government officials and local tax preparers. “Some of the scams we are seeing are pretty sophisticated,” said Peggy Riley, an IRS media relations specialist for … Continue reading

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Arts Help a Neighborhood Grow

As a single mother with a low income, Melissa Gardiner was drawn to the Near Westside a year ago by its flourishing arts scene and the possibility to become a homeowner. “I saw that there was a lot of innovation … Continue reading

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For Ononadaga Nation, Hyrdo-fracking Goes Deeper than the Source

In the hydro-fracking debate, the Onondaga Nation is taking a spiritual and cultural stance against the controversial natural gas drilling method. The Onondaga Nation “views hydro-fracking as an obscenity on the land,” said Jack Ramsden, a Syracuse environmentalist and member … Continue reading

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Too Little State $ for School Districts with Lower Incomes

Poorer school districts in the state of New York, such as the Syracuse City School District, deserve more state aid and a new formula for allocating state aid, say frustrated parents and some education officials. “This is Robin Hood in … Continue reading

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Drones: Boost to Economy or Threat to Privacy?

They’re controversial, they’re high-tech they’ll soon be in Central New York skies as the result of a recent Federal Aviation Administration decision. They are unmanned aerial vehicles — or UAVs, often called drones. Central New York has been chosen as … Continue reading

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New Choice for Uninsured: Co-Ops

Low-cost health plans run by cooperatives are among new options for the uninsured, say insurance executives and health care experts. “It’s cost-effective coverage that people never had before,” said Eboni Britt, the marketing manager of the benefits administrator POMCO Group, … Continue reading

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Winterfest Revenue Gets a Chill

A lesser turnout this year has Syracuse Winterfest looking for taxpayer help, say organizers. “We have looked into federal and government funding but we haven’t found anything to fit our niche,” says Bill Cooper, president of Syracuse Winterfest. This year’s … Continue reading

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CNY Lawmakers’ Concerns about Common Core Process

Despite their support for the goals of the Common Core, some Central New York lawmakers say New York’s program is off to a rough start and needs work. “In general, I think the policy is a good policy,” Assemblyman Al … Continue reading

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Delays of Common Core Tests for Some

Some students will not have to take the tests from the controversial Common Core standards, after complaints from parents, faculty and elected officials caused the state to accept the testing delay. “Some of the complaints have been that the tests … Continue reading

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Cortland Singer Makes Music with Meaning

For Colleen Kattau, a Cortland-based singer-songwriter, music and politics intersect harmoniously. “I love music that means something,” she said in a recent phone interview. “But sometimes folk music, like the protest music, can be telling you how bad everything is. … Continue reading

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For Some Muslims, Helping Others Get Healthcare Is an Act of Faith

For Aziza Mohammed, her work helping the uninsured get medical care is an obligation of her Muslim faith. “My parents always do things for people without expecting things from others,” said, Mohammed, health plan enrollment specialist for  the Affordable Care … Continue reading

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E-Cigarettes: Health Boon or Hazard?

Don Stevens smoked 20 cigarettes a day for 18 years. Today, he smokes just one. “I’ve been using e-cigarettes for five years— before most people even knew what they were— and then it just grew and became a passion of … Continue reading

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Technology Helps Watchdogs Keep an Eye on Government

Technology sheds more light than ever on government, say open-government advocates and public officials. “It empowers people,” said Gabriela Schneider, communications director for the Sunlight Foundation. The Sunlight Foundation is a nonpartisan nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. The nonprofit’s overarching … Continue reading

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Festivals Still Blue about the Green

For local music and cultural festivals, the ghost of the Great Recession is still a haunting presence. “Every year is a struggle and somehow you get there,” said Kevin Ryan, attorney and board member of the Syracuse St. Patrick’s Parade. … Continue reading

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See Special Tourist Sites in Black History Month

For runaway slaves, the AME Zion Church in downtown Syracuse was a stop on the underground railroad. Now it is among the sites in Syracuse that is a tourist attraction during Black History Month. AME Zion Church was the first … Continue reading

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For League of Women Voters, a Continuing Mission

Looking for a lively debate about a controversial issue? Want to know more about a political candidate? Interested in registering to vote? Try the League of Women Voters. “Our goal is to inform and encourage active participation of people in … Continue reading

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Tech Training to Help the Unemployed

Chad Messie had nowhere to turn after loosing his home, his four young children, his partner of 17 years and even his job to alcohol abuse. “I basically lost everything.” Messie said. Now, Messie is among the unemployed Central New … Continue reading

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Newly Insured Numbers Grow in NY & CNY

Health insurance has come to at least 1,200 uninsured Onondaga County residents in the last five months, say state and local officials. That local enrollment has helped make New York the most successful state in running a health care exchange … Continue reading

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Trash to Ashes to Help Cortland and Onondaga Counties

Cleaner electricity, cleaner landfills and lower bills for Onondaga and Cortland Counties are among the benefits of a proposed “Ash for Trash” program, say local officials. “We see this as pretty amazing,” said Kristen Lawton, spokesperson for the Onondaga County … Continue reading

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Some New Yorkers to Get Pilot Program for Medical Marijuana

For some New Yorkers suffering from painful illness, relief through medical marijuana will soon be a possibility. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is invoking a 1980 state department of health law, which would allow 20 hospitals across the state of New York … Continue reading

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Identity Dilemma for Some Amerasians

For the 43-year-old Tuan Nguyen, the challenge is the uncertainty about whether he belongs in America or in Vietnam. When he tried to go to college in Vietnam, he said, “They kicked me out because I was an Amerasian.” Now … Continue reading

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Snow Might Shrink Spring Break for Some Students

To make up for lost school days from cold weather,  some Syracuse-area school officials are considering cutting into spring break. “One of the days added back could be the Thursday or Friday before spring break, or any day of spring … Continue reading

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Getting New Turf for Local High Schools, Thanks to Voters

The Bees of Baker High in Baldwinsville will be renovating their hive soon. Voters in the Baldwinsville Central School District voted 1,100 to 134 on Feb. 11 in favor of a referendum to overhaul Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium.  The approved measures will … Continue reading

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Refugees Blend Relgious Traditions into New Homes

For Hari Bangaley Adhikari, a devout Hindu from Bhutan, the doorway to a good life in Syracuse has been Catholic Charities. “They help me so much, “ Adhikari said. A representative from Catholic Charities asked him to work with the … Continue reading

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Starting the Day Right: Breakfast in the Classroom

More Syracuse students are eating breakfast than ever before, say school officials. “It’s a dramatic increase,” said Ken Warner, food and nutrition director for the Syracuse City School District. In the 2012-13 school year, the number of low-income students eating … Continue reading

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Everson Museum To Explore Culture of Belt-Tightening

To avoid running in the red, the Everson Museum of Art faces a year of austerity and intensive work. “We as a board and a staff at the Everson Museum will be working double time during 2014 to ensure that … Continue reading

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Campaigns Try Technology to Reach Voters

When Mayor Stephanie Miner’s political campaign wanted to engage with supporters online, her staff posted a virtual birthday card for her on her Facebook page. “We encouraged people to sign it, include a person message and share it,” said Kyle … Continue reading

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Pete Seeger: Memories Abound

For social activist and Green Party member Ursula Rozum, her Pete Seeger moment came in 2013. “He was only a few feet away from me,” recalled Rozum, “and he started playing Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land Is Your Land.’” By then, … Continue reading

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A Special Voice for Women with the Mayor

The mayor of Syracuse has a special group of advisors with just one job: to make sure women’s voices are heard. “Our overall mission is to support the issues of women in our community,” said county legislator Peggy Chase, D-Syracuse, … Continue reading

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Phoning in the Parking Meter $ with a Whoosh!

Now the days of looking for loose-change for the parking meter are coming to an end. Soon you’ll be able to pay some parking meters through your smartphone. In her State of the City speech on Jan. 23, 2014, Mayor … Continue reading

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Navigators Guide the Uninsured into Health Coverage

Lost and confused in the new healthcare system? Try a healthcare navigator. “We can help figure out the system,” said Steve Wood, community health coordinator at ACR Health, a non-profit organization in Syracuse that offers education on healthcare issues. People … Continue reading

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A Tech Boost for City Schools if Legislature, Voters Agree

Students in Syracuse city schools would receive iPads, SmartBoards and access to high-speed Internet under a new bond measure proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In his 2014 budget, Cuomo has proposed a referendum on an initiative called Smart Schools. The … Continue reading

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CNY Voices 2014

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] “First thing is, I expect this affordable care to fail. There are a lot of young kids they are still not going to enroll in Obamacare. The next thing would be medical marijuana. … Continue reading

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CNY Voices 2014

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] “I think like our governor and a lot of these other people should get more of the people’s opinion before they go passing a lot of these different things. One obviously was that … Continue reading

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CNY Voices 2014

“I think they need to reinvest in healthcare.The Affordable Healthcare Act, it’s obviously not working. It’s not doing what they said: be more affordable. It’s actually more expensive for many people.” (Matt Reschke, 31, of Syracuse, library technician at Bird … Continue reading

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CNY Voices 2014

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] “The government should protect and help those who cannot protect themselves or help themselves or who are the most needy: Low-income people, disabled people,  children, the disadvantaged.” (Lesley Pena, 27, of Syracuse, producer … Continue reading

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CNY Voices 2014

“Technology expansions— I don’t like the idea of technology advancing so quickly, instead of being on pace with what we’re doing right now. Maybe cut down on Internet time and kind of make people get out in the real world. … Continue reading

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CNY Voices 2014

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] “People come from all different kinds of backgrounds. So anything our community can do to even out the playing field for people – whether it’s because they grew up with certain family issues … Continue reading

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CNY Voices 2014

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] “So you think that it’s vital they would try to steer their children here in the city of how important education is – because all I see is like there’s a lot of … Continue reading

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CNY Voices 2014

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] “What are they going to do with drones? All this flying stuff. I would really like the benefits to it. And then there’s also the Big-Brother aspect – are they going to be … Continue reading

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CNY Voices 2014

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] “There’s a lot of people in the city living in sub-par housing, and there’s areas that need gentrification. The government needs to make sure that education and job training is available for all … Continue reading

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CNY Voices 2014

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] “Definitely student loans would be a big one. They’re kind of outrageous. The interest rates are really high. It would be nice to get lower interest rates on private and federal loans.” (Laura … Continue reading

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CNY Voices 2014

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] “One of the things I think is there should be more relief programs for student loans, especially federal student loans.  I personally would like to advocate for loan forgiveness. I think that the … Continue reading

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CNY Voices 2014

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] “I am concerned, because they always get caught up in all these scandals. And I feel like they’re more concerned with these scandals than they are with doing their job. And they’re more … Continue reading

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CNY Voices 2014

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] “Just try to keep the politics and fighting out of it. Try to keep taxes down, which everybody tries to do that. And be concerned for trying to get more jobs for people … Continue reading

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CNY Voices 2014

[Audio clip: view full post to listen] “I feel that underprivileged and homeless people should be entitled to housing in the U.S. It would take a lot of people off the streets and there would be a lot less problems … Continue reading

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