Editor, Eagle Star-Review
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Starting Friday, Nov. 14, Central New Yorkers can visit Onondaga Lake Park and take in one of the biggest light shows in the Northeast. Lights on the Lake kicks off its 25th anniversary season next week. The event draws somewhere around 35,000 cars each year.
Onondaga County Comptroller Robert Antonacci has failed in his attempt to become the state’s next comptroller. Antonacci, a Republican, earned 55,155 votes in Onondaga County to Democratic incumbent Tom DiNapoli’s 66,602. Statewide, Antonacci said he earned more than a million and a half votes, setting a record for an Onondaga County candidate.
DeWitt Police Chief Gene Conway has beaten out Toby Shelley for the Onondaga County Sheriff’s seat. Conway, who earned 66,569 votes to Shelley’s 58,829, said he was honored to have been chosen by the people of Onondaga County.
Neither John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) nor Dave Valesky (D-Oneida) had an opponent this election season. The lack of opposition allowed both state senators to coast easily back to the state legislature, earning 65,967 and 35,515 votes, respectively.
Longtime Judge Brian DeJoseph will return to the New York State Supreme Court bench, having beaten Republican challenger Robert O’Leary by a margin of 76,907 votes to 46,540.
Longtime Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli easily beat a challenge by Republican Rick Zaccaria, holding onto his seat as the 129th District assemblyman by a margin of 18,732 to 7,262.
Republican John Katko has ousted Dan Maffei from the 24th Congressional District seat. Katko claimed victory on Election Night by a margin of more than 18,000 votes. Though Maffei had obtained a court order impounding absentee and military ballots, it’s unlikely they’ll change Tuesday night’s outcome.
Michael Iannettoni had been charged with driving while intoxicated five times when he killed Vincent Russo. Iannettoni had four previous convictions for DWI and was awaiting sentencing on a fifth when he struck Russo’s car on Buckley Road in Liverpool on Jan. 9, 2011. Russo, 82, of Liverpool, was on his way to Mass. Iannettoni was drunk. Russo died three days later. Iannettoni was convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide, first- and second-degree vehicular manslaughter, reckless driving, crossing a double solid line and failure to keep right. He was sentenced to eight and a third to 25 years in prison. But for Russo’s family, it wasn’t enough; they believed he never should have been on the road that night in the first place, given his dangerous history. With the help of State Sen. John DeFrancisco, the Russo family pushed forward a law that would increase penalties for those with repeat drunk driving offenses.
In the hopes of both improving graduation rates, the New York State Board of Regents last week approved a plan to add flexibility to its graduation requirements. On Monday, Oct. 20, the Board of Regents agreed to create a 4+1 pathway option, which would allow students to opt out of one of the social studies exams currently required for graduation. Instead, they could take a "comparatively rigorous" assessment in career/technical education (CTE), science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), the humanities, foreign languages or the arts.
For too long, New York’s system for drawing electoral maps has been broken. Under current legislation, members of the New York State Legislature draw the lines for legislative and congressional districts. Those lines are redrawn every 10 years by a committee made up of sitting legislators. That means that the people responsible for drawing the lines are the very people who benefit from how the lines are drawn.