Jim Levulis | WAMC

Jim Levulis

Associate News Director

Born and raised in Eden, NY, Jim has been WAMC’s Associate News Director since October 2016. Before that he worked as WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief  for three years. Jim is also the producer of the podcast A New York Minute In History. He previously worked as a reporter, producer and anchor at WAER, an NPR affiliate in Syracuse. He has experience in Top 40 radio and has spent time with NPR-affiliate WBFO and CBS-affiliate WIVB-TV, both in Buffalo. A loyal and constantly humbled New York Yankees and Buffalo sports fan, Jim holds a BA in Broadcast Journalism and History from Syracuse University.

Ways to Connect

Troy Mayor Patrick Madden in his City Hall office, January 18, 2016.
WAMC's Dave Lucas

The Troy City Council continues to work with the mayor’s office on crafting so-called “sanctuary city” legislation even as the Rensselaer County Executive says the county will work to prevent such a measure.

Watervliet Police Chief Mark Spain at his swearing-in ceremony in 2016.
Lucas Willard / WAMC

After three years leading the Watervliet, New York Police Department, Chief Mark Spain is stepping down to become a public safety sergeant at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in neighboring Troy, his hometown. The 50-year-old joined the now 26-officer Watervliet department in 1998. 

U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie
Department of Veterans Affairs

Air Force Reserve Colonel Robert Wilkie has been the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs since July 2018. Comprised of three branches, the VA oversees the nation’s largest integrated healthcare system — with 1,250 facilities serving more than nine million enrolled veterans. The agency was thrust into the headlines a few years ago for long patient wait times at its medical centers and a culture that discouraged whistleblowers. 

Lisa Cutten
Lisa Cutten

Another person has jumped into the race for Ulster County Comptroller after fourth-term Democrat Elliot Auerbach said earlier this month that he will join the New York state comptroller’s office. On Wednesday, certified public accountant Lisa Cutten said she will run for the county post as a Democrat. 

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin
Dave Lucas / WAMC

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin says the county will take whatever legal steps it can to stop the City of Troy from becoming a so-called sanctuary city. The City Council is expected to vote on the measure in June. McLaughlin, a Republican, tells WAMC those behind the proposal do not have the pulse of the people.

Troy Waterfront Farmers' Market Zack Metzger
Jim Levulis, WAMC

The Troy Waterfront Farmers' Market is set to move outside on Saturday, May 4 to mark its 20th season. Spending the winter months inside the Troy Atrium in the city’s downtown, the market will now offer more than 100 vendors for its estimated 10,000 weekend visitors. 

Jim Levulis, WAMC News

An important access point for hikers in New York’s Adirondack Mountains will be closed after this weekend.

This is the General Electric logo
wikipedia.org

An indictment unsealed Tuesday charges a former General Electric engineer and a Chinese businessman with economic espionage and conspiring to steal company trade secrets. 

Colgate University
Colgate University

On this Earth Day, Colgate University says it is now the first university in New York to reach carbon neutrality, completing a 10-year plan. The efforts, which resulted in a 46 percent reduction in emissions, included a $1.25 million self-sustaining fund for energy and carbon-reduction projects as well as solar arrays and geothermal heating and cooling systems. 

Wikimedia Commons: Madhurantakam; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Notredame_Paris.JPG

The world was captivated last week as flames engulfed the spire of Norte Dame Cathedral in Paris. With construction starting in the 12th century, the church has been an iconic symbol for Catholicism, art and architecture. French leaders have pledged to rebuild the cathedral, but today is surely a somber Easter for Catholics around the world. 

Officials in Rockland County, New York have provided an update on the emergency declaration announced earlier this week due to a measles outbreak. 

Rockland County Executive Ed Day has declared a state of emergency due to a measles outbreak in the area. Effective at midnight, officials say anyone under 18 years of age who is unvaccinated against the measles will be barred from public places until the declaration expires in 30 days or until they get the vaccination. 

NYRA Appoints New CEO

Mar 26, 2019
David O'Rourke
NYRA

The New York Racing Association has appointed David O'Rourke as its CEO and president. O'Rourke has been serving as interim CEO since January following the resignation of Chris Kay. The 45-year-old O’Rourke joined NYRA in 2008 and in 2013 was named chief revenue officer and senior vice president. 

Senator Chris Murphy
https://www.murphy.senate.gov/

In a letter based on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election, U.S. Attorney General William Barr says President Trump and his campaign did not collude with the Russian government. Barr also writes there is not enough evidence to charge Trump with obstructing the investigation. With more wrinkles likely to come, Democrats are calling for Mueller’s full report to be released. 

An updated study from Riverkeeper, SUNY Cobleskill and SUNY Polytechnic poses the question of which parts of New York’s Mohawk River are safe to swim in. WAMC’s Jim Levulis spoke with Barbara Brabetz, a biochemist at SUNY Cobleskill, about the effort to track the health of a 120-mile stretch of the waterway from Rome to the Capital Region.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Pat Bradley / WAMC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he still wants a ban of some sort on certain stretch limousines in the wake of the October crash in Schoharie that killed 20 people. Earlier this month, the Democrat dropped a proposed ban on stretch limos from his state budget proposal. 

File: Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos
Paul Tuthill / WAMC

The longest-serving mayor of Chicopee, Massachusetts will not seek reelection.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has dropped his proposal to ban stretch limousines statewide, according to the Times Union. The Democrat proposed the ban earlier this year in the wake of the deadly October crash in Schoharie that killed 20 people. 

Crash location south of intersection of NY-30 and NY-30A; the limousine’s collision with a parked SUV occurred in the parking lot, followed by collision in the ravine.
National Transportation Safety Board

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on the October 2018 limousine crash in Schoharie, New York that killed 20 people. The two-page report released Monday largely confirms most known facts of the October 6 crash. 

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat
Office of U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal

The eyes of the nation will be on Capitol Hill Tuesday night when President Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. Most lawmakers, including Senator Richard Blumenthal, will be bringing guests into the House chamber for the speech. The Connecticut Democrat spoke with WAMC’s Jim Levulis about who he is bringing and what he wants to hear from the president.

A rendering of a Carvana delivery hauler
Provided image

The e-commerce vehicle buying and selling company Carvana has announced an expansion into Upstate New York.

WAMC

Update at 10:05 a.m. Friday: Several bridges over the Hudson River near Troy have now been reopened as a number of ships float freely on the Hudson River. The Dunn Memorial, Patroon Island, Congress Street and Menands bridges were all closed at some point this morning. Petty Officer Michael White says the Coast Guard is investigating what caused the ships to break free early Friday. White says there have been no reports of injuries or pollution at this time.

"The Coast Guard cutter Penobscot Bay, a 140-foot ice breaker, and Coast Guard cutter Wire, which is a 65-foot ice breaking tug, have been dispatched and are en route to the scene to assist," White said Friday morning. "An overflight from a Coast Guard aircraft is scheduled to take place to assess the exact positions of the adrift vessels. Two commerical tugs are also responding to assist."

Amtrak says it is still running trains across the Livingston Avenue Bridge over the Hudson River between Albany and Rensselaer as several boats float adrift amid loose ice in the river. An Amtrak spokesman says speed over the bridge is restricted to 10mph and the bridge has not been damaged. Company workers are on the scene inspecting the bridge, part of Amtrak’s Empire Corridor passenger rail line.

Jim Levulis, WAMC News

The Northeast is under the grip of frigid temperatures as people try to dig out from the weekend snowstorm.

WAMC

The New York state Legislature – now under Democratic control – quickly passed electoral reforms this week, including the introduction of early voting. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his 2019 State of the State and budget address Tuesday in Albany.
FLICKR: GOVERNORANDREWCUOMO

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recommends keeping the state’s public health lab in Albany, a step toward putting an end to years of deliberation about a move. Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, an Albany Democrat, says the updated $750 million Wadsworth Center will create 1,200 jobs just from the public investment.

Facebook: Hoosick Fire Department

Emergency officials say they don’t believe there are any leaks after propane and grain railcars derailed in North Hoosick, New York Wednesday night. 

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont

Ned Lamont was sworn-in Wednesday as Connecticut’s governor along with members of the state legislature and constitutional officeholders. The Democrat focused most of his first State of the State address on improving Connecticut’s economy.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Barnard College in New York City Monday.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/sets/72157677489122758

Former U.S. Secretary of State and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton joined New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday to promote plans to codify abortion rights in state law in the new legislative session.

Sen. John Flanagan
Karen DeWitt

With New York state lawmakers set to return to Albany next week, the leader of the Senate Republicans says he will not be on hand for the start of the session. In a statement Friday, Senator John Flanagan says he is seeking additional help to overcome a battle with alcohol dependency. 

Fort Plain Mayor Thomas Quackenbush
Guilderland Police

Guilderland Police say the mayor of Fort Plain, NY has been arrested for drunk driving. In a press release Thursday, police say officers responded to an auto accident at the entrance of Pizza Gram at 2514 Western Avenue around 4:51 p.m. on December 31. 

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