WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Karen DeWitt

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.

She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers. 

Karen previously worked for WINS Radio, New York, and has written for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life and the Albany newsweekly Metroland.

She is a past recipient of the prestigious Walter T. Brown Memorial award for excellence in journalism, from the Legislative Correspondents Association, and was named Media Person of the Year for 2009 by the Women’s Press Club of New York State.

Karen is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo.

The COVID-19 rate has been climbing in New York, as everywhere else in the nation, but the infection rate in schools has remained low. And with some exceptions, many districts continue to offer part-time in-person learning.

In an interview with WXXI’s Karen DeWitt, the executive director of the New York State School Boards Association, Bob Schneider, explains how schools have pulled it off so far.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that he’s on board with a proposal from Democrats in Congress to offer partial relief for states whose economies have been harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but he said it would only be a stopgap measure.

Restaurants in New York are facing a dire winter, now that cold weather has ended most outdoor dining and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has placed further restrictions on indoor dining as COVID-19 rates rise.

  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that New York will receive 170,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 15, and front-line health care workers and nursing home residents will be among the first to receive it.

The New York State Thruway Board voted Tuesday to raise tolls by nearly a third for drivers who don’t have an electronic E-ZPass, beginning in January. The change has so far drawn little reaction among the public, but two state senators are against parts of the plan.

The Thruway converted to all cashless tolling in mid-November, after work crews mounted cameras on 70 steel gantries that span the lanes at 58 locations on the toll road.

The remaining toll booths will be removed by next summer, and toll collectors have been reassigned or laid off.

Democrats who lead the state Senate announced Monday that they have won enough seats to hold a supermajority. That means they can override vetoes by the governor and potentially change the balance of power at the State Capitol.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared more regions as microcluster coronavirus hot zones as the rate of COVID-19 continues to climb in New York.

The new designations come as New York City’s mayor closed the city’s schools effective Thursday, as the virus rate there reached 3%.

Cuomo is changing some yellow zones in western New York to orange zones. Effective Friday, there will be new restrictions on religious gatherings, along with some business closures, including gyms, hair salons and tattoo parlors. Indoor dining is banned.

Now that elections are over, leaders of the New York State Legislature are facing pressure from a wide range of groups to reconvene and deal with pandemic-related economic problems. Legislative leaders say they are not ruling it out.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a speech at a Black church in Manhattan, vowed to sue the administration of President Donald Trump for violating the constitutional rights of African-American and Hispanic New Yorkers, if it does not make changes to its COVID-19 vaccination plan.

In New York, absentee ballot counting is just getting underway in many counties, more than a week after Election Day.

Because so many more people voted by mail, eight close State Senate seats are undecided until the ballots are processed and it’s possible the new legislative session could begin in January before some of the races are decided.

There are about 1 million more ballots to count than in any previous year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order allowing any registered voter to cast their ballot by mail this year.

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