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The Citizen's Kevin Rivoli wins second straight NPPA Region Photographer of the Year award

The Citizen’s staff photographer Kevin Rivoli has again been named the National Press Photographers Association Photographer of the Year in the New York/International Region for 2018.

The organization this week announced winners from last year's contest, and for the second straight year, Rivoli was the top photojournalist in his region. He also won the title in 1989 and 1991.

Glenn Gaston, Special to The Citizen 

Kevin Rivoli, The Citizen staff photographer

Rivoli earned the honor by competing in the NPPA’s Monthly News Photography Contest, which is one of the most popular and longest-standing of the NPPA member contests. Open to association members, it provides still photographers with an opportunity to share their published work and compete against some the best photographers in their region each month.

The competition features seven categories — Spot News, General News, Sports Action, Sports Feature, Single Picture Feature, Photo Story/Essay, and Portrait/Illustration — and nine regions. The NY/International region includes member photographers working across New York state and outside the country.

Rivoli started his career in photojournalism as a staff photographer at The Citizen in October 1988. He left The Citizen in 1996 to work for newspapers, magazines and news wire services including the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, the Syracuse Post-Standard, The New York Times, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and the Associated Press. In 2008, Rivoli published his first book, "In Search of Norman Rockwell’s America" (Simon and Schuster). Rivoli returned to The Citizen in October 2016 as staff covering daily life in Auburn and the surrounding towns and villages in the Cayuga County area.​

"The Citizen and its readers are so fortunate to have Kevin covering this community as a photojournalist," The Citizen executive editor Jeremy Boyer said. "His talent is evident in every image he shoots, and the dedication to his craft is an inspiration to all of us."

Gallery: The Citizen's Kevin Rivoli wins second straight NPPA Region Photographer of the Year award

Learning about a new life for old books in Aurora

AURORA — The Aurora Free Library isn't normally open on Sundays, but the library staff thought to switch things up a bit this weekend. 

Susan MacCormick, an assistant librarian, stumbled upon a neat way to put old, discarded books back to use on Pinterest, a do-it-yourself social media platform. MacCormick led a workshop at the library Sunday to show others how to make accordion-like ornaments by removing a book's cover and folding each page. 

The level of commitment participants had at an earlier craft workshop led MacCormick to thinking the book ornament idea would be a hit. 

Sandy Groth, the library director, said a lot of what the library does is aimed at younger audiences, and that Sunday's event was a chance for older folks to come out. 

"We do a lot of children's programming, so we're looking at different things that might bring adults out," Groth said. "This seemed like something we could give a try." 

Weekly story hours, movie nights and musical performances are among other events held at the library. 

Gallery: Aurora Free Library's book ornament workshop

State police investigating construction equipment theft in Sennett

State police announced Monday morning that a piece of construction equipment was stolen from a Sennett business.

The Auburn barracks is investigating the theft of a 2011 Caterpillar Skid Steer, Model 279C, Rubber Tracked, machine from Carroll Equipment on Route 5 in the town of Sennett, according to a press release. 

Friday morning, the skid steer was gone — leaving behind tracks in the mud, said Dan Carroll, the company owner's son. It appeared it had been driven away.

Carroll said a lot of construction equipment that's the same make and model often, and unfortunately, have identical keys. He said the skid steer was likely stolen Thursday night or early Friday morning. 

New, the skid steer is worth about $65,000, Carroll said, saying the one stolen is probably worth anywhere from $25,000 to $35,000 as a used machine. He said the company hopes to find out who took the equipment and that it gets returned. 

As of Monday afternoon, police said it is "striking out left and right with any surveillance footage" and there were no other updates or details available. 

Police request that anyone with information about the theft contact Investigator Gregory Cool at the Auburn state police barracks at (315) 253-3103.

Half of New Yorkers view Cuomo unfavorably in new poll

In the second month of his third term, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has his lowest favorable rating ever. 

A new Siena College poll found Cuomo, a Democrat, has a 43 percent favorable rating and is viewed unfavorably by half of New York voters. It's the highest percentage of voters with an unfavorable opinion of the governor since he became the state's top executive in 2011. 

"Politically, Cuomo's ratings drop is across the board, as he fell with Democrats, Republicans and independents," Siena pollster Steve Greenberg said. "Geographically, his drop was much bigger downstate — New York City and the suburbs — than upstate, where his ratings were significantly lower previously." 

Cuomo has solid support among Democrats, with 59 percent viewing him favorably. But more than a third of voters in his own party have an unfavorable view of the governor. 

His job performance rating among all voters also dipped. Thirty-five percent of respondents gave Cuomo an excellent or good rating. Most voters — 64 percent — rated his job performance as fair or poor. 

Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi was skeptical of the poll. He noted there were fewer African-Americans and moderates sampled, while there was an uptick in the number of conservatives surveyed. 

"Siena doesn't always get it right and, color us skeptical, but for the governor, Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, the state Senate and the state Assembly to all have similar across-the-board slides leads us to believe this poll is an outlier and — much like the Siena poll three days before the November election — doesn't reflect the sentiment of New Yorkers," Azzopardi said. 

Cuomo's favorability and job performance marks weren't far off from President Donald Trump's standing in the poll. While Cuomo's favorable rating is higher than Trump's 35 percent, their job performance scores were nearly identical. 

One-third of New York voters said Trump is doing an excellent or good job as governor. Two-thirds (66 percent) rated his job performance as fair or poor. 

Despite Cuomo's drop in the polls, bills he's either signed or supported received mostly positive reviews from voters. 

More than two-thirds of respondents said the Child Victims Act, which extends the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases, is good for New York. The state Legislature passed the bill last month and Cuomo plans to sign it this week. 

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which adds gender expression and gender identity as protected classes to the state hate crimes law, was deemed good for New York by 61 percent of voters. 

New gun control bills were viewed positively by 55 percent of voters, and half of voters said the DREAM Act, which gives undocumented immigrants access to state financial aid programs, is good for New York. 

The Reproductive Health Act, which updated the state's abortion laws, was supported by a plurality of voters. But it received the most opposition — 32 percent said the measure is bad for New York. 

Glenn Gaston, Special to The Citizen 

Kevin Rivoli, The Citizen staff photographer

DEC public meeting on Skaneateles fisheries postponed

A public information meeting held by the state Department of Environmental Conservation on the state of fisheries on Skaneateles Lake scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed.

With the National Weather Service issuing a winter storm warning for Cayuga County, including a forecast of six to nine inches of snow, the DEC is rescheduling the meeting for a mid-March date, according to a release.

The meeting would have seen DEC staff discuss the latest research and management strategies and actions on the lake, including information from the Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment and Eastern Finger Lakes Angler Diary Cooperator Program.

The new date for the meeting will be announced seven to 10 days in advance.