Smoke from the Canadian wildfires returned to Central New York on Friday as South - Southwest winds blew into the Mohawk Valley. The smoke particles prompted an air quality index (AQI) of Moderate from the DEC on Friday afternoon with an air quality level of 77.

DEC issued the following alert: "If you are unusually sensitive to particle pollution, consider reducing your activity level or shorten the amount of time you are active outdoors."

People in the Utica Rome area woke up to warmer temperatures in the low 60s, with winds of about 15 mph coming from the north that were bringing the particle pollution back into the area. Some people described the smell to WIBX as a "smokey" smell, while others complained that is smelled like burning plastic.

The smoke pales in comparison to the thick smoke that blanketed the area back in June when the air quality levels reached over 150 and were described as poor and not safe to breathe. During that smoke event, the coverage created poor visibility, and actually turned sunny skies overcast and lowered high temperatures. People also reported feeling the particles on their hands, on the surface of their cars, and people with pools complained of clogged pool filters because of the smoke.

When air quality levels reach these levels in the 70s, the New York State Department of Health considers the air to be acceptable and safe for most people, except for those people with allergies and breathing conditions.

Utica's Chicken Riggies Dish Wasn't Invented in Utica? Say It Isn't So.

The now-famous Utica Chicken Riggies recipe has taken on a life of its own. The dish is now found well outside the Utica-Rome area and it's getting more and more popular as word spreads around the northeast. While there are many variations of the dish today, there's still only one original recipe. So, who created the first "Riggies" recipe and where did it really originate.

Gallery Credit: Bill Keeler

61 Amazing Snapshots of Utica's Most Unique Boilermaker Ever

The 2021 Utica Boilermaker Road Race will go down in the history books as one of the most unique, with an all-vaccinated field running the 5K and 15K on October 10th, without elite runners, and with thousands of regular participants sitting this one out because of COVID. The excitement this year was special and exclusive and there was no shortage of it, as seen through the lens of award winning photo-journalist Nancy L. Ford of Utica. Here are 61 awesome photos featuring some of the best moments from this year's race.

Gallery Credit: Bill Keeler

9 New Favorites from the New Menu at Utica's 72 Tavern and Grill

The 72 Tavern and Grill, a Utica, NY sports bar and restaurant connected to the Adirondack Bank Center, has now re-opened after an 18-month COVID-19 shutdown. The grand reopening has featured previous favorites from the previous menu, and some new updated menu items. Here are photos taken by photographer Nancy L. Ford of some of our favorites tasted during the restaurant's soft opening.

Gallery Credit: Bill Keeler


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