Ellen Abbott

Reporter, Syracuse

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County.  Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered. 

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Rescue Mission

20 gallons of gravy are on the stove and 1,200 pounds of turkey are in the oven at the Syracuse Rescue Mission today. The organization is serving a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings to those whom otherwise might not have one.

This is the busiest day of the year at the Rescue Mission in Syracuse, serving more meals to individuals than any other day of the year according to CEO Dan Sieburg.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday in the retail world, but it’s also been referred to as the National Day of Listening, a day of observance when Americans are encouraged to set aside time to record the stories of family, and friends.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The busiest travel days of the year fall on either side of Thanksgiving at Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport. And officials admit things could be a little more complicated this year because of a nearly $50 million renovation project.

Health officials will be trying to stop the potential spread of tuberculosis at a Syracuse city school. 

The Onondaga County Health Department was contacted this week about an individual at the PSLA High School at Fowler with an active case of TB, a bacterial illness that attacks the lungs.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A week after being elected Syracuse’s first independent mayor in 100 years, Ben Walsh is getting to work. Walsh met this week with the outgoing Miner Administration, as he begins crafting the first mayoral administration without the backing of a political party.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council (SMTC) has issued its final recommendation on a transit plan that could change the way central New Yorkers get around.

The final report focuses on the idea of Bus Rapid Transit. It involves creating corridors in high traffic areas that are earmarked for buses that would travel more quickly, with fewer stops. Council Director Jim D’Agostino says the SMTC is proposing corridors that essentially make an X across the city, from University Hill to Destiny USA, and Onondaga Community College to James Street. 

And the cost?

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Traffic delays in the city of Syracuse have decreased by as much as 80 percent following the recently completed phase two of Interconnect.

Interconnect, a project that synchronizes traffic lights across the city, has been around since 1993. But a lot has changed in the technology world since then. So the city has spent the last several years updating the system.

Mayor Stephanie Miner says with the second phase of the system is in place, it’s meant fewer traffic delays on some busy corridors in Syracuse, like on a stretch of North Salina Street.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse independent mayoral candidate Ben Walsh won big Tuesday night and will be the first mayor of the city not affiliated with a political party. Walsh won with a mix of support from Democrats, Republicans and independent voters.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

The deadly shooting at a Texas church Sunday has renewed calls for stricter gun control laws in the United States. But Rep. John katko (R-Camillus) says this tragedy shouldn't simply bring calls for gun control. 

Katko says it's clear that there were mental health issues with the shooter in Sunday's attack. 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley received a "bad conduct discharge" from the Air Force in 2014, and was courtmartialed for assaulting his wife and child. 

401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are once again warning that New Yorkers will be hurt if the Republican tax overhaul plan in Congress is approved.

Schumer, who is Senate Democratic Leader, says while the tax plan has changed from the original version, 71 percent of the deductions that now benefit state residents would be eliminated. The plan would end deductions for state and local income taxes, and cap the property tax deduction at $10,000 a year. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Central New Yorkers who oppose a sweeping overhaul to the tax code supported by Republicans and President Donald Trump made their case outside a roundtable meeting with Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon and local congressional representatives in Syracuse today.

The proposed changes take away certain deductions, like state and local taxes, but increases a taxpayers personal deduction. Opponents like Sharon Owens of Syracuse call that a scam.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

This is part of a series looking at each candidate running for mayor of Syracuse. You can find our stories featuring the other candidates for Syracuse mayor at the bottom of this page. 

For the first time in history, a candidate without an affiliation to either the Democratic or Republican Party could become mayor of Syracuse. But Democratic critics of independent Ben Walsh’s candidacy have repeatedly called him a Republican in sheep's clothing.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

This is part of a series looking at each candidate running for mayor of Syracuse. You can find our stories featuring the other candidates for Syracuse mayor at the bottom of this page. 

Perennial Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins is a long shot in four-person race for mayor of Syracuse. But Hawkins is still hopeful, even though political conditions might be working against him.

This is the third time Hawkins has run for mayor on the Green Party line. And he’s seeing a whole different dynamic this time around.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Green Party’s Howie Hawkins may have one of the most dramatic development plans of any of the candidates in the race for mayor of Syracuse. 

www.bbb.org

New York State isn’t following the federal government’s move to cut the 2018 open enrollment period for health insurance in half.

Open enrollment for health insurance purchased through the federal marketplace will end December 15. New York won’t follow that deadline, and will be taking applications until January 31, 2018.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

St. Joseph’s Health is hoping fill one of the gaps left by the closing of a grocery store on Syracuse’s near west side. 

When Nojaim’s market closed last month, it left many individuals in an impoverished neighborhood, without a convenient place to shop for healthy foods. 

"Nobody wanted it to close. Especially the people in the Syracuse Housing buildings, because there’s a lot of people who could walk over there,” said Patricia Sprague, who lived across the street from Nojaim’s.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, the underdog Republican candidate for Syracuse Mayor, Laura Lavine, continues to push the issues that have been the cornerstone of her campaign. And she remains optimistic that her view on the issues will win the day.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

While the race for Syracuse mayor is getting much of the attention in central New York this election season, politicians say don’t ignore the contests for the Onondaga County Legislature. Candidates aligned with three distinct political factions are all jockeying for votes, and results could ultimately have an impact on the fiscal future of the city of Syracuse.

EPA.gov

As New York State moves toward its goal of getting 50 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2030, much of the focus is on wind and solar energy. But there’s another energy source out there that boosters want to shine a light on.

Pulling methane gas from cow manure and other organic matter has been going on for years. But in order to get biogas to the next level as a source of renewable energy, it needs to become more economically viable.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The sun will be the source of electricity for about 70 percent of the Madison County government complex from now on. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

One of the businesses that has settled in central New York because of the growing drone industry is a company that teaches people how to fly unmanned aerial systems.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The bidding process begins Wednesday to determine who gets the job of renovating the terminal at Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport.

The $45 million project, announced in January, is moving ahead at a quick pace.

Work started on the first phase of the project a month ago, with demolition of the curbside, concrete canopy at the entrance to the airport. Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined officials for an official groundbreaking Tuesday, and promised the rest of the work on the terminal will be done in a timely manner.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Scientists at Syracuse University played a part in a major scientific discovery that could open many of the secrets of the universe. 

For years, astronomers believed metals like gold or platinum were created when two neutron stars collided. They know now that it’s true, according to Syracuse University physics professor Duncan Brown. Scientists discovered it using powerful telescopes and new methods that measure gravitational waves.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Candidates for local offices courted the disabled community at their yearly candidate forum in Syracuse recently.

For most people, cracks in the sidewalk and potholes are an annoyance. For someone like Starr Guckert, who questioned candidates at the forum, the state of sidewalks and streets goes way beyond that.

“I have a visual impairment and a mobility impairment, and I can’t get from here to ARISE, which is a block away, without falling, because I don’t see the cracks in the sidewalks,” said Guckert.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse University and the Onondaga County Health Department are trying to contain an outbreak of mumps on the SU campus. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County lawmakers passed a $1.3 billion budget Tuesday amidst an afternoon of political theater. The political posturing was evident in debate over issues ranging from funding for libraries, to detailing county cars.

A two-year-old political feud between Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and county comptroller Bob Antonacci simmered beneath the surface of a more than two hour budget debate Tuesday.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News File Photo

Central New York Rep. John Kato (R-Camillus) opposed Republican Party bosses last week by voting against the proposed budget in the House. He was one of 18 Republican members of Congress who voted against the plan that passed on Thursday.

Katko says it ultimately shifts more costs to New Yorkers, and that’s not fair. He says those cuts that would hurt the state include reductions in Medicaid and SNAP programs, as well as transportation spending.

Nancy Mueller / NYS Federation of Lake Associations, Inc.

This year’s mild fall is keeping the Onondaga County Health Department busy, as algal blooms in Skaneateles Lake and mosquito-borne illnesses are still being monitored at a time they are usually a fading summer memory.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The number of domestic and sexual violence calls in Onondaga County is holding steady, according to Vera House’s annual Report to the Community.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A handful of central New Yorkers joined hands Tuesday night in a vigil, to look for healing in the wake of Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.

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