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. 

Ways to Connect

CREDIT ONPOINT.WBUR.ORG

A recent poll for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield shows almost half of upstate New Yorkers aren’t taking their prescription medication as directed.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Central New York Medical Director Nicholas Massa says it seems obvious that people should take their medications as directed, but sometimes they just don’t.

"A significant number of people say they just forget, or they don’t have the medication with them. Some say side effects are a concern. They don’t like the way medication makes them feel.”

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The new online website will allow anyone who’s interested to delve into the massive amounts of data collected by the city of Syracuse. Where are potholes getting patched? What water mains are breaking? Where is lead paint a big issue? These are some of the questions that can be answered on DataCuse, a new online portal that is open to the public.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Some industrial hemp farmers in Madison County are rooting for a bill that would take the plant off the federal government's Schedule 1 list of Controlled Substances and into the homes of New Yorkers as food products, like a baby green or protein bar.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) hopes putting the spotlight on Lyme disease can help prevent it. Experts and victims of the debilitating illness recently met at Ryder Park in DeWitt in an effort to put a personal face on the disease.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

One Syracuse Health agency is trying to help fill a gap in mental health and substance abuse services in central New York for children and teens.

The shortage of services for youths in the throes of substance abuse addiction or mental health issues in central New York has been a chronic problem for years.

The latest numbers of new HIV/AIDS infections in New York State show a dramatic reduction in one particular population. AIDS activists say it’s proof the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s blueprint to end AIDS in New York by 2020 is off to a good start.

The number of newly diagnosed HIV cases from 2014 to 2015 fell substantially among men who have sex with men, according to Wil Murtaugh, head of ACR Health in Syracuse.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The $45 million redesign of Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport will begin in late August. Ever since Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the renovations during a State of the State speech in January, airport officials have been fine tuning plans to update the airport’s terminal, with construction expected to start in late-August.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

As high water levels start to recede along the southern shore of Lake Ontario, the question remains: could something have been done to stop flooding that has devastated much of the shoreline?

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Crouse Hospital is opening up a new emergency room Tuesday, replacing an ER that’s four decades old.

The new ER is replacing a space that hasn’t been working well, according to Crouse’s Emergency Department Medical Director David Mason.

“The space is so small we’re tripping over each other. A lot of our care and talking is done in the hallway, so lack of privacy,” said Mason.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie started a tour of upstate New York this week, with several stops in the Syracuse area.  

Heastie, a Democrat from the Bronx, admits that while he was just an Assembly member, he didn’t make it much out of the confines of New York City. But since he’s taken a leadership position in state government as the most powerful member of the Assembly, he says it’s part of his job to take a broader view of the state.

New York State Police

The law enforcement community across New York continues to mourn the loss of a colleague, after State Trooper Joel Davis was shot killed Sunday night while responding to a call in Jefferson County. 

They may not have worked in the same county, or same law enforcement agency, but some Onondaga County Sheriff’s deputies knew Davis. It’s the nature of the job.

“We see each other on calls for service. We go to training together. We go to schools together. And we’re all part of the community,” said Onondaga County Undersheriff Jason Cassailia.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The continuing opioid crisis in central New York is forcing one Syracuse-area agency to expand services. The expansion will allow ACR Health to serve more individuals addicted to opioids in its Drug Users Health Hub.

Alexandra Punch is ACR Health’s first Director of Drug User Health. She says expanding existing services is a direct result of an opioid crisis that seems to be here to stay.

“It’s a huge problem and we’re seeing that it’s not going away,” said Punch. “And what we’re also seeing is the amount of individuals that are learning about buprenorphine treatment."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s government reform package looks like its going nowhere fast. Mahoney needs county lawmakers to start moving soon on an initiative that includes term limits for legislators and countywide office holders, and clarifies salaries and a ban on outside employment.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County has been able to reduce the amount of water that rushes into Onondaga Lake through the Save the Rain Program. The county’s next goal is to get litter out of the lake.

Onondaga County has started a joint initiative with the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency called “Block Litter.” It encourages people to take a pledge to pick up litter in the street, or volunteer to recruit neighbors to help clean up trash.

Vipal / Creative Commons

School districts across Onondaga County have met with County Executive Joanie Mahoney to discuss a county-wide effort to share government services. It’s a follow up to a meeting with local municipal leaders, in the effort to save taxpayer dollars through a state-mandated shared services plan.

Mahoney says a recent meeting with school districts was very positive, with officials immediately coming up with suggestions for saving money by sharing services.

Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital

Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital will soon be training doctors who want to focus on treating victims of child abuse and neglect.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

As the summer travel season revs up, the Transportation Security Administration asks travelers to do their part to keep things running smoothly. And that includes the travelers that board planes at Hancock International Airport.

According to Syracuse Regional Airport authority figures, July and August is the time of the year when the most flights arrive and depart at the airport. TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein says that means travelers must plan on a little extra time.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The ride hailing era in upstate has begun. Central New Yorkers began using Uber or Lyft to snag a ride Thursday.

Uber, the bigger of the two ride hailing operations, came to Syracuse to offer an example of how the app based ride hailing system works. Uber spokesman Sean Connor hailed a car in Armory Square.

“One of the great things about the app, it tells me the make, model and driver, so I get into the right car -- which is important,” Connor said.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Tensions between union leadership in the Syracuse Fire Department and Mayor Stephanie Miner’s administration have reached a boiling point.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney is proposing what she calls a government redesign package, which would create term limits, and clarify salaries and outside income rules for elected officials in Onondaga County government.

Rescue Mission

The Syracuse Rescue Mission dealt with another surge of drug overdoses from synthetic marijuana in late May. It wasn’t the first time more than a dozen individuals overdosed on or near the Rescue Mission campus in one day, and it most likely won’t be the last. But it’s an added stress to an agency that’s trying to help homeless individuals get back on their feet.

Rescue Mission CEO Alan Thornton says these overdose surges generally happens when a bad batch of synthetic marijuana, also known as spice, turns up in the neighborhood.

Onondaga County

The Lakeview Amphitheater begins it’s second season this weekend, with a sold out Zac Brown Band concert on Saturday and Bob Dylan playing Sunday. There will be a few more amenities for concert-goers this year, as work continues on the venue.

For the first time, concert-goers will be able to arrive at the amphitheater by boat. A 25-slip dock now juts into Onondaga Lake.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport is preparing for the era of ride-hailing services that’s about to descend on upstate New York.

Starting June 29, travelers will be able to use ride hailing apps to get around town. One of the major requests is expected to include rides back and forth to the Syracuse airport. To that end, airport commissioner Christina Callahan says the airport is working with the two big players in the ride-hailing world, Lyft and Uber.

David Stone / Flickr

Residents in some eastside Syracuse neighborhoods and the town of DeWitt agree that something should be done about a burgeoning deer population. Those are the findings of a survey conducted by Assemblywoman Pam Hunter.

The next step is finding out just how many deer are out there, and what can be done to put a dent in the herd. Research wildlife biologist Brian Underwood says it starts by counting deer in some neighborhoods in the eastside of Syracuse, and going on from there.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank celebrated its fifth birthday this week with a bus trip to show off some of it’s success stories.  

Land bank officials and others visited demolition sights, a community garden and renovated rental housing, like Sam Reppi’s conversion of a dilapidated building on Burnet Avenue into apartments and a storefront business.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that he hopes makes it easier to stop the importation and distribution of synthetic drugs.

One of the nagging problems facing law enforcement as it fights the synthetic drug epidemic is the time it takes to make a particular drug illegal. It takes years to get on the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s Schedule A list of banned substances, and by then, dealers have tweaked the chemical compound enough to avoid arrest and prosecution.

Oswego County Health Department / File Photo

This spring's wet weather could make the blue-green algae problem worse later this summer.

It’s no secret that this has been a tremendously rainy spring, according to SUNY ESF biochemistry professor Greg Boyer. And that could set the stage for big algae blooms later this summer. Blooms rely on nitrogen and phosphorus that run into the lake, combined with hot and calm sunny days.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The residential growth in downtown Syracuse shows no sign of slowing down, with the newest property almost filled.

When Blue Cross/Blue Shield moved it’s offices to the suburbs in 2008, it left a gaping hole in downtown Syracuse. The Warren Street complex actually is made up of four buildings, and that’s what Graziano Zazzara has repurposed into dozens of luxury apartments.

"We opened up four months ago, started renting apartments, and we have one left out of 89," Zazzara said. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The impact of the more than a billion dollars the state has invested for economic development in central New York should be kicking in soon, according to state officials.

Syracuse University photo by Stephen Sartori

A study of the central New York labor market finds a disconnect between people looking for jobs and organizations trying to hire.

The non-profit Onondaga Citizens League conducted a year-long study of the employment picture in the region, called ““How CNY Works.” The report includes some positive statistics – like the fastest-growing occupation (computer and information research scientists), and the industries with the most growth (management of companies and enterprises).

Pages