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

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

As frigid temperatures continue to have a grip on central and northern New York, the people who watch out for the homeless are keeping busy.

Homeless outreach teams from The Rescue Mission and My Father’s Kitchen fan out every day in Syracuse, looking under bridges, in parks and in abandoned buildings looking for homeless individuals who are spending the night in what have been single-digit and below-zero temperatures.

Melissa Marrone, who manages the Housing and Homeless Coalition of Central New York, said so far they’ve brought three people in from the streets.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Today is the first official day at the office for Syracuse’s new mayor Ben Walsh. He has much of his staff in place - a mix of newcomers from outside government, and many city hall holdovers from the Miner Administration.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse has a new mayor. Ben Walsh officially became the Syracuse’s 54th mayor at midnight, and Walsh’s swearing in ceremony Sunday was a family affair.

NYS Fair

Work has started on the latest attraction at the New York State Fairgrounds near Syracuse. Crews are in the beginning stages of creating an Expo Center, which will be the largest event space north of New York City, between Boston and Cleveland.

Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Big animals at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse will be getting a new medical treatment facility in the next few years.

Right now, zoo director Ted Fox says the biggest animal that can be treated in the current clinic is the snow leopard.

“So the tigers, the lions, the elephants, the bison, the white lipped deer have to be treated in the field,” said Fox.

The bigger animals could need a variety of treatments without the proper setting to do them.

WBFO News File Photo

Onondaga County is making it easier to pay town and county taxes early with a new online system, and it comes at a time when some taxpayers are considering paying their local taxes early.

A new program called E-Tax launches Wednesday that will allow Onondaga County residents to get an early look at their local government tax bills, before paper copies of those bills are mailed later in the week. 

SUNY Polytechnic Institute

NexGen, a Silicon Valley start up, will get an extra $15 million from New York as it replaces SORAA, the company that will inhabit a $90-million facility built by the state in DeWitt.

NexGen deals in semiconductors and power electronics according to Randy Wolken, incoming co-chair of the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing an investment of $65 million into fighting algal blooms that have created an increasing number of problems across the state in recent years. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Domestic violence impacts a lot of children in the Syracuse City School District, according to Superintendent Jaime Alicea. He’s hoping that as honorary chair of the Vera House 2018 White Ribbon Campaign he can raise more awareness of the issue.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Central New York was a big winner once again at this year’s Regional Economic Development Council awards, announced last week in Albany.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse University and LeMoyne College have announced a new academic partnership for graduate students at SU’s School of Information and LeMoyne’s Madden School of Business.

“Students from the Madden School can take courses from us toward their masters and either count it towards their masters at LeMoyne, or get a separate CAS (Certificate of Advanced Studies) and the reverse," said iSchool Dean Liz Liddy.

John Crowley / Flickr

The debate over the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act continues on Capitol Hill. It would force states to recognize concealed carry permits obtained in another state, and advocates for victims of are domestic violence are opposed to it.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There’s a new way for disabled motorists to get help on a couple of major interstate highways in Onondaga County. 

The State Department of Transportation has expanded the HELP Roadside Service to central New York. Assistant DOT Commissioner Sean Hennessey says the emergency local service has started patrolling a 70-mile stretch of Interstate’s 81 and 690 during morning and evening rush hour.

Crouse Hospital

Three small North Country hospitals have become affiliated with Crouse Hospital in Syracuse.

River Hospital, Carthage Area Hospital and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center have all signed an affiliation agreement with Crouse. But Crouse CEO Kimberley Boynton says they will maintain independence and provide local service while getting much-needed support support and expertise.

“This is the future, and some areas are far head of us and where we are," Boynton said. "In central New York, we still have a large number of independent hospitals.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Four churches in Syracuse have joined a growing number of religious organizations across the country that have declared themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants. The new Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition has formed to stand in solidarity with undocumented immigrants.

Greg Craybas

Onondaga County lawmakers have agreed to go ahead and spend $1.5 million building a bike trail extension on Murphy’s Island as part of the Loop the Lake trail project. Legislators have one request - that the county make accommodations for bald eagles that roost in the area.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County lawmakers voted Tuesday to raise the age to buy tobacco products in the county from 19 to 21.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

In January, Syracuse Mayor-elect Ben Walsh will become the first mayor of Syracuse not affiliated with any political party. When it comes to governing, that lack of a party label shouldn’t make it more difficult for Walsh to navigate City Hall.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News file photo

Two rival factions of the Democratic Party in the New York state Senate are making moves toward unification. 

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

New York State is pumping more money into after school programs in central and northern New York. Gov. Cuomo announced the expansion of the program at a Syracuse elementary school Tuesday.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Cuomo today continued to slam the four Congressional Republicans from New York who voted for the GOP tax overhaul plan.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News (file photo)

Black Friday could turn into ‘Green Friday’ at Destiny USA today, if local environmental advocates have their way. 

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.

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