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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Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

As the opioid epidemic continues across upstate New York, Naxalone, known by its brand name as Narcan, has become a critical component in stopping overdoses. The Upstate New York Poison Center is trying to drive that point home at the New York State Fair.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that a new $50 million expo center will be built at the New York State Fairgrounds near Syracuse, and work will happen quickly.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo opened up the first “Preview Day” of the New York State Fair near Syracuse Wednesday. The fair expanded to 13 days this year, with this first day called a preview day because some features, like the animal buildings, aren’t fully open yet. Admission to the fair today was just $1. Rides also cost $1 early in the day.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The 2017 edition of the New York State Fair opens Wednesday near Syracuse. The fair has typically opened on a Thursday, but it's opening a day early this year, with officials calling it "Preview Day."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Food is generally near the top of the list of things that draws visitors to the New York State Fair in Syracuse. And this year’s fair offers some first-ever concoctions.

Along with the sausage sandwiches and pizza frites, there are some new dining options to greet fairgoers this year -- like the Milk Bun, which melds the worlds of ice cream and donuts.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

State lawmakers and volunteer firefighters are putting pressure on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill that would provide better coverage for volunteers who develop cancer because of the job they do.

Brian McQueen has been a longtime volunteer with the Whitesboro Fire Department. When he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma several years ago, he was forced to take on the cost of much of the treatment himself. He doesn’t want any other volunteers to have to face that.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A yearly procession to commemorate the use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan took place in Syracuse yesterday. Organizers said the drive to abolish nuclear weapons is more important than ever in today’s political climate.

Activist Rea Kramer said we can not forget the destruction that followed the use of nuclear weapons over 70 years ago.

"I think we should all be especially anxious now because there is a president who uses the words, “fire and fury,” as a response to the threatening postures of North Korea," Kramer said.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County lawmakers are considering legislation that would ensure that juveniles are not thrown in solitary confinement in any of the county’s criminal justice facilities in the future.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayoral Hopeful Laura Lavine says, if elected, she would push for mayoral control of the Syracuse City School District.

kristen_a / Flickr

It’s been a busy summer for the Onondaga County Board of Elections. There were more challenges to the petition process than usual, and appeals of decisions will soon be underway. But September primary ballots are coming together.

Spring and early summer is the time political candidates go door to door asking for help getting on the ballot. Election law is very precise when it comes to who can sign petitions for particular candidates, and how election workers handle the documents.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The future of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse hinges on an independent investigation of the options, currently being overseen by the New York State Department of Transportation. In the meantime, champions of different options for the aging highway continue to butt heads.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There was a light turnout last night for the first public hearing regarding Onondaga County’s shared services proposal.

The first of three public hearings on Onondaga County’s shared services proposal will be held this evening at the East Syracuse Minoa High School. It appears there could be some keepers among a list of 95 ways to share services among governments and school districts.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney turned over a report on shared services to the county Legislature this week, as required by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s shared services initiative. The ideas range from sharing things as divers as pesticide applicators to IT services.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The New York State Public Service Commission continues to gather comments on National Grid’s proposed rate hike. In Syracuse this week, the biggest crowd turned out so far in a series of five hearings across the state. And most were opposed to the idea.

Senator John A. DeFrancisco Facebook page

Update:

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The threat from tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease is at an all time high in New York state. At a recent forum sponsored by the New York State Department of Health and state Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse), experts hope more information about prevention of the bacterial disease can reduce the number of people that are infected.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The first draft of Onondaga County’s shared services plan calls for creation of a BOCES-like entity intended to help local governments efforts to become more efficient.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says it was learning the way BOCES facilitates sharing services among local school districts that inspired the proposed Greater Syracuse Shared Services Consortium.

nysfair.org

Following a ride malfunction that killed one person and injured several others at the Ohio State Fair this week, state officials want to assure fairgoers in New York that everything that’s possible is done to ensure that rides are safe.

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."

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