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.
Syracuse lawmakers are trying to work out concerns over a proposed law that would allow police to crack down on problem houses in city neighborhoods.
It's a case where constitutional rights collide with neighborhood concerns. Councilor Khalid Bey wants to use a 100-year-old law, which was once used to crack down on brothels, as a way to rid neighborhoods of houses that have become hangouts for drug dealers and other criminals.
Rep. Dan Maffei has a to-do list for himself and the community when it comes to education. The Syracuse-area Democrat released a six-point plan this week that arises from listening sessions he held across the 24th Congressional District earlier this year.
Maffei says one of the key things that stuck with him during the sessions, was the extent of morale problems among educators across the 24th Congressional District. And he says that's one thing he hopes his proposal can tackle.
A coalition of local organizations is urging parents to keep their baby's crib clear of clutter. It's the core message of the Safe Sleep campaign, spearheaded by Safe Kids Upstate New York, out of Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital.
Clemencia Molina, regional coordinator of the Central New York Sudden Infant and Child Death Resource Center, said it's common to see a child's crib filled with stuffed animals, blankets and pillows.
Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Cynthia Morrow said there are signs that the flu season is upon us. Morrow said there is one laboratory confirmed case of the flu in Onondaga County, and she's hearing reports from doctors offices about unconfirmed cases.
Morrow said it's a good time for central New Yorkers to get their flu vaccine. She also said this year's vaccine may offer more protection than those in the past, which targeted three flu strains.
Supporters of casino-style gambling are making themselves heard in central New York two weeks before Election Day. A coalition of economic development, labor leaders and politicians, called the New York Jobs Now coalition, is encouraging voters to support Proposal Number One, which would allow non-Indian casino gambling in upstate New York. Boosters say the whole state would benefit from this initiative in a couple of ways.
For State Senator Dave Valesky of Oneida, approving gambling upstate is a no-brainer.
Upstate Medical University's new Neuroscience Research Building is on the cusp of bringing brain researchers together at last. The $72 million building is an expansion at Upstate's Institute for Human Performance.
VIPs toured the block-long, five-story building this week. At this point it's a shell, full of empty labs and dark rooms. It's the $50 million worth of high tech equipment coming later this year that'll make a difference in brain research, according to Upstate's Vice President for Research Rosemary Rochford.
A Siena College poll this week shows that most New Yorkers don't know about the Moreland Commission, a panel of district attorneys and law enforcement officials investigating public corruption in Albany.
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the Moreland Commission, says it doesn't bother him that many New Yorkers are unaware of the group's probes into public corruption. But he expects that'll change December 1, when the Moreland Commission releases it's report.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is firing another salvo in the war against prescription drug abuse. He's proposing that the Drug Enforcement Administration ease restrictions that make it harder for pharmacies to let people bring in controlled substances for disposal.
It's a problem that's getting worse in upstate New York, according to Michelle Caliva, director of the Upstate Poison Control Center. She's looked at the number of calls involving abuse of prescription pain killers over the last decade.
A new food co-op on Syracuse's southside has opened its doors. Neighbors are welcoming the new Eat to Live Food Cooperative on South Salina Street, an area that doesn't have many options when it comes to buying healthy food.
Joseph Bryant, president of the Southside Community Coalition said the co-op ultimately eliminates a food desert.
Onondaga County is making massive changes to the part of its bureaucracy that helps families and individuals in need. The recently passed county budget reshuffles the traditional way residents have been getting services for years.
This is turning out to be a quiet election season in Syracuse despite a race for mayor. Without a Republican running against Mayor Stephanie Miner, and with Democrats having with a stranglehold in most common council and school board races, Green Party candidates are emerging as alternatives for voters in a handful of races. All three Green Party hopefuls appeared on the Campbell Conversations with Grant Reeher.
Onondaga County lawmakers are resurrecting a program that helps people who need to be bailed out of jail after committing minor crimes. Lawmakers agreed to put $25,000 in the recently passed 2014 budget, to run the Jail Ministry Bail Expediter Program.
Onondaga County lawmakers are putting a tighter reign on spending at the sheriff's department. The legislature approved the county's 2014 $1.2 billion budget Tuesday night. It included a budget maneuver that give's lawmakers more control over department spending that has come in substantially over budget the last few years, according to legislature chairman Ryan McMahon.
Onondaga County lawmakers vote this week on the proposed $122 million 2014 budget. The spending plan includes a slight decrease in the tax rate along with some spending cuts. One additional fund that's being proposed in the budget is a pot of money that would be available for economic development projects.
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney has seen it before in central New York; economic development projects die because they can't get those last final dollars in place. So what does she the propose in order to correct the problem?
Onondaga Community College is showing off a new building that crosses a 60-foot high gorge that splits the campus in half. But, college officials say it does more than connect the campus physically.
Academic II is being described as a bridge with a building around it. It spans the gorge that divides the campus. With smart classrooms, offices, a 150-seat recital hall and soundproof practice rooms, it will be the center for the school's music program, according to OCC President Casey Craybill. And she says that bridges another divide.
Now that the Emerald Ash Borer has been confirmed in Onondaga County, local governments are trying to find the best strategy to deal with the invasive pests that will ultimately kill all the ash trees in the area. One of the county's biggest challenges lies in one of the busiest public green spaces in central New York, at Onondaga Lake Park.
The health exchanges that are part of the Affordable Care Act opened Tuesday, and in short order there were two million hits on the New York state website that's selling health insurance policies. People who weren't turning to the website in central New York were lining up to get face-to-face information on how to choose a plan.
Willie Terrell, of Syracuse, has been waiting for this day since he lost his health insurance a year ago.
Last year, students suspended from the Syracuse City School District lost 23,555 days of instruction, and 55 percent of African-American students in the district have been suspended at least once. Those are some of the sobering statistics from a nationally known expert on school suspensions who reported on the state of suspensions in the district for the Board of Education last night.
Lekia Hill of the Alliance for Quality Education says the statistics are disturbing, especially when many of these suspensions are for minor infractions.
New York State of Health, the marketplace exchange that will let New Yorkers choose health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is open for business starting Tuesday. The state has plenty of help available for anyone who's taking the jump into these historic waters.
The 600 MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometer currently housed at SUNY ESF.
Biomedical researchers across central and western New York are getting a new piece of sophisticated machinery that will allow them to get a closer look at the way cells and proteins interact.
Officials announced a $2 million federal grant this week that will allow a consortium of six upstate colleges and universities to buy what's called an 800-megahertz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer.
With former Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle out of the picture, Syracuse-area Republicans can concentrate on the search for a candidate to challenge Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei, who's expected to run for reelection in the 24th Congressional District. Buerkle announced on Wednesday that she wasn't interested in another race against Maffei, preferring to focus on her position on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The one phrase that kept coming up at Friday's New York State Senate hearing on regulatory reform in Syracuse, was "death by a thousand cuts." Manufacturers were the focus today as lawmakers travel around the state trying to identify regulations that are getting in the way of business.
One of the regulations State Sen. John DeFransisco called asinine at today's hearing, springs from the Wage Theft Prevention Act. Employers are required to provide employees with a yearly notice regarding their compensation, information that is already on their paycheck.