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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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.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

NASA is joining forces with the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NuAIR) to grow two elements of the drone industry in central New York. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga Sheriff Gene Conway says in the coming months, there will be an increased enforcement effort aimed at motorists who misuse handicapped parking permits. As he made the announcement, hundreds of the ubiquitous blue permit tags were jammed on a nearby table; tags that had been confiscated by people illegally using them at the Lakeview Amphitheater during the past two summers.

Onondaga Historical Association

Canal enthusiasts from all over the world converged on Syracuse this week for the 2017 World Canals Conference. One of the reasons organizers chose central New York is it's intimate history with the Erie Canal, which is celebrating the bicentennial the start of its construction this year.  It’s a canal that forever changed New York State and the rest of the country.

The first hint of a canal goes back to the 1700s, when a fledgling nation looked to unite the country's east coast with its vast interior. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A recent report by the Federal Reserve shows certain zip codes in the city of Rochester lack access to credit. This sort of credit inequality also most likely exists in the city of Syracuse.

Onondaga Community College / Facebook

It’s still unclear just how many students applied for and will be awarded the state’s new Excelsior Scholarship announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse would be in line for federal funding to alleviate lead paint in older homes, if one Trump Administration official has her way. 

LtGovHochulNY / Flickr (File Photo)

New York State is getting $25 million in federal funds to help fight the opioid addiction epidemic.

Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul says among other things, the funding will target a particular population: addicts in more rural areas where treatment is an hour or two away.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County lawmakers last week approved the bonds the county needs to update the aging War Memorial in downtown Syracuse. The $4.5 million will be supplemented with some state funds and ticket surcharges to pay for the $9 million project that will includes a new scoreboard and marquees. 

The War Memorial opened in 1951, and it doesn’t look much different now than it did then. The hulking gray structure with jutting marquees is home to several displays honoring veterans and the area's military history from the Revolutionary War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Onondaga County shared services committee approved a county-wide shared services plan Wednesday, and local governments could be in line for $5 million in savings, plus a $5 million match from the state. 

The just over two month timeline to get something done that was required by the New York forced towns, villages, school districts and city of Syracuse to spend a lot of time communicating this summer. 

Ellen Abbott

Juanita Perez Williams, a political newcomer whose grassroots campaign appealed to minority and new American voters, has won the Democratic mayoral primary in the city of Syracuse. According to unofficial election results, Perez Williams pulled in more than 52 percent of the vote in a three-way race.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

On that sunny September 11 16 years ago, many had their eyes to the sky watching the twin towers fall. Under bright blue skies in Pompey Monday morning, all eyes were on the sky as two skydivers fluttered to the earth, each carrying an American flag.

It was part of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation program that builds functional homes for disabled vets. The program is named after Frank Siller’s brother Stephen, a New York City Firefighter who lost his life 16 years ago.

Meesh / Flickr

After three years of advocacy, the Onondaga County Legislature unanimously took a stand this week against the practice of placing juveniles in solitary confinement within the county’s criminal justice system.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner will visit to Israel this weekend as part of the American Jewish Committee Project Interchange. She’ll travel with mayors from nine other U.S. cities, and meet with local and national leaders and non-profits in Israel. But there are some who don’t want Miner to go.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County lawmakers passed an ethics reform law during its meeting Tuesday. The new law stems from a simmering political back and forth between county officials, which has led to the law that will limit outside income for certain elected officials.

NYS Fair / Flickr

More people visited the 2017 edition of the New York State Fair in Geddes than any other. 1,161,912 million visitors came to the fair during its 13-day run, breaking the overall attendance record set last year. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County lawmakers are looking at a trio of packages targeting ethics reform. Two spring out of an ethics proposal put forth by County Executive Joanie Mahoney in June and a third targets the Mahoney administration. At the root of this flurry of reforms is a long simmering feud between the Mahoney administration and County Comptroller Bob Antonacci.

District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, who sits on the county’s ethics board, says Antonacci’s outside income officiating basketball games and doing bookwork for personal clients creates ethics questions.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County voters will decide in November whether the county’s corrections department will move under the control of the sheriff’s department. Lawmakers voted 13 to 3 to move ahead with the referendum, despite some concerns.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Several central New York organizations are planning relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which has dumped more than 50 inches of rain across parts of southeast Texas.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County has firmed up plans for an $8.5 million renovation of the downtown Syracuse War Memorial, and taxpayers will be on the hook for about half the cost.

Tom / Flickr

Oswego County is expected to be conduct aerial spraying Monday evening along the north shore of Oneida Lake, after Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus showed up in samples of mosquitoes earlier this month. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Being the only producer of wine flour on the east coast may be lonely, but one Finger Lakes entrepreneur has created a growing business.

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