Ellen Abbott

Reporter, Syracuse, WRVO Public Media

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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8:16am

Thu July 25, 2013
Environment

State, Cornell Cooperative Extension teach public to identify invasive pests

Volunteers are taught what to look for when examining trees for the "big three" invasive forest pests.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

On a muggy morning next to the American Steel and Aluminum Company in Liverpool, four people clad in orange vests look through binoculars at the vegetation that surrounds the warehouse.
         

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7:35am

Tue July 23, 2013
Education

Americans with Disabilities Act anniversary touts triumphs, still more to do

ADA advocates march down East Washington St. in Syracuse during a celebration of the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Advocates for the disabled in Syracuse are marking the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but activists say there are still some areas where progress needs to be made.

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6:50am

Mon July 22, 2013
Regional Coverage

Logeun's Crossing brings COR Development, Upstate Medical University together

Rubble is left in the wake of the demolition of the former Kennedy Square apartment project, in preparation for the development of Logeun's Crossing on Syracuse's east side.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

It's been almost two years since the ground breaking of the Logeun's Crossing project on Syracuse's east side.

Upstate Medical University is combining forces with COR Development to turn 14 acres of blighted properties off of East Fayette Street into a mix of residential, retail, office and educational space. COR President Steve Aiello says they've finished tearing down the old Kennedy Square apartment complex, and can start working on the basic framework of the new neighborhood.

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3:10pm

Fri July 19, 2013
Education

Plan for newest SUNY campus stirs up some controversy

Picture is of Alain E. Kaloyeros (middle), chief executive officer of the College of Nanoscale and Science and Engineering, visiting with Upstate Medical University officials at the Central New York Biotech Accelerator this week.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

SUNY trustees have voted to split the University of Albany and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, to create the system's 65th SUNY campus. The founder of the college says the move will save SUNY money and help bring high tech jobs to New York state.

The plans is to have the new specialized college up and running in the 2014-2015 academic year, says Alain Kaloyeros, the school's CEO.

"What the governor and the chancellor want out of this is have  the MIT or Stanford out of SUNY.  A state of the art, scholarly hub  at an affordable tuition," he said.

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7:59am

Fri July 19, 2013
Politics and Government

Hanna introduces bill offering tax breaks for emergency responders

Richard Hanna discusses his recently introduced legislation.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

When Mahlon Irish became a Homer volunteer firefighter in 1974, it was common for 60 people to head out to a fire. Now, it can be difficult to get the 12 firefighters national standards call for to a working blaze. The decline in the number of volunteers through the years is blamed on many things -- from extensive training required to changing family dynamics. But the expense of being a volunteer is also an issue, says Irish, using the cost of gasoline as an example.

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8:55am

Thu July 18, 2013
Regional Coverage

Cuomo announces state aid for Mohawk Valley flood victims

New York National Guard/flickr

New York state is stepping in where the federal government has not. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state would come up with $16 million for people affected by the recent floods that ravaged the Mohawk Valley and other parts of New York state.

Cuomo told local officials at Herkimer County Community College that the state will fill the gap using federal rules to offer cash from state coffers to flood victims.

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7:23am

Thu July 18, 2013
Regional Coverage

Renz pleads guilty to murder and sexual assault charges

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick addressing the media after Renz pleaded guilty to first degree murder and predatory sexual assault charges in Onondaga County Court this morning.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A brutal murder and rape case that shocked central New York earlier this year is closed. In a plea deal with prosecutors, David Renz, 29, pleaded guilty Wednesday to first degree murder and sexual assault charges in the death of Lori Bresnahan and the rape of a 10-year-old girl in a mall parking lot in Clay last March.  

The deal basically assures that Renz will spend the rest of his life in prison, said Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick.

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9:09am

Wed July 17, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse group protests US involvement in Syria

Protesters in Syracuse have joined a coordinated national demonstration opposed to intervention in the Syrian civil war.  

Derek Ford of the Syracuse chapter of the ANSWER Coalition admits it's been hard to get traction in the anti-war movement when it comes to the war in Syria.

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9:17am

Tue July 16, 2013
Politics and Government

Hanna makes plea for counties damaged by floods

One Oneida resident's backyard was heavily damaged by rapidly rising flood water.
Gino Geruntino WRVO/File photo

While declaring 12 counties disaster areas after recent rains ravaged parts of the Mohawk Valley and upstate New York, the federal government has denied individual disaster aid for people who lost property in the floods.

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8:10am

Mon July 15, 2013
Health

Operation Medicine Spoon launches in Syracuse

Upstate Poison Center Communication Director Gail Banach shows the Operation Medicine Spoon handouts
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The Upstate New York Poison Center wants to make sure parents are giving their children the proper doses of medicine.

A recent study shows that 40 percent of parents are giving their child the wrong amount of medicine, something that can lead to a possible overdose. The reason? They are using a teaspoon out of the kitchen drawer as a measuring tool, instead of a calibrated medicine spoon, according to Upstate Poison Center Communication Director Gail Banach.

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2:53pm

Fri July 12, 2013
Health

Will a rainy June mean more West Nile virus?

Gravitywave via Flickr

The conventional wisdom is that it's going to be a bad year for mosquitos, because of the very rainy June. But, whether that means more incidence of mosquito born viruses, is debatable.

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7:53am

Fri July 12, 2013
Politics and Government

Eyes on Democratic primary in Syracuse mayoral race

Mayor Stephanie Miner submits her signatures to officially be on the ballot in September
Stephanie Miner/Facebook

The focus in the race for mayor in the city of Syracuse at this point is on a September 10 primary. Three candidates have turned in petition signatures this week to get on the ballot in September. Onondaga County Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says history shows whoever wins that race, will be victorious in November.

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8:50am

Thu July 11, 2013
Environment

Onondaga Lake revival earns exhibit at New York State Fair

A portion of Onondaga Lake is being cleaned by Honeywell
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The story of Onondaga Lake, once called the most polluted lake in the nation, will be told in a major interactive exhibit at the New York State Fair this year.

"We no longer have to look at it and be embarrassed, or discuss what we are going to do. Now we can look back at where we have been and where we are going," said Onondaga County Deputy Executive Matt Millea.

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9:00am

Tue July 9, 2013
Regional Coverage

Renovations on Syracuse's Central Library begin

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

It's been almost two years since Onondaga County lawmakers approved funding for renovation of the Central Library in downtown Syracuse. Now the first steps in revamping the facility are starting.

The Central Library has been ensconced in the Galleries of Syracuse for 25 years now. When it opened up, the Galleries was a retail hub, that's now morphed into what amounts to an office building. Central Librarian Doreen Milcarek says the facility needs to downsize, a move that will reflect staffing cutbacks and the changing needs of library patrons.

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8:54am

Mon July 8, 2013
Health

Long-time area obstetrician retires

Dr. Richard Aubrey
WRVO

A central New York physician who helped deliver more than 8,000 babies is retiring.  Dr. Richard Aubrey has seen the medical world change dramatically since he began his career as an obstetrician 50 years ago.

When Dr. Aubrey started delivering babies in the early 1960s, the rates for Caesarean section was between five and seven percent, and when you performed one, it was under a lot of scrutiny. Now the rate is between 35 and 36 percent, for a number of reasons.

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8:11am

Fri July 5, 2013
Environment

Wasp watchers being recruited

Cornell University Cooperate Extension Onondaga County

The emerald ash borer is getting closer to Onondaga County. The Asian beetle infests and kills North American ash trees, and are as close to central New York as Rochester.  Now, Cornell Cooperative Extension is recruiting volunteers for a program in Onondaga County that could  let wasps sound the alarm that the devastating bugs are here.

So how does a wasp tell us that the Emerald Ash Borer is in town?  Simple. They eat them.

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5:36am

Thu July 4, 2013
Regional Coverage

Two Row Wampum Campaign begins symbolic trip over New York's waterways

Allison Smith speaks to visitors to the Two Row Wampum Festival at Onondaga Lake Park Tuesday.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The Haudenosaunee's Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign has taken to the waterways of New York state. Paddlers have begun a canoe trip that will take them from the Onondaga Nation, through Albany and to the United Nations in New York City, as part of an education and advocacy strategy about this region's Native Americans.

The campaign marks the 400th anniversary of the Two Row Wampum, the first treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Dutch settlers in New York state.

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9:36am

Wed July 3, 2013
Politics and Government

Maffei proposes legislation in response to Renz case

Rep. Dan Maffei in Syracuse Tuesday
Ellen Abbott WRVO

In the wake of the David Renz case, there would be more oversight over federal probation offices if legislation proposed by Rep. Dan Maffei is approved.  The Syracuse-area Democrat is crafting legislation that would keep a tighter reign on suspects being monitored by electronic ankle bracelets.

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4:51pm

Tue July 2, 2013
Education

As new OCC president starts, she ponders off-site center

Casey Crabill becomes the eighth president of Onondaga Community College

As Casey Crabill begins her new job as Onondaga Community College president this week, one of the first things she will consider is whether to establish a satellite campus in Syracuse's Inner Harbor.

Crabill says she'll discuss the idea with the board of directors noting that there are pros and cons to off-site campuses. A campus is included in drawings of the Inner Harbor project, but developers and OCC wanted to wait until Crabill came aboard before making a decision.

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5:06pm

Mon July 1, 2013
Education

Higher interest rates impact local students

TheGirlsNY/flickr

Interest rates double today for any students applying for the federal government's subsidized Stafford loans, after Congress failed to agree on a deal to lower interest rates.

Students at Onondaga Community College take out $21 million in loans every year to help pay for their education. Financial Aid Director Kate Bellefeuille says some potential students at OCC will be affected by the higher rates, which are jumping from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

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8:34am

Sat June 29, 2013
Energy

Fuel efficiency record set with new technology and better driving habits

Wayne Gerdes set a new world record for fuel efficiency.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

There's a new Guinness World Record when it comes to fuel efficiency.  A mid-size Volkswagen model set a record for the best fuel efficiency for a non-hybrid car this week.  The recent trip reaps lessons ranging from rethinking an old energy source to breaking some bad habits.

Wayne Gerdes and his driving companion, Bob Winger, took a trip that essentially took them more than 8,100 miles -- or just under 108 gallons of diesel fuel. The last leg of that journey brought them to central New York.

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10:15am

Fri June 28, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Gov. Cuomo pushes agenda to revitalize upstate economy

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is hoping a three-pronged agenda can revitalize a shrinking economy across upstate New York.  In Syracuse on Thursday, Cuomo touted a Financial Restructuring Board that will help struggling local governments, a proposal to bring resort gaming upstate, and START-UP NY as ways to jump start an upstate economy that's been losing jobs for years. The START-UP NY plan will make SUNY campuses entrepreneurial tax-free zones, that the governor says will help keep new businesses in the state.

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9:23am

Thu June 27, 2013
Regional Coverage

State's land banks to get funds to help redevelop abandoned properties

New York state will use some of the money from last year's settlement with banks which contributed to the collapse of the housing market to help fund the state's "land banks," entities that buy and hold abandoned properties for redevelopment.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced that a pot of $20 million will be divided up between the state's land banks for later development. Syracuse resident Hadee Rolon hopes it can help her Westside neighborhood, where well-kept properties are surrounded by boarded-up homes.

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5:51pm

Wed June 26, 2013
Politics and Government

A.G. Schneiderman reacts to DOMA decision

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called today's Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, a home run.

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9:26am

Wed June 26, 2013
Health

Upstate University Hospital offers seniors calmer ER experience

The new Gem Care emergency room at Upstate University Hospital's Community Campus will cater to seniors.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Upstate University Hospital's Community Campus will be opening up a new emergency room next week that caters to seniors. The goal behind the new E.R. at Upstate's Community General Campus, is to make sure an emergency room visit doesn't turn into an admission to the hospital.

Emergency Medicine Director Jamie Ciaccio says the new eight-bed unit, called Gem Care, will feature safety measures and aesthetics aimed at seniors, as well as a staff trained in geriatrics. Other healthcare professionals will also be available to assist elderly patients.

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4:32pm

Mon June 24, 2013
Regional Coverage

Onondaga Nation crafts canoes for Two Row Wampum campaign

Hickory Edwards of the Onondaga Turtle Clan carves out a Tulip Poplar with an adze as part of a centruies old method of canoe making.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

As the Onondaga Nation prepares for a canoe trip this summer to promote awareness of the Two Row Wampum Treaty, three Onondaga Nation men have gone back to their ancestors for inspiration.

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9:16am

Mon June 24, 2013
Regional Coverage

Environmental review of Inner Harbor project underway

Inner Harbor development site.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse City Hall is taking the next step in the development of the Inner Harbor. The Syracuse Industrial Development Agency has started the environmental review portion of the project, that would bring residential and commercial traffic to Syracuse's Inner Harbor.

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8:45am

Thu June 20, 2013
Politics and Government

Planning departments merger could spur more government consolidation

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney signing an agreement to merge the city and county planning agencies.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The city of Syracuse and Onondaga County planning departments have officially merged. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney signed an inter-municipal agreement Thursday that brings the planning agencies of both governments under one roof.

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8:07am

Wed June 19, 2013
Regional Coverage

Syracuse agency hopes change in rules means more business for regional contractors

The Inner Harbor development is one the local projects SIDA is currently supporting.
Credit Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Local contractors and suppliers will get a boost from a new policy in the city of Syracuse.   

The Syracuse Industrial Development Agency has adopted new rules when it comes to developers who are supported by the agency. They have to buy local, so to speak, says SIDA executive director Ben Walsh.

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8:45am

Mon June 17, 2013
Regional Coverage

Strawberry picking provides a patch of help for veterans

Andrew Miller of Clear Path for Veterans greets strawberry pickers at the group's field in Chittenango
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

It's strawberry season in central New York, and one strawberry patch in Chittenango  lets you pick fresh fruit, while helping veterans. The patch at Clear Path for Veterans works as both a fundraiser, and an opportunity for vets to get closer to nature.


 

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