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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9:21am

Mon June 3, 2013
Regional Coverage

Proposed state legislation would double littering fines

Fines for littering would double if a bill approved by the New York State Senate passes the Assembly. The idea is to crack down on the people who dump trash on the side of roads.

It poses driving hazards and costs a lot to remove. And Syracuse-area Sen. John DeFrancisco says litter that lines the highways just looks bad.

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4:04pm

Thu May 30, 2013
Politics

Common councilor announces bid for re-election

Syracuse Councilor at Large Jean Kessner announes her re-election bid in front of the Hotel Syracuse.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

One of the sitting Syracuse common councilors who failed to get support from the Syracuse Democratic Committee this spring, has announced a primary run.

Syracuse Councilor at Large Jean Kessner will soon begin gathering the 1,000 valid petition signatures she'll need by mid-July to wage a primary election to hold on to her seat.

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5:25am

Thu May 30, 2013
Health

AIDS agency to offer services for patients with other chronic diseases

The agency that has helped victims of HIV/AIDS for the past 30 years in central New York will soon be taking on a new responsibility. AIDS Community Resources will be a foot soldier in a revamped Medicaid system in New York state.

In the next month or so, ARC will begin offering case management services for Medicaid eligible individuals who don't necessarily have AIDS, but who have any chronic health issue.

It'll mean a name change for AIDS Community Resources, but more importantly, Executive Director Michael Crinnen says it will allow the agency do what it does best -- coordinate care for sufferers of a chronic disease, and hopefully keeping them out of the emergency room.

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9:21am

Wed May 29, 2013
Regional Coverage

Onondaga County hoping to speed up pistol permit waits

Onondaga County residents who want to get a pistol permit, are still seeing waits of more than 14 months to get an initial interview needed to get that permit.  But, county officials are expediting the purchase of a computer program that should move things along.

It'll be about a month before new software replaces the index cards Onondaga County Sheriff's deputies now use to process pistol permits, and start to make a dent in the wait for a permit hearing. County Legislator Kevin Holmquist says one of the reasons it took so long to award a contract for the software, was the state's new gun control law, called the NY SAFE Act.

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9:13am

Wed May 29, 2013
Regional Coverage

Computer programs help refugees resettle

Arnie Poltenson, of Manlius, helps a refugee improve his English, using a computer program
Credit Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A new community resource room, filled with 18 computers, is up and running as part of Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program in Syracuse.  Much of it involves literacy, key for refugees as they take steps to become a citizens of the United State.

Arnie Poltenson from Manlius is helping teach English to a refugee with limited knowledge of the English language, who has come to the new community resource room at the Catholic Youth Organization building on Syracuse's Northside.  

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4:40pm

Tue May 28, 2013
Education

Program marks 40 years of offering college credits to high school seniors

In education circles it's called concurrent enrollment. Your high school student might know it as SUPA. It's Syracuse University Project Advance, and it's celebrating its 40th birthday, with enrollment skyrocketing in recent years.

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5:51am

Tue May 28, 2013
Regional Coverage

Centralized information might help newly arrived refugees

Map shows where refugees arriving in Syracuse. are from
Onondaga Citizens League

A new study finds that agencies in central New York do a good job of taking care of the 700-800 refugees who come to Syracuse every year. One community group is suggesting creating a one-stop shop for these newly-arrived residents.

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4:47pm

Fri May 24, 2013
Regional Coverage

Rescue Mission's new store helps raise funds for its mission

Newest Thrifty Shopper store in Syracuse benefits Rescue Mission
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The Rescue Mission has opened it's latest store at the Westvale Plaza in Syracuse. It's the biggest thrift store in the 14-store chain, that supports a majority of the programs for a non-profit organization that helps the hungry and homeless in central New York.

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9:16am

Thu May 23, 2013
Politics

One Democrat unhappy with Mayor Miner's leadership of the party

While Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is busy rallying Democrats across New York state as part of her role as co-chair of the New York State Democratic Party, one Syracuse Democrat is accusing her of dividing the party in her hometown.

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4:47pm

Wed May 22, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo and Miner together for first time since disagreement

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, left, listens to Gov. Andrew Cuomo during his first visit to Syracuse since October.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Today marks the first visit by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to Syracuse since early October -- and the first public meeting between Cuomo and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner since a widely-publicized difference of opinion between the two.

The disagreement was over how the state should help cities like Syracuse deal with financial stress. Miner calls it nothing more than political soap opera, fueled by the media.

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3:42pm

Tue May 21, 2013
Politics and Government

Area congressional members condemn IRS targeting of conservative groups

Congressmen representing central and northern New York all agree that the recent IRS profiling of conservative organizations, including tea party groups, is wrong.

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8:32am

Tue May 21, 2013
Business

Destiny USA tries to make it a comfortable destination for tour bus drivers

Destiny USA's new lounge for tour bus drivers
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Bus drivers who bring customers to Destiny USA in Syracuse won't be waiting in their buses for passengers to finish shopping anymore. The mall has created a new bus drivers lounge and the idea is to expand on what is already a big source of shoppers at the Syracuse mall.

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4:22pm

Mon May 20, 2013
Environment

SUNY ESF working to bring back the American chesnut tree

SUNY ESF professor Bill Powell at the planting of an American chestnut tree on the campus
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

SUNY ESF is working to bring back a tree that once made up one quarter of the standing timber in forests in the Eastern United States. Now, researchers have come up with a variety of the tree that resists the blight that killed billions of American chestnut trees.

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4:03pm

Mon May 20, 2013
Regional Coverage

Rep. Maffei asks federal government for answers in the Renz case

Syracuse-area Congressman Dan Maffei says he is waiting for a response to letters he wrote to three federal agencies, calling for an investigation into Syracuse federal probation department policies, that allowed accused killer David Renz to allegedly disable his electronic ankle monitor. Rep. Maffei says the case illustrates a lack of oversight in certain federal agencies.

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9:31am

Mon May 20, 2013
Politics and Government

Campaign finance reform proposal making its way through Albany

In the wake of a series of political corruption cases out of Albany in recent weeks, campaign finance reform has become a popular issue in the state capitol.  Among the proposals for reforming the way money is used in political campaigns, is one from the Independent Democratic Conference. The group is wrapping up a set of statewide hearings on their plan today in Albany.

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4:18pm

Fri May 17, 2013
Regional Coverage

Mayor Miner wants Hotel Syracuse redeveloped - one way or another

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says the city isn't giving up on the latest proposal to renovate the Hotel Syracuse. A plan for the city to take over the tax delinquent property stalled last week when, Financitech, which holds the mortgage on the hotel, paid back taxes at the last minute.

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9:11am

Thu May 16, 2013
Regional Coverage

"Opt-out" deadline for NY gun law passed, with backlog of applications

As the deadline for the "opt-out" portion of the New York SAFE Act passed Wednesday, the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department was still wading through thousands of forms from gun owners who don't want their pistol permit information available to the public.  

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4:56pm

Wed May 15, 2013
Arts

Symphoria launches first full season of concerts

A brass quartet provided musical accompaniment for the announcement of Symphoria's new season.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

For the first time since before the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra went bankrupt two years ago, musicians will play a full season of symphonic music. The Symphoria's "Music in the Key of CNY" series marks a big moment for the fledgling musical group.

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9:14am

Wed May 15, 2013
Regional Coverage

Syracuse's Hancock Airport unveils remodeled security checkpoint

Hancock International Airport
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Starting this morning, it won't take so long for you to get through security at Syracuse's Hancock International Airport. A $60 million project will funnel all outbound passengers through a new security checkpoint at the center of the airport.

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3:51pm

Tue May 14, 2013
Business

Popular Syracuse ice cream shop sets up permanent shop downtown

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner gets the first licks of "Downtown Turnaround," an original oreo-coffe flavored ice cream concoction created by the new Gannon's Isle store downtown.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

An ice cream icon in Syracuse has become the latest business to join in the revitalization of downtown Syracuse. Gannon's Isle has opened up a permanent store in the Dey's building, on the corner of South Salina and Jefferson Streets.

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4:54pm

Mon May 13, 2013
Health

Hospitals fear the unknown when it comes to the Affordable Care Act

Kathryn Ruscitto, president of St. Joseph's Hospital, is presented an award by Richard Umbdenstock, president of the American Hospital Association

In a little more than six months, the Affordable Care Act will change the lay of the land for healthcare in this country. For hospitals, it continues changes that started a decade ago, says Richard Umbdenstock, the president of the American Hospital Association, who was in Syracuse Monday.

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9:41am

Mon May 13, 2013
Regional Coverage

City plans to take over Hotel Syracuse on hold for now

For the second time in less than two years, back taxes have been paid on the Hotel Syracuse, effectively scuttling plans for the city of Syracuse to take control of the property, and sell it to a developer. So, city officials are now looking at a "Plan B."

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11:51am

Fri May 10, 2013
Health

Rally hopes to shed light on diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease

John Tann Flickr

Victims of Lyme disease converge on Albany today for an awareness rally meant to focus attention on the tick-borne disease, that can attack a person's skin, nervous system, heart or joints. Over 95,000 cases have been reported to the New York State Health Department since Lyme disease became reportable in 1986, including hundreds in central New York.

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4:53pm

Thu May 9, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Hancock International Airport's midnight shifts will not be cut

The Federal Aviation Administration has announced the midnight control tower shifts at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport will not be cut as part of federal sequestration.

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11:39pm

Wed May 8, 2013
Regional Coverage

Syracuse Common Council restores fire department cuts, but that may not last

Syracuse Common Council receives a standing ovation after restoring budget cuts to the fire department.

The pleas of Syracuse firefighters pleas were answered by the city's common councilors as they voted to restore cuts to the fire department.   But, the vote by the council to shift money in the mayor's proposed budget, doesn't mean the Syracuse Fire Department will get that money.

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9:16am

Wed May 8, 2013
Politics and Government

Central New York group pushing for Women's Equality Act

Cortland County women launch group to promote Women's Equality Act
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Supporters of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 10-point Women's Equality Act are ramping up efforts to get support for the proposed legislation. The  Women's Equality Coalition just launched a statewide television ad to raise awareness about the agenda, and supporters in one small central New York County are also raising their voices.

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3:48pm

Mon May 6, 2013
Politics and Government

D.A. Fitzpatrick supports unsealing juvenile records involving sex crimes

Juvenile records are automatically sealed in New York state, so they don't prejudice a prosecutor or judge, but state Sen. John DeFrancisco is proposing an exception. He wants those records be available to court officials if they involve sex crimes.

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2:17pm

Fri May 3, 2013
Education

Assertive attitude key to dealing with bullies

"Aggression begets aggression" when it comes to handling bullies, says Barabara Coloroso.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Educators and parents can always use advice on how to deal with bullies. A conference on bullying in Syracuse this week brought in a national expert on the issue, Barb Colorosa, who offered some clear strategies on how to identify bullying, as well as how to deal with it.

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7:39am

Thu May 2, 2013
Energy

Solar program has success in small upstate New York county

Solar panels cover the roof of Jimmy Golub's barn in Madison County.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The thing that strikes you when you walk up to Jimmy Golub's farm on the western edge of Madison County are the giant solar panels covering the part of the roof on his barn that faces west. The 45 panels are part of a 10 kilowatt solar system, that provides all the electricity the farm needs.

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6:35am

Thu May 2, 2013
Education

Teachers, parents, raise concern over Common Core testing

Credit Thomas Favre-Bulle / via Flickr

Voices opposed to Common Core testing are rising in central New York, as teachers and parents met this week at a forum in Syracuse to discuss these new education standards that bring major changes to the way math and reading is taught in public schools.

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