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. 

Pages

7:34am

Mon June 10, 2013
Education

Teachers rally in Albany over new standardized testing

Teachers continue to fight what they call the over testing and underfunding of education in New York state. Hundreds of teachers from central New York joined a rally in Albany this weekend to continue pressing the state for change.

In all, thousands of teachers were at the rally organized by the New York State United Teachers Union.

Read more

3:24pm

Fri June 7, 2013
Arts

Deal announced to keep The Sound Garden in Syracuse

The Sound Garden, a new and used music shop, as been a staple of downtown Syracuse for several years.
elh70 via Flickr

It looks like The Sound Garden, a popular new and used music and videogame store in downtown Syracuse, will be staying put after all.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner Friday afternoon announced a deal has been reached on proposed legislation that would exempt games, videos and music from the provisions of the city's new secondhand dealer law.

Those provisions had forced the owner of the store to make plans to close down the Armory Square fixture. The Sound Garden has a second location in Baltimore, Md.

Read more

3:31pm

Thu June 6, 2013
Regional Coverage

Westside neighborhood looks for comeback

New homes have been built on Syracuse's Westside, selling for about $90,000 each.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

A neighborhood in Syracuse's Westside is trying to make a comeback. One of the first steps is constructing three new homes that are replacing burned out apartment buildings that had been owned by absentee landlords.

Park Avenue is situated a block away from West Genesee Street on the city's west side. The three new homes in the 800 block are across the street from a city park and Frazer Middle School is down the street. First time home buyer Jean Claude Ndizeye and his family of five have been dreaming of this day for a while.

Read more

9:05am

Thu June 6, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo pushes for women's rights in Seneca Falls

Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Seneca Falls, N.Y. Wednesday to stump for his Women's Equality Act.
Greg Cotterill WEOS Geneva

Gov. Andrew Cuomo used the spot where the women's rights movement was born to lobby for his proposed Women's Equality Agenda.

Cuomo, a Democrat, concentrated on the nine parts of the plan that attacks things like workplace discrimination and the pay inequity between men and woman, while protesters outside focused on the abortion portion of the plan.

The Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls is a noteworthy place in the history of the women's rights movement, and it was here the governor won a standing ovation from the women's groups supporting his agenda.

Read more

6:40am

Wed June 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse & Onondaga County combine planning offices

Onondaga County lawmakers have taken the first step towards creating a new joint city of Syracuse-county planning agency. Current city and county offices that both have planning duties will be combined into one.

Legislator Kathleen Rapp says the consolidation of the two planning departments will streamline the current planning process, easing the regulatory burden for businesses that deal with zoning issues.

Read more

5:01pm

Tue June 4, 2013
Politics

Will the GOP have a candidate for Syracuse mayor?

While a Democratic primary in the race for mayor of Syracuse features a full field, Republicans in the city have yet to come up with a candidate. So they're buying themselves a little more time to find someone to run against the winner of the Democratic primary.

Well-known republicans like State Senator John DeFransisco and Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon have turned down requests to run, retired firefighter Tom Sexton is considering it, and Onondaga County Republican Party Chairman Tom Dadey says he continues talking to prospective candidates, whose names he says he is not at liberty to share at this time.

Read more

3:48pm

Mon June 3, 2013
Politics

Hogan announces run for mayor

Hogan announced his run for mayor with fellow Democrats and city firefighters
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

This audio is pending

Syracuse Common Councilor Pat Hogan has officially announced that he'll join the primary for mayor of Syracuse.

Hogan says this election will paint a clear difference between him and Mayor Stephanie Miner, who's running for re-election.

"It's a choice between collaboration or combativeness, constituents or cronyism, community or concentration of power and transparency or closed door deals," he said.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.  

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.  

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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."

Read more

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.

Read more

Pages