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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4:13pm

Fri March 22, 2013
Politics and Government

22-year-old to run for Syracuse Common Council

Joe Carni announces his campaign for Syracuse Common Council
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The son of a former Syracuse Common Councilor has announced plans to run for the Syracuse 1st District councilor seat. Joe Carni is the latest of a crop of young candidates Republicans are hoping will revitalize their party in the City of Syracuse.

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9:17am

Fri March 22, 2013
Regional Coverage

Participants in gun violence discussion say families are key to prevention

Actor and director Khalil Kain speaks at a discussion on gun violence in Syracuse Thursday.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

There are no simple answers to ways to end the gun violence that plagues the city of Syracuse.  But a discussion called, "Stop the Violence" at the Landmark Theatre last night, looked at the root causes of violent behavior among youth, and how that can lead to answers.

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4:32pm

Wed March 20, 2013
Politics and Government

Onondaga County wants to consolidate human services agencies

There could be changes coming to the human services agencies and departments in Onondaga County government.  County Executive Joanie Mahoney says there's a two-fold reason for a proposed realignment.

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3:22am

Wed March 20, 2013
Regional Coverage

A new plan to bring back the Hotel Syracuse

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) speaks in front of the Hotel Syracuse.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer is bringing his influence to the latest plan to revive the Hotel Syracuse.  The Democrat senator believes a federal tax credit program would help draw investors that would be willing to spend the millions it would take to restore the Warren Street historic landmark.

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4:13pm

Tue March 19, 2013
Health

Deaths from Alzheimer's disease increasing in the region

More and more people across the country are dying from Alzheimer's disease -- and central New York is not immune to the trend.

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9:16am

Mon March 18, 2013
Regional Coverage

Public wants park space at Onondaga Lake

Central New Yorkers want a public park available to everyone along Onondaga Lake. That was the upshot from the latest survey on the future of what was once the most polluted lake in the nation.

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5:14pm

Fri March 15, 2013
Politics and Government

Area state senator wants Medicaid reform

No state spends more on Medicaid than New York, earning it the nickname of the Cadillac of Medicaid programs. But that may soon end. One of the reasons the state spends $54 billion a years on the federal health care program for the poor, are 31 optional services that the state can sign on for -- ranging from transportation, to prescription drugs, to private nurses.

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8:51am

Fri March 15, 2013
Politics and Government

Mental health requirements of NY's gun control law take effect

Starting this weekend, the mental health component of the New York Safe Act, the state's new gun control law, kicks in. It will require mental health care providers to notify law enforcement officials if they know of anyone who could be a danger to themselves or others. Law enforcement then compares names to gun registration databases, and if there's a match, confiscate guns or revokes a pistol permit. While many mental health professionals are say they are ready for the paperwork, they aren't convinced it will do any good.

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12:27pm

Wed March 13, 2013
Herkimer County shooting

Police shoot and kill suspected killer of 4 in Herkimer County rampage

Suspected shooter Kurt Myers.
Credit New York State Police

Updated, Thursday 5:50 p.m.: Local police officers were "overwhelmed" as they raced from scene to scene yesterday morning in pursuit of a shooter who first set his home on fire and then killed four people and wounded two others at two different locations in Herkimer County.

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9:21am

Wed March 13, 2013
Regional Coverage

Area groups team up to push for immigration reform

Undocumented immigrant Arely Tomas (far left) and immigration reform advocate Rebecca Fuentes (far right)
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Several local community organizations have joined forces to create the Central New York Coalition for Immigration Reform.  This group will push a comprehensive immigration reform agenda, with an emphasis towards towards family unity, an improved visa system, and a path to eventual citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in this country now. It's the only hope one undocumented immigrant who lives in Syracuse has of staying in this country.

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9:42am

Mon March 11, 2013
Politics and Government

DeFrancisco thinks state lawmakers can deliver budget on time - again

The hearings are over; the New York State Assembly and Senate have put together their respective spending plans. Now this week, lawmakers in Albany get down to the details of hammering out a state budget that both chambers can agree on. Senate Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco of Syracuse believes it can be done before the April 1 deadline.

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9:15am

Mon March 11, 2013
Education

School districts worry about state aid while budgeting for next year

School districts across New York state are in the midst of their budget process right now, with many facing dwindling state aid and more state mandates.  A weekend legislative conference in Syracuse focused on the story that doesn't seem to change.

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9:41am

Fri March 8, 2013
Politics and Government

Families of disabled ask state government not to cut money for services

A sign at the front desk in the Enable offices asks people to help fight cuts to state aid for the disabled.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Advocates for the disabled will be out in force in Syracuse Friday, rallying against Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed cuts to the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. The six percent across-the-board budget proposal would mean major cuts to the agencies across the state that provide support and services for the developmentally disabled. Many families are afraid of what will happen if those services go away.

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8:53am

Thu March 7, 2013
Politics and Government

Onondaga County takes measures to shorten wait for pistol permits

The Onondaga County Sheriff's Department has received the go-ahead to do whatever necessary to ease the pistol permit backlog that's mushroomed in central New York, because of the dramatic increase of the number of permit applications coming into the Syracuse office.

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3:11pm

Wed March 6, 2013
Politics and Government

State of Onondaga County is financially sound

Unlike many other local governments in New York state, Onondaga County has weathered the recent fiscal crisis, and come out on firm financial footing. In her State of the County address Tuesday night, County Executive Joanie Mahoney credits recent budget cutting tactics for the difference.

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9:14am

Wed March 6, 2013
Politics and Government

Onondaga County is latest to call for repeal of gun control law

A resident addresses the Onondaga County Legislature before it voted on a resolution on the NY SAFE Act
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County is the latest county government in New York state to call on Albany to repeal the SAFE Act.  The county legislature voted Tuesday to ask the state to scrap the new state law, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called the toughest gun control law in the country.

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9:59am

Tue March 5, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Library funding is focus of Library Advocacy Day

The library lobby is heading to Albany today to ask lawmakers to restore funding that has been lost for five years now.

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4:10pm

Mon March 4, 2013
Regional Coverage

Anti-hydrofracking activists try to get students involved in movement

Nicole St. James in her NYPIRG office
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

As the controversy over hydrofracking drags on in New York state, opponents of the drilling method are trying to get more college students involved in the debate.  NYPIRG project coordinator Nicole Saint James is recruiting students at Syracuse University to help put more pressure on Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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12:22pm

Mon March 4, 2013
Politics and Government

NY celebrates renewal of Violence Against Women Act

Vera House Executive Director Randi Bregman speaks to survivors of violence at a Vera House event taking note of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Cheers are coming from all corners of central New York following the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act last week in Washington. The renewal of the law had been stalled for almost two years in the midst of House and Senate gridlock.

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4:31pm

Fri March 1, 2013
Politics and Government

Maffei says central New Yorkers won't feel impact of sequester right away

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-DeWitt) speaking earlier this year.
Credit Durrie Lawrence / WRVO

Most central New Yorkers won't notice the impact of federal budget cuts caused by sequestration right away, according to Syracuse-area Rep. Dan Maffei. But Maffei, who was in Syracuse today to tout the bipartisan passage of the Violence Against Women Act, says everyone will feel it eventually.

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5:37am

Fri March 1, 2013
Regional Coverage

Emergency organizations want central NY to be more prepared for disaster

Rosie Travella, CEO of the Central New York American Red Cross, talks about emergency preparedness
Credit Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County emergency professionals want to prepare central New York for a potential disaster.  First they want to know whether everyday citizens are ready for anything from the storm of the century to an act of terrorism.

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5:01pm

Thu February 28, 2013
Religion

Area Catholics mark the retirement of Pope Benedict

Mass of Thanksgiving held Thursday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

As Pope Benedict XVI left the Vatican today for the last time as pope, some Catholics in central New York were taking note.  A mass of Thanksgiving at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in downtown Syracuse marked the end Pope Benedict's ministry.

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4:55pm

Wed February 27, 2013
Regional Coverage

Potential buyer wants to turn Mizpah Tower into luxury apartments

CORRECTION March 4: Current Mizpah Tower owner Syracuse Bangkok, LLC. is $115,646.31 delinquent on taxes, according to the Onondaga County property tax database.

A potential new owner of the long-vacant Mizpah Tower in downtown Syracuse is hoping to satisfy a certain kind of rental market. 

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9:27am

Wed February 27, 2013
Politics and Government

Area congressman discusses sequestration with constitutents

With the federal budget sequestration deadline only days away, Syracuse-area Cong. Dan Maffei opened the phone lines for a telephone town hall meeting Tuesday night.  Callers were concerned about the how these funding cuts will impact central New York if sequestration goes into effect March 1.

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5:40pm

Tue February 26, 2013
Regional Coverage

10 years after his arrest, supporters of Dr.Rafil Dhafir try to bring attention to his case

Supporters of Dr. Rafil Dhafir hold a noontime vigil in Syracuse Tuesday
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

It's been ten years since Syracuse-area oncologist Dr. Rafil Dhafir was arrested for crimes involving the Muslim charity Help the Needy.  Dhafir continues to serve a 22-year prison sentence after he was convicted of violating U.S. sanctions against his native Iraq by sending money there. In 2005, a federal jury convicted him of 59 felonies, including fraud and tax evasion, among other things. But Dhafir's conviction and incarceration still has some central New Yorker's crying foul.

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3:49pm

Tue February 19, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Schumer wants federal funds to upgrade Port of Oswego

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) at the Port of Oswego
Bethany Palmer/WRVO

The Port of Oswego could be in line for some business-boosting help from the federal government. Sen. Charles Schumer is hoping to use his clout to get some help to keep the port growing.

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6:12am

Tue February 19, 2013
Regional Coverage

Area advocates worry about sequestration effect on regional non-profits

Advocates sent letters on Valentine's Day to lawmakers asking them to consider progressive budget principles in the sequestration debate.
Courtesy Greater Syracuse Tenants Network

The automatic federal budget cuts that are slated to go into effect in March would have a big impact on programs that help the poor and elderly in Syracuse.  Advocates for these programs are urging Congress to do something to prevent the across-the-board spending cuts knows as sequestration.

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8:58am

Mon February 18, 2013
Regional Coverage

Upstate Hospital requesting more funding from state

Upstate Hospital in Syracuse.
Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO

SUNY is asking the state for up to $185 million to stabilize its two public teaching hospitals. Most of the cash is needed for the Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. But Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse also needs millions.

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3:49pm

Fri February 15, 2013
Health

Some Central NY ambulances to receive EKG modems

This kind of 12-lead electrocardiogram modem will be put in 37 ambulances in central New YOrk
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Time is critical when it comes to treating a suspected heart attack. That's why local EMTs and emergency room doctors are happy about new cardiac technology getting into more ambulances.

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9:21am

Fri February 15, 2013
Politics and Government

Some upstate counties call for repeal of state gun control law

The Oswego County Legislature met Thursday and passed a resolution urging repeal of the NY SAFE Act.
Credit Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Oswego County is the latest local government to push for a repeal of New York state's new gun control laws. Both lawmakers and residents say they are hoping their voices make a difference in Albany.

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