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.
More projected sales tax revenue for the City of Syracuse could mean some new programs, including seed money for a new downtown senior center. Lawmakers say they want the extra spending to be an investment in the city.
The very young and the very old were the focus of the Syracuse City Budget public hearing Wednesday night. Citizens had the opportunity to tell lawmakers what they think of Mayor Stephanie Miner's proposed $662 million spending plan.
As urban school districts grapple with massive budget deficit, some programs that aren't strict academics go up on the chopping block. A program in the Syracuse City School District, that teaches everything from sex education to stranger danger, is slated to be cut.
Onondaga Community College's reluctance to turn over financial information to county lawmakers regarding the new SRC Arena is creating some friction. It has become part of budget discussions between Onondaga County and the community college.
The battle raging over federal flood maps in Central New York hits a deadline today. The city of Syracuse will file a challenge to maps proposed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency which, if approved, would drive up flood insurance costs dramatically for homeowners in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has joined the fight to keep flood insurance bills from skyrocketing in one of Syracuse's poorest neighborhoods. The idea is to convince the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, that their latest maps are flawed.
There were more than 400 accidents in road and bridge construction work zones last year in New York state, five of them fatal. The state is hoping to pare down that number this year by asking motorists to slow down in work zones.
New York state is hoping that a new way to join the state's organ donor registry online will mean a longer list of potential donors. Central New Yorkers, who have had to make decisions about organ donations, are encouraging New Yorkers to log on.
Republican Presidential primary politics comes to New York state Tuesday. It's the first of three different primary days across the state this year. Election officials worry that all these primary days will end up confusing voters.
Governor Andrew Cuomo stopped in Syracuse Wednesday, fresh off the passage of the second straight on time budget under his administration. Cuomo called the $132.6 billion budget part of a series of actions that will transform New York State.
The Central New York SPCA is bracing for an influx of cats. Officials estimate more than 200 cats and kittens will be dropped off at the center in the next two and a half months. Spring is the time of year cats begin breeding and this year’s early warm weather is causing animal shelters to prepare ahead of schedule.
When state lawmakers approved the budget this week, they restored a program that's vital to many senior citizens. Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage, known as EPIC, helps low and moderate income seniors with co-pays for prescription drugs not covered by Medicare Part-D. When it was defunded last year, seniors were forced to pay 25% of the costs of prescriptions. This made necessary prescriptions unaffordable for some.
Pharmacists at drug stores like the Gifford and West Pharmacy in Syracuse ran into a lot of problems when EPIC stopped helping seniors pay for prescription drugs. Gifford pharmacist Jim McLaughlin encountered many patients who had high co-pays and were forced to pay.
"It ends up costing more. Patients go without their medications and their symptoms start to come back, or they end up being hospitalized," McLaughlin said.
Flu season is peaking this week in Onondaga county, a month behind schedule. This year's flu bug is a particularly mild one. According to federal figures, this year reports the fewest cases since the 80s.
"I think that we're peaking now, which is a late peak, but our numbers were still going up as of last week... but very, very low numbers, not anything I'm concerned about," Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Cynthia Morrow said. "But it is not over yet."
Morrow tracks flu numbers every year. She says that the mild winter could have something to do with lower numbers.
Innovative programs from eight Central New York SUNY Schools were on display in Syracuse Monday. It was part of the "Power of SUNY Regional Showcase", that let schools from across the area share projects.
Back in the 1950s, the height of technology in libraries was explained in this piece produced by the Brooklyn Public Library, "Another eye opener was the central registration department. here they have the most modern equipment. There are have swivel chairs gliding along tracks, sweeping clerks from one end of the files to another."
The redistricting process in New York State is in the home stretch. A second round of hearings finishes up this week after the release of legislative district lines that many called political attempts to keep incumbents in office.
CenterState CEO in Syracuse is trying to get more companies in Central New York to do business outside the area. Syracuse is one of four metropolitan areas in the U-S that are working with the Brookings Institution to increase exports over the next five years. As part of two initiatives, they are asking local business for data about their exports, and encouraging them to look at more business opportunities outside the area.