Ellen Abbott

Reporter, Syracuse

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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Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A new study shows that doctors may have more time than previously thought to successfully treat someone who has had a stroke. Doctors at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse see this as a new era in stroke treatment.

During a stroke, brain cells that are cut off from blood flow will ultimately die, which is why physicians urge anyone with stroke symptoms to get treatment within six hours, to effectively remove a stroke-causing blood clot. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

New statewide rules for distribution of Naloxone is affecting one central New York agency that trains people to use the drug, also known as Narcan.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against pharmaceutical companies and others for their part in the continuing opioid crisis.

The county is accusing drug companies and distributors of painkillers made from opioids of downplaying the risks of those kinds of drugs that have fueled a nationwide epidemic of opioid addiction. Onondaga County in particular has been hit hard by the epidemic, with the number of opioid-related deaths tripling since 2012. 

County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the county bears a cost from this suffering on a couple of fronts.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse Common Councilors unanimously selected Democrat Michael Greene to fill an empty at-large seat left open by Helen Hudson after she was elected council president. Lawmakers say Greene had the best grasp of council issues out of three finalists.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

State Sen. Dave Valesky (D-Oneida) will most likely face a competitive election this year for the first time since 2010.

Rachel May, an administrator at Syracuse University, is running against him in the Democratic Party primary. She has been leading opposition to Valesky in recent months because of his affiliation with the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of breakaway Democrats that shares power with Republicans in the State Senate.

Alan Light / Flickr

The town of DeWitt has started a program to reduce the number of deer that roam throughout the town. Residents may see an immediate reduction in the number of deer after this winter’s deer cull, but it’s a strategy that will take several years.

A 2 1/2 month deer cull has started with sharpshooters from the U.S. Department of Agriculture putting down bait to attract the deer in targeted areas of the town. DeWitt Sustainability Coordinator Christine Manchester says residents in areas where deer are being culled shouldn’t be aware of it happening.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

In a climate where stories of sexual harassment continue to unfold across the country in many different sectors, Syracuse University has announced it will reassess its policy governing sexual relations.

SU Chancellor Kent Syverud announced the initiative Tuesday at his annual winter message to the university community. He wants to make sure the rules are clear about sexual relationships between faculty and students, as well as students with each other.

The Central New York Community Foundation

The Central New York Community Foundation recently awarded a $24,000 grant to the Positivity Project to expand it’s character education training programs in the Syracuse City School District. The goal of the program, which is in 44 schools throughout central New York, is teaching children how to be positive people.

Brett Woodcock, principal of Liverpool’s Morgan Road Elementary School, says if you ask any of the kids in his school, they will be able to tell you their top character strengths. So we asked fourth grader Makenna Metrick.

Economic forecasters expect central New York to continue the slow but steady growth seen in the past few years. While that growth should continue, there are potential roadblocks keeping the region from reaching the robust growth found in other parts of the country.

M&T Bank Regional Economist Gary Keith says the future of central New York’s economy hinges on the workforce.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Central New York economic development boosters are hoping some positive trends from 2017 continue this year. One that CenterState CEO director Rob Simpson expects to hold course in 2018 is a change in something that’s plagued the area for years: brain drain.

"We have seen the latest census department estimates that the population 18-25 in central New York is actually growing at a more rapid rate than we’ve seen in recent memory," Simpson said. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse Common Councilors are getting behind a statewide initiative meant to raise awareness about local substance abuse services. The idea behind “United to Fight It: Preventing Substance Abuse” is to get community leaders together with substance abuse coalitions and plaster the community with the information that can help anyone in the midst of addiction get well.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The Green Party in New York offered up its own State of State address last week, with a series of ideas the party says will push the state forward.

Howie Hawkins, a two-time gubernatorial candidate for the Green Party, says there are things his party liked in Gov. Cuomo’s list of 2018 legislative priorities, but there's not enough to pull them on board.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

One Central New York non-profit organization is concerned about how horses are faring during this cold snap.

Rescue horses munch on carrots in the huge barn that’s part of The Haven at Skanda, an organization in Cazanovia that cares for rescue horses and farm animals. Executive Director Ellen Beckerman says horses will need extra protection this winter.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The State University of New York is asking the state to help it expand a pilot program meant to get students with student loan debt who drop out of college help in finishing their degree. 

Re-Enroll to Complete is designed to reach recently withdrawn student loan borrowers to get them back on campus. A successful pilot program reached out to more than 1,000 students at 17 SUNY campuses.

“240 students out of that 1,000 in the pilot, came back. And of those, now a high percentage are actually completing their degree,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

As frigid temperatures continue to have a grip on central and northern New York, the people who watch out for the homeless are keeping busy.

Homeless outreach teams from The Rescue Mission and My Father’s Kitchen fan out every day in Syracuse, looking under bridges, in parks and in abandoned buildings looking for homeless individuals who are spending the night in what have been single-digit and below-zero temperatures.

Melissa Marrone, who manages the Housing and Homeless Coalition of Central New York, said so far they’ve brought three people in from the streets.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Today is the first official day at the office for Syracuse’s new mayor Ben Walsh. He has much of his staff in place - a mix of newcomers from outside government, and many city hall holdovers from the Miner Administration.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse has a new mayor. Ben Walsh officially became the Syracuse’s 54th mayor at midnight, and Walsh’s swearing in ceremony Sunday was a family affair.

NYS Fair

Work has started on the latest attraction at the New York State Fairgrounds near Syracuse. Crews are in the beginning stages of creating an Expo Center, which will be the largest event space north of New York City, between Boston and Cleveland.

Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Big animals at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse will be getting a new medical treatment facility in the next few years.

Right now, zoo director Ted Fox says the biggest animal that can be treated in the current clinic is the snow leopard.

“So the tigers, the lions, the elephants, the bison, the white lipped deer have to be treated in the field,” said Fox.

The bigger animals could need a variety of treatments without the proper setting to do them.

WBFO News File Photo

Onondaga County is making it easier to pay town and county taxes early with a new online system, and it comes at a time when some taxpayers are considering paying their local taxes early.

A new program called E-Tax launches Wednesday that will allow Onondaga County residents to get an early look at their local government tax bills, before paper copies of those bills are mailed later in the week. 

SUNY Polytechnic Institute

NexGen, a Silicon Valley start up, will get an extra $15 million from New York as it replaces SORAA, the company that will inhabit a $90-million facility built by the state in DeWitt.

NexGen deals in semiconductors and power electronics according to Randy Wolken, incoming co-chair of the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing an investment of $65 million into fighting algal blooms that have created an increasing number of problems across the state in recent years. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Domestic violence impacts a lot of children in the Syracuse City School District, according to Superintendent Jaime Alicea. He’s hoping that as honorary chair of the Vera House 2018 White Ribbon Campaign he can raise more awareness of the issue.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Central New York was a big winner once again at this year’s Regional Economic Development Council awards, announced last week in Albany.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse University and LeMoyne College have announced a new academic partnership for graduate students at SU’s School of Information and LeMoyne’s Madden School of Business.

“Students from the Madden School can take courses from us toward their masters and either count it towards their masters at LeMoyne, or get a separate CAS (Certificate of Advanced Studies) and the reverse," said iSchool Dean Liz Liddy.

John Crowley / Flickr

The debate over the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act continues on Capitol Hill. It would force states to recognize concealed carry permits obtained in another state, and advocates for victims of are domestic violence are opposed to it.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There’s a new way for disabled motorists to get help on a couple of major interstate highways in Onondaga County. 

The State Department of Transportation has expanded the HELP Roadside Service to central New York. Assistant DOT Commissioner Sean Hennessey says the emergency local service has started patrolling a 70-mile stretch of Interstate’s 81 and 690 during morning and evening rush hour.

Crouse Hospital

Three small North Country hospitals have become affiliated with Crouse Hospital in Syracuse.

River Hospital, Carthage Area Hospital and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center have all signed an affiliation agreement with Crouse. But Crouse CEO Kimberley Boynton says they will maintain independence and provide local service while getting much-needed support support and expertise.

“This is the future, and some areas are far head of us and where we are," Boynton said. "In central New York, we still have a large number of independent hospitals.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Four churches in Syracuse have joined a growing number of religious organizations across the country that have declared themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants. The new Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition has formed to stand in solidarity with undocumented immigrants.

Greg Craybas

Onondaga County lawmakers have agreed to go ahead and spend $1.5 million building a bike trail extension on Murphy’s Island as part of the Loop the Lake trail project. Legislators have one request - that the county make accommodations for bald eagles that roost in the area.

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