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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4:22pm

Thu June 21, 2012
Politics and Government

DiNapoli wants Local Development Corporations held accountable

New York's fiscal watchdog wants lawmakers to give his office more power  over economic development organizations that he says are being misused in some cases, by local governments in New York state. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has his eye on Local Development Corporations.

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10:06am

Thu June 21, 2012
Politics and Government

Local governments struggle; tax cap presents new challenges

New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli at a Local Government Leadership Institute meeting in Syracuse
Ellen Abbott WRVO file photo

Local governments continue struggling in the wake of the recession. At a Local Government Leadership Institute meeting in Syracuse Wednesday, officials looked for answers to  some of the problems they still face following the Wall Street meltdown.

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2:53pm

Wed June 20, 2012
Regional Coverage

The Roman Catholic Church plans "Fortnight for Freedom"

The Roman Catholic Church is using the two weeks running up to the Fourth of July for prayer and advocacy as it continues it's fight against the federal Health and Human Services Department mandate that would force some Catholic institutions to provide health insurance coverage that includes contraception.

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10:26am

Wed June 20, 2012
Regional Coverage

National Grid deals with equipment failure

Matt Katzenberger Flickr

Two major power outages in the Syracuse area in the span of 48 hours left thousands of central New Yorkers in the dark. National Grid says the common denominator for both problems is connected to a substation on Syracuse's north side.

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3:30pm

Tue June 19, 2012
Health

Upstate Cancer Center construction under way

Ellen Abbott WRVO

The first of 550 tons of steel beams has been pounded into the foundation of the new Upstate Cancer Center in Syracuse.  Up to now, most of the work has been prepping the area next to the existing hospital entrance.  

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9:45am

Fri June 15, 2012
Health

Bath salts: Complaints and calls on the rise

Ellen Abbott WRVO

The misuse of the designer drug called bath salts continues to be in the news as the number of complaints about the drug is on the rise.

The death of a Munnsville woman is the latest central New York case involving the suspected use of the man-made drugs.

In all of 2011, there were 118 calls to the Upstate Poison Control Center about bath salts. This year there have been 141 so far.

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9:36am

Thu June 14, 2012
Environment

Onondaga Lake dredging stirs up controversy with Onondaga Nation

Dredging equipment on Onondaga Lake
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The Onondaga Nation is not happy with the breadth of the Honeywell Corporation's plan to dredge and cap polluted sediment at the bottom of Onondaga Lake.

This $451 million plan will dredge an estimated two million cubic yards of toxic material from 185 acres out of the 3,000-acre lake bottom, and cap 14-percent of the lake bottom, to keep toxic chemicals underground.

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9:00am

Wed June 13, 2012
Regional Coverage

GOP primary possibilities

The only statewide race in the upcoming June 26 federal primary in New York state, is the contest to see who will take on U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in  the November election.  But even the state's top republican doesn't offer any clues who's going to win.

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2:32pm

Tue June 12, 2012
Regional Coverage

Repatriation: Wampum beads return to the Onondaga Nation

Ellen Abbott WRVO

 Some sacred and cultural objects of the Onondaga Nation and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy are back where they belong, after languishing for years in the Onondaga Historical Association in Syracuse.  

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9:35am

Tue June 12, 2012
Regional Coverage

Zoo hosts Operation Salute for veterans

Veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and their families will get a special welcome home this week at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse.   The idea is to show these vets that the community appreciates their sacrifices.

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9:17am

Mon June 11, 2012
Regional Coverage

Other churches join protest against health care law

The Roman Catholic Church continues it's opposition to the Affordable Care Act clause that requires employers to pay for birth control, a practice the church opposes.  But the fight has gone beyond the confines of the Catholic Church.

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2:29pm

Thu June 7, 2012
Regional Coverage

New York Works program to fix roads and create jobs

The budget for fixing New York State roads and bridges has almost doubled this year, thanks to the transportation portion of the New York Works program.  The $1.2 billion program will repair roads and bridges, but it is also intended to function as a jobs and economic development engine.

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9:55am

Thu June 7, 2012
Regional Coverage

Destiny USA puts further development on pause

It is the end of any collaboration between the City of Syracuse and the Pyramid Companies on the expansion of the Carousel Center Mall.  But the notice this week that Pyramid is calling the current work at the mall the final phase of the Destiny project may not tell the entire story.

Destiny spokesman David Aitken says this move doesn't rule out more Destiny deals in the future.

"Are we hopeful for additional development down the road?  The answer's yes.  But we are going to take it one day at a time,"says Aitken.

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9:39am

Thu June 7, 2012
OCC Budget

OCC gets less money from county than it asked for

Onondaga County lawmakers approved the county's share of the Onondaga Community College's operating and capital  budgets yesterday.  But, the two- year school didn't get quite what it asked for.

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4:30pm

Wed June 6, 2012
Regional Coverage

Destiny USA: Expansion could be at an end

The expansion of Carousel Center in Syracuse could be at an end, at least for now. The developer of the mall complex that will soon be known as Destiny USA, is now calling this the final phase of the development.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says the city development agency found out yesterday that the developer was exercising a clause in an earlier agreement that would allow them to make this move.

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10:52am

Wed June 6, 2012
Regional Coverage

Some downtown Syracuse venues under new management

A new era will soon begin in the life of the OnCenter in downtown Syracuse. A national management group will take over the operation of the convention center and some other downtown venues.

SMG, a private firm out of Philadelphia, will be responsible for booking events at the OnCenter, the War Memorial, the Civic Center, Alliance Bank Stadium, and the Everson Museum.

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3:59pm

Tue June 5, 2012
Education

NY makes moves to improve STEM education

President Barack Obama has proclaimed that STEM education is a national priority.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

New York state is looking at ways to improve the STEM education the state's children receive. This kind of education has  become more important in recent years, because that's where the jobs are. However, recent statistics show U.S. achievement in these skills lags behind much of Europe and Asia.

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4:01pm

Mon June 4, 2012
Regional Coverage

Four-legged graduates are ready for their debut

Columbia County Sheriff Deputy Heath Benansky and Apollo.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

It's graduation season in Central New York.  But it's not just high schools and universities turning out graduates. It's also commencement time for some four-legged students.

Nine dogs, mostly German Shepherds, are now ready to hit the streets to help police catch criminals. The teams come from as far as from Niagara County in the west to Columbia County in the east, to take part in the police dog training program run by the Syracuse Police Department.

The dogs and handlers graduated during a ceremony at Syracuse's Inner Harbor last week.

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11:58am

Mon June 4, 2012
Politics and Government

Miner on becoming co-chair of New York's Democratic Party

Becoming co-chair of the Democratic Party in New York state will allow Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner to do more of what she already does. Miner is expected to be elected co-chair of the party when members meet this week.

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5:08pm

Fri June 1, 2012
Education

No Child Left Behind waiver granted to New York state

State Education Commissioner John King.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

New York state is now one of 19 states that has been granted a waiver that allows for more flexibility when it comes to the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law.

The change will let schools avoid a deadline requiring all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. 

The Federal Education Department approved the waivers for New York and eight other states earlier this week. Other states won waivers earlier this year.

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9:47am

Fri June 1, 2012
Environment

Contaminated sediment to be dredged in Onondaga Lake

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

A major step in the clean up of Onondaga Lake is about to begin. Honeywell International will begin the dredging and capping of contaminated lake sediment this summer.

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9:30am

Fri June 1, 2012
Regional Coverage

Connective Corridor: Forman Park gets a makeover

A vibrant sign shows off new renovations to Forman Park. The park splits the east and westbound lanes of East Genesee Street in Syracuse.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The first milestone of the Connective Corridor in Syracuse is now a reality. A revamped city park is now a featured link between downtown Syracuse and Syracuse University.

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11:02am

Wed May 30, 2012
Health

Needle exchange program gives options to individuals in Syracuse

The needle exchange program van.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

All of New York state is now covered by a needle exchange program sponsored by the state health department.

Syracuse was one of the last communities to join the  program, and so far, it's working well.

The program's big silver van has a small sign that says, “Safety First: Syringe Exchange Program.” This is where IV drug users and others can exchange their dirty needles for  clean ones.

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4:24pm

Tue May 29, 2012
Politics and Government

Ann Marie Buerkle works to advance the agenda of women in the House

Gage Skidmore Flickr

Syracuse area Republican Ann Marie Buerkle is taking a leading role in a new caucus in the House of Representatives that focuses on women.

Buerkle will be a vice chair of the Women's Policy Committee, made up of female Republican representatives in the House.

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10:15am

Tue May 29, 2012
Regional Coverage

ESF brings the shore of Lake Ontario to a new level

N.Y. State Environmental Facilities Corporation with EFC President Matt Driscoll on top of Illick Hall looking at test gardens.
Ellen Abbott

SUNY ESF is showing off plants that will create a green roof on the new Gateway Center, which will open later this year.

This new green roof will almost be like visiting the shore of Lake Ontario.

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10:32am

Mon May 28, 2012
Environment

Saving rain in the suburbs

amandabhslater Flickr

Onondaga County could soon be saving rain in the suburbs.

Lawmakers are considering expansion of the "Save the Rain" program, which has already kept 125 million gallons of water out of the sewage treatment plant in the city of Syracuse.

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3:58pm

Fri May 25, 2012
Regional Coverage

Gas prices down: Travel increases this holiday weekend

Carl Wycoff Flickr

If you are planning on hitting the road this Memorial Day weekend, expect some company. AAA expects an increase in holiday travel on the weekend that starts the summer travel season.

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3:50pm

Wed May 23, 2012
Politics

Senate candidate Wendy Long might have the upper hand in upstate NY

With a little more than a month to go before the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, recent polls show the three candidates vying for a chance to face Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the general election aren't well known, especially upstate.

One of those candidates is trying to change that.

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos is well known on Long Island; Congressman Bob Turner has a natural base in New York City; that leaves attorney Wendy Long with the rest of the state.

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10:35am

Tue May 22, 2012
Regional Coverage

Homeowners speak up on assessment grievance day

Think your property taxes are too high?

Today's the day you can try to get those taxes down, by way of lowering what the town thinks your home is worth.

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9:50am

Tue May 22, 2012
Regional Coverage

Seniors are hopeful for a new downtown center

Some seniors are optimistic that a new senior center will rise in downtown Syracuse to replace the Ida Benderson Center that closed last fall due to budget cuts.

They're taking time to thank those who have helped them so far. Specifically, by serenading Syracuse common councilors.

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