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

6:44am

Tue April 22, 2014
Sports

Syracuse runners show they're Boston Strong

Runners take part in an event at Onondaga lake Park.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

About 200 central New York runners marked the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombings last night. The running bond remains strong a year after the bombing that left three people dead and scores injured.

A bagpipe serenaded runners hitting the pavement of Onondaga Lake Park to mark the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.
 

Read more

6:15am

Mon April 14, 2014
Technology

App turns social media posts into charity dollars

Centscere founder (from left) Michael Smith, Frank Taylor and Ian Dickerson. The three Syracuse University grad students hope their app can connect charities and millennials.
Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Young people today are a giving generation, according to a recent poll that shows that  75 percent of millennials donated to causes in the calendar year.  

But the tried and true charitable strategies of galas and golf tournaments often don't cross the generational divide. With this in mind, one Syracuse start-up is hoping to offer charities a chance to reach younger givers using something they relate to: social media.

Read more

6:37am

Tue April 8, 2014
Regional Coverage

Syracuse considers adding more police, firefighters

Mayor Stephanie Miner flanked by the police and fire chiefs and some members of Common Council as she announces her proposal to include a new class of police and firefighters in the fiscal year 2014-15 budget Monday.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

If Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s proposed budget is approved as is by the Common Council, the city will soon beef up its police and fire departments.

Miner says even as the city budget continues to be tight, it’s time for the new officers, with more than 200 potential police and fire retirements looming this year.

"You always are trying to manage, and manage and looking at how many retirements you're going to have and how many you’ve already had, where your needs are and how you can balance those needs,” Miner said.

Read more

9:15am

Sat April 5, 2014
Science

Art and science flow together in the Lava Project

Bob Wysocki

There's a place at Syracuse University where art meets science.  The Lava Project has been fusing the two disciplines for four years now, and soon anyone can get in on the collaboration, through a free online course.

For the scientist, creating lava and watching it flow means to “understand how lava behaves and what it means when we have certain structures in lava flows, what controls that.”

Read more

4:27pm

Fri April 4, 2014
Education

Historic choice for Le Moyne College president discusses challenges of the job

Linda LeMura and her husband at Le Moyne College's announcement that she will be the new president.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

LeMoyne College is making history with it’s new president.  Linda LeMura will soon become the first lay female president at a Jesuit institution anywhere in the world.

Read more

6:07am

Fri April 4, 2014
Environment

Emerald Ash Borer poses bigger threat to central New York trees that expected

The Emerald Ash Borer poses a major threat to ash trees in Onondaga County.
USDAgov Flickr

Homeowners in parts of Onondaga County with ash trees on their property, need to take action sooner than expected to deal with the Emerald Ash Borer. 

Jesse Lyons of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Onondaga County says there’s evidence that the invasive insect has spread to almost  the eastern border of Onondaga County.

Read more

3:34pm

Thu April 3, 2014
Health

Onondaga County reorganization plan led to Morrow resignation

Dr. Cynthia Morrow has been Onondaga County Health Commissioner for nine years.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County’s longtime health commissioner, Dr. Cynthia Morrow, has resigned in a disagreement over a portion of the planned reorganization of the county's human service agencies.

In the proposed new iteration of the Onondaga County's structure, Executive Joanie Mahoney's administration wants maternal and child health programs, which target at-risk infants and children as well as their families, to fall under the Department of Children and Family Services, which currently focuses on child welfare.  

Read more

7:10am

Thu April 3, 2014
Politics and Government

Protesters say Supreme Court ruling on campaign donations gives rich more power

Michael Messia-Yauchzy and others gather in front of the State Office Building in Syracuse to protest.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Some central New Yorkers rallied last night to oppose yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down certain caps for individuals donating to political campaigns.

Michael Messina-Yauchzy, from Move to Amend of Syracuse and Central New York, believes ultimately it’s going to put more power in the hands of the rich who donate to candidates.

Read more

6:35am

Thu April 3, 2014
Regional Coverage

New York State Police cracking down on drivers passing stopped buses

Capt. Jeffrey Raub, with the New York State Police, discusses the importance of reducing incidents involving drivers and school buses.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

On Thursday, the New York State Police will be watching for people who illegally pass school buses.

“Law enforcement across the entire state will be following school buses," says Capt. Jeffrey Raub, a zone commander out of North Syracuse. "We’re doing that so we can observe violators who are passing busses when the busses are stopped."

Raub says police agencies are hearing from school districts about people who illegally pass school buses that are stopped to drop off or pick up students. And this crackdown will target those areas.

Read more

6:16am

Wed April 2, 2014
Education

Education historian lashes out against Common Core during Syracuse visit

James F Clay Flickr

As public school students in New York state sit at their desks today taking the Common Core based English Language Arts tests, a nationally known opponent to the core is in Syracuse. Education Historian Dr. Diane Ravitch spent the day Tuesday at Syracuse University.

Ravitch, who has written about the issues and is the author of a very popular anti-Common Core blog, doesn’t have anything good to say about the new, more rigorous curriculum that’s taken over New York state classrooms. First there’s the way it was conceived.

Read more

7:20am

Tue April 1, 2014
Health

With budget behind them, some lobbyists turn to passing the Women's Equality Act

Now that the state budget is in place, lawmakers can turn their attention to more controversial end-of-session issues. That means a return to one of the more contentious items that failed at the end of last year’s session; the Women’s Equality Agenda.

The Women’s Equality Agenda is a ten-point plan that deals with several women’s issues, including a call for equal pay, the end of sexual harassment in workplaces and the strengthening of human sex trafficking laws.

Read more

6:56am

Mon March 31, 2014
Agriculture

Schumer calls on USDA to assist upstate dairy farmers with Farm Bill

fishhawk Flickr

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the United States Department of Agriculture to help dairy farmers in central New York sort through the recently passed Farm Bill. During a stop in Chenango County recently, Schumer said the updated milk portion of the bill is good for farmers, but confusing.

Read more

5:56am

Mon March 31, 2014
Health

Upstate Hospital receives Level 1 trauma center designation

Ellen Abbott WRVO

Upstate University Hospital and the Golisano Children’s Hospital have won a Level 1 trauma center designation from the American College of Surgeons.

After a year and a half of investigations into the hospitals' adult and pediatric services, Upstate becomes the only hospital to get this Level 1 designation in New York state, since the state allowed hospitals to go after these designations two years ago.

The hospital already had the label in the eyes of New York state, but emergency department Dr. Eric Shaw says this outside award takes that up a notch.   

Read more

7:16am

Fri March 28, 2014
Environment

New photo exhibit shows how far Onondaga Lake cleanup as come

"Look into my Eyes" is one of the photos on display this weekend in Geddes.
Greg Craybas

Local photographers are showing off pictures of wildlife and birds returning to Onondaga Lake, during an exhibit open to the public this weekend at Honeywell’s Onondaga Lake Visitors Center in Geddes. The images are meant to show the public that the lake is being restored.

Like the canary in the coal mine, birds are often a harbinger of the health of an ecosystem, says Audubon of New York Executive Director Erin Crotty.

Read more

6:30am

Thu March 27, 2014
Regional Coverage

ACR Health hopes program will reduce heroin deaths

Prevention Director Erin Bortel holds a vial of Narcan, which could be used to save someone suffering from a drug overdose.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

Along with a spike in heroin and other opiate use in central and northern New York has come a jump in the number of  drug overdose deaths. One Syracuse health organization hopes to bring that number down by teaching people how to administer a drug that can stop the effects of an overdose.

Read more

7:26am

Wed March 26, 2014
Education

Parents make their voices heard as Common Core tests approach

Signs in opposition to the Common Core learning standards are on display at a parents forum at Onondaga Community College Tuesday evening.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

As the standardized testing season begins in schools across New York state next month, opponents of the controversial Common Core curriculum are making more noise. Some parents and educators are suggesting that the best way to express displeasure is to have kids refuse the test.

Judy Griffith of the West Genesee School District in Camillus was one, and she expects to have more company this year.

Read more

8:11am

Tue March 25, 2014
Health

St. Joseph's in Syracuse collaborating with Lewis County General Hospital

St. Joseph's in Syracuse is working with the Lewis County General Hospital to increase health services to rural areas.
St. Joseph's Hospital

Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse is expanding it’s relationship with a North Country hospital. Agreements like the one between St. Joe’s and the Lewis County General Hospital could be the wave of future health care in more rural areas of New York state.

Read more

7:39am

Mon March 24, 2014
Health

Affordable Care Act enrollment deadline is only one week away

There's only a week left in the enrollment period for people to sign up to get health care through the Affordable Care Act. But there’s been a steady flow of central New Yorkers signing up for insurance policies through the New York exchanges in advance of that deadline.

ACR Health in Syracuse has been helping people in a nine-county area sign on to plans. Community Health Director Steve Wood says things have been going well so far, with 3,500 people covered by health insurance who weren’t before.

Read more

7:26am

Fri March 21, 2014
Education

GED replaced with test based on Common Core standards

The new Common Core curriculum is reaching into the world of adult equivalency diplomas. The General Educational Development test, or GED, that used to be the gateway for a diploma in New York state has been replaced with a harder test called TASC, short for the Test Assessing Secondary Completion.

The Syracuse Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) offered the test for the first time this week. Marcia Tait, executive director of Literacy CNY, doesn’t know how the test takers did, but knows she’d have had trouble with it.

Read more

3:10pm

Thu March 20, 2014
Education

Syracuse leaders come together to advocate for pre-K funding

Supporters of pre-K, including Syracuse Common Councilor Nader Maroun, hold up banner at news conference Thursday.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse-area advocates of universal pre-kindergarten want lawmakers to include it in the state budget expected to be approved in Albany in the next ten days. Supporters crystallized their argument for pre-K  at a news conference at Delaware School on Syracuse’s west side Thursday.

The call to  include universal pre-K in the state budget came from business leaders, like Centerstate CEO president Rob Simpson

Read more

6:18am

Wed March 19, 2014
Religion

Syracuse group opens home to take in pregnant women

The living room of Joseph's House
Credit Ellen Abbott

A house that opens its doors to pregnant women who don’t have anywhere to live will soon open on Syracuse's Northside.

Joseph’s House, a project conceived by two women who are anti-abortion, seeks to offer pregnant women in crisis another option besides abortion.

Kitty Spinelli of Skaneatelas and Maria Miller of Fairmount are the founders of Joseph’s House, which is housed in a home more than 100-years-old in an undisclosed location on the city’s Northside.  

They said they are already getting calls about pregnant women who have nowhere to go.

Read more

7:33am

Tue March 18, 2014
Health

Schumer asks for expedited delivery of sterilazation products for central New York hospitals

Sen. Charles Schumer and Dr. Anthony Weiss holding vials of Biologic during a news conference at Weiskotten Hall in Syracuse Monday.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is hoping to use his influence to expedite delivery of a sterilization product used by hospitals. The senator was called by central New York hospitals to help deal with the shortage of the material used to sterilize equipment used in surgery.

Read more

5:15pm

Mon March 17, 2014
Politics and Government

Schumer calls for more airline passport checks

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) during his visit to Syracuse Monday.

As the search continues for a missing Malaysian Airlines plane, Sen. Charles Schumer is proposing legislation that would close what he calls a "major gap" in airline security, exposed because of the incident.   
Schumer notes that two passengers on the plane got on board using stolen passports, apparently very easily. And he says most countries don’t require airlines to check the Interpol database to see if passports are stolen.

Read more

6:49am

Mon March 17, 2014
Regional Coverage

Syracuse land bank to try deconstucting old homes instead of demolishing

This house at 257 South Collingwood Ave. in Syracuse was the first the city's new land bank sold. Older, damaged homes will be deconstructed or demolished.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The Greater Syracuse Area Land Bank is going into the deconstruction business. Taking apart old homes piece by piece will be an option to just tearing them down.

In the last year, the land bank has acquired 165 properties that had been seized by the city for back taxes. Many are in such bad shape they have to be torn down. Instead of demolition though, Land Bank Executive Director Katelyn Wright says there is some money available for deconstruction.

Read more

6:19am

Mon March 17, 2014
Politics

New York GOP has sights set on winning four key Congressional contests

NYS Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment

Republican party leaders are bullish when it comes to New York state's congressional elections this November.

Read more

2:35pm

Fri March 14, 2014
Regional Coverage

Hunger increasing in central and northern New York

The number of people who are hungry in central and northern New York is climbing. The latest survey from the Food Bank of Central New York shows an increase in food requests as well as some changes in the kinds of people who are asking for help.

At the height of the recession in 2008-2009, the Food Bank of Central New York saw a 12 percent increase in the number of meals requested across its 11-county service area. Those numbers stabilized, but now they are going back up -- climbing seven percent last year.   

Read more

6:22am

Fri March 14, 2014
Regional Coverage

DeWitt nano hub announces first feature film project

Vancouver Film School Flickr

A futuristic movie called “The Opium War” will be the first feature film produced through the Central New York Hub for Emerging Nano Industries in DeWitt. A seven to eight week shooting schedule will start by the end of summer.

Film House Chief Operating Officer Michael Haggerty has already been in the Syracuse area scouting locations for the film, which he says is "about a female astronaut who crash lands and is offered a smuggling job that will pay for her ship's repairs.”

Read more

3:39pm

Wed March 12, 2014
The Upstate Economy

Syracuse Land Bank reports on progess in first year

The Syracuse Land Bank demolished it's first vacant home Monday.
Greater Syracuse Area Land Bank/City of Syracuse

After a year on the job, the Greater Syracuse Area Land Bank has issued its first progress report, which notes that several steps have been taken to start reclaiming Syracuse neighborhoods from dilapidated and decaying homes.

First the numbers. The Syracuse Land Bank has acquired 165 properties across Syracuse over the past year. Twelve have been sold or have sales pending; 21 are currently for sale; 26 are slated for demolition;  and 57 are vacant lots.

Read more

9:42pm

Tue March 11, 2014
Politics

Donald Trump rallies Republicans, saying party can win New York

Donald Trump speaking at a Republican Party fundraiser in Syracuse Tuesday night.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

In the words of the infamous Donald Trump, upstate New York has been "abandoned," the state's gun control laws were a "catastrophe" and its pro-business television campaign is "egregious."

Those were some of the colorful adjectives Trump, a real estate tycoon and reality TV star, used at a Republican Party fundraiser Tuesday night in Syracuse.

Trump has flirted with a run for governor of New York for a few months, but his speech in front of more than 300 people was to raise money for the party, not announce a bid for governor. He did say that decision is coming soon.

Read more

6:10am

Tue March 11, 2014
Health

Cortland County counts down the days to the next Obamacare deadline

Advocates announce "Countdown to Coverage" campaign.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Cortland County has started a "Countdown to Coverage," to try and get the word out about the next major deadline for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

According to Lindy Glennon of the Cortland County Community Action Program, the next important date in the Affordable Care Act timeline is March 31, which is a little over three weeks away. March 31 is the last day to enroll in health coverage through the New York State of Health marketplace, without facing penalties.

Read more

Pages