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

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner isn’t backing down from her opposition to a proposal to merge the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County into a metropolitan government. The mayor doesn’t see any benefit to city residents in the 50 proposals included in the final report of the Consensus Commission on government consolidation.

Miner says if followed through, the recommendation to create a metropolitan government, would leave the city in a weak position on a couple of fronts.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The Syracuse chapter of the NAACP has concerns about the potential appointment of Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci as a U.S attorney.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Consensus Commission’s final report on government modernization for central New York is in. There are 50 recommendations that propose government consolidation in the areas of infrastructure, public safety, municipal operations and economic development. 

Upstate Medical University

Low-wage workers in Syracuse continue to face physical and mental health issues, according to the latest Upstate Medical University report on the issue.

Over the past three years, the Low-Wage Workers Health Project has talked to more than 500 workers in Syracuse making less than $15 an hour. Director Jeanette Zoeckler says their stories show the same kinds of physical issues are faced in all kinds of jobs -- from retail, to health care, to administrative support.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

“Buy American” has been the rallying cry on a number of fronts this month, from President Donald Trump in his inaugural address to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Buy American” plan in his legislative agenda for 2017.  And boosters of manufacturing in central New York say the Syracuse-area could benefit from the attention.

nystateofhealth.ny.gov

Today is the open enrollment deadline for anyone who wants to sign up for private health insurance through New York’s marketplace program called the New York State of Health. Navigators with ACR Health in Syracuse continue signing up individuals for health care plans, in the shadow of a potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

A Syracuse agency that resettles refugees in Syracuse is beginning to deal with the fallout of President Donald Trump’s executive order barring refugees from entering the U.S. over the next four months.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Human service agencies from across central New York have joined the fight to ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo to increase funding in the state budget for the non-profits that help disabled New Yorkers.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Republicans believe they have a candidate in place that can put Syracuse City Hall back in GOP hands. Laura Lavine, currently the superintendent of the LaFayette School District announced she’s running for mayor Thursday.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced a Made in America proposal in his state budget, but a group of breakaway Democrats in the State Senate has its own idea about promoting goods manufactured in the United States. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner declared Syracuse a sanctuary city earlier this month and she’s not backing away from that after President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that would block federal grants from cities that don’t cooperate with anti-immigration laws.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There are going to be several changes in Syracuse City Hall next year. Because of term limit legislation, there will be a new mayor, and a new common council president.  But the next council president could be a familiar face in council chambers.

At-large councilor Helen Hudson announced Tuesday that she wants to run for the seat of council president.

“I am doing this because where people see a ceremonial role, I see an opportunity for action,” said Hudson.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

More changes are on the way for the New York State Fair. The fair will be longer starting this year, going from 12 days to 13. During a stop in Syracuse Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced more specific plans for a $70 million investment in the second phase of a revitalization of the State Fairgrounds.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Syracuse Fire Department will begin using data to try to prevent fire fatalities.

The fire department will work with Sam Edelstein, the city’s chief data officer, to figure out an algorithm to determine what houses might not have working smoke detectors, which can save lives and prevent injuries. Edelstein says it starts with statistics showing the most likely victims of a house fire.

"Generally populations that have old or young residents in the houses are more likely to die in a fire because they need more time to get out of the house,” Edelstein said.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Many central New Yorkers are gathering in Washington D.C. today for the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. Some are eagerly awaiting the speech from the infamously unpredictable Trump. Others are there to protest.

eriecanalway.org

The year 2017 could be a good year for the New York State Canal System. The federal government has designated it a National Historic Landmark, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning on integrating it into a proposed statewide hiking and biking route.

The historic landmark designation means the federal government recognizes the role of the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca Canals in the economic development of the United States. 

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council / File

The lack of progress on creation of an inland port in the Syracuse area is frustrating central New York business boosters.

CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson says in the last six months central New York has lost out on two big opportunities to create jobs, because of lack of an inland port.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The city of Syracuse is adding some new technology to it’s arsenal that it hopes will help reduce crime.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner delivered her final State of the City speech Thursday evening.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News File Photo

While many state lawmakers were not in attendance at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s regional State of the State speeches, one person who is tagged along to all the six speeches, is state Republican Party Chair Ed Cox.

Cox says he’s always gone to the State of the State speeches in the past. And even though he’s not allowed in the regional events that are taking the place of a State of the State in Albany this year,  Cox is offering his opinion to reporters after speeches are over, this particular time in Syracuse.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Syracuse Hancock International Airport will be getting a multi-million dollar makeover thanks to the Cuomo administration. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement at a regional State of the State Address in Syracuse Wednesday.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Central New York’s economy continues to lag behind others across the country and in upstate, according to the CenterState CEO annual economic forecast. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Following more than 15 years of federal and local lobbying efforts, the Harriet Tubman properties in Auburn have been established as a national historic park. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Some central New Yorkers are urging Congress to reject some of President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet picks. They brought their message to the Federal Building during a protest in Syracuse Monday. 

Syracuse physician Marianna Kaufman is part of the newly formed CNY Solidarity coalition. She says that group is particularly against four Trump nominees they call climate change deniers.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo brings his State of the State speech across the state this week, with a scheduled stop in Syracuse on Wednesday. He’s expected to use these speeches to outline his agenda for the year, as well as announce local programs and initiatives. But while Cuomo is promoting his agenda, one Senate Republican has ideas of his own.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse’s burgeoning refugee population has prompted one local hospital to invest in new technology that will allow access to a translator in less than 60 seconds.

You’ll find these rolling translators  in several departments at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse; they are basically an iPad, wired to a small gray speaker, attached to a cart on wheels. One touch to the iPad, and you hear something like:

"Thank you for calling LanguageLine Solutions, this is Alton, ID number 249063. I’ll be your Spanish interpreter today.”

Consensus CNY

It’s been almost a year since the Consensus CNY creleased more than 50 recommendations for modernizing government in Onondaga County. After months of meetings and public forums early last year, the volunteer group has yet to release a final report, and one local legislative leader says whenever it finally comes out, central New Yorkers won’t see big changes anytime soon.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci is being considered for a job in the Trump administration. The Republican says he was approached by members of the Trump transition team to consider a job as the U.S. attorney for New York’s Northern District.

It’s a job in the past that generally goes to someone with experience as a prosecutor. Antonacci is a civil attorney, but says it’s more than the experience in the courtroom that counts.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to take his yearly State of the State address on the road this year, instead of delivering the speech to lawmakers in Albany. That is not sitting well with Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse).

DeFrancisco says traditionally the message is supposed to be given the first full day of the legislative session, which this year would be January 4. Cuomo, though, won’t be offering his view of how New York State is faring to lawmakers that day. Instead he’s taking the legislative message to six regions across the state, starting Jan. 9.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

When Sen. Charles Schumer becomes Senate minority leader January 3, he will be one of the most powerful Democrats in the nation, at a time when the party is the weakest it’s been since the Great Depression. But the New Yorker says he has a plan to pull the party back into power.

Schumer doesn’t mince any words when it comes to rehashing Democratic losses on Election Day.

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