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

7:27am

Wed September 25, 2013
Regional Coverage

New series of public meetings being held to decide I-81's future

A series of neighborhood meetings will help the Department of Transportation decide I-81's future.
Zack Seward WXXI

New York state is holding another round of meetings regarding a topic that could change the face of Syracuse. The Department of Transportation begins a series of neighborhood sessions on Wednesday meant to get more feedback on the future of the Interstate 81 viaduct through downtown Syracuse.

Read more

4:05pm

Tue September 24, 2013
Health

Geriatric ER at Upstate University Hospital helping more seniors

Since it opened in July, the geriatric emergency room, known as GEM Care, at the Upstate University Hospital Community Campus is getting more seniors in the emergency department compared to a year ago.

GEM Care Director Dr. Jaime Ciacco said the new emergency department has achieved the goal of having fewer seniors admitted to the hospital after those visits.

He also said one thing they are finding at the facility, is that they're fixing the small things that can often be overlooked in a senior's health care.

Read more

7:27am

Mon September 23, 2013
Regional Coverage

Syracuse joins federal government in motion to try to change civil service tests

The city of Syracuse has joined the federal government in a legal motion that could end up changing the civil service tests that are the baseline for hiring police and firefighters across the state.

Read more

7:16am

Mon September 23, 2013
Health

Syracuse's Golisano Hospital using laser technology to treat brain tumors

Dr. Zulma Tovar-Spinoza with two-year-old Arianna Failla and her mother, Jennifer Failla.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse's Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital is the first in the nation using laser technology to treat a rare, genetic disease with a multi-staged approach. The new use of laser ablation technology has changed the lives of families with children suffering from tuberous sclerosis in central New York.

Read more

4:30pm

Fri September 20, 2013
Business

N.Y. regulations like 'death by a thousand cuts,' say manufacturers

The Senate Majority Coalition public forum on regulatory reform at Syracuse City Hall.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The one phrase that kept coming up at Friday's New York State Senate hearing on regulatory reform in Syracuse, was "death by a thousand cuts." Manufacturers were the focus today as lawmakers travel around the state trying to identify regulations that are getting in the way of business.

One of the regulations State Sen. John DeFransisco called asinine at today's hearing, springs from the Wage Theft Prevention Act. Employers are required to provide employees with a yearly notice regarding their compensation, information that is already on their paycheck.

Read more

7:15am

Thu September 19, 2013
Health

New York prepares to open Affordable Care Act health exchange

New York's health exchange will soon open, but New Yorkers still have questions.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

In less than two weeks, the health exchanges that are an integral part of the Affordable Care Act will go into business in New York state, but officials are already starting to hear from residents who want to know how this will affect their health care.

Read more

7:40am

Tue September 17, 2013
Politics and Government

Republican Party drops out of Syracuse mayoral race

Onondaga County Republican Party Chairman Tom Dadey announces that the GOP will not field a candidate for mayor of Syracuse in the November elections.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

For the first time in a century, there won't be a candidate on the Republican line in the race for Syracuse mayor this November. The GOP held off as long as it could to try to find a candidate, before calling off the the search.

"We gave it a yeoman's effort to try and find a candidate," Onondaga County Republican Party Chair Tom Dadey said. "That's why we went to the extraordinary lengths we went to, to preserve our ballot line for as long as we could, in hopes that that candidate would come forward, who's never come forward."

Read more

7:26am

Mon September 16, 2013
Politics

Coalition calls for NY to raise the age of adult criminal prosecution

Raise the Age New York

New York is one of only two states that prosecutes 16 and 17-year-olds as adults. But a broad-based coalition, made up of governmental and community groups, is hoping that getting the word out about the issue will lead to legislation raising the age that juveniles are put in the criminal justice system from 16 to 18.

Read more

4:56pm

Fri September 13, 2013
Politics and Government

Joanie Mahoney presents Onondaga County 2014 budget

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney presents her 2014 budget to the Onondaga County Legislature.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County is on firm, fiscal footing according to County Executive Joanie Mahoney.  Mahoney offered up a $1.22 billion 2014 budget to the Onondaga County Legislature Friday that features spending cuts and a slight decrease in tax rates.

Mahoney says there are a couple of reasons for the slimmer spending plan.

Read more

7:44am

Fri September 13, 2013
Education

New SU chancellor is introduced to college community

New SU Chancellor Kent Syverud speaks to the college community.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A Rochester-area native will become the 12th chancellor and president of Syracuse University in January. Incoming Chancellor Kent Syverud introduced himself to the university community at Hendricks Chapel on Thursday, after the Board of Trustees voted on his appointment.

Syverud said he is going to learn to bleed orange, and he has a good start.

Read more

7:53am

Thu September 12, 2013
Regional Coverage

Syracuse Common Council considers beefing up noise nuisance laws

Members of the Syracuse Common Council are considering beefing up fines for residents accused of disturbing the peace.

These are the kinds of complaints lawmakers hear a lot, according to northside Syracuse councilor Jake Barrett. He says these types of complaints affect the quality of life of city residents, and can be big or small.

Read more

7:17am

Thu September 12, 2013
Politics and Government

Kevin Bott launches Green Party mayoral campaign in Syracuse

Green Party mayoral candidate Kevin Bott stands on the steps of City Hall while launching his campaign.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

Syracuse's Green Party is optimistic about the race for mayor of Syracuse. Candidate Kevin Bott kicked off his campaign on the steps of City Hall yesterday, suggesting that even though incumbent mayor Stephanie Miner won a three-way Democratic primary, there are signs her political support isn't that strong.

Read more

7:20am

Wed September 11, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse primaries shrink field for mayoral, councilor-at-large positions

Stephanie Miner receives a hug on primary night.
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner took a step toward a second term in yesterday's Democratic mayoral primary, after winning more than half of the votes cast in a three-way race for the Democratic spot on the November ballot.

"Tonight we heard loudly and clearly, that the people of this party are looking forward and not backward," Miner said.

Read more

6:36am

Tue September 10, 2013
Politics and Government

Primary day expected to draw low numbers

Columbia City Blog Flickr

It's primary day in New York state, and city halls throughout the region are at the center of voting. Probably the highest profile mayoral race is in New York City, but voters will also be choosing candidates for mayor in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Watertown and Syracuse.

While the polls give an edge to incumbents in these races, Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says candidates can't afford to take anything for granted.

Read more

3:51pm

Mon September 9, 2013
Regional Coverage

Syracuse Common Council approves more foreclosures

Syracuse Common Councilors have agreed to begin foreclosure proceedings on more than two dozen addition tax delinquent properties, that will be turned over to the land bank. This is the third round of foreclosure decisions by lawmakers in the last month. But, there is an end game in sight.

Read more

6:52am

Mon September 9, 2013
Environment

SUNY ESF combines values, architecture in new welcoming center

A view inside SUNY ESF's new weloming center.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The new Gateway Building at Syracuse's SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry campus is meant to be more than a welcoming center, incorporating many of the environmental values the school is known for.

SUNY ESF President Neil Murphy says the new $28 million center fulfills a decade old dream at the school.

Read more

4:49pm

Fri September 6, 2013
Politics and Government

NYS education commissioner visits two very different school districts

State Education Commissioner John King visits a seventh grade math class at Wellwood Middle School in the Fayetteville-Manlius School District.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

It was a tale of two distinct school districts in Onondaga County as State Education Commissioner John King visited central New York today during a new school year swing through the state. While there are big differences between the Fayetteville-Manlius and Syracuse City School Districts, he found some similarities especially when it comes to attacking the new rigorous common core standards.

Read more

7:11am

Fri September 6, 2013
Regional Coverage

Syracuse's Hancock International Airport selected for TSA's PreCheck program

A view of Syracuse's Hancock International Airport, which was recently selected for the TSA's new PreCheck program.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse's Hancock International Airport is one of the medium size airports that will offer the TSA's new PreCheck program, becoming one of 60 across the country that will be able to take advantage of the expedited screening.

The PreCheck initiative is a frequent traveler screening program that will make it easier for frequent fliers to get through the screening process. Syracuse Aviation Commissioner Christina Callahan says there should be demand in Central New York.

Read more

2:49pm

Thu September 5, 2013
Education

Syracuse schools celebrate first day back by highlighting new I-Zone schools

Syracuse City School District Superintendent Sharon Contreras visits a kindergarten class at Frazer School.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

All the public schools in Onondaga County are now open for the new school year. The Syracuse City School District was one of the last ones to open its doors Thursday morning. And school officials used the occasion of the first day of school to show off one of the new I-Zone Schools in the district.

Read more

6:33am

Thu September 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Miner receives endorsement from environmentalist group

Mayor Stephanie Miner receives an endorsement from the local and regional arm of the Sierra Club.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has some local environmentalists on her side in her race for reelection.

The local and regional arm of the Sierra Club is supporting Miner in her bid for mayor, citing what they say is her ambitious environmental vision for Syracuse. Shortly after becoming mayor, Miner created the Bureau of Sustainability and Environment, dedicated to environmental issues in the city. Miner says these are important issues, even in a time of fiscal instability. She also says city residents appreciate the focus on this issue.

Read more

4:03pm

Wed September 4, 2013
Regional Coverage

Butter to compost could be example of future recycling laws

Butter from the NY State Fair sculpture has ended up at an OCRRA composting site.
OCRRA

Vendors and displays are packed up, and the New York State Fair in Syracuse is over for another year. But one of the iconic sights of the fair will live on, giving a glimpse of what could be the next big recycling trend in New York state.

Read more

3:47pm

Fri August 30, 2013
Regional Coverage

Syracuse Protestors say U.S. should not use military force in Syria

Protestors gather in front of the Federal Building in Syracuse to speak out again potential U.S. military action in Syria
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Central New Yorkers took to the streets of Syracuse today to protest the possibility of any U.S. military strike against Syria.  

Protesters stood in front of the Syracuse Federal Building looking for support, and passersby honked horns in suport. About 20 protesters carrying signs that said things like "find another way: and "No U.S. Intervention."

Read more

7:28am

Fri August 30, 2013
Politics and Government

Police and economy focal points during Syracuse mayoral debate

The use of technology versus having an officer on the street seems to separate the candidates when it comes to fighting crime in the city of Syracuse. The three candidates in September's mayoral Democratic primary debated the issue on the Campbell Conversations. Common Councilor Pat Hogan suggests there aren't enough officers on the street.

Read more

7:24am

Fri August 30, 2013
Agriculture

NY State Fair offers visitors the chance to see a calf be born

A cow licks her calf after giving birth at the New York State Fair's new Dairy Cow Birthing Center.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A new exhibit at the New York State Fair in Syracuse this year shows cows giving birth; and you just never know when you might be able to see a maternal miracle.

When the ribbon on the new Dairy Cow Birthing Center was cut, visitors were milling about, enjoying some dairy related snacks. Reporters were interviewing the experts who would explain why fairgoers should want to see the birth of a calf, when there was an interruption.

"We have a calf coming. Didn't mean to interrupt, but nature calls."

Read more

7:02am

Thu August 29, 2013
Education

SUNY chancellor: schools will perform well under Obama's proposed ranking system

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher visits the New York State Fair, stopping at the SUNY Upstate Medical University booth.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The head of the State University of New York welcomes the competition component of President Barack Obama's new education plan, intended to make a college education more affordable.

The president's plan would rank colleges and universities according to a number of factors, including student debt and graduation rates. It would then tie that ranking to federal student aid. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher says the proposal will also encourage innovation and take measures to reduce student debt.

Read more

6:52am

Thu August 29, 2013
Education

Seven Syracuse schools enter first year of Innovation Zone

Teachers hold a rally during the iZone kick-off event at Porter Elementary School.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The seven worst schools in the Syracuse City School District are joining forces in an attempt to improve the performance of those schools in a short period of time. The district says the Innovation Zone schools, armed with more than $31 million in state grants, can turn things around.

Read more

6:56am

Wed August 28, 2013
Environment

New York lawmakers fighting back against invasive species

Asian Carp jump out of the water at the mouth of the Wabash River in Kentucky.
LousivilleUSACE/flickr

Congress is taking aim against invasive species that are clogging New York state's waterways, with New York representatives in the House and Senate backing the proposed "Invasive Fish and Wildlife Prevention Act."

It's a problem that plagues many lakes and rivers in central New York. Species like Asian carp and certain kinds of mussels can interfere with boating and recreation activities on the state's waterways. But championing the legislation is Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who says these species can be difficult to deal with.

Read more

6:43am

Wed August 28, 2013
Regional Coverage

Thousands flock to NY State Fair to register for STAR exemptions

Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Darrell Aubertine registers for his STAR Exemption in the Center of Progress Building at the New York State Fair.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Navigating through the Center of Progress Building at the New York State Fair is always a little difficult. But this year, it isn't the crowds at the cookware or candy booths that's creating roadblocks. Fairgoers are flocking to the New York State Taxation and Finance booth after getting letters last week explaining the need to register.

"We have a little bit of a line here. Can you wait?"

Read more

4:00pm

Tue August 27, 2013
Politics and Government

Gillibrand would support some military action in Syria

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) says she'll stand by the Obama administration as it considers military action against Syria in light of alleged chemical weapons use against civilians.

During a stop at the New York State Fair, Gillibrand said there's a humanitarian crisis in Syria that must be addressed by the United States and other countries, adding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must be put on notice that recent attacks against civilians are unacceptable to the world community.  

Read more

7:55am

Tue August 27, 2013
Regional Coverage

DiNapoli discusses upcoming pension rate numbers, impact on municipalities

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli
Ellen Abbott WRVO file photo

The New York state comptroller's office this week comes out with some numbers of great interest to local governments. Pension rates are one of the reasons many local governments, including the city of Syracuse, say they are in financial peril.

Read more

Pages