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.
Several local community organizations have joined forces to create the Central New York Coalition for Immigration Reform. This group will push a comprehensive immigration reform agenda, with an emphasis towards towards family unity, an improved visa system, and a path to eventual citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in this country now. It's the only hope one undocumented immigrant who lives in Syracuse has of staying in this country.
The hearings are over; the New York State Assembly and Senate have put together their respective spending plans. Now this week, lawmakers in Albany get down to the details of hammering out a state budget that both chambers can agree on. Senate Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco of Syracuse believes it can be done before the April 1 deadline.
School districts across New York state are in the midst of their budget process right now, with many facing dwindling state aid and more state mandates. A weekend legislative conference in Syracuse focused on the story that doesn't seem to change.
Advocates for the disabled will be out in force in Syracuse Friday, rallying against Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed cuts to the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. The six percent across-the-board budget proposal would mean major cuts to the agencies across the state that provide support and services for the developmentally disabled. Many families are afraid of what will happen if those services go away.
The Onondaga County Sheriff's Department has received the go-ahead to do whatever necessary to ease the pistol permit backlog that's mushroomed in central New York, because of the dramatic increase of the number of permit applications coming into the Syracuse office.
Unlike many other local governments in New York state, Onondaga County has weathered the recent fiscal crisis, and come out on firm financial footing. In her State of the County address Tuesday night, County Executive Joanie Mahoney credits recent budget cutting tactics for the difference.
Onondaga County is the latest county government in New York state to call on Albany to repeal the SAFE Act. The county legislature voted Tuesday to ask the state to scrap the new state law, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called the toughest gun control law in the country.
As the controversy over hydrofracking drags on in New York state, opponents of the drilling method are trying to get more college students involved in the debate. NYPIRG project coordinator Nicole Saint James is recruiting students at Syracuse University to help put more pressure on Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cheers are coming from all corners of central New York following the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act last week in Washington. The renewal of the law had been stalled for almost two years in the midst of House and Senate gridlock.
Rep. Dan Maffei (D-DeWitt) speaking earlier this year.
Most central New Yorkers won't notice the impact of federal budget cuts caused by sequestration right away, according to Syracuse-area Rep. Dan Maffei. But Maffei, who was in Syracuse today to tout the bipartisan passage of the Violence Against Women Act, says everyone will feel it eventually.
Rosie Travella, CEO of the Central New York American Red Cross, talks about emergency preparedness
Onondaga County emergency professionals want to prepare central New York for a potential disaster. First they want to know whether everyday citizens are ready for anything from the storm of the century to an act of terrorism.
As Pope Benedict XVI left the Vatican today for the last time as pope, some Catholics in central New York were taking note. A mass of Thanksgiving at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in downtown Syracuse marked the end Pope Benedict's ministry.
With the federal budget sequestration deadline only days away, Syracuse-area Cong. Dan Maffei opened the phone lines for a telephone town hall meeting Tuesday night. Callers were concerned about the how these funding cuts will impact central New York if sequestration goes into effect March 1.
It's been ten years since Syracuse-area oncologist Dr. Rafil Dhafir was arrested for crimes involving the Muslim charity Help the Needy. Dhafir continues to serve a 22-year prison sentence after he was convicted of violating U.S. sanctions against his native Iraq by sending money there. In 2005, a federal jury convicted him of 59 felonies, including fraud and tax evasion, among other things. But Dhafir's conviction and incarceration still has some central New Yorker's crying foul.
The automatic federal budget cuts that are slated to go into effect in March would have a big impact on programs that help the poor and elderly in Syracuse. Advocates for these programs are urging Congress to do something to prevent the across-the-board spending cuts knows as sequestration.
SUNY is asking the state for up to $185 million to stabilize its two public teaching hospitals. Most of the cash is needed for the Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. But Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse also needs millions.
Lawmakers in Washington are pushing for the establishment of a Harriet Tubman National Park in Auburn, where the abolitionist lived and died. Members of the New York congressional delegation say it could have a big impact on Auburn.
The effects of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. in December that killed 26 children and staff, lingers in the psychological community. It's one reason Syracuse University's psychology department is hosting a panel discussion Monday night focusing on different aspects of the psychology of school violence. One presenter is worried how this tragedy could end up further stigmatizing mental illness.
This week begins a year long campaign in New York that focuses on the Two Row Wampum, a treaty between the Haudenosaunee, also known as the Iroquois Nation, and some of the first settlers of New York state. The idea is educate, advocate, and create a better relationship Native Americans and New Yorkers.
Half the people who contract HIV in the United States are African-American, according to statistics released last year. Advocates hope National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which is today, leads to more education about the disease in the black community. Locally, there will be a push to do just that in Syracuse this weekend.
The Syracuse Common Council is considering legislation that would prohibit businesses from screening prospective job applicants about their history of criminal convictions, early on in the hiring process. It's a concept meant to stop discrimination against potential employees with a criminal record.
A new era of newspaper journalism has taken hold of central New York this week. The Syracuse Post-Standard's new business model is in place, with fewer printed copies of the paper, and more emphasis on digital platforms. And there are many implications of this change to the region.
The newspaper business is changing. It has to, in a digital world where information is as close as an app on a phone, or a tap on a computer. The question is, how will newspapers make that change? The Syracuse Post-Standard, owned by Advance Newspapers, has made its move, and the change is about to occur.