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.
At the end of this week, the biggest Christmas giveaway in central New York takes place and the high numbers of families who signed up for the annual Christmas Bureau shows an economy that's still hurting.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is optimistic that the President Barack Obama and leadership of the House of Representatives will cut a deal to prevent the so-called "fiscal cliff." New York's junior senator predicted there would be progress soon during a visit to Syracuse Friday.
Some supporters of the new state Senate coalition between Republicans and the Independent Democrat Caucus say it will keep upstate New York concerns on the table. Some area politicians believe that wasn't the case when Democrats had control of the New York state Senate in 2009 and 2010.
New York state has a variety of programs intended to save taxpayer dollars by helping governments share services or eliminate certain government entities altogether. A New York state Assembly hearing in Syracuse this week tried to find out whether these programs work.
With the holiday gift buying season fully underway, advocacy groups say there are toys on store shelves across New York state that are dangerous to young children. The New York Public Interest Research Group has come up with it's yearly list of treacherous toys for the season.
The newly-created New York state Senate leadership coalition has further divided Democrats. Governor Andrew Cuomo has offered his conditional support, and at least one other party leader -- Democrat state party co-chairwoman Stephanie Miner -- agrees.
Albany received an earful from hundreds of students, parents educators and community members Wednesday about recent cuts in funding for education. The "Educate New York Now Express" has been rolling across the state, picking up supporters and support for their plea to lawmakers to reinvest in public education.
World AIDS Day was remembered in Syracuse this morning during a service of remembrance. Participants say they are worried that the disease, which has been around for over 30 years now, has become forgotten.
While the balance of the New York State senate remains unclear, as votes continue to be counted in a pair of close Senate races, activists are calling on a breakaway political coalition to stick with the Democrats. A coalition of union and community groups believe some important issues depend on it.
Onondaga Community College is joining forces with St. John Fisher College in Rochester to offer students a "two-plus-two" partnership agreement. That means students spend their first two years at OCC, then transfer to Fisher to get their degree.
There's a new view of Onondaga Lake. Honeywell has opened a new Onondaga Lake Visitors Center, right next to the company's massive project that's dredging and capping two million cubic yards of contaminated lake soil. Honeywell hopes it can change perceptions of a lake, that for decades has been so dirty, people didn't want to go near it.
New York state's attack on ballooning Medicaid costs has started with a program that offers coordinated care for certain Medicaid patients. State Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson says the program called Health Homes, is aimed at the people who have the most complex Medicaid charts.
Senator Charles Schumer is hoping some federal dollars will help keep the Inner Harbor development project in Syracuse moving ahead. He's personally requesting that the federal Economic Development Administration approve a $2 million grant for the project.
Before deciding what the Onondaga Lake shoreline should look like in the future, FOCUS, is looking at what the community has wanted in the past. The community group that is creating a roadmap for the future of the polluted lake's shore, has issued a preliminary report documenting 84 years of studies of the lake.
The flu is making an early appearance across upstate New York this fall, from the North Country through the Mohawk Valley. With the holiday season approaching, experts say it becomes more important than ever to take precautions.
Onondaga County lawmakers are considering the possibility of a smoking ban in county parks and the perimeter of county facilities. But an initial proposal from the county executive's office needs to be whittled down before lawmakers will agree to it.
Medicare will look different a year from now, as the Affordable Care Act goes into effect. But, Medicare advocates are worried about some potential changes to the program that pays for health care for the elderly.
The candidates in the 24th congressional district contest were prepared for the race to go down to the wire, since polls predicted that democrat Dan Maffei and Ann Marie Buerkle were locked in a statistical tie, with Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum trailing behind. But it looks like former Congressman Maffei will be returning to Washington to represent central New York in Congress.
Ann Marie Buerkle voting in the town of Onondaga, New York.
The candidates for central New York's 24th congressional district both say they are ready for election results that could be too close to call tonight. The latest Siena College poll on Saturday showed Democrat candidate Dan Maffei tied with incumbent Republican Ann Marie Buerkle at 44 percent.
Ursula Rozum is running for Congress in New York's 24th District on the Green Party line.
The latest Siena College poll in the 24th Congressional District gives Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum support from 8 percent of likely voters. The question now is if Rozum will get enough votes to tilt the outcome between the major party candidates.