Ellen Abbott

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. 

Two rival factions of the Democratic Party in the New York state Senate are making moves toward unification. 

New York State is pumping more money into after school programs in central and northern New York. Gov. Cuomo announced the expansion of the program at a Syracuse elementary school Tuesday.

Gov. Cuomo today continued to slam the four Congressional Republicans from New York who voted for the GOP tax overhaul plan.

Health officials will be trying to stop the potential spread of tuberculosis at a Syracuse city school. 

The Onondaga County Health Department was contacted this week about an individual at the PSLA High School at Fowler with an active case of TB, a bacterial illness that attacks the lungs.

The Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council (SMTC) has issued its final recommendation on a transit plan that could change the way central New Yorkers get around.

The final report focuses on the idea of Bus Rapid Transit. It involves creating corridors in high traffic areas that are earmarked for buses that would travel more quickly, with fewer stops. Council Director Jim D’Agostino says the SMTC is proposing corridors that essentially make an X across the city, from University Hill to Destiny USA, and Onondaga Community College to James Street. 

Central New Yorkers who oppose a sweeping overhaul to the tax code supported by Republicans and President Donald Trump made their case outside a roundtable meeting with Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon and local congressional representatives in Syracuse today.

The proposed changes take away certain deductions, like state and local taxes, but increases a taxpayers personal deduction. Opponents like Sharon Owens of Syracuse call that a scam.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are once again warning that New Yorkers will be hurt if the Republican tax overhaul plan in Congress is approved.

Schumer, who is Senate Democratic Leader, says while the tax plan has changed from the original version, 71 percent of the deductions that now benefit state residents would be eliminated. The plan would end deductions for state and local income taxes, and cap the property tax deduction at $10,000 a year. 

The deadly shooting at a Texas church Sunday has renewed calls for stricter gun control laws in the United States. But Rep. John katko (R-Camillus) says this tragedy shouldn't simply bring calls for gun control. 

Katko says it's clear that there were mental health issues with the shooter in Sunday's attack. 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley received a "bad conduct discharge" from the Air Force in 2014, and was courtmartialed for assaulting his wife and child. 

New York State isn’t following the federal government’s move to cut the 2018 open enrollment period for health insurance in half.

Open enrollment for health insurance purchased through the federal marketplace will end December 15. New York won’t follow that deadline, and will be taking applications until January 31, 2018.

As New York State moves toward its goal of getting 50 percent of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2030, much of the focus is on wind and solar energy. But there’s another energy source out there that boosters want to shine a light on.

Pulling methane gas from cow manure and other organic matter has been going on for years. But in order to get biogas to the next level as a source of renewable energy, it needs to become more economically viable.

One of the businesses that has settled in central New York because of the growing drone industry is a company that teaches people how to fly unmanned aerial systems.

The bidding process begins Wednesday to determine who gets the job of renovating the terminal at Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport.

The $45 million project, announced in January, is moving ahead at a quick pace.

Work started on the first phase of the project a month ago, with demolition of the curbside, concrete canopy at the entrance to the airport. Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined officials for an official groundbreaking Tuesday, and promised the rest of the work on the terminal will be done in a timely manner.

Scientists at Syracuse University played a part in a major scientific discovery that could open many of the secrets of the universe. 

For years, astronomers believed metals like gold or platinum were created when two neutron stars collided. They know now that it’s true, according to Syracuse University physics professor Duncan Brown. Scientists discovered it using powerful telescopes and new methods that measure gravitational waves.

Syracuse University and the Onondaga County Health Department are trying to contain an outbreak of mumps on the SU campus. 

Central New York Rep. John Kato (R-Camillus) opposed Republican Party bosses last week by voting against the proposed budget in the House. He was one of 18 Republican members of Congress who voted against the plan that passed on Thursday.

Katko says it ultimately shifts more costs to New Yorkers, and that’s not fair. He says those cuts that would hurt the state include reductions in Medicaid and SNAP programs, as well as transportation spending.

This year’s mild fall is keeping the Onondaga County Health Department busy, as algal blooms in Skaneateles Lake and mosquito-borne illnesses are still being monitored at a time they are usually a fading summer memory.

A handful of central New Yorkers joined hands Tuesday night in a vigil, to look for healing in the wake of Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.

NASA is joining forces with the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NuAIR) to grow two elements of the drone industry in central New York. 

Canal enthusiasts from all over the world converged on Syracuse this week for the 2017 World Canals Conference. One of the reasons organizers chose central New York is it's intimate history with the Erie Canal, which is celebrating the bicentennial the start of its construction this year.  It’s a canal that forever changed New York State and the rest of the country.

The first hint of a canal goes back to the 1700s, when a fledgling nation looked to unite the country's east coast with its vast interior. 

A recent report by the Federal Reserve shows certain zip codes in the city of Rochester lack access to credit. This sort of credit inequality also most likely exists in the city of Syracuse.

It’s still unclear just how many students applied for and will be awarded the state’s new Excelsior Scholarship announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year.

New York State is getting $25 million in federal funds to help fight the opioid addiction epidemic.

Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul says among other things, the funding will target a particular population: addicts in more rural areas where treatment is an hour or two away.

On that sunny September 11 16 years ago, many had their eyes to the sky watching the twin towers fall. Under bright blue skies in Pompey Monday morning, all eyes were on the sky as two skydivers fluttered to the earth, each carrying an American flag.

It was part of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation program that builds functional homes for disabled vets. The program is named after Frank Siller’s brother Stephen, a New York City Firefighter who lost his life 16 years ago.

More people visited the 2017 edition of the New York State Fair in Geddes than any other. 1,161,912 million visitors came to the fair during its 13-day run, breaking the overall attendance record set last year. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Being the only producer of wine flour on the east coast may be lonely, but one Finger Lakes entrepreneur has created a growing business.

If you’ve ever wondered what could be done with all the mashed grapes left over from wine making, Hillary Niver-Johnson did. When SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry graduate realized that making grapeseed oil from the leftover seeds was cost prohibitive, she stumbled on the process of making flour.

“Wine flour is a supplemental flour, not a substitutional flour,” said Niver-Johnson.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

(WRVO) As the opioid epidemic continues across upstate New York, Naxalone, known by its brand name as Narcan, has become a critical component in stopping overdoses. The Upstate New York Poison Center is trying to drive that point home at the New York State Fair.

Courtesy of Governor Cuomo's Office

(WRVO) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that a new $50 million expo center will be built at the New York State Fairgrounds near Syracuse, and work will happen quickly.

Ellen Abbott / WSKG

 

(WRVO) The 2017 edition of the New York State Fair opens Wednesday near Syracuse. The fair has typically opened on a Thursday, but it's opening a day early this year, with officials calling it "Preview Day." 

State lawmakers and volunteer firefighters are putting pressure on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill that would provide better coverage for volunteers who develop cancer because of the job they do.

Brian McQueen has been a longtime volunteer with the Whitesboro Fire Department. When he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma several years ago, he was forced to take on the cost of much of the treatment himself. He doesn’t want any other volunteers to have to face that.

The future of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse hinges on an independent investigation of the options, currently being overseen by the New York State Department of Transportation. In the meantime, champions of different options for the aging highway continue to butt heads.

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