Ellen Abbott

Reporter, Syracuse, WRVO Public Media

Member station reporter, WRVO Public Media

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County for Innovation Trail partner station WRVO Public Media.  Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

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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. 

The ride hailing era in upstate has begun. Central New Yorkers began using Uber or Lyft to snag a ride Thursday.

Uber, the bigger of the two ride hailing operations, came to Syracuse to offer an example of how the app based ride hailing system works. Uber spokesman Sean Connor hailed a car in Armory Square.

“One of the great things about the app, it tells me the make, model and driver, so I get into the right car -- which is important,” Connor said.

The recently-passed state budget eliminates a cap on New York’s burgeoning industrial hemp industry. That will allow more farmers to be able to research, grow and process a crop that could turn into a a million dollar business.

The industrial hemp industry’s first hurdle is also the biggest misconception most people have about.

"It is related to marjiuana is what most people think," said SUNY Morrisville Researcher Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins. “But industrial hemp does not have any THC in it.”

The growth of the security industry, coupled with a bit of government funding, is allowing one Syracuse security system company to expand its workforce. According to the Cuomo administration, Rapid Response Monitoring Systems is expected to create more than 275 jobs in its workforce over the next year as part of a $14 million expansion.

Of that $14 million, $2.5 million was given by the state to encourage the company to stay in central New York; almost half of that through an Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant and the rest through Excelsior tax credits.

Three years after the Lockheed Martin plant in suburban Syracuse was nearly closed, the Salina location has received the single largest contract in its history. Changing methods of warfare have paved the way for more production of a special kind of radar made in central New York.

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