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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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.

Low-wage workers in Syracuse continue to face physical and mental health issues, according to the latest Upstate Medical University report on the issue.

Over the past three years, the Low-Wage Workers Health Project has talked to more than 500 workers in Syracuse making less than $15 an hour. Director Jeanette Zoeckler says their stories show the same kinds of physical issues are faced in all kinds of jobs -- from retail, to health care, to administrative support.

Syracuse’s burgeoning refugee population has prompted one local hospital to invest in new technology that will allow access to a translator in less than 60 seconds.

You’ll find these rolling translators  in several departments at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse; they are basically an iPad, wired to a small gray speaker, attached to a cart on wheels. One touch to the iPad, and you hear something like:

"Thank you for calling LanguageLine Solutions, this is Alton, ID number 249063. I’ll be your Spanish interpreter today.”

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