Somali Community in Western New York

The desire for familiar food, clothing, and other products from home is spurring refugee communities in upstate New York to start their own businesses. In response, a group in Rochester has organized a six-week startup business training course to help the Somali refugee community navigate the process.

“They can actually create their own little local economy where they can exchange, similar to what they had in Somalia,” says David Dey, president and CEO of the Institute for Social Entrepreneurship.

Credit Kate O'Connell / WXXI

Many health care providers don’t know when their patients are admitted or discharged from the hospital or seen by an ambulance crew. That makes it harder to deliver comprehensive care.

To address this issue, the Rochester Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) has set up a simple alert system that’s aimed at improving quality of care.

Kate O'Connell / Innovation Trail

The Innovation Trail is looking at how refugees have weaved their way into upstate New York's changing economy.

On a recent fall day, community health nurse Sarah Miner is welcomed warmly into the home of Somali refugee Abdalla. Miner works with HCR Home Care in Rochester and she’s been visiting Abdalla and his family for a while now.

A new state law amends New York's land bank legislation introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration in 2011. Land banks are mechanisms for acquiring or demolishing abandoned properties that are delinquent on their taxes. The bill removes previous barriers that restricted counties and municipalities from purchasing properties without judicial authorization, allowing them to bid at public sales. Republican state Sen. Mark Grisanti sponsored the legislation.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history. Half a century ago, hundreds of thousands of people marched on Washington and gathered to hear Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

Fifty years later, Del Smith, director of the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship in Rochester, says African-Americans have made a lot of progress, but the business community is still catching up.

Onno Kluyt / Flickr

As more and more young people flock to the world’s largest cities, smaller cities have had to struggle to keep up. Perhaps nowhere has this played out more dramatically than New York, a state housing one of the world’s most tempting urban centers.  But there are young people who do move to New York City, only to discover - sometimes to their own surprise - that success can be found back home.

The Daily Refresher

As people increasingly stray from mass-produced products, demand is growing for locally produced food, wine and beer. In upstate New York this trend is spilling over into the field of craft distilleries, and the state is seeing a comeback of the small, artisan liquor operations of the pre-Prohibition era.

From the Adirondacks to the Hudson Valley, and down to New York City, dozens of micro-distilleries are popping up.

In western New York, Jason Barrett is adding another operation to the ranks.

Some rights reserved by Greg Marshall

According to estimates from the state’s Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), about 40 percent of electricity in the U.S. is consumed by office buildings. One upstate company, OLEDWorks, is developing technology that could help to lower this consumption.

The company’s developing organic LED technology, or OLEDs, as a more efficient alternative for lighting the nation’s office spaces.

Ray Sawhillv / Flickr

The organization responsible for regulating water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River is holding a series of public hearings in upstate New York and Canada this week, presenting a new management plan. The International Joint Commission, or IJC, attracted criticism for its last draft of the plan, called Bv7, which aimed to alter water levels to decrease environmental damage around the Great Lake.

Eastman Kodak Company

It's been a big week for Kodak. The U.S. bankruptcy court approved the company's previously announced comprehensive settlement agreement with its United Kingdom pension plan Thursday.

The settlement includes the spin-off of Kodak’s personal and document imaging businesses to U.K. pensioners, and represents a big step in the company’s bid to emerge from chapter 11.

The U.K. Kodak Pension Plan (KPP) is the company’s single largest creditor with respect to its chapter 11 plan for reorganization.


Kodak is hoping to sell its document imaging business for $210 million. The company has reached a tentative deal with Brother Industries that would see them take over operation of the portfolio of scanners, capture software and services.

Dan Klimke / Flickr

The results are in from this weekend’s Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in Rochester, and it’s good news for the region. A dozen wines from the Finger Lakes came away with coveted double-gold medals -- twice as many as last year. 

Some rights reserved by Kake Pugh

The City of Rochester has been given state approval to establish one of the state’s ten Land Banks. The city’s Land Bank will support the acquisition of vacant, tax-delinquent properties which will then be  renovated and sold through the HOME Rochester program. The aim is to also get more properties back on the tax rolls.

WXXI Public Broadcasting

Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a year ago. The intervening months have seen big layoffs, pay freezes for workers, and an end to benefits for many of the company's retirees. However, Kodak also secured an extra $830 million in funding, and sold its patent portfolio.

Adam Sadilek

Imagine using your smart phone to avoid getting the flu. A new mobile app designed by researchers at the University of Rochester could make it possible.

Kodak is set to sell its coal-fired power plant at Eastman Business Park to a company that will convert it to a cleaner, natural gas facility.

The sale of the Hickey Freeman parent company was approved by the U.S Bankruptcy Court Wednesday. Authentic Brands Groups (ABG) and W-Diamond Corporation have been given the go ahead to purchase the intellectual and physical property of the company.

Fifteen teams of students from the Rochester Institute of Technology, led by faculty, will develop technologies for assisting people with disabilities in the region.

Stewart Marshall / via Flickr

Kodak has reached an agreement for the sale of their digital patent portfolio. Under the agreement, the company will receive $525 million for the imaging patents from Intellectual Ventures, a major holder of US patents, and a group of 12 licensees.

Closing the gap between innovation and commercialization is the key to boosting the national economy. That is one of the messages at a manufacturing summit being held in Rochester this week.  Industry leaders say economic growth triggered by American ideas needs to be kept within the United States' borders.

An upstate school is adding a structure that generates its own energy, heating and cooling using renewable energy sources for its teaching spaces. The Harley School in Rochester broke ground on the $3 million project Monday.

Cybersecurity and technology companies have converged on upstate New York for the HackerFest technology trade show this week. And new technologies are emerging to step up security and pre-empt the strategies of cyber criminals.

dennieorson / Creative Commons License

Senator Charles Schumer says a new center to open in Rochester will be a model for cities all over the state and the nation. He made the statement at the launch of the new center for urban entrepreneurship in the city.

Raising graduation rates will benefit NY economy

Sep 26, 2012
Frontline / PBS

New York State has similar rates of student disengagement as the rest of the nation.

With dropout rates at almost 30 per cent in New York, the Alliance for Excellent Education warns that this crisis is damaging to the economy as well as the future of individuals.

Zack Seward/Innovation Trail

The brand new Venture Jobs Foundation is just like any other charity.

"This one just happens to be providing early stage capital," says Denny DeLeo, the foundation's president and director.

Zack Seward / WXXI

It started out as “The Death App.”

“I called it that because I couldn’t think of anything else,” says Tony Di Pietro.

Di Pietro’s “Death App” was the kernel of what became the winner of Rochester’s first Startup Weekend.

Rochester after Kodak

Jan 20, 2012

With Kodak embarking on a restructuring effort under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the future of the imaging icon remains unclear.

But one aspect of Kodak's legacy is already deeply imprinted onto the Rochester community.

Even as Rochester's most famous company struggled mightily to reinvent itself, the Rochester region steadily fought back - leading the state in job growth in recent years and outpacing its upstate peers in economic vitality.

One key reason: A long history of top-notch human capital flung into the community - willingly or not - as Kodak's fortunes withered.

Zack Seward/WXXI

From toilet paper to soda pop, more and more companies are testing whether "doing good" can be good for the bottom line.