western New York

8:28am

Fri December 20, 2013
Energy

Dunkirk power plant to switch to natural gas

File photo
Kate O'Connell Innovation Trail

Many of New York’s power stations are reaching the end of their operating lives, with coal-fired plants becoming less viable from both a business and environmental standpoint.

This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a $150 million deal that will see the coal-fired power plant in Dunkirk converted to burn natural gas.

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10:12am

Tue September 3, 2013
Agriculture

New York's Dairy Farmers Squeezed By Greek Yogurt Boom

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 2:01 pm

The recent yogurt boom of upstate New York has meant more jobs in places like the Chobani plant in South Edmeston, but it has not led to a bigger dairy herd in the state.
Mike Groll AP

Upstate New York has lugged around the Rust Belt identity for decades now.
But today, the region is trying on a new reputation as the king of yogurt — especially the high-protein Greek yogurt that consumers crave.

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8:28am

Mon September 2, 2013
Business

Struggle for federal dredging money continues in upstate cities

Kate O'Connell / WXXI

Shipping lanes and ports along the Great Lakes are big contributors to the economies of upstate cities.  Federal funding to remove sediment and keep these shipping lanes open is available, but funds are limited and some of the smaller ports struggle to secure the money to dredge shipping channels on a yearly basis.

And, difficulty freeing federal funds has led one company to take matters into their own hands in western New York.

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7:14am

Wed August 21, 2013
Business

Historic architecture improved with new technology

Terracotta being formed out of clay by hand.
Ashley Hirtzel/WBFO

A western New York business is creating terra cotta architectural features with the help of the latest technology. The objects are an important element in restoring and maintaining historic buildings, and building new ones.

The work done at Boston Valley Terra Cotta dates back to the late 1800's. The gargoyles, statues, and feature tiles they create can be seen on buildings like Grand Central Station, the Philadelphia Public Library, and the Poptahof in the Netherlands.

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6:34am

Tue August 20, 2013
The Upstate Economy

New York in the World: How one manufacturing plant survived

A sign greets visitors to the Tonawanda, NY powertrain plant.
Sidsel Overgaard/WRVO

In 1975, the workforce in several major cities in upstate New York had more than 40 percent of their jobs in manufacturing. Today, that number hovers around 10 percent. There are examples of manufacturers and workers in New York state who have found a place in our new global economy, but not without sacrifice.

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4:56pm

Wed July 31, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo brings gambling revenue to western New York

Daniel Robison/Innovation Trail

Gov. Andrew Cuomo spent Wednesday traveling to three western New York cities to deliver gambling revenue that was withheld by the Seneca Nation of Indians during a four-year dispute with the state. Cuomo and Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder, Sr. handed out a total of nearly $140 million to Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Salamanca.

While in Niagara Falls, Cuomo said these back payments will be very helpful to those local governments.

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8:34am

Sat July 20, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Hill Cumorah Pageant brings more than entertainment to upstate New York

Hill Cumorah Pageant, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

With 750 cast members, more than a thousand costumes, and special effects to rival a Hollywood film, the Hill Cumorah Pageant, which celebrates the history of the Mormon church, draws thousands of people to western New York each year.

They come in droves, from around the world, converging on the town of Palmyra to witness a Mormon spectacle taking place way off Broadway.

There’s a ten-level stage, a burning at the stake, and cast members descending on wires.

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4:01pm

Thu June 13, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Access technology development also has strong economic potential

Some rights reserved by WELS.net

An estimated 15 percent of people around the world live with some form of disability. Upstate universities are tackling the challenges faced by this segment of the population and coming up with innovative technologies to increase access.

A walker for elderly people that also monitors vital signs, and a cane that uses vibrations to allow deaf and blind people to easily navigate their environment: these are just a couple of the access technologies created by researchers in western New York.

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4:29pm

Tue June 4, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Greek yogurt plant could boost upstate dairy industry

Sen. Schumer joins Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi and Theo Muller in taking a scoop from a giant Mulle Quaker yogurt tub
Kate O'Connell

Upstate New York’s newest Greek yogurt factory opened its doors in Batavia, Monday. The factory is a joint venture between Pepsi and German dairy giant, the Theo Muller Group. The Muller Quaker Dairy Plant is touted as a shot in the arm for the dairy industry in western New York.

The 350,000 square foot facility will produce several yogurt products, including the fast growing Greek yogurt varieties. The plant will initially operate three lines, producing more than 120,000 cups of yogurt per hour.

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8:57am

Fri May 31, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Community colleges help region's economy

Community colleges are having a large economic impact on their home counties upstate, according to new research.

A report focused on Monroe Community College in western New York, calculated the institution has an annual impact of more than $710 million in Monroe County. And, says MCC president Anne Kress, SUNY colleges across upstate New York are no different.

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9:01am

Mon May 27, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Farming or high-tech park? One community weighs the options

Site of proposed Science Technology & Manufacturing Park in Alabama, NY
Ashley Hassett/Innovation Trail

The quiet western New York farming community of Alabama sits among acres of farm and wetland. It’s also the site chosen for a new Science Technology and Manufacturing Park, known as STAMP. The high-tech park has also been the subject of some public scrutiny, as Genesee county rates highly amongst top agricultural producers in the state. The project is also an example of when the values of agricultural communities are starting to rub up against an upstate development agenda focused around high-tech manufacturing.

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8:36am

Sat May 11, 2013
Science

Event showcases student innovation and creativity

"Taco Tape" inventor, Ruby Soudant, who is in the 4th grade
Ashley Hassett/Innovation Trail

More than 100 kids showcased their ideas at the 11th annual Western New York Invention Convention, held recently at Medaille College in Buffalo. It was created to promote creative thinking and encourage scientific problem solving.

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3:19pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Environment

Farm run-off is polluting Lake Erie, says new report

Map of Lake Erie
WBFO News file photo

A new report called Taken By Storm released by the National Wildlife Foundation is highlighting the issue of excessive fertilizer runoff into Lake Erie. The resulting algal blooms can seriously impact the health of those who rely on its water.

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4:44pm

Mon April 8, 2013
Business

Finger Lakes tops the class for business friendliness in New York

Thumbtack.com

The grades are in and the Finger Lakes region is top-of-the-class for business friendliness in New York state. That’s the conclusion of a new small businesses survey conducted by Thumbtack.com. But the survey also shows that the state still lags in a national comparison.

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4:01pm

Thu April 4, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Training program aims to fill jobs in food processing sector

New food processing facilities are popping up across western New York, and they're generating demand for skilled workers to operate them.

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8:02am

Sun March 3, 2013
The Upstate Economy

EPA provides advice on sustainable growth to WNY communites

The intersection of Broadway and Fillmore Avenue in Buffalo
Ashley Hassett / WBFO

The Environmental Protection Agency announced this month it will be providing technical assistance to three western New York communities. They were chosen out of 121 applicants and are three of 43 communities to be assisted across the country. The EPA will provide the aid by delivering workshops on developing sustainable growth strategies.

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3:38pm

Fri February 22, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo reacts to IDA backlash on sales tax proposal

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in western New York
Ashley Hassett/Innovation Trail

During his visit to western New York on Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reacted to the backlash by Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs) against his executive budget proposal that would remove their powers to grant state sales tax exemptions.

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9:32am

Tue October 2, 2012
The Upstate Economy

Collaboration in western New York brings innovative product

SensGard LLC. makes hearing protection, but not the kind that you might be used to. Instead of large, wooly earmuffs they are producing small, foldable hearing protectors that look like ear plugs on the end of a headband.

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10:02am

Fri September 7, 2012
Hydraulic Fracturing

Controversy still simmers over SUNY Buffalo Shale Institute

Weeks after its founding, the Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI) released a study that hydrofracking opponents called flawed and biased toward the natural gas industry. Above, a hydrofracked well and drilling pad in Pennsylvania.
Matt Richmond Innovation Trail/WSKG

Shortly after opening its doors at this spring, the Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI) ignited a controversy that persists several months later.

The newly-founded SUNY Buffalo institute issued a study which found a decline in accidents and environmental damage caused by hydrofracking – a drilling technique using high volumes of water, sand and chemicals to extract natural gas from shale far below the Earth’s surface.

Opponents call the study flawed and biased in favor of the oil and gas industry.

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4:04pm

Thu July 26, 2012
Technology

Buffalo's roster of incubators grows by one

Z80 Labs, Buffalo's first "Internet-focused" incubator, is named as an homage to the 1970's microprocessor. The chip helped form the foundation of the Z80 founders' early tech work.
G.G. Italy Flickr

Buffalo’s latest business incubator is on the hunt for small tech companies who are long on ideas, but perhaps short on cash, office space and personnel. 

Calling itself Buffalo’s first Internet-focused incubator, Z80 Labs launched Monday with a well-orchestrated launch party featuring the region’s tech elite, as well as Forbes CEO Mike Perlis, and prominent venture capitalist Fred Wilson.

Z80 is the brainchild of some of Buffalo’s richest entrepreneurs who are promising to use their business connections and access to capital to nurture hand-selected startups.

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9:30am

Fri July 13, 2012
Environment

Voyage studying plastic in Great Lakes sets sail

A ship of scientists and students will study plastic waste in Lakes Huron, Superior and Erie this summer. The voyage will be led by Sherri Mason [above], a SUNY Fredonia professor.
Daniel Robison Innovation Trail/WBFO

Until now, scientists could only guess at the amount of plastic waste in the Great Lakes.

This week, a team of researchers sets sail to conduct the first-ever survey of plastic pollution in the world’s largest fresh water system.

“You really have to start with, ‘Is this even an issue in the Great Lakes?  [With] 35 million people living around the Great Lakes, all the plastic you see blowing around, common sense is that it’s out there,” says Sherri “Sam” Mason, professor within SUNY Fredonia’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

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5:00pm

Fri July 6, 2012
Regional Coverage

Cow manure helps keep the lights on in western New York

The largest on-farm biogas facility in New York summer processes 425 tons of animal and food waste a day.
publicenergy Flickr

New York State is home to more than 600,000 dairy cows, which generate millions of pounds of manure.

Now, a new energy project in rural Wyoming County aims to be a model for using cow waste and by-products from food processing to generate electricity.

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4:15pm

Wed May 30, 2012
Health

New $300 million medical building opens in Buffalo

The 10-story Gates Vascular Institute/Clinical and Translational Research Center opened Thursday in Buffalo.
Daniel Robison Innovation Trail and WBFO

The newest addition to Buffalo’s skyline has opened its doors.

The 10-story, $300 million Gates Vascular Institute/Clinical and Translational Research Center houses a state-of-the-art surgery center, research labs and a business incubator.

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5:00pm

Sat May 26, 2012
The Upstate Economy

IDA reform bill stuck in neutral

Daniel Robison Innovation Trail / WBFO

In recent years, donut shops, car dealerships, and doctor's offices have received tax breaks from industrial development agencies in western New York.

Now, a first-term state legislator from Buffalo has crafted a bill to halt such deals.

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12:37pm

Wed April 25, 2012
Regional Coverage

How odd weather is hurting New York fruit growers

An early warm spell this year led to early buds. A severe cold snap followed shortly thereafter. On the heels of a freak snowstorm, upstate fruit growers are now waiting to find out how much damage has been done.
Matt Richmond WSKG

The apple crop in New York is the second-largest in the country, behind only Washington State. Cherries, peaches, apricots and grapes are also big business in New York.

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