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NCPR News Staff: Matt Richmond

Reporter, The Innovation Trail

Stories filed by Matt Richmond

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Critics weigh in on "Tax Free New York"

Gov. Andrew Cuomo released legislation outlining his plan for tax-free zones Monday after spending a week in May touring upstate to build support for the proposal.

"I mean no taxes. That's what I mean when I say tax free - no business tax, no corporate tax, no franchise fee, no income tax," Cuomo told officials at the University at Buffalo.

Under the measure, any new business that sets up on or near a SUNY campus, or at selected private universities or state-owned properties will pay no taxes for up to ten years. After five years, high-wage earners will have to pay income taxes. The locations are mostly upstate.

The plan has come under fire from all sides.  Go to full article
Colony Collapse Disorder caused a loss of about 30 percent of U.S. hives between 2006 and 2011. Photo by Matt Richmond.
Colony Collapse Disorder caused a loss of about 30 percent of U.S. hives between 2006 and 2011. Photo by Matt Richmond.

Farmers and beekeepers respond to colony collapse

Since 2006, honey bees have been abandoning seemingly healthy hives in large numbers.That's raised the alarm worldwide among beekeepers, farmers and researchers.

Honey bees are big business, and some of the industries that are dependent on bees are adapting, finding ways to manage the losses.  Go to full article
H2A workers on a North Country Farm. Photo: David Sommerstein
H2A workers on a North Country Farm. Photo: David Sommerstein

Will immigration reform ease NY's farm labor shortage?

As lawmakers in Washington debate the immigration reform bill released last month, farmers in New York State are hoping to find enough workers to fully staff their operations.

The Senate Judiciary Committee spent a day last week amending the 844-page bill, legislation that includes changes to guest worker programs. The changes may be good news for New York farmers.  Go to full article
Hispanic men and women - some of them quite young - provide labor illegally on many dairy farms. Photo: David Sommerstein
Hispanic men and women - some of them quite young - provide labor illegally on many dairy farms. Photo: David Sommerstein

Undocumented farmworkers weigh benefits against risks

New York's farms employ about 60,000 people and no one knows how many of those workers are here illegally. According to one estimate, 70 percent of the state's agricultural workforce is undocumented.
Some stay for years, long enough to raise a family. But it's risky.  Go to full article
Drilling rig in the Marcellus Shale region. Photo: Laurie Barr
Drilling rig in the Marcellus Shale region. Photo: Laurie Barr

Court upholds local fracking bans

New York State's second highest court has ruled in favor of two towns which passed laws banning gas drilling.

In two decisions released Thursday, the court ruled unanimously in favor of local control in Dryden and Middlefield.  Go to full article
Schlumberger's gasfield services facility in Horseheads, just outside of Elmira. Photo: Matt Richmond
Schlumberger's gasfield services facility in Horseheads, just outside of Elmira. Photo: Matt Richmond

Elmira thinks twice about its fracking boom

The City of Elmira is just seven miles from the Pennsylvania border. And for four years, the natural gas boom in Pennsylvania's Northern Tier crossed over the border and boosted Elmira's economy.

But that natural gas rush has slowed down, and there's disagreement in Elmira about whether a temporary boom is worth the costs.  Go to full article
Sonostics CEO Chuck Schwerin says his company's treatment offers a way to resolve knee pain before going to surgery. Photo by Matt Richmond, Innovation Trail.
Sonostics CEO Chuck Schwerin says his company's treatment offers a way to resolve knee pain before going to surgery. Photo by Matt Richmond, Innovation Trail.

Startup looks for a way around knee surgery

Knee pain is among the most common medical complaints across age groups from young athletes to aging baby boomers. Often, the trouble is in the meniscus cartilage, and often, the prescription is surgery.

But recent studies comparing results of physical therapy to outcomes of surgery find PT to be equally effective in many cases. A Binghamton company is working on one less invasive treatment.  Go to full article
Energy highway. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidou99/3879055515/">dtmi99</a>, CC <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/deed.en">some rights reserved</a>
Energy highway. Photo: dtmi99, CC some rights reserved

Will Cuomo blueprint solve NY's energy puzzle?

Late last year, the Cuomo administration laid out its agenda to address New York's future energy requirements. All this week, reporters from the Innovation Trail are putting different parts of that complex energy puzzle under the microscope.

In this first report, Matt Richmond examines the goals of that plan, known as the Energy Highway Blueprint.  Go to full article
Fracking wastewater after treatment at temporary, privately owned facility in Pennsylvania. Photo: Matt Richmond/WSKG
Fracking wastewater after treatment at temporary, privately owned facility in Pennsylvania. Photo: Matt Richmond/WSKG

How would New York deal with hydrofracking wastewater?

About four million gallons of water goes into a typical Marcellus Shale well during the fracking process. As much as 20 percent of what went in comes back out right away. That's what's known as flowback water.

Over the life of a producing well, more than a million gallons comes out, and after the initial flowback the rest is known as produced water.  Go to full article
New York's Dept. of Environmental Conservation delayed its environmental review of fracking until the go-ahead is given by the Dept. of Health. Photo: DEC headquarters in Albany, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Kurtman518">Kurtman518</a>, released to the public domain
New York's Dept. of Environmental Conservation delayed its environmental review of fracking until the go-ahead is given by the Dept. of Health. Photo: DEC headquarters in Albany, Kurtman518, released to the public domain

Fracking delay's effect is in the eye of the beholder

Last week, New York State officials announced another delay of their final decision on hydrofracking. The Department of Environmental Conservation will wait for a report on the health protections in its environmental review of fracking. Then the environmental review can be completed.

The time frame could be less than a month or it could be much longer. And both pro- and anti-fracking groups took heart from the delay.  Go to full article

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