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NCPR News Staff: Kate O'Connell

Reporter, The Innovation Trail

Stories filed by Kate O'Connell

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In New York's wine country. Photo by Kate O'Connell
In New York's wine country. Photo by Kate O'Connell

Law permits roadside wine sales

The Cuomo administration's campaign on behalf of New York produce is continuing with new legislation that expands where people can buy New York wines.

New laws permit wine to be sold at farm stands and adds wine trail designations along state roadways.

People can already buy New York wines at farmers markets, but the new laws mean you'll be able to find them at roadside stands too. That is, as long as the wines being sold are produced within 20 miles of the stand.  Go to full article
Residents at Horace Nye raised concerns about the sale of the nursing home. NCPR file photo
Residents at Horace Nye raised concerns about the sale of the nursing home. NCPR file photo

Money troubles send county nursing homes into private hands

The vast majority of the state's county-run nursing homes are losing money and facing a shaky financial future according to the findings of a new study by the Center for Governmental Research.

Essex County supervisors voted in June 2012 to sell the Horace Nye Nursing Home to a private corporation. In recent years six New York counties have sold or closed their nursing homes, and as costs continue to rise, many others are considering privatization as a solution. The new study finds mixed results after privatization.  Go to full article
UW researcher Andrea Stocco during the experiment. Photo: University of Washington
UW researcher Andrea Stocco during the experiment. Photo: University of Washington

Brain to brain communication, via the Internet

We've used the internet to connect computers. Now, how about using it to connect our brains? Researchers at the University of Washington have done just that in what they say is the first ever brain-to-brain interface.  Go to full article
Dredging operation on the Genessee River (in 2008). Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/45082883@N00/2716683773">Michael Sauers</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Dredging operation on the Genessee River (in 2008). Photo: Michael Sauers, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Dredging Upstate waterways and ports

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. One company has taken matters into their own hands in western New York.  Go to full article
Computer scrap. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/investingingold/7361098132">John Louis</a>, Creative COmmons, Some rights reserved
Computer scrap. Photo: John Louis, Creative COmmons, Some rights reserved

E-waste recycling up, but new standards needed

New York State has seen a boost in the volume of electronic waste being recycled since new legislation was introduced in 2011. The laws make manufacturers responsible for the recycling of their own products and bans disposals of consumer electronics in landfills.This means that recycling companies are doing well, but plans for national regulations remain stalled.  Go to full article
A western new York driving school says it can't keep up with demand for long-haul drivers. Photo by Kate O'Connell
A western new York driving school says it can't keep up with demand for long-haul drivers. Photo by Kate O'Connell

It's a puzzle: too many trucks, too few drivers

America's trucking industry's been experiencing a chronic shortage of drivers for at least 20 years. Conservative estimates put the number of vacancies upward of 20,000, and some say it goes into the hundreds of thousands.

But, there are mixed views on the causes and solutions for this challenge to the industry.  Go to full article
Photo: International Joint Commission
Photo: International Joint Commission

House committee restores Great Lakes cleanup funding

A federal program dedicated to environmental restoration and cleanup of the Great Lakes has escaped a massive budget cut.

A committee in the House of Representatives voted to amend a bill that would have slashed the program's funding. The move partially restores the fund to $210 million for fiscal year 2014.  Go to full article
Clayton Distillery in the Thousand Islands is part of the locavore distillery trend -- it produces distilled products from locally grown grains and fruits. Photo courtesy <a href="http://claytondistillery.com/">Clayton Distillery</a>
Clayton Distillery in the Thousand Islands is part of the locavore distillery trend -- it produces distilled products from locally grown grains and fruits. Photo courtesy Clayton Distillery

Craft distilleries are the latest in the locavore trend

As people turn away from mass-produced products, demand is growing for locally produced food, wine and beer.

In upstate New York this trend is also reaching the field of craft distilleries, and the state is seeing a comeback of the small, artisan liquor operations of the pre-prohibition era.  Go to full article
Researchers say bats shatter and splinter because of poor alignment of the grain in the wood. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/shaindlin/">shaindlin</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Researchers say bats shatter and splinter because of poor alignment of the grain in the wood. Photo: shaindlin, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Why we're seeing fewer shattered baseball bats

If you've ever feared for your safety at a baseball game, you can now rest a little easier thanks to the U.S. Forest Service. After testing and analyzing thousands of shattered Major League bats, researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory have been able to decrease the shatter rate of maple bats by more than half.  Go to full article
The Hill Cumorah Pageant. Photo: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Hill Cumorah Pageant. Photo: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Mormon pilgrims bring tourism dollars to Palmyra, NY

With 750 cast members, more than 1,000 costumes, and special effects to rival a James Cameron film, the Hill Cumorah Pageant 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.  Go to full article

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