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NCPR News Staff: Kate O'Connell

Reporter, The Innovation Trail

Stories filed by Kate O'Connell

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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
Employment associated with tourism by region 2012. Graph: Tourism Economics
Employment associated with tourism by region 2012. Graph: Tourism Economics

What tourism numbers say about upstate

Tourism spending rose across every region of New York state last year, with overall growth of more than six percent according to new research.

Traveler spending reached a new high of nearly $60 billion statewide, and upstate New York saw some of the action.  Go to full article
Josh Cameron (right) and Conant Neville are paid interns this summer at NCPR. Photo: Martha Foley
Josh Cameron (right) and Conant Neville are paid interns this summer at NCPR. Photo: Martha Foley

Interns...pay them, or not?

Recent lawsuits have focused attention of the issue of unpaid internships. Rulings from a federal court in New York have removed any ambiguity -- saying that the majority of these positions are illegal.

But does the court's decision reflect the reality of the marketplace?  Go to full article
The recovery bill from Hurricane Sandy is still being added up. Photo: Office of Gov. Cuomo
The recovery bill from Hurricane Sandy is still being added up. Photo: Office of Gov. Cuomo

Weather disasters on the rise and taxpayers are getting the bill

The impact and severity of weather events like the tornado that hit Oklahoma City are increasing due to a changing global climate, according to research from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

And more of the related economic burden is being carried by taxpayers. In 2012, federal spending directed toward disaster response for storms, wild fires, floods and drought reached nearly $100 billion, the NRDC report says, beating out funding for education and transport.  Go to full article

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