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NCPR News Staff: Ashley Hirtzel

Reporter, The Innovation Trail

Stories filed by Ashley Hirtzel

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Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28995913@N07/3265349782/">ChalkbeatNY</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch. Photo: ChalkbeatNY, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Lots of cooks in the Common Core kitchen

Controversy continues over implementation of the new federal Common Core standards in New York.

Last week the Democrat-led state Assembly passed a bill that would delay parts of the Common Core standards, including using Common Core testing to evaluate teachers and pass or fail students. The Assembly defeated a proposed amendment from Republicans that would have suspended Common Core entirely in the state.

Meanwhile, a special subcommittee of the state Board of Regents is working on ways to help schools with the standards' implementation. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appointed a panel to review the rollout of the standards, and he's released a new ad saying Common Core "is heading in the right direction," but that basing testing on it is premature.  Go to full article
Wendy Oakes-Wilson and Darrell Oakes at a key intersection in their u-pick orchard. Photo by Ashley Hirtzel
Wendy Oakes-Wilson and Darrell Oakes at a key intersection in their u-pick orchard. Photo by Ashley Hirtzel

Cider-makers hope for help from Washington

During the heart of apple picking season lawmakers in the House of Representatives are considering a bill that would make hard cider-makers' business lives easier, and their cider better.

The CIDER Act would simplify the federal tax regulations for hard cider - and allow cider-makers to keep more natural apple flavor in their products.

LynOaken Farms is hoping for both measures to pass. LynOaken is a big operation in western New York, with a farm market and winery, an event center under construction, and orchards full of heritage apples as well as new varieties.

Wendy Oakes-Wilson gave The Innovation Trail's Ashley Hirtzel a wagon ride around the farm's "u-pick" section, where a familiar color scheme manages traffic.  Go to full article
The Pride of Buffalo. Photo by Mike Weekes
The Pride of Buffalo. Photo by Mike Weekes

Is a geodesic catamaran the future for houseboats?

A strangely-shaped houseboat called "The Pride of Buffalo" is making a tour of western New York harbors over the next few weeks. It looks sort of like a hippie dome built on a raft -- Huck Finn meets Buckminster Fuller.

It took Michael Weekes six weeks to build his geodesic houseboat. The wooden catamaran is currently docked at Buffalo's canalside for everyone to see. He hopes to inspire others and transform his local waterfront.  Go to full article
Terra cotta architectural design. Photo: Ashley Hitzel/WBFO
Terra cotta architectural design. Photo: Ashley Hitzel/WBFO

Tech gives terra cotta facades a facelift

Upstate New York is loaded with beautiful architectural treasures, most of them from the 19th and 20th century. And many of them need a facelift. A long-running western New York business is creating terra-cotta architectural features with the help of the latest technology. The Innovation Trail's Ashley Hirtzel reports from Buffalo.  Go to full article
The Muskie docked in Buffalo. Photo: Ashley Hirtzel/WBFO
The Muskie docked in Buffalo. Photo: Ashley Hirtzel/WBFO

Research vessel gives Lake Erie a check-up

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission estimates that more than 40 million people in the US and Canada depend on the Great Lakes for food, drinking water and recreation.

A state-of-the-art research vessel the "Muskie" is currently its way through Lake Erie collecting data samples for the US Geological Survey.  Go to full article

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