Fire-starting drones could keep ranchers safer during burn season

May 28, 2016
Ariana Brocious/Harvest Public Media

Every spring, farmers and ranchers intentionally burn their fields to jump-start the natural process of renewal. But those fires can be dangerous. That’s why researchers in Nebraska are designing a new drone to start fires that may help protect people and the environment.

On a warm spring morning, a big burn crew dressed in yellow and green flame-resistant clothing gets ready to set 26 acres of tallgrass prairie on fire at Homestead National Monument of America near Beatrice, Nebraska.

Mark Engler, park superintendent, said today’s prescribed burn is special. A team from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is trying out a new tool: a fire-starting drone.

Verizon and two labor unions representing some 40,000 workers have reached a tentative agreement to end a strike that has lasted more than six weeks.

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez announced the deal today in a statement, saying, "The parties have reached an agreement in principle on a four-year contract, resolving the open issues in the ongoing labor dispute between Verizon's workers, unions, and management."

Supporters of farmworker justice chanted “yes we can” at a rally in Syracuse Thursday. They’re encouraging support for the Farmworkers Fair Labor practices Act, a piece of legislation that’s been stalled in the state legislature for 15 years.

During nearly two hours of testimony in Oswego City Hall Tuesday, community leaders and Nine Mile Point Nuclear Plant employees begged staff from New York's Public Service Commission to support the proposed "clean energy standard" under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's goal to generate half of the state's energy from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by 2030.

State Board Votes to Approve Buffalo Billion Funds

May 26, 2016

A board controlled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislative leaders voted Wednesday to approve more than $485 million for the Buffalo Billion project. But there were some questions from board members about details of a program that is now under federal investigation.


An all-female car racing team from Rochester Institute of Technology finished third place in the electric category in its first global event. In early May, Hot Wheelz took part in the Formula Hybrid at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.


Newburgh, New York, often makes national lists as one of the worst places to live, especially for young men. 

That’s why an alternative all-boys middle school partnered with Mohonk Preserve, part of the Shawangunk Mountains, just a few miles north in Gardiner. The students from the San Miguel Academy of Newburgh participate in a program aimed at teaching junior high school kids STEM skills using the natural environment.

At its meeting this week, the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency, or COMIDA, approved around $2.3 million in exemptions for the developers of the Sibley Building  downtown.

Attorney and partner with Winn Development on the project, Gerry DiMarco, says work is underway to have the High Tech Rochester incubator occupy the sixth floor, and the commercial mixed-use portion will include 96 apartment units and space for retail and commercial use.

He says it's important that this project on an iconic building in downtown Rochester is completed.

In a basement office at Purdue University in Indiana, associate professor of engineering practice Brad Duerstock has designed a special space.

Cuomo Wants to Update State's Blue Laws

May 19, 2016

Governor Cuomo visited one of the newer craft breweries in the region, Three Heads Brewing, to push for an overhaul of the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control Act.

"It is the most bizarre, archane, frustrating, maddening law that you could imagine," Cuomo said, referring to a law that was put on the books 80 years ago, in the time of prohibition.

Cuomo says the original law has been stifling the $27 million dollar wine, beer and cider industry.


U.S. Photonics Hub Coming To Rochester

What does this mean for the economy of the Rochester region?