Kate O'Connell, WXXI


WXXI/Finger Lakes Reporter for the Innovation Trail

Kate O’Connell comes to WXXI from Melbourne, Australia, and studied journalism at Royal Melboure Institute of Technology.

During her studies, Kate was a freelance journalist, reporting from Nepal and Haiti, and worked with the media team of the United Nations partner group, International Organization for Migration.

Kate's experience also includes work for the Shepparton News, Australian Broadcasting Company, Melbourne’s Channel 31, RRR radio and WIN television.

Ways to Connect

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has started a review of the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial products across a range of industries.

The first stage of the process will focus on antibacterial soaps and body washes. Despite some heavy marketing, FDA officials say very little is known about the long-term effects of these products.

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Governor Cuomo’s newly formed Student Protection Unit has launched an investigation into the student debt relief industry.

Led by the state Department of Financial Services (DFS), it’s designed to be a consumer watchdog for New York students. And, one day after being established in the 2014 Executive Budget address, the unit has issued subpoenas to 13 companies in its first official action.

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

Tuesday’s Executive Budget proposal address included a $10 million initiative from the Cuomo administration to create a statewide police information database.

The New York State Protection Cloud is designed to make it quicker and easier for local police departments to share information across jurisdictions.

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Winter storms kicking off the start of the year have seen hundreds of flights canceled across the state. They may not be able to control the weather, but researchers in upstate New York have developed a method that could relieve some of the hassles of air travel, making boarding quicker and easier.

All airlines seem to do it differently. Some budget carriers like to charge extra for the privilege of boarding first, while others prefer a free-for-all scramble for the best seat.

Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Landov

One year after the passage of the New York SAFE Act, sheriff’s departments across the state are still struggling to wrap their heads around the law, and some have gone so far as expressing personal opposition to the new laws.

Upstate sheriffs are in agreement that many of the current problems could have been avoided if they’d been more involved from the start.