10:34am

Tue November 2, 2010
Morning news round-up

Election 2010: It's go time

Election Day

It's Election Day, so papers across the state are hitting voters with a flurry of articles about the races, like so many last-minute robocalls.  The Buffalo News has an overview of the stakes for western New York, the Democrat and Chronicle notes that tight races will be won and lost on turnout, and the Post-Standard has live blogging by Syracuse University students serving as poll watchers.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. - unless of course, they're not.  The Post-Standard reports that one Syracuse polling place was locked up tighter than a drum this morning:

No one arrived to unlock the Pioneer Homes Coffee House at 1001 S. McBride St., said Helen Kiggins, Onondaga County's Republican election commissioner.

It took a call to the Syracuse Fire Department through the county E-911 center to find someone with a key who could open the room, she said.

As a consequence, she said, the polling place there didn't open until 6:45 a.m., 45 minutes late. The center serves two election districts and 809 registered voters, according to Board of Elections records.

In Binghamton, the race for the 22nd House of Representatives seat could hinge on hydrofracking, according to the Press & Sun-Bulletin.  Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey has called for thorough study of drilling and has sponsored legislation that would publicize what chemicals drillers use in the hydrofracking process.  His opponent, Republican George Phillips supports drilling, citing its potential for economic development.

In Albany, the Times Union brings us the story of an election eve tradition: baked ziti, meatballs, and discussion of the candidates.  This year the conversation at an annual fundraiser for a parish food pantry focused on the economy:

"It gets depressing. I've never seen it so bad in years," said Anthony Cavallo, a regular at the St. Mary's feast came to St. Anthony's to renew the tradition and support the fundraising efforts.

Cavallo said he doesn't consider himself "a big Election Day guy" but knows there has to be a change.

"Who knows where it's going to go? We've got to get back to the old ways of doing things -- one car," Cavallo said.

Not sure where to vote?  Google has a tool to help you find your polling place, and figure out whether or not you're registered.  And the Innovation Trail is testing a new tool that automatically reports Board of Election preliminary election results for Monroe County (where Rochester is).  You can check it out here - data should start showing up after polls close tonight.  Big thanks to Foss@RIT for putting in the development legwork.

More power

The Democrat and Chronicle has more details on a French firm's plans to add reactors at local nuclear plants.  Electricite de France SA has purchased a firm that owns the land and development rights that could lead to new plants, but the paper points out the need for a U.S.-based majority shareholder as a partner, public hearings, and costly construction could prove stumbling blocks to bringing new power to the grid.

Rest stops closing

Truckers across New York are upset by the state's closure of several interstate rest stops, to save cash.  From the Democrat and Chronicle:

Kendra Adams of the New York State Motor Truck Association said the closings are unfair because truckers pay 32 percent of motorist taxes and fees in the state but drive only 8 percent of the vehicle miles.

From the Times Union:

'I travel all over the country, and I like this kind of stop because they are more relaxing and comfortable,'' said truck driver Thomas Haggard of Irving, Texas. ''After 11 hours of driving I'm required by federal law to take a 10-hour break and you just can't park these things anywhere. I also have my little dog with me, and she needs a break once in a while too.''

Yesterday two stops closed - Brewerton/Hastings on I-81 in Oswego County, and Schodack on I-90 in Albany County.  Starting December 1 Lewis, and Schroon Lake, on I-87 in Essex County will be closed, as will Worcester in Otsego County and Wells Bridge in Delaware County on I-88.  The state says the closures will trim about $500,000 of the state budget this year.

Vampires beware

Students in the Syracuse area are growing garlic to learn how to farm and write business plans. Proceeds will help sustain the program and go to scholarships for the participating kids.

Growing fiber

A fiber firm in Albany is planning to hire 30 new employees as part of its acquisition by a Boston-based private equity firm, the Times Union reports.  But Tech Valleny Communications is trying to wedge its way into a tight market, according to the paper:

The consummation of the deal comes at a time of extreme competition in the local telecommunications market. Verizon has set its sights on bringing its popular cable TV service to the Capital Region for the first time, while Time Warner Cable has been boosting its Internet speeds and offering a wireless Internet service.

Tech Valley, which serves mostly business customers in Albany County, has also been expanding into wireless services and has built a wireless Internet network in the city of Albany.

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