10:30am

Thu December 22, 2011
Morning trail mix

Good tidings and good cheer!

Trail Mix takes a holiday after today – we’ll see you in a week.  But stay tuned for our upcoming debrief of 2011: each day we’ll be exploring the ideas and stories that dominated the year.

So for our last Trail Mix before the break, how about a little good news?

WXXI is unveiling a series of "good news" reports, inspired by a letter from a young listener named Liza – they air all next week.

Can't wait for those stories? Here are a couple more heartstring-tuggers:

The trend of "angels" paying off lay away bills for families buying gifts for children has spread to central New York, where strangers are paying off balances "in droves" at the Kmart in DeWitt (Robert A. Baker, Post-Standard).

Families of victims of a Buffalo-area commuter jet crash have won a victory in the form of new federal rules about pilot fatigue (Chris Caya, WNED).

An Oswego man who left high school to fight in World War II has received his diploma (Sarah Moses, Post-Standard).

The identity of the Cornell alum who gave $350 million to a NYC-based tech campus for the school has been revealed - and he's no stranger to writing big checks (Rachel Stern, Ithaca Journal).

Politics on the Hudson wants to know what your priorities are for the 2012 legislative session.

Three workers who were causalities of a massive layoff at New Process Gear get profiled in the Post-Standard: one owns a restaurant, one is a fishmonger, and one is studying to be a medical imaging specialist (Charley Hannagan).

And one Grinchy story: charities are struggling to make ends meet during their big fundraising period, around Christmas.  The Buffalo Salvation Army is $100,000 behind on its goal for this season (Jay Tokasz, Buffalo News).

Energy

The chair of the New York Senate's energy committee says the state needs to "undertake the most thorough review in its history" of the Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line (Larry Rulison, Times Union).

Alliance for Clean Energy New York executive director Carol Murphy has a commentary in the Times Union today calling for "clear, honest and open communication" in pursuit of bringing more wind power online.

New York's Public Interest Research Group is lambasting Honeywell for lobbying against a recycling law for mercury-laden thermostats (Brian Nearing, Times Union).

Drilling

Binghamton has passed a ban on gas drilling within city limits - if the ban isn't overturned in the courts (Steve Reilly, Press & Sun-Bulletin).

Some business owners say the ban will make Binghamton miss out on "a tremendous opportunity" (Steve Reilly, Press & Sun-Bulletin).

Three energy companies have signed a deal to expand pipeline capacity in Ohio, to serve the Utica Shale natural gas formation (Jim Polson, Bloomberg).

Natural gas drillers continue to pressure the DEC to issue permanent rules for fracking, saying time spent studying the issue is time wasted (Jon Campbell, Vote Up!).

Pennsylvania is using a million dollars from the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative to help build small businesses that serve the natural gas industry (Robert Swift, Towanda Daily Review).

The town with the flaming water, Dimock, Pa., is trying to coping with its status as a national symbol for the natural gas debate (Susan Phillips, State Impact PA).

Development

Randy Reade of Buffalo Rising writes in Rust Wire that Buffalo should market itself as a retirement haven for baby boomers.

The chairs of the Finger Lakes regional council say in future rounds of competition for economic development cash they'll pay more attention to creating jobs (Tom Tobin, Democrat and Chronicle).

Cash to help return car traffic to Buffalo's Main Street is starting to flow, with $22 million in hand so far (Jonathan D. Epstein, Buffalo News).

New York's population grew in 2011, but 36 other states are outpacing its growth rate (Joseph Spector, Gannett).

Business

Upstate's rate of uninsured people is lower than that of New York's - and Rochester has the best figure, with only 6.3 percent of residents uninsured (Rick Seltzer, Greater Binghamton Business Journal).

A contact lens maker outside of Rochester has been warned by the FDA that it could face fines for violations like mislabeling products (Will Astor, Rochester Business Journal).

Computer refurbisher Revonate will cut 130 jobs at the end of January in the Syracuse suburb of Cicero (Kevin Tampone, Central New York Business Journal).

The fight over food trucks continues in Buffalo: new draft legislation would triple the fee for setting up shop to $1,000 (Aaron Besecker, Buffalo News).

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