10:32am

Tue December 7, 2010
Morning news round-up

Manufacturing, consumer confidence up in November

Manufacturing up in November

Manufacturing levels were up for the first time in WNY since the recession began, reports the Buffalo News:

A jump in hiring at local factories, coupled with a solid rise in the flow of new orders and an uptick in production, pushed activity among the Buffalo Niagara region's manufacturers to its highest level since August 2008. "In November, we saw some clearly optimistic developments in the region's manufacturing activity," said Mikhail Melnik, a Niagara University economist.

Included among those developments were increased hiring in factories and more new orders for goods.

Industrial revolutionA former industrial complex in Batavia is seeing new life as a mixed-use space, reports the Democrat and Chronicle:

The so-called Masse Gateway Project — a mix of demolition, utility upgrades and rehabilitation work — began in July. At least part of the complex should be ready for tenants by year's end, said Mancuso President B. Thomas Mancuso. The Batavia Industrial Center campus consists of more than 800,000 square feet in connected former industrial buildings that now house a variety of small businesses and artisans. The centerpiece of the Gateway work was demolition of 40,000 square feet and the extension of Masse Place, a street that had dead-ended at the campus, into the heart of the complex.

Federal dollars to recruit womenThe Post-Standard reports women in engineering are getting a moment in the sun at Syracuse University, as the school puts a $3.4 million federal grant to use figuring out how to attract more women to STEM jobs: 

Engineering professor Shobha Bhatia said hiring and retaining female faculty in the sciences is difficult because relatively few women purse STEM disciplines in undergraduate school and fewer still pursue doctoral degrees. “It’s what we call a leaking pipeline,” said Bhatia, who is also a researcher for the grant. “We are really looking at very few (women) who are qualified to recruit from.” Ruhlandt-Senge said one area the research will explore is making SU more “family-friendly.” “We believe that female faculty should have the ability to have a family in the same way that a male colleague does,” she said. “For that, you will need to provide the right climate.”

Ed chief wants N.Y. schools to be more competitiveTop New York education officials were in the Southern Tier Monday to talk about raising the bar in schools, reports the Press & Sun-Bulletin.  Education commissioner David Steiner says New York is undertaking a number of measures including developing statewide curricula, redesigning tests, changing the way teachers are evaluated and tracking student progress better.

More smiles from consumersConsumer confidence rose in November in New York, according to the Democrat and Chronicle: 

Confidence remains well below a level signaling a robust economy, but at an index reading of 67.1 — 1.2 points higher than October — New York residents are feeling better than they have at this time of year since 2007.

Teacher retirementsThe AP has a quick item on the Empire Center for New York State Policy's newest estimate on the cost of public employee pensions. The Empire Center says contributions to the teachers retirement system could rise to $4.5 billion (from $900 million this year) over the next half a decade. White wine winnersThe Press & Sun-Bulletin reports that several Finger Lakes white wines took home top honors at a wine competition in Kansas City:

It was New York's year to shine in the Jefferson Cup Wine Invitational. Finger Lakes white wines were awarded five of the 20 top awards from more than 600 wines entered in the competition.

HydrofrackingAnd, according to the Press & Sun-Bulletin, the same day that Broome County officials called for N.Y.'s governor to veto a moratorium on hydrofracking, former Pa. governor Tom Ridge called the Marcellus shale a "gift from Mother Nature." 

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