southern tier

9:00am

Fri March 23, 2012
Energy

New York gas unlikely to end up at Pennsylvania ethane cracker

A new report on the impacts of natural gas is stirring up controversy.
Suncor Energy via Flickr

The recent announcement by Shell Chemical, that it plans to build an ethane cracker near Pittsburgh, figures to be a huge boon for the economy in Western Pennsylvania.

An ethane cracker processes ethane from natural gas operations into ethylene for making plastics.

The new plant is a multi-billion dollar investment, and the governors of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia all lobbied to bring it to their states.

New York's shared border with Pennsylvania makes it seem logical that the new plant in western Pennsylvania would add to demand for natural gas from New York.

But it won't.

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3:26pm

Mon March 19, 2012
IDA Watchdog

Independence at Binghamton-area IDA comes with cost to oversight

The Charles Street Business Park is a reclaimed industrial site in Binghamton, a city block owned by the Broome County IDA. The only site currently occupied is leased by Emerson Network Power.
Matt Richmond WSKG

The Innovation Trail is taking a closer look at New York State's industrial development agencies, or IDAs. Follow our coverage by subscribing to the IDA RSS feed.

Richard D’Attilio is the executive director of the Broome County Industrial Development Agency.

Any project awarded tax breaks by the IDA comes across his desk. And any project that is rejected comes across his desk too.

D’Attilio started with the agency 18 years ago, turning it into - basically - a developer that gives away tax breaks.

“We are revenue-driven. We are independent and autonomous from the county, the government,”  says D’Attilio. “Once the board of directors has been put in place, they are the final word on all activity.”

That means only the nine member board of directors has a say in how the IDA spends money.

It’s not clear that the board, which meets once-a-month, actually gets involved in any meaningful way.

A review of more than a year of board meeting minutes found no projects that were rejected by the board after getting the OK from D’Attilio.

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12:30pm

Wed March 14, 2012
Flood recovery

Big flood prevention projects not in the cards for Southern Tier

Rick Woidt stands in front of the flood wall at Union-Endicott High School, a flood prevention project that was implemented after the 2006 floods.
Matt Richmond WSKG

Chip McElwee leads a virtual tour of flood damage, through Google Maps' satellite images. Six months after Tropical Storm Lee dumped twelve inches of water on the Southern Tier - and even after the images have been updated - the maps still show wide, dark scars dotting the Southern Tier.

"This is Big Choconut Creek. This creek is always a mess. This is not unusual," says the head of the Broome County Soil and Water Conservation District, which maintains the county's streams.

McElwee zooms in on a gash left by the creek flooding its banks.

"Look at this, it's huge - football fields," he says, pointing to the screen. The stream has eaten away chunks of backyards before receding.

"Where do you start? You just gotta go around, and it's band-aids. The triage part of it is maybe the most frustrating," says McElwee.

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8:08am

Wed March 14, 2012
Flood recovery

Tropical Storm Lee's affects linger in Owego

Owego was among the towns hardest hit by flooding in September, 2011. In resident Pat Williams' home, the water peaked at more than two feet in the first floor.

Six months later, Williams has a remodeled ground floor, but life for her may never feel 'normal' again.

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11:31am

Wed February 29, 2012
DIY

Cornell researchers, hobbyists are bringing 3-D printing home

A 3-D printer created at Cornell is being marketed for home use, with open source plans for building it, and designs that can be used to print all kinds of things, including food.
Matt Richmond WSKG

For decades, manufacturers have used 3-D printers to create prototypes. Car designers have used them to create new car models - last year, an entire car was printed. Drug makers print pills with them. One was used recently to replace a patient's jawbone.

These kinds of printers are in widespread use in industry. But because of their cost, they've flown under the radar for the general population.

Now, Cornell University is stepping in with an open source 3-D printer, that promises to bring this high tech manufacturing tool to your garage.

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