Verizon challenges middle and high school students to develop innovative apps

Business Council member Verizon is once again calling on middle school and high school students to gather their teams, dream up ideas, and create concepts for mobile apps that could solve problems in their schools and communities.

The first two Verizon Innovative App Challenges have encouraged thousands of students to develop an interest in science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called STEM subjects, and have awarded cash grants totaling $340,000 – and 130 new tablets, courtesy of Samsung Telecommunications America – to winning teams. Verizon is extending the program as part of its commitment to the Obama administration’s ConnectED initiative, to which the company has pledged up to $100 million in cash and in-kind contributions over the next three years.

This year’s program will name eight teams Best in Nation and reward them with cash grants of $20,000 each and new Samsung tablets for each team member. The deadline for submission is Nov. 24, and the winners will be named in January 2015.

Teams can register now and learn more about the Verizon Innovative App Challenge at (www.verizonfoundation.org/appchallenge).

Leading trial lawyer David Boies to chair group challenging New York teacher tenure

Trial lawyer David Boies is becoming chairman of the Partnership for Educational Justice, a group founded by journalist-turned education advocate Campbell Brown.

As chairman of the new group, Boies, 73, will join Brown as the public face of a legal strategy in which the group organizes parents and students to bring lawsuits against states with strong tenure and seniority protections.

The group filed such a lawsuit last week in Albany on behalf of seven families alleging that tenure laws make it too difficult to fire ineffective teachers and force principals to make personnel decisions based on seniority rather than performance. The suit argues that such laws disproportionately harm low-income and minority students.

In an interview with the New York Times, Boies said he viewed the cause of tenure overhaul as “pro-teacher.”

Conflicting opinions on gas drilling in new poll

A Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll of registered voters in the Southern Tier and the Catskills produced some conflicting opinions regarding natural gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing in those regions.

In the southern tier, 52 percent agreed that hydraulic fracturing would generate economic activity and tax revenues, while 55 percent it could generate jobs that are much-needed in the region.
Forty-two percent of voters surveyed said it is important to harvest the abundant supply of national gas that is currently inaccessible.

Still 51 percent of voters in the Southern Tier and 50 percent of voters in the Catskills would oppose the Department of Environmental Conservation, allowing gas drilling to move forward in their regions.

The Business Council supports the development of the state’s natural gas resources based on the state’s need for affordable energy and the significant economic activity and job growth such development would bring to regions, such as the Southern Tier, where unemployment is high and job opportunities are limited.

The cross tabs from the poll are available here.

With Lower Cost Power Corning Expands Canton Plant

Business Council member Corning Incorporated will expand its facility in Canton in St. Lawrence County creating 40 additional jobs at the site. Corning is receiving a low-cost power allocation from the New York Power Authority to support the more than $21 million capital expansion project. The firm has been allocated 2.1 megawatts (MW) of power, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today. Corning will add a total of 30,700 square feet to accommodate additional storage and an increase in production of high-fused silica glass used by the semiconductor industry.

Patrick Jackson, Director of Corning’s Global Energy Management, said, “This allocation by NYPA will reduce Corning’s energy cost, which is a major expenditure at the Canton plant.
The Business Council advocates for lower energy costs for New York businesses.

Corning is a world leader in specialty glass and ceramics and has locations in  various parts of New York state. The company is planning to expand its Canton facility by 23,500 square feet to greatly increase production at the facility, which supplies microchips for computers, cell phones and other electronics. A 7,200-square-foot warehouse is also part of the project. Corning is planning a formal ceremony for next month to mark the start of construction on the expansion project.

The low-cost hydropower will be provided to Corning under a seven-year contract and is drawn from a block of St. Lawrence electricity known as Preservation Power. In addition to the new permanent jobs, which are already being added, the capital investments by the company are expected to support dozens of temporary construction jobs.

A new threat for farmers

An editorial in the Middletown Times Herald-Record makes the point that where immigration reform is concerned, there is a cost associated with doing nothing if you are one of New York’s many crop farmers.

New York farmers have more market demand than they have crops to meet it because they can’t get enough seasonal labor to pick more crops due to immigration restrictions. As a result, distributors import more fruits and vegetables, sending more money out of the country and out of local farmers’ pockets.

As the editorial points out, “farmers everywhere, have always understood that there are some forces they cannot control. Usually, the weather tops the list. This year, Congress is the culprit.
Read the complete editorial here.

Entergy on proposal to force outages at Indian Point

Vice President of License Renewal for Entergy Nuclear Operations Fred Dacimo testified today at a public hearing relating to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) staff proposal for Indian Point, calling the proposal “a terrible idea for Indian Point, New Yorkers, and our environment.”

The proposal seeks to require permanent, simultaneous outages at both Indian Point units annually for 42, 62 or 92 days, or a combination of a cooling tower at one unit and permanent outages at the other unit.  Dacimo’s testimony contended that forced outages are not grounded in science, run contrary to DEC practice, and ignore a proven smarter solution that will resolve concerns about Indian Point’s aquatic impacts.

Entergy said forcing outages at Indian Point is unnecessary and inconsistent with regulatory precedent.  Dacimo also noted in his testimony that it would have serious consequences to human health and safety, the New York economy, and the local environment.

Noting that Indian Point right now is fully protective of the Hudson River ecosystem and operates in accordance with its state and federal permits, Dacimo illustrated the numerous implications of the unnecessary forced summertime outages.  These include more pollution resulting from the need to replace Indian Point’s emissions-free energy with fossil fuels; more expensive power, as Indian Point’s lower cost power is taken off the market; and an increased chance of brownouts or even blackouts if Indian Point were turned off when demand is highest.

Entergy is currently seeking a 20-year license renewal for Indian Point. While the state must approve the plant’s water quality and water discharge permits, the DEC staff’s decision and Entergy’s subsequent filing is separate from the NRC’s ongoing review process.

Mom’s recipe becomes Worthy Jerky

Alex Krakoski was finishing high school in Switzerland on a scholarship when he ran short of money, and that is when he got in touch with his mother and asked her to send him the jerky recipe.

This was not just any beef jerky. This was the jerky his mother made for him as a kid using the best natural ingredients.

Describing what makes his mom’s jerky so special Alex said, “My mother was a dedicated cook and didn’t want me to eat junk food, so she would make this really good jerky with steak, fruits and vegetables and spices.”

Alex started making his mother’s jerky in Switzerland for about $3 a pound and began selling it to his fellow students for about six times as much. That generated the cash he needed for the trip back to the United States and it planted a seed that has grown into Worthy Jerky, a business that Alex and his fellow Cornell University classmate Benjamin Pham founded and continue to operate with a management team comprised of several other Cornell students.

Worthy Jerky is one of the newest members of The Business Council of New York State.

As with most startups, there is an idea guy and a business guy. Alex is the CEO and idea guy. Ben is the COO and business guy. Other students handle product development, creative strategy, public relations, finance, manufacturing, distribution and marketing.

Alex describes the nutritional value of Worthy Jerky as comparable to Chobani Yogurt in that both are made from natural ingredients.

The jerky caught on and Alex and Ben faced the happy decision of how to grow their business. “We had a choice to make,” Alex told a member of The Business Council staff during a recent visit to Albany. “We could drop out of college, open our own facility and produce jerky, or we could find a contract producer to make and package our jerky.”

They decided to stay in college and found a company in Sherill, N.Y. to handle the manufacturing and packaging of Worthy Jerky. Worthy Jerky is now sold in the Cornell Campus Store and P&C Fresh supermarkets in Ithaca and Cortland.

When this team of Cornell students graduates next year, they will not only have college degrees, they will have a business that is poised to grow and a fantastic experience with capitalism.

Visit Worthy Jerky’s website for more information.

AT&T 4G LTE expands in Albany area

AT&T has expanded its 4G LTE network in areas around Albany, N.Y.  More consumers and businesses in in Otsego, Greene, Schenectady, and Schoharie counties can now experience the latest generation of wireless technology.

New areas of coverage include Cooperstown, Milford, Oneonta, Catskill, Delanson, Duanesburg, the New York State Thruway in Schenectady County, Carlisle, Central Bridge and Cobleskill.

“We’ve seen positive response from our investment in the 4G LTE network, and as today’s expansion shows, we’re continuing to rollout our fast 4G LTE speeds to more of the Northern Catskills,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York president, AT&T.  From 2011 through 2013, AT&T invested nearly $1.45 billion in its best-in-class wireless and wired networks in New York.

The benefits AT&T 4G LTE include: faster speeds, reliability, new devices, faster response time, and spectrum efficiency.

 

The expansion is part of AT&T’s Project Velocity IP (VIP), a three-year investment plan announced in Fall 2012 to expand and enhance its IP broadband networks.  Through this investment, AT&T is supporting its customers’ growing desire for high-speed Internet access and new mobile, app and cloud-based services. As part of Project VIP, AT&T plans to add macro cell sites nationwide by year-end 2015, as well as deploy small cells and add Distributed Antenna Systems to increase the density of its wireless network.

AT&T also operates more than 34,000 AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots at popular restaurants, hotels, bookstores and retailers, and provides access to more than 1 million globally through roaming agreements. The company is also a leading developer of Distributed Antenna Systems, which utilize multiple small antennas to maximize coverage and speed within stadiums, convention centers, office buildings, hotels and other areas where traditional coverage methods are challenging.

Over the past six years (2008 to 2013), AT&T invested more than $140 billion into its wireless and wireline networks, when you combine capital investment and acquisitions of spectrum and wireless operations.  

 

Adirondack Challenge returns this weekend

challengeThe second annual Adirondack Challenge rafting races will take place Sunday, July 20 in Indian Lake.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo will host multiple recreational activities including: golf, hiking, fishing, paddle boarding, white water rafting, an Adirondack motorcycle ride and much more. The day will culminate with a TASTE NY reception.

Similar to last year’s event, it promotes tourism to The Adirondack State Park, the largest public park in the country.