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NCPR News Staff: Kate O'Connell

Reporter, The Innovation Trail

Stories filed by Kate O'Connell

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Ginna nuclear power plant in the town of Ontario in Wayne County, NY. Photo: United States government
Ginna nuclear power plant in the town of Ontario in Wayne County, NY. Photo: United States government

Western NY nuclear plant cited for flood risk

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a citation to the owners of the Ginna nuclear power plant in upstate New York. Preliminary inspection findings released Tuesday cited the plant for failure to address a long-standing flood risk. The issue is considered a low-to-moderate level safety concern.

It all comes down to an improperly sealed manhole at the plant, which could have allowed flood waters to breach the rooms housing emergency batteries.

And, according to NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan, that's an issue because those batteries act as a backup power source to help run the plant its safety systems during an emergency.  Go to full article
Photo: Franklin gun shop via <a href="http://innovationtrail.org/post/investment-fund-hopes-spur-innovation-gun-safety-technology">Innovation Trail</a>
Photo: Franklin gun shop via Innovation Trail

Can an investment fund make guns safer?

Although some states took legislative action after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings over a year ago, the debate over gun control has largely stalled at the national level. Now, a Silicon Valley-based group of tech investors has launched the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation to spur innovation of gun safety technology.

The foundation is putting forward a $1 million prize pool to aid gun safety tech entrepreneurs.  Go to full article
Slide from Gov. Cuomo's 2014 Budget Address last month.
Slide from Gov. Cuomo's 2014 Budget Address last month.

Counties: not everyone thinks consolidation is a money-saver

In last month's budget proposal address, Governor Cuomo put pressure on local governments to consolidate in order to reduce property taxes and save money.

The New York State Association of Counties is holding its legislative conference in Albany this week, and a new report on government consolidation is on the agenda. Not everyone is convinced mergers are a money saver.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/87764589@N07/8415073338/">marshmettnn tallahassee</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: marshmettnn tallahassee, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Investigation launched into student debt relief industry

Governor Cuomo's newly formed Student Protection Unit has launched an investigation into the student debt relief industry.

Led by the state Department of Financial Services (DFS), it's designed to be a consumer watchdog for New York students. And, one day after being established in the 2014 Executive Budget address, the unit has issued subpoenas to 13 companies in its first official action.  Go to full article
Corning Inc. Gorilla Glass. Photo: Corning, Inc.
Corning Inc. Gorilla Glass. Photo: Corning, Inc.

Antimicrobial glass for smart devices created upstate

Upstate glass manufacturer Corning Inc. has developed the first antimicrobial glass for our proliferating smart devices, lap tops, and TVs. The glass is more resistant to bacteria but, doubts are emerging about the benefits of antibacterial products.

We use touch screens constantly. They're on smart devices, on ATMs, at self-check-outs, and in airports. And, according to Corning's David Velasquez, we're transferring the germs from everything we touch right onto those glass surfaces.  Go to full article
Photo: Bosc d'Anjou
Photo: Bosc d'Anjou

Fracking chemicals linked to hormone disruption

New research has found that the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing can disrupt the body's hormones.

A study published Monday in the journal of Endocrinology reported on results from water tested at drill sites where spills had occurred.  Go to full article

State economic subsidy reports lacking

New York state's economic development programs lack transparency and accountability at a regional level, according to a new report released Monday by the left-leaning Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN).

Only seven of the top 15 programs report regional data, and most don't provide enough detail for their performance to be assessed, the report found.  Go to full article
Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester NY. If one of a doctor's patients is admitted, he'll get an alert. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/taudiophile/2793938059/">Aaron Giambattista</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester NY. If one of a doctor's patients is admitted, he'll get an alert. Photo: Aaron Giambattista, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Putting doctors in the loop when there's an emergency

Many health care providers don't know when their patients are admitted or discharged from hospital, or seen by an ambulance crew. That makes it harder to deliver comprehensive care.

The Rochester Regional Health Information Organization has set up a simple alert system that's aimed at changing that.  Go to full article
Researchers at the ECBC look at results from human-on-a-chip testing.<br />Photo: ECBC
Researchers at the ECBC look at results from human-on-a-chip testing.
Photo: ECBC

Really? Humans on a chip?

In a handful of labs around the U.S., researchers are creating human tissue from stem cells and using them for research, manipulating them to replicate the functions of human organs. And it all happens on platforms about the size of a thumb drive.

This research platform is known as a 'human-on-a-chip', and it has the potential to change the nature of medical treatment.  Go to full article
A "Raise the Age" town hall meeting at St. Joseph's College. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/56567240@N02/8665921310">amy21458</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
A "Raise the Age" town hall meeting at St. Joseph's College. Photo: amy21458, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Advocates urge Cuomo to raise age for youth offenders

New York is one of only two states in the country where all children 16 and older are treated as adults in the criminal justice system. This month the Raise the Age initiative kicked off a statewide campaign in upstate New York, renewing their effort to keep kids under 18 out of adult prisons.  Go to full article

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