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State pensions, and Xerox reinvented

Ted Sali
via Flickr
With more state workers heading toward blissful retirements, the state comptroller is worried about the tab.

New York comptroller Tom DiNapoli is topping headlines today, saying that rising pension costs will hike property taxes or force massive cuts to services.  But, as the Democrat and Chronicle points out, his own website might actually be part of the problem.

Yet, on the comptroller's website, under the heading "Maximizing Your Benefits," DiNapoli provides tips for government employees to pad their pension by stockpiling vacation and sick time or working overtime and holidays.

Xerox reinvents its brand
Xerox is rolling out a new ad campaign, to promote itself following its acquisition of Afiliated Computer Services earlier this year.  They're trying to kick their copier image, spokesperson Christa Carone tells the Democrat and Chronicle:

"The perception of the brand still tends to be closely associated with the copier and printer business," she said. "We're trying to disrupt some of those legacy perceptions.

Roland Beck knows all too well that Xerox is shedding its printing and copying image.  He's the president of Tessy Plastic Corp. in Elbridge, outside of Syracuse.  Back in 2001 he lost Xerox as a client.

Sales to Xerox accounted for 40 percent of Tessy’s revenues. Nearly half of Tessy’s 795 employees in Elbridge produced ink cartridges for Xerox. Just a year earlier, Tessy opened plants in Ireland and China to help fill orders for Xerox ink cartridges in Europe and Asia.

But things are looking up for Beck, according to a profile in the Post-Standard.
Small businesses jamming on festival
Who knew!  Jam bands are big business.  The Utica Observer-Dispatch has the details about the economic impact of "moe.down," a giant festival hosted by the band moe.  The event moved to Mohawk, New York this year and area businesses are bracing themselves.
Government: here to help
Buffalo's 311 line reaches its 100,000th call.  Sorry, no giant check - but the caller did get to air his grievances with the mayor himself.  The call was about a trash pick-up that didn't materialize.
Plenty of folks have turned out at hearings hosted by the Public Service Commission to air their grievances about a potential rate hike at utilities Rochester Gas and Electric and NYSEG.  The PSC is set to discuss the issue next week; a decision is due September 16.
Turning on the lights
Two energy efficiency stories of note today.  In Binghamton, a local firm has a new lighting system.  The Press & Sun-Bulletin reports it could save 1.7 million kilowatt-hours per year.  In Syracuse, Crouse Hospital is getting $360,000 from the stimulus to update its lighting scheme, according to the Innovation Trail's Ryan Morden.
Coming and going
A hospital hopes its new urgent care center is coming to Clifton Park, outside Albany.  Last year the notion was rejected by the state, so the proposal was scaled back.  The state Health Department gave it the thumbs up, now it's in the town's court.  Business owners are leaving Johnson City's NYPenn Trade Center.  They're concerned that code violations and a lack of response from owners will force the closure of the facility, and they're getting out while they can.
Federal government looks to redesign tests
The New York Times also has the details on efforts to redesign testing.  

Over the next four years, two groups of states, 44 in all, will get $330 million to work with hundreds of university professors and testing experts to design a series of new assessments that officials say will look very different from those in use today.

Be on the look-out for a piece about how New York could reform its testing from Innovation Trail's Dan Bazile.
Back to school 
Malls are reporting good back-to-school sales.  And yet, consumer confidence was down in the month of August.
In brief
A shareholder at the Connecticut bank that First Niagara is attempting to acquire is suing, saying the purchase price is too low.  The Times Union has a round-up of news from around "tech valley."  In Cicero, SRC Inc. has won nearly $42 million for IT work for the Department of Homeland Security.  

Bon weekend
The Innovation Trail hopes you're in for a long weekend, full of two upstate specialities:  traffic and meat.  If you're traveling through Syracuse for the holiday weekend, the Post-Standard has a traffic guide.  And if you're staying at home to grill, the Press & Sun-Bulletin has spiedie recipies.  Need an explainer on the regional delicacy that is a "spiedie?"  The Innovation Trail's own Emma Jacobs has the details.





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