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Upstate projects "changing America," and M&T merger on the move

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Stimulus dollars are upgrading the port of Albany to handle heavy cargo like wind turbine parts.

Albany stimulus projects make the grade
The White House has called out a couple of Albany-area stimulus projects for "changing America."  Among the top 100: a broadband initiative, the flywheel batteries that the Innovation Trail’s Dan Bazile reported on a couple of weeks ago, and upgrades at the port of Albany.

M&T back in the news
Hot on the heels of announcing it's acquiring a Connecticut bank, M&T is returning merger talks with a Spanish bank, according to the Buffalo News. And that's causing some concern - and some hope:

Such a deal, in theory, would result in M&T losing the independence on which it has long prided itself, since an outside party could own more than 50 percent of its shares. That prospect might raise fears of a diminished local presence or even job cuts. But some observers say Buffalo could gain jobs and prestige from a merger.

Start-up downpayment
The feds are investing $445,000 in economic development projects in upstate tech start-ups.  The Buffalo News says the idea is to take projects from "the napkin stage to sustainability."

Energy efficiency rebates get green light
The Public Service Commission has released more cash for utilities to offer rebates on energy efficient furnaces.  There's over $7 million available to run the program until the end of next year, according to the Democrat and Chronicle.

Hospital nabbing top docs
Syracuse's Golisano Children's Hospital is starting to recruit top medical talent.  According to Dr. Thomas Welch, chief of pediatrics at the hospital (via the Post-Standard)

Welch said a pediatric lung doctor who works at a well-known children’s hospital recently cold-called him looking for a position.

Hydrofracking
A Buffalo-area gas firm is looking to drill up to 80 wells in the Marcellus shale, in search of natural gas.  National Fuel is predicting it could extract around 65 billion cubic feet of gas using the controversial hydrofracking technique, according to the Buffalo News.

The Press & Sun-Bulletin has a couple of items about hydrofracking.

A natural gas compression facility in Owego had its value downgraded by the Tioga County economic development agency.  That also decreases the value of a proposed payment-in-lieu-of-taxes deal for the county, cutting potential payments from $5.4 million annually to around $3 million.

Erwin, outside Corning, has cut a deal with East Resources, a drilling firm, to provide water for its hydrofracking projects.

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