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Energy

Gas producer buys drilling rights on thousands of acres

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Property of the gas company: Chesapeake Energy is buying 500,000 acres in places like Chemung County.

Mineral rights purchase
Chesapeake Energy, one of the nation's largest natural gas producers, has agreed to purchase 500,000 acres in the Southern Tier.  The Press & Sun-Bulletin reports:

Chesapeake Energy Corp. will pay $850 million, or about $1,700 an acre, for the rights currently held by the Denver-based Anschutz Exploration Corp., Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon said in a conference call Thursday. He declined to say exactly where the acreage is located, but Anschutz announced earlier this month that it had agreed to sell the rights to the 500,000 acres it holds in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania to an undisclosed buyer.

The move comes even as Chesapeake tells shareholders that it's decamping from natural gas, and moving more into oil production.

Big medicine
Hospitals in the Syracuse area are buying up private practices to brace themselves for "the future of health care," according to the Post-Standard.  It's a nationwide trend:

Health care reform is expected to put financial pressure on hospitals, primary care doctors and other providers to align themselves so they can provide more streamlined, efficient care, said Tom Dennison, a Syracuse University professor and health care expert. Right now the health care payment system often puts hospitals and doctors at cross purposes, he said. That’s because the fee-for-service payment system can encourage doctors to provide unnecessary or less cost-effective care. Meanwhile, the payment system for hospitals encourages them to be as efficient as possible because they get paid a fixed amount to treat a patient with a certain diagnosis, regardless of how long the patient is hospitalized.

Earnings reports
*Bank HSBC had profits of $417 million, versus $161 million a year ago (Buffalo News)

*Profits at National Fuel were up 42 percent (Buffalo News)

*Moog, a motion control equipment manufacturer, picked up 71 cents a share (Buffalo News)

*Building products firm Gibralter Industries lost 4 cents a share (Buffalo News)

*Electronics maker Astronics brought in 41 cents a share (Buffalo News)

*Communications firm PAETEC lost 10 cents a share (Democrat and Chronicle)

SUNY Albany adds computer science
The U.S. Department of Education is funding the development of a computer security program at the University at Albany.  The program will be taught online, and at sites in Albany and Moscow (where UAlbany is already teaching classes).  But the irony that the Times Union notes is that the growth comes at a time when the school is cutting its foreign language programs - including Russian.

Facebook flap
Troy's city council got into a row Thursday over who can comment on the city's Facebook page.  Two Democratic members of council had been banned from the page by a spokesman for the city's Republican mayor, reports the Times Union.  The mayor has since ordered everyone's ability to comment to be restored.  Democracy: like!

Coniferous crusader
Here's a heartwarming tale of a consumer standing up for her rights (or at least for her tree).  The Press & Sun-Bulletin reports that Ildiko Mitchell doesn’t want NYSEG to cut down her blue spruce:

So, in a move she acknowledged was partly symbolic, the 63-year-old woman put on a plastic poncho Thursday and, carrying a cell phone, chained herself to the tree to stop contractors from New York State Electric & Gas Corp. from cutting it down. "I hope they see some sanity, but they probably think I'm a crazy lady," she said with a laugh.

She has since unchained herself and has a meeting with the utility next week - we'll keep you posted.

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