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Collecting scrap for fun and profit in Buffalo

One man's trash is another man's revenue stream - and a town's lost profit.
via Flickr
One man's trash is another man's revenue stream - and a town's lost profit.


Curb alert
The Buffalo News looks at the trend of scavenging as a sign of the economic times.  Metal scrap collectors are acing town waste removal services, which has led to a drop in municipal revenues for selling the scrap.  But scap collectors are part of the economy too, the paper points out:

Todd Levin, president of Niagara Metals, said some people can't believe anyone would pick trash from their curb. But he considers trash-picking a mini-stimulus package. "I think it's great when I see people pick up something from the curb," he said. "The guy that walks out with 100 bucks, he's going to spend that money at a gas station or a restaurant. It stirs the economy, takes stuff out of landfills and promotes recycling."

Mall developers defend Destiny
Bob Congel and Bruce Kenan, the developers behind the Carousel Center project in Syracuse sits down with a Post-Standard reporter for an interview.  What isn't revealed is perhaps more revealing that what is.  The mall is part of a larger, multimodal project, "Destiny USA," which has struggled to finance its expansion.  Developers decline to comment on those efforts.  The paper also offers an update on the project today.

The assessments are 2 damn high
There are two stories about property assessments worth reading this morning.  The Press & Sun-Bulletin looks at Vestal, outside Binghamton, where homeowners are finding that high assessments are making it tough to sell.  And the Times-Union's "Advocate" columnist has a profile of an assessment reduction warrior in Albany.  Paul Swyer has tried and failed to get his assessment reduced, despite an admission from the hearing examiner that his case was strong.

Jobs on the horizon for computer science grads
Computer science graduates who once fled western New York as soon as their degrees were in hand now have a reason to stick around, as the region attracts big server farms from Yahoo and Verizon.  That's according to the Buffalo News, which reports that Verizon's potential relocation to Niagara County is based in part on the availability of a computer savvy workforce.

Fracking documentarians
The Press & Sun-Bulletin has a profile of the "terrorists" that the state of Pennsylvania was watching as the debate over shale drilling unfolded.  The couple from Pulteney turned out not to be terrorists, but rather documentarians and concerned citizens.  

Nosy Google
The Post-Standard has a round-up about Google's privacy Street View privacy breach.  Mapping vehicles in several nationals collected private email addresses as well as wireless Internet access information.

MS treatment
The Times-Union follows up with MS patients who've had angioplasty to reduce their symptoms of the disease.  The treatment has been studied at the University at Buffalo Medical Center, and was pioneered by an Italian physician:

In 2009, a vascular physician in Italy named Dr. Paolo Zamboni reported that 43 of 65 MS patients he studied had signs of narrowed veins. It was a breakthrough moment for study of the disease. Zamboni also performed balloon angioplasty in the patients' veins to widen the constricted vessels; many reported feeling better, although half the patients' veins went back to having restricted blood flow.

Entrepreneurs rebuffed
Guyanese entrepreneurs who once flocked to Schenectady at the invitation of the mayor now say the welcome is worn out - and many are ready to leave the city.  The Times-Union reports that many newcomers feel they're being targeted for enforcement of permitting and tax codes, despite their efforts to revitalize neighborhoods and start new businesses.


Drug testing
The New York Times reports today on how employer drug tests are starting to include often-abused prescription medicines.  Employees who take these medicines legally are getting caught in the net, and in some cases, fired:

There is a dearth of data from independent groups regarding impairment from prescription drugs in the workplace, partly because the issue has not drawn broad scrutiny. But Quest Diagnostics, a prominent provider of workplace drug tests, said that the rate of employees testing positive for prescription opiates rose by more than 40 percent from 2005 to 2009, and by 18 percent last year alone. The data, culled from the results of more than 500,000 drug tests, also indicated that workers who were tested for drugs after accidents were four times more likely to have opiates in their systems than those tested before being hired.

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