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Verizon down on WNY, maple syrup production up

verizon_Eric Hauser.jpg
Eric Hauser
via Flickr
A lawsuit and troubles with the landowner are forcing Verizon away from a plot in western New York

Verizon's decision to bail on a proposed western New York data storage center comes down to three reasons, reports Lou Michel at the Buffalo News:

* A lawsuit. Amherst resident Mary Ann Rizzo, who owns property across the road from the Somerset site, filed suit Nov. 15 arguing that government officials gave short shrift to environmental issues and other factors in approving such a giant project. * The land seller. AES Corp., which owns a coal-fired electricity plant next door to the site, has been touched by recent financial instability, and, in Verizon's eyes, was dragging its feet in finalizing the sale of 178 acres to Verizon for the data center. * A new acquisition. Besides working at its own facilities, Verizon is about to complete the $1.4 billion purchase of Terremark Worldwide, a Florida-based computing company whose data centers are in Virginia.

Meanwhile WKBW has the text of what it calls an "emotional" statement from project backer, Senator George Maziarz:

Today,( Thursday) we see once again why our children are forced to move away in search of jobs. One disgruntled property owner hires one lawyer with a reputation of opposing everything to stall this project until Verizon gets fed up waiting and goes elsewhere. And our broken bureaucracy and snail-like judiciary, which refused to expedite this case despite its huge importance to the region, are complicit in this failure.

Maple syrup

The maple sap is starting to flow upstate, which is good news for New York's maple syrup producers.  Debra Groom reports at the Post-Standard that a spate of warm days and cool nights put the state well on its way to beating last year's sub-par production:

Maple syrup producers in New York state are coming off a very poor year in 2010. The temperatures at the end of March warmed too quickly, shutting off taps way too soon. As a result, New York’s maple syrup production decreased 29 percent from 2009. And that was with 1.9 million taps, 4 percent more than in 2009. Producers made about 312,000 gallons last year, compared to 439,000 gallons in 2009. Maple producers need daytime temperatures of about 45 to 50 degrees and nights of about 25 to 30 for a good sap run. The pressure put on the tree when the temperatures rise pushes the sap out of the taps that have been drilled into the tree.

In fact, Kevin Tampone at Central New York Business Journal reports that the state could be making even more off maple, if it were to tap unused resources in the North Country:

Michael Farrell, director of the Cornell University Uihlein Maple Forest and Extension Center at Lake Placid, conducted the survey on the region's maple industry. "Northern New York's maple producers are interested [in expanding] production to meet growing market demand," Farrell said in a news release. "This region has a vast untapped resource of sugar maple trees. Most producers, however, have already tapped all the trees they own and need to work with landowners to lease trees, buy sap, or process others' sap into syrup." A number of woodlot owners are benefiting already from tax breaks gained by leasing their maple trees to nearby producers, Anita Deming, director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County, said in the release. By leasing, landowners might qualify for agricultural assessment on their lots, which would reduce their property taxes. "My survey research found that the tax relief is by far the biggest incentive for landowners to utilize their maples for syrup production," Farrell added. "Many landowners have decided to start producing syrup themselves or are leasing their trees to another sugar maker in order to qualify for the tax savings."


  • Upstate Medical College is negotiating with Onondaga County to take control of the Van Duyn nursing home in Syracuse, reports James T. Mulder at the Post-Standard.
  • AP reports that unemployment benefit applications were down last week, indicating a move toward stronger job growth.
  • Starting March 28 the New York Times will put a 20 article limit on free reads - and require a subscription for access to the rest (NY Convergence).

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