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Back to school money blues, and shale hearings coming up

Toban Black
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Knowledge is wealth, college students. But good luck getting it without student debt.

Back to school

With back-to-school comes a litany of articles reminding us how expensive higher education is.  The Buffalo News has tips for cutting costs.  The attorney general has announced that SUNY will help students avoid getting into credit card debt, in the Democrat and Chronicle.
There's a profile of the Higher Education Services Corporation, a state agency the collects the school debt of students who can't pay.  Brace yourself - here are the stats from the Times-Union:

As of July 1, HESC listed 145,437 accounts with $1,983,922,931 in college loans that had gone into default. That's up from last year, when there were 144,216 borrowers for a total of $1,895,211,727 by the end of July.

Primary Day

With less than a week to New York's primaries, the media is trying to get readers up to speed.  We weighed in with our favorite take on the new voting machines yesterday, but you can check in with the technology at the Democrat and Chronicle.  The Observer-Dispatch in Utica says hot local races could boost turn-out.  And the Post-Standard has the details on the move to a more accessible site for the Onondaga County Board of Elections.

Shale hearings coming up 9/13 and 9/15

Even sooner than the primary is the EPA's Marcellus shale hearing, so the Press & Sun-Bulletin has a few shale items today.  Broome County has formed a committee to monitor gas drilling issues.  It's made up of three county legislators and two residents.  There's also an Associated Press item about Pennsylvania's governor stumping for a tax on shale drilling in his state

And the Press & Sun is looking for your comments about shale drilling: they're looking for people planning to testify at an upcoming EPA hearing.  The Innovation Trail's Emma Jacobs and Ryan Morden will be at that hearing.  Their series of stories previewing what shale drilling could mean for New York State begin today.

Cleaning up the industrial past

The Times-Union has an update on slow-going in the construction of the Beacon Institute for Rivers in Troy.  The project is set to cost $15 million; planners say they aren't deterred by the state's budget woes.  The paper also looks the remediation of a site in Schenectady.  

... the extent of the contamination, mostly caused by long-buried fuel tanks, dwarfed expectations. Fuel and fuel-based oil was found 17 to 18 feet beneath the ground's surface to the tune of 41,000 tons of contaminated earth, said Commissioner of the Office of General Services Carl Olsen. Seven fuel tanks were unearthed, two of which were surprises.

Cheap power

Innovation Trail's Daniel Robison blogged about this story, in the Buffalo News, yesterday.  Upstate New York businesses thought a new law would help them get a break on hydropower, but it turns out there might not be much excess power to offer.

Apple strike

Yesterday we told you about how the strike at the Mott's processing plant could threaten the apple harvest.  Today that story continues, as the plant's owner says it won't take any more meetings with the union, and a Democratic party arm says it'll boycott.

Downtown mogul

The Buffalo News has a profile of a downstate entrepreneur who's investing big in Batavia.  Kenneth Mistler has a diverse portfolio.  In addition to being a landlord, he sells sports cars, coffee, gym memberships and dinner.

Plastic, three ways

And finally, three items from the The New York Times. First, a piece about retailers' answers to the call of consumers wild with rage about excess packaging.  There are more questions than answers about BPA in plastics.  And there's word that Consumer Reports is now rating surgical groups.

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