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Politics

Schumer urges easing travel at U.S.-Canada border

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Senator Charles Schumer wants to make it easier to get the documents necessary to cross freely between the U.S. and Canada.

Today in your Trail Mix:

Easing travel across the U.S.-Canada border.

The middle class weakens as the wealthy get stronger.

Cuomo won't pick winners in the regional council competition.

Plus: Albany lovingly crafted in Lego.

U.S.-Canada border

Senator Schumer wants to ease travel across the U.S.-Canadian border, by making it easier to get NEXUS cards (Deidre Williams, Buffalo News).

A fee hidden in a free trade agreement could cost Canadians visiting the U.S. by boat or plane (Joanna Richards, WRVO).

Our neighbors across the border have fared better during the recession, as Canada adds jobs and protects the unemployed (North Country Public Radio).

Economy

The Fiscal Policy Institute is release a report today that shows that the middle class has struggled as wealthy New Yorkers have profited (Joseph Spector, Gannett).

Being out of work can challenge the sense of self of the unemployed (Mark Hare, Democrat and Chronicle).

A new economic crisis in Albany could ease the way for controversial fixes like encouraging hydrofracking in the Southern Tier (Michael Gormely, AP).

Gauges that measured this year's flood waters could be turned off as a budget cutting step, if the U.S. Geological Survey has its way (Brian Nearing, Times Union).

Regional councils

The governor says he won't have a role in picking who gets how much in the regional economic plan competition (Joseph Spector, Vote Up!).

The Finger Lakes region pitched converting a former Kodak facility into a green tech park as one of the ideas in its "regional economic development plan" (Jon Campbell, Vote Up!).

Western New York's regional council presents its plan to get a chunk of state development money tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. – and you can watch (David Robinson, Buffalo News).

Fracking

The DEC will take comments on its environmental review of fracking today for the third time this month, in the Catskills town of Loch Sheldrake (AP).

The Tompkins County Council of Governments is holding a hearing on natural gas drilling in Ithaca on December 1, and will transmit the comments to the DEC, since there are no hearings on draft drilling rules in the Finger Lakes region (Kathleen Cook, WSKG).

The head of the federal EPA says "we're not going to screw up your drinking water and ground water" with fracking (Susan Phillips, State Impact PA).

Business

Steuben Glass closes its store and factory today, ending 108-year history (Ben Dobbin, AP).

A shuttered hotel in downtown Syracuse might get a second chance, thanks to interest from a private equity firm (Rick Moriarty, Post-Standard).

A tech startup in a Buffalo incubator looks like it would be more at home in the humanities, rather than engineering, department (Daniel Robison, Innovation Trail).

Higher education

The new president of Binghamton University wants to have "conversations" before making "tough decisions" about what programs to focus investment on (George Basler, Press & Sun-Bulletin).

Binghamton University is partnering with a defense company to commercialize technology for military use (Susan Limb, Binghamton University Pipe Dream).

Cute!

Erie County legislators are balking at using a budget surplus on a polar bear exhibit at the Buffalo zoo (Chris Caya, WNED).

Albany, in Legos (All Over Albany).

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