Innovation Trail


It’s referred to by some as an “invisible disability.” It’s a disease with no known cure, affecting the lives of millions around the globe, including some people in our community. What you need to know about it and the stories of those who refuse to be defined by it, on this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, we’ll learn about a first of its kind robot created by a college student in an effort to revolutionize hospitality.

And she’s been called a source of tough love by local teens, some of whom had once been on the verge of dropping out of high school. Meet our new American Graduate Champion. 

For years, the government has warned that saturated fat found in whole milk leads to increased risk for heart disease. But now, it’s taking a second look at the research, saying saturated fats might not be so bad for you.

New federal dietary guidelines could be a big boost for dairy farmers.

Plan Announced To Keep Alcoa Plant Operating In Massena

Nov 24, 2015
Brit Hanson / ncpr.org

Alcoa on Tuesday announced a three and half year deal to keep its smelter in Massena open, and increase its competitiveness. The agreement reduces layoffs at the plant to about 80, according to a spokesman.

In a statement, the company said the agreement with New York State will help maintain “hundreds of jobs” — approximately 600 - in the North Country. It will also support growth at the company’s sister operation in Massena, the cast house.


Jon Schull is transforming lives for young people in need of limbs. The RIT research scientist is the founder of e-NABLE, an organization that uses 3-D printing to create limbs for children at no cost. While kids would outgrow traditional prosthetic arms that cost around $40,000, e-NABLE can make them for less than $20 each. Watch Schull’s Innovation Trail story from PBS NewsHour.

(Video after the jump)


The Rochester area saw another month of job growth in August.

New numbers from the state labor department show that this region added more than 10,000 private sector jobs compared to August of a year ago.

State labor analyst Tammy Marino says it was a relatively broad-based increase in local employment.

"Now some of that expansion can be attributed to seasonal hiring, however, we also had some very strong hiring in a number of other key sectors including healthcare, education and professional and technical as well."


The Rochester area didn't do very well in terms of being a business friendly region, at least according to a new survey by the website Thumbtack.com. That website is an online service for matching up small service businesses and customers.

We scored a letter grade of  “D+”  for being friendly to small business. This region ranked 84 out of 95 cities that were surveyed.

Food processing using high pressure instead of heat is coming to the Finger Lakes.

Cornell University and State Senator Michael Nozzolio have announced a $600,000 state grant that will allow Cornell University's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva to purchase and install a state-of-the-art “Hiperbaric High Pressure Processing” machine.

Dean of the Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Kathryn Boor, says the equipment will ensure food safety for consumers worldwide.


Watch as EPA Regional Administrator, Judith Enck, sits down with Innovation Trail to discuss the Clean Power Plan. Enck talks about:

  • How is New York state positioned to address emission reduction?
  • Will the Plan result in additional costs for consumers?
  • Will the Plan reduce grid reliability?
  • What will the role of renewables be in the new energy mix?
  • What should communities  close to coal-fired power plants do?

(Full video after the jump.)  

Michael Mroziak / WBFO

Joined by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Buffalo officials spent Tuesday showing off some of the fruits of the so-called "Buffalo Billion" to delegates from seven Upstate New York regions, who hope they may soon join Buffalo in an economic renaissance boosted by big bucks from Albany.

The Upstate Revitalization Conference kicked off inside the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center with remarks from Hochul, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

In this hour of Innovation Friday we’re to find out about the importance of medical interpreting. The rollout of the Affordable Care Act has created a huge demand for interpreters working in the healthcare sector where LEP or Limited English Proficiency is one of the biggest issues driving readmission rates.

We’ll talk to a locally based trainer, and interpreters themselves about the challenges, and we’ll wrap up the show with a roundup of stories from the Innovation Trail including a nod to National Homeowners Month.