Aug. 31, 2007
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"We've lived here for years, and we're wondering how to get the hell out of here."
— Gerry Michalski, complaining of New York state's high taxes at a taxation forum earlier this month sponsored by a Canandaigua homeowners' association.
Ferraris flock to Southern Tier
CORNING — Dozens of sleek Italian sports cars have been rolling into town over the last few days for the annual gathering of the Ferrari Club of America, through Sunday.
A concours d’elegance was held on closed-off Market Street Thursday, with cars judged both by experts and the crowd at large. For the latter's pick, a Steuben crystal will be awarded to the winner.
Car owners are coming from as far away as California, Mexico, Canada, Spain and Italy, said Corning jeweler Leon Bourdage, the local host of this year’s gathering.
Bourdage is expecting nearly 200 Ferraris. “They’re rolling works of art,” Bourdage said. “Some of the cars that will be here, there are only a handful of them in the world.”
When it comes to motorsports, there is a historic link between the highly successful Ferraris and the Finger Lakes, Bourdage pointed out. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that the first Ferraris ever to race in North America raced in the streets of Watkins Glen, back in 1949,” Bourdage said.
Upstate brain drain detailed
BUFFALO — They attend college upstate, live here, then take off after graduation.
Recent studies suggest upstate has a hard time getting college-educated people to stick around the area.
According to the report, “A Brain Drain or an Insufficient Brain Gain?” by Richard Deitz of the Federal Reserve Bank branch here, upstate's 4.1 percent net loss of college-educated workers between 1995 and 2000 would be the second worst in the country if upstate New York was considered a state.
A New York Times study last summert showed that from 1990 to 2004, the number of 25-to-34-year-old residents in upstate New York declined by more than 25 percent. In the 13 counties that include big upstate cities like Buffalo, Syracuse and Binghamton, the population of young adults dropped by more than 30 percent.
The report points out that the population growth may have been much less if not for 21,000 prison inmates that were brought in, accounting for 30 percent of new residents.
Since there are so many colleges and universities in the area, Deitz said the number of people with a bachelor’s degree is high, meaning that finding a job is more competitive for those who stay.
Wine on the vine goes high-tech
PENFIELD —Growing grapes is a year-round job for Casa Larga winemaker Mike Countryman. It also is a lot of walking and watching over 100-plus acres of vineyards.
In summer, he monitors moisture levels to prevent the grapes from molding while ensuring they have enough humidity to grow. In winter, he tracks the temperature to determine how to prune the vines in the spring.
Thanks to an idea by the Rochester-based Leveraging Technology Inc., Countryman's work will be a little easier.
The company partnered with Casa Larga and Rochester Institute of Technology to use wireless Internet sensors to monitor variables like temperature, soil moisture, light exposure and humidity.
Sixteen sensor-attached motes are being installed in the vineyard to help Countryman determine how to manage grapes there now and what to do with the land in the future.
"What we're doing is basically things that I would need to do over the next couple of years to gather the information on the weather and the microclimates in the vineyard, to assess that so that maybe we can do more plantings of vinifera, which is what we mainly use at the winery," he said.
The motes in the fields communicate with one another, eventually transmitting the information back to a main computer where the data is collected, monitored and analyzed.
Sailors meet new challenges
IRONDEQUOIT —As many as 170 competitors from 28 countries will come to the Rochester Yacht Club for the 2007 Disabled Sailing World Championship starting early next week.
The event is a qualifier for the 2008 Paralympics, following the summer Olympic Games, in Beijing, China.
It's quite an honor.
"Sanctioned world championships are hard to get," said Keith Burhans, who co-chairs the event.
Burhans said world championships are usually held in the country where the Olympic games will be, but Rochester won the bid against a city in France and Toronto.
What sets the event apart is that all competitors are medically disabled, from quadriplegics to men and women who have lost limbs or been diagnosed with debilitating diseases. "But at the end of the day," Burhans said, "it's really a celebration of what people can do, as opposed to what they can't."