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The border crossing at CHamplain, NY. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mpd01605/3939455673/">Bobby Hidy</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
The border crossing at CHamplain, NY. Photo: Bobby Hidy, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Rep. Owens touts more border staff in northern NY

CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. (AP) A congressman says recently announced staffing increases along U.S. borders will help northern New York's economy.

U.S. Rep. Bill Owens says custom officials estimate there will be 20 more staffers at both the Champlain and Alexandria Bay crossings by the end of fiscal year 2015.  Go to full article

NY out-of-network insurance coverage mandated

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York has decided that starting next year, patients will be protected against surprise out-of-network medical bills that have pushed some toward personal bankruptcy.

The measure, signed into law this week, is scheduled to take effect next April 1.  Go to full article

NY ethics panel: $210M spent lobbying last year

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's ethics commission reports $210 million was spent on state and local lobbying last year.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, in its 2013 annual report, says its enforcement cases resulted in more than $450,000 in penalties.  Go to full article

NY court throws out disorderly conduct case

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's highest court has thrown out the disorderly conduct arrest of a man standing with three others near the entrance of a Harlem deli who refused to move when police told them to.

The Court of Appeals also dismissed the charge against Todd Johnson for the cocaine police subsequently found in his pocket.  Go to full article

Islamic group's plan to cut off crosses draws ire

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Some neighbors and former parishioners of a century-old Catholic church are protesting plans to remove six crosses from the roof and spires so the now-vacant Gothic structure can be used as a Muslim mosque.

More than 200 people have signed an online petition calling on the Syracuse Landmark Preservation Board to deny an application by North Side Learning Center, the church's new owner, to remove the crosses and build a six-foot chain-link fence.  Go to full article

21 people arrested for cheating on drivers test

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott says 21 people have been charged with cheating on their commercial driver's license test.

Scott, along with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, charged the group of people on Tuesday as part of a cheating ring first revealed in September.  Go to full article

Audit: special ed contractor overbilled state

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) A new audit suggests a New York City special education contractor overcharged the state by more than $875,000.

The audit released Wednesday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says TheraCare Preschool Services Inc. overbilled the state between 2008 and 2011.

TheraCare provides special education services to preschool-aged children in New York City and three nearby counties.  Go to full article
New York State Education Department building in Albany, NY, Photo: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NYSED_Building_Night_2.JPG">Matt Wade</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
New York State Education Department building in Albany, NY, Photo: Matt Wade, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

New York pulls out of inBloom student database

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) New York education officials say they will not store student information with the data storage firm inBloom.

State Education Department spokesman Dennis Tomkins says Wednesday that the state has directed inBloom to delete data that's been stored so far.

The move follows this week's passage of the state budget, which includes a provision to end the state's relationship with inBloom.  Go to full article
Solar at peak power in Middlebury, VT. Photo: <a href="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8091/8545535608_3b22631ef6_o.jpg">Adam Fagen</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Solar at peak power in Middlebury, VT. Photo: Adam Fagen, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Vt. has new law encouraging small power generation

EAST MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- A new Vermont law makes it easier for small power producers to sell any excess electricity they produce.

The "net metering" law signed Tuesday by Gov. Peter Shumlin in East Montpelier increases the amount of power small sources such as wind or solar can send to the electric grid from 4 percent of a utility's peak demand to 15 percent.  Go to full article
Recreational salmon fishers in Mississauga, Ontario. Photo: <a href="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3187/2854686754_99d4b50a96_o.jpg">Gene Wilburn</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Recreational salmon fishers in Mississauga, Ontario. Photo: Gene Wilburn, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NY investing $4M in fish hatcheries

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is heralding the start of trout and salmon season by announcing new investments in recreational fishing.

Cuomo says the state will set aside $4 million to repair fish hatcheries and purchase 16 trucks specially designed to transport stocked fish.  Go to full article

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