The Vermont legislature is looking at legislation to prevent public employees convicted of financial crimes from receiving increased pensions as a result. Another Vermont measure before committee would put new time limits on welfare-to-work aid.
24K power outages reported across upstate NY
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) About 24,000 utility customers across upstate New York are without power as a cold front with rain and wind gusts topping 50 mph moves across the region.
The outages are scattered Thursday morning, from about 4,400 in Seneca County in central New York to more than 10,000 in the Hudson Valley.
The National Weather Service says high wind warnings remain in effect until later Thursday from Buffalo to Albany. A wind gust of 63 was recorded in Penn Yan in the Finger Lakes.
Forecasters say temperatures will continue to fall throughout the day from Wednesday's record-breaking high temperatures in the 50s and 60s to the 30s and 40s Thursday. Highs will be in the 20s Friday, when parts of western and central New York are expected to more than a foot of lake-effect snow.
Winter returns to Southern Ontario today
Environment Canada says winter will return to southern Ontario today while snow and ice will continue to plague the northern parts of the province.
Forecasters say new maximum temperature records were set in many areas of the south yesterday as a mild air associated with a Colorado low produced double digit highs. But as the low moves into Quebec, it's dragging a sharp arctic cold front east across the entire district, bringing the January thaw to a quick end.
Temperatures are forecast to plunge fairly quickly to below freezing accompanied by strong and gusty westerly winds. Environment Canada says the same arctic air will bring snow and freezing rain to northern Ontario.
Freezing rain, followed by ice pellets, may last a few hours then snow — up to 30 centimetres in some areas — is forecast. Provincial police closed a number of northern highways last night as ice rain made driving treacherous.
(The Canadian Press) (from Broadcast News Ltd.)
Schumer: Feds work to bring Greek yogurt to school
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Sen. Charles Schumer says federal officials are taking steps to make Greek yogurt more available for school lunches— a move that could mean more business for upstate producers and dairy farmers.
Schumer last summer asked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to modify the federal school lunch program to incorporate Greek yogurt as a high-protein meat alternative. USDA officials told Schumer this week that they are starting a pilot program that could lead to more Greek yogurt in schools as early as April.
The Greek yogurt business has been booming nationwide. Two of the largest Greek yogurt producers, Chobani and Fage, have production facilities in upstate New York and buy tons of milk from dairy farmers in the region.
Schumer wants more regulations on hydrocodone pain meds
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants tighter federal controls on pain killers that have been linked to deaths in New York when abused.
Schumer is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to put pain killers with hydrocodone in a category of drugs with a higher risk of abuse or addiction so they'll be more difficult to get.
Although many patients benefit form hydrocodone for pain management, the drug is among the most widely abused substances and can cause serious health problems and death.
Schumer said Wednesday the FDA should accept last week's recommendations from an advisory committee of doctors and scientists to reclassify hydrocodone medications as Class II drugs.
NY state police target Super Bowl weekend DWI
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) State police say they'll be increasing checkpoints and patrols on the New York State Thruway to combat drunken driving over Super Bowl weekend.
The stepped up enforcement will start Friday and continue through Monday.
Troopers handed out almost 1,800 tickets and made 13 DWI arrests during last year's “Stop DWI Crackdown.”
State of the region message to be given in Ticonderoga
Dede Scozzafava, Deputy Secretary of State for Local Government, will deliver a regional state of the state and budget message in today at 1 pm. at Essex County College - Ticonderoga Campus, 11 Hawkeye Trail, Ticonderoga.
More information: 518-474-8418.
Benefit ban, Reach-up time limit get review
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) Two of Gov. Peter Shumlin's more high-profile recent proposals are up for committee discussion in the Vermont House.
On Thursday morning and afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee will take testimony on a plan by Shumlin to bar public employees convicted of financial crimes from having those crimes pad their pensions.
That push follows charges last year against former Vermont State Police Sergeant James Deeghan, who has been accused of inflating his pay by filing false overtime reports.
On Thursday afternoon, the House Human Services Committee takes testimony on Shumlin's plan to put new time limits on how long someone can stay on the state's welfare-to-work Reach-Up program.
(All stories copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)