The performer that played opening night at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs in 1960 will be returning to the famed coffehouse's stage this weekend. Winter finches who usually populate Canada during this season are staying farther south in the US this year. Among the people helping build this year's Saranac Lake Winter Lake Carnival Ice Palace are inmates from the Moriah Schock Incarceration facility.
Storms drop 15 ins. to 21 ins. of snow upstate NY
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Parts of western and central New York have received 15 to 21 inches of snow and more is expected from lake-effect storms accompanied by windy conditions.
The National Weather Service reports that Perrysburg in Cattaraugus County, south of Buffalo, has gotten 15 inches of snow from storms blowing off Lake Erie. Forecasters have issued a lake-effect snow warning continues for southwestern New York until 6 p.m. Friday, with an additional 4 to 6 inches expected.
Areas of Lewis County near Lake Ontario's eastern end have received 21 inches of snow, while Booneville, north of Utica, has 11 inches from the latest storm.
Winds gusting to more than 60 mph on Thursday knocked out power to more than 20,000 utility customers across upstate New York. All but about 1,000 have had power restored.
NY crackdown on synthetic pot nets drugs, arrests
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) State police say their investigation into the illegal sale of banned substances resulted in the seizure of more than 11,000 packages believed to contain synthetic marijuana.
Authorities say the seized drugs are valued at more than $150,000. Police say they also seized $16,000 in cash and 200 packages of suspected bath salts after launching their investigation last August along with local law enforcement agencies in the Rochester and Syracuse areas, Niagara Falls, Auburn and Port Jervis in Orange County.
Troopers say the illegal drugs were being sold at head shops, bodegas and smoke shops.
Four people were arrested during the investigation and charged with violating a section of the public health law which makes it illegal to possess, manufacture, distribute, sell or offer to sell synthetic marijuana.
NY Legislature predicts early state budget OK
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's Legislature, which had been notorious for decades of passing late state budgets, now expects to pass the earliest spending plan since 1983.
Senate and Assembly leaders released a plan Thursday that would result in a budget adoption on March 21. The schedule includes public hearings on the $143 billion budget proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The budget is due by April 1.
Early budgets have become more routine since Gov. David Paterson seized on a law that allows a governor to impose his or her budget on the Legislature if it doesn't act by April 1. That leaves lawmakers the choice of accepting the governor's budget or shutting down government.
The 2007 budget reform act was supposed to assure on-time budgets, but that law has been routinely ignored.
10th Mountain Division unit heading to Afghanistan
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (AP) The Pentagon says a unit of the Army's 10th Mountain Division is among the forces that will be sent to Afghanistan.
The 2,200 soldiers in the division's 10th Combat Aviation Brigade are set to be deployed from northern New York's Fort Drum in the spring for a nine-month tour.
Elements of the division have been among the most frequently deployed during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The air support unit will join an infantry brigade combat team of about 2,250 soldiers from Fort Stewart in Georgia and 500 from a headquarters unit based at Fort Hood, Texas.
NY folk music landmark's 1st performer returning
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) Bob Dylan played there. So did Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Emmylou Harris and a long list of folk music's biggest names.
But none of them was the first to perform at Caffe Lena, the legendary coffeehouse in downtown Saratoga Springs. That honor belongs to Jack Landron, who returns to the Caffe Lena stage this weekend for just the third time since he opened the venue in May 1960.
Back then, he was known as Jackie Washington and was a rising star on the folk music circuit in Boston and Greenwich Village. Landron is performing Saturday night at Caffe Lena to celebrate the release of a new album.
He last played at the Saratoga landmark in 2010, when Caffe Lena celebrated its 50th anniversary. The venue is considered the nation's oldest continuously operating coffeehouse.
US birders report invasion of winter finches
ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) Participants in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's annual Project FeederWatch are reporting large numbers of finches normally seen farther north in Canada.
Project leaders say common redpolls, sparrow-size birds with a red cap and rosy vest, typically drop into the U.S. when food is scarce up north. This winter, they're being reported across the country, with more reported in Colorado than any year since FeederWatch began in 1989.
Such an invasion is known as an irruption.
From the Great Lakes to southern Florida, watchers are reporting pine siskins and red-breasted nuthatches. FeederWatchers in the Northeast are reporting more evening grosbeaks than usual.
The project lasts through early April and new participants can still sign up at www.FeederWatch.org .
NY inmates help build ice palace in Adirondacks
SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. (AP) It's a far cry from breaking rocks in the hot sun on a chain gang. In the Adirondack village of Saranac Lake, N.Y., inmates break ice on a frozen lake to make a giant winter palace.
A work crew from an area “shock” prison camp once again this year helped local volunteers create this mountain village's lakeside ice palace. The palace serves as the centerpiece for the annual Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, starting Friday.
Inmates from Moriah Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility worked alongside the volunteers this week breaking off ice blocks. They sawed through ice and applied slush like mortar between blocks in the palace walls.
Warm weather and rain complicated palace construction this week. Volunteers planned to get back to work Friday and fix up damaged parts of the palace.
(All stories copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)