NY state trooper in Plattsburgh charged in 2 rapes
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (AP) Authorities say a state trooper assigned to a station in northern New York has been charged with raping two women.
State police say 32-year-old Trooper Trevor Donah of Plattsburgh was arrested around 4 p.m. Tuesday while off duty and charged with two counts of first-degree rape. Police say the victims were two female acquaintances.
The arrest was made by the state police Bureau of Investigation.
Donah was arraigned in Plattsburgh City Court. He's being held Wednesday in the Clinton County Jail on $50,000 bail.
A judge has appointed the district attorney in neighboring Franklin County, Derek Champagne, as special prosecutor in this case.
Donah is a five-year veteran of the state police assigned to the Plattsburgh station. He has been suspended without pay. It couldn't be determined if Donah has a lawyer.
GOP senators want utility tax surcharge dropped
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) State Senate Republicans say they want the Cuomo administration to remove from his proposed budget an extension of the 1 percent utility tax surcharge beyond its scheduled expiration in 2014.
Sen. Patrick Gallivan from Erie County says the extension would mostly affect businesses, particularly manufacturers that use large amounts of energy.
It was imposed in 2009 on electric, gas, steam and non-municipal water services.
State Public Service Law authorizes an assessment on utility bills to fund energy-related state agencies and authorities.
The Business Council of New York State also says the assessment should be allowed to drop from 2 percent to 1 percent as scheduled, that extending it will cost all energy consumers in the state $236 million in 2014 and $2.8 billion over the next six years.
NY lawmaker likens Cuomo to dictators, apologizes
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) A Republican lawmaker from upstate New York has apologized for likening Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the dictators Hitler and Mussolini while criticizing how new, stricter gun laws were pushed through the Legislature last month.
Assemblyman Steven McLaughlin from suburban Albany made the remarks Tuesday morning at a news conference with fellow Republicans proposing to limit a governor's constitutional power to expedite votes on certain legislation.
He said the World War II-era strongmen and Russia's Vladimir Putin would have been “proud” of how the Democratic governor and legislative leaders quickly passed the gun measures.
The comments drew sharp reactions, including Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's spokesman saying they were “highly offensive and beneath a member of the State Legislature.”
McLaughlin later issued a video saying he'd called Cuomo to apologize. Cuomo's office had no comment.
RPI head to testify before Congress about science
TROY, N.Y. (AP) The head of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is testifying before Congress about scientific research.
RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson is scheduled to speak Wednesday before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in Washington. She will discuss the role of scientific research and American competitiveness.
Jackson has previously warned that federal cuts in scientific research and development funding could undermine the nation's competitiveness and innovation.
NY expanding quarantine to fight emerald ash borer
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York will expand a quarantine on ash wood products across most of the southern part of the state to combat the spread of the invasive emerald ash borer.
The beetle's larvae have destroyed tens of millions of trees as it's moved steadily east from Michigan, where it was discovered in 2002.
The state has banned untreated firewood from entering New York and forbidden moving it more than 50 miles from its source within the state since 2008 as it's tried to hinder the beetle and other pests. It's also imposed local quarantines regulating movement of ash products.
The new quarantine will take effect May 1 in all or parts of 22 counties south of the Thruway. Rockland, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties and New York City aren't included.
NY-based Backyard Bird Count goes global this year
ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) The Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizen's science project conducted across North America for four days each February, is expanding globally this year.
Anyone in the world with Internet access can participate in the 16th annual count Feb. 15-18. Participants watch birds at any location for at least 15 minutes, tally the numbers of each species, and report online at www.BirdCount.org.
The count is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon, with partner Bird Studies Canada.
Global participation is made possible by eBird, a real-time online checklist that the Ithaca-based Cornell Lab and Audubon are integrating into count for the first time.
Participants will be able to upload their counts from the field using the eBird BirdLog app for Apple or Android smartphones.
Statewide events spotlight NY Black History Month
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Exhibits, displays and more than two dozen Underground Railroad sites from New York City to Buffalo are the focus of New York state's efforts to highlight Black History Month.
Museums, historic sites and other venues are hosting events this month to spotlight African-American contributions to the United States and New York's central role in the anti-slavery movement of the 19th century.
A centerpiece of New York's Black History Month celebration is an exhibit at the state Capitol, titled “From Slavery to Citizenship: The African American Experience in New York 1817-1872.” The exhibit includes the stories of such leading abolitionists as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, and a flag carried by an all-black infantry regiment during the Civil War.
Other Black History Month happenings can be found at the website, http://thebeat.iloveny.com.
Cornwall call centre to close, idling 140
Bad news for StarTek workers in Cornwall. Company officials say the call centre will shut its doors at end of April, putting 140 people out of work.
StarTek's CEO says it was business decision based on several factors. The in-bound call centre is currently just a skeleton of its former self, considering the operation used to have close to 560 employees.
(All stories copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)