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Tuesday's news briefs from the Associated Press

NY spending $3.6 million dollars to create 4 food hubs upstate. Senate Independent Democrats make a last push on minimum wage. NY Capitol rallies set on gun rights, limits. NY elementary school evacuated and closed due to gas leak. NY says 2012 hunting season was safest on record. NY mayors challenged to rafting race.

Vermont senate to vote on assisted death.

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NY spending $3.6M to create 4 food hubs upstate

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state will spend $3.6 million to create four new food distribution hubs across upstate New York, creating 150 jobs and giving farmers new opportunities to get their products to consumers.

Cuomo says the funds will be used to create food hubs in Canastota in central New York, Groton in the Finger Lakes region, Kingston in the Hudson Valley and Canton in the North Country. An existing food hub in Riverhead on Long Island is getting $500,000 to renovate a building.

The other locations will use the state money to purchase trucks, processing equipment and freezer storage.

Farmers can use the new hubs to get their locally grown produce to food distributors.


Senate Independent Dems make last push on min wage

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) A final push to increase New York's minimum wage is set to begin with the backing of a new report from the influential Independent Democratic Conference in the Senate.

The report argues that raising the minimum wage will provide New York's economy with a broad boost, affecting more than 350,000 New Yorkers, most of them women and minorities.

The analysis to be released Tuesday says hiking the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour from $7.25 would fuel $600 million in additional spending in the state.

The state Black, Puerto-Rican and Asian Legislative Caucus also plans to push the measure during a news conference Tuesday.

The efforts come after Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for the increase in his budget proposal.

Now, closed-door negotiations are under way in the Senate and Assembly.


NY Capitol rallies set on gun rights, limits

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Supporters and opponents of the state's new gun restrictions have scheduled competing rallies at the Capitol, with buses from New York City and Buffalo scheduled to bring their respective groups.

The organization Turn Albany Upside Down says both the quick passage and some provisions in the new measure are unlawful, calling the seven-bullet legal limit on magazines “arbitrary and capricious.”

Carl Paladino, the 2010 Republican candidate for governor, says there's bus transportation from Buffalo to the rally Tuesday on the Capitol steps.

The new law was pushed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who defeated Paladino.

A group called One Million Moms for Gun Control says its New York chapters will rally inside the Capitol and visit lawmakers to show support for the state's “leadership on common-sense gun regulation.”


NY elementary school evacuated, closed by gas leak

SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (AP) An elementary school in upstate New York will remain closed after a gas leak forced the evacuation of students.

The leak was discovered about 1:15 p.m. Monday at the Moreau Elementary School in South Glens Falls, about 45 miles north of Albany.

The students were taken to another elementary school in the district. No injuries were reported.

National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella says a leak in an underground pipe was discovered about 10 feet from the school. Utility crews were working to replace the pipe but the school district late Monday said the school will remain closed Tuesday.

Stella says about 300 feet of pipe needs to be replaced.


NY says 2012 hunting season was safest on record

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) State officials say last year's hunting season in New York had the fewest number of shooting incidents on record with 24 people shot.

The Department of Environmental Conservation says two people died in hunting incidents, each when they were shot by another member of their hunting party. Of the 24 shooting incidents, just over half were self-inflicted.

There were no hunting-related shooting incidents during the first youth hunt for deer over the Columbus Day weekend.

The number of New York hunters has declined about 20 percent since the 1960s. Over the same period, the number of shooting incidents per 100,000 hunters has fallen more than 70 percent.

Over the past five years, the annual average is 5.3 incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 in the 1960s.


NY mayors challenged to rafting race

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's mayors are being challenged to gather rafting teams, come to the Adirondacks and race down the rapids of the upper Hudson River.

Addressing the New York Conference of Mayors this week, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy says the whitewater derby is meant to bring people north to appreciate the region's beauty as an economic development measure. It will include a race of government-paddled rubber boats with rules.

He says the six-member crews must be co-ed, must all paddle and must all work for that government, "so no ringers are allowed."


Vermont Senate to vote on assisted death

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) The Vermont Senate is getting ready for a vote on legislation that supporters call “end-of-life choices” and critics call “physician-assisted suicide.”

The Senate is set to vote Tuesday whether to follow a recommendation of the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject the measure.

The Judiciary Committee on Friday came out against the legislation a week after the Health and Welfare Committee voted unanimously to support it.

If supporters defeat the effort to reject the bill, the Senate will then debate passage, with the possibility of amendments.


(All stories copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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