Kurt Meyers, the man killed after the Herkimer shooting that claimed four lives, was a mystery to neighbors. "Ape," the police canine that was also killed in the shooting, was new to service and will be memorialized at the FBI training facility in Quantico, VA.
New York regulators sanctioned a Florida energy company for deceptive marketing. $112 million in delayed insurance checks for Sandy victims have been released. The Public Service Commission has OKed National Grid rate increases for NY customers.
Sen. Thomas Libous says NY should approve construction of three more casinos. Governor Cuomo is undecided about adding a new campus focused on nanoscience to the SUNY system.
A new Windsor substitute teacher has been charged with the rape of a student. Wildlife advocates have sued the federal government to force a protection plan for endangered lynx.
Upstate man is first arrested under NY's SAFE Act
HANOVER, N.Y. (AP) Authorities say a western New York man apparently is the first person to be charged with violating the state's gun-control law.
Local media outlets report that state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says 32-year-old Benjamin Wassell of Silver Creek was charged Thursday with felonies related to the sale of illegal weapons.
Schneiderman says he twice sold weapons that are prohibited under the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, passed by the Legislature in mid-January. Officials say the violations occurred later that month and again in February in the Chautauqua County town of Hanover, 30 miles southwest of Buffalo.
Prosecutors say the sales involved two semi-automatic rifles and more than 300 rounds of ammunition.
Wassell was released on his own recognizance. Prosecutors said he didn't have an attorney.
Cuomo, Legislature eye 3rd straight on-time budget
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are meeting behind closed doors to iron out details of the state's proposed $143 billion budget, trying to finish it before it's due.
Negotiations between Cuomo and the leadership will take place Friday in Manhattan. Rank-and-file lawmakers are working out smaller funding allotments back in Albany.
A deal on the budget will need to be sealed by the weekend and voted on by March 21 because of a three-week vacation for the Legislature that includes Easter and Passover that begins March 25.
The budget is due by the April 1 start of the fiscal year.
If the deadline is met, it will be the third, consecutive on-time budget New York state has had since the 1980s when political fighting made most budgets late.
Answers hard to find after deadly NY gun rampage
HERKIMER, N.Y. (AP) The New York man killed by police after a shooting rampage that left four people dead was a mystery in the village of Herkimer.
People in and around Herkimer describe 64-year-old Kurt Myers as a virtual stranger to his neighbors and a man of few words.
His motive for shooting two people dead at a barber shop and following with two more killings in a car service shop in a neighboring town is a mystery.
Myers has family in the area, but police say their interviews have provided few clues.
A former boss who worked with Myers for 20 years remembers him as quiet and intelligent. But he says he seemed "spooky" during a recent chance encounter in a store parking lot.
FBI dog killed in NY shootout was on 2nd mission
HERKIMER, N.Y. (AP) The FBI says one of its dogs killed by a gunman following a standoff in upstate New York had just completed its training a month ago and was on its second mission.
Ape was shot by Kurt Myers as it led the way for officers who stormed an abandoned bar where Myers was hiding early Thursday morning. Police say they cornered Myers after he killed four people and wounded two others the day before.
Myers shot at officers and hit Ape. Police returned fire and killed him.
Ape was a 2-year-old Czech German Shepherd that joined the FBI on February 25 after completing a four-month tactical training course.
Ape's body will be taken to Quantico, Virginia, where the FBI Academy is located and a memorial will be held. Ape's name will be added to a memorial wall there.
NY regulators: Fla. energy company must fix marketing
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York regulators have ordered a Florida company that provides energy services to stop what it says are deceptive marketing and account transfer practices or face being barred from operating in the state.
The Public Service Commission says Fort Lauderdale-based Liberty Power was the subject of 186 customer complaints last year, compared to 26 in 2011. Most involved claims Liberty sales people misrepresented themselves, misled customers and enrolled some without being authorized, an illicit transfer of an account from another business known as "slamming."
Liberty provides an alternative to utility customers in many areas of the state.
Leah Lopez, Liberty's chief operating officer, says Thursday the company won't "tolerate poor marketing practices" and will immediately address the PSC's concerns.
Cuomo: Banks release $112M to Sandy victims
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) The Cuomo administration says banks and mortgage service companies have released $112 million in insurance checks intended for victims of Superstorm Sandy, but delayed by bureaucracy.
The New York Department of Financial Services had sought to free the checks sent from insurance companies and intended for Sandy victims, but delayed as they were processed through the victims' mortgage holders.
The state persuaded the federal mortgage holders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ease their standards to allow banks to move the checks more quickly to home owners.
Fifteen banks now agree to the department's request to release 75 percent of $40,000, whichever is greater, without the usual documentation or inspection.
The remainder will be released with only one inspection.
The department says 6,000 checks totaling $200 million were once delayed.
NY OKs National Grid electric, gas delivery rates
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York utility regulators have approved new electricity and natural gas delivery rates for National Grid.
The Public Service Commission says the company will be allowed to collect a total of $123 million more electric revenue and almost $9 million more gas revenue over three years.
But the PSC says those increases will be offset by the expiration of a $190 million surcharge and the return of deferred customer credits, resulting in a 6.6 percent cut customer's electric delivery bills in the first year, followed by increases of 3.3 percent and 2.1 percent. It says a typical residential gas customer would see a drop of 4 percent the first year and then increases of 3.9 percent and 2.9 percent.
Senator: NY should approve more than 3 casinos
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous says the Legislature should authorize more than the three casinos now proposed in order to stand a chance of approving a constitutional amendment to expand gambling.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing that the Legislature authorize three casinos upstate. That vote requires voter approval of a constitutional amendment this fall to allow casinos off Indian land.
Libous says for that referendum to pass, more casinos upstate including within his district, New York City's boroughs or on Long Island should be added. Otherwise, he said turnout might not be strong enough in an off-year election to pass the measure.
The biggest voter turnout will be for the New York City mayor's race, rather than any statewide races.
Libous emphasized he wasn't speaking for his conference.
Cuomo says he is undecided on new SUNY campus
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Governor Andrew Cuomo says he hasn't decided if he supports a proposal that would create a 65th campus in the State University of New York that would be devoted to the growing field of nano science.
Cuomo says he doesn't have any "inside information" on the proposal and has no firm opinion.
It was the first public confirmation of the major proposal kept tightly under wraps by SUNY and state government since it was revealed Wednesday. The Associated Press reported SUNY is considering turning its College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering into a campus separate from the University at Albany, where it began.
According to the proposal obtained by the AP, the new campus would have its own president, budget and board dominated by appointees by the governor.
Cops: Former NY teacher charged with rape
(Information in the following story is from: The Times Herald-Record, http://w.th-record.com )
NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. (AP) A former New York substitute teacher has been arrested on charges of raping a 13-year-old boy.
The Times Herald-Record reports that former New Windsor substitute teacher Lisa Franklin has been charged with one count of first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child. The 44-year-old has also been charged with two counts of second-degree rape. Both charges are felonies.
Police say the boy's parents contacted authorities after becoming concerned over inappropriate text messages they discovered on the boy's cell phone.
Police say that sexual acts occurred in multiple Hudson Valley towns including New Windsor, the City of Newburgh and the Town of Newburgh.
Information on an attorney for Franklin was not immediately available. She has been arraigned and is being held in lieu of $10,000 bail.
Delay in lynx recovery plan spurs federal lawsuit
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) Wildlife advocates have asked a federal court to force the government to come up with a recovery plan for Canada lynx 13 years after the snow-loving wild cats were declared a threatened species.
A lawsuit on the issue alleges the long delay by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service violates federal law.
Four environmental groups want the U.S. District Court in Montana to set a date for the agency to adopt a "road map" that would detail what's needed for lynx to recover.
A Fish and Wildlife spokesman declined comment on the lawsuit.
It's unknown how many lynx survive in the U.S. They are rarely seen across a 14-state range that includes portions of the Northeast.
(All stories copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)