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U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara at a lecture for Penn Law and the Wharton School in March. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/pennlaw/12995711874/">>Penn Law</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara at a lecture for Penn Law and the Wharton School in March. Photo: >Penn Law, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Federal prosecutors taking NY commission files

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Federal prosecutors in Manhattan say they're taking the remaining files from the state anti-corruption commission now shutting down and plan to complete its investigations.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara requested the Moreland commission's "important and unfinished work" investigating New York political corruption. He tells the commissioners in a letter that the closing was "premature."  Go to full article
Howie Hawkins. Photo via <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=731754113516487&set=a.153413614683876.33158.123926960965875&type=1&theater">Howie Hawkins for Governor on Facebook</a>

Green Party's Hawkins begins bid for NY governor

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins is kicking off his campaign for New York governor, vowing to build on his third-place finish four years ago.

Hawkins announced his campaign Wednesday. He says that if elected he would
support raising the minimum wage, more investments in renewable energy and public transportation, a ban on hydraulic fracturing and higher taxes on wealthy earners.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/intelfreepress/8598246170/in/photolist-8LuQST-e6Ng2C-8NUq62-8F1GRt-9Hb3L3-er4Ysk-6YWwXp-6FuAdr-6TVhwW-6LzRUk-6BCFa1-55TsLE-8jstrY-dUBZwd-68rFgK-e6Ng39-e6Ng2Y-ezkAcZ-a8KFqS-ecurxa-5TKcea-8LxqoL-7CoCJt-7CsswQ-9wzJbe-6AZMdx-e8fPdu-8k6njb-fM2ayo-6KEPat-7a1gjJ-cV6HRG-7CuzyH-cFhAbd-obBxG-8CXeMF-7pjLaz-bAgXr8-697dWL-5aKQs2-6S1AdZ-cckgTd-7H5WAA-6SWt65-g9oBY7-cjQptA-74zffL-74vmwM-74v8UK-74v8J6">Intel Free Press</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Intel Free Press, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Distracted driving more likely to get you in trouble April 10-15

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) State and local police are increasing patrols and checkpoints statewide from April 10 to 15 to encourage drivers not to use their mobile phones.

Authorities say "Operation Hang Up" combines anti-texting and cell phone law enforcement with advertisements to let people know about the push and convince them to obey the law.

The first offense is a minimum fine of $50. That can increase to $400 for the third offense.  Go to full article

Report: More NYS children have health insurance

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) A new study shows continued gains in the numbers of New York children with health insurance, driven mostly by increased coverage through public programs.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report released Thursday shows the percentage of children without insurance dropped from 5.6 percent in 2008 to 4.3 percent in 2012.  Go to full article

NYC priest to be ordained Albany's Catholic bishop

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) The Rev. Monsignor Edward Scharfenberger of New York City is being ordained as the Catholic Diocese of Albany's 10th bishop.

The ordination Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Thursday afternoon will be broadcast live on cable TV and on the diocesan website, www.rcda.org.  Go to full article

Syracuse University gets $3 million grant from Small Business Administration

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) The Small Business Administration is giving a $3 million grant to Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

The money will be used for entrepreneurship education and training in support of service members as they transition to civilian life.  Go to full article

Bid renewed to bar lobbyists from NY pensions

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Two New York legislators are renewing their bid to remove employees of municipal trade associations from the state pension system for government workers after efforts failed to do it through the new state budget.

Their bills would prohibit the private-sector staff of the New York State Association of Counties and the New York Conference of Mayors from the system.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cindy47452/106023919/">Cindy Seigle</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Cindy Seigle, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Brush burning banned in some towns until May 14

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) State environmental regulators are reminding New Yorkers that residential brush burning is prohibited in towns with less than 20,000 residents until May 14 because of increased risk of fires during spring months.

The Department of Environmental Conservation said Tuesday wildfires can start and spread due to open burning of debris and dried out foliage. The agency said that open burning of debris is the largest cause of wildfire in the state.  Go to full article
Home page of <a href="http://43north.org">43North.org</a>, where businesses can apply to compete for the million-dollar prize.
Home page of 43North.org, where businesses can apply to compete for the million-dollar prize.

Buffalo business contest luring worldwide interest

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Gov. Andrew Cuomo's competition to attract business to Buffalo is drawing contenders from 48 states and 56 nations.

Cuomo said Tuesday that thousands of applicants have submitted business ideas hoping to win the contest's top prize of $1 million.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/visioplanet/4760316376/">Sudipto Sarkar</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Sudipto Sarkar, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Ottawa smoking rate lowest in province

OTTAWA, Ont. Public health officials say Ottawa's smoking rate is now the lowest in the province. New figures released yesterday conclude that 11% of Ottawa's population were smokers as of the end of 2012.

Ottawa is also marking the two-year anniversary of expanded smoke-free rules that banned smoking from outdoor patios, city parks and beaches, and outdoor festivals as of summer 2012.  Go to full article

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