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Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/52161059@N00/6322438058/">Danielle Spraggs</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Danielle Spraggs, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NY task force to study rise in heroin, opioid use

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) A legislative task force in New York is taking a look at ways to address the rise in heroin and opioid abuse.

Beginning Tuesday, the Senate task force is holding 12 forums around the state to gather information about the increase in opiate use.  Go to full article
Lake Champlain. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/82134796@N03/">denisbin</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Lake Champlain. Photo: denisbin, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Southern Champlain water quality in spotlight

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) Water quality in the southern Lake Champlain basin will be the focus of upcoming public hearings in Pawlet and Orwell.

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has drafted a water quality management plan for surface waters in the basin, including the Poultney and Mettowee rivers, East Creek and several other tributaries that drain into the southern part of the lake.  Go to full article
Typical Surgery Room Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/armymedicine/">Army Medicine</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Typical Surgery Room Photo: Army Medicine, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Surgeon accused of slapping sleeping patients

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Federal investigators say a Syracuse surgeon often slapped anesthetized patients on the buttocks and insulted them before surgery.  Go to full article
Tiger. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cheddarcheez/">Phil Holker </a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Tiger. Photo: Phil Holker , Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Fulton County man fights to keep his big cats

MAYFIELD, N.Y. (AP) A state appeals court has given a Fulton County man 30 days to get rid of his cats: three tigers and two leopards.

The Gloversville Leader-Herald reports that the state Supreme Court Appellate Division on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling against Steven Salton of Mayfield. Salton claimed the town Zoning Board was incorrect in determining his animals were part of a business.  Go to full article
USS Slater Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/jackjack/">Michael Sheehan </a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
USS Slater Photo: Michael Sheehan , Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Albany's WWII ship heads down Hudson for repairs

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) With the ice finally off the Hudson River, an Albany-based World War II warship has headed south to Staten Island for repairs.

The destroyer escort USS Slater is the last of its kind afloat in the U.S. and is a floating museum from April through November. It was supposed to head south in February to be dry-docked for extensive repair work. But thick ice downriver kept the 70-year-old ship in its upstate port. It finally left its Albany dock Sunday morning, towed by the tug Margot.  Go to full article

Two Vermont troopers, man shot in Leicester

LEICESTER, Vt. (AP) A man who allegedly entered his neighbor's home and shot him in the head before wounding a pair of Vermont state troopers has been charged with four counts of attempted murder.  Go to full article

NY ethics panel: $210M spent lobbying last year

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's ethics commission reports $210 million was spent on state and local lobbying last year.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, in its 2013 annual report, says its enforcement cases resulted in more than $450,000 in penalties.  Go to full article

NY out-of-network insurance coverage mandated

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York has decided that starting next year, patients will be protected against surprise out-of-network medical bills that have pushed some toward personal bankruptcy.

The measure, signed into law this week, is scheduled to take effect next April 1.  Go to full article
The border crossing at CHamplain, NY. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mpd01605/3939455673/">Bobby Hidy</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
The border crossing at CHamplain, NY. Photo: Bobby Hidy, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Rep. Owens touts more border staff in northern NY

CHAMPLAIN, N.Y. (AP) A congressman says recently announced staffing increases along U.S. borders will help northern New York's economy.

U.S. Rep. Bill Owens says custom officials estimate there will be 20 more staffers at both the Champlain and Alexandria Bay crossings by the end of fiscal year 2015.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/epsos/5591761716">epSos .de</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: epSos .de, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Report: auto insurers using unfair rating factors

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) A consumer watchdog group says New York's largest auto insurers are using education level and occupation to set rates, charging blue collar workers more for the same policy than college educated professionals.

Andy Morrison, a consumer advocate who worked on the report from the New York Public Interest Research Group, says the practice is unfair to minorities and low-income workers.  Go to full article

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