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North Dakota crude oil spilled into wetlands near Aliceville Alabama from a train derailment. Photo: <a href=" http://www.flickr.com/photos/29184238@N06/11168835315/ ">John Walthen, Public Herald</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
North Dakota crude oil spilled into wetlands near Aliceville Alabama from a train derailment. Photo: John Walthen, Public Herald, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NY asks feds to update oil spill response plans

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York officials are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to update a contingency plan for dealing with oil spills, in light of the rapid expansion of rail shipments of crude oil from North Dakota.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens sent a letter Monday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. He said under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, EPA is responsible for creating Inland Area Contingency Plans to improve preparedness for oil spills.  Go to full article

NY loans for businesses of women, minorities

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York is launching a program to expand access to short-term bridge loans to minority and women-owned business enterprises.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Monday that participating lenders are committing at least $20 million to the launch of the "Bridge to Success" program.  Go to full article
A CCTA bus in Vermont. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/afagen/8611378361/sizes/z/in/photolist-e7XyLH-e7XyAg-e7XyX8-8qeXo8-8wwzTL-8wwyyJ-aePwrN-98VAEn-98VAxn-8qi6XW-akb1J4-akb1Qv-98YJrQ-9tLwdH/">Adam Fagen</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
A CCTA bus in Vermont. Adam Fagen, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Striking Vt. bus drivers say walkout to continue

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) Vermont bus drivers say the strike will continue following their meeting with the Chittenden County Transportation Authority over the weekend.

Speaking at a Monday news conference, leaders of the bus drivers union say CCTA did not accept parts of a union offer during a Saturday negotiating session.  Go to full article
Governor Andrew Cuomo Photo:  Mark Kurtz
Governor Andrew Cuomo Photo: Mark Kurtz

Cuomo warning employers on minimum wage compliance

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Gov. Andrew Cuomo is warning employers that they can face fines, charges and civil or even criminal punishment for failing to comply with the state's minimum wage laws.

The $8 minimum went into effect Dec. 31 and will increase to $8.75 at the end of the year and $9 at the end of 2015.  Go to full article
Be on the lookout for the Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/warriorwoman531/8129491756/">Heather Paul</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Be on the lookout for the Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) Photo: Heather Paul, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Cornell seeks volunteer bird's nest watchers

ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) As birds wing their way north from their wintering grounds, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is recruiting volunteers for its annual NestWatch citizen science project.

Participants map any nest or birdhouse location on the NestWatch website (www.NestWatch.org). Then they report the species of nesting bird, when eggs are laid, how many hatch, and how many fledglings leave the nest.  Go to full article
High Speed Rail Train Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jiadoldol/438726376/">jiadoldol</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
High Speed Rail Train Photo: jiadoldol, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NY extends comment period on high-speed rail

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) The state Department of Transportation has extended the public comment period on plans for high-speed rail service between New York City and upstate New York.

The comment period was originally supposed to end Monday. Officials have received about 250 comments and held six public hearings across the state that attracted more than 500 people.  Go to full article
Raffle Tickets Photo: <a href=http://www.flickr.com/photos/alykat/5848722/">Alyson Hurt</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Raffle Tickets Photo: Alyson Hurt, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NY pastor raffles rifle during Sunday service

TROY, N.Y. (AP) After a sermon connecting the "Christian values" of America's founding fathers with the right to bear arms, an upstate New York Baptist minister has raffled off a new Smith & Wesson M&P semi-automatic rifle.

Other local ministers have criticized Sunday's giveaway of a gun similar to the rifle used in the December 2012 shooting at Newtown, Conn.'s Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Go to full article
World War 2 C-47 Transport Plane Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidiver/8325999623/">Masm</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
World War 2 C-47 Transport Plane Photo: Masm, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

WWII troop transport plane will return to Normandy

GENESEO, N.Y. (AP) Seventy years after taking part in D-Day, an American transport plane now housed in western New York is being prepared to recreate its role in the mission.

At the invitation of the French government, the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo will fly its Douglas C-47 to France for 70th-anniversary festivities in June. It'll release paratroopers over Sainte-Mere-Eglise, just as it did in 1944 in advance of the amphibious invasion of the Normandy beaches.  Go to full article

Fix only slows insurance hike for 60,000 New Yorkers

NEW YORK (AP) Thousands of New Yorkers are likely to see flood insurance premiums rise as the government phases out subsidized insurance nationally in some of the most at-risk areas.

President Barack Obama signed a law Friday that put a halt to a 2012 overhaul of the National Flood Insurance Program. It was supposed to end the subsidies for homes and businesses that were built in flood zones years ago.  Go to full article
Governor Andrew Cuomo, meets with members of the New York Army National Guard on Nov. 17.  Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50880267@N08/10947246426/in/photolist-hFnuY3-hFnv2u">New York National <br />Guard </a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Governor Andrew Cuomo, meets with members of the New York Army National Guard on Nov. 17. Photo: New York National
Guard
, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NY holds "Veteran and Military Family Summit"

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promoted legislation to help disabled veterans during what was billed a "Veteran and Military Family Summit."

The proposed legislation, symbolically signed by Cuomo and legislative leaders, would set aside 6 percent of state contracts for small businesses owned by veterans disabled during their service.  Go to full article

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