Week of Oct. 3 – Oct. 7, 2011

Friday, Oct. 7, 2011

Governor releases proposed layoff list

As the brinksmanship between Governor Cuomo and the state Public Employee Federation over a new contract continues, the Buffalo News has received a copy of a list of the jobs that will be targeted if no deal is reached.  Layoffs will commence for nearly 3, 500 workers in two weeks barring a compromise settlement.

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DEC chief peppered with questions at fiery hearing

Skeptical lawmakers grilled the state DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens for nearly three hours yesterday.  Twelve assembly members questioned both the thoroughness and the depth of the DEC’s preliminary report on the process of hydraulic fracturing.  But Martens claimed the state will have the most stringent rules in the country.  The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle has this report.

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Cuomo rejects counties’ calls for Medicaid mandate relief

Governor Andrew Cuomo has pushed back against calls for the state to pick up Medicaid costs from the counties.  This push by the counties comes after the property tax cap of 2 percent leaves counties few options to raise revenue.  And the costs for Medicaid are sapping county budgets across the state.  The Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin has this story.

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Gannett CEO steps down for health reasons

The chief executive officer of Gannett will leave his post to deal with ongoing health problems.  Gannett, publishers of 80 newspapers across the country, has named two executives as his successors.  The Elmira Star-Gazette has this report.

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State GOP pushing voter registration

Ed Cox, New York State Chairman of the Republican Party, is urging voters who want to vote in the 2012 Presidential primary to register before the Oct. 14 deadline.  The Ithaca Journal has this report.

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Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011

Grisanti likely to stay with GOP

State Senator Mark Grasanti broke ranks with his Republican colleagues when he voted in favor of same-sex marriage in June.  He was just one of four GOP senators to vote for the bill and some speculated that his vote may have been a signal that the former Democrat would return to his old party. Adding to the intrigue is the imminent redistricting in Western New York that could favor Democrats.  The Buffalo News has this story.

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New York Health Department assesses hydrofracking impact

The state’s health department is getting into the hydrofracking debate.  In an internal memo obtained by Gannett, the department advocates for increased funding to deal with what they see as the inevitable public health impact of the controversial drilling procedure.  The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle has this story.

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State workers looking for a do-over

The state’s Public Employees Federation (PEF) rejected the contract the state offered it nearly two weeks ago.  Now, leaders from PEF have approached the state with some adjustments to the agreement in hopes of re-voting on a contract. If no agreement is reached, more than 3,000 PEF employees will lose their jobs.  The Albany Times-Union has the story.

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Unmanned aircraft to patrol over New York skies

They have revolutionized the way in which the U.S. military wages war and they are leading the fight in Afghanistan.  Now, the 174th Fighter Wing based at Syracuse’s Hancock Field will conduct training missions that will take the aircraft over the Adirondacks and Lake Ontario.  The Syracuse Post-Standard has this report.

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Budget cuts in Oneida County hit libraries, DMV

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente released his proposed 2012 budget for the county and it contained some painful cuts to essential services. The Utica Observer-Dispatch has this report.

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Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011

Algae bloom threatens Lake Erie

The most severe algae bloom in history has some wondering if Lake Erie can survive the onslaught.  The algae in the western region of the lake can be traced to farmland runoff and the contamination may impede efforts to clean the lake.  The Buffalo News has this story.

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Kodak retirees could lose benefits

A group of Kodak retirees met to discuss what the future holds as the once venerable company they toiled for faces tough times.  The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle has this story.

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Fewer state workers, but higher average salaries

A new report out shows that state workers in New York are making more money but there are fewer workers.  Average salaries grew 2 to 4 percent across the state while governments shrank employment by 3.4 percent.  The Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin has this report.

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Redistricting fight heads to court

When and where to count prison inmates for the purposes of determining redistricting for state and Congressional districts may well be decided in court.  The Elmira Star-Gazette has this report.

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Fracking foes plead for more review time of new rules

The public review period for recently proposed rules and regulations that the state DEC laid down needs to be extended.  That’s according to some who think the state is rushing the process.  Northeast Public Radio has this report.

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Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011

Erie County social services jobs to be cut

In an effort to keep tax rates flat, Erie County Executive Chris Collins has proposed a budget that calls for layoffs across the board, but they hit social services especially hard.  The agency is slated to lose more than 200 positions. The Buffalo News has the story.

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Occupy Rochester, emulates Occupy Wall Street

Taking their cue from the protesters who have camped out in New York City these past few weeks, a group in Rochester has formed to espouse the same message as their brethren downstate.  The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle has this story.

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State layoffs to hit Capital District hardest

The impending layoffs will hit the Capital District particularly hard.  More than a third of the state-wide layoffs will be in the region.  The Albany Times-Union has this coverage.

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Consumer confidence tumbles across state

A new Siena College poll finds that New Yorkers are in a grumpy when it comes to the economy.  Binghamton has the lowest consumer confidence in the state.  The Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin has this reprot.

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Monday, Oct. 3, 2011

Nearly 700 arrested on Brooklyn Bridge

Protestors with Occupy Wall Street  claim police tricked them onto the bridge before arresting them.  The protesters claim that cops even helped them navigate the roadway before arresting them.  The New York Times has this coverage.

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Buffalo Democrats claim GOP purposely suppressing vote

Democrats in the Buffalo area are a little suspicious by the lack of GOP candidates in city races.  The Democrats claim that the GOP is skipping races in the city to suppress voter turnout in Erie County.  The Buffalo News has this account.

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Layoffs may not come to pass

Sources close to Governor Andrew Cuomo have intimated that the governor will not go through with the nearly 3,500 layoffs of workers with the Public Employees Federation after that union rejected the state’s labor agreement last week.  The Albany Times-Union has this report.

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Upstate flooding muddies downstate drinking water

The recent flooding has roiled the sources of New York City drinking water and there is concern about the health risks to downstate consumers of upstate’s abundant but murky resource. The Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin has this report.

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Money for roads, bridges lost in bureaucratic maze

The Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund established in 1991 has hardly lived up to its name.  Money from the fund has routinely been diverted to other state endeavors.  The Ithaca Journal has this report.

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FEMA sends temporary housing to afflicted areas

Temporary housing units intended for those who lost their homes in the flooding from Tropical Storm Irene, will soon be housed in the new temporary housing units now arri9ving in the Capital District.  The Schenectady Daily Gazette has this story.

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FEMA extends deadline for disaster relief applications

FEMA has extended its deadline for those seeking assistance following the recent storms.  Northeast Public Radio has this report.

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