NY GOVERNOR'S RACE
GOP governor candidate Astorino continues NY tour
EAST ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is making more stops in upstate New York as he kicks off his campaign for the Republican nomination for governor.
Astorino began his campaign in the Bronx and Buffalo on Thursday, a day after announcing he was challenging Democratic incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo's expected bid for re-election.
In Buffalo, he was joined by Republican Congressman Chris Collins of Clarence. The candidate met reporters at a biotechnology company owned by Collins.
Astorino's campaign stops Friday include East Rochester, Syracuse and Albany, where his news conference is being held at the state Capitol.
Astorino says New York is losing jobs and residents under Cuomo's leadership. He says 400,000 New Yorkers have fled the state in search of a better business climate and lower taxes.
Soldier pleads guilty in West Point videos case
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (AP) - An Army sergeant who had been accused of secretly photographing and videotaping at least a dozen women at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point has pleaded guilty in a court martial.
Officials at Fort Drum in northern New York say Sgt. 1st Class Michael McClendon agreed to a plea bargain Wednesday that includes a 33-month sentence, loss of pay, a reduction in rank to private and a bad-conduct discharge.
McClendon was a combat engineer who joined the military in 1990. He was assigned in 2009 to the support staff at West Point, where he worked with cadets.
He was charged last year with dereliction of duty, mistreatment, entering a women's bathroom without notice, and taking and possessing inappropriate photos and videos of women who were naked or in various states of undress.
GRAIN ELEVATOR RESCUE
2 teenagers rescued from Buffalo grain elevator
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities say firefighters have rescued two teenage girls after they got onto the upper floors of a derelict Buffalo grain elevator and couldn't find their way out.
Fire department officials tell local media that one of the 13-year-olds used her cellphone to call 911 for help last night from the upper stories of the Concrete-Central grain elevator in South Buffalo, near the city's Lake Erie waterfront.
A rescue team brought the girls out around 9 p.m. Neither teen was injured.
Officials say the teens said they started exploring the abandoned structure in the afternoon, then got separated as it grew dark.
South Buffalo is home to more than a dozen aging grain elevators, most of them no longer in operation. Authorities say the abandoned ones are dangerous to enter.
ST BONAVENTURE-STAFFER DIES
NY college employee dies unexpectedly in Va.
OLEAN, N.Y. (AP) - Officials at a western New York college say an employee of the sports information office has died of an apparent heart attack in Virginia while traveling with the women's basketball team.
St. Bonaventure University says 26-year-old Brian Moretti died Wednesday night in Richmond. The Richmond Times report that Moretti was stricken while visiting with friends at a downtown restaurant.
Moretti began working at the private Catholic college in Olean (OH'-lee-an) in September after spending two years in the athletic department at Canisius College in Buffalo.
The native of Cranston, R.I., received his undergraduate from Johnson & Wales University in Providence and a master's in sports administration from Canisius.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
Bonaventure's women's team is in Richmond for the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament. The Bonnies play La Salle in Friday's quarterfinals.
Western NY police seize nearly 800 bags of heroin
GENESEO, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities say they've seized nearly 800 bags of heroin during two separate traffic stops and a house search this week in a rural western New York county.
The Livingston County Sheriff's Office tells local media that a total of 430 bags of heroin were discovered during separate traffic stops on Interstate 390. Officials say another 350 bags were found during a search of the Mount Morris home of one of the people pulled over earlier this week along rural stretches of I-390 south of Rochester.
Four men have been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Officials say the other three suspects are from Olean. Police say two of the suspects told police they had purchased the drugs in Rochester.
NY pastor to raffle rifle during Sunday service
TROY, N.Y. (AP) - An upstate New York church pastor who supports gun ownership rights says he plans to raffle a rifle during an upcoming Sunday service.
The Rev. John Koletas (kuh-LEE'-tihs) of the Grace Baptist Church in Troy tells local media that he's showing support for owners and hunters by giving away the modified AR-15, the same type that was used to kill 20 children and six staff members at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.
A typical AR-15 is now illegal in New York. The rifle being given away at the March 23 raffle is being donated by a gun shop owner who says the weapon has been modified to comply with state law.
The raffle winner must be at least 18, undergo an FBI background check and meet all state and federal laws.
GUN PERMIT DATABASE
NY county 'likely' to appeal release of gun data
CARMEL, N.Y. (AP) - Putnam County says it'll likely appeal a judge's order to turn over information about pistol permit holders to the Journal News.
According to the Journal News, Putnam says it'll keep the paper from getting its" hands on individual's personal information."
Putnam's statement came a day after a judge ruled pistol permit records sought by the Journal were subject to disclosure. The judge ruled that eligible gun owners were permitted under state law to exempt their names from a public database. Any names remaining on the list the judge said were public record.
The Journal in 2012 filed Freedom of Information requests for pistol permit records from Westchester, Rockland and Putnam. The other two counties complied.
Putnam says publishing the information creates "a dangerous road map for those with criminal intent."
No escape: Suspect runs into cops at NY conference
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) - Police in upstate New York say a would-be thief being chased on foot picked the wrong getaway route when he ran to a hotel where law enforcement officers were attending a conference.
Authorities in Saratoga Springs tell The Daily Gazette of Schenectady that Lois Celeste (seh-LEHST') spotted a man going through her purse Wednesday inside her office at the city's Senior Center, where she's executive director.
When she and another staff member confronted the man, he bolted from the building. Celeste and her co-worker chased the man, who ran toward the nearby Holiday Inn.
That's where some of the 100 police officers attending a state Department of Homeland Security conference were taking a break outside. An officer from Albany helped nab the 57-year-old man, who was charged with attempted grand larceny.
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