Minority voters growing force in NY elections
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - African-Americans, Latinos and Asians accounted for 29 percent of votes cast during the 2010 elections in New York state. That number is expected to increase to 30 or 31 percent in this year's election.
That's the prediction of Bruce Gyory, a political consultant and adjunct professor of political science at the University at Albany.
During the 2010 election, exit polling showed Gov. Andrew Cuomo took 93 percent of the African-American vote and 81 percent of the Hispanic vote. The minority vote could be crucial to the campaigns of both Cuomo and any challenger.
Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino began his campaign for governor in the Bronx on Thursday. Census data show the Bronx is 36 percent African-American and 53 percent Latino.
NATIONAL GUARD APPOINTMENT
Woman becomes 6th made general in NY Air Guard
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York Air National Guard Col. Dawne Deskins is being promoted to brigadier general.
She will take a lead role in the sexual assault prevention and response program for the 100,000 member U.S. Air National Guard.
Deskins is currently the commander of the Eastern Air Defense Sector in Rome.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Deskins helped coordinate the military response during the Sept. 11 attacks. She will become the sixth woman promoted to general in the New York National Guard.
The Cazenovia resident is being promoted during a ceremony at Air Defense Sector headquarters on Saturday.
NEW YORK OUTDOORS
NY governor proposes 50 new outdoor projects
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing 50 new outdoor access projects around New York state.
The governor says the projects will help open up 380,000 acres of state-owned lands to hikers, hunters, anglers and other outdoor lovers. Cuomo says the new access points will allow for more than $6 million in projects.
The effort is part of the governor's broader goal of making New York a more popular recreation destination.
NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL
Competitive House races shaping up across New York
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - An empty seat and swing districts loom large as Republicans and Democrats look to pick up House seats in New York this year.
Eight months before the general election, a half-dozen or more of the state's 27 seats show signs they could become spirited races. Key challenges are shaping up across the state, from the eastern Long Island district of Democrat Rep. Timothy Bishop to the Southern Tier, where Republican Rep. Tom Reed is seeking a third term.
While Democrats generally tend to perform better in presidential year elections, party officials hope their get-out-the-vote efforts will be strong this year with Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the top of the ticket.
Nationwide, the GOP expects to hold its House majority.
Albany man sentenced for killing estranged wife
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Prosecutors say an Albany man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for stabbing his estranged wife to death.
Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares says 41-year-old Robert Williams was convicted in January of killing 37-year-old Sharene Wallace in her Albany apartment last May.
Police said Wallace was stabbed multiple times.
Williams was sentenced Friday.
Pre-K plan in jeopardy, de Blasio pushes forward
NEW YORK (AP) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's signature proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for universal prekindergarten appears to be on life support.
It is blocked by state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who oppose such a tax in an election year.
That hasn't stopped de Blasio from doggedly forging ahead anyway.
Some observers say de Blasio has boxed himself into a corner and would have trouble claiming a political victory if pre-K is funded by any other means.
But others think his push appeals to his liberal base. And if he keeps pushing for the tax, he could pressure Cuomo into increasing the amount of money he sends to the city.
NYC MAYOR-CHARTER SCHOOLS
NYC mayor says he doesn't oppose charter schools
NEW YORK (AP) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city will work to find space for displaced charter school students.
De Blasio's comments Saturday echoed those of Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina on Friday.
The mayor spoke after meeting in Harlem with community leaders, clergy and parents at the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network.
De Blasio announced last week he would revoke the city's offer of free classrooms in public schools for three charter schools.
He said Saturday that he is not against all charter schools.
But he said the schools losing their promised classroom space either did not provide properly for children with special needs or would have housed elementary school kids in a high school building that was not secure.
DEAD IN FIRE
NY teen held in death of man found dead after fire
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Buffalo police have arrested a teenager in the death of a 52-year-old man who was brutally beaten and then set on fire in his home.
Nineteen-year-old David Meyers was arrested Friday on a second-degree murder charge in the death of Brian Dombek.
The Buffalo News reports (http://bit.ly/1fTiRRD ) that fire marshals initially blamed the fire Tuesday night on careless smoking.
But an autopsy showed Dombek had been beaten to death before the fire started.
Witnesses told police they saw a man running from the house.
Police told the newspaper that Dombek's face was beaten beyond recognition and the fire destroyed his fingerprints.
He lived alone with his dog, who also was killed.
Meyers was being held pending a court appearance Saturday. It wasn't clear if he had an attorney.
Police: Long Island man killed uncle, buried body
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) - A Long Island man has been arraigned on charges he killed his 71-year-old uncle and buried the body in the woods.
Jonathan Roman pleaded not guilty Saturday to killing his uncle, John Frankowski, of New Hyde Park.
Frankowski was last seen alive on Feb. 27, according to his son, John Frankowski Jr.
Prosecutors said the 42-year-old Roman strangled Frankowski and buried the body.
Roman was arrested Friday after detectives found Frankowski's body in a wooded area behind Roman's home in Coram.
The victim's son said his father was the greatest man he had ever known.
The son said his father was to have been the best man at his wedding in three weeks.
Roman was ordered held without bail.
His attorney from Legal Aid had no comment.
Police say NY drunken driver caused fatal crash
GREENE, N.Y. (AP) - Police say an upstate New York man is facing manslaughter charges after he drove drunk, crashed into a utility pole and killed his passenger.
The accident happened early Friday in Greene, northeast of Binghamton.
Sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call about a car that had crashed into a utility pole.
The Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin reports (http://press.sn/1dCuHD2 ) that 23-year-old passenger Brandon Archer was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver, 22-year-old Bradley Goodrich, was taken to a hospital by helicopter for treatment of internal injuries.
Investigators say Goodrich was intoxicated at the time of the crash.
He is expected to be arraigned on charges including second-degree vehicular manslaughter after he is released from the hospital.
It was not clear if Goodrich had an attorney.
Woman, 81, killed in car crash on Long Island
HICKSVILLE, N.Y. (AP) - Nassau County police say an 81-year-old woman has died after being thrown from her car in a crash.
The accident happened at 4 p.m. Friday in Hicksville.
Police say the woman was driving a Toyota when it accelerated and hit a Ford Focus.
The Toyota was redirected into the path of a tractor-trailer.
The impact of the collision caused the woman to be ejected from her car. She was transported to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The woman's identity is being withheld pending family notification.
No criminal charges were filed and no other injuries were reported.
ELDERLY ASSAULT-BUS STATION
Woman, 40, arrested for beating up man, 80, in NYC
NEW YORK (AP) - Port Authority police have arrested a woman they say randomly assaulted an 80-year-old man who was waiting for his wife to use the restroom at a New York City bus station.
Police spokesman Joe Pentangelo says Danika Riley was arrested after two officers noticed her kicking the elderly man Saturday morning on the second floor of the Port Authority Bus Terminal near Times Square.
He says the officers pulled the 40-year-old Riley off the West New York, N.J., man, who was treated at the scene for head and upper body injuries.
Riley was charged with felony assault and drug possession.
Court records show she has an extensive criminal history, including a 1994 charge for escaping a penitentiary in Oklahoma.
Attorney information for Riley wasn't available. Police say she's homeless.
WHITE NOSE SYNDROME
Biologist: Vermont bats begin white nose recovery
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - A biologist studying white nose syndrome in Vermont says he thinks the worst of the epidemic is over and at least one affected bat species could be taking the first steps toward recovery.
Biologist Scott Darling with the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife says that despite the devastation among certain bat species, thousands of little brown bats continue to pass the winter in the Aeolus (AY'-oh-luhs) bat cave in Dorset.
The disease spread out of a New York cave and into Vermont in the mid-2000s.
Last fall, biologists attached electronic tagged about 450 little brown bats before they began hibernating. Next month, the biologists will be monitoring the cave to see how many emerge.
If survival numbers are high, it could indicate the bats are resistant to white nose.
NYC TAXI CHIEF
Former lawyer for NYC taxi board to head agency
NEW YORK (AP) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has named the former general counsel for the Taxi and Limousine Commission to head the agency.
De Blasio said Saturday he is nominating Meera Joshi to head the agency that oversees taxis and car services.
Joshi has worked in city government for more than a decade. She served most recently as general counsel to the taxi commission.
De Blasio said Joshi oversaw initiatives that brought better service to thousands of taxi riders.
She also prosecuted financial injustices against victimized taxi drivers.
De Blasio called Joshi a dedicated public servant.
Her appointment must be confirmed by the City Council.
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