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TRANSGENDER DISCRIMINATION-CUOMO

Cuomo: Outlaw gender identity discrimination

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York's governor says transgender people should be protected from discrimination and says that if elected to a second term he'll push to include gender identity and expression in the state's civil rights law.

In a letter to the Empire State Pride Agenda, Cuomo notes that transgender people face significant discrimination and that the state should outlaw discrimination against them when it comes to things like housing, employment and public accommodations.

The state already prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, disability and gender.

Legislation that would add gender identity and expression to the list has passed the state Assembly but not the Senate.

Empire State Pride Agenda, an organization that advocates for gay and transgender rights, announced Cuomo's support Thursday. It also says it's endorsing Cuomo's re-election.

BANK OF AMERICA SETTLEMENT-NY

New York gets $800M in Bank of America settlement

NEW YORK (AP) - New York state is getting $800 million as its share of a national $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America over its role in the sale of mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the settlement Thursday. He says the bank has agreed to pay the state $300 million in cash and $500 million in the form of direct relief to consumers.

The deal calls for the bank, the second-largest in the U.S., to pay a $5 billion cash penalty and provide billions of dollars to struggling homeowners. Bank of America says its cash payouts will total $9.65 billion.

The settlement is the largest deal the government has reached with a bank over the 2008 mortgage meltdown.

WRONG-WAY CRASH-DWI

NJ man drives wrong way in upstate NY, crashes SUV

CORTLANDVILLE, N.Y. (AP) - State police say a 71-year-old New Jersey man headed to a fishing trip in Canada was drunk when he drove the wrong-way on a central New York highway and crashed.

Troopers tell the Cortland Standard that George Sharp of Gillett was driving north on Interstate 81 around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday when he steered across a U-turn and began heading north in the southbound lanes in Cortlandville, 30 miles south of Syracuse.

Police say he then drove off the highway, lost control of his sport utility vehicle and overturned in the median. Troopers say he was treated at a hospital for minor injuries.

Sharp was charged with driving while intoxicated and reckless driving and ticketed for traffic infractions.

Sharp was released after being arraigned. It couldn't be determined if he has a lawyer.

GUARD-ROAD RAGE

Ex-guard pleads guilty to running family off road

CANTON, N.Y. (AP) - A former jail guard is facing more than 10 years behind bars for running his family off a northern New York road during a domestic dispute last fall.

The Watertown Daily Times reports 33-year-old Douglas Matthews Jr. of Canton pleaded guilty Wednesday in St. Lawrence County Court to an assault charge stemming from the October crash on Route 310 in the town of Canton.

Prosecutors say Douglas rammed a car driven by his 65-year-old mother-in-law, causing the vehicle to go off the road and overturn in a cornfield. Inside the car was his 33-year-old wife and their two sons, then 5 and 9. Only his wife was injured. She was released from a hospital the day after the crash.

Douglas was a corrections officer at the county jail. He'll be sentenced Oct. 14 to 10½ years in prison.

BOYFRIEND DIES-ARREST

Man charged after boyfriend dies following fight

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Police in Syracuse say a 30-year-old man has been charged with manslaughter after his boyfriend died when the two men got into a fight.

Authorities say police and emergency crews were called shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday for a report of a medical emergency at a home on Wendell Terrace. When they arrived, they found 36-year-old Dale Schantz in cardiac arrest.

Schantz was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Witnesses told police that David Davis and Schantz had fought, with Schantz collapsing during the altercation. Police say Davis then left the scene.

An autopsy by the Onondaga County Medical Examiner's Office ruled that the death was a homicide and the altercation contributed to the victim's death.

Davis is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning.

COMPANY-THEFTS

Man sentenced for stealing $717K from employer

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. (AP) - A 64-year-old northern New York man has been sentenced to five to 15 years in prison for stealing more than $700,000 from his longtime employer.

The Press-Republican of Plattsburgh reports that Lawrence Jaques (jayks) received the maximum sentence Wednesday in Essex County Court, where he pleaded guilty in June to a grand larceny charge. He was also ordered to repay the money he stole, plus a 10-percent surcharge.

Prosecutors say the former town of Keene council member stole nearly $718,000 over a 10-year period from Torrance Construction, based in the town of North Elba. Authorities say he used the money to buy personal items and take his family on trips.

Jaques was arrested in December 2012 after the Internal Revenue Service raised questions about his income.

RABIES VACCINE-AIRDROP

Rabies vaccine airdrop underway in western NY

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Public health authorities in western New York are conducting baited vaccine airdrops this week to reduce rabies in the local wildlife population.

The Erie County Department of Health says fixed-wing aircraft began dropping rabies vaccine baits on Tuesday in areas of Erie and Niagara counties. Airdrops from helicopters are tentatively scheduled to begin Monday and conclude the following Saturday.

Health department personnel will also be distributing baited vaccines on foot and from vehicles.

So far this year, 16 animals in Erie County have tested positive for rabies. Officials say most were bats and raccoons, but some skunks and foxes also had the disease.

STATE FAIR OPENS

168th New York State Fair opens

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - The New York State Fair has kicked off its 12-day run that features national touring acts and a new operator for the rides on the midway.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo cut a ribbon Thursday morning to officially open the fairgrounds in the Syracuse suburb of Geddes (GEH'-dehs).

Kellie Pickler leads off the fair's entertainment lineup with a free afternoon concert at Chevy Court, followed by the Barenaked Ladies at night. Other acts performing free concerts include Ashanti on Sunday and the Doobie Brothers on Labor Day, Sept. 1.

Country music star Brad Paisley kicks off the concerts in the Grandstand with a Thursday night performance. Other Grandstand performers include Pitbull on Saturday, Kid Rock on Monday and Jason Aldean on Aug. 30.

The fair's midway includes more than 60 rides provided by Wade Shows.

USS SARATOGA-SCRAP

USS Saratoga carrier heads off to be scrapped

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) - The decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Saratoga has left its port in Rhode Island for its final journey to Texas, where it will be scrapped.

The ship departed Naval Station Newport on Thursday morning and made its way down Narragansett Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. It is heading to the Esco Marine ship recycling plant in Brownsville, Texas. The Saratoga was supposed to leave Wednesday, but the voyage was postponed because of bad weather along the route.

Esco Marine is being paid a penny by the Navy to dispose of the Saratoga. It plans to make money by selling what it recovers from the ship.

The Saratoga was launched in 1955 and decommissioned in 1994. The vessel fell into disrepair, and an effort to preserve the ship as a museum failed.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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