The Rural Patriot

October 1, 2006

Weekly News Roundup 10/1/06

Filed under: Weekly News Roundup — theruralpatriot @ 2:05 pm

In case you may have missed any of these articles. Covering mainly Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties, but WNY regional, state, and national topics of interest are also added.

LOCAL

Senecas pay state $68 million from slots
The state got more than $68 million Friday from the Seneca Nation of Indians, raising to more than $160 million the amount the Senecas have paid the state in the last three years for the right to have slot machines in their two casinos.

State to sue Feds over West Valley cleanup
ASHFORD HOLLOW — New York state expects to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy soon over responsibility issues of the cleanup at the West Valley Demonstration Project.

Legislators, councilmen and trustees miss Wellsville
ANDOVER – The elephant in the room when District IV legislators met with town and village officials of Andover and Wellsville Wednesday night, was the absence of any representatives from the village of Wellsville and several from Andover. However it didn’t stop the information from flowing.

Grant to help start organic farming at Alfred State
ALFRED — Alfred State College has received a $4.9 million state grant for a new farming research facility that will include New York state’s first on-campus organic dairy herd.

County acts to streamline process for long-term care
LITTLE VALLEY – Cattaraugus County is moving toward participation in a statewide Point of Entry long-term care system.

Route 219 work to continue through winter
BRADFORD, Pa. — Some of the concrete Jersey barriers along the Route 219 Bypass project in Bradford will likely stay in place through the winter, project officials said this week.

Closed Interstate 86 lanes to reopen in November
In April, as construction crews began closing down the eastbound lane of Interstate 86 between Allegany and Cuba, area State Police zone Sgt. David Gresham quipped that there are only two seasons in New York state — construction and winter.

Home grown: Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaign promotes area farmers
OLEAN — One potential way to sidestep a future national E. coli O157:H7 spinach outbreak is for consumers to buy their greens a little closer to home than California.

Wellsville hoping to soak up water on 417; Grant for $50,000 awarded Thursday to help 21 businesses
WELLSVILLE – State Senator Catharine Young, R-Olean, was all wet, along with everyone else Thursday afternoon, when she delivered a $50,000 check for the Route 417 East Water Project in the town of Wellsville.

Legislators see court problems
BELMONT – The Allegany County Legislators received an in-depth tour of the court house Monday to see exact areas of non-compliance.

Republicans elect Hasper as chairman
BELMONT – Former Assemblyman John W. Hasper of Belfast was elected Thursday as chairman of the Allegany County Republican Committee.

Residents can recycle household waste, computers
LITTLE VALLEY – Cattaraugus County residents may recycle household hazardous waste and computers for free from 9:15 a.m. to noon Oct. 7 at the county Public Works facility, 8810 Route 242.

STATE

Judicial nominating process poised to become history
When Western New York Republicans gathered to name their candidate for State Supreme Court on Monday evening, the choice was clear – one name was submitted for consideration.

2007 cost of Medicare drug plan to more than double in New York
WASHINGTON – Medicare drug insurance will cost more next year in eight of the 10 biggest states, including New York, according to documents released Friday by Medicare.
The minimum monthly premium for the federally subsidized insurance, available to the elderly and disabled, will more than double in New York and New Jersey, according to the documents.
New Yorkers this year can get coverage for $4.10 a month. Next year, HIP Insurance Company of New York will offer the cheapest plan at $9.50 a month.

Gender bias short-circuits tax refunds
As consumers in Western New York and across the state await or receive their state property tax refund checks, some women are discovering to their dismay and frustration that they can’t cash them because only their husbands’ names are on them.

Hevesi’s misuse of state funds is especially damaging
LAKE GEORGE – For four years, Alan Hevesi has sought to build up his image as the state’s chief fiscal watchdog by doggedly monitoring spending by state and local agencies, slamming government officials who misuse public funds and authoring a series of proposals to restore public trust in Albany.

New law may reduce phone bills
ALBANY – Republican Gov. George E. Pataki has signed into law a bill allowing traditional telephone companies to reduce or eliminate fees on nonbasic services, a move proponents say will lead to lower bills for consumers.

SUNY hires provost for $300,000 a year
ALBANY – The State University of New York on Tuesday hired a new provost at an annual salary of $300,000 plus $5,000 a month in living expenses, then increased the salary ranges for many top administrators and raised tuition at most community colleges.

Pataki signs three bills to combat identity theft
ALBANY (AP) – Gov. George E. Pataki has signed into law three bills aimed at combating the growing problem of identity theft, his office said Tuesday.
The Consumer Communication Records Privacy Act prohibits the sale, fraudulent transfer, or solicitation of a person’s telephone records without his consent.

Millions of ‘light’ smokers can sue
NEW YORK – A federal judge Monday granted class-action status to tens of millions of “light cigarette” smokers for a potential $200 billion lawsuit against tobacco companies

Muslim’s visa denied over charitable giving
NEW YORK (AP) – The U.S. government has banned a prominent Muslim scholar from the United States after accusing him of aiding a terrorist group, though a civil rights lawyer said Monday that the small charitable donation cited as an infraction was a pretext for censorship.

Report claims abuse of girls held in state’s facilities for juveniles
SYRACUSE – Those incarcerated in the state’s two facilities for girls are sexually and physically abused by staff and denied mental health, educational and other rehabilitative services, according to a report being released today by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Standing room only for free speech
The topics of free speech and media censorship drew a standing-room only crowd of about 350 people to the Buffalo & Erie County Central Library Saturday afternoon for a lively panel discussion that included Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist Tom Toles.

Changing of the guard
With a gubernatorial election little more than a month away, New Yorkers are gearing up for a major shift in the political landscape.
More quietly, New York’s businesses are preparing for their own shift.

Senate minority fight wraps up
ALBANY — Queens Democrat Malcolm Smith has clinched the battle to be the next state Senate minority leader, beating out five other contenders, including local Sen. Neil Breslin.

Senator comes clean on deals
ALBANY — When Sen. James Alesi gets $1.5 million in taxpayer money for an information-technology lab for the Rochester Institute of Technology or $450,000 for the Nazareth College Arts Center, the news is trumpeted by both the senator and the school.

State panel probes lobbyist
ALBANY — The state lobbying commission revealed Thursday it is trying to subpoena Albany lobbyist James Crane, but he is resisting.
The commission voted to call on the attorney general’s office to sue to have the subpoena enforced. Commission Executive Director David Grandeau said he could not discuss why the attorney general was being called in, saying the matter concerns a pending investigation.

Health coverage expands in state
ALBANY — New York was the only state to see a significant drop in its number of uninsured people even as their ranks grew nationally, a new report finds.

Businesses exploit Empire tax break
SYRACUSE — Hundreds of New York companies are using accounting tricks and a loophole in state law to collect millions of dollars in Empire Zone tax breaks.
Existing companies made themselves appear new on paper so they could qualify for the tax incentives intended for new businesses. The state cut a decade’s worth of taxes for some companies even when they lost jobs, business owners acknowledged.

State gives $2 million for housing help after floods
ALBANY — Three months after severe flooding chased hundreds of families from homes and caused 12 upstate counties to declare a disaster, the state is giving $2 million to eight of those counties for temporary housing aid and living expenses.

Drug rehabilitation clinic fined $16.5 million for Medicaid fraud
ALBANY — A Queens drug rehabilitation clinic was fined $16.5 million for cheating the state’s Medicaid system, Gov. George Pataki’s office said Sunday. The fine is the biggest ever by the state Medicaid Inspector General and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

NATIONAL

Reynolds knew of Foley’s e-mails
WASHINGTON Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Clarence, learned last spring that a teenager who formerly worked as a House page had complained last fall about inappropriate e-mail messages from a Republican congressman.

Dems slap GOP for keeping e-mails secret
WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders should have kept Democrats in the loop — and now must conduct a thorough investigation — about the inappropriate e-mails that led to Rep. Mark Foley’s resignation, a top Democrat said Sunday.

Congress accomplishes little to show to voters
WASHINGTON – As Congress began its final week before the midterm elections, a veteran Senate chairman was asked: Will Congress finish its work before lawmakers leave?
“No, just leave,” Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said with a grin.
Not facing re-election this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman could afford such candor. But the Republican incumbents seeking re-election in the House and Senate will have some explaining to do on the campaign trail.

Radio addresses heat up election-year rhetoric
WASHINGTON – Gloves-off election-year rhetoric hit the radio Saturday, as President Bush argued that critics are wrongheaded to argue for a different policy in Iraq while Democrats suggested Bush is more interested in politically helpful slogans than success in the war.

Bush ignored warnings on Iraq, book claims
WASHINGTON – Former White House chief of staff Andrew Card on two occasions tried and failed to persuade President Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, according to a new book by Bob Woodward that depicts senior officials of the Bush administration as unable to face the consequences of their policy in Iraq.

GOP lawmaker quits over e-mails to ex-page
WASHINGTON – Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., resigned from Congress on Friday amid questions about e-mails he wrote a former teenage male page.

Congress OKs new rules for detainees
WASHINGTON – Congress on Thursday night approved landmark changes to the nation’s system of interrogating and prosecuting terrorism suspects, preparing the ground for possible military trials for key al-Qaida members under rules that critics say will draw stiff constitutional challenges.

Abramoff denied delay in start of prison term
WASHINGTON (Bloomberg News) – Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist at the center of a Washington corruption scandal, is scheduled to begin his prison term in a Florida case Nov. 15 after failing to win a longer delay from a federal judge.

Shortage of general practitioners looms by 2020, doctors group says
WASHINGTON – The United States needs to add 40 percent more doctors who practice general medicine by 2020 to help care for an aging population, a medical group says.

‘Tokyo Rose’ of WWII dies at 90
CHICAGO – Iva Toguri D’Aquino, who was convicted of being World War II propagandist “Tokyo Rose” but was later pardoned, died Tuesday of natural causes, said her nephew, William Toguri. She was 90.

Interstate abortion bill OK’d by House
WASHINGTON – Accompanying a minor across a state line to obtain an abortion and avoid parental notification in the girl’s home state would become a federal crime under a bill the House passed Tuesday.

Two Sago miners commit suicide
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Two miners whose jobs included watching for safety hazards inside the Sago Mine before the deadly explosion last January committed suicide in the past month.

Case to air limits on activism by unions
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide whether public employee unions must get special permission to spend some workers’ dues on political causes, a case testing limits on labor activism just before the 2008 presidential campaign.

Farm Aid concert has rock-solid theme
CAMDEN, N.J. – John Mellencamp never figured Farm Aid would still be needed now, 21 years after its debut. “We thought we’d have the concert and the government would change things,” he said before taking the stage at the almost-annual concert Saturday.

Education chief aims to simplify choosing colleges
WASHINGTON – Education Secretary Margaret Spellings launched plans Tuesday to redefine the college experience, promising less confusion and more results for families.

Audit sparks demand to probe reading funds
WASHINGTON (Bloomberg News) – A Democratic congressman called for a criminal investigation after an audit found that a $1 billion federal program to improve reading among grade-school children was run by staff who steered contracts to favored publishers.

Pataki gets a jump with Iowa office
DES MOINES, Iowa – New York Gov. George E. Pataki this week will become the first potential presidential candidate to open a campaign office in Iowa.
In addition to the office in Des Moines, Pataki plans to open an office soon in Manchester, N.H., and is in “preliminary discussions” with officials in South Carolina about opening an office in that state, spokeswoman Alicia Preston said Monday.

Allen denies claims by doctor, professor on use of racial slur
RICHMOND, Va. – Sen. George Allen on Monday denounced as “ludicrously false” allegations from a former college football teammate that he frequently used a racial slur to refer to blacks in the early 1970s and that he once stuffed a severed deer head into a black household’s mailbox.

Polls: Top Senate races very competitive
WASHINGTON — Democratic Rep. Harold Ford is running even with Republican Bob Corker in Tennessee, while Democrat Jon Tester has edged ahead of Sen. Conrad Burns in Montana, according to polls released Sunday for some of the most contested Senate races.
The findings suggest an intensely competitive campaign for Congress heading into the Nov. 7 elections.

Candidate, wounded in Iraq, critical of Bush
WASHINGTON — An Illinois congressional candidate who lost both her legs during combat in Iraq said Saturday that President Bush has no real strategy for securing the war-ravaged nation, just political talk designed to appeal to voters.

No collection for Medicare refunds
WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Thursday ordered the Bush administration to halt its effort to collect $50 million from 230,000 Medicare beneficiaries who had received erroneous refunds of premiums paid for prescription drug coverage. He said many of them might qualify for waivers because repayment would cause hardship.

Terror war cost may hit $549B
WASHINGTON — The total cost of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and enhanced security at military bases since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks could reach $549 billion this year, a new report to Congress concludes.

Twin Cities get GOP nod
WASHINGTON — Republicans will hold their 2008 presidential convention in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, choosing a location in the politically pivotal Midwest.

No Rx for health costs
WASHINGTON — For the seventh straight year, premiums for employer-based health insurance rose more than twice as fast as overall inflation and wages, an annual survey of employers shows.

Clinton questions Bush inaction
WASHINGTON — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., on Tuesday joined the debate over U.S. failure to stop the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, insisting that her husband, the former president, would have taken seriously a secret CIA warning that Osama bin Laden was plotting a strike.
“If my husband and his national security team had been shown a classified report entitled ‘Bin Laden determined to attack inside the United States,’ he would have taken it more seriously than history suggests it was taken by our current president and his national security team,” Clinton said.

A dry spell ends for fliers
WASHINGTON– Aviation security officials eased the ban on carry-on liquids for airline passengers on Monday, after weeks of testing to determine how much of a liquid explosive would cause catastrophic damage to an airplane.

Anthrax case ‘facts’ turn out to be wrong
WASHINGTON — Five years after the anthrax attacks that killed five people, the FBI is now convinced that the lethal powder sent to the Senate was simply made and contained nothing that conclusively links the case to any specific source, widening the pool of possible suspects in a frustratingly slow investigation.

Report on terror irks White House
WASHINGTON — The White House on Sunday sharply disagreed with a new U.S. intelligence assessment that the war in Iraq is encouraging global terrorism, as Bush administration officials stressed that anti-American fervor in the Muslim world began long before the Sept. 11 attacks.

‘Significant’ cave found
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — Four amateur cave explorers in Sequoia National Park have discovered a vast cave formed 1 million years ago, a labyrinth that stretches more than 1,000 feet into a mountain and features some of the most beautiful rock formations ever seen.

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