The Rural Patriot

October 15, 2006

Weekly News Roundup 10/15/06

Filed under: Weekly News Roundup — theruralpatriot @ 11:26 am

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

Wal-Mart project needs Seneca Nation approval
SALAMANCA – City officials and developers say a planned Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Salamanca will need the support of the Seneca Nation of Indians (SNI).

Allegany County Sheriff’s candidates trade jabs
BELMONT — The Allegany County Sheriff’s race heated up this week with accusations of improper campaign filings, unknown backers for campaign ads and a challenge to a debate.

GV Town Board votes to stop setup of certain billboards
GREAT VALLEY – There will be no more billboards in the town that exceed 10 square feet until Dec. 31, 2007 or until the passage of zoning code. A moratorium was passed at the Town Board’s meeting Monday night, after a public hearing on the matter.

City and county try again for DPW funding
OLEAN — Common Council members gave the go-ahead Tuesday night for the city of Olean and Cattaraugus County to apply jointly for a grant to help create a shared public works facility.

Legislators to consider medical benefit contributions; Public hearing to discuss new local law set for Oct. 23
BELMONT – County department heads gathered during Tuesday’s Personnel committee meeting in what turned out to be a mostly silent protest against medical benefit contributions.

Sheriff race suddenly heats up with election law charge;
BELMONT – The committee to re-elect Sheriff Randal Belmont is charging Republican Sheriff candidate William Tompkins with breaking a New York State Election Law by not filing a financial disclosure statement by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6.

Ways and Means to review 2007 tentative budget;
BELMONT – The Ways and Means committee will meet to review the tentative 2007 budget on the morning of Oct. 23.
Following the committee’s review, the members will vote on the budget and if it approved, it will be ready for full board approval, probably in late November.

Tompkins filed statements on time; Belmont, Tompkins now considering a debate
BELMONT – Charges of breaking a New York State Election Law by not filing a financial disclosure statement by the Belmont for Sheriff Campaign lost momentum on Wednesday.

STATE

Update to report on State Legislature notes few positive changes since 2004
ALBANY – The State Legislature, criticized two years ago as the nation’s most dysfunctional, has done little to reform itself since then, a watchdog group charges.

Online guide for voters lists legislators’ records
Environmental Advocates of New York has released its 2006 Voters’ Guide documenting the votes of members of the State Legislature on environmental issues.

Urgently seeking to transform health care
A mega-plan to restructure the region’s health care would establish a university medical center linked to Kaleida Health on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and close at least three major hospitals, according to people familiar with the proposal.

Clinton rips Bush for criticizing her husband
OLD WESTBURY – Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., branded as “ridiculous” criticism from President Bush and other Republicans suggesting that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, failed to take adequate action to stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons.

Honeywell to spend millions on cleanup of Onondaga Lake
SYRACUSE – Honeywell Inc. will spend $451 million to help clean up Onondaga Lake, once a sacred American Indian waterway that was turned into a toxic stew by a century of municipal and industrial pollution.

New Year’s ball to rise for anti-poverty event
NEW YORK (AP) – The New Year’s Eve crystal ball will be raised Sunday – not as an early countdown to 2007 but to increase awareness about poverty around the world.

Broken promises
Skepticism runs deep as gubernatorial candidates vow to do what no one has done so far – fix upstate’s economy

Pirro demands end to wiretapping probe
NEW YORK – Jeanine Pirro, the Republican candidate for state attorney general, stood outside a courthouse on Monday and demanded an end to a federal investigation related to her marital life.

Silver disapproves of train station project
NEW YORK — Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he will block approval of a $900 million plan to build Moynihan Station, a railroad terminal across from Manhattan’s existing Pennsylvania Station, because it won’t do enough for the state’s commuters.

Nuclear plant’s fate draws little interest
SCRIBA — Fewer than a dozen people showed up for Nuclear Regulatory Commission meetings on the process the agency will use to decide whether to renew the license for the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant on Lake Ontario.

Ruling boosts lobbying probe
ALBANY — Railroad executive Walter Rich will have to testify before the state Lobbying Commission about the lavish Baseball Hall of Fame induction events he hosts annually at his Cooperstown mansion for state officials, lobbyists and others, Acting Supreme Court Justice Thomas McNamara ruled Thursday.

Spitzer, Faso trade charges
BUFFALO — John Faso opened Thursday’s final governor’s race debate by calling Democrat Eliot Spitzer his “worthy opponent,” then spent most of an hour saying Spitzer wasn’t worthy of much.

Panel keeps judges clean
ALBANY — The state panel that oversees judges had a record year in 2005.
The Commission on Judicial Conduct meted out more discipline than it has in each of the past 25 years — the most since a 1981 ticket-fixing inquiry dominated the caseload.

Math’s diminishing results
ALBANY — It’s a simple but troubling equation: A change in math standards plus more tests equals lousy results.
That was the sum of events Wednesday as the state released its latest round of standardized math scores, which showed a deficit among tens of thousands of students, especially as they prepare to go from elementary to middle grades.

School dollars back on court docket
ALBANY — School funding advocates and lawyers for the state were back at the Court of Appeals Tuesday, hoping once and for all to resolve the 13-year-old Campaign for Fiscal Equity school funding case.

State revisits rules for lab staff
Since last month, approximately 30,000 medical laboratory technicians and technologists in the state are being required to get licensed and have at least two years of college.

A town’s grateful concession to pork
State Sen. Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno has a baseball stadium named for him in Troy, a broadcast control room at WMHT’s North Greenbush headquarters and a bust bearing his likeness at Albany International Airport.
And he almost had a sports field concession stand named in his honor. Almost.

NATIONAL

Clinton urges change in Bush’s Iraq policy
SYRACUSE (AP) – Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., on Thursday ratcheted up her calls for the Bush administration to change course in Iraq, saying something must be done “before it’s too late.”

Democrat attacks Bush’s record on Iraq
WASHINGTON – President Bush should begin bringing troops home from Iraq, Patrick Murphy, an Iraq War veteran and Pennsylvania congressional candidate, said in the Democrats’ weekly radio address.

Bush aims to help embattled GOP incumbents
WASHINGTON – A congressman who admitted to having an affair and a senator accused of using racist language will get some political help from President Bush this week.

Airline sues airport, U.S. over fatal crash
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Comair has sued the federal government and the Lexington airport over the deadly crash of a commuter plane that mistakenly took off from a too-short runway. Forty-nine people were killed in the accident Aug. 27.

Charges of abuse at Gitmo probed
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The U.S. Southern Command on Friday launched an investigation into “credible allegations” that guards at Guantanamo Bay abused detainees.

Errors admitted in handling of page scandal
WASHINGTON – A congressman who is a key figure in the House page scandal conceded Friday that Republicans have mishandled the matter.

Ney pleads guilty in Abramoff lobbying scandal
WASHINGTON – Rep. Bob Ney pleaded guilty Friday in the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling investigation, the first lawmaker to confess to crimes in an election-year scandal that has stained the Republican-controlled Congress and the Bush administration.

Security at ports tightened
WASHINGTON – President Bush signed a law Friday to deter terrorists from smuggling weapons into the United States inside the 11 million shipping containers that enter the country from foreign ports each year.
An unrelated provision of the bill also seeks to put teeth into laws that forbid most online gambling. It prohibits Internet gamblers from using credit cards, checks and electronic fund transfers to settle their wagers.

Abramoff scandal touches 5 nonprofits
WASHINGTON – Five conservative nonprofit organizations, including one run by prominent Republican Grover Norquist and former Interior Secretary Gale Norton, “perpetrated a fraud” on taxpayers by selling their clout to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Senate investigators said in a report Thursday.

No White House run for ex-Gov. Warner
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Democrat Mark R. Warner, the former governor of Virginia, has decided not to run for president in 2008, saying he wanted “a real life” and feared the impact of a drawn-out campaign on his family.

Bush rejects study’s total of war deaths
WASHINGTON – President Bush on Wednesday angrily rejected as “not credible” the findings of a new report putting the number of violent Iraqi civilian deaths at more than 600,000 since the war began more than three years ago, 20 times what Bush has estimated.

Bush defends stance on N. Korea, rejects call for bilateral talks
WASHINGTON – President Bush defended his approach to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program Wednesday, pledging he would not change course despite contentions that the North’s apparent nuclear test proved the failure of his nearly six-year effort.

Army prepares for troops to be in Iraq through 2010
WASHINGTON – For planning purposes, the Army is gearing up to keep the current troop levels in Iraq for another four years, a new indication that conditions there are too unstable to foresee an end to the war.

Democrats regain commanding lead in polls
WASHINGTON – Democrats regained a commanding position going into the final weeks of the midterm election campaigns, with support eroding for Republicans on Iraq, ethics and presidential leadership, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

‘Army Strong’ is new pitch to boost recruiting
WASHINGTON – In its battle to win the hearts and minds of recruiting-age Americans, the Army is replacing its main advertising slogan – “An Army of One” – with one it hopes will pack more punch: “Army Strong.”

Contracting scams growing after Katrina
GULFPORT, Miss. – Hurricane Katrina battered Raquel Romero’s home, but she figures the house took a worse beating from the contractor she hired to repair the damage.

Baker says time is limited for Iraqis to gain control
WASHIGNTON – Former Secretary of State James Baker said Sunday the Iraqi government has a limited amount of time to gain control of the country, and he suggested that a panel evaluating U.S. policy in Iraq for President Bush would recommend a change in course.

New Orleans residents prefer rebuilding after Katrina, not relocating
NEW ORLEANS – Most New Orleans-area property owners seeking government compensation for Hurricane Katrina damage are showing a strong preference for restoring their old neighborhoods rather than taking the money to start a new life elsewhere.

Revenge killings claim 27 in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Seeking revenge for the killing of 17 Shiite farmworkers, Shiite militiamen surged into Balad, a town north of Baghdad, on Saturday to launch attacks that by nightfall killed at least 27 Sunni Arabs. Many of them brought to a hospital bore the marks of electric drills and other signs of torture, according to medical workers, residents, police and militia leaders.

U.S. consumes toxins rest of world outlaws
OAKLAND, Calif. — Destined for American kitchens, planks of birch and poplar plywood are stacked to the ceiling of a cavernous port warehouse. The wood, which arrived in California via a cargo ship, carries two labels: One proclaims “Made in China,” while the other warns that it contains formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical.

Line of fire in Iraq widens
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Armed attacks on U.S. soldiers and Iraqis in Baghdad have increased by 43 percent since midsummer, despite an ongoing American-led campaign to secure individual neighborhoods, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq said Thursday.

U.S. files treason charge
LOS ANGELES — The charge of treason was used for the first time in the United States’ war on terrorism Wednesday, filed against a California man who appeared in propaganda videos for al-Qaida.

Study dismisses Alzheimer’s drugs
Widely prescribed anti-psychotic drugs do not help most Alzheimer’s patients with delusions and aggression and are not worth the risk of sudden death and other side effects, the first major study on sufferers outside nursing homes concludes.

Foley’s exchanges known of in 2000
WASHINGTON — Another Republican congressman knew of disgraced former representative Mark Foley’s Internet exchanges with youths as far back as 2000 and personally confronted Foley about his communications.

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