The Rural Patriot

October 22, 2006

Weekly News Roundup 10/22/06

Filed under: Weekly News Roundup — theruralpatriot @ 1:06 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

Mailed ballot bids need postmarks by Oct. 31
LITTLE VALLEY – The absentee ballot application deadline for previously registered voters is Nov. 6, but mailed applications must be postmarked no later than Oct. 31, according to an announcement by the central Cattaraugus County Board of Elections office in Little Valley.

Charter review panel to hold Monday forum
OLEAN – The Olean Charter Review Committee will hold a public forum at 7 p.m. Monday in City Council Chambers.
Two presentations are scheduled. Robert McEvoy, a State University at Albany professor in public administration, will present information on the city manager/mayor forms of government. Former Olean resident Andrew White, city manager of Huron, Ohio, also will talk on the same subject.

County departments to explain why employees need to take vehicles home
BELMONT — Six Allegany County governmental departments will have their chance to explain why their employees should be allowed to drive county vehicles home after work.

Olean School task force narrows options for primary schools
OLEAN — The Olean School Elementary Task Force has narrowed the options for district elementary schools to two options — keep all four elementary schools open or close two and construct a new building.

Flat rate for water is tabled by panel
OLEAN — Common Council members tabled a resolution to create a flat water rate for the city following complaints from residents and commercial water users that it could increase their bills.

Democrats endorse Republican candidate Tompkins; Belmont says it may have impact on Republican vote for sheriff
BELMONT – Allegany County Democrats endorsed Republican Sheriff candidate William Tompkins Wednesday night.

Belmont, Tompkins debate where to hold a debate
ALFRED – Allegany County Sheriff candidates Randal Belmont and William Tompkins finally want a debate. Now the debate is where to hold it.

STATE

Koch, D’Amato agree state GOP in big trouble
ALBANY – They are famous old war horses in their respective political parties. They are outspoken and they agree on one central political reality this year – New York’s Republican Party is in serious trouble.

California, New York to trade emission credits
NEW YORK – California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gov. George E. Pataki on Monday announced a partnership to pair the Golden State with New York and six other states to cut greenhouse gas emissions by trading pollution credits.

Beetle-infested lumber found on foreign ship
ALBANY (AP) – Lumber infested with larvae of a wood-boring beetle was discovered on an international vessel unloading on the Hudson River, federal border agents said Monday.

Pirro, Cuomo dish dirt at debate
ROCHESTER – Democrat Andrew Cuomo confronted Republican Jeanine Pirro on Tuesday with a newspaper report that a former Yonkers mayor once complained in a letter that Pirro failed to properly investigate public corruption while she was Westchester County district attorney.

Catholic agencies told to cover birth control
ALBANY – New York’s highest court ruled Thursday that social service agencies run by the Catholic Church and other faiths must provide birth-control coverage to their employees even if they consider contraception a sin.

Key GOP leader poised for bid to impeach Hevesi
ALBANY – If a state ethics investigation finds Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi broke the law by not reimbursing the state in a timely manner for a driver assigned to his wife, the top Republican in the Assembly said he would push for Hevesi’s impeachment.

Bones found in WTC site manhole
NEW YORK – Human remains including big bones that appeared to be from World Trade Center victims were found by utility workers in a manhole at the northern edge of the site, a Port Authority spokesman said Thursday.

FEMA officials, Higgins remain at loggerheads
Rep. Brian Higgins found himself at odds with the Federal Emergency Management Agency again Thursday, as an agency official disputed a Higgins news release claiming Buffalo will get $32.7 million in state and federal storm aid.

Clinton noncommittal on completing full term
ROCHESTER – Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton refused Friday night to commit to serving out a six-year term if she is re-elected next month and told a U.S Senate debate audience here that she has given some thought to running for president.

‘Phone sex’ campaign ad scorned
SYRACUSE – A television ad that accuses a congressional candidate of billing taxpayers for a call to a phone sex line was rejected by both candidates, local television stations and even voters Friday.

Philly officials lose jobs after children’s deaths
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The city’s human services commissioner resigned and one of her top deputies was fired amid reports that at least 20 children had died of abuse or neglect under the agency’s watch.

New voice for change in state
ALBANY — Some powerful unions and an array of business interests are aligning to form a new advocacy and lobbying force in Albany.

Trying to fly under the radar
ALBANY — The $99 contribution has long been an open secret in the world of campaign finance.
Candidates don’t have to reveal the names of people who give less than $100 to their campaigns, making the $99 gift a way to give while remaining anonymous.

Sweeney asks for clarity on rules
ALBANY — Amid sharp criticism from Democrats and labor unions, U.S. Rep. John Sweeney sought guidance from the House Committee Wednesday on how he should handle the reporting of his 2001 trip to a Pacific island in the company of a now-convicted lobbyist.

Snowmobile plan doesn’t add up, groups say
ALBANY — If a long-awaited state plan on snowmobile use in the Adirondack Park was supposed to end the cold war between sledders and environmentalists, it didn’t work.

Funds blocked amid scandal
ALBANY — Indicted Assemblyman Brian M. McLaughlin steered tens of thousands of dollars in member items to a nonprofit group in Flushing that was supposed to buy sports equipment for a Little League baseball team, according to court and state records.

Spitzer’s office: No Pirro probe
ALBANY — Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s office announced Thursday that he is not investigating attorney general candidate Jeanine Pirro.

Spencer keeps up Clinton criticism
ROCHESTER — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday she has thought about running for president and that if New Yorkers are bothered by that they should weigh it as they consider their vote in November on her re-election bid.
Her comment came after John Spencer, the Republican seeking Clinton’s Senate seat, used his opening remarks in their first debate to accuse Clinton of putting her presidential aspirations ahead of those of New York voters

NYRA bankruptcy filing looks near
ALBANY — The New York Racing Association asked a state official to destroy an apparently inflammatory letter blaming the Pataki administration for its financial woes, while the troubled organization prepares to file for bankruptcy, possibly as soon as next week.

NATIONAL

Ex-FDA chief to admit fiscal dodge
WASHINGTON – Former FDA chief Lester Crawford has agreed to plead guilty to charges of failing to disclose a financial interest in PepsiCo and other firms his agency regulated, his lawyer said Monday.

FBI probes actions of Pennsylvania Republican
MEDIA, Pa. – The FBI raided the homes of Rep. Curt Weldon’s daughter and a close friend Monday in an investigation of whether the congressman improperly helped the pair win lobbying and consulting contracts.

Boy Scouts rebuffed in court case over bias
WASHINGTON – Six years after the Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts could ban gay leaders, the group is fighting and losing legal battles with state and local governments over its discriminatory policies.
The latest setback came Monday when the high court without comment refused to take a case from a Scouts sailing group that lost free use of a public marina in Berkeley, Calif., because the Boy Scouts bar atheists and gays.

Reid made personal use of campaign donations
WASHINGTON – Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has been using campaign donations instead of his personal money to pay Christmas bonuses for the support staff at the Ritz-Carlton, where he lives in an upscale condominium.

Bush assures al-Maliki of support
WASHINGTON – In a conversation that underscored Iraqi worries that President Bush is being pressured to curtail America’s role in the widely unpopular war, Bush told Iraq’s prime minister on Monday he has no plans to pull U.S. forces out of the war-torn country.

Peters takes oath, joins Bush Cabinet
WASHINGTON – Mary Peters was sworn in Tuesday as the nation’s 15th transportation secretary, taking a job that President Bush said was crucial to U.S. economic security.

Lieberman backs Democratic control
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) – Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, running as an independent after losing the Democratic primary in August, said Tuesday he hopes that Democrats seize control of Congress – with one caveat: A Democratic-led Congress must change its ways.

Bush signs bill on military trials for terror suspects
WASHINGTON – Some of the most notorious names in the war on terrorism are headed toward prosecution after President Bush signed a law Tuesday authorizing military trials of terrorism suspects.
The legislation also eliminates some of the rights that defendants are usually guaranteed under U.S. law and authorizes continued harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists.
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Civil libertarians and leading Democrats decried the law as a violation of American values. The American Civil Liberties Union said that it was “one of the worst civil liberties measures ever enacted in American history.” Democratic Sen. Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin said, “We will look back on this day as a stain on our nation’s history.”
“It allows the government to seize individuals on American soil and detain them indefinitely with no opportunity to challenge their detention in court,” Feingold said. “And the new law would permit an individual to be convicted on the basis of coerced testimony and even allow someone convicted under these rules to be put to death.”

Kolbe trip with ex-pages under scrutiny
WASHINGTON – The House committee looking into allegations that ex-Rep. Mark A. Foley, R-Fla., had improper contact with former pages has been asked by lawmakers overseeing the page program to look into allegations involving a second lawmaker, House sources said Tuesday.

Judge erases guilty verdict against Lay
HOUSTON – A federal judge Tuesday vacated the conviction of Enron’s late founder Kenneth Lay, wiping out a jury’s verdict that he committed fraud and conspiracy in one of the biggest corporate scandals in U.S. history.

Post offices to scrap stamp sale machines
WASHINGTON (AP) – Postage stamps can be purchased by mail, at the supermarket, even from many bank cash machines. But there’s one place you won’t be able to get them in a few years – vending machines at the post office.

8 soldiers to stand trial in Iraqi murder cases
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Eight soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division were ordered Wednesday to be tried in courts-martial on murder charges in two separate cases stemming from their service in Iraq, and two could get the death penalty for allegedly raping a 14-year-old and killing her and her family.

Social Security checks to rise by 3.3%
WASHINGTON – Social Security checks for nearly 49 million retirees are going up by 3.3 percent next year – an average increase of $33 per month, though rising health care costs will take a bite out of the gain.

Judge calls for Cheney visitor lists
WASHINGTON – A federal judge has ordered the Bush administration to release information about who visited Vice President Cheney’s office and personal residence, an order that could spark a late election-season debate over lobbyists’ White House access.

GOP candidate urged to withdraw
GARDEN GROVE, Calif. – Orange County Republican leaders on Thursday called for the withdrawal of a GOP congressional candidate who they believe sent a letter threatening Hispanic immigrant voters with arrest.

Bush campaigns for 2 seen as tarnished
LA PLUME, Pa. – President Bush campaigned Thursday for a congressman who has confessed to adultery and a senator accused of racial insensitivity, seeking to boost incumbent Republicans once safe for re-election but now in peril.

Democrats protest House staffer’s suspension
WASHINGTON – Democrats say the Republican head of the House Intelligence Committee had no grounds to suspend a staff member who’s come under scrutiny for the leak of a secret intelligence assessment.

Bush touts Medicare drug benefits
WASHINGTON – President Bush said Friday that Republicans are missing an opportunity if they’re not talking up the Medicare drug benefit while campaigning this election season.
“I think this is a fantastic program, but more importantly, so do the seniors,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press.

‘It’s tough’ for U.S. in Iraq, Bush concedes
WASHINGTON – President Bush conceded Friday that “right now it’s tough” for American forces in Iraq, but the White House said he would not change U.S. strategy in the face of pre-election polls that show voters are upset.

Democrats lead in key races as GOP regains ground
WASHINGTON – Democrats hold solid leads for four of the six Republican seats they need to capture the Senate and about 10 of 15 required to win the House, according to officials in both parties. Other races remain highly competitive.

U.S. elevates pledge to S. Korea
WASHINGTON – The United States is pledging “immediate support” of South Korea as part of a “firm” commitment to defend its ally under the U.S. nuclear umbrella, stronger language than in last year’s version of their long-standing policy statement.

Wild climate ride predicted for certain regions
WASHINGTON – The world – especially the Western United States, the Mediterranean region and Brazil – will likely suffer more extended droughts, heavy rainfalls and longer heat waves over the next century because of global warming, a new study forecasts.

U.S. patrols resume in Balad
BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. forces were back patrolling the streets of the predominantly Shiite city of Balad on Tuesday after five days of sectarian slaughter killed 95 people, violence that surged out of control despite the efforts of Iraq’s best-trained soldiers.

Death toll spikes in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Eleven more U.S. troops were slain in combat, the military said Wednesday, putting October on track to be the deadliest month for U.S. forces since the siege of Fallujah nearly two years ago.

Rice vows U.S. would defend Japan
TOKYO — The United States is willing to use its full military might to defend Japan in light of North Korea’s nuclear test, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday as she sought to assure Asian countries there is no need to jump into a nuclear arms race.

No one’s ‘it’ at recess
ATTLEBORO, Mass. — Officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they’ll get hurt and hold the school liable.

Bloody days deal a blow
BAGHDAD, Iraq — The U.S. military said Thursday that its plan to curb violence in Baghdad had failed and it was looking for a new approach after months of American losses and sectarian violence.

Ethics panel hears from majority leader
WASHINGTON — House Majority Leader John Boehner testified before the House ethics committee Thursday, indicating afterward that he repeated his statements that he had told Speaker Dennis Hastert of Rep. Mark Foley’s overly friendly e-mails to a former male page.

Battle in south escalates Iraq rift
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Members of the Mahdi Army, a powerful Shiite militia headed by firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, briefly took over the southern Iraqi city of Amarah and battled with the local Shiite police before withdrawing on Friday.

Bush sees carrot, stick use in Iraq
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration will intensify its efforts to prod the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to take greater responsibility for governing and pacifying the country, senior U.S. officials said Saturday.
The new plan, which is still being developed, calls for Maliki and other Iraqi leaders or the first time to agree to a timetable series of milestones in 2007 for disarming Iraq’s sectarian militias, restoring its economic infrastructure, rooting out official corruption, expanding government services, and strengthening local governments, the officials said.

U.S. official admits ‘arrogance’ in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq — A senior U.S. diplomat said the United States had shown “arrogance” and “stupidity” in Iraq but was now ready to talk with any group except Al-Qaida in Iraq to facilitate national reconciliation.

Brutal month for America in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Three U.S. Marines were killed In Iraq Saturday, making October the deadliest month for American forces this year.
The deaths of the Marines raised the October death toll for American troops to 78, surpassing the year’s previous high figure of 76 in April. With more than a week left in the month, October is on course to be the deadliest month for American service members in two years.

Organ transplant system under fire
A little-known organization charged with ensuring safety and fairness in the nation’s organ transplant system routinely fails to detect or correct problems at derelict hospitals, even when patients are dying at excessive rates, a Los Angeles Times investigation has found.

Iran offers talks on nuclear goals
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran offered Saturday to talk with the West about its disputed nuclear program days before the U.S. and its partners are expected to circulate a draft resolution providing for limited sanctions against Tehran.

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