Associated Press

Tim Graham

NEWBURGH, N.Y. (AP) — Work is set to begin on a $1B repair of a main aqueduct carrying water from upstate reservoirs to New York City.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection says site preparation work will begin later this month for the 2.5-mile Rondout-West Branch Bypass Tunnel. The project will allow the DEP to repair leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct.

Matthew Trump

  

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The issue of highway tolls in Connecticut is back on the legislature's agenda.

The Hearst Connecticut Media Group reports that lawmakers are again considering tolls to raise money as a special transportation fund established decades ago to fix roads and bridges is depleted by officials looking for money.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is heading to Washington, D.C. to meet with Vice President Joe Biden about the administration's gun control proposals and to attend President Barack Obama's second inauguration.

Malloy is scheduled to meet with Biden on Friday evening. While he was invited to Obama's announcement this week, Malloy was unable to attend because of prior commitments in the state.

www.bc.edu web staff

BOSTON (AP) — Boston College's marching band will be heading to Washington to join in the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

The parade will follow President Barack Obama's swearing-in and inaugural address on Monday.

College officials say the 155-member band will perform the University's fight song, "For Boston," along the parade route.

Band director David Healey says the performance will be a "once in a lifetime opportunity" for band members.

BOSTON (AP) — Transgender groups will host a community action day at the State House to push for public accommodation protections for transgender youth, adults and family.

Rene Schwietzke

  

BOSTON (AP) — State transportation officials have decided to take down all 2,800 reflective wall panels from inside the Callahan Tunnel because it's more cost effective than conducting frequent tests.

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A lawyer for the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant's owner tells the Vermont Supreme Court it should dismiss a complaint that says the plant has been disobeying orders from the utility regulating Public Service Board.

During oral arguments Wednesday, Entergy Corp. lawyer Kathleen Sullivan said the board was in error when it ruled twice last year that by continuing to operate the plant, Entergy was violating the terms of the board's ruling that allowed the company to buy the plant in 2002.

Courtesy NYS OSC

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says local governments are leaning harder on their taxpayers because of sluggish state and federal aid.

DiNapoli's report states that in the last decade, federal and state aid grew an average of 2.2 percent a year, which was less than the inflation rate of 2.4 percent during the same time.

The share of local municipal and county funding that comes from the state and federal government is down to 20 percent, from 22 percent in 2011.

Boston Globe Web Staff

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick has asked the Legislature for $1.9 billion in new taxes to support major new spending on transportation and education.

In his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature, Patrick called for hiking the state income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent, while doubling the personal exemption for all taxpayers and eliminating dozens of itemized deductions.

Rappaport Center

BOSTON (AP) — Lawmakers are giving mixed reviews to Gov. Deval Patrick's call to hike the state's income tax while also cutting the sales tax.

Senate President Therese Murray said she applauded Patrick's ambition but added the "the devil's in the details."

Fellow Democrat, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, said Patrick's proposal gives lawmakers a lot of food for thought, but said he didn't think the proposal could pass or fail based just on what Patrick said.

Republicans lawmakers were more critical.

BOSTON (AP) — Lawmakers are giving mixed reviews to Gov. Deval Patrick's call to hike the state's income tax while also cutting the sales tax.

Dwight Sipler

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick has asked the Legislature for a $1.9 billion in new taxes to support major new spending on transportation and education.

In his annual state of the state address to a joint session of the Legislature, Patrick called for hiking the state income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent, while doubling the personal exemption for all taxpayers and eliminating dozens of itemized deductions.

REUTERS/Eric Thayer

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick is planning to file a gun control bill as Massachusetts lawmakers continue weighing ways to reduce gun violence.

Patrick has previously pushed for a series of measures including restricting gun owners to purchasing one firearm a month.

He's also proposed clamping down on "straw purchasers" who buy guns legally and then resell them to convicted felons and others barred from owning guns.

Joseph Spector - Politics on the Hudson

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is freezing investment by the public workers' pension fund in firearms companies following recent shooting tragedies.

DiNapoli says he has directed that the massive pension fund not buy any new stock in firearms manufacturers following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

The Democrat says the tragedy makes it clear that firearms makers face legal hurdles and damage to their reputations that could hurt the state's investment. New York passed tough new gun control laws Tuesday.

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — State health officials say flu vaccine is still available for New Yorkers who want to get a flu shot, though there may be some localized shortages because of late season demand.

According to the Health Department, providers have been vaccinating since September, and those needing more vaccine should use the national Influenza Vaccine Availability Tracking System to help in ordering more.

The department says it is also surveying pharmacists and hospitals to determine their vaccine availability.

Shumlin to roll health report into budget

Jan 15, 2013

A law passed in 2011 set Tuesday, Jan. 15, as the day the administration was to give lawmakers answers to the often asked question of how the Green Mountain Care single-payer health plan will be paid for.

Administration officials say they now want a bit more time — until Jan. 24, when Shumlin is scheduled to deliver his annual budget address to lawmakers — to outline the plan's possible financing.

Mark Larson, commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access, says such requests for extensions are not uncommon.

Huffington Post Web Staff

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) — Activists say they will protest at a Wal-Mart in Danbury demanding the nation's largest retailer to halt gun sales in its stores.

Protesters, including survivors of gun violence, say they will gather Tuesday at the Danbury Wal-Mart near Newtown where 20 children and six educators were fatally shot at an elementary school last month.

The protest, scheduled for 11 a.m., is organized by SumOfUs.org, a watchdog group.

USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says rain in late summer and early fall of 2012 helped save crops in most of the state.

The USDA says production of grain corn, soybeans, wheat and oat crops all increased from the previous year. Soybeans were estimated at a record high 14.4 million bushels, 20 percent more than was harvested in 2011.

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — Newtown Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson is traveling to Washington, D.C., to discuss gun violence prevention.

Robinson is scheduled to be part of a panel discussion on Wednesday. It's being organized by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro co-chairs.

The hearing is titled "Gun Violence Prevention: A Call to Action." The event is expected to focus on what can be done to prevent future gun violence based on the experience of the panelists.

http://centralny.ynn.com/content/top_stories/629929/birds-eye-plant-in-fulton-is-sold/
YNN web staff

FULTON, N.Y. (AP) — A company that has purchased the closed Birds Eye plant in central New York plans to open a food-processing facility that will employ 183 people.

The Post-Standard of Syracuse reports (http://bit.ly/TTWWn5 ) that the plant was purchased last week by a real estate holding company. New York is giving the company up to $1 million in Excelsior tax credits in exchange for a commitment to create 183 jobs.

Register Citizen Staff

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The state legislature's Judiciary Committee will be questioning former Stamford state Sen. Andrew McDonald about his nomination to the state Supreme Court.

The committee will hold a public hearing Monday on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's nominations of McDonald and other judicial nominees. The panel is expected to vote afterward and send the nominations to the full legislature.

chillnews.net staff

STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) — A proposal to name a school after a teacher killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shootings is set to go before a town council.

Stratford Mayor John Harkins is recommending naming a new elementary school named after Victoria Soto, a 27-year-old Stratford resident who died trying to shield her students from the gunman inside Sandy Hook Elementary School. The shooter killed 20 children and six women at the school on Dec. 14 before committing suicide.

Chesterfield County

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Philadelphia man faces sentencing in Connecticut for stealing credit cards from women's pocketbooks he reached while crawling on movie theater floors.

Anthony Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Hartford. A jury in October found him guilty of charges of using stolen credit cards and identity theft.

Jason Lawrence / Flickr

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (AP) — State police, the Thruway Authority and towing companies are reminding motorists in New York about the law that requires drivers to change lanes or slow down when approaching roadside vehicles with flashing lights.

They're holding a news conference Friday morning at the state police Thruway barracks in Cheektowaga to publicize the state's "move over" law.

Richard Howe / Flickr

BOSTON (AP) — Advocates for people with developmental disabilities are hailing a decision by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to sign a bill easing IQ eligibility restrictions for services.

The new law will prevent the state Department of Developmental Services from automatically denying eligibility to people scoring above 70 on IQ tests.

USFWS

NORTHFIELD, Vt. (AP) — People involved in Vermont's continuing effort to recover from Tropical Storm Irene are set to gather at Norwich University in Northfield to assess how far they've come and the future of those efforts.

BOSTON (AP) — A second Massachusetts congressman is pushing the House to amend a disaster relief bill to massively increase emergency funds for fishermen.

Rep. Bill Keating says he'll propose lawmakers redirect $111 million in a Superstorm Sandy relief bill from a weather satellite program to fishermen from the Northeast, Gulf Coast and Alaska.

He says in a letter to House colleagues Thursday that the weather program's deficiencies should be addressed in different legislation. Meanwhile, he said, the historic fishing industry is facing a crisis, as catch reductions loom.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission / Flickr

BOSTON (AP) - State officials are offering reassurances that there is plenty of vaccine still available for people who are still looking to get a flu shot.

Interim public health commissioner Lauren Smith said Thursday the state has distributed 760,000 doses of vaccine so far this season, and there remains ample supply. She said officials are working with local boards of health that are looking to open public clinics to meet the demand for flu shots.

Officials say there have been 6,000 laboratory confirmed cases of flu in Massachusetts and 18 flu-related deaths.

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick has filed a bill aimed at overhauling municipal unemployment insurance.

The legislation filed Wednesday would limit access to unemployment for a worker who retires and begins collecting a pension, then later returns to work for a municipality. Other provisions include preventing municipalities from being charged for wages earned by election workers who make less than $1,000 a year.

The legislation grew out of a task force Patrick convened last year to review unemployment insurance issues raised by municipalities.

Major League Baseball expanded its playoff format to 10 teams Friday, adding a second wild-card in each league.

The decision establishes a new one-game, wild-card round in each league between the teams with the best records who are not division winners, meaning a third-place team could win the World Series.

This is the only change in baseball's playoff structure since the 1995 season, when wild-card teams were first added.

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