new york

Winter in April: Heavy Snow Heads for Western NY

Apr 23, 2012

Forecasters say some trees and power lines could be dragged down by heavy, wet snow expected to pile up as much as a foot deep in parts of western New York by Tuesday morning.

Shawn Smith of the National Weather Service in Buffalo says a storm moving up the East Coast will bring snow to western New York throughout the day Monday. By the time it peters out Tuesday, there may be 7 to 14 inches of snow in higher elevations of western New York, 5 to 9 inches in Buffalo, and 3 to 5 inches in Rochester.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens says there's no timeline for a decision on whether fracking of shale gas wells will be allowed in New York state, but the review will likely continue through the summer. More from WAMC's Dave Lucas...

Speaking Thursday at the annual Spring Environment Conference held by the Business Council in Albany, Martens says the agency doesn't have a specific date yet for an update on the environmental review and proposed regulations for high-volume hydraulic fracturing of shale gas wells.


There are more bats in caves first struck by white-nose syndrome, giving researchers a glimmer of hope in the scourge that has killed millions of bats in North America.  More from WAMC's Dave Lucas...

The effort to legalize mixed martial arts, also known as ultimate fighting, in New York, got a boost in the legislature Wednesday. The Senate passed a bill to legalize the sport, by a vote of 43 to 14, and the Speaker of the Assembly opened the door to possible approval in his house.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports…

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says he has “mixed feelings” about mixed martial arts.

Federal officials reviewing the massive cleanup of PCBs from the upper Hudson River will take another month before finishing their report. WAMC’s Dave Lucas reports…

The federal Environmental Protection Agency was originally scheduled to finish the review by the end of this month. But the agency decided to extend the study through the end of May after calls for a more lengthy review from local congressional representatives and environmentalists.

Two years of Hudson dredging have been completed and crews will be back on the river soon for a third season

NY Company That Makes Mushroom Packing Gets Award

Apr 19, 2012

An upstate New York company that makes biodegradable packaging material from mushrooms is getting an award from the Environmental Protection Agency.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

EPA regional administrator Judith Enck will present an environmental leadership award today to Ecovative Design of Green Island, near Albany. The company uses the "roots" of the mushroom — called mycelium — and plant matter to make soft blocks that are used to cushion products ranging from computer servers to furniture.

A historic preservation group is weighing in on hydro fracking for the first time, and they don't like what they say they’ve been learning about the gas drilling process. They say it would change the nature of the landscape from rural to industrial and would detract from heritage tourism in the Marcellus shale region.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports…

It's a big week for New York State's elementary school students and their teachers, as we hear in this report from WAMC's Dave Lucas…

For three days beginning today, students in grades 3 to 8 will hunker down with No. 2 pencils to take the state standardized tests in English Language Arts.

Next week, they'll tackle standardized math assessments.

Under a new state law, student performance on the tests will now account for as much as 40 percent of annual reviews for certain teachers.

NY Advocates Say Condom Evidence Is Unhealthy

Apr 17, 2012

Advocates for New York sex workers are coming to Albany to push for legislation that would ban condoms as evidence in prostitution cases, arguing the law-enforcement tactic is bad for public health. 

NY Priest On Leave; Abuse Claims Investigated

Apr 16, 2012

A 74-year-old priest is on administrative leave as the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese investigates a sexual abuse claim against him.  WAMC's Tristan O'Neill reports...

The Reverend Jeremiah Nunan was cleared six years ago of allegations that he sexually abused a minor. The Albany Times-Union reports that the diocese announced the new allegations over the weekend.

Nunan is pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Cairo and Our Lady of Knock Mission in East Durham in Greene County.

Governor Cuomo has issued an executive order to create a state health care exchange, required by the federal health care reform law, after the legislature failed to act.

NY Assembly to Hold Minimum Wage Hearings

Apr 13, 2012

The New York Assembly plans to hold a series of hearings on raising the state's minimum wage to $8.50 an hour next year.

New York's two most-visited state parks are getting two of the biggest shares of the $89 million in additional funding the Legislature has approved to fix up the aging system of 178 parks and 35 historic sites.

A new poll finds New Yorkers have mixed feelings about President Obama’s health care reform act, with a plurality saying they’d like to see the Supreme Court declare parts of the law unconstitutional. 

NY State Parks Ban Smoking at Playgrounds, Pools

Apr 10, 2012

The state is creating smoke-free areas outdoors at New York state parks and historic sites, including around playgrounds and pools. WAMC's Dave Lucas reports…

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation says Monday the smoke-free zones will be around recreation areas, including beaches and picnic shelters. The agency operates 178 parks and 35 historic sites.

Parks officials say that will protect children and others from the dangers of secondhand smoke and reduce litter from discarded cigarettes.

A new poll finds the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers would like to see the state raise its minimum wage. Governor Cuomo does not rule the proposal out.  Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports...
The Quinnipiac poll found that 78% of those surveyed think the state's minimum wage should be higher than the current $7.25 an hour, with more than half saying it should be increased to over $8.50 cents an hour.

Poll: New Yorkers Decry Secret Dealing in Budget Talks

Apr 5, 2012

A statewide poll finds New Yorkers think the secrecy and closed-door deals that led to last week state's budget approval are unnecessary and a serious problem. WAMC's Dave Lucas reports...

The Quinnipiac University poll is a rebuke of the continued "three-men-in-a-room" method of crafting a budget by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

The poll finds that 55 percent of voters said the closed-door negotiations weren't necessary to achieve the budget.

NY Board Won't Disclose Hire Record

Apr 3, 2012

New York's powerful new ethics board has refused to release to the public any record of the secret vote to hire a longtime aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo as its $148,000-a-year executive director. WAMC's Dave Lucas has more...

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which has broad powers to investigate legislators and other officials, denied The Associated Press request for the records under the state Freedom of Information Law.

The board voted February 2 to hire Ellen Biben.  

NYS Lawmakers Head for Second Straight On-Time Budget

Mar 30, 2012

State lawmakers were headed for an on-time state budget for the second year in a row that keeps spending relatively flat.  They hoped to wrap up voting by late Friday afternoon.  As Karen DeWitt reports, the lack of the usual dramatics surrounding the budget this time is due to preparations that began over a year ago...
State legislators and Governor Cuomo have been touting the on time budget for the second year in a row that also, for the second time, reigns in spending.

Upstate NY Sheriff Investigates Soda Bottle Bomb

Mar 26, 2012

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office is investigating after someone turned in a lump of melted green plastic that appears to have been a homemade bomb rigged with matches, gasoline and bullets.  WAMC's Tristan O'Neill reports...

Deputies say a Barneveld resident found the object on a trail in the town of Trenton on March 18 and turned it in to the sheriff's office on Sunday.

NY Growers Worry about Buds as Temperature Plunges

Mar 26, 2012

Upstate New York growers are watching fruit trees anxiously as a strong cold front sweeps through the region, bringing frost that could damage buds.  WAMC's Tristan O’Neill reports…

Many fruit trees have started to bud as much as four weeks ahead of schedule because of the unusual warmth in recent weeks.

Wayne County orchard owner Stephanie Craft tells the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle that she and her husband Gary won't be able to sleep Monday night. The temperature is expected to drop to about 23 degrees.