News from the Associated Press - April 3, 2014

Associated Press
April 3, 2014

Funeral set for upstate NY officer killed on duty

JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. (AP) — Funeral services are set this week for the upstate New York police officer fatally shot by a medical technician who had grabbed the officer's gun.

Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski announced Tuesday that calling hours for Johnson City Officer David Smith will be held Thursday, followed by funeral services Friday at church just two blocks from where he was shot Monday morning.

Authorities say they still don't know why 43-year-old James Clark ran up to Smith, wrestled his weapon away from him and shot the officer. Police say Clark had argued with co-workers just minutes earlier.

Clark fired at another officer who arrived at the scene and was killed by the officer.

The 43-year-old Smith was an 18-year veteran of the police department in Johnson City, a village just west of Binghamton.


New York pulls out of inBloom student database

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — New York education officials say they will not store student information with the data storage firm inBloom.

State Education Department spokesman Dennis Tomkins says Wednesday that the state has directed inBloom to delete data that's been stored so far.

The move follows this week's passage of the state budget, which includes a provision to end the state's relationship with inBloom.

A statement from inBloom Wednesday says the company respects the state's decision but still believes its technology can improve learning.

The state planned to have inBloom compile student grades, attendance, disciplinary and other information into a single database accessible through the Internet. It was seen as a tool to personalize instruction.

But opponents worried the information would come back to hurt students or be subject to outside data-mining.


Thousands of parents pull kids from state tests

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Thousands of New York parents are refusing to have their children take the statewide English assessments being given this week.

They're protesting state education policy that they say puts so much emphasis on testing that it interferes with learning.

Results of the three-day assessments don't count toward student averages, but they do factor into teacher and school evaluations. In New York City, they help determine whether students pass or fail.

Groups compiling numbers from around the state estimate that more than 25,000 of the more than 1 million third- through eighth-graders in the testing pool are skipping this week's tests. Long Island is seeing the highest opt-out numbers.

Depending on the district, students are either quietly reading during the daily 70- to 80-minute sessions or at their desks doing nothing.


Budget includes range of business, estate tax cuts

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's new budget will cut business and estate taxes over the next several years, lowering the corporate tax rate to 6.5 percent in 2016 while raising tax exemptions for inherited wealth by about $1 million annually to $5.25 million in 2017.

With the Cuomo administration trying to shed the state's reputation for high taxes and complex regulations, the Legislature has adopted his main proposals and revised some, making the estate thresholds gradual followed by inflation indexing, but leaving that top tax rate at 16 percent.

For manufacturers, they agreed to establish a 20 percent property tax credit statewide and cut their corporate tax rate to zero. The administration originally proposed the zero rate for upstate New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the goal is trying to keep and attract business.


Catskills town sees casino as a good bet

MONTICELLO, N.Y. (AP) — Developers of a proposed Catskills casino say they have received a resolution of support from local lawmakers.

Monticello Raceway Management Inc. made the announcement Wednesday, days after state regulators said bidders for the four upstate casino licenses must submit a resolution approved by the local legislative body indicating its support.

The Monticello group wants to build a $750 million casino resort where the old Concord Hotel once stood, about 90 miles northwest of New York City. Developers say the Town of Thompson Board voted in favor of supporting the application Tuesday night.

Casino applications need to be in by June 30 and selections are due in the fall.

Voters statewide approved a New York constitutional amendment in November to allow Las Vegas-style casinos beyond Indian land.

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