News from the Associated Press - December 19, 2013

Associated Press
December 19, 2013

Comptroller: NY authorities pay staff $7B yearly

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The New York comptroller reports that the state's public authorities pay more than $7 billion annually to more than 104,000 employees, including nearly $1.8 billion to those earning more than $100,000.

Those six-figure staffs represent more than 13 percent of the people at the state's 324 public authorities, which DiNapoli says often operate under the radar by their own rules.

The largest payrolls are at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Thruway Authority and the Power Authority of the State of New York.

DiNapoli says actual state agencies have reined in spending, but authorities, which also perform public functions, have not been held to the same constraints.

They include 12 that paid more than $6 million in bonuses, with Westchester County Health Care Corp. paying $340,000 to one individual.


Cheap hydropower to create 643 jobs in western NY

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The New York Power Authority board of trustees has approved allocations of low-cost hydropower to three businesses in western New York.

The power allocations will be drawn from the Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant and be allocated to Ford Motor Company in Hamburg, Brunner International in Medina, and Gracious Living USA in Buffalo.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the move will lead to the creation of 643 new jobs and capital investments of approximately $206 million.

Ford will add 10 assembly lines and create 350 new positions at its facility, Brunner International has plans to invest $15 million and hire 43 new workers, while Gracious Living USA, a Canadian company that produces resin-based furniture and other plastic products, will create 250 jobs.

The allocations are to be provided over seven-year contracts.


Seneca Falls, NY, claims link to 'Wonderful Life'

SENECA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) - Did George Bailey live his wonderful life in upstate New York.

Folks in the quaint town of Seneca Falls think so. Or more precisely, they say Bailey's make-believe hometown of Bedford Falls in "It's a Wonderful Life" was heavily inspired by Seneca Falls.

Seneca Falls has a nice broad main street like Bedford Falls', and there's a steel truss bridge. The film also is loaded with references to nearby upstate cities.

Still, there's no slam-dunk proof that director Frank Capra ever set foot in Seneca Falls. Jeanine Basinger is curator of the Frank Capra Archive at Wesleyan University. She says she hates to be like the movie's villain Mr. Potter, but says there's no hard evidence of the Seneca Falls link.

Maybe fitting for a Christmas story, the contention comes down to belief.

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