News from the Associated Press - December 23, 2013

Associated Press
December 23, 2013

NY law requires collecting old thermostats

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a law requiring manufacturers of thermostats with mercury to collect their old temperature controls in an effort to keep mercury out of the environment.

The measure requires they establish collection programs and in 2015 start filing annual reports on collections.

The collection goal is 15,500 for 2015, with state conservation officials required to set goals for 2016 through 2023.

Sponsors say mercury exposure has been shown to impair brain development, with federal estimates suggesting 300,000 to 630,000 infants annually are born in the U.S. with mercury levels high enough to reduce intelligence.

Most states prohibit selling new mercury thermostats, but an estimated 2 million are thrown out every year while few are collected and recycled.

Broken thermostats can release mercury into the air.


NY agency reports preliminary deer hunting results

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - State wildlife managers tallying results of the 2013 big game season say it looks like hunters killed slightly more deer than last year, but not enough to meet population reduction goals in targeted areas.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation says the number of deer killed in the Southern Zone, which is most of the state, looks like it's about 1 percent higher than last year.

The agency tried to increase the number of antlerless deer killed to reduce deer populations in many areas. The goal was to issue about 18 percent more special doe permits, but hunters got only about 7 percent more permits.

The conservation agency says it appears likely that even higher antlerless harvests will be needed over the next few years to achieve population reduction goals.


Pa. lawmakers spent $2 million on meals, lodging

HARRISBURG (AP) - State lawmakers received more than $2 million for their lodging and meals during fiscal 2012-13, with the bulk of the taxpayer-funded reimbursements not requiring any receipts.

The Scranton Times-Tribune reports Sunday that lawmakers spent about $1.8 million for per diems - the daily allowances for lodging and meals that are tax-free and require no receipts - and nearly $200,000 more for lodging and meals which require receipts.

The paper reports Senators received reimbursements of about $5,700 on average, while House members averaged about $8,500.

Senate Chief Clerk Russell Faber says a number of lawmakers are putting brief notations in records explaining what expenses are for on days the Legislature is not in session, to show how they relate to legislative activity.


NY ski museum idea considered in Warren County

NORTH CREEK, N.Y. (AP) - A retired Adirondack physician is proposing the creation of a New York state museum of skiing in the Warren County hamlet of North Creek, home of Gore Mountain and the Ski Bowl.

The Glens Falls Post-Star reports that state Sen. Betty Little revealed the venture Friday during the Warren County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Little said she was approached by Dr. Dan O'Keeffe, a historian and author who says Gore Mountain had the first ski trails, ski patrol and ski train in the state. The 92-year-old Glens Falls resident says he's the only surviving member of that first ski patrol and he saw the first snow train come in.

A group of business and government leaders plans to meet Jan. 6 to discuss the idea.

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