News from the Associated Press - December 5, 2013

Associated Press
December 5, 2013

NY registration drive for STAR property tax breaks

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Officials are trying to get more homeowners to register for New York's STAR property tax break before the end-of-year deadline.

State tax officials are providing direct assistance to homeowners in seven STAR registration locations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday. The centers will be in Albany, Binghamton, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Long Island.

The STAR exemption averages $700 statewide. All homeowners have to reapply for the benefit as part of an effort to weed out waste and abuse.

State officials say 800,000 people still haven't registered with the Dec. 31 deadline looming.

More than 1.9 million homeowners have registered for basic STAR exemptions.


NY settles complaint over child beverages ad

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says his office has reached a settlement with Abbott Laboratories over advertising for its Pediasure SideKicks beverages.

According to Schneiderman's office, Abbott has agreed to cease ads with unsubstantiated claims that the sugary drinks with added vitamins and minerals, which were introduced in 2010 and 2012, "targeted nutrition" for children's "unique needs."

The company, based in Abbott Park, Ill., will also pay a $25,000 penalty to the state.

The office said began investigating after getting complaints the ads were misleading by implying that pediatricians recommend Sidekicks for healthy, thriving children.


Pa. asked to bid on attracting Boeing plant

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania is among the states hoping to compete for a new Boeing aircraft assembly plant.

Department of Community and Economic Development spokesman Steve Kratz said Wednesday the company contacted the state on Tuesday, asking for proposals to attract a plant to build the new 777X aircraft.

Kratz says the state is looking at what it might offer as a competitive proposal that also takes into account the use of taxpayer dollars.

He says the large number of potential jobs makes Gov. Tom Corbett very interested.

The company is approaching states, asking them to bid on the production of the plane after its machinist union members rejected a proposed contract with concessions on pensions and health care costs.

Abbott did not immediately reply to a request for comment.


Pa. transportation secretary defends highways law

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The head of Pennsylvania's highway agency says he's not surprised that some people aren't happy about the billions of dollars in higher fees and taxes to fund transportation needs but says others are voicing their support.

Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch told reporters Wednesday he didn't expect people to celebrate over higher gas taxes and motorist fees. But he's also hearing from those who believe the cost of doing nothing would have been greater.

Schoch says talk of promising special projects to get the bill passed is "comical" because a decade's worth of needs is laid out on the department's website.

Schoch says the near-term focus will be on bridges, safety and increasing mobility. He says decisions about raising speed limits from 65 to 70 mph may be made this spring.


NY National Guard to honor President Van Buren

KINDERHOOK, N.Y. (AP) — Members of the New York National Guard will be paying tribute to President Martin Van Buren at his Hudson Valley gravesite.

Van Buren was born in his family's tavern in Kinderhook, 20 miles south of Albany, on Dec. 5, 1782. He was the first president born under the United States flag. Van Buren served in the White House from 1837 to 1841. He died in July 1862 and is buried in Kinderhook Cemetery.

Brig. Gen. Raymond Shields, director of the joint staff for the New York National Guard, will be joined by Army and Air Guardsman at the cemetery Thursday morning for a wreath-laying ceremony marking Van Buren's 231st birthday.

The U.S. military honors the nation's former presidents by laying wreaths at their gravesites on the anniversary of their birth.

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