News from the Associated Press - February 13, 2014

Associated Press
February 13, 2014

Eastern NY in line for heavy snow, up to 16 inches

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Eastern New York is in line for some heavy snow, with the National Weather Service warning of 8 to 16 inches accumulating by Friday morning and near white-out conditions at time.

The weather service says the storm is expected to hit late Thursday morning and continue into Friday morning, with snowfall rates possibly exceeding 3 inches per hour Thursday night.

A winter storm warning is in effect from Schoharie through Warren counties, with the heaviest snow around the Albany area and Schoharie Valley.

The mid-Hudson Valley and eastern Catskills are also under a storm warning with 10 to 20 inches predicted. The higher amounts are most likely in the mountains.

A winter weather advisory is in effect for central New York and the Finger Lakes, where 2 to 5 inches is forecast.


Poll: Most NY voters approve of Gov. Cuomo

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A new poll shows Gov. Andrew Cuomo with a high job-approval rating and huge leads over two potential Republican challengers in this year's election.

The Quinnipiac (KWIN'-uh-pee-ack) University poll of New York state voters finds 63 percent of respondents approve of the way Cuomo is doing his job, compared to 28 percent who disapprove.

The poll released Thursday shows the Democratic incumbent with far more support than two potential Republican challengers. Respondents favored Cuomo over Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino 58 percent to 24 percent.

Cuomo topped Donald Trump 63 percent to 26 percent.

The poll of 1,488 voters was conducted Feb. 6-10. It has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.


Tobacco lobbying on the rise throughout NY

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A government watchdog group says lobbying by the tobacco industry has been on the rise across the state.

A report by the New York Public Interest Research Group released Wednesday says that the tobacco industry spent $7 million in the first half of 2013 on tobacco lobbying and campaign donations, more than it did on during 2011 and 2012 combined.

The group says the industry lobbied in New York City, the cities of Buffalo and Binghamton, and in Albany, Columbia, Madison and Suffolk counties. NYPIRG says the lobbying involved opposition to local health initiatives.

NYPIRG reports that Altria, formerly Philip Morris, spent the most, with more than $4 million on lobbying and more than $300,000 on campaign contributions.

Altria spokesman David Sutton says the company participates in policy-making that could affect it, shareholders and consumers.


NY has lifetime licenses to hunt, fish, tour parks

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York is offering lifetime licenses to hunt, fish and visit state parks.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Wednesday that he hopes a portion of the 2 million people who buy annual hunting licenses, fishing licenses and park permits in New York will make the switch. Lifetime hunting licenses cost $535, lifetime fishing licenses $460 and lifetime Empire Passport park permits cost $750.

As an incentive, lifetime license holders will be able to receive for free scenic-themed license plates playing off the "I Love NY" theme that promote fishing, hunting or parks.

Lifetime license holders also will be eligible for a state-issued "Adventure License," which is a driver's license that also serves as a hunting or other recreational license.

The products are part of Cuomo's efforts to promote outdoor tourism.


Forum on education changes planned in western NY

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) - Parents, teachers and community members will have a chance to weigh in on New York's education reforms at a public forum.

The summit scheduled for Thursday evening at Niagara Falls High School was originally planned for January 6 but postponed by weather.

Organizers John Ceretto, a state Assemblyman, and Sen. George Maziarz are expected to speak, along with teachers and parents.

The forum comes after the state's Board of Regents earlier this week agreed to make several changes to the way the state is implementing the Common Core learning standards, which are meant to better prepare students for college and careers.

The more difficult standards have been adopted by all but a handful of states but the rollout has been widely criticized in New York as being rushed and uneven.

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