News from the Associated Press - January 16, 2014

Associated Press
January 16, 2014

2 flu-related deaths confirmed in central NY

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Health officials say two central New York residents have died of complications from the flu strain that's hitting young and middle-aged adults hard this year.

Onondaga County Health Commissioner Cynthia Morrow tells local media outlets the two people who died within the past two weeks had H1N1, the main flu strain circulating this year. She said both were middle-aged adults with underlying health conditions that made them more vulnerable.

Morrow advised people who haven't gotten their flu vaccinations to do so.
The H1N1 strain caused an influenza pandemic in 2009. This year's vaccine protects against it.


DiNapoli pulls FirstEnergy shareholder proposal

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has withdrawn a shareholder proposal at FirstEnergy with the utility agreeing to report on its plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The shareholder proposal by New York's $160 billion retirement fund for public workers and some other investors called on the company to prepare a report on policies it could soon adopt to reduce emissions.

The Ohio-based energy producer was also asked to consider innovative technologies for energy generation.

In a letter, FirstEnergy says it intends to report by Oct. 1 on its website its steps in connection with President Barack Obama's goal of an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

It promises to examine reductions in CO2 emissions, reviewing the age and life of its fossil fuel-burning power plants and the effect of carbon pollution regulation on the company.

Since 2010, DiNapoli has reached agreements with 12 companies to examine ways to reduce corporate climate impacts.


New chairman tapped for Pa. state pension fund

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Tom Corbett is naming the president of a Philadelphia investment advisory group to become the new chairman of Pennsylvania's $26.5 billion state employee pension system.

Corbett announced his appointment of the Swarthmore Group's Glenn Becker on Wednesday to chair the State Employees' Retirement System.

In a statement, Corbett didn't mention Becker's predecessor, Nicholas Maiale, who wasn't reappointed by Corbett amid allegations of possible misconduct by the agency's former chief investment officer, Anthony Clark.

Clark hasn't been charged with any crime.

Corbett says he's confident in Becker's abilities to lead the system and that Becker has a record of accomplishment in developing strong fiscal plans. The Swarthmore Group says it manages about $1.5 billion in institutional assets.

Becker chairs a non-profit organization that raises money for local charities.


Alcoa plans to shut down northern NY smelter

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Alcoa says it plans to permanently close the two remaining potlines at its Massena East plant in northern New York in the first quarter of this year.

The company says those long rows of reduction pots will close because they are no longer competitive. Pittsburgh-based Alcoa said it closed another potline there in August.

Bob Wilt, president of Alcoa Global Primary Products, says they plan to work with the New York Power Authority and others to keep its Massena West smelter operating successfully.

According to the company, the Massena East plant employs 332 people.

The Massena West plant employs 669.

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