News from the Associated Press - January 23, 2014

Associated Press
January 23, 2014

NY audit faults commercial vehicle oversight

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York auditors say the Department of Transportation failed to adequately monitor whether commercial vehicles taken off the road for safety violations actually got needed repairs.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says lax oversight could put New York motorists in jeopardy.

Along with state police, DOT carries out safety oversight that includes roadside inspections that uncover violations for problems, like faulty brakes, considered serious enough to stop trucks until they're fixed.

Regulations require repair certification within 15 days.

Auditors say 39 percent of certifications for 90,368 out-of-service violations on vehicles and drivers from Oct. 1, 2008 to June 17, 2013 were not submitted.

Driver violations include lacking medical certifications, inaccurate log books, and driving too long without rest.

DOT says it's reviewing its tracking system to focus on poor performers.


Corbett raised $6.8M in '13 for re-election effort

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Tom Corbett raised $6.8 million last year and has $7.5 million in cash to use in this year's re-election effort, a campaign aide said Wednesday.

Campaign manager Mike Barley revealed the latest figures ahead of a public disclosure filing deadline next week.

The incumbent Republican spent about $24 million during his successful 2010 race.

Several of the Democrats seeking the nomination to take on Corbett in November have previously disclosed their 2013 fundraising figures.

State Treasurer Rob McCord has said he raised $6.6 million last year.

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz has said she collected $6.5 million for the governor's race, including $3.1 million transferred from her federal campaign committee.

Former state Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf, a York businessman, has said he took in $13.3 million, including $10 million of his own money.


Upstate NY man pleads guilty in X-ray weapon case

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — An upstate New York man charged with helping to build a mobile X-ray device meant to kill people at a mosque and an Islamic center has pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists.

Fifty-five-year-old Eric Feight of Hudson made the admission Wednesday in federal court in Albany. He's being held until sentencing May 22 and faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

In a separate proceeding, 49-year-old co-defendant Glendon Scott Crawford of Galway was arraigned on three charges, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered detained pending further court action.

The two men have been jailed since last June for their alleged plot in the greater Albany area.

Authorities said the device was inoperable. Nobody was hurt.


NY DEC plans to increase cricket frog population

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York environmental officials have devised a plan to increase the population of the endangered northern cricket frog.

It's one of New York state's two endangered amphibians and is limited to a small number of breeding populations in the southeastern part of the state.

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens calls the northern cricket frog an important amphibian component of wetland ecosystems, and says the frog's habitat is important to preserving New York's biodiversity and unique character.

The plan aims to improve the frog's geographic diversity and ultimately increase its population.

The overall goal is to eventually remove the species from New York's endangered list.

The DEC plan is now available for public review. Comments will be accepted until Feb. 21.

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