News from the Associated Press - June 2, 2014

Associated Press
June 2, 2014

Despite dustup, NY Gov Cuomo gets liberal backing

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has survived a challenge from the left to win the nomination of the liberal Working Families Party.

Cuomo received the endorsement at the party's convention Saturday in Albany following a floor fight from liberals unhappy with Cuomo's support for business-friendly tax cuts and charter schools.

Cuomo defeated a bid for the nomination from Fordham University law professor Zephyr Teachout (TEECH'-out).

Before the vote, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged delegates to support Cuomo. And the governor addressed delegates by phone, promising to push liberal priorities and to work to return the state Senate to Democratic control.

Cuomo faces Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino in the fall election.


Former SUNY president must pay back $100,000

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The former president of a State University of New York campus must pay back $100,000 in income he received from an outside contractor without Chancellor Nancy Zimpher's approval.

The Albany Times Union reports that former SUNY Upstate Medical University President Dr. David R. Smith has agreed to pay back the money he accepted from a firm that did business with the university.

The report said Smith has already paid half of the $99,536 he received from Pediatrics Service Group LLP.

Smith was replaced as president and went on sick leave after the Times Union reported last fall that he was under investigation for taking money from contractors. The problem was discovered when he was about to be announced as Penn State University's president.


Upstate flood toll: $500,000 damage to 1 building

PENN YAN, N.Y. (AP) — A Finger Lakes building that serves people with developmental disabilities will cost a half million dollars to repair from recent flooding.

Yates County officials say the Arc of Yates building in Penn Yan is in "a state of ruin" with major damage to floors, walls, computers, furniture and the phone system. More than 100 developmentally disabled people have been affected.

Penn Yan was hit hard two weeks ago by flash flooding from severe thunderstorms, prompting Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency for Yates County, 35 miles southeast of Rochester.

The not-for-profit organization that operates the facility is asking for donations because the damage far exceeds what its insurance covers. Its programs have been temporarily located until cleanup and repairs are complete.


Environmentalists urge more green energy for NY

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Environmental activists are delivering more than 50,000 comments to the Cuomo administration, urging officials to recast the state's energy plan with specific strategies for burning less fossil fuel and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

The comments, filed Friday on the deadline for responding to the draft plan issued in January, urge the New York officials to reject additional natural gas drilling as any sort of environmental solution, calling instead for a much stronger push for renewable and cleaner solar and wind power.

The 2014 draft from the state Energy Planning Board says it's meant to put New York on track to reduce emissions and their impact on climate change, meaning global warming.

The plan calls for an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050.


Housing unit for homeless vets opens in upstate NY

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Homeless veterans in central New York have a new place to call home.

An $11 million, 50-bed housing facility for homeless veterans in Syracuse was dedicated Friday. The three-story VanKeuren Square contains 44 one-bedroom apartments and six two-bedroom flat, all of them furnished, and 41 veterans are already there.

Units are available for veterans with physical disabilities and those with hearing or vision impairments. On-site supportive services are provided by the Syracuse VA.
Building amenities include a community room, training and education rooms, computer lab, exercise facilities, and a laundry.

The project is named for Robert VanKeuren, a Navy veteran from Canandaigua who's worked more than 30 years to improve the quality of life for homeless veterans. It was funded under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council Initiative.

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