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NY fire crew battles western wildfires

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Firefighting crews from New York and four New England states are in Oregon battling numerous wildfires that have charred more than 600,000 acres.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo dispatched a 20-person firefighting crew on Friday. The team is comprised of specially-trained Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers, employees and volunteers, who will be assigned to wildfires for 14 days.

National wild land firefighters must go through 44 hours of classroom and field training and pass an annual health and physical capability screening.

New York first sent a firefighting crew to assist western states in fighting large wildfires in 1979. On average, one or two crews have been sent to assist each year. All costs are paid directly by the U.S. Forest Service.


Troopers: Northern NY couple die in murder-suicide

ELLENBURG, N.Y. (AP) - State police say autopsies are planned for a Clinton County couple after an apparent murder-suicide.

A concerned relative called troopers Saturday evening to check on the welfare of a resident of Ellenburg in northern Clinton County. Police found 44-year-old Pamela Williamson and 58-year-old Larry Williamson dead.

The cause and time of death were not released. Police said more information would be released after the autopsies on Monday.


NY man charged in fatal stabbing of estranged wife

ROME, N.Y. (AP) - A 46-year-old central New York man has been charged with second-degree murder for the fatal stabbing of his estranged wife.

Police in the city of Rome in Oneida County tell media outlets that 45-year-old Carrie Werenski was stabbed multiple times around 7 p.m. Saturday. She was found by police who had responded to a reported stabbing. Werenski died shortly after arriving at Rome Memorial Hospital.

Police say 46-year-old Christopher Werenski was taken into custody shortly after the stabbing.


Buffalo taxi driver stabbed; passenger didn't pay

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Police in Buffalo are looking for a man who stabbed a taxi driver and ran off without paying the cab fare.

Police tell the Buffalo News that the cabbie, 55-year-old Lester Sessum, told officers he was dropping off a passenger at 15th and Vermont streets around 10:20 Saturday night, when the passenger asked if he could use the driver's cell phone. Police say the passenger grabbed Sessum's cell phone and stabbed him in the chest, abdomen and hands, then ran off.

Sessum drove himself to a nearby hospital and was transferred to Erie County Medical Center, where he was listed in fair condition.

The passenger was described as a 30-year-old man with short hair, wearing blue jeans, a gray shirt, and a baseball cap.


NY man drowns after falling into Sacandaga Lake

PROVIDENCE, N.Y. (AP) - The Saratoga County Sheriff's Office says a 29-year-old man has drowned after he fell into Sacandaga Lake while docking a pontoon boat.

The sheriff's office says Arthur Merchant of Scotia fell into the water near Pine Tree Hollow Road in the town of Providence around 8:30 Saturday night. Other passengers of the boat were already far away onshore when the accident happened.

Merchant's body was found about 20 feet from the boat around 10:20 p.m.


Woman dies in Monroe County crash

HENRIETTA, N.Y. (AP) - The Monroe County Sheriff's Office says a 51-year-old woman has died and her teenage daughter was hospitalized after a collision with a car driven by a woman alleged to have been drinking.

The accident happened Saturday night around 11:15 on Calkins Road in Henrietta. Deputies say Lisa Welk of Henrietta had been driving a Toyota SUV when it collided with a Ford Focus. Welk was declared dead at the scene and her 15-year-old daughter was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.

The other driver, 25-year-old Amanda Hunt, was also taken to Strong. Investigators say she was found to be drunk, and told police she had been at a party. Witnesses told sheriff's investigators a vehicle matching Hunt's car had been speeding and passing vehicles.

Charges weren't immediately filed.


3 rescued after boat crashes in western New York

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Three people have been rescued after the boat they were on crashed onto a breakwall on Lake Erie near Buffalo.

The rescue took place after the Coast Guard learned around 3: 45 p.m. Sunday that an 18-foot boat had grounded on the Buffalo Harbor breakwall with a woman in the water, a man on the boat and another woman on the breakwall.

The Coast Guard, the Erie County Sheriff's Office and a good Samaritan rescued the three, whose names and hometowns have not been released.

The man suffered a cut on his forehead. He was treated by emergency personnel at the harbor.

The wrecked boat is to be retrieved on Monday.


NY to change signs for disabled access

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation to revise New York's signs showing access points for disabled individuals.

The measure calls for removing the word "handicapped" from replacement or new signs, while using an updated wheelchair logo suggesting mobility, both intended to help remove any stigma attached to the designations.

The measure also marks the 24th anniversary of the national Americans with Disabilities Act, a major legal change intended to prohibit discrimination on the basis of a disability.

Cuomo says the sign change a step "toward correcting society's understanding of accessibility" and eliminating the stigma for one million New Yorkers.


NY pool owners asked to look for invasive beetles

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Swimming pool owners can help scientists track the spread of invasive Asian long-horned beetles by checking their filters.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is inviting pool owners to participate in its third annual Asian long-horned beetle survey now through August 29.

The beetles have killed hundreds of thousands of trees across the country. Particularly hard hit are maple trees in New York City, on Long Island, in New Jersey, in Chicago, in Worcester, Massachusetts and Clermont, Ohio.

Pool monitoring offers a simple, economical alternative to traditional surveys. It also has the potential to become New York's most effective method for detecting the pests.

Participants check their pool filters and skimmers for the beetles and email pictures to DEC.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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