Lake-effect snow warnings in effect for upstate NY
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Upstate New is bracing for more snow.
The National Weather Service has issued a lake-effect snow warning until early Friday afternoon for parts of western New York and a winter weather advisory remains in effect for Saturday morning through early Sunday for the region south and east of Buffalo.
Up to a foot of snow is predicted before the storm moves out, and winds gusting to 25 miles per hour are expected to cut visibility as low as a quarter mile.
A lake-effect snow warning also remains in effect until 1 p.m. Friday in Jefferson and Lewis counties along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. The system is expected to drop 3 to 6 inches of snow across much of central New York by Sunday morning.
NYC TRAIN DERAILMENT
MTA adds undercover 'spotters' after derailment
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A New York City commuter train line has increased its use of plainclothes "spotters" who slip on board unnoticed to observe co-workers. The stepped-up effort comes two weeks after a deadly derailment on the Metro-North line.
The move also comes a year after a special on-board unit with the same task was disbanded amid scandal after auditors found workers failed to do the job.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says there have been no reports of Metro-North engineers nodding off or sleeping. That's something under investigation as a factor in the Dec. 1 crash that killed four passengers.
Federal and state officials have focused on the train's engineer, whose lawyer said may have been in a daze.
But federal authorities say they are now taking a close look at Metro-North's safety systems overall.
ADIRONDACK PARK AGENCY-LAND USE
Adirondack Park Agency to vote on new land use
RAY BROOK, N.Y. (AP) - Adirondack Park Agency commissioners are expected to vote on 10 resolutions to classify new state land in segments that range from primitive to wild forest to wilderness.
The Plattsburgh Press-Republican (http://bit.ly/1bARvxt ) reports that one resolution to be considered Friday for the Essex Chain Lakes parcel would remove motorized boat access to a string of forest ponds. But the paper said detailed classification of the former Finch, Pruyn & Co. land also would add a narrow band of wild forest along former logging roads, and that corridor could become a snowmobile trail connecting Newcomb and Indian Lake.
The potential for a wintertime recreation trail drew much discussion at the APA meeting Thursday, but the final use will be determined by the State Department of Environmental Conservation in the Unit Management Plan.
Frat at upstate NY college suspended over beating
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (AP) - A fraternity at a northern New York state college has been suspended by its national organization after three members were charged with beating a fellow student outside the frat house.
Police in Plattsburgh say two 20-year-old and one 21-year-old members of Alpha Chi Rho assaulted an 18-year-old SUNY Plattsburgh student early in the morning of Nov. 23. Officials say the three were among a group of men who punched and kicked the teen, breaking his jaw and knocking out two of his teeth.
Authorities say the teen was seeking to talk to someone inside the frat house regarding the reported sexual assault of a female friend earlier that night.
SUNY Plattsburgh officials say they've also ordered that the fraternity cease all activities.
Police say they expect to make more arrests in the case.
Upstate NY teen accused of injecting heroin
CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (AP) - A 17-year-old upstate New York student has been accused of injecting heroin into another student.
State Police say Daniel Lewis of Clifton Park is charged with criminal injection of a narcotic drug, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and possession of a hypodermic instrument.
The charges stem from an incident at Shenendehowa (shuh-NEN-dah-HOE-ah) High School. Troopers responded to a report of a 15-year-old student under the influence of heroin. An investigation revealed that Lewis had injected the student with heroin while at the school, and Lewis was found with the narcotic and hypodermic needles.
Lewis was arraigned in Town of Clifton Park Court and sent to Saratoga County Jail. It could not be immediately determined if he has an attorney.
BABY FOUND-RECYCLING PLANT
Family questions DNA sample from newborn's mom
SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. (AP) - The family of a woman charged with strangling her newborn and leaving him in a recycling bin in suburban New York says she didn't understand why police collected her DNA.
Maria Oliva Guaman-Guaman is charged with second-degree murder.
According to the Journal News (http://lohud.us/JlHOx4 ), her lawyer suggested she didn't understand she was helping police when she gave a DNA sample.
The sample was compared with DNA from the baby, nicknamed "Baby Angel."
Spring Valley Police Chief Paul Modica says investigators did everything by the book and informed Guaman-Guaman of her rights.
The Journal says her uncle said police took swabs from her and her sister-in-law three weeks ago. On Tuesday, he said they took DNA samples from him, her brother, another uncle and an aunt.
Guaman-Guaman is from Ecuador.
Former upstate NY parole officer charged
AUBURN, N.Y. (AP) - A retired central New York parole officer has been charged with stealing tens of thousands of dollars by submitting phony time sheets.
State Police say Angelo Ervolina of Auburn faces second-degree grand larceny and multiple counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. The charges stem from a state Department of Corrections investigation into reported falsification of official records pertaining to time worked.
State police say while Ervolina worked as a senior parole officer for the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, he falsified electronic time sheet records, collecting about $66,000 over a 20 month period.
Ervolina was arraigned in Waterloo Town Court and released on his own recognizance. He's scheduled to appear in court again on Jan. 9, 2014.
INDIAN CONSULAR OFFICER ARREST
India objects after NY arrest of consular officer
NEW YORK (AP) - India is objecting after the New York arrest of a consular officer accused of submitting false documents to obtain a work visa for her Manhattan housekeeper.
Devyani Khobragade (dayv-YAHN'-ee KOH'-bruh-gah-day) was charged Thursday with making false statements and visa fraud.
In a statement, India's External Affairs Ministry said the treatment of the diplomat was unacceptable. It says it will take up the matter "forcefully" through its embassy in Washington.
Prosecutors say Khobragade claimed the Indian worker would get $4,500 per month but paid her below the minimum wage.
The defendant is the deputy consul general for political, economic, commercial and women's affairs at the Indian Consulate General.
Her lawyer told a magistrate judge his client would challenge the arrest on grounds of diplomatic immunity. She was freed on $250,000 bail.
NYU GRADUATE ASSISTANTS-UNION
NYU graduate assistants to join UWA
NEW YORK (AP) - NYU's graduate teaching and research assistants have voted to unionize.
They voted 620 to 10 to join the United Automobile Workers union.
According to The New York Times (http://nyti.ms/18IzBMh ), the new affiliate will include 1,247 graduate assistants at New York University and the school's Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn.
The vote makes them the only graduate assistants' union recognized by a private U.S. university.
Negotiations on a new contract are expected to begin within weeks.
EDUCATION CHARITY SETTLEMENT
Education charity settles NY claim funds misused
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York has settled a case against a charitable foundation for $7.7 million after claiming it misused funds to benefit a company it's associated with.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says Friday the charity helped develop Common Core education tests for sale by the for-profit company.
Schneiderman says $7.5 million of the settlement with Pearson Charitable Foundation will be used to recruit and retain high-quality teachers. The charity promotes literacy and excellence in teaching.
Schneiderman had accused the charity of misusing charitable assets to benefit Pearson Inc. The company sells curriculum material and testing programs to schools worldwide.
The there was no initial response from the charity.
LIRR banning alcohol consumption during Santacon
NEW YORK (AP) - The Long Island Rail Road says it will ban alcohol consumption aboard trains during the Santacon bar crawl.
The 24-hour ban will start at noon Saturday.
LIRR ordinarily allows riders to drink alcohol but the railroad periodically institutes bans, including on St. Patrick's Day.
The daylong Santacon event, with thousands of revelers dressed in Santa suits, starts at 10 a.m.
SUBWAY TRACK SENSORS
MTA to test sensors to reduce track fatalities
NEW YORK (AP) - The MTA says it plans to test out sensors that would alert whether someone had fallen on the subway tracks.
The agency tells WCBS-TV (http://cbsloc.al/1fods7Q ) it will look at closed-circuit cameras, scanning laser beams, thermal cameras and radio-frequency technology.
The pilot program is expected to begin by the end of the year.
If someone falls and trips a sensor, a video feed would alert the rail Control Center and automatically alert a train operator approaching the station.
The MTA says there have been over 50 track fatalities this year. Another 90 people have been struck and injured.
Poll: NYers feel city will improve under de Blasio
NEW YORK (AP) - A new poll shows most New Yorkers believe the city's income inequality will remain about the same under Bill de Blasio's leadership.
The New York Times/Siena College poll (http://nyti.ms/1fqg314 ) also showed 23 percent think public education should be his top priority. That was followed by keeping the city safe from crime, promoting economic development and dealing with the rich/poor gap.
De Blasio was elected mayor on a central campaign promise to fight the city's widening income inequality.
Respondents also believed many conditions will improve under de Blasio. They include public schools and transportation, the ability to obtain a good job and affordable housing, and police keeping New Yorkers safe.
The poll interviewed 1,016 adults by telephone Dec. 7-11. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.
'Christmas Story' cast members to attend NY event
NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (AP) - They'll be breaking out the leg lamps and BB guns this weekend in a Buffalo-area community where cast members of "A Christmas Story" will attend a 30th anniversary screening of the holiday classic.
The Buffalo News reports (http://bit.ly/1bxYA1L ) that five actors who appeared in the 1983 film are expected to be in North Tonawanda for Saturday's event at the Riviera Theatre. They include Ian Petrella, who played Ralphie's kid brother Randy, and Scott Schwartz, the classmate who famously gets his tongue stuck on a frozen flagpole during the triple-dog-dare-you scene.
The cast members will march in a Christmas parade down Main Street in the neighboring city of Tonawanda. Afterward they'll answer questions about the film before its shown at 3 p.m.
The event is a fundraiser for a local volunteer fire company.
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