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VIDEO: Coming Sunday: Can Gov. Cuomo kick-start the upstate economy?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made dozens of trips to upstate locations this year to promote his agenda. Chief among the talking points has been the economy. Despite this, the upstate economy continues to struggle. Pick up Sunday's Poughkeepsie Journal for the full story that will look at Cuomo's efforts and the challenges to the economy.
August 10 2013

Pierogi Company Begins Work To Convert Westfield Facility
WESTFIELD - Preliminary work to convert the former Westfield Exempt Volunteer hall at 75 Bourne St. into a food manufacturing facility continued Friday with asbestos removal. A workman for the contractor, H.H. Rauh Contracting Co.
August 10 2013

Niagara Falls Sal Maglie Stadium could be entering the final innings
Since being struck by lightning two summers ago, a bank of lights on the west wall of Sal Maglie Stadium has been disabled, casting a shadow on the baseball diamond below.Out past the outfield, on the other side of Hyde Park, another shadow looms over the future of the stadium that has been home to Niagara Falls ballclubs since 1939.The Niagara Falls City School District, which has operated Sal Maglie Stadium since 1999, is rapidly constructing a new 13,000-square-foot athletic complex at nearby Niagara Falls High School.The school district’s lease on the city-owned stadium runs through June 30, 2014. But the district can terminate the lease earlier with 30 days notice, Deputy Superintendent Mark Laurrie said. The Wolverines will continue to play football games at Sal Maglie this fall, but athletic director John Forcucci is hopeful the artificial turf baseball field will be ready to open in the spring. “That’s our goal,” he said.“We’re anticipating probably staying with (the lease) through June 30,” Laurrie said. “But it’s all dependent on the progress of our capital project, and a lot of it is dependent on how the winter is. Once we observe the progress they make through December, we will be able to make a better judgment.”Niagara Catholic High School moved its baseball games to Washuta Park in Lewiston three years ago, and no longer fields a football team.That leaves Niagara University and the Niagara Power collegiate league team as Sal Maglie Stadium’s lone tenants moving forward. Niagara rents the stadium for about a dozen dates in April and May but does not practice or play fall games there. The Power play the home portion of their 40-game New York Collegiate Baseball League schedule and a few exhibition games at Maglie.The stadium also hosts high school baseball playoff games.Both the Purple Eagles and the Power have been frustrated with field conditions at Maglie in recent years, and a plumbing issue forced Niagara to play six games on campus this spring. The scoreboard and lights also need repair.Yet, neither Niagara athletic director Tom Crowley nor Power president Cal Kern is eager to move out of Maglie.“Sal Maglie has been good to us,” Crowley said. “Any university would prefer to be playing on campus, but in lieu of that, Sal Maglie is very important to us.”Baseball coach Rob McCoy estimates that the university would have to invest more than $1 million to make its on-campus Bobo Field a suitable home. “Our field on campus doesn’t provide us a Division I venue,” he said. “Sal Maglie Stadium gives us that.”The Power have played at Sal Maglie for seven seasons, becoming just the second baseball club to last more than five years in Niagara Falls. “Our heart’s desire,” Kern said, “is that we come back and play at Sal Maglie for 2014.”The club’s long-term future in Niagara Falls, however, is tenuous.Attendance has risen to an average of roughly 300 fans at Power games the past two seasons, Kern said, far less than the stadium’s capacity of 4,000 or the crowds in excess of 1,000 that the Pirates (1970-79) or the Rapids (1989-93) of the New York-Penn League were able to attract before folding.Kern remains committed to Niagara Falls. He fondly recalls going to what was then known as Hyde Park Stadium when the Buffalo Bisons played there in 1967 and 1968. He played his last baseball game for Kenmore East there and brought his son, Brett, now a punter for the Tennessee Titans, to Sal Maglie to watch the Pirates.“This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m living out a dream,” Kern said. “It’s not a moneymaking venture. Will we ever draw crowds like the old days? No, because the whole demographics have changed. Developing a fan base at Sal Maglie over seven years has been hard. But we want to stay, and I think with stronger marketing efforts on our end, we can get more people there.”Still, Kern, who lives on Grand Island, has scouted other locations for a potential move.“I’ve had to, because I don’t know what the future of the stadium holds,” Kern said. “Just in case something doesn’t work out. I have to look at Plan B and Plan C. I think anybody in my shoes would do the same thing.”Kern said he has concerns about who will be operating the stadium in the future, how well the fields will be maintained, and what rental arrangements will be. McCoy said he also has “a little anxiety” about use of the stadium beyond the 2014 season.“I don’t know what is going to happen,” McCoy said. “I’ve been told we are going to be working with the city to come up with a plan. But there are a lot of contingent situations. But I think, ultimately, it’ll be a great relationship for us.”“The challenge for us is who is going to run the stadium in 2014,” Kern said. “My question, as president, general manager and bus driver, is are we going to play at Sal Maglie under the City of Niagara Falls or the school district? If we sign a lease with the city, what is that going to look like? And we have certain expectations as far as field conditions and lights that need to be addressed.”Kern said he would be interested in taking over the stadium operations and subletting the field to Niagara and other tenants. “If somebody said, Cal, get your troops together and take care of that field, we can do that,” Kern said.Crowley said Niagara University will also investigate the possibility of operating the stadium.According to Laurrie, the school district two years ago estimated the annual cost to operate and maintain the stadium at close to $150,000, with a net cost of closer to $100,000 when counting revenues from rentals and overtime and utility costs incurred by tenants. Replacing the broken lights will cost more than $20,000, Laurrie said. “We needed to get out of the business of running a stadium,” he said. Having grown up a relay throw away on Willow Avenue, Laurrie hopes Sal Maglie Stadium will continue to thrive once the school district is no longer involved. “It’s a historic place,” he said. “I remember going there to watch my favorite player, Johnny Bench, and Tony Pena play there.”Laurrie points to the private operation of Hyde Park Ice Pavilion in recent years as a model for success. “That place has never looked better, and it’s packed constantly,” he said. “If they look to do something similar at Sal Maglie, then I don’t think it’s the beginning of the end.”But until future plans are outlined, some believe the stadium is falling behind in the count.“If Niagara University doesn’t continue to play there, then I don’t see the stadium having any future at all,” local baseball historian and Power announcer Doug Smith said. “People will go by and say, ‘That’s just another piece of Niagara Falls that failed.’ ”“That would be disheartening,” Forcucci said. “I would hate to see it fall into disrepair. It’s a great baseball venue, and a great community asset.”
August 10 2013

Restaurant review: My Thai lacks Asian ambience, but food tastes authentic
NIAGARA FALLS – The last time I walked into the Thai restaurant Mii on Pine Avenue, the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” was playing on the sound system. An odd choice, I thought.Recently reopened as My Thai, the cozy little spot directly across from the City Market still doesn’t look or sound like anything remotely resembling southeast Asian, but it really doesn’t matter all that much. The food is good enough to make up for the lack of cultural aesthetics.On a couple of recent visits, members of the entourage – seasoned Thai food fans, I might add – noted that the pad Thai here was among the best anywhere, as well as the Pho soup. Other dishes received similar raves.“The Pho was amazing ... literally the best of my life,” said my daughter. Her friend, a Thai aficionado visiting from Pennsylvania, said that he samples the local Thai cuisine wherever he travels and that My Thai’s pad Thai was “probably one of the best. Very, very good.”So forget about the local radio playing in the background, and cut them some slack over the lack of authentic furnishings. It’s still a very nice-looking place – just not Asian-looking to any great degree. Just remember: You can’t eat the décor. When it comes to eating out at ethnic restaurants, I guess I would rather soak up authentic flavors than authentic ambience, if a choice has to be made. The flavors at My Thai are phenomenal.Eric described his pad Thai ($9.50) as “very subtle. I could taste the different components of the dish (tofu, egg, crushed peanuts, bean sprouts and lime) instead of them being drowned out by a heavy peanut sauce, like others I have had.”“This version also had fried tofu in it, which gave it a lot of substance and made the dish very hearty,” he said. “The shrimp was cooked perfectly, not overdone, and very tender. Plus, it was a very good-sized portion.”He was also impressed by the presentation, with a subtle garnish of chopped peanuts and lime on the side.Speaking of presentation, the pineapple fried rice ($11.50) was the hit of the night, arriving at the table in a hollowed-out pineapple half. Consisting of a heaping portion of rice, complemented with pineapple, curry powder, chicken and shrimp, it was a meal in itself, with contrasting sweet and sour flavors. Excellent!The Pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, was served in what literally seemed to be a two-quart bowl. It easily presented enough for two solid meals. Steffany ordered the Bangkok Street Beef Soup version ($9.50) and was brought a bowl teaming with long, thin rice noodles, scallions, onions and cilantro. But the highlight was the beef: Butter-tender, it had a tasty sweet flavor reminiscent of subtle ginger and other seasonings. It must have been marinated for some time to achieve that level of melt-in-your-mouth goodness.I decided to take the road less traveled and went with a dish called lard nar ($9.50). It consists of stir-fried rice noodles in a thick gravy with Chinese broccoli and your choice of meat. I opted for shrimp. They were tender and tasty, as Eric had noted. I couldn’t distinguish any difference between the Chinese broccoli and your average domestic spears, but the gravy definitely was different from any I had ever had. It reminded me primarily of Chinese egg drop soup; it had a very runny, eggy quality to it, but it wasn’t bad. All in all, I enjoyed the dish.The roasted duck Laab ($13.50) was excellent, set off with a nice, not-too-spicy sauce with toasted rice powder, dry chili, shallots and mint that allowed the competing flavors to shine through. The duck meat itself may have been a little overcooked, being tough in spots, but it was well-garnished with red peppers and green beans, and pleasing to both the eye and the palette.We also sampled the Pataya fried rice ($11.50), which was augmented with chicken and shrimp and came wrapped in an omelet. Everyone agreed that it was simply awesome. There was only one word for the roasted duck curry ($15.50), made with red curry and tossed with pineapple and tomato: yum! For starters, we sampled the calamari ($6), which was cooked to perfection, not rubbery or tough. It was tender and extremely flavorful but was served tossed in a pickled mixture of cauliflower, carrots and cucumber, which caused it to be somewhat cold. Otherwise, it was quite good and recommended.The crab spring rolls ($4) were good, but (as is the case with many Asian restaurants locally) featured imitation crabmeat – although the menu said “fresh” crab. The rice wraps had a very fresh flavor, possibly due to the julienned ingredients having been tossed in lime juice. A word of warning: These rolls are very filling, so you probably want to keep it to one apiece.To keep the experience as real as possible, we washed down dinner with iced lemon grass tea, which was surprisingly refreshing, and Thai iced tea (each $2.50), which is always delicious and sweet.We capped it all off with helpings of the mango sticky rice and sweet black rice desserts ($4.50 and $3.50, respectively). We weren’t overly impressed with either, which was surprising given the quality of the entrees and appetizers; they just didn’t seem as sweet as we would have expected. They were more savory than sweet, less of a dessert than a side dish. OK, but not great.The service was more than adequate. All in all, it was an enjoyable experience. A little Thai music might go a long way toward making the visit even more authentic, but its absence certainly isn’t a deal-breaker.email: niagaranews@buffnews.com
August 10 2013

Around Town / Niagara County meetings and hearings this week
Lewiston The Town Board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday in Town Hall, 1375 Ridge Road. Lockport The town Planning Board will meet for a work session at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall, 6560 Dysinger Road.Also this week:• The Common Council will meet for a work session at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the Municipal Building, One Locks Plaza.• The School Board will hold an executive session at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Board of Education building, 130 Beattie Ave. A regular session begins at 7. Niagara County The county Industrial Development Agency will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Center for Economic Development, 6311 Inducon Corporate Drive, Wheatfield. Niagara Falls The City Council will hold a 4 p.m. work session Monday, followed by a regular meeting at 7 in City Hall, 745 Main St. North Tonawanda The Common Council will hold a work session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall, 216 Payne Ave.Also this week:• The School Board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Administration Building, 175 Humphrey St. The public portion of the meeting will begin at approximately 7:30. Pendleton The Starpoint School Board will meet at 7:20 p.m. Monday in the district’s board conference room at Starpoint Middle School, 4363 Mapleton Road. Porter The Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in Town Hall, 3265 Creek Road.Also this week:• The Zoning Board of Appeals will meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall. Royalton The Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in Town Hall, 5316 Royalton Center Road, Middleport.BarkerThe Village Board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in Village Hall, 8708 Main St. Somerset The Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall, 8700 Haight Road.Also this week:• The Planning Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall. Wheatfield The Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in Town Hall, 2800 Church Road. Wilson The School Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the middle/high school auditorium on the district’s Lake Street campus.Also this week:• The Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Town Hall, 375 Lake St.• The Village Board will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in Village Hall, 375 Lake St. Around Town/
August 10 2013

Fired assistant DA is refunded $1,000 donation to Sedita campaign
A dismissed Erie County assistant district attorney who claimed he was coerced into donating $1,000 to District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III’s campaign committee fundraiser in May has received refund.Matthew A. Albert, who was fired earlier this summer in an unrelated matter, said that months before his termination he was coerced into donating to the fundraiser by a supervisor who has denied that ever happened.“I left a phone message for Joseph Sedita threatening a lawsuit unless my money was refunded,” Albert said Friday. “Two days later on Thursday, I received a check for $1,000. In the message, I said the money was derived from me through coercion.” The check was sent by Joseph Sedita, treasurer of Friends of Frank Sedita. The district attorney said he instructed his cousin, Joseph, to return the money to Albert.Frank Sedita said that anyone else who believes they were pressured into contributing to his May 13 fundraiser at a downtown restaurant can also have their money back.“My treasurer told me that Albert wanted his money back and I told him, ‘Give him his money back.’ In fact anyone who wants their money back can have their money back. I am not interested in accepting any contributions from someone who does not willingly and voluntarily wish to support me,” Sedita said. Sedita had received more than $70,000 in political contributions from assistant district attorneys and confidential investigators on his staff. He reiterated Friday that he had nothing to do with the fundraising efforts or what occurred at an April staff meeting, ahead of the May gathering in Tempo on Delaware Avenue.The refund, Albert said, represents an admission of wrongdoing on the part of the district attorney and he should “do the right thing” and return everyone’s money.“How could it not be coercive when we had no idea what we were giving him money for? Was it for him to become DA? Well, it didn’t seem that way because he had changed the campaign committee name from ‘Sedita for DA’ to the more ambiguous ‘Friends of Frank Sedita.’ Was it for judge? We didn’t know. All we knew is that he wanted money and we were expected to give it to him. I think the whole thing is disgraceful,” Albert said.Sedita, who denounced Albert’s allegations of coercion as false, said he is not running for judge and that there was nothing unusual in holding a fundraiser, adding that it was his first fundraiser in two years.According to state Board of Elections records, Sedita’s campaign fund rose to $171,121, following the May event. Those figures were made public in a filing with the board a few weeks ago.“You don’t fund-raise on the eve of your next election. You fund-raise well in advance of your next election,” said Sedita, who added that his top administrators did not nothing wrong in seeking contributions. “All of my political activity is completely lawful, ethical and transparent.”In April, the Friends of Frank Sedita committee mailed postcards to the DA’s 90 assistant prosecutors, 15 investigators and a handful of other staffers, inviting them to “a brief meeting regarding the status of the office” for 9 o’clock on a Sunday morning in the Armory Tavern on Connecticut Street.Staffers were told by top officials in Sedita’s office that he needed more money to build up his campaign fund to ward off potential challengers, according to current and former assistant district attorneys, who told The News they thought the request for contributions was out of line.Why?They said because Sedita had just been re-elected to a second four-year term after running unopposed.They also said donations in the past were often smaller, but that at this meeting and in the days and weeks surrounding it, supervisors suggested that contributions, based on salary levels, be in the range of $500 to $1,000.Eighty-five of the assistant prosecutors and 14 of the investigators, who all serve at the pleasure of the district attorney, donated a total of $70,050, while local attorneys and law firms donated several thousand dollars more.Sedita, in a report in last Sunday’s Buffalo News about staff donations, had described Albert as a disgruntled ex-employee. The DA fired Albert earlier this summer for having a relationship with an SPCA investigator in the Beth Hoskins animal cruelty case.Sedita said he spoke with his staff to find out about the purpose of the April meeting and was told that its primary point was to quash a rumor that he was seeking a judgeship.“I had nothing to do with the meeting. I talked to my staff, and they said the principal reason they had it was to dispel the rumor I was running for judge.”Albert and others said that at the meeting, supervisors did not close the door on a judgeship for Sedita, pointing out that there are 3½ years before the next election for district attorney and anything could happen.email: lmichel@buffnews.com
August 10 2013

Hearing set on restaurant planned for tiny Riverhead parcel
Can you fit a restaurant on the tiny piece of land between Taco Bell and Harrison Avenue in Riverhead? A Westhampton man is going to try, and his application will be the subject of a public hearing before the Riverhead Planning Board at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5, in Town Hall. Chuck Chockalingam of [...]
August 10 2013

Vendors wanted for flea market
PISECO - Flea market vendors are wanted from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 5, at the Piseco Community Hall. The cost will be $10 per table. For more information or to make reservations, call 339-4791.
August 10 2013

Water Board sets monthly meeting
GLOVERSVILLE - The city Water Board will meet at 7 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Water Board room at City Hall.
August 10 2013

Ephratah Planning Board to meet
EPHRATAH - The town Planning Board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at Town Hall. Anyone can attend.
August 10 2013

Area dairy farmers discuss increasing challenges
WHITE CREEK — Mark Anderson manages 2,400 acres of Land View Farms cropland in three counties and two states — New York and Vermont.
August 10 2013

Cindi Marshall
Glens Falls — Cindi Marshall, 55, passed away Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, at Albany Medical Center.
August 09 2013

8-13-72263-dte Elizabeth Kathleen Hall
Type: bk Office: 8 Chapter: 7 Trustee: Mendelsohn, Allan B [BNC Certificate of Mailing with Chapter 7 Discharge and Chapter 7 Final Decree] (<a href='https://ecf.nyeb.uscourts.gov/doc1/122016066197?pdf_header=&de_seq_num=43&caseid=385269'>11</a>)
August 09 2013

New name for specialty law firm
The Melville-based Lesley H. Tayne law firm, which has offices in White Plains and Mount Kisco, has changed its name to The Tayne Law Group, P.C. The firm specializes in debt resolution and bankruptcy alternatives for businesses and individuals.   “After more than 10 years in business, I felt now... Read More →The post New name for specialty law firm appeared first on White Plains and Valhalla.
August 09 2013

Treasurer blasts plans to merge office with county comptroller
The Suffolk County treasurer has slammed a plan to merge her office with that of the county comptroller, saying the move is a “cynical” attempt to circumvent term limits for current comptroller Joseph Sawicki. Angie Carpenter — a Republican who challenged County Executive Steve Bellone for that position in 2011 — said the plan approved [...]
August 09 2013

Community Unitarian Church hosts benefit concert
Community Unitarian Church in White Plains recently hosted a concert for children to benefit the March of Dimes healthy baby program and the Lustgarten Foundation’s pancreatic cancer research effort. The featured performer, “Uncle Gerry” Dignan, and his wife, Gerry, came from Chicago for a series of concerts in the metropolitan... Read More →The post Community Unitarian Church hosts benefit concert appeared first on White Plains and Valhalla.
August 09 2013

Vision-impaired players score with beep baseball
The last time Ted Fass saw a pitch he liked, he was 11 years old and playing baseball at summer camp. He is 61 now and still covets the challenge of putting the bat on the ball, but he no longer depends on his eyes to make contact with a pitch.
August 09 2013

Hyde Park board to receive 2012 audit report
HYDE PARK A presentation of a 2012 independent audit of the town finances will take place at 7 p.m. Aug. 12 at Town Hall.
August 09 2013

Hunting Licenses on Sale Monday August 8th
Hunting Licenses for the 2013-2014 season will be on sale at the Dryden Town Hall starting Monday August 8th. If you have previously held a license, you will need to provide valid photo identification. If you have never had a license, you will need to provide proof that you have successfully completed a Hunter Safety Course. For information [...]
August 09 2013

Farmers: Crops doing well, despite weather challenges
Farmers' consensus on crops in the mid-Hudson Valley this year is: so far, so good.
August 09 2013

13-11325-1-rel Regina L. Hall
Type: bk Office: 1 Chapter: 13 Trustee: Celli-Trustee, Andrea E. [Avoid Lien] (<a href='https://ecf.nynb.uscourts.gov/doc1/124012635806?pdf_header=&de_seq_num=97&caseid=337860'>23</a>)
August 09 2013

Teens on the ‘edge’ use art to tackle problems
The usually quiet campus of Villa Maria College was transformed this week into Edgemont High School, where gossip flew through the hallways, bullies intimidated students and pupils cut class for impromptu freestyle rap cyphers. MTV cameras were even there to document the commotion for a reality television show.Actually, it was all part of a world dreamed up by a group of Buffalo and Cheektowaga students, who performed a play they wrote during a six-week theater workshop called Over the Edge, a summer program hosted by Buffalo’s Schiller Park Community Services and Cheektowaga’s Department of Youth and Recreation. The play was a way for the teens to confront the challenges they face on a daily basis, from bullying, to peer pressure to the lure of drugs. The word “play,” though, is hardly adequate to describe the scope of the performances – Wednesday afternoon and Thursday evening in Villa Maria’s auditorium – which included poetry, dance, song and monologue. Now in its fourth year, the free Over the Edge program offers students on both sides of the city line – where organizers said there has been an increase in crime in recent years – a chance to stay away from bad influences and learn about theater, which isn’t always offered at their schools.“It’s a great way for kids to come together and meet each other in a positive social environment,” said Kelly Beuth, who directed the performance and teaches theater at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. “These are the types of opportunities we need to be giving our kids.”The students, ages 12 to 19, attended the workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays for six weeks, practicing their writing, improvisation and acting skills. Once they agreed on a theme for the performance – “A Day in the Life” of a high school student – they submitted ideas and scripts for scenes, which Beuth pieced together into a final script.Each student submitted material and appeared in the performance.Rather than a traditional play with main characters and a clear plot, the performances were more a series of skits, poems, monologues, scenes and songs.They are all presented through the medium of an MTV reality show called “A Day in the Life,” which attempts to chronicle life at fictional Edgemont.“They’re on the edge of adulthood, they’re always on the edge of taking risks, and they’re on the edge of two communities,” said Michael Tritto Jr., executive director of Schiller Park Community Services.Some of the students have experience in the performing arts, but others have none at all, Tritto said.“Many of the kids come because their parents wanted to put them in some sort of program for the summer,” Tritto said. “And some of them initially resist it. ... They thought some of this stuff was kind of corny. And then over time, they just loved the camaraderie.”Justyn Carrier, 19, of Buffalo, has enrolled in the program all four years. He wants to go into acting when he’s older. Putting the play together can be hectic, he said, because of the limited time and diversity of the students.“You have to work with a lot of different people and become friends,” he said.It was the first year in the On the Edge workshop for Tony Proctor, 15, of Cheektowaga. He’s been in plays at Maryvale High School, and his mother signed him up since he loves acting. “I thought it was a great opportunity,” he said of the workshop.“A Day in the Life” covers many aspects of the high school experience – cliques, academic dishonesty and teen romance, among others – and it doesn’t shy away from dark topics like suicide, coping with loss and bullying.“Someone should have stopped it,” Tony’s character says during a monologue about a lesbian student who was beaten up in the hallways. “Someone should have put an end to it.”But the performance is also very funny at times, and the students even use “commercial breaks” from the reality show to satirize technology’s ever-tightening grip on their lives. Each commercial is for a new smartphone app that eliminates the need for students to think through their problems and solve them.Crystal Smith, 18, of Cheektowaga, spoke about how the combined experiences of all the students – male and female, city and suburban – contributed to the play.“We put together skits that are part of us,” she said.email: lhammill@buffnews.com
August 09 2013

State education commissioner calls Buffalo’s achievement levels ‘dire
Buffalo’s low state test scores are higher than those in Rochester and Syracuse. But according to the state education commissioner, Buffalo’s educational leadership is so weak that it may stand less of a chance of turning things around than other upstate cities that are currently doing worse.“Rochester and Syracuse are struggling with performance, for sure,” said Commissioner John B. King Jr. in a conference call with the Buffalo News Editorial Board. “Two major differences: Both of those superintendents in Rochester and Syracuse have been very clear with their community that they can, and must, do better. In fact, the Rochester superintendent pointed to what’s happening in Buffalo to call for a sense of urgency in Rochester around improving performance.”Last month, Rochester City Schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas used Buffalo as an example of the harsh consequences that could be imposed if a school district can’t get its act together in repeating his warning that Rochester needs to work harder to improve its schools faster.Rochester had the worst student performance of any of the Big Five urban school districts in the state, with only 5 percent of its students meeting or exceeding proficiency levels in English and math on the new Common Core assessment exams given to children in grades 3 through 8.Buffalo’s scores were 9.6 percent on the math exams and 11.5 percent on the English exams, placing Buffalo third among the Big Five districts.King called Buffalo’s test results “dire” but not unexpected. He did, however, take issue with much of the negative rhetoric coming from the community and local leaders as a result of his mandate that two struggling high schools, East and Lafayette, be forced to partner with Erie 1 BOCES.The fundamental problem for Buffalo, he said, is the willingness of so many to embrace the idea that Buffalo students can’t do better because of outside factors. Those are excuses that he doesn’t hear coming out of other large, underperforming districts, he said.There are three things underperforming school districts need in order to raise student achievement, he said.“One significant factor is certainly a matter of belief: Do you or do you not believe that students can achieve at high levels?” he said. “Do adults believe that even students who face the challenges of poverty or recent arrival to the United States – do they believe that students can achieve at high levels? Unfortunately, I think we’ve heard, in the discourse in Buffalo in recent weeks, supremely strong assertions from people who don’t have that belief that students can achieve.”The second thing districts need is better quality instruction, he said. That’s the reason behind the state’s adoption of the national Common Core Learning Standards and its requirement that districts adopt teacher and principal evaluation agreements in order to receive an increase in state funding last school year.Finally, he said, there are out-of-school factors like poverty and other social and cultural deficits that put children at greater risk for failure. Buffalo education defenders tend to focus on this alone, he said.“Too often, across those three factors, people will defend lack of belief and lack of quality instruction by blaming the out-of-school factors,” he said. “I think that’s a mistake. We’ve got to address all three.”He also faulted Buffalo’s educational leadership on two fronts: For repeatedly failing to live up to its obligations to the state by submitting incomplete and unacceptable school improvement plans, and for failing to present to the public a strong educational vision for how the district will grow student achievement.Instead of proactive leadership, he said, the district has a history of repeatedly “shading the facts.” He cited the side agreement with the Buffalo Teachers Federation regarding teacher evaluations and exaggerated claims regarding the district’s career and technical education programs.Comparatively, Rochester’s leaders have clearly stated that improving student achievement is a matter of urgency, he said, “and they have organized their central office staff to deliver high quality, approvable applications that describe improvement plans in those schools. Now, there are other obstacles in those buildings, but at least at a leadership level, the leadership has been different.”Superintendent Pamela C. Brown did not return to a call seeking comment Thursday afternoon. She has previously stated that improving student achievement is a priority and announced Wednesday that the district’s preliminary, on-time graduation rate for this year has improved to 53 percent, up from 47 percent.King, however, referred to a series of Buffalo school district shortcomings that have drawn headlines in recent weeks:• The district’s repeated failure to submit acceptable school turnaround grant applications for East and Lafayette high schools, costing the district millions of dollars in federal grant money.• The district’s failure to submit an acceptable school choice plan that clearly outlines how the district will accommodate all transfer requests from families interested in moving their children out of an underperforming school and into a school in good standing,• The district’s submission last month of an obviously incomplete grant application for Highgate Heights Elementary School 80, that substitutes a memorandum of understanding for a signed contract agreement with Westminster Foundation as its educational partnership organization.The district was required to submit a revised school choice plan today. It must also submit to the state a new school improvement plan for East and Lafayette by Monday. That plan must include a partnership with BOCES, but does not prohibit the district from also partnering with Johns Hopkins University.For more on this story, visit the School Zone blog at www.buffalonews.com/schoolzone email: stan@buffnews.com
August 09 2013

‘Climate Walker’ makes it to Ohio, cuts short cross-country trek
The Climate Walker, who passed through the Buffalo area in early July, has called it quits after several near misses with traffic in Ohio.David Henry of St. Louis, Mo., ended his planned walk across America to discuss climate change almost exactly two months after he started his journey in Boston, Mass. On Thursday, he posted a message on his Facebook page explaining his decision to park his cart.“Yes. I’m home. For a variety of reasons I’ve decided to cut my journey short,” he wrote. “Of these reasons, the most serious is my safety on the roads. I have had a couple of very close calls with traffic and I don’t want to push my luck any further.“I made it as far as South Charleston, OH – walking a total of 1042 miles. I returned home yesterday after 60 days of walking. I’m exhausted and it’s great to be home.”Henry, a 52-year-old IT professional, was hoping his trek would help get regular people talking about the need to address climate change at all levels, from personal and local to national and global. He had noted online that once he got into Ohio, the roads became more treacherous than those he followed in Massachusetts and New York, and far fewer people passing by stopped to talk. “Even though I didn’t make it to the Pacific coast,” he wrote, “I believe I’ve accomplished much of what I set out to do. I’ve had hundreds of conversations with people about the challenges of climate change. Many of the people I’ve talked to would not normally talk about climate change and I’m convinced that many of them will carry on the conversations with their families, friends and neighbors.”Henry plans to continue the discussion on his website, climate-walker.org.– Melinda Miller
August 09 2013

Judge rules against former UB basketball coach suing NCAA
Tim Cohane, the former University at Buffalo basketball coach whose 10-year legal battle with the NCAA has garnered national attention, has lost again.A federal judge has recommended dismissing Cohane’s lawsuit accusing the National Collegiate Athletic Association of conspiring with UB and the Mid American Conference to remove him as head coach.The ruling by U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. comes as the latest development in a suit that has its roots in Cohane’s resignation in 1999 and allegations of intimidation and bullying by the NCAA and UB and bribes and threats by Cohane.Schroeder, in a 128-page decision, ruled that Cohane was given plenty of opportunity to challenge his resignation and the NCAA violations against him.“There is simply no evidence of collusion between SUNY Buffalo and the NCAA,” the judge said in his decision. And “there is no evidence that SUNY Buffalo exerted influence over or acted in concert with the NCAA enforcement staff.”Cohane’s wrongful termination case, like many lawsuits against the NCAA, has attracted national attention because of increasing scrutiny of the amateur athletic organization.Over the past few years, the NCAA has been rocked by several scandals, some of them surrounding disciplinary investigations like the one it conducted into Cohane.“While we may be disappointed in the magistrate’s decision, this case is far from over,” Sean O’Leary, Cohane’s lawyer, said Friday.At the core of Cohane’s suit is the claim that he was forced out because of a flawed investigation by the NCAA, MAC and UB.He also believes his former boss, then-UB Athletic Director Robert Arkeilpane, and former assistant coach Eric “Rock” Eisenberg were the driving forces in removing him from the head coaching job.Cohane, who has lost at the lower court level before only to succeed on appeal, will have the option of appealing again. Schroeder’s ruling also must be approved by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.“We are looking forward to the district court accepting the magistrate’s recommendation to dismiss the NCAA and end this litigation,” NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said in a statement Friday.In many ways, Schroeder’s ruling in favor of the NCAA mirrors a ruling he made six months ago in favor of UB and the MAC. The two cases were later consolidated into a single lawsuit.“The university is pleased but not surprised by the magistrate judge’s decision,” UB said in a statement Friday. “We have consistently said that the university dealt fairly with this situation at the time.”Cohane, who spent six years as UB’s head coach but has not worked as a head coach since then, has said in the past that he filed the suit in order to clear his name.He claims the NCAA conspired with UB and the MAC to trump up charges against him and, in his suit, accused them of concealing evidence, altering testimony and bullying his former players into signing false affidavits.The suit also suggests that Arkeilpane and Eisenberg worked together to push him out the door. Arkeilpane never denied his dissatisfaction with Cohane’s coaching, but says his conspiracy claims are groundless.Cohane resigned before the NCAA investigation was complete, and UB was eventually placed on two years’ probation.“The university accepted NCAA and MAC penalties imposed as a result of rules infractions,” UB said Friday. And “Mr. Cohane chose to voluntarily leave university service in 1999 rather than exercise his due process rights.”The NCAA, MAC and UB have countered Cohane’s conspiracy allegations by suggesting his resignation was really about unethical behavior.Among the rules he was accused him of breaking is one that prohibits coaches from watching uncommitted recruits play pick-up basketball in their college gym.The organizations also claim Cohane tried to intimidate and bribe Eisenberg, his onetime assistant, into lying to NCAA investigators.Schroeder details many of the back-and-forth allegations, many of them salacious and unproven, in his ruling but in the end found that all three organizations provided Cohane with adequate “due process.”“The NCAA provided plaintiff sufficient notice of the detailed charges and afforded him multiple opportunities to present his defense of the allegations,” the judge said in his ruling.Cohane’s suit has attracted national attention, not only because of its criticism of the NCAA, but also because of it’s legal foundation.The suit challenges one of the NCAA’s most cherished legal protections – the notion that the organization is exempt from some of the Constitution’s most basic rights, including the right of individuals to legal protection from the government.A similar case was filed by former Nevada Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. Tarkanian’s case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and resulted in a 1988 landmark decision preserving the NCAA’s long-standing protections.Cohane, by contrast, has had some success against the organization.In 2007, a federal appeals court ruled in his favor – the Supreme Court let the ruling stand – when it overturned a lower court ruling dismissing his case. That same suit is now back before Skretny.As part of the suit, Cohane is seeking $50 million in damages from the NCAA, UB and the MAC, but O’Leary insists cash is not his client’s ultimate motivation.Cohane is, after all, a self-made millionaire.During a hiatus from coaching in the early 1990s, he owned his own Wall Street brokerage firm and made millions dealing mortgage securities.email: pfairbanks@buffnews.com
August 09 2013

Calvin Borel inducted into National Racing Hall of Fame
One of the most beloved figures in Saratoga's history is enshrined in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on Friday. YNN's Matt Hunter has more on the 2013 induction ceremony.
August 09 2013

Brian Gray
Brian Keith Gray was born on Aug. 12, 1938, in Eureka, Mont., to Keifer and Josephine Fleming Gray. He died August 5, 2013, in Kelseyville, Calif., from COPD. His father was in the customs and immigration service, so every two years of Brian’s childhood they moved to another station. He grew up in Long Beach, Salt Lake City, New York City, Spokane, and Helena, Mont., among other places. He graduated from West Seattle High School in 1956. He joined the U. S. Air Force, and was sent to the U.S. Army Defense Language Institute for a year to study Russian. He was then posted in Berlin, Germany for the next three years. He married Gisela Denecke, and their first son Phillip was born there. They returned to Bellevue, Wash., in 1960. He worked for the Seattle Police Department for seven years, during which time his second son Michael was born. His first job was in Helena when he was 12 years old, mixing DDT in a barrel and loading it onto a crop dusting airplane. He was paid with flying lessons, and a love for aviation was born. That interest was sparked again in 1967 in Bellevue, when his photography hobby took him to the local airport to shoot some film. He then spent the next two years, when he was not working, getting the licenses and ratings necessary to be hired by an airline. In 1969 he was hired by Wien Consolidated Airlines, later renamed Wien Air Alaska, and relocated to Fairbanks, Alaska. At that time Wien was the oldest airline in the United States. Until they went into bankruptcy and out of business in 1984 he loved flying all over Alaska, as well as into the lower 48. He flew Pilates Porters, Twin Otters, Skyvans, 737s and DC 8s. In 1986 he was hired by United Airlines, relocated to the Bay Area, and flew 727s and 747s until his retirement in 1999. Following his divorce from Gisela he married Lorrie Brieno in 1982. He is survived by wife, Lorrie; his son, Phillip and daughter-in-law Marvel of Windsor; son, Michael and his daughter Madeline of Mt. Vernon, Wash.; niece, Susan Lockwood, her two children Leslie and Joe, and nephew Peter Lockwood and his daughter Amanda. He was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Marilyn Gray Lockwood. Brian was a proud member of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) for his entire career. He was a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for 24 years. He was an active community volunteer in Lake County since moving here in 1991. He served on the board of directors of the Lake County Chapter of the American Red Cross, was a Cal Fire Volunteer in Prevention, ham radio operator KD6JAL and a member of the Lake County Amateur Radio Society. He used his communication skills during several disasters, as well as bicycle events such as the Konocti Challenge and the Davis to Davis double century. He enjoyed building and flying model airplanes, and was a member of the Clear Lake Modelers. Photography was always a favorite pastime. He designed and built water systems for community gardens for the Lake County Hunger Task Force. He was a kind, loving, generous, gentle soul and will be missed by all who crossed his path. A memorial service is planned for Saturday, Aug. 17. Memorial contributions can be made in his name to a charity of your choice.
August 09 2013

Latendorf, Linda
Linda F. Latendorf KINGSTON- Linda F. Latendorf, 66, of Birch Street Town of Ulster, died Thursday Aug. 8, 2013 at HealthAlliance Hospital, Broadway...
August 09 2013

Councilwoman Bonner and Town Board Vote to Designate Noah Hallock Homestead as Historic Landmark
Board also adopts resolution to support Rocky Point Historical Society&rsquo;s grant application to acquire and restore the nearly 300 year-old house
August 09 2013

Clarence 'Jay' Donaldson
WHITEHALL — Clarence “Jay” Donaldson, 70, went home to Jesus on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, surrounded by his loving family and friends.
August 08 2013

2-09-21587- Brian T. Hall and Jennifer L. Butman
Type: bk Office: 2 Chapter: 13 Trustee: Reiber, George M. [BNC Certificate of Mailing] (<a href='https://ecf.nywb.uscourts.gov/doc1/128012208399?pdf_header=&de_seq_num=133&caseid=239116'>45</a>)
August 08 2013

League of Conservation Voters endorses Rye’s Catherine Parker for Westchester legislature
The New York League of Conservation Voters has endorsed Democrat Catherine Parker in her bid to replace Legislator Judy Myers in District 7 of the Westchester Board of Legislators. Myers is leaving the board at the end of the year. The district includes Mamaroneck, Rye, Larchmont, and parts of Harrison... Read More →The post League of Conservation Voters endorses Rye’s Catherine Parker for Westchester legislature appeared first on White Plains and Valhalla.
August 08 2013

Democratic Queens BP Candidates Clash Over Development, Policing In Debate
Candidates in the Democratic primary for Queens borough president faced off in a debate on the Road to City Hall Thursday night, clashing over development and policing. | View the full debate
August 08 2013

Lawyer slams plan to prevent TCI-type infernos
Challenge to report doesn't sway head of environment councilW. GHENT--Bill Better, attorney for TCI of NY, has accused the county Environmental Management Council of statements that “needlessly and recklessly damage TCI’s reputation.” But the head of the council responded this week that the source of the statements--a report setting out proposed recommendations designed to protect the county from huge and potentially dangerous fires like the one that destroyed the TCI plant a year ago--deserves consideration by county officials. In a letter addressed to Environmental Management Council (EMC) Chairman Ed Simonsen last week, Mr. Better disputes the contents of the EMC memo containing the recommendations to the county Board of Supervisors, saying that the document contains “numerous factual and analytical errors.” The TCI lawyer also blasts the EMC for failure to invite TCI to any of the council’s meetings, share a copy of the report before its release, or consult TCI directly while assembling the recommendations.
August 08 2013

Blues legends play at Bethel Woods
Grammy Award-winning blues guitarist and singer Buddy Guy opens for George Thorogood and The Destroyers at Bethel Woods on Thursday night. Guy, 77, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.
August 08 2013

Falls Planning Board to hold hearing on Covanta projects
NIAGARA FALLS –The city Planning Board will hold a public hearing Aug. 14 about $30 million in construction projects at a waste incinerator facility that wants to bring in garbage from the New York City area.Covanta Niagara, which burns garbage and turns it into steam and electricity while emitting pollutants into the air, has plans to add a rail spur that would allow it to accept waste via train.The plant, which is classified as a waste-to-energy facility, is also planning to add a natural-gas boiler to produce additional steam, a new office and maintenance building, as well as adding a pipeline to supply steam to the new Greenpac paper mill.The purpose of the planned hearing is “to create a public forum for the airing of issues” and allowing for a fuller description of what the project is, said Thomas J. DeSantis, the city’s senior planner.Covanta officials plan to attend the hearing and make a presentation.“We welcome the opportunity to help people understand what we’re doing at the facility and what we’re doing with the project,” said Covanta spokesman James Regan.The hearing will begin at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall, 745 Main St.Members of the public will be allowed to ask questions at the session, said Planning Board Chairman Richard D. Smith.The Planning Board already has acted on proposals from the company.Last November, the board determined that the project’s environmental impact did not require a full-blown environmental review. In December, the board approved the site plan for the project.The facility burns about 800,000 tons of waste per year, and company officials want regulators to allow them to bring in between 300,000 and 500,000 tons annually via rail. The amount coming in via train would replace the waste coming in by truck.The project means there will be no additional waste coming into the site than is already permitted, Regan said.Currently, about 300 trucks hauling waste arrive at the facility every day.Company officials expect truck traffic going to the site to decrease by 35 to 45 percent once the spur is up and running, Regan said.The new steam pipeline is already under construction, and Covanta is awaiting approval from state environmental regulators before it can begin work on the rail spur.In January, the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency granted tax breaks for the project that are estimated to save the company $8 million over 15 years.Three local residents – Amy H. Witryol of Lewiston, known for her environmental work, Shirley Hamilton and Christopher Kudela, both of Niagara Falls – wrote a letter last week to the state asking it to halt construction of the new smokestack and gas boiler. They claim the construction should not have been allowed to begin.Public comments on the facility’s air permit can be filed with the state Department of Environmental Conservation through Monday.Covanta officials are still in negotiations about bringing the New York City garbage to the Niagara plant, Regan said.email: abesecker@buffnews.com
August 08 2013

State says Covanta early start on Niagara Falls project violated law
NIAGARA FALLS – A waste incinerator operator in the city violated state law when it started construction on a project before its permit application was approved, state environmental regulators said.The state Department of Environmental Conservation said Covanta Niagara violated state environmental law and agency regulations by starting to build a boiler system at its facility at 56th Street and Frontier Avenue.After a letter about the matter from three area residents was made public, the state agency said it was reviewing its options “regarding the appropriate enforcement actions,” which could include fines, civil penalties and an order to stop construction. Covanta Niagara burns about 800,000 tons of waste a year and turns it into steam and electricity while releasing pollutants into the air.A year ago, it applied for a renewed air emissions permit from the state, which would cover what the facility already releases as well as the emissions from a new natural gas boiler and 190-foot smokestack. A public comment period on the renewed air permit ended Monday.Although Covanta had not yet received the permit, it recently started construction on the new gas boiler and smokestack. Amy Witryol of Lewiston and Christopher Kudela and Shirley Hamilton, both of Niagara Falls, asked regulators, in their letter, to order Covanta to halt construction and dismantle what was already constructed.A Covanta spokesman said the company “immediately ceased construction.”“Covanta Niagara misunderstood the authority it had received from (the state), believing it could start construction on a new natural gas boiler without an approved air permit as long as it obtained the permit before operating the boiler,” spokesman James Regan said.In the agency’s letter to the company, dated Aug. 1, it acknowledges that the agency was aware construction had begun, since that information was included in a May 13 agency report. For each day construction continued without a permit, the company would have been subject to additional penalties, the agency said. Any failure to halt construction could have subjected Covanta to criminal charges.A contractor for Covanta Niagara received the required mechanical permit for the boiler and smokestack work from City Hall on Wednesday.In their letter to regulators last week, the area residents said the agency was asked in May about whether the construction was allowed before the new air permit was approved. Regulators responded to a July email saying they had already answered the question, but the residents say they never got a response, according to their letter.In addition to the boiler and smokestack, Covanta Niagara plans to build a rail spur to allow it to accept waste via train, a pipeline to provide steam to the new Greenpac paper mill, as well as a new office and maintenance building.Being able to accept waste via train would be necessary as the company is negotiating to bring garbage here from the New York City area. A hearing on the $30 million in projects at Covanta will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall.email: abesecker@buffnews.com
August 08 2013

TRAFFIC SAFETY ACHIEVEMENTS NETS SUFFOLK SHERIFF’S OFFICE TOP AWARD
Riverhead, NY - Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco announced that the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded first place in the New York State Law Enforcement Challenge’s traffic safety awards program in the category of agencies with more than 250 officers. The highly regarded competition recognizes law enforcement agencies for their outstanding effectiveness in reducing traffic injuries, detecting and deterring crime and saving lives.
August 08 2013

Suffolk Sheriff's Office Wins First Place In Nationals
RIVERHEAD, NY-- Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco announced today that the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded first place in The National Law Enforcement Challenge (NLEC) traffic safety awards program. This highly regarded competition recognizes law enforcement agencies throughout the United States for their outstanding effectiveness in reducing traffic injuries, detecting and deterring crime and saving lives.
August 08 2013

Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco, Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer Launch “TEST DON’T GUESS” at Babylo
Suffolk Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco was at Babylon Town Hall yesterday, June 10 th , with Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer, town officials and community activists to launch the “Test Don’t Guess” program.
August 08 2013

Nominate Someone to Senior Hall of Fame
 Do you know a senior who is making or has made a positive difference in Westchester County through their professional life, volunteer work or both?  Maybe they head an environmental, arts or civic organization or a business.  Or perhaps they volunteer at a hospital, after-school program, charity or other non-profit.  If so, Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino invites you to nominate them to the Westchester Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, now in its 31st year.  'The Hall of Fame is a special tradition that honors seniors who have given their time and energy to improve the quality of life in their communities or the county at large,' Astorino said. 'Don't miss this great opportunity to shine a spotlight on people who merit special recognition for their contributions.' Those selected will be inducted into the Senior Hall of Fame at a festive luncheon on Friday, Dec. 6 in the Grand Ballroom at the Westchester Marriott Hotel. Nominees are required to be at least 60 years old, live in Westchester and not be a past Hall of Fame honoree. They must also be an outstanding leader or advocate whose contributions have improved the quality of life for people of any age. Nominations based on paid professional work must reflect innovative solutions to fulfilling unmet community needs.       Please keep in mind that we are looking for more than biographical facts.   We would also like an anecdote that shows why that person is unique. Nominations are due by Sept. 13. Please submit your nominations online at www.westchestergov.com/seniors. A list of past inductees is there as well.  Or, if you prefer to mail your nomination, please contact Annette Alve at ala3@westchestergov.com or call her at (914) 813-6414.                          Gala sponsors are the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services (DSPS), Westchester County Parks and the Westchester Public/Private Partnership for Aging Services. DSPS Commissioner Mae Carpenter said that seniors have helped Westchester to be known for its renowned quality of life 'Westchester County did not become the Golden Apple only because of its beautiful and wondrous greenery, rocks and rivers,' she said. 'Today's older generation molded a way of life that reflects the caring and generosity of its people.' All nominations will be reviewed by a judging committee of past Senior Hall of Fame honorees, members from DSPS' Aging Network, the county's Senior Council and the Older Americans Act Advisory Council.
August 08 2013

Hempstead clerk Bonilla ordered to vacate office
Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla, who was convicted last month of official misconduct, was removed from his post Thursday and left his Town Hall office for the last time -- three hours after the deadline he had been given by the town.
August 08 2013

Ken Hall: Gibson draws big bucks, but will money save him?
Chris Gibson, Republican congressman from Kinderhook and champion of bipartisan cooperation, will not get any disagreement from either side of the aisle when he says he has to raise a lot of money 'to rebut the negative attacks we know are coming.'
August 08 2013

Veterans tour Purple Heart hall
John Barrett, a volunteer with Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation in Goshen, assists U.S. Army veteran Bob Michitsch, 74, during a visit Wednesday to the Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor.
August 08 2013

Cuomo: 'Governor's Challenge', Bassmaster Elite Series coming to Finger Lakes region in 2014
New York's angler-in-chief will face off against fishing pros and fellow elected officials next year at a fishing competition in the Finger Lakes region. 
August 08 2013

The Outcome of the Count Question Resolution Process
The Census Bureau has determined that New York City’s Count Question Resolution (CQR) challenge of August 2011 will not result in a change in the City’s 2010 population. The Census Bureau's examination of the addresses City Planning submitted did not reveal errors admissible under CQR. Admissible errors are only those concerning geographic boundaries and the processing of data already collected in the census enumeration; the Census Bureau does not change numbers produced from an enumeration, unless the error falls into those categories. The CQR process does not consider other types of errors in the 2010 Census that may have affected the city’s population count.
August 08 2013

Mayor Bloomberg Opens New Jetblue Headquarters in Long Island City and Marks Completion of $45 Mill
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today officially opened the new 200,000-square-foot headquarters of JetBlue Airways in the historic Brewster Building in Long Island City. The new office consolidates JetBlue's regional corporate facilities, expands its footprint in New York City and demonstrates the successful economic revitalization of Long Island City. JetBlue's move to Long Island City was announced in 2010 after New York City won a multi-year competitive review process among cities nationwide. Mayor Bloomberg also marked the completion of the larger $45 million roadway, pedestrian, and bicycle improvement project that has transformed the primary entry point into Queens. The City received more than 600 submissions for its contest to name the new 1.5-acre open space in Queens Plaza, and Mayor Bloomberg today announced the winning name: Dutch Kills Green, submitted by both Harry Charalambides and James Stark, was chosen by a panel made up of City and community representatives. Mayor Bloomberg was joined at Queens Plaza North and the new office by JetBlue CEO Dave Barger, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, State Senator Michael Gianaris, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Port Authority Executive Director Patrick J. Foye, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Department of City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden.
August 08 2013

Statement from Department of City Planning Population Director Joseph Salvo on the Latest Census Bu
The results of the latest Census Bureau estimates putting the population of New York City at 8,244,910 as of July, 2011 confirm our contention that the city is growing, notably in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, portions of which where were the subject of our challenge to the 2010 Census. This is an increase of nearly 70,000 people over the 15 month period since the Census enumerated the city’s population in April, 2010 at 8,175,133. The estimates also showed strong growth in Manhattan with positive net migration (more people coming than going). Increases were more modest in the Bronx and Staten Island, the two boroughs with the highest reported levels of growth last decade and places where we think the Census Bureau did a good job enumerating people.
August 08 2013

West Harlem Rezoning Begins Public Review
City Planning Commissioner Amanda M. Burden today launched public review for a rezoning of approximately 90 blocks of West Harlem including the historic Hamilton Heights/Sugar Hill districts to preserve the scale of its unique brownstones and apartment houses built in the first decades of the 20th century. The rezoning also would reinvigorate an existing light manufacturing area just north of 125th Street by allowing commercial, community facility and residential uses in existing and new buildings to promote economic development and job creation. In addition to preserving the context of the largely built out area of West Harlem, the rezoning would also promote new development at one location along West 145th Street near its intersection with Broadway by expanding commercial and residential development opportunity and providing incentives for affordable housing. The result of five years of extensive community engagement including several town hall meetings, the proposed rezoning fulfills a promise made by the Bloomberg Administration to Community Board 9, West Harlem residents, area stakeholders, Councilmember Jackson and the Borough President in 2007 for a plan to ensure appropriately scaled development and to provide opportunities for affordable housing.
August 08 2013

2-10-23034- Kevin A. Hall and Patricia A. Hall
Type: bk Office: 2 Chapter: 13 Trustee: Reiber, George M. [Pay Trustee - (ROCHESTER ONLY)] (<a href='https://ecf.nywb.uscourts.gov/doc1/128012207767?pdf_header=&de_seq_num=185&caseid=253191'>62</a>)
August 08 2013

13-60484-6-dd Christopher Lee Bowhall and Lori Colleen Bowhall
Type: bk Office: 6 Chapter: 7 Trustee: Hughes-Trustee, Thomas Paul [Avoid Lien] (<a href='https://ecf.nynb.uscourts.gov/doc1/124012632160?pdf_header=&de_seq_num=52&caseid=336462'>15</a>)
August 08 2013

1-97-14908- Earl D. Hall
Type: bk Office: 1 Chapter: 13 Trustee: Mogavero, Albert J. [Certificate/Certified Copy Issued] (<a href='https://ecf.nywb.uscourts.gov/doc1/128012208022?pdf_header=&de_seq_num=2071270&caseid=60978'>17</a>)
August 08 2013

5:13-cv-00943 Marshall v. Colvin
[Proceed In Forma Pauperis] (<a href="https://ecf.nynd.uscourts.gov/doc1/12503147997?caseid=95110&de_seq_num=10" >2</a>)
August 08 2013

Calvin Borel signing canceled
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Calvin Borel autograph signing scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame has been canceled because of a riding commitment Borel has that night at Prairie Meadows in Iowa.
August 08 2013

Environment is top priority for Californias
The Public Policy Institute of Californias 13th annual poll on the environment contained a few surprises, but demonstrated that California is an increasingly blue state with a tight focus on the environment without regard to its potential effects on the economy. The survey found a sharp 9 percent year-over-year increase in the number of respondents who believe the state needs to take action now to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Two similar questions showed that the 2,100 respondents wanted immediate action now. Notably, well under half of the respondents knew about the states cap-and-trade program to reduce emissionsthe proceeds this year are propping up the general fund and should go to more targeted uses next year. The results: huge majorities (76-80 percent) favor requiring automakers, energy companies, manufacturers and power plants to reduce emissionsno thought of the costs to the consumers. The vast majority also supported land use regulations such as those established in Plan Bay Area. They also favored using money to support public transit and repave roads. Notably two-thirds of respondents were solo drivers to workPerhaps, do as I say not as I do, was in play here. One intriguing split: a bare 51 percent favored the Keystone XL pipeline that would carry oil extracted from Canadian oil sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast. By contrast, the same narrow majority opposed increased fracking to extract more carbon-based energy in California. Fracking is driving the dramatic economic expansion in North Dakota where the unemployment rate is tiny and there has been an influx of people finding well-paid jobs. The biggest challenge there is finding housing. Its likely that the Democrat-dominated Legislature will apply additional regulations to fracking, which has been going on for decades in California without mishap. States that have turned energy companies loose to pursue the advanced technologies are seeing lots of jobs and potential for significant additional investment from manufacturing companies that require lots of power. Natural gas prices have dropped significantly as the supply has soared. So, California, like New York, is prepared to throttle if not stifle a proven technology because of environmental bogey men. Governor Brown already has required that one-third of the electrical power in California come from renewable sources and that regulation excludes the clean hydroelectric power from the dams around the state. As President Obama said during his campaignelectrical rates would have to soarThey have and will continue to. Californians, thanks to the woefully executed deregulation and the ensuing panic from then-governor Gray Davis, pay very high rates for both electricity and natural gas (how much has your gas bill gone down with a supply glut?). The tradeoff: allowing energy companies to aggressively pursue fracking on the Monterey shale formation could result in 500,000 new jobswell paying jobs. So, if they miss by a factor of five, 100,000 jobs in a growth industry that could lower energy costs is something that should be embraced. It will involve legislators and the governor taking off their green-shaded glasses.
August 08 2013

Brendon Bannon photographs unexpected subjects in ‘Nairobi: New Works’
Anyone familiar with Brendan Bannon’s photojournalism from Africa knows the Buffalo native has been slowly capturing the continent’s complexity, often via pictures published in major newspapers. Those expecting more of Bannon’s dramatic subjects – including pirates and refugees – will be surprised to find subtler fare in “Nairobi: New Works,” on display at El Museo Francisco Oller y Diego Rivera, through which Bannon “challenges viewers to see beyond a single story of Africa,” according to a poster.That Africa is more than its many stereotypes has itself become a stereotype, but viewers ought not be put off by the triteness of the mission statement – this is not really the point.There are moments when Bannon, who will give an artist’s talk at 7 p.m. Aug. 23, challenges expectations. The image of children playing at a brightly colored water park, for example, and two pictures of a horse racing track scorn cliché. These are more than a respite from the constant stream of war, famine and poverty photos; they are the first sentences of the countless stories hinted at in the artistic statement.Often his touch is lighter, and this grace is one of his finest qualities. “Prisoner’s Yoga Class, Women’s Maximum” first benefits from an unexpected subject. The photo – depicting only the mats and stretching legs – shows that the prison uniforms (long striped dresses) are woefully inappropriate for exercise. Because of Bannon’s adept framing, every viewer will feel something different.In another excellent shot, the viewer sees a sign announcing a “Wonderful Photographic Site” above a green bluff, at an elevation of “8000 ft.” By putting the advertised photo op. in the background and the sign in front, Bannon occupies a double consciousness, capturing both the irony of Nairobi as he sees it and the endearing, intrepid guilelessness of Nairobi as the city wants itself to be seen.First, though, the viewer’s eye will likely be drawn to the photos that are more visually striking. There is blinding yellow in a shot of a man standing outside a photography shop, and supersaturated candy blues and reds contrasted with a template of mud in a smaller photo of schoolchildren. “Construction Greenhouse” is deceptively a study in earth tones. Each is a delight to look at.Bannon’s works using a blurred effect are among his best, and each example achieves something different. “National Television Control Room” is perfect, showing trails of after-images of screens and figures, a multiplicity of objective frames. “Nairobi Railway Station” is another favorite, in which shadowy figures evanesce into smoke trails and two signs read “Nairobi” and “Way Out.” Finally, “Acrobat Training” features the eponymous acrobats blurred to the point of abstraction, becoming stylized stick figures, or rather curve figures, representing the motion itself, reminiscent of Brancusi’s “Bird in Space.”The best in this exhibit, the most adept union of execution and intent, is “Deaf Child.” Here a child, with fists raised, is pictured behind a scratched, blurred, semi-translucent partition. The effect is striking – the viewer cannot make out the child’s face, nor ascertain the child’s emotion or interest. We are crippled, perhaps even devastated. Bannon emphasizes without ever overbearing.There are some strange choices of priority on the gallery’s part. A decent picture is front-and-center, while one that hangs off to the left, showing a man in an alley bathed in brilliant liquid neons, is not graced by any name card and no bigger than a paperback book. The whole begs to be displayed in grander proportions.The exhibit represents a departure for the gallery, which is dedicated to work by minority artists on minority subjects. Nairobi natives in Nairobi are hardly minorities, even in a Buffalo gallery. This departure is welcome, for while acting aggressively in the name of diversity is laudable from a cultural and political standpoint, the micro effect is and always will be the same as art criticism from a hyper-theorized standpoint: aesthetically suffocating.Bannon, by contrast, makes suggestions rather than statements, and uses all the colors of his palate – including color, of course, and to great effect – but also humor, irony, charm and elusiveness.reviewWhat: “Nairobi: New Works”When: Through Aug. 30Where: El Museo Francisco Oller y Diego Rivera, 91 Allen St.Admission: FreeInfo: www.elmuseobuffalo.orgemail: aryan@buffnews.com
August 08 2013

8-13-73568-reg Nigel T Challenger
Type: bk Office: 8 Chapter: 7 Trustee: Pergament, Marc A [Chapter 7 Trustee's Report of No Distribution - No Funds Collected]
August 08 2013

Clarence (Jay) Donaldson
WHITEHALL — Clarence (Jay) Donaldson, 70, went home to Jesus on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, at Haynes House of Hope in Granville, N.Y.
August 07 2013

State of the State Address 2008 Part G
Governor John E. Baldacci State of the State January 9, 2008 Madam President, Mr. Speaker, Madam Chief Justice, members of the Legislature, members of the Cabinet, distinguished guests and my fellow citizens:We come together tonight as Maine stands on the verge of a new era.The choices we make in the coming days will help to define who we are as a State, and what we hope to become.I will not splash varnish on the hard truths before us.Home heating oil and gasoline prices are at record highs. Winter, just a few weeks old, has already shown its teeth.The national economy is struggling under the weight of declining home values.State revenues are not immune from the national condition and are falling short of expectations by $95 million dollars. We are forced to make hard decisions and set priorities. And we remain a country at war, with men and women called to duty in far-off and dangerous lands. Every word I have spoken is the inescapable truth. But there's more to Maine's story than those challenges we face.In the five years since I first addressed you as Governor, much has changed in Maine.Today I am proud to say that we are better prepared and more able to weather economic storms.You, my friends, have done much of the hard work. You have not only balanced budgets, and demanded efficiencies. You've also come together - often in a spirit of bipartisanship -- to solve problems.Five years ago, we faced a $1.2 billion dollar budget gap. Our financial reserves were gone.The State was borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars just to keep the lights on. Our credit rating was headed down.Those days are gone - hopefully banished forever.Today, we have rebuilt our reserves to almost $160 million dollars, and no longer take out payday loans to keep government open.We have closed that budget gap and by the end of next year we will have invested more than $1 billion new State dollars in local education.And we have done it all without raising the sales tax or income tax.I want to repeat that, because it's something the entire State should be proud of.We have invested more than $1 billion new dollars in local education, rebuilt our reserves and stopped short-term borrowing. Standard and Poor's has raised our financial rating.All without raising the sales or income tax.That, my friends, is an accomplishment.It has put us in a position of strength to deal with a fickle national economy.Tonight, standing before you and with full knowledge of the challenges we face, I report that the State of this State is strong and determined to meet the future head on.The revenue downturn we face in the two-year budget is a serious challenge that demands action.On Dec. 18, I issued an executive order that reduced State spending by $38 million dollars for the rest of this fiscal year.The Constitution of Maine requires the governor to ensure the State budget is balanced. Every part of State government was called upon to make recommendations on how to reduce spending while maintaining their core missions.I understand that these decisions touch real lives.The cuts were not easy, but we are moving forward in a way that makes sure that we can protect our most vulnerable citizens while also meeting my Constitutional duty. On that point, according to the Kaiser Foundation, Maine ranks first among the States in Medicaid spending for children, second in Medicaid spending for adults and fifth in Medicaid spending for the disabled.Overall, according to Kaiser, Maine spends more per Medicaid enrollee than any other State.So, tomorrow, when I unveil the details of my revisions to the two-year budget I can promise you this:We will not pull the safety net out from under our most vulnerable citizens.We will not take from our financial reserves to balance the budget.And we will not increase taxes.If we are to have the resources to invest in higher education, economic development and universal health care, we cannot continue to spend millions on systems built in the 1950s. We must transform government at all levels. We must strengthen it to meet the demands of a new age. And we must prioritize our spending.Government has an important role to play, but it cannot be all things to all people.At the same time, beware of quick fixes and people who promise gain without change. They sell a bill of goods layered in promises that cannot be kept.They say: You can have it all. The decisions aren't difficult.We all know that's not true. The decisions ARE difficult.We've made them and will continue to make them.Since taking office in 2003, we have reduced the rolls of State government by more than 600 jobs. We have merged two major State departments, eliminating a commissioner, deputy commissioners; And we have centralized back-office and administrative functions in all State departments. In just the first two years, that saved $11.5 million dollars.It's not the stuff of headlines. It's good government, and it's done.Last year, the Legislature passed a truly historic reform of local education.The new law reduces the number of school administrative units from 290 to 80.School administrative units: That's a mouth full. It sounds very government-like, very bureaucratic.That's because it is.And that's the problem. Since the early 80s, the number of students in Maine has declined by almost 40,000 and is expected to decline by 20,000 more in the next five years. During the same time, the number of school administrators has increased by 400. For 50 years, we have done the same old thing, the same old way, and it hasn't produced the excellence and results that we need.It's not sustainable and drains resources from students and teachers. Now we are on our way to a new structure that will better serve our people. It will save taxpayers money and provide a better education for our children. Legislation introduced this year and already approved by the Education Committee will further strengthen the new law.Even so, the fighting around it has not stopped.We cannot return to the dysfunction of the past. In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt talked about the tendency of government to fall victim to inertia and to retreat from important gains when put under pressure by powerful special interests."Shall we pause now and turn our back upon the road that lies ahead?," he asked. "Shall we call this the promised land? Or, shall we continue on our way?"As President Roosevelt knew then and the people of Maine know today, progress and growth are in front of us, not in the past.As President Roosevelt said then, "We will carry on."In August, we began a conversation about the way we treat inmates in our prisons and county jails and about the financial hardships created by our current, fragmented system.It is bad for taxpayers and bad for mentally ill and drug-addicted prisoners who do not get the care they need to break the cycle of crime.It must change.Tomorrow I will submit legislation to unify the state prison system with the 15 county jail administrations.The plan has evolved from when we first began talking about it. We have listened to concerns from counties. And we have made changes to improve our plan.I would like to say tonight that all the differences between the counties and the State have been resolved. They haven't.But I can say that progress has been made. Sheriffs and commissioners have come a long way from the starting point, and so have we. I believe that common ground is still possible. And I believe a solution exists that will save taxpayer money and improve the treatment of the people in our care.President Lincoln wrote to Congress in 1862: "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew."You don't have to face the deepest crisis in the history of the Republic - as Lincoln did - to understand the necessity of thinking about old problems in new ways.We live in a complex world that requires government to carry an increasing load. Natural resource and environmental issues demand experts with broad experiences.In a time of declining revenues and increasing financial pressures in other areas of the budget, we can't continue funding silos that keep our experts separate and our attentions divided.It's been more than 30 years since we developed our approach to the stewardship of Maine's natural resources. In those three decades, the world has changed dramatically. There have been amazing advances in science and technology.And Maine's natural resource agencies haven't been allowed to keep up. The structure hasn't kept up pace with the changing times.Already, we've brought together those agencies' back-office staffs, accountants and IT experts. We created a single natural resource service center to do all those jobs that aren't part of the agencies core responsibilities.That's done. But we need to do more.In my budget, I will propose a process that will result in no more than two natural resources agencies, where today we have four. We will seek efficiencies and combine programs that shouldn't be separated by bureaucracies.I know that I don't have all the answers, but I do believe we can find them together.The merger process will seek input from those willing to come to the table.Our goal is to enhance the services provided to natural resource-based businesses; To increase outdoor recreation; And to improve natural resource management.We need to end the duplication in administration that stands in the way.Our efforts are not confined to a single area of government. We are looking at government at every level, and we're looking for improvement.Earlier this month, Maine selected a private company, Unisys Corporation, a nationally respected company, to fix a troubled part of the Department of Health and Human Services.For almost three years, we have struggled with a Medicaid computer system that has never lived up to expectations. It's caused countless headaches and heartaches for Maine businesses and created financial difficulties for the State.With this work, we will move on to a better way of doing business. I am also proposing a reorganization of the upper and middle management at Health and Human Services that will give my commissioner the flexibility she needs to run Maine's largest department. It will empower frontline workers, reduce from 10 to 6 the number of central offices in the agency and consolidate management at the regional level.To be successful, you must be able to adapt. We will give them that ability.But success also depends on innovation.Maine has led the country on health care reform, an innovation that matters to families and businesses alike.When the federal government passed a poorly designed Medicare drug benefit that actually hurt some senior citizens in our State, Maine stepped forward to ease the transition.When the federal government failed to deliver on affordable health care, Maine stepped forward.We will continue to step forward.In my budget, we will bring together three of the largest purchasers of health care in the State for a new initiative to save taxpayer money and provide better care to consumers.The Maine State Employees Health Commission, the University of Maine System and the Maine Education Association will join forces and put their enormous buying power to work to lower prescription drug costs.This cooperative effort will save money for thousands of workers who need medicine, for taxpayers whose dollars contribute to the system and it will increase the amount of money available to fund health care for retired teachers.More than 28,000 Mainers have been insured through our Dirigo Health program. We've extended coverage to more families and more small businesses, and we've done it in a way that has saved millions of dollars in health care spending.Last year, we were close to taking the next step with Dirigo. This year, we'll do it.I will support Legislative efforts to provide meaningful market reform that will make coverage more affordable for individuals.And I will work with the Legislature to find a new way to fund Dirigo that is less contentious and more sustainable.I believe health care is a fundamental and basic right. Every man, woman and child should be able to count on receiving the care they need when they need it.I am very pleased that the Dirigo Health Agency has contracted with a new partner, Harvard Pilgrim Health.Harvard Pilgrim is a nonprofit health plan that is consistently ranked No. 1 by consumers nationally. The company brings new and important competition to Maine's health care marketplace. I'm pleased to welcome Harvard Pilgrim to Maine, and I want to recognize in the gallery the company's CEO, Charlie Baker. We're glad you're here, and we look forward to working with you.Charlie, I ask you to rise and accept the greetings of the Chamber. When I think about what matters most to me, and to the people I meet when I travel around the State, it's not the ins and outs of a particular policy. It's not the details that we will wring our hands over from now until April.What matters most is more basic. It's family and friends. Tonight, as I speak to you, Maine has 102 members of the National Guard deployed overseas.Soon, more men and women will be joining them.This month 130 members of the 126th Aviation Regiment from Bangor will go to Iraq for the second time. These men and women save lives by putting their own at risk; they fly into danger to rescue other soldiers.Another 16-person team of National Guard Soldiers will also leave this month for Afghanistan to train that country's military.They deserve our appreciation; they deserve our support. Please join me in saluting their service and sacrifice by recognizing Major Brian Veneziano, the commander of the 126th. Please rise and accept the greetings of the Chamber.These brave men and women want the same things as you and I: A good job with benefits, a college education for their kids, and to know that their families are nearby and secure.Family is the most important thing.Yesterday, my wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. It has been an amazing journey.You could not have a first lady more committed to Maine's children, to education and to the State. She is a tireless advocate for literacy, and promotes Maine wherever she goes. I'd like to ask Karen to stand and be recognized by the Chamber.My family's not that much different than a lot of others in Maine.We have our family discussions, agreements and disagreements.But I have never lost sight of what it means to work hard and still struggle to pay the bills.I have met countless men and women who play by the rules, go to work everyday and still can't seem to get ahead.In 1965, President Johnson understood the great divide in our country and spoke about it.He said: "In a land of great wealth, families must not live in hopeless poverty. In a land rich in harvest, children must not go hungry. In a land of healing miracles, neighbors must not suffer and die unattended."If President Johnson were speaking today and lived in Maine, I think he would have added at least one more line:In a land of technology, science and abundant natural resources, no family should go to bed wondering if their fuel oil will last until morning, worried that they will wake up cold.I know families and businesses are struggling with high energy costs.I have talked to the truck drivers and small business owners who are being pushed to the brink.And I have heard the call for help.We will answer that call. My administration began working on this problem when the weather was still warm and before oil topped out at $100 dollar a barrel.Working with the United Way, Eastern Maine Funders and the Maine Community Action Agencies, the Keep Maine Warm Fund has raised more than $1 million dollars to provide emergency fuel assistance.The effort is gaining momentum. I am pleased to announce tonight that LL Bean will be making a contribution of $250,000 to the Keep Maine Warm Fund, joining such organizations as Irving Oil, The Libra Foundation, The Fisher Foundation, Wright Express, Maine Bank and Trust, and TD Banknorth.I'd like to thank Leon Gorman, LL Bean's chairman, for his company's efforts. Please stand Leon, and accept the greetings of the Chamber.The Fund is an example of Mainers taking care of Mainers.I know not everyone is able, but I'd ask those of you who can to join the effort to Keep Maine Warm by making a charitable contribution to this very worthy cause.Working closely with Maine's Congressional Delegation, we will continue to put pressure on Washington to release funding for energy assistance. The money's there; and we need to put it to work.I have signed an executive order making it easier for companies to make small fuel deliveries to families in need.I have sought relief for truck drivers devastated by high diesel costs. During this session, I will submit legislation to help safeguard the forest products industry, which has been particularly hard hit and is so important to our rural economy.We are doing what we can for as many people as we can. And those efforts will not cease.For too long, our country and our state have been dependent on costly foreign oil. Eighty percent of Maine's homes are reliant on oil for heat. As prices have risen, we have sent billions of dollars out of state to pay for it. Money that otherwise would have remained with the families and businesses in Maine. We must move forward aggressively to heat our homes with resources we have or can make right here.We have made great strides in the development of wind energy. We cannot be shy about new projects. We will rewrite the rulebook to make wind power development easier without compromising our environment.Maine has tremendous potential for wind power. Already $2 billion worth of investments have been approved or are awaiting consideration. And an equal amount is being explored.Just last week a new project on Stetson Mountain won approval. We can harness the tremendous power of the wind and tides to power our industries and light our homes.And we are also working closely with Maine's Native American Tribes to support and promote alternative energy projects.The future rests within reach, and we must seize it.Tonight, I am announcing a "Wood-to-Energy Initiative" to bring Maine-made sources of heat to the homes and businesses of Maine. This partnership will bring together the public and private sectors to explore what is possible and what is practical. I have asked Maine entrepreneur Les Otten, who is here tonight, to bring together business leaders and our Department of Conservation to lead my Administration's efforts on a conversion initiative that will use our forests and natural resources to relieve consumption of nonrenewable oil. As a first step in this Initiative, my Administration will pursue a transition to biofuels such as wood pellets and wood chips. We will identify those state buildings where conversion to wood pellets, wind or other renewable sources of energy can reduce costs by 30 to 50 percent.This not only saves money for Maine taxpayers, it generates the investment and business activity to grow Maine's economy.The lessons learned from these demonstration projects will be made available to every home owner and business in Maine. As part of this Initiative, we will identify and promote the financial tools to enable Maine homeowners and small businesses to move away from their reliance on costly foreign oil. We can encourage the alternative energy industry in way that benefits Maine without disadvantaging existing businesses reliant on wood for other products. We are already working on a collaborative effort with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia that will take stock in our natural resources and develop new technologies and new market opportunities.We should look to our Canadian neighbors for new partnerships that can reduce the cost of electricity in Maine and help us to better understand the energy potential of our forests.In this energy crisis, we will develop renewable sources of energy made in Maine, by Maine businesses for Maine people.I was still a young boy when President Kennedy was elected in 1960. My father served as a delegate for him at the national convention. Kennedy's words still hold power today.He said: "The dynamic of democracy is the power and the purpose of the individual, and the policy of this administration is to give to the individual the opportunity to realize his or her own highest possibilities."It's an ideal that helps guide us today. Through our workforce training initiatives, investments in research and development, and Pine Tree Economic Development Zones, we want to enhance the power of the private sector to create good jobs with good benefits.Between November 2006 and November 2007, Maine's economy created 4,400 new jobs despite slow growth in New England and nationally. Since 2003, Maine's economy has created more than 24,000 new jobs.Our incomes have grown.And we've empowered our people to become entrepreneurs.According to the Kauffman Foundation, Maine ranked in the top five in 2006 for people who, for the first time, started their own new businesses. This is the spirit of Maine.In November, voters approved a $55 million dollar investment that will help those entrepreneurs develop new ideas and bring them to the market.It's the kind of investment that turns good ideas into good jobs.This significant infusion of resources would not have been possible without Karen Mills and my Council on Jobs and Innovation, which she led.Karen, thank you very much for your leadership.Our people are strong, they are resilient and they should not be underestimated.Given the chance, they can achieve great things. I know it, I've seen it. There's evidence of it in every part of Maine.In Brewer, Cianbro Corporation will be creating hundreds of new manufacturing jobs.In Lincoln, Millinocket, East Millinocket and Old Town, mills threatened with extinction are alive and successful. People are back to work.In Belfast, athenahealth, an impressive company, has created 200 new jobs with more to come. Maine was able to beat out Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York to attract this company.When Maine learned that MBNA, a major employer in the State, was merging with Bank of America, there was a lot of pessimism and worry about the future.And for good reason. There was no secret that MBNA's workforce would be reduced and that facilities would be closed.Now, with athenahealth and other new companies, we have successfully put people back to work in former MBNA facilities in Farmington, Portland, Presque Isle, Fort Kent, Rockland and now Belfast.The jobs that were lost will be grown back. And hope has replaced despair for those communities.We know we can do it.But we must redouble our efforts to spur economic development. We cannot be lulled into a posture that sees us only able to lurch from one crisis to the next.We must be prepared to stop trouble before it arrives at our doorstep. I've asked my economic development Commissioner John Richardson and Maine State Chamber of Commerce President Dana Connors to work with the Legislature to change the way we do business for business.We can better serve Maine's business community with a local and regional emphasis and greater co-ordination and partnership.We need to move our economic development efforts away from Augusta and into the communities and regions where it can do the most good.The State's top economic development priority should be to provide them with the support, resources and vision to help them accomplish their goals.We all understand the Maine economy is in a time of dramatic, even historic, change. And we all understand that our future economic success will be built upon the foundation of our people and the special qualities that define our neighborhoods, towns and our state.People are drawn to Maine. We have what they're looking for and what's missing from their everyday lives.Look at tourism, one of the bedrocks of Maine's economy. Last year alone, almost 42 million people visited our State.They come for our natural beauty, our people and our vibrant historical and cultural sites. Last year, voters showed that they understand that. They approved significant investments in conservation and in our environment. Soon, that money will be put to work.Economic prosperity demands that we invest in our workforce, in our open landscapes, and in our historic downtowns.Even now, we cannot become so focused on today that we sacrifice the investments that will make us stronger tomorrow.When I visit places like Lewiston and Auburn, Biddeford and Saco and Waterville, I see the enormous potential for redevelopment. The Hathaway Creative Center in Waterville is a prime example of what is possible.Tom Niemann is here tonight. Thank you very much.That's why I am supporting an historic rehabilitation tax credit. For a modest investment, we can attract millions of dollars worth of growth, which will bring new jobs, new revenues, affordable housing and new life to our cities and towns. It's my goal that children start school ready to learn, and graduate from college ready and able to succeed here in Maine.Early childhood was the heart of my economic Summit held in November. More than 200 Maine business and community leaders came together to understand the positive economic returns from early childhood investments.I will continue to work with those Mainers to transform the Children's Cabinet Task Force on Early Childhood into a Children's Growth Council. We can propel the powerful momentum of the Summit into our communities. Through the power of community, we can create a legacy for our children. Not long ago, Maine lost one of our most generous and inspiring leaders - speaking of children - Harold Alfond, the man who built Dexter Shoe.It's impossible to estimate Harold's impact on Maine. He has touched so many lives and so many communities with his leadership and his philanthropy.Harold challenged us all to do more, to build partnerships and to overcome hurdles.Harold didn't go to college, but he recognized early on that the days of making a good living with just a high school diploma were disappearing.But Harold wasn't blind to life's hard realities. For some families, the promise of college is financially out of reach.With the Alfond College Challenge that he established, the dream is a little closer.The Challenge provides a $500 dollar education grant to every child born in Maine that will help them start a college savings account.It began last week in Augusta and will expand statewide in 2009. And no, you don't have to name your first child Harold.Working through the Finance Authority of Maine and in cooperation with Maine's hospitals, families in this State will have been given a head start on higher education.In his book, Harold wrote that he hoped to retire 10 years after he passed away. He was serious and Maine will be a much better place because of it.Harold's son, Bill Alfond, and his wife, is in the gallery tonight. Please stand and be recognized by the Chamber.Last year, the Legislature overwhelmingly approved Opportunity Maine, a tax credit program that will help students overcome college debt if they live and work in the State after graduation.With these tax credits, we will keep more of our home-grown graduates here, and open the door of opportunity for the next generation of Maine entrepreneurs and leaders.My friends, I am filled with hope. We are taking the steps necessary to grow our economy and improve the lives of the people of Maine.We are streamlining government and cutting administration.And we're controlling spending.We are investing in education and innovation so our children and families can succeed here in our state.We are helping increase incomes by creating good jobs with good benefits.That's the roadmap that gets Maine where it needs to be.This year, the Legislature will be called upon to take bold action, to protect the gains that have been made and to push forward on the reforms that will guide State government into the future.We must ask ourselves: What do we want State government to do? What is fundamental to the health and welfare of our people?We cannot be content with a legacy of work undone.We owe it to our children, and we owe it to our State.That is our task. That is our duty.God Bless you and God Bless the State of Maine. Thank you. Good night.
August 07 2013

State of the State Address 2008 Part F
Governor John E. Baldacci State of the State January 9, 2008 Madam President, Mr. Speaker, Madam Chief Justice, members of the Legislature, members of the Cabinet, distinguished guests and my fellow citizens:We come together tonight as Maine stands on the verge of a new era.The choices we make in the coming days will help to define who we are as a State, and what we hope to become.I will not splash varnish on the hard truths before us.Home heating oil and gasoline prices are at record highs. Winter, just a few weeks old, has already shown its teeth.The national economy is struggling under the weight of declining home values.State revenues are not immune from the national condition and are falling short of expectations by $95 million dollars. We are forced to make hard decisions and set priorities. And we remain a country at war, with men and women called to duty in far-off and dangerous lands. Every word I have spoken is the inescapable truth. But there's more to Maine's story than those challenges we face.In the five years since I first addressed you as Governor, much has changed in Maine.Today I am proud to say that we are better prepared and more able to weather economic storms.You, my friends, have done much of the hard work. You have not only balanced budgets, and demanded efficiencies. You've also come together - often in a spirit of bipartisanship -- to solve problems.Five years ago, we faced a $1.2 billion dollar budget gap. Our financial reserves were gone.The State was borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars just to keep the lights on. Our credit rating was headed down.Those days are gone - hopefully banished forever.Today, we have rebuilt our reserves to almost $160 million dollars, and no longer take out payday loans to keep government open.We have closed that budget gap and by the end of next year we will have invested more than $1 billion new State dollars in local education.And we have done it all without raising the sales tax or income tax.I want to repeat that, because it's something the entire State should be proud of.We have invested more than $1 billion new dollars in local education, rebuilt our reserves and stopped short-term borrowing. Standard and Poor's has raised our financial rating.All without raising the sales or income tax.That, my friends, is an accomplishment.It has put us in a position of strength to deal with a fickle national economy.Tonight, standing before you and with full knowledge of the challenges we face, I report that the State of this State is strong and determined to meet the future head on.The revenue downturn we face in the two-year budget is a serious challenge that demands action.On Dec. 18, I issued an executive order that reduced State spending by $38 million dollars for the rest of this fiscal year.The Constitution of Maine requires the governor to ensure the State budget is balanced. Every part of State government was called upon to make recommendations on how to reduce spending while maintaining their core missions.I understand that these decisions touch real lives.The cuts were not easy, but we are moving forward in a way that makes sure that we can protect our most vulnerable citizens while also meeting my Constitutional duty. On that point, according to the Kaiser Foundation, Maine ranks first among the States in Medicaid spending for children, second in Medicaid spending for adults and fifth in Medicaid spending for the disabled.Overall, according to Kaiser, Maine spends more per Medicaid enrollee than any other State.So, tomorrow, when I unveil the details of my revisions to the two-year budget I can promise you this:We will not pull the safety net out from under our most vulnerable citizens.We will not take from our financial reserves to balance the budget.And we will not increase taxes.If we are to have the resources to invest in higher education, economic development and universal health care, we cannot continue to spend millions on systems built in the 1950s. We must transform government at all levels. We must strengthen it to meet the demands of a new age. And we must prioritize our spending.Government has an important role to play, but it cannot be all things to all people.At the same time, beware of quick fixes and people who promise gain without change. They sell a bill of goods layered in promises that cannot be kept.They say: You can have it all. The decisions aren't difficult.We all know that's not true. The decisions ARE difficult.We've made them and will continue to make them.Since taking office in 2003, we have reduced the rolls of State government by more than 600 jobs. We have merged two major State departments, eliminating a commissioner, deputy commissioners; And we have centralized back-office and administrative functions in all State departments. In just the first two years, that saved $11.5 million dollars.It's not the stuff of headlines. It's good government, and it's done.Last year, the Legislature passed a truly historic reform of local education.The new law reduces the number of school administrative units from 290 to 80.School administrative units: That's a mouth full. It sounds very government-like, very bureaucratic.That's because it is.And that's the problem. Since the early 80s, the number of students in Maine has declined by almost 40,000 and is expected to decline by 20,000 more in the next five years. During the same time, the number of school administrators has increased by 400. For 50 years, we have done the same old thing, the same old way, and it hasn't produced the excellence and results that we need.It's not sustainable and drains resources from students and teachers. Now we are on our way to a new structure that will better serve our people. It will save taxpayers money and provide a better education for our children. Legislation introduced this year and already approved by the Education Committee will further strengthen the new law.Even so, the fighting around it has not stopped.We cannot return to the dysfunction of the past. In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt talked about the tendency of government to fall victim to inertia and to retreat from important gains when put under pressure by powerful special interests."Shall we pause now and turn our back upon the road that lies ahead?," he asked. "Shall we call this the promised land? Or, shall we continue on our way?"As President Roosevelt knew then and the people of Maine know today, progress and growth are in front of us, not in the past.As President Roosevelt said then, "We will carry on."In August, we began a conversation about the way we treat inmates in our prisons and county jails and about the financial hardships created by our current, fragmented system.It is bad for taxpayers and bad for mentally ill and drug-addicted prisoners who do not get the care they need to break the cycle of crime.It must change.Tomorrow I will submit legislation to unify the state prison system with the 15 county jail administrations.The plan has evolved from when we first began talking about it. We have listened to concerns from counties. And we have made changes to improve our plan.I would like to say tonight that all the differences between the counties and the State have been resolved. They haven't.But I can say that progress has been made. Sheriffs and commissioners have come a long way from the starting point, and so have we. I believe that common ground is still possible. And I believe a solution exists that will save taxpayer money and improve the treatment of the people in our care.President Lincoln wrote to Congress in 1862: "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew."You don't have to face the deepest crisis in the history of the Republic - as Lincoln did - to understand the necessity of thinking about old problems in new ways.We live in a complex world that requires government to carry an increasing load. Natural resource and environmental issues demand experts with broad experiences.In a time of declining revenues and increasing financial pressures in other areas of the budget, we can't continue funding silos that keep our experts separate and our attentions divided.It's been more than 30 years since we developed our approach to the stewardship of Maine's natural resources. In those three decades, the world has changed dramatically. There have been amazing advances in science and technology.And Maine's natural resource agencies haven't been allowed to keep up. The structure hasn't kept up pace with the changing times.Already, we've brought together those agencies' back-office staffs, accountants and IT experts. We created a single natural resource service center to do all those jobs that aren't part of the agencies core responsibilities.That's done. But we need to do more.In my budget, I will propose a process that will result in no more than two natural resources agencies, where today we have four. We will seek efficiencies and combine programs that shouldn't be separated by bureaucracies.I know that I don't have all the answers, but I do believe we can find them together.The merger process will seek input from those willing to come to the table.Our goal is to enhance the services provided to natural resource-based businesses; To increase outdoor recreation; And to improve natural resource management.We need to end the duplication in administration that stands in the way.Our efforts are not confined to a single area of government. We are looking at government at every level, and we're looking for improvement.Earlier this month, Maine selected a private company, Unisys Corporation, a nationally respected company, to fix a troubled part of the Department of Health and Human Services.For almost three years, we have struggled with a Medicaid computer system that has never lived up to expectations. It's caused countless headaches and heartaches for Maine businesses and created financial difficulties for the State.With this work, we will move on to a better way of doing business. I am also proposing a reorganization of the upper and middle management at Health and Human Services that will give my commissioner the flexibility she needs to run Maine's largest department. It will empower frontline workers, reduce from 10 to 6 the number of central offices in the agency and consolidate management at the regional level.To be successful, you must be able to adapt. We will give them that ability.But success also depends on innovation.Maine has led the country on health care reform, an innovation that matters to families and businesses alike.When the federal government passed a poorly designed Medicare drug benefit that actually hurt some senior citizens in our State, Maine stepped forward to ease the transition.When the federal government failed to deliver on affordable health care, Maine stepped forward.We will continue to step forward.In my budget, we will bring together three of the largest purchasers of health care in the State for a new initiative to save taxpayer money and provide better care to consumers.The Maine State Employees Health Commission, the University of Maine System and the Maine Education Association will join forces and put their enormous buying power to work to lower prescription drug costs.This cooperative effort will save money for thousands of workers who need medicine, for taxpayers whose dollars contribute to the system and it will increase the amount of money available to fund health care for retired teachers.More than 28,000 Mainers have been insured through our Dirigo Health program. We've extended coverage to more families and more small businesses, and we've done it in a way that has saved millions of dollars in health care spending.Last year, we were close to taking the next step with Dirigo. This year, we'll do it.I will support Legislative efforts to provide meaningful market reform that will make coverage more affordable for individuals.And I will work with the Legislature to find a new way to fund Dirigo that is less contentious and more sustainable.I believe health care is a fundamental and basic right. Every man, woman and child should be able to count on receiving the care they need when they need it.I am very pleased that the Dirigo Health Agency has contracted with a new partner, Harvard Pilgrim Health.Harvard Pilgrim is a nonprofit health plan that is consistently ranked No. 1 by consumers nationally. The company brings new and important competition to Maine's health care marketplace. I'm pleased to welcome Harvard Pilgrim to Maine, and I want to recognize in the gallery the company's CEO, Charlie Baker. We're glad you're here, and we look forward to working with you.Charlie, I ask you to rise and accept the greetings of the Chamber. When I think about what matters most to me, and to the people I meet when I travel around the State, it's not the ins and outs of a particular policy. It's not the details that we will wring our hands over from now until April.What matters most is more basic. It's family and friends. Tonight, as I speak to you, Maine has 102 members of the National Guard deployed overseas.Soon, more men and women will be joining them.This month 130 members of the 126th Aviation Regiment from Bangor will go to Iraq for the second time. These men and women save lives by putting their own at risk; they fly into danger to rescue other soldiers.Another 16-person team of National Guard Soldiers will also leave this month for Afghanistan to train that country's military.They deserve our appreciation; they deserve our support. Please join me in saluting their service and sacrifice by recognizing Major Brian Veneziano, the commander of the 126th. Please rise and accept the greetings of the Chamber.These brave men and women want the same things as you and I: A good job with benefits, a college education for their kids, and to know that their families are nearby and secure.Family is the most important thing.Yesterday, my wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. It has been an amazing journey.You could not have a first lady more committed to Maine's children, to education and to the State. She is a tireless advocate for literacy, and promotes Maine wherever she goes. I'd like to ask Karen to stand and be recognized by the Chamber.My family's not that much different than a lot of others in Maine.We have our family discussions, agreements and disagreements.But I have never lost sight of what it means to work hard and still struggle to pay the bills.I have met countless men and women who play by the rules, go to work everyday and still can't seem to get ahead.In 1965, President Johnson understood the great divide in our country and spoke about it.He said: "In a land of great wealth, families must not live in hopeless poverty. In a land rich in harvest, children must not go hungry. In a land of healing miracles, neighbors must not suffer and die unattended."If President Johnson were speaking today and lived in Maine, I think he would have added at least one more line:In a land of technology, science and abundant natural resources, no family should go to bed wondering if their fuel oil will last until morning, worried that they will wake up cold.I know families and businesses are struggling with high energy costs.I have talked to the truck drivers and small business owners who are being pushed to the brink.And I have heard the call for help.We will answer that call. My administration began working on this problem when the weather was still warm and before oil topped out at $100 dollar a barrel.Working with the United Way, Eastern Maine Funders and the Maine Community Action Agencies, the Keep Maine Warm Fund has raised more than $1 million dollars to provide emergency fuel assistance.The effort is gaining momentum. I am pleased to announce tonight that LL Bean will be making a contribution of $250,000 to the Keep Maine Warm Fund, joining such organizations as Irving Oil, The Libra Foundation, The Fisher Foundation, Wright Express, Maine Bank and Trust, and TD Banknorth.I'd like to thank Leon Gorman, LL Bean's chairman, for his company's efforts. Please stand Leon, and accept the greetings of the Chamber.The Fund is an example of Mainers taking care of Mainers.I know not everyone is able, but I'd ask those of you who can to join the effort to Keep Maine Warm by making a charitable contribution to this very worthy cause.Working closely with Maine's Congressional Delegation, we will continue to put pressure on Washington to release funding for energy assistance. The money's there; and we need to put it to work.I have signed an executive order making it easier for companies to make small fuel deliveries to families in need.I have sought relief for truck drivers devastated by high diesel costs. During this session, I will submit legislation to help safeguard the forest products industry, which has been particularly hard hit and is so important to our rural economy.We are doing what we can for as many people as we can. And those efforts will not cease.For too long, our country and our state have been dependent on costly foreign oil. Eighty percent of Maine's homes are reliant on oil for heat. As prices have risen, we have sent billions of dollars out of state to pay for it. Money that otherwise would have remained with the families and businesses in Maine. We must move forward aggressively to heat our homes with resources we have or can make right here.We have made great strides in the development of wind energy. We cannot be shy about new projects. We will rewrite the rulebook to make wind power development easier without compromising our environment.Maine has tremendous potential for wind power. Already $2 billion worth of investments have been approved or are awaiting consideration. And an equal amount is being explored.Just last week a new project on Stetson Mountain won approval. We can harness the tremendous power of the wind and tides to power our industries and light our homes.And we are also working closely with Maine's Native American Tribes to support and promote alternative energy projects.The future rests within reach, and we must seize it.Tonight, I am announcing a "Wood-to-Energy Initiative" to bring Maine-made sources of heat to the homes and businesses of Maine. This partnership will bring together the public and private sectors to explore what is possible and what is practical. I have asked Maine entrepreneur Les Otten, who is here tonight, to bring together business leaders and our Department of Conservation to lead my Administration's efforts on a conversion initiative that will use our forests and natural resources to relieve consumption of nonrenewable oil. As a first step in this Initiative, my Administration will pursue a transition to biofuels such as wood pellets and wood chips. We will identify those state buildings where conversion to wood pellets, wind or other renewable sources of energy can reduce costs by 30 to 50 percent.This not only saves money for Maine taxpayers, it generates the investment and business activity to grow Maine's economy.The lessons learned from these demonstration projects will be made available to every home owner and business in Maine. As part of this Initiative, we will identify and promote the financial tools to enable Maine homeowners and small businesses to move away from their reliance on costly foreign oil. We can encourage the alternative energy industry in way that benefits Maine without disadvantaging existing businesses reliant on wood for other products. We are already working on a collaborative effort with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia that will take stock in our natural resources and develop new technologies and new market opportunities.We should look to our Canadian neighbors for new partnerships that can reduce the cost of electricity in Maine and help us to better understand the energy potential of our forests.In this energy crisis, we will develop renewable sources of energy made in Maine, by Maine businesses for Maine people.I was still a young boy when President Kennedy was elected in 1960. My father served as a delegate for him at the national convention. Kennedy's words still hold power today.He said: "The dynamic of democracy is the power and the purpose of the individual, and the policy of this administration is to give to the individual the opportunity to realize his or her own highest possibilities."It's an ideal that helps guide us today. Through our workforce training initiatives, investments in research and development, and Pine Tree Economic Development Zones, we want to enhance the power of the private sector to create good jobs with good benefits.Between November 2006 and November 2007, Maine's economy created 4,400 new jobs despite slow growth in New England and nationally. Since 2003, Maine's economy has created more than 24,000 new jobs.Our incomes have grown.And we've empowered our people to become entrepreneurs.According to the Kauffman Foundation, Maine ranked in the top five in 2006 for people who, for the first time, started their own new businesses. This is the spirit of Maine.In November, voters approved a $55 million dollar investment that will help those entrepreneurs develop new ideas and bring them to the market.It's the kind of investment that turns good ideas into good jobs.This significant infusion of resources would not have been possible without Karen Mills and my Council on Jobs and Innovation, which she led.Karen, thank you very much for your leadership.Our people are strong, they are resilient and they should not be underestimated.Given the chance, they can achieve great things. I know it, I've seen it. There's evidence of it in every part of Maine.In Brewer, Cianbro Corporation will be creating hundreds of new manufacturing jobs.In Lincoln, Millinocket, East Millinocket and Old Town, mills threatened with extinction are alive and successful. People are back to work.In Belfast, athenahealth, an impressive company, has created 200 new jobs with more to come. Maine was able to beat out Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York to attract this company.When Maine learned that MBNA, a major employer in the State, was merging with Bank of America, there was a lot of pessimism and worry about the future.And for good reason. There was no secret that MBNA's workforce would be reduced and that facilities would be closed.Now, with athenahealth and other new companies, we have successfully put people back to work in former MBNA facilities in Farmington, Portland, Presque Isle, Fort Kent, Rockland and now Belfast.The jobs that were lost will be grown back. And hope has replaced despair for those communities.We know we can do it.But we must redouble our efforts to spur economic development. We cannot be lulled into a posture that sees us only able to lurch from one crisis to the next.We must be prepared to stop trouble before it arrives at our doorstep. I've asked my economic development Commissioner John Richardson and Maine State Chamber of Commerce President Dana Connors to work with the Legislature to change the way we do business for business.We can better serve Maine's business community with a local and regional emphasis and greater co-ordination and partnership.We need to move our economic development efforts away from Augusta and into the communities and regions where it can do the most good.The State's top economic development priority should be to provide them with the support, resources and vision to help them accomplish their goals.We all understand the Maine economy is in a time of dramatic, even historic, change. And we all understand that our future economic success will be built upon the foundation of our people and the special qualities that define our neighborhoods, towns and our state.People are drawn to Maine. We have what they're looking for and what's missing from their everyday lives.Look at tourism, one of the bedrocks of Maine's economy. Last year alone, almost 42 million people visited our State.They come for our natural beauty, our people and our vibrant historical and cultural sites. Last year, voters showed that they understand that. They approved significant investments in conservation and in our environment. Soon, that money will be put to work.Economic prosperity demands that we invest in our workforce, in our open landscapes, and in our historic downtowns.Even now, we cannot become so focused on today that we sacrifice the investments that will make us stronger tomorrow.When I visit places like Lewiston and Auburn, Biddeford and Saco and Waterville, I see the enormous potential for redevelopment. The Hathaway Creative Center in Waterville is a prime example of what is possible.Tom Niemann is here tonight. Thank you very much.That's why I am supporting an historic rehabilitation tax credit. For a modest investment, we can attract millions of dollars worth of growth, which will bring new jobs, new revenues, affordable housing and new life to our cities and towns. It's my goal that children start school ready to learn, and graduate from college ready and able to succeed here in Maine.Early childhood was the heart of my economic Summit held in November. More than 200 Maine business and community leaders came together to understand the positive economic returns from early childhood investments.I will continue to work with those Mainers to transform the Children's Cabinet Task Force on Early Childhood into a Children's Growth Council. We can propel the powerful momentum of the Summit into our communities. Through the power of community, we can create a legacy for our children. Not long ago, Maine lost one of our most generous and inspiring leaders - speaking of children - Harold Alfond, the man who built Dexter Shoe.It's impossible to estimate Harold's impact on Maine. He has touched so many lives and so many communities with his leadership and his philanthropy.Harold challenged us all to do more, to build partnerships and to overcome hurdles.Harold didn't go to college, but he recognized early on that the days of making a good living with just a high school diploma were disappearing.But Harold wasn't blind to life's hard realities. For some families, the promise of college is financially out of reach.With the Alfond College Challenge that he established, the dream is a little closer.The Challenge provides a $500 dollar education grant to every child born in Maine that will help them start a college savings account.It began last week in Augusta and will expand statewide in 2009. And no, you don't have to name your first child Harold.Working through the Finance Authority of Maine and in cooperation with Maine's hospitals, families in this State will have been given a head start on higher education.In his book, Harold wrote that he hoped to retire 10 years after he passed away. He was serious and Maine will be a much better place because of it.Harold's son, Bill Alfond, and his wife, is in the gallery tonight. Please stand and be recognized by the Chamber.Last year, the Legislature overwhelmingly approved Opportunity Maine, a tax credit program that will help students overcome college debt if they live and work in the State after graduation.With these tax credits, we will keep more of our home-grown graduates here, and open the door of opportunity for the next generation of Maine entrepreneurs and leaders.My friends, I am filled with hope. We are taking the steps necessary to grow our economy and improve the lives of the people of Maine.We are streamlining government and cutting administration.And we're controlling spending.We are investing in education and innovation so our children and families can succeed here in our state.We are helping increase incomes by creating good jobs with good benefits.That's the roadmap that gets Maine where it needs to be.This year, the Legislature will be called upon to take bold action, to protect the gains that have been made and to push forward on the reforms that will guide State government into the future.We must ask ourselves: What do we want State government to do? What is fundamental to the health and welfare of our people?We cannot be content with a legacy of work undone.We owe it to our children, and we owe it to our State.That is our task. That is our duty.God Bless you and God Bless the State of Maine. Thank you. Good night.
August 07 2013

State of the State Address 2008 Part H
Governor John E. Baldacci State of the State January 9, 2008 Madam President, Mr. Speaker, Madam Chief Justice, members of the Legislature, members of the Cabinet, distinguished guests and my fellow citizens:We come together tonight as Maine stands on the verge of a new era.The choices we make in the coming days will help to define who we are as a State, and what we hope to become.I will not splash varnish on the hard truths before us.Home heating oil and gasoline prices are at record highs. Winter, just a few weeks old, has already shown its teeth.The national economy is struggling under the weight of declining home values.State revenues are not immune from the national condition and are falling short of expectations by $95 million dollars. We are forced to make hard decisions and set priorities. And we remain a country at war, with men and women called to duty in far-off and dangerous lands. Every word I have spoken is the inescapable truth. But there's more to Maine's story than those challenges we face.In the five years since I first addressed you as Governor, much has changed in Maine.Today I am proud to say that we are better prepared and more able to weather economic storms.You, my friends, have done much of the hard work. You have not only balanced budgets, and demanded efficiencies. You've also come together - often in a spirit of bipartisanship -- to solve problems.Five years ago, we faced a $1.2 billion dollar budget gap. Our financial reserves were gone.The State was borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars just to keep the lights on. Our credit rating was headed down.Those days are gone - hopefully banished forever.Today, we have rebuilt our reserves to almost $160 million dollars, and no longer take out payday loans to keep government open.We have closed that budget gap and by the end of next year we will have invested more than $1 billion new State dollars in local education.And we have done it all without raising the sales tax or income tax.I want to repeat that, because it's something the entire State should be proud of.We have invested more than $1 billion new dollars in local education, rebuilt our reserves and stopped short-term borrowing. Standard and Poor's has raised our financial rating.All without raising the sales or income tax.That, my friends, is an accomplishment.It has put us in a position of strength to deal with a fickle national economy.Tonight, standing before you and with full knowledge of the challenges we face, I report that the State of this State is strong and determined to meet the future head on.The revenue downturn we face in the two-year budget is a serious challenge that demands action.On Dec. 18, I issued an executive order that reduced State spending by $38 million dollars for the rest of this fiscal year.The Constitution of Maine requires the governor to ensure the State budget is balanced. Every part of State government was called upon to make recommendations on how to reduce spending while maintaining their core missions.I understand that these decisions touch real lives.The cuts were not easy, but we are moving forward in a way that makes sure that we can protect our most vulnerable citizens while also meeting my Constitutional duty. On that point, according to the Kaiser Foundation, Maine ranks first among the States in Medicaid spending for children, second in Medicaid spending for adults and fifth in Medicaid spending for the disabled.Overall, according to Kaiser, Maine spends more per Medicaid enrollee than any other State.So, tomorrow, when I unveil the details of my revisions to the two-year budget I can promise you this:We will not pull the safety net out from under our most vulnerable citizens.We will not take from our financial reserves to balance the budget.And we will not increase taxes.If we are to have the resources to invest in higher education, economic development and universal health care, we cannot continue to spend millions on systems built in the 1950s. We must transform government at all levels. We must strengthen it to meet the demands of a new age. And we must prioritize our spending.Government has an important role to play, but it cannot be all things to all people.At the same time, beware of quick fixes and people who promise gain without change. They sell a bill of goods layered in promises that cannot be kept.They say: You can have it all. The decisions aren't difficult.We all know that's not true. The decisions ARE difficult.We've made them and will continue to make them.Since taking office in 2003, we have reduced the rolls of State government by more than 600 jobs. We have merged two major State departments, eliminating a commissioner, deputy commissioners; And we have centralized back-office and administrative functions in all State departments. In just the first two years, that saved $11.5 million dollars.It's not the stuff of headlines. It's good government, and it's done.Last year, the Legislature passed a truly historic reform of local education.The new law reduces the number of school administrative units from 290 to 80.School administrative units: That's a mouth full. It sounds very government-like, very bureaucratic.That's because it is.And that's the problem. Since the early 80s, the number of students in Maine has declined by almost 40,000 and is expected to decline by 20,000 more in the next five years. During the same time, the number of school administrators has increased by 400. For 50 years, we have done the same old thing, the same old way, and it hasn't produced the excellence and results that we need.It's not sustainable and drains resources from students and teachers. Now we are on our way to a new structure that will better serve our people. It will save taxpayers money and provide a better education for our children. Legislation introduced this year and already approved by the Education Committee will further strengthen the new law.Even so, the fighting around it has not stopped.We cannot return to the dysfunction of the past. In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt talked about the tendency of government to fall victim to inertia and to retreat from important gains when put under pressure by powerful special interests."Shall we pause now and turn our back upon the road that lies ahead?," he asked. "Shall we call this the promised land? Or, shall we continue on our way?"As President Roosevelt knew then and the people of Maine know today, progress and growth are in front of us, not in the past.As President Roosevelt said then, "We will carry on."In August, we began a conversation about the way we treat inmates in our prisons and county jails and about the financial hardships created by our current, fragmented system.It is bad for taxpayers and bad for mentally ill and drug-addicted prisoners who do not get the care they need to break the cycle of crime.It must change.Tomorrow I will submit legislation to unify the state prison system with the 15 county jail administrations.The plan has evolved from when we first began talking about it. We have listened to concerns from counties. And we have made changes to improve our plan.I would like to say tonight that all the differences between the counties and the State have been resolved. They haven't.But I can say that progress has been made. Sheriffs and commissioners have come a long way from the starting point, and so have we. I believe that common ground is still possible. And I believe a solution exists that will save taxpayer money and improve the treatment of the people in our care.President Lincoln wrote to Congress in 1862: "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew."You don't have to face the deepest crisis in the history of the Republic - as Lincoln did - to understand the necessity of thinking about old problems in new ways.We live in a complex world that requires government to carry an increasing load. Natural resource and environmental issues demand experts with broad experiences.In a time of declining revenues and increasing financial pressures in other areas of the budget, we can't continue funding silos that keep our experts separate and our attentions divided.It's been more than 30 years since we developed our approach to the stewardship of Maine's natural resources. In those three decades, the world has changed dramatically. There have been amazing advances in science and technology.And Maine's natural resource agencies haven't been allowed to keep up. The structure hasn't kept up pace with the changing times.Already, we've brought together those agencies' back-office staffs, accountants and IT experts. We created a single natural resource service center to do all those jobs that aren't part of the agencies core responsibilities.That's done. But we need to do more.In my budget, I will propose a process that will result in no more than two natural resources agencies, where today we have four. We will seek efficiencies and combine programs that shouldn't be separated by bureaucracies.I know that I don't have all the answers, but I do believe we can find them together.The merger process will seek input from those willing to come to the table.Our goal is to enhance the services provided to natural resource-based businesses; To increase outdoor recreation; And to improve natural resource management.We need to end the duplication in administration that stands in the way.Our efforts are not confined to a single area of government. We are looking at government at every level, and we're looking for improvement.Earlier this month, Maine selected a private company, Unisys Corporation, a nationally respected company, to fix a troubled part of the Department of Health and Human Services.For almost three years, we have struggled with a Medicaid computer system that has never lived up to expectations. It's caused countless headaches and heartaches for Maine businesses and created financial difficulties for the State.With this work, we will move on to a better way of doing business. I am also proposing a reorganization of the upper and middle management at Health and Human Services that will give my commissioner the flexibility she needs to run Maine's largest department. It will empower frontline workers, reduce from 10 to 6 the number of central offices in the agency and consolidate management at the regional level.To be successful, you must be able to adapt. We will give them that ability.But success also depends on innovation.Maine has led the country on health care reform, an innovation that matters to families and businesses alike.When the federal government passed a poorly designed Medicare drug benefit that actually hurt some senior citizens in our State, Maine stepped forward to ease the transition.When the federal government failed to deliver on affordable health care, Maine stepped forward.We will continue to step forward.In my budget, we will bring together three of the largest purchasers of health care in the State for a new initiative to save taxpayer money and provide better care to consumers.The Maine State Employees Health Commission, the University of Maine System and the Maine Education Association will join forces and put their enormous buying power to work to lower prescription drug costs.This cooperative effort will save money for thousands of workers who need medicine, for taxpayers whose dollars contribute to the system and it will increase the amount of money available to fund health care for retired teachers.More than 28,000 Mainers have been insured through our Dirigo Health program. We've extended coverage to more families and more small businesses, and we've done it in a way that has saved millions of dollars in health care spending.Last year, we were close to taking the next step with Dirigo. This year, we'll do it.I will support Legislative efforts to provide meaningful market reform that will make coverage more affordable for individuals.And I will work with the Legislature to find a new way to fund Dirigo that is less contentious and more sustainable.I believe health care is a fundamental and basic right. Every man, woman and child should be able to count on receiving the care they need when they need it.I am very pleased that the Dirigo Health Agency has contracted with a new partner, Harvard Pilgrim Health.Harvard Pilgrim is a nonprofit health plan that is consistently ranked No. 1 by consumers nationally. The company brings new and important competition to Maine's health care marketplace. I'm pleased to welcome Harvard Pilgrim to Maine, and I want to recognize in the gallery the company's CEO, Charlie Baker. We're glad you're here, and we look forward to working with you.Charlie, I ask you to rise and accept the greetings of the Chamber. When I think about what matters most to me, and to the people I meet when I travel around the State, it's not the ins and outs of a particular policy. It's not the details that we will wring our hands over from now until April.What matters most is more basic. It's family and friends. Tonight, as I speak to you, Maine has 102 members of the National Guard deployed overseas.Soon, more men and women will be joining them.This month 130 members of the 126th Aviation Regiment from Bangor will go to Iraq for the second time. These men and women save lives by putting their own at risk; they fly into danger to rescue other soldiers.Another 16-person team of National Guard Soldiers will also leave this month for Afghanistan to train that country's military.They deserve our appreciation; they deserve our support. Please join me in saluting their service and sacrifice by recognizing Major Brian Veneziano, the commander of the 126th. Please rise and accept the greetings of the Chamber.These brave men and women want the same things as you and I: A good job with benefits, a college education for their kids, and to know that their families are nearby and secure.Family is the most important thing.Yesterday, my wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. It has been an amazing journey.You could not have a first lady more committed to Maine's children, to education and to the State. She is a tireless advocate for literacy, and promotes Maine wherever she goes. I'd like to ask Karen to stand and be recognized by the Chamber.My family's not that much different than a lot of others in Maine.We have our family discussions, agreements and disagreements.But I have never lost sight of what it means to work hard and still struggle to pay the bills.I have met countless men and women who play by the rules, go to work everyday and still can't seem to get ahead.In 1965, President Johnson understood the great divide in our country and spoke about it.He said: "In a land of great wealth, families must not live in hopeless poverty. In a land rich in harvest, children must not go hungry. In a land of healing miracles, neighbors must not suffer and die unattended."If President Johnson were speaking today and lived in Maine, I think he would have added at least one more line:In a land of technology, science and abundant natural resources, no family should go to bed wondering if their fuel oil will last until morning, worried that they will wake up cold.I know families and businesses are struggling with high energy costs.I have talked to the truck drivers and small business owners who are being pushed to the brink.And I have heard the call for help.We will answer that call. My administration began working on this problem when the weather was still warm and before oil topped out at $100 dollar a barrel.Working with the United Way, Eastern Maine Funders and the Maine Community Action Agencies, the Keep Maine Warm Fund has raised more than $1 million dollars to provide emergency fuel assistance.The effort is gaining momentum. I am pleased to announce tonight that LL Bean will be making a contribution of $250,000 to the Keep Maine Warm Fund, joining such organizations as Irving Oil, The Libra Foundation, The Fisher Foundation, Wright Express, Maine Bank and Trust, and TD Banknorth.I'd like to thank Leon Gorman, LL Bean's chairman, for his company's efforts. Please stand Leon, and accept the greetings of the Chamber.The Fund is an example of Mainers taking care of Mainers.I know not everyone is able, but I'd ask those of you who can to join the effort to Keep Maine Warm by making a charitable contribution to this very worthy cause.Working closely with Maine's Congressional Delegation, we will continue to put pressure on Washington to release funding for energy assistance. The money's there; and we need to put it to work.I have signed an executive order making it easier for companies to make small fuel deliveries to families in need.I have sought relief for truck drivers devastated by high diesel costs. During this session, I will submit legislation to help safeguard the forest products industry, which has been particularly hard hit and is so important to our rural economy.We are doing what we can for as many people as we can. And those efforts will not cease.For too long, our country and our state have been dependent on costly foreign oil. Eighty percent of Maine's homes are reliant on oil for heat. As prices have risen, we have sent billions of dollars out of state to pay for it. Money that otherwise would have remained with the families and businesses in Maine. We must move forward aggressively to heat our homes with resources we have or can make right here.We have made great strides in the development of wind energy. We cannot be shy about new projects. We will rewrite the rulebook to make wind power development easier without compromising our environment.Maine has tremendous potential for wind power. Already $2 billion worth of investments have been approved or are awaiting consideration. And an equal amount is being explored.Just last week a new project on Stetson Mountain won approval. We can harness the tremendous power of the wind and tides to power our industries and light our homes.And we are also working closely with Maine's Native American Tribes to support and promote alternative energy projects.The future rests within reach, and we must seize it.Tonight, I am announcing a "Wood-to-Energy Initiative" to bring Maine-made sources of heat to the homes and businesses of Maine. This partnership will bring together the public and private sectors to explore what is possible and what is practical. I have asked Maine entrepreneur Les Otten, who is here tonight, to bring together business leaders and our Department of Conservation to lead my Administration's efforts on a conversion initiative that will use our forests and natural resources to relieve consumption of nonrenewable oil. As a first step in this Initiative, my Administration will pursue a transition to biofuels such as wood pellets and wood chips. We will identify those state buildings where conversion to wood pellets, wind or other renewable sources of energy can reduce costs by 30 to 50 percent.This not only saves money for Maine taxpayers, it generates the investment and business activity to grow Maine's economy.The lessons learned from these demonstration projects will be made available to every home owner and business in Maine. As part of this Initiative, we will identify and promote the financial tools to enable Maine homeowners and small businesses to move away from their reliance on costly foreign oil. We can encourage the alternative energy industry in way that benefits Maine without disadvantaging existing businesses reliant on wood for other products. We are already working on a collaborative effort with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia that will take stock in our natural resources and develop new technologies and new market opportunities.We should look to our Canadian neighbors for new partnerships that can reduce the cost of electricity in Maine and help us to better understand the energy potential of our forests.In this energy crisis, we will develop renewable sources of energy made in Maine, by Maine businesses for Maine people.I was still a young boy when President Kennedy was elected in 1960. My father served as a delegate for him at the national convention. Kennedy's words still hold power today.He said: "The dynamic of democracy is the power and the purpose of the individual, and the policy of this administration is to give to the individual the opportunity to realize his or her own highest possibilities."It's an ideal that helps guide us today. Through our workforce training initiatives, investments in research and development, and Pine Tree Economic Development Zones, we want to enhance the power of the private sector to create good jobs with good benefits.Between November 2006 and November 2007, Maine's economy created 4,400 new jobs despite slow growth in New England and nationally. Since 2003, Maine's economy has created more than 24,000 new jobs.Our incomes have grown.And we've empowered our people to become entrepreneurs.According to the Kauffman Foundation, Maine ranked in the top five in 2006 for people who, for the first time, started their own new businesses. This is the spirit of Maine.In November, voters approved a $55 million dollar investment that will help those entrepreneurs develop new ideas and bring them to the market.It's the kind of investment that turns good ideas into good jobs.This significant infusion of resources would not have been possible without Karen Mills and my Council on Jobs and Innovation, which she led.Karen, thank you very much for your leadership.Our people are strong, they are resilient and they should not be underestimated.Given the chance, they can achieve great things. I know it, I've seen it. There's evidence of it in every part of Maine.In Brewer, Cianbro Corporation will be creating hundreds of new manufacturing jobs.In Lincoln, Millinocket, East Millinocket and Old Town, mills threatened with extinction are alive and successful. People are back to work.In Belfast, athenahealth, an impressive company, has created 200 new jobs with more to come. Maine was able to beat out Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York to attract this company.When Maine learned that MBNA, a major employer in the State, was merging with Bank of America, there was a lot of pessimism and worry about the future.And for good reason. There was no secret that MBNA's workforce would be reduced and that facilities would be closed.Now, with athenahealth and other new companies, we have successfully put people back to work in former MBNA facilities in Farmington, Portland, Presque Isle, Fort Kent, Rockland and now Belfast.The jobs that were lost will be grown back. And hope has replaced despair for those communities.We know we can do it.But we must redouble our efforts to spur economic development. We cannot be lulled into a posture that sees us only able to lurch from one crisis to the next.We must be prepared to stop trouble before it arrives at our doorstep. I've asked my economic development Commissioner John Richardson and Maine State Chamber of Commerce President Dana Connors to work with the Legislature to change the way we do business for business.We can better serve Maine's business community with a local and regional emphasis and greater co-ordination and partnership.We need to move our economic development efforts away from Augusta and into the communities and regions where it can do the most good.The State's top economic development priority should be to provide them with the support, resources and vision to help them accomplish their goals.We all understand the Maine economy is in a time of dramatic, even historic, change. And we all understand that our future economic success will be built upon the foundation of our people and the special qualities that define our neighborhoods, towns and our state.People are drawn to Maine. We have what they're looking for and what's missing from their everyday lives.Look at tourism, one of the bedrocks of Maine's economy. Last year alone, almost 42 million people visited our State.They come for our natural beauty, our people and our vibrant historical and cultural sites. Last year, voters showed that they understand that. They approved significant investments in conservation and in our environment. Soon, that money will be put to work.Economic prosperity demands that we invest in our workforce, in our open landscapes, and in our historic downtowns.Even now, we cannot become so focused on today that we sacrifice the investments that will make us stronger tomorrow.When I visit places like Lewiston and Auburn, Biddeford and Saco and Waterville, I see the enormous potential for redevelopment. The Hathaway Creative Center in Waterville is a prime example of what is possible.Tom Niemann is here tonight. Thank you very much.That's why I am supporting an historic rehabilitation tax credit. For a modest investment, we can attract millions of dollars worth of growth, which will bring new jobs, new revenues, affordable housing and new life to our cities and towns. It's my goal that children start school ready to learn, and graduate from college ready and able to succeed here in Maine.Early childhood was the heart of my economic Summit held in November. More than 200 Maine business and community leaders came together to understand the positive economic returns from early childhood investments.I will continue to work with those Mainers to transform the Children's Cabinet Task Force on Early Childhood into a Children's Growth Council. We can propel the powerful momentum of the Summit into our communities. Through the power of community, we can create a legacy for our children. Not long ago, Maine lost one of our most generous and inspiring leaders - speaking of children - Harold Alfond, the man who built Dexter Shoe.It's impossible to estimate Harold's impact on Maine. He has touched so many lives and so many communities with his leadership and his philanthropy.Harold challenged us all to do more, to build partnerships and to overcome hurdles.Harold didn't go to college, but he recognized early on that the days of making a good living with just a high school diploma were disappearing.But Harold wasn't blind to life's hard realities. For some families, the promise of college is financially out of reach.With the Alfond College Challenge that he established, the dream is a little closer.The Challenge provides a $500 dollar education grant to every child born in Maine that will help them start a college savings account.It began last week in Augusta and will expand statewide in 2009. And no, you don't have to name your first child Harold.Working through the Finance Authority of Maine and in cooperation with Maine's hospitals, families in this State will have been given a head start on higher education.In his book, Harold wrote that he hoped to retire 10 years after he passed away. He was serious and Maine will be a much better place because of it.Harold's son, Bill Alfond, and his wife, is in the gallery tonight. Please stand and be recognized by the Chamber.Last year, the Legislature overwhelmingly approved Opportunity Maine, a tax credit program that will help students overcome college debt if they live and work in the State after graduation.With these tax credits, we will keep more of our home-grown graduates here, and open the door of opportunity for the next generation of Maine entrepreneurs and leaders.My friends, I am filled with hope. We are taking the steps necessary to grow our economy and improve the lives of the people of Maine.We are streamlining government and cutting administration.And we're controlling spending.We are investing in education and innovation so our children and families can succeed here in our state.We are helping increase incomes by creating good jobs with good benefits.That's the roadmap that gets Maine where it needs to be.This year, the Legislature will be called upon to take bold action, to protect the gains that have been made and to push forward on the reforms that will guide State government into the future.We must ask ourselves: What do we want State government to do? What is fundamental to the health and welfare of our people?We cannot be content with a legacy of work undone.We owe it to our children, and we owe it to our State.That is our task. That is our duty.God Bless you and God Bless the State of Maine. Thank you. Good night.
August 07 2013

State of the State Address 2008 Part E
Governor John E. Baldacci State of the State January 9, 2008 Madam President, Mr. Speaker, Madam Chief Justice, members of the Legislature, members of the Cabinet, distinguished guests and my fellow citizens:We come together tonight as Maine stands on the verge of a new era.The choices we make in the coming days will help to define who we are as a State, and what we hope to become.I will not splash varnish on the hard truths before us.Home heating oil and gasoline prices are at record highs. Winter, just a few weeks old, has already shown its teeth.The national economy is struggling under the weight of declining home values.State revenues are not immune from the national condition and are falling short of expectations by $95 million dollars. We are forced to make hard decisions and set priorities. And we remain a country at war, with men and women called to duty in far-off and dangerous lands. Every word I have spoken is the inescapable truth. But there's more to Maine's story than those challenges we face.In the five years since I first addressed you as Governor, much has changed in Maine.Today I am proud to say that we are better prepared and more able to weather economic storms.You, my friends, have done much of the hard work. You have not only balanced budgets, and demanded efficiencies. You've also come together - often in a spirit of bipartisanship -- to solve problems.Five years ago, we faced a $1.2 billion dollar budget gap. Our financial reserves were gone.The State was borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars just to keep the lights on. Our credit rating was headed down.Those days are gone - hopefully banished forever.Today, we have rebuilt our reserves to almost $160 million dollars, and no longer take out payday loans to keep government open.We have closed that budget gap and by the end of next year we will have invested more than $1 billion new State dollars in local education.And we have done it all without raising the sales tax or income tax.I want to repeat that, because it's something the entire State should be proud of.We have invested more than $1 billion new dollars in local education, rebuilt our reserves and stopped short-term borrowing. Standard and Poor's has raised our financial rating.All without raising the sales or income tax.That, my friends, is an accomplishment.It has put us in a position of strength to deal with a fickle national economy.Tonight, standing before you and with full knowledge of the challenges we face, I report that the State of this State is strong and determined to meet the future head on.The revenue downturn we face in the two-year budget is a serious challenge that demands action.On Dec. 18, I issued an executive order that reduced State spending by $38 million dollars for the rest of this fiscal year.The Constitution of Maine requires the governor to ensure the State budget is balanced. Every part of State government was called upon to make recommendations on how to reduce spending while maintaining their core missions.I understand that these decisions touch real lives.The cuts were not easy, but we are moving forward in a way that makes sure that we can protect our most vulnerable citizens while also meeting my Constitutional duty. On that point, according to the Kaiser Foundation, Maine ranks first among the States in Medicaid spending for children, second in Medicaid spending for adults and fifth in Medicaid spending for the disabled.Overall, according to Kaiser, Maine spends more per Medicaid enrollee than any other State.So, tomorrow, when I unveil the details of my revisions to the two-year budget I can promise you this:We will not pull the safety net out from under our most vulnerable citizens.We will not take from our financial reserves to balance the budget.And we will not increase taxes.If we are to have the resources to invest in higher education, economic development and universal health care, we cannot continue to spend millions on systems built in the 1950s. We must transform government at all levels. We must strengthen it to meet the demands of a new age. And we must prioritize our spending.Government has an important role to play, but it cannot be all things to all people.At the same time, beware of quick fixes and people who promise gain without change. They sell a bill of goods layered in promises that cannot be kept.They say: You can have it all. The decisions aren't difficult.We all know that's not true. The decisions ARE difficult.We've made them and will continue to make them.Since taking office in 2003, we have reduced the rolls of State government by more than 600 jobs. We have merged two major State departments, eliminating a commissioner, deputy commissioners; And we have centralized back-office and administrative functions in all State departments. In just the first two years, that saved $11.5 million dollars.It's not the stuff of headlines. It's good government, and it's done.Last year, the Legislature passed a truly historic reform of local education.The new law reduces the number of school administrative units from 290 to 80.School administrative units: That's a mouth full. It sounds very government-like, very bureaucratic.That's because it is.And that's the problem. Since the early 80s, the number of students in Maine has declined by almost 40,000 and is expected to decline by 20,000 more in the next five years. During the same time, the number of school administrators has increased by 400. For 50 years, we have done the same old thing, the same old way, and it hasn't produced the excellence and results that we need.It's not sustainable and drains resources from students and teachers. Now we are on our way to a new structure that will better serve our people. It will save taxpayers money and provide a better education for our children. Legislation introduced this year and already approved by the Education Committee will further strengthen the new law.Even so, the fighting around it has not stopped.We cannot return to the dysfunction of the past. In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt talked about the tendency of government to fall victim to inertia and to retreat from important gains when put under pressure by powerful special interests."Shall we pause now and turn our back upon the road that lies ahead?," he asked. "Shall we call this the promised land? Or, shall we continue on our way?"As President Roosevelt knew then and the people of Maine know today, progress and growth are in front of us, not in the past.As President Roosevelt said then, "We will carry on."In August, we began a conversation about the way we treat inmates in our prisons and county jails and about the financial hardships created by our current, fragmented system.It is bad for taxpayers and bad for mentally ill and drug-addicted prisoners who do not get the care they need to break the cycle of crime.It must change.Tomorrow I will submit legislation to unify the state prison system with the 15 county jail administrations.The plan has evolved from when we first began talking about it. We have listened to concerns from counties. And we have made changes to improve our plan.I would like to say tonight that all the differences between the counties and the State have been resolved. They haven't.But I can say that progress has been made. Sheriffs and commissioners have come a long way from the starting point, and so have we. I believe that common ground is still possible. And I believe a solution exists that will save taxpayer money and improve the treatment of the people in our care.President Lincoln wrote to Congress in 1862: "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew."You don't have to face the deepest crisis in the history of the Republic - as Lincoln did - to understand the necessity of thinking about old problems in new ways.We live in a complex world that requires government to carry an increasing load. Natural resource and environmental issues demand experts with broad experiences.In a time of declining revenues and increasing financial pressures in other areas of the budget, we can't continue funding silos that keep our experts separate and our attentions divided.It's been more than 30 years since we developed our approach to the stewardship of Maine's natural resources. In those three decades, the world has changed dramatically. There have been amazing advances in science and technology.And Maine's natural resource agencies haven't been allowed to keep up. The structure hasn't kept up pace with the changing times.Already, we've brought together those agencies' back-office staffs, accountants and IT experts. We created a single natural resource service center to do all those jobs that aren't part of the agencies core responsibilities.That's done. But we need to do more.In my budget, I will propose a process that will result in no more than two natural resources agencies, where today we have four. We will seek efficiencies and combine programs that shouldn't be separated by bureaucracies.I know that I don't have all the answers, but I do believe we can find them together.The merger process will seek input from those willing to come to the table.Our goal is to enhance the services provided to natural resource-based businesses; To increase outdoor recreation; And to improve natural resource management.We need to end the duplication in administration that stands in the way.Our efforts are not confined to a single area of government. We are looking at government at every level, and we're looking for improvement.Earlier this month, Maine selected a private company, Unisys Corporation, a nationally respected company, to fix a troubled part of the Department of Health and Human Services.For almost three years, we have struggled with a Medicaid computer system that has never lived up to expectations. It's caused countless headaches and heartaches for Maine businesses and created financial difficulties for the State.With this work, we will move on to a better way of doing business. I am also proposing a reorganization of the upper and middle management at Health and Human Services that will give my commissioner the flexibility she needs to run Maine's largest department. It will empower frontline workers, reduce from 10 to 6 the number of central offices in the agency and consolidate management at the regional level.To be successful, you must be able to adapt. We will give them that ability.But success also depends on innovation.Maine has led the country on health care reform, an innovation that matters to families and businesses alike.When the federal government passed a poorly designed Medicare drug benefit that actually hurt some senior citizens in our State, Maine stepped forward to ease the transition.When the federal government failed to deliver on affordable health care, Maine stepped forward.We will continue to step forward.In my budget, we will bring together three of the largest purchasers of health care in the State for a new initiative to save taxpayer money and provide better care to consumers.The Maine State Employees Health Commission, the University of Maine System and the Maine Education Association will join forces and put their enormous buying power to work to lower prescription drug costs.This cooperative effort will save money for thousands of workers who need medicine, for taxpayers whose dollars contribute to the system and it will increase the amount of money available to fund health care for retired teachers.More than 28,000 Mainers have been insured through our Dirigo Health program. We've extended coverage to more families and more small businesses, and we've done it in a way that has saved millions of dollars in health care spending.Last year, we were close to taking the next step with Dirigo. This year, we'll do it.I will support Legislative efforts to provide meaningful market reform that will make coverage more affordable for individuals.And I will work with the Legislature to find a new way to fund Dirigo that is less contentious and more sustainable.I believe health care is a fundamental and basic right. Every man, woman and child should be able to count on receiving the care they need when they need it.I am very pleased that the Dirigo Health Agency has contracted with a new partner, Harvard Pilgrim Health.Harvard Pilgrim is a nonprofit health plan that is consistently ranked No. 1 by consumers nationally. The company brings new and important competition to Maine's health care marketplace. I'm pleased to welcome Harvard Pilgrim to Maine, and I want to recognize in the gallery the company's CEO, Charlie Baker. We're glad you're here, and we look forward to working with you.Charlie, I ask you to rise and accept the greetings of the Chamber. When I think about what matters most to me, and to the people I meet when I travel around the State, it's not the ins and outs of a particular policy. It's not the details that we will wring our hands over from now until April.What matters most is more basic. It's family and friends. Tonight, as I speak to you, Maine has 102 members of the National Guard deployed overseas.Soon, more men and women will be joining them.This month 130 members of the 126th Aviation Regiment from Bangor will go to Iraq for the second time. These men and women save lives by putting their own at risk; they fly into danger to rescue other soldiers.Another 16-person team of National Guard Soldiers will also leave this month for Afghanistan to train that country's military.They deserve our appreciation; they deserve our support. Please join me in saluting their service and sacrifice by recognizing Major Brian Veneziano, the commander of the 126th. Please rise and accept the greetings of the Chamber.These brave men and women want the same things as you and I: A good job with benefits, a college education for their kids, and to know that their families are nearby and secure.Family is the most important thing.Yesterday, my wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. It has been an amazing journey.You could not have a first lady more committed to Maine's children, to education and to the State. She is a tireless advocate for literacy, and promotes Maine wherever she goes. I'd like to ask Karen to stand and be recognized by the Chamber.My family's not that much different than a lot of others in Maine.We have our family discussions, agreements and disagreements.But I have never lost sight of what it means to work hard and still struggle to pay the bills.I have met countless men and women who play by the rules, go to work everyday and still can't seem to get ahead.In 1965, President Johnson understood the great divide in our country and spoke about it.He said: "In a land of great wealth, families must not live in hopeless poverty. In a land rich in harvest, children must not go hungry. In a land of healing miracles, neighbors must not suffer and die unattended."If President Johnson were speaking today and lived in Maine, I think he would have added at least one more line:In a land of technology, science and abundant natural resources, no family should go to bed wondering if their fuel oil will last until morning, worried that they will wake up cold.I know families and businesses are struggling with high energy costs.I have talked to the truck drivers and small business owners who are being pushed to the brink.And I have heard the call for help.We will answer that call. My administration began working on this problem when the weather was still warm and before oil topped out at $100 dollar a barrel.Working with the United Way, Eastern Maine Funders and the Maine Community Action Agencies, the Keep Maine Warm Fund has raised more than $1 million dollars to provide emergency fuel assistance.The effort is gaining momentum. I am pleased to announce tonight that LL Bean will be making a contribution of $250,000 to the Keep Maine Warm Fund, joining such organizations as Irving Oil, The Libra Foundation, The Fisher Foundation, Wright Express, Maine Bank and Trust, and TD Banknorth.I'd like to thank Leon Gorman, LL Bean's chairman, for his company's efforts. Please stand Leon, and accept the greetings of the Chamber.The Fund is an example of Mainers taking care of Mainers.I know not everyone is able, but I'd ask those of you who can to join the effort to Keep Maine Warm by making a charitable contribution to this very worthy cause.Working closely with Maine's Congressional Delegation, we will continue to put pressure on Washington to release funding for energy assistance. The money's there; and we need to put it to work.I have signed an executive order making it easier for companies to make small fuel deliveries to families in need.I have sought relief for truck drivers devastated by high diesel costs. During this session, I will submit legislation to help safeguard the forest products industry, which has been particularly hard hit and is so important to our rural economy.We are doing what we can for as many people as we can. And those efforts will not cease.For too long, our country and our state have been dependent on costly foreign oil. Eighty percent of Maine's homes are reliant on oil for heat. As prices have risen, we have sent billions of dollars out of state to pay for it. Money that otherwise would have remained with the families and businesses in Maine. We must move forward aggressively to heat our homes with resources we have or can make right here.We have made great strides in the development of wind energy. We cannot be shy about new projects. We will rewrite the rulebook to make wind power development easier without compromising our environment.Maine has tremendous potential for wind power. Already $2 billion worth of investments have been approved or are awaiting consideration. And an equal amount is being explored.Just last week a new project on Stetson Mountain won approval. We can harness the tremendous power of the wind and tides to power our industries and light our homes.And we are also working closely with Maine's Native American Tribes to support and promote alternative energy projects.The future rests within reach, and we must seize it.Tonight, I am announcing a "Wood-to-Energy Initiative" to bring Maine-made sources of heat to the homes and businesses of Maine. This partnership will bring together the public and private sectors to explore what is possible and what is practical. I have asked Maine entrepreneur Les Otten, who is here tonight, to bring together business leaders and our Department of Conservation to lead my Administration's efforts on a conversion initiative that will use our forests and natural resources to relieve consumption of nonrenewable oil. As a first step in this Initiative, my Administration will pursue a transition to biofuels such as wood pellets and wood chips. We will identify those state buildings where conversion to wood pellets, wind or other renewable sources of energy can reduce costs by 30 to 50 percent.This not only saves money for Maine taxpayers, it generates the investment and business activity to grow Maine's economy.The lessons learned from these demonstration projects will be made available to every home owner and business in Maine. As part of this Initiative, we will identify and promote the financial tools to enable Maine homeowners and small businesses to move away from their reliance on costly foreign oil. We can encourage the alternative energy industry in way that benefits Maine without disadvantaging existing businesses reliant on wood for other products. We are already working on a collaborative effort with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia that will take stock in our natural resources and develop new technologies and new market opportunities.We should look to our Canadian neighbors for new partnerships that can reduce the cost of electricity in Maine and help us to better understand the energy potential of our forests.In this energy crisis, we will develop renewable sources of energy made in Maine, by Maine businesses for Maine people.I was still a young boy when President Kennedy was elected in 1960. My father served as a delegate for him at the national convention. Kennedy's words still hold power today.He said: "The dynamic of democracy is the power and the purpose of the individual, and the policy of this administration is to give to the individual the opportunity to realize his or her own highest possibilities."It's an ideal that helps guide us today. Through our workforce training initiatives, investments in research and development, and Pine Tree Economic Development Zones, we want to enhance the power of the private sector to create good jobs with good benefits.Between November 2006 and November 2007, Maine's economy created 4,400 new jobs despite slow growth in New England and nationally. Since 2003, Maine's economy has created more than 24,000 new jobs.Our incomes have grown.And we've empowered our people to become entrepreneurs.According to the Kauffman Foundation, Maine ranked in the top five in 2006 for people who, for the first time, started their own new businesses. This is the spirit of Maine.In November, voters approved a $55 million dollar investment that will help those entrepreneurs develop new ideas and bring them to the market.It's the kind of investment that turns good ideas into good jobs.This significant infusion of resources would not have been possible without Karen Mills and my Council on Jobs and Innovation, which she led.Karen, thank you very much for your leadership.Our people are strong, they are resilient and they should not be underestimated.Given the chance, they can achieve great things. I know it, I've seen it. There's evidence of it in every part of Maine.In Brewer, Cianbro Corporation will be creating hundreds of new manufacturing jobs.In Lincoln, Millinocket, East Millinocket and Old Town, mills threatened with extinction are alive and successful. People are back to work.In Belfast, athenahealth, an impressive company, has created 200 new jobs with more to come. Maine was able to beat out Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York to attract this company.When Maine learned that MBNA, a major employer in the State, was merging with Bank of America, there was a lot of pessimism and worry about the future.And for good reason. There was no secret that MBNA's workforce would be reduced and that facilities would be closed.Now, with athenahealth and other new companies, we have successfully put people back to work in former MBNA facilities in Farmington, Portland, Presque Isle, Fort Kent, Rockland and now Belfast.The jobs that were lost will be grown back. And hope has replaced despair for those communities.We know we can do it.But we must redouble our efforts to spur economic development. We cannot be lulled into a posture that sees us only able to lurch from one crisis to the next.We must be prepared to stop trouble before it arrives at our doorstep. I've asked my economic development Commissioner John Richardson and Maine State Chamber of Commerce President Dana Connors to work with the Legislature to change the way we do business for business.We can better serve Maine's business community with a local and regional emphasis and greater co-ordination and partnership.We need to move our economic development efforts away from Augusta and into the communities and regions where it can do the most good.The State's top economic development priority should be to provide them with the support, resources and vision to help them accomplish their goals.We all understand the Maine economy is in a time of dramatic, even historic, change. And we all understand that our future economic success will be built upon the foundation of our people and the special qualities that define our neighborhoods, towns and our state.People are drawn to Maine. We have what they're looking for and what's missing from their everyday lives.Look at tourism, one of the bedrocks of Maine's economy. Last year alone, almost 42 million people visited our State.They come for our natural beauty, our people and our vibrant historical and cultural sites. Last year, voters showed that they understand that. They approved significant investments in conservation and in our environment. Soon, that money will be put to work.Economic prosperity demands that we invest in our workforce, in our open landscapes, and in our historic downtowns.Even now, we cannot become so focused on today that we sacrifice the investments that will make us stronger tomorrow.When I visit places like Lewiston and Auburn, Biddeford and Saco and Waterville, I see the enormous potential for redevelopment. The Hathaway Creative Center in Waterville is a prime example of what is possible.Tom Niemann is here tonight. Thank you very much.That's why I am supporting an historic rehabilitation tax credit. For a modest investment, we can attract millions of dollars worth of growth, which will bring new jobs, new revenues, affordable housing and new life to our cities and towns. It's my goal that children start school ready to learn, and graduate from college ready and able to succeed here in Maine.Early childhood was the heart of my economic Summit held in November. More than 200 Maine business and community leaders came together to understand the positive economic returns from early childhood investments.I will continue to work with those Mainers to transform the Children's Cabinet Task Force on Early Childhood into a Children's Growth Council. We can propel the powerful momentum of the Summit into our communities. Through the power of community, we can create a legacy for our children. Not long ago, Maine lost one of our most generous and inspiring leaders - speaking of children - Harold Alfond, the man who built Dexter Shoe.It's impossible to estimate Harold's impact on Maine. He has touched so many lives and so many communities with his leadership and his philanthropy.Harold challenged us all to do more, to build partnerships and to overcome hurdles.Harold didn't go to college, but he recognized early on that the days of making a good living with just a high school diploma were disappearing.But Harold wasn't blind to life's hard realities. For some families, the promise of college is financially out of reach.With the Alfond College Challenge that he established, the dream is a little closer.The Challenge provides a $500 dollar education grant to every child born in Maine that will help them start a college savings account.It began last week in Augusta and will expand statewide in 2009. And no, you don't have to name your first child Harold.Working through the Finance Authority of Maine and in cooperation with Maine's hospitals, families in this State will have been given a head start on higher education.In his book, Harold wrote that he hoped to retire 10 years after he passed away. He was serious and Maine will be a much better place because of it.Harold's son, Bill Alfond, and his wife, is in the gallery tonight. Please stand and be recognized by the Chamber.Last year, the Legislature overwhelmingly approved Opportunity Maine, a tax credit program that will help students overcome college debt if they live and work in the State after graduation.With these tax credits, we will keep more of our home-grown graduates here, and open the door of opportunity for the next generation of Maine entrepreneurs and leaders.My friends, I am filled with hope. We are taking the steps necessary to grow our economy and improve the lives of the people of Maine.We are streamlining government and cutting administration.And we're controlling spending.We are investing in education and innovation so our children and families can succeed here in our state.We are helping increase incomes by creating good jobs with good benefits.That's the roadmap that gets Maine where it needs to be.This year, the Legislature will be called upon to take bold action, to protect the gains that have been made and to push forward on the reforms that will guide State government into the future.We must ask ourselves: What do we want State government to do? What is fundamental to the health and welfare of our people?We cannot be content with a legacy of work undone.We owe it to our children, and we owe it to our State.That is our task. That is our duty.God Bless you and God Bless the State of Maine. Thank you. Good night.
August 07 2013

High school students attend Engineering Leadership Camp
by ANNISE CELANO Reporter Sixty-five ninth- and 10th-grade students from high schools across Erie and Niagara counties were challenged to think outside the box during their time at the University at Buffalo-National Grid Engineering Leadership Camp.read more
August 07 2013

08-60557-6-dd Gerald E. Marshall and Diana L. Marshall
Type: bk Office: 6 Chapter: 13 Trustee: Swimelar, Mark W. [BNC Certificate of Mailing] (<a href='https://ecf.nynb.uscourts.gov/doc1/124012629004?pdf_header=&de_seq_num=222&caseid=283477'>48</a>)
August 07 2013

Westchester Business Council to hold county exec debate Oct. 2
The Business Council of Westchester will hold a debate between Republican County Executive Rob Astorino and his Democratic challenger, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, Oct. 2 in White Plains. Lee Miringoff of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion will moderate the debate from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Reckson Metro Center,... Read More →The post Westchester Business Council to hold county exec debate Oct. 2 appeared first on White Plains and Valhalla.
August 07 2013

13-31247-5-mcr Richard M. Hall, III and Erin E. Hall
Type: bk Office: 5 Chapter: 7 Trustee: Woodard-Trustee, Lee E. [Reaffirmation Agreement] (<a href='https://ecf.nynb.uscourts.gov/doc1/124012628838?pdf_header=&de_seq_num=30&caseid=338909'>8</a>)
August 07 2013

Chatham Republicans select four candidates for town offices
CHATHAM – The Town of Chatham Republican Party held their public caucus on Tuesday July 23, to at the Chatham Town Hall, which was open to all residents of the town. As a result of the caucus voting, attended by approximately 20 people, mostly Republicans, the registered Republicans in attendance named four long-term town residents as candidates for various elected positions in the town: Maria Lull, currently a member of the Town Board, will be running again. Ms. Lull is a local businesswoman who has used that experience to work diligently to represent the voters of Chatham in establishing programs and policies for the effective delivery of town services. She has worked very hard with other town board members to make sure that any new ordinances, laws, regulations passed by the town are also designed to protect the property rights of town residents, as well as serve the general welfare of the town.
August 07 2013

Johnstown board OKs self-storage business expansion
JOHNSTOWN - The city Planning Board approved a self-storage business expansion project Tuesday at City Hall. The board approved a new 65-unit, climate-controlled building on the property of City Line Self Storage Inc., of 580 N. Perry St.
August 07 2013

Local security issues addressed in wake of PA shooting
The fatal shooting in Monroe County, Pennsylvania raises some questions regarding how security is being handled locally to prevent an incident like that happening here. "You know, you can't plan for everything but it is always something that is in the back of our minds and something we continuously train for," said Adam Devoe, Assistant Director, Broome County Government Security Division. In order to attend any event at the Broome County Office Building or Binghamton City Hall, everyone must go through a metal detector. Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan says this step was taken years ago in response to a previous incident similar to Monday night's. "When something like that happens, obviously people take a second look at it, we've taken that second look quite a while ago and we provide the security for our citizens," Ryan said. Despite the cost, he says it was an easy decision. "Everything costs money, but we made the investment to make sure people who come to our meetings are safe," Ryan said. While public safety is the number one concern of all public officials, smaller municipalities, like Johnson City and Vestal that don't have metal detectors in their offices may need to reconsider security for meetings. "Yea, it's something we need to discuss and look into because of the way things are in this day and age," said Greg Deemie, Mayor of Johnson City. "We have done some preliminary discussions, I think it's time to look at it again, especially for our meetings," said John Schaffer, Vestal Town Supervisor. Both Deemie and Schaffer feel their proximity to the police department is a plus, Schaeffer also has an officer at every meeting. Our viewers on Facebook feel just as safe: Darcy Kasabian says "... I will never let someone's disability decide if my child can go to school, if my family can go to the movies, or if I want to get involved in my town meetings." Michelle Lewis adds "Of course I will still go. I'm not a coward, but the people who hurt others are cowards. we cannot let them win." Ryan agrees, urging people to continue to come to meetings. "If they want to come and participate which we encourage, we hope this won't deter them because we do have the security to protect them," Ryan said.
August 07 2013

Hot Air Balloons Take To The Skies
The Hot Air Balloon Rally is a huge part of the Spiedie Fest. Although the weather didn't cooperate for Friday night's launching, it did for Saturday morning's and evening's launches. Over thirty five hot air balloons with various designs were dotting the skies above the Southern Tier. If you're the adventurous type and think you would like to take a ride in one of the balloons that will cost you two hundred twenty five dollars. But most of those who came out to Otsiningo Park were happy just watching from the ground. However the balloon's crew members told Fox 40 they have their own unique perspective. "I like the chase. I drive the chase truck and it's fun trying to get to the landing spot before the balloon gets there, that's the challenge. Oh, we've had a few different experiences. A balloon in the river a few years ago, that's probably the wildest one." said Robert Hamilton, member of the Chase Crew. Some of the unique balloon designs showcased Elvis as well as an elephant and peanuts.
August 07 2013

1-09-13945- Marshall D Stein and Yvonne D Stein
Type: bk Office: 1 Chapter: 13 Trustee: Mogavero, Albert J. [Motion to Dismiss Case for Failure to Make Plan Payments] (<a href='https://ecf.nywb.uscourts.gov/doc1/128012201901?pdf_header=&de_seq_num=199&caseid=240991'>59</a>)
August 07 2013

Winifred Jane Gordon
WHITEHALL and QUEENSBURY -- Winifred Jane Gordon, 85, of Queensbury and formerly of Whitehall, passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, at the Indian River Nursing Home in Granville, N.Y.
August 06 2013

Bridge/Culvert issues cropping up in villages, pitting municipalities against one anothe
In the Village of Lancaster, a battle is under way over what is known by some as the Erie Street Bridge, just east of Court Street.But to Town of Lancaster officials, this span over Spring Creek in an industrial section of the village is known as the Erie Street Culvert.The flap, which is causing commotion in official circles on either side of Broadway, boils down to which government is responsible for fixing or rebuilding the span. Neither the town nor the village claim that responsibility.Town officials believe it is a culvert and therefore is the village’s responsibility. However, village officials say it fits the description of a bridge and is the town’s problem.And both village and town officials deny ever doing any work on this particular Erie Street span.The issue is one that is starting to crop up in many area villages that are homes to bridges and culverts. And there’s a growing debate over who is responsible for repairs, rebuilding and maintenance – especially in a hardscrabble economic environment.Defining bridges and culverts often boils down to length and width.“It could be a statewide issue,” said East Aurora Mayor Allan Kasprzak, noting that his village and the Town of Aurora have been in ongoing talks since 2011 about how to handle the deteriorating Brooklea Drive bridge over Tannery Brook. “It could affect every village and town.”Kasprzak said that if the East Aurora case goes to court - which neither side wants - it could have statewide implications. “It’s something that no one has challenged throughout the state,” he said. The Lancaster brouhaha first began in May, when village Mayor Paul M. Maute sent a letter to the town about the problem, after a sizable hole through the top of the span’s concrete deck was discovered on April 30 by police. The affected area is in the westbound travel lane of Erie Street.The trouble spot is covered with heavy steel plates and motorists have to go around it. It has reduced traffic to one lane on the bridge since spring.Informal estimates range from $35,000 for emergency repairs to $200,000 to rebuild it – before the construction season winds down and winter settles in.“Since this hole in the structure places the public at risk, it should be repaired as soon as possible. Should repairs be delayed, the defect will continue to deteriorate, making future repairs more extensive, and hence, more costly,” said a May 14 letter from Donald Gallo, consulting engineer to the village. Village officials were angered when the town and Supervisor Dino Fudoli never responded to initial correspondence in May. Since then, the Village Board has met behind closed doors on the issue, and referred it to outside legal counsel Paul Weiss, who said he has thoroughly researched the issue, prepared a presentation, and says he is ready to push the village’s argument.The two sides were planning to meet in a village-initiated work session at 5:30 p.m. today in the Village Municipal Center at Broadway and Central avenues. But Fudoli is angry the village turned it into an open meeting. As a result, the supervisor called Maute on Sunday to say town leaders would not attend the meeting. And on Tuesday, Fudoli had harsh words for village officials – particularly Weiss.“The village lied to us. We wanted a confidential meeting with the attorneys and then hash out an agreement,” Fudoli said. “This was to be a private meeting and the village made it a public spectacle. We didn’t want to be pigeonholed into something.”Fudoli said the village is playing politics, and now risks losing all support from town officials on the issue.“I think the village is broke and doesn’t have money to fix it,” Fudoli said. “But by all stretches of the imagination, it is a culvert.”But the Village Board is moving forward with the meeting. Weiss said on Tuesday that he plans to do a presentation and hold a “very congenial” session. He also said the village hand-delivered an invitation to today’s meeting to town council members and the highway superintendent.To this point, Village Board members have met in executive sessions on the issue but stated publicly that litigation is possible. Even Fudoli conceded last week during an interview that the issue “could become a legal matter.”Fudoli was adamant that the town is right in calling the Erie Street span a culvert.“Our side of it is we feel it’s a culvert. The law is clear that culverts should be paid for by villages,” he said. “Bridges have bridge identification numbers, and that culvert does not have a [number]. We’re not given authority to do anything to culverts because it’s not our property.”Town Highway Superintendent Daniel J. Amatura said it’s a shame the span languishes in its current state of disrepair.“Why inconvenience taxpayers with driving around the plates and pushing traffic to one side?” he said. “When I realized we had nothing to do with it, I let it go.”Village Public Works Superintendent William G. Cansdale said, “We’re waiting for the elected officials and attorneys to sort out responsibility and what type of repair should be made. As soon as a decision is made, a repair could be made and the lane opened up very quickly.”Meanwhile, Weiss, the attorney working for the village, said he plans to say during today’s special meeting why the village believes the Erie Street span in question is a bridge. He also says village officials are willing to listen to town officials defend the span as a culvert.“Hopefully, we’ll come to an agreement,” Weiss said. “I don’t like wasting anybody’s time. I don’t like empty talk … There’s only so much time left in the construction season, and we want to get this handled before winter.”The village also is aware of what went on in the Village of Depew last year, when culverts needed rebuilding at various locations, but were held up as the Town of Lancaster and Village of Depew differed on who was responsible for repairs to Grant Street and Olmstead Avenue spans in the village.In the end, the town authorized $1.3 million in bonds for a capital improvement project tied to the reconstruction/construction and installation of several culverts and related expenses. email: krobinson@buffnews.com
August 06 2013

Special Town Board Meeting May 2, 2013 MEDIA ADVISORY
A Special Town Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 11:30 am at Riverhead Town Hall, 200 Howell Avenue, Riverhead to take up time sensitive resolutions...
August 06 2013

New cops start training
Eight new White Plains police officers began their training this week at the Westchester County Police Academy. The rookies were sworn in by Public Safety Commissioner David Chong at a ceremony at Public Safety Headquarters on Friday. Front row, from left: Luis Muniz III, John Guastella, Douglas Giusti and Bryan... Read More →The post New cops start training appeared first on White Plains and Valhalla.
August 06 2013

Hallford v. Fox Entertainment (12-CV-1806)
Hallford v. Fox Entertainment
August 06 2013

11-11333-1-rel Corey Hall
Type: bk Office: 1 Chapter: 13 Trustee: Celli, Andrea E. [none]
August 06 2013

13-22228-rdd James Hall Campbell and Jean Marie Campbell
Type: bk Office: 7 Chapter: 11 [Auto - docket of credit card]
August 06 2013

EPA sues Westchester for failure to comply with safe drinking water act
The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed a civil lawsuit against Westchester County Tuesday over the lack of ultraviolet treatment of drinking water for some towns in county Water District 1. Lawyers with the U.S. Attorney’s office had been pushing the county... Read More →The post EPA sues Westchester for failure to comply with safe drinking water act appeared first on White Plains and Valhalla.
August 06 2013

Yorktown Purple Heart Town Proclamation Ceremony
General Date:&nbsp; Wed, Aug 7th, 2013 10:00am Location:&nbsp; Patriot Garden (Behind Town Hall), 363 Underhill Avenue, Yorktown Heights Please join Eugene Lang, Neil Gross, Dale Novak, the&nbsp;Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 21 New York, and the Town Board in a ceremony designating Yorktown as a Purple Heart Town. &nbsp;
August 06 2013

Notice of Public Hearing - “Local Law No. ___ of the Year 2013, Amending Chapter 201 of the Town
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING TOWN OF WAPPINGER NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Town Board of the Town of Wappinger will conduct a PUBLIC HEARING on the 10th day of June 2013, at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall, Town of Wappinger, 20 Middlebush Road, Wappingers Falls, New York, at which time all parties in interest and citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard as to whether the Town Board of the Town of Wappinger shall adopt a proposed Local Law entitled “Local Law No. ___ of the Year 2013, Ame
August 06 2013

Lawyer receives Rotary business ethics award
Daniel Schlanger, a lawyer who runs a legal advice project for Westchester consumers who don’t qualify for federally-funded legal services but can’t afford a private attorney, was recently presented with the White Plains Rotary’s Jim Gardner Business Ethics Award. From left: Mike Baker, Chair of the White Plains Rotary’s Jim... Read More →The post Lawyer receives Rotary business ethics award appeared first on White Plains and Valhalla.
August 06 2013

Watch live: HUD deputy secretary to discuss fair housing settlement Wednesday at 2
Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development discusses the fair housing settlement with Westchester County in an Editorial Spotlight interview at 2 p.m. Wednesday. To view the session and join the live chat, go to www.lohud.com/editorialspotlight. To make a comment in advance, reach us... Read More →The post Watch live: HUD deputy secretary to discuss fair housing settlement Wednesday at 2 appeared first on White Plains and Valhalla.
August 06 2013

Three selected for South Houston High’s Hall of Honor
Two acclaimed members of the medical community and a celebrated New York City pop artist – all South Houston High School graduates from the 1970s -- have been selected for induction in the school’s Al
August 06 2013

The White Plains Parking Department has moved
Administrative offices of the city’s Parking Department have moved to the 255 Main St. City Hall Annex, effective immediately. Payment of tickets, parking permit sales and general customer service will continue to be handled at individual municipal garage offices. Tow releases, handicapped permits and adjudication of parking summonses will still... Read More →The post The White Plains Parking Department has moved appeared first on White Plains and Valhalla.
August 06 2013

Moreau town offices to close for moving
MOREAU -- Town Hall and the town court will be closed Monday through Wednesday as the town offices move to a new complex at 351 Reynolds Road.
August 06 2013

Officials warn against Falls stunt
Barrels, jet skis, kayaks - you name it, the daring or shall we say fool-hardy have tried it all in an aim to conquer the Mighty Niagara. And most often, their efforts ended in death.
August 06 2013

John M. Jefferson Sr.
John Marshall Jefferson Sr., 55, of Morrison, Tenn., formerly of Dunkirk, died suddenly Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at Riverpark Hospital in McMinnville, Tenn. He was born Oct.
August 06 2013

5:12-cv-00694 Marshall v. Colvin
[Judgment] (<a href="https://ecf.nynd.uscourts.gov/doc1/12513144881?caseid=89608&de_seq_num=63" >19</a>)
August 06 2013

Proceedings Calendar for the Week of August 5, 2013
A partial list of civil and criminal proceedings taking place at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouses.
August 06 2013

Town Board Agenda
Dryden Town Board Meeting Dryden Town Hall 93 East Main Street Thursday, September 20, 2012 ~ 7:30 PM   Call Meeting to Order Pledge of Allegiance Roll Call Public Hearing Citizens Privilege Town Clerk B Avery Approve Meeting Minutes: 8-9-12 and 8-16-12 Highway Superintendent/Dept Of Public Works J Bush County Briefing M Robertson, M Lane Department Reports Recreation Department M Bianconi Planning Department - Verizon tower upgrade application D Kwasnowski Engineering A Sciarabba Attorney M Perkins   Unfinished Business   New Business Resolution authorizing Town Board to override tax levy cap Resolution approving application for comptroller’s permission to form YBWD Bolton Point water rate Personnel policy waiver     Committee Reports (3 minutes or less each, please) Finance Committee Stelick/Leifer Personnel Committee Stelick/Leifer Technology Committee Stelick/Leifer Emergency Services Committee Sumner/Stelick   Future Agenda Items Executive Session (if necessary)   Special Town Board Meeting October 4, 2012 at 6:30 PM Next Town Board meeting will be Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 7:30 PM
August 06 2013

Innovation Key To Small Business Success, Mayor Says
Mayor Michael Bloomberg this morning delivered remarks on the city's economic success and the challenges it will face after he leaves office, saying the key to job growth in the city is encouraging small business through innovation.
August 06 2013

BOCES gets big win in solar car challenge
At first glance, it looks like a UFO. A solar car created by students in the Ulster BOCES Career and Technical Center's Team VoltTech won six out of seven prizes and an overall best trophy against 13 other teams who competed in a national 2013 Solar Car Challenge.
August 06 2013

Asharoken residents chip in for Village Hall upgrade
Plans to build a new Asharoken Village Hall are getting a financial boost from a unique group of donors: village residents.
August 06 2013

Mount Sinai engineer to challenge councilwoman
A Republican primary in the Town of Brookhaven's 2nd Council District is in the offing now that the town's former assistant director of traffic safety Brian Lenz has announced his plan of opposing incumbent Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) on Sept.
August 06 2013

Community will mark Night Out event today
NORTH TONAWANDA – The community is invited to a free event to meet their neighbors and local police at the city’s annual Night Out event from 6 to 9 p.m. today in North Tonawanda High School, 405 Meadow Drive.“It’s a chance to meet police in a different setting and see a different side,” said Chief William R. Hall. “It’s also a chance for everybody to get out and meet each other.”The event will include free hot dogs and drinks, entertainment, car safety checks and Operation Safe Child, which provides free fingerprinting identification for children.The National Night Out program began in 1984 for communities across the country to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.
August 06 2013

Rat problem in Lancaster prompts discussion about garbage totes
The pesky rat issue in Lancaster is not going away – even though a handful of residents are speaking to the issue before the Town Board.Monday was no different, when Tobian Breidert, of Riemers Avenue, spoke strongly to the board, again demanding more action and insisting that the town consider buying garbage totes to help abate the problem, like many neighboring communities have done.Breidert and Supervisor Dino Fudoli clashed, as they did last month when she raised the issue. Breidert and Fudoli argued openly Monday about whether rats spread disease, with Breidert raising her voice and refusing to back off her point.“I don’t want you to blow me off,” said Breidert, who complained about finding rats in her backyard and under her pool.Fudoli listened but reiterated that not everyone wants garbage totes. In fact, he said he has received six letters since mid-July from people not wanting totes. “Rats chew through totes and plastic garbage cans,” Fudoli said. “The county told me that we do not meet anything ‘major’ for rats ... It is a very costly option and I’m not sure the town is willing to absorb $2 million to $3 million.”In the end, town officials seemed willing to study the issue in a committee – but refused to guarantee they’d be pushing for totes, which many kept insisting would be a huge expense for the town and its taxpayers. Furthermore, the town’s refuse contract is in place through the end of 2014, preventing the town from doing anything different between now and then.Assistant Building Inspector Scott Pease said he and top town officials met recently with Erie County officials about the rat issue and have a map of where baiting is ongoing.Pease emphasized Monday that towns that have totes in place still have rats and that totes are not a cure-all. Pease said Tonawanda still has huge problems and Amherst still is challenged with rats – despite both communities having totes. Their problems are “far worse” than Lancaster’s, he said.Pease said a dumping station on Walden Avenue could be contributing to the rat issue and warrants further examination.Pease stressed that the town is putting together a flier and educational packets for the community about rats, and already has sent letters to at least 93 residents reminding them of the requirement to secure their garbage cans with locking lids.“I’m going to educate people and go from there. This is strictly an FYI over the next few weeks,” said Pease, who has visited some of the areas where complaints have surfaced. “We’re taking it very, very seriously.”But Pease, Fudoli and some council members cautioned they will not be quick to agree to demanding totes for Lancaster taxpayers. “We’re not going to spend millions of dollars,” Pease said. “We have to take care of today and focus on neighborhoods.”email: krobinson@buffnews.com
August 06 2013

2-13-20420- Jason V. Davidson and Courtney D. Marshall
Type: bk Office: 2 Chapter: 7 Trustee: Gordon, Kenneth W. [Notice of Change of Address] (<a href='https://ecf.nywb.uscourts.gov/doc1/128012199387?pdf_header=&de_seq_num=60&caseid=267639'>18</a>)
August 06 2013

12-11696-6-dd Dancehall, LLC
Type: bk Office: 6 Chapter: 7 Trustee: Schaal-Trustee, Randy J. [Affidavit of Service] (<a href='https://ecf.nynb.uscourts.gov/doc1/124012624110?pdf_header=&de_seq_num=833&caseid=330756'>171</a>)
August 06 2013

8-12-76616-ast Julia Hall
Type: bk Office: 8 Chapter: 13 Trustee: DeRosa, Marianne [Dismissing Case with Notice of Dismissal] (<a href='https://ecf.nyeb.uscourts.gov/doc1/122016045459?pdf_header=&de_seq_num=68&caseid=378445'>14</a>)
August 06 2013

 
 

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