P.M. NEWS FRIDAY 12-20-13

Governor Cuomo announced changes yesterday to the mental health situation in the southern tier, with a new plan to keep much of the existing services going, and add new services. Area Assemblyman Cliff Crouch was one of the lawmakers who opposed the initial plans to close down mental health services around the greater Binghamton area, he told WCDO News that he is pleased with this outcome:

(Cliff Crouch 12-20-13)

Crouch said that they still have to work on a plan to keep the Broome Developmental Center opened; it is scheduled to close in 2015. Details of the plans announced yesterday are available at governor.ny.gov.
Governor Cuomo signed 35 bills into law late Wednesday and vetoed 33 others, rejecting legislation that would have allowed the limited sale of sparklers and exempted small vending machine sales from tax. Cuomo signed bills expanding the number of judges serving on city court benches, increasing oversight of special-education providers; easing requirements for a business tax credit for hiring high school students; modernizing state laws that govern nonprofits; and requiring manufacturers to collect old mercury thermostats. 11 bills still need to be dealt with by Cuomo before the end of the year.
State Troopers at Troop C in Sidney arrested 45-year-old Keith Hoefer of Unadilla for unlawful possession of marihuana. The arrest resulted from a vehicle and traffic law stop on State Route 7 in Unadilla, Hoefer was found to possess 14 grams of marihuana. He was issued a ticket returnable to the Town of Unadilla Court at a later date.
Sidney village police arrested 61 year old Robert Holt of Unadilla on a charge of petty larceny. Holt is accused of taking a misplaced envlelop with $1,000 cash belonging to someone else, in the lobby of the Sidney Federal Credit Union’s Main Branch. Holt faces court action in February.
The Sidney Chamber of Commerce will send out judges tonight & through the weekend, to decide on their annual “Sprit Awards”, for the best decorated houses for the holidays. Chamber spokesperson Kerri Green explains:

(Kerri Green 12-20-13)

The Sidney Chamber held their annual Jolly Holly days Parade December 6th, as well as the annual children’s holiday party at the Sidney Library last Saturday, and this year they collected food for the food pantry during the annual parade.
Milk prices could reach $7 or $8 a gallon next year if Congress can’t pass a new farm bill. Congress is required to pass a new farm bill every five years which sets milk prices to farmers and also determines food stamp benefits. The last farm bill expired in the fall of 2012. Congress has until the end of the month to pass a new farm bill or an extension on the old one.
A lawsuit challenging the legality of the property-tax cap will be heard in state Supreme Court. The New York State United Teachers union is suing Governor Cuomo and the state Education Department over the law, saying it is unconstitutional to limit the growth in property taxes to 2% a year. This year, 98 percent of schools and 77 percent of local governments stayed under cap. For 2014, the tax cap is set at 1.6 percent, based on the current rate of inflation. The tax cap can be overridden with 60 percent of a vote of a governing board, or for schools it’s 60 percent of the public vote in May.

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