Binghamton fire fighters responded to a 2-alarm blaze at the Ellis Brothers Furniture Store on Water Street. Area businesses have been evacuated, and Binghamton High School classes were cancelled at 10:30 this morning due to poor air quality downtown. Binghamton Police closed down Court Street from Front Street to State Street. Water Street is closed from Court to Henry streets.


38-year-old Ganesh Ramsaran will stand trial for murder in Chenango County court in September. Jury selection will start September 2, Ramsaran was arrested for 2nd degree murder for the death of his wife Jennifer, who was reported missing in December of 2012, her body was found several months later in a wooded areas in the town of Pharsalia.


State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli proposed legislation to help ensure that contractors doing business with state agencies are held to high ethical standards while performing important governmental services. The Comptroller’s proposal would establish clear nondisclosure standards for contractors in order to protect the public interest, and subject many state contractors to ethics provisions similar to those of state employees. The legislation can be accessed at osc.state.ny.us.


Changes may be coming to promote family farms being passed down to the next generation, with prohibitive costs heaped on to those who inherit a family farm. Assemblyman Bill Magee explains:


(Bill Magee)


Magee said that the price of milk paid to dairy farmers is favorable currently, demand remains high for liquid one milk as New York continues to be number 1 in production for Greek Yogurt.


Governor Cuomo announced that for the first time in 14 years, New York State would increase funding for the maximum Tuition Assistance Program award. With this increase, New York State has allocated more than $1 billion for grants and scholarships for New York students who pursue higher education at a public or private college in the State. Last year, TAP served nearly 400,000 students across the State.


New York’s education policymakers agreed to temporarily ease certification  requirements for new teachers, after a number of colleges and labor unions raised concerns about a new exam. The state Board of Regents voted to allow teaching hopefuls, who fail New York’s new teacher performance assessment, to receive their initial 5-year certification, but only if they pass a separate written exam. The eased requirements would only be in effect for those who take the exam before the end of June 2015. The board also approved the creation of a taskforce to review the handbook, review materials for the exam and recommend ways to improve it.


New York has raised the state’s maximum college tuition grant for the coming academic year to $5,165. The $165 increase is the first in 14 years. Nearly 400,000 state residents received Tuition Assistance Program awards last year. They can be used for higher education at public or independent colleges or universities in New York. In the 2012-2013 academic year, more than 372,000 New Yorkers got $931 million in tuition assistance program funds, averaging $3,049 per student.


Gun control advocates are urging New York lawmakers to require firearm owners to securely store their weapons. New Yorkers Against Gun Violence called on lawmakers to pass legislation mandating guns be stored in a safe or equipped with a gunlock. Another proposal would require all semi-automatic handguns, sold in the state, to be equipped with a device that stamps a unique code into a shell casing each time the gun is fired, making it easier for authorities to track guns used in shootings. Lawmakers passed the SAFE act, which bans the sale of many semi-automatic weapons and requires registration.

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