The man accused of intentionally hitting and killing State Trooper Christopher Skinner did not appear in court today. 60-year-old Almond Upton of Melrose, Florida waived his right to a preliminary hearing, which had been scheduled in Town of Chenango court today. Upton is charged with 1st degree murder, for allegedly hitting Trooper Skinner intentionally with his truck on I-81 last Thursday. Upton could face life in prison without parole.
While New York reports cutting power plant pollution by 40% over the past decade, the Obama administration has proposed national guidelines calling for new steep cuts over the next 15 years. The states’ Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative sets pollution caps and requires using or buying credits to exceed them; state officials welcomed the federal proposal. New York’s production of greenhouse gases is about ½ the national average per person, largely because ½ of its electricity is produced from nuclear and water power.
The first phase of the Prospect Mountain construction project is 65% finished, with the new Route 17 eastbound bridge opened to traffic last night. Dave Hamburg of the DOT Told WCDO News what lies ahead for that section over the summer months:
(Dave Hamburg 6-3-14)
Hamburg said that the project remains on schedule for completion by December 2015, it will bring I-81 traffic over a total of 6 bridges spanning the Chenango River & change the traffic pattern where the interstate meets State Route 17
New York’s highest court will consider whether municipalities can use local zoning laws to ban hydraulic fracturing to drill for natural gas. The Court of Appeals will hear arguments in 2 cases, one involving the Town of Dryden, where a midlevel appellate court concluded last year, that state mining & drilling law, doesn’t trump the authority of local governments to control land use. State officials are still studying whether to permit, limit and regulate the practice in New York.
The state Assembly has passed the Dream Act again, but the measure’s fate remains uncertain in the Senate. The bill would extend state financial aid to students in the country illegally. The Assembly passed the measure in February, only to see it go down in defeat in the Senate. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver urged opponents in the Senate to reconsider, and said there’s still time for the bill to pass before lawmakers adjourn later this month. Gov. Cuomo supports the measure and vowed to help get it passed.
State Senator Jim Seward announced senate passage of a package of legislation to provide New York’s military veterans with tax relief, expanded benefits, and special honors. Seward’s bill would exempt veteran’s organizations from paying taxes on heating fuel, currently, religious and charitable organizations are exempt from paying tax on non-highway diesel motor fuel used for heating purposes. The package of bills moves onto the Assembly for consideration.