CROWDED SWIMMING HOLE
Popularity of Catskill swimming hole proves problematic
DENNING, N.Y. (AP) - A Catskill Mountain swimming hole is so crowded that state officials are encouraging people to swim elsewhere.
The area known as the Peekamoose Blue Hole, in Ulster County, has always been popular. But New York's Department of Environmental Conservation says crowds of people started coming in 2015 after social media and websites touted it as a top swimming hole in the nation.
The state agency is encouraging users to enjoy nearby state lands in the area about 90 miles (145 kilometers) north of New York City.
Officials also have been limiting parking, prohibiting camping and restricting hours of operation.
Pheasant chicks and dogs arrive at Erie County jail
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Inmates at the Erie County Correctional Facility are getting a flock of baby pheasants and a couple of dogs.
Sheriff Timothy Howard says 650 pheasant chicks arrived last week at the jail's Inmate Pheasant Brooding Program. Inmates raise the game birds and release them in the fall as part of a partnership with the Department of Conservation to increase the western New York pheasant population.
Howard says the jail also got two new puppies for its Pups at the Pen program. Gaston is an 18-month-old retriever mix and Dino is a 4-year-old terrier mix.
The dogs will live with inmates who will socialize and train them. At the end of training, the dogs will be available for adoption through the SPCA of Erie County.
US Sen. Charles Schumer pushes for heroin combat teams
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for federal help in the fight against opioid addiction in New York.
Schumer is asking the Drug Enforcement Agency to provide the state with one of four special heroin enforcement teams being formed to combat the problem. The four teams are specifically dedicated to counteracting heroin trafficking and are sent to states that report heroin as the highest drug threat.
The Democrat says New York's heroin overdose death rate increased by 30 percent in 2015. New data show there was an average of four overdose deaths a day in New York City alone last year. That was double the rate two years earlier. New York City also is a major distribution hub.
Overall, 24 New York counties are considered High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas.
Capitol Watch: Lawmakers work toward adjournment
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - In New York state government news, lawmakers are entering their final week of work in Albany and control of New York City schools remains the top issue.
Meanwhile, bills to protect the environment, crack down on heroin- and opioid-dealing and bar alcohol in movie theaters hang in the balance.
Another piece of high-profile legislation would extend the statute of limitations to allow molestation victims to sue for potentially decades-old abuse.
The session is scheduled to end Wednesday.
The state law giving Mayor Bill de Blasio control of his city's schools expires at the end of the month unless lawmakers vote to renew it. Last year, they extended the policy by a single year. De Blasio and other Democrats want a longer extension this year, but Senate Republicans are skeptical.
U2 concert extends summer vacation for New York district
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Students in a New York school district will squeeze an extra day out of summer vacation thanks to the rock band U2.
The band is playing a concert at New Era Field in Orchard Park on Sept. 5. That was to be the first day of class in the suburban Buffalo district.
Instead, district officials say schools will open Sept. 6 because of the expected traffic increase.
The district says on its website that the first day of school already means transportation delays as students figure out where to find their buses and drivers learn their routes. The superintendent recommended the one-day delay.
New York recommends 22 sites for historic registers
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York state is recommending 22 sites for the national and state registers of historic places.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo released the list of buildings, structures and historic sites earlier this week. The recommendations must be formally approved by state and federal historic preservation officers before they can be added to the registers.
This year's nominees reflect hundreds of years of history and can be found throughout the state.
The list includes a 19th century schoolhouse on Long Island, a colonial-era cemetery in Orange County, and a century-old fire tower in the Adirondacks.
PEOPLE-BILLIE JEAN KING
Billie Jean King praises Northwestern grads on inclusion
CHICAGO (AP) - Tennis great Billie Jean King had some good things to say about millennials in a speech to Northwestern University graduates.
King on Friday told the graduates they are "the best generation so far" when it comes to inclusion.
King was the first prominent female athlete to confirm she was gay in 1981, after her partner filed a palimony lawsuit. She also blazed a trail for gender equality by defeating Bobby Riggs in the 1973 Battle of the Sexes tennis match.
However, pay equality was a major part of her message. Although all four of the grand slam tennis tournaments have offered equal prize money for a decade, women still make less on the pro tour than men. She called on men to do their part to change that.
King was given an honorary doctorate recognizing her work on behalf of the LGBT community.
Conservationists: Imperiled Atlantic salmon decline worsens
BANGOR, Maine (AP) - An international conservation group says fewer of North America's Atlantic salmon are making it back to rivers to spawn, which bodes poorly for the future of the imperiled fish.
Atlantic salmon were once abundant in the rivers of New England and Atlantic Canada. Now they are endangered or have disappeared in parts of both areas. The salmon are born in rivers, swim to the Atlantic and return to their natal river to spawn.
The New Brunswick, Canada-based Atlantic Salmon Federation says total estimated returns of the fish to North America in 2016 was a little more than a half million salmon. That is a 27 percent decrease from the previous year.
The group says young salmon who returned to spawn earlier than others fared especially poorly last year.
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