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New judge to be sworn in on NY top court

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The first openly gay member of New York state's highest court is being sworn in.

Judge Paul Feinman will formally take his place on the Court of Appeals following a ceremony Wednesday in Albany.

Feinman has been a judge for more than 20 years. He fills a vacancy created by the death of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, who was found dead in the Hudson River near her Manhattan home in April.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo nominated Feinman and has called him a "trailblazer" whose career has been dedicated to the causes of justice and fairness.

During his nomination in the state Senate lawmakers from both parties hailed Feinman's experience and called him an excellent addition to the Court of Appeals.


New York distilleries hope to create regional whiskey brand

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. (AP) - A group of upstate New York craft distilleries are banding together to release a new style of rye whiskey under the label Empire Rye.

The new regional style requires distillers to use New York state-grown rye grains and to age whiskey for at least two years. Coppersea Distilling owner Christopher Williams tells The New York Times he wants to make the category of Empire Rye comparable to Kentucky bourbon or Tennessee whiskey.

Williams grows a significant amount of his own grain for his distilling just outside of New Paltz.

The distilleries have declared this week "New York Rye Week" to get the word out on Empire Rye, and they are staging numerous events in New York City.



NY getting nearly $150M for housing and development

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York state is getting nearly $150 million in federal funding for affordable housing and economic development.

The funding is being provided by the Office of Community Planning and Development, part of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. It's broken down into a community development block grant of nearly $73 million and $76.6 million for housing.

New York City will get the bulk of the housing money, more than $53 million, and New York state will receive $45 million, or more than half, of the block grant for economic development.

The Buffalo area tops the economic development list at more than $13 million, Rochester will get $7.4 million and Albany just over $3 million.

Communities will use the money for affordable housing initiatives, anti-poverty programs and economic development.


New York rabbi to appear in Vermont court after traffic stop

CHELSEA, Vt. (AP) - A New York City rabbi is expected to appear in a Vermont court for failing to immediately to stop for a Vermont state trooper in a traffic stop that his family has called traumatizing.

Berl Fink has been cited for attempting to elude after he failed to stop for more than 4 miles on Interstate 91 in Thetford on the night of Aug. 8.

Police cruiser video showed that after he pulled over, the trooper ordered him at gunpoint to lie on the ground and then handcuffed him, as well as his son and wife.

A police investigation reviewed by the State Police Advisory Commission comprised of Vermont residents found that Trooper Justin Thompson acted according to his training and police policy and that there was no evidence of bias.


Body of Buffalo police diver recovered from Niagara River

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Buffalo police have found the body of an officer who went missing during a training dive in the Niagara River.

The Buffalo Police Department said Tuesday afternoon that the body of 34-year-old Officer Craig Lehner was recovered in the area where a search had been going on since Friday afternoon.

Authorities say Lehner was participating in a routine training exercise on the river at Buffalo near Unity Island when he failed to resurface. Police, emergency crews and the U.S. Coast Guard participated in the search.

A procession brought Lehner's body to Erie County Medical Center as police and firefighters lined the route.

Lehner, a nine-year veteran of the force, was a member of Buffalo's K-9 unit and underwater recovery team.


Trump's lawyers to ask judge to toss emoluments lawsuit

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's lawyers want a federal judge in New York to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the president of violating the Constitution by letting his businesses accept money from foreign governments.

The lawsuit was filed in January in the federal court in New York by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. It centers on the "Emoluments Clause," which says U.S. officials can't "accept any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state" without Congress' consent.

The hearing Wednesday was expected to focus on whether the plaintiffs have legal "standing" to sue, or sufficient connection or harm.

Justice Department lawyers representing Trump say the plaintiffs don't, and want the judge to dismiss the case.

A ruling isn't immediately expected Wednesday.


NY sets new rules for solitary confinement in local jails

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York is adopting new standards for the treatment of prisoners held in solitary confinement in local jails.

The state's Commission on Corrections issued the new rules Tuesday. The changes come at the urging of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and must be published in the state register before taking effect later this fall.

Under the new regulations, all prisoners held in solitary at local jails must get at least four hours outside their cell daily.

The rules will also require local authorities to inform the state when prisoners younger than 18 are placed in isolation or when an inmate is held in solitary for more than a month.

Cuomo says the standards will prevent prisoner mistreatment.

The state has already implemented changes to reduce solitary confinement in state facilities.


NY Air Guard unit starts 30th season supporting S. Pole site

SCOTIA, N.Y. (AP) - Members of an Air National Guard unit based in upstate New York have departed for the 30th season of supporting U.S. scientific missions at the South Pole.

Two LC-130s took off early Tuesday morning from Schenectady County's Stratton Air National Guard Base, home of the 109th Airlift Wing. The first flight of the season departed from the base last Friday.

Other crews will follow as the unit gears up for its annual Operation Deep Freeze to support McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

The 109th, the only unit in the U.S. military to fly ski-equipped aircraft, provides logistical support to the National Science Foundation's Antarctic research program. Over the next few months hundreds of airmen will transport scientists, fuel, medical supplies and other cargo during missions on the frozen continent.

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