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This Hour: Latest New York news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. EDT

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PALADINO-SCHOOL BOARD-THE LATEST

The Latest: Lawyer: School board member hearing a 'charade'

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The lawyer for a Buffalo school board member who publicly insulted former President Barack Obama and his wife says a state Education Department hearing for the lawyer's client is "all a charade."

Dennis Vacco says the hearing Thursday in Albany is "a subterfuge to get at Carl Paladino in retaliation for his intemperate remarks" in a Buffalo alternative weekly last December.

Vacco is a former New York attorney general. He says the derogatory remarks Paladino submitted to Buffalo's Artvoice were "low and unfortunate," but nonetheless constitutionally protected.

The hearing is being held to determine whether Paladino disclosed confidential school board business when he released information on teacher contract negotiations.

CORAL PROTECTIONS

Protection of deep-sea Atlantic corals up for debate

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A federal panel is considering protections for deep-sea corals in the Atlantic Ocean that would impact commercial fishing interests off New England.

A committee of the New England Fishery Management Council is looking at proposals to preserve corals in two key fishing areas, the Gulf of Maine and south of Georges Bank.

The committee decided Thursday to hold off on voting on options to protect corals near Georges Bank. Coral protections in the Gulf of Maine will be considered Thursday afternoon.

Environmental organizations support an option for Georges Bank that has greater impact on shallower waters because they believe it would do more to protect vulnerable corals that can be harmed by fishing gear. Fishing groups have opposed that option, citing a host of regulations they already face.

NYC SCHOOLS

De Blasio: Lawmakers must return to cut deal on NYC schools

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Mayor Bill de Blasio is demanding that state lawmakers return to Albany to extend his control over New York City schools before it expires June 30.

The Democrat said Thursday on WNYC radio that there's still time for lawmakers to resolve a stalemate over the policy, first enacted in 2002.

Senate Republicans sought to tie an extension to the authorization of more charter schools. Democrats balked, and lawmakers ended their 2017 session without a deal.

Republican Senate Leader John Flanagan says the Senate will reconvene if necessary. Democratic Speaker Carl Heastie said Thursday that while there's no plan to return, the Assembly stands ready to consider any such request.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo could order lawmakers back. His office declined to comment Thursday when asked about the governor's plans.

CUOMO-MTA CHAIRMAN

NY lawmakers approve Gov. Cuomo's pick for MTA chairman

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - State lawmakers have confirmed Gov. Andrew Cuomo's nomination of former New York City mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota (LOH'-tuh) as the next leader of the troubled Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The Democratic governor nominated the 62-year-old Lhota as MTA chairman Wednesday and the Republican-controlled Senate approved the appointment late Wednesday night before adjourning for the summer.

Lhota returns to the leadership post at the nation's largest public transportation agency, where he served as chairman and CEO from October 2011 to December 2012. He resigned for an unsuccessfully run for New York City mayor as a Republican.

Cuomo says Lhota's salary will be $1 per year and he'll delegate the CEO duties to a permanent executive director.

The governor says Lhota will continue serving as senior vice president, vice dean and chief of staff at Manhattan-based NYU Langone Medical Center.

TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE-NAME

NY state Senate OKs bill naming new bridge after Mario Cuomo

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York's Republican-controlled state Senate has voted to name the new Tappan Zee Bridge after the late Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo.

The Democrat-led Assembly adjourned its 2017 session without taking up the bill after Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan introduced the proposal Wednesday night shortly before his chamber adjourned.

Flanagan's bill would name the new bridge currently under construction after Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's father, who died in 2015. The elder Cuomo was governor from 1983 through 1994. His son pushed to get a replacement bridge built.

The name of the current span linking Rockland and Westchester counties north of New York City is the Gov. Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge. Wilson was governor for a year starting in December 1973 after serving 14 years as lieutenant governor.

COCKFIGHTING RING-ARRESTS

2 charged with trying to steal 50 rescued fighting roosters

FRANKFORT, N.Y. (AP) - Officials say two people have been caught trying to steal dozens of roosters that were rescued when authorities busted up a large cockfighting ring in New York.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says Thursday that a 41-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman, both from Utica, were arrested Tuesday in the Herkimer County village of Poland.

Schneiderman says the suspects broke into a barn where some 50 chickens were being kept after they were rescued last weekend from a bird fighting operation in the nearby town of Frankfort.

The police raid at a landscaping business uncovered cockfighting held in a barn, with an additional 180 birds in an adjacent structure being used as a game bird breeding and training facility.

Authorities charged 41 people and seized drugs, guns and $68,000 in cash.

SEX OFFENDER-SUICIDE

Sex offender with parole violation jumped 11 floors to death

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities say a man who jumped to his death from an 11th-floor apartment building in New York was a sex offender who was being taken into custody at the time for a parole violation.

The Post-Standard reports that the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision issued a statement Wednesday night identifying the parolee as 37-year-old Jason Jock.

Syracuse police say parole officers had taken Jock into custody in his residence at the Skyline Apartments on Tuesday night. Officers say Jock used a phone to call a relative, then broke free from parole officers, ran toward an open window and jumped out.

The corrections department says Jock was being supervised in New York for the state of Colorado, where he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old.

CHURCH ABUSE-NEW YORK

Brooklyn diocese announces sex abuse compensation program

NEW YORK (AP) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn is announcing a compensation program for victims of past sexual abuse by priests.

The diocese says it will take out a loan to fund the program and is sending letters about it to about 235 people who previously reported being abused by a diocesan clergy member. The loan amount wasn't specified.

A diocese spokeswoman says the abuse allegations go back as far as 1934. Families can apply if the victim is deceased.

The program is modeled after one started last year by the larger New York archdiocese. Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros administer the older program and will also run the Brooklyn one.

The Brooklyn diocese also includes Queens.

Feinberg also served as administrator of the compensation fund for Sept. 11 victims' families.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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