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Court: Day laborers have 1st Amendment right to solicit jobs

NEW YORK (AP) - A federal appeals court says day laborers in the town of Oyster Bay on Long Island have a First Amendment right to solicit passing drivers for jobs.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan struck down the 2009 law Tuesday. The law had never been enforced.

Two judges on a three-judge panel said the law was content-driven and seemed written to stop the workers from seeking jobs from motorists on a four-block section of the town's roads.

The law was passed after residents complained that up to 50 day laborers each day were causing dangerous, congestive, unhygienic and unsightly conditions.

In a dissent, 2nd Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs said two organizations that brought the lawsuit lacked standing.


NY officials probe eavesdropping allegations against Senecas

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Prosecutors in western New York say they're investigating allegations that representatives of the Indian tribe that runs three casinos in the region eavesdropped on employees of the state Gaming Commission.

The Erie County District Attorney's Office in Buffalo confirms Tuesday that it's investigating allegations by commission workers who say they were eavesdropped by the Seneca Gaming Authority.

The Senecas operate casinos in downtown Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Salamanca.

Spectrum News in Buffalo first reported Monday that a listening device was found last year commission officials in an office the agency leases from the Senecas at the tribe's Buffalo casino.

Seneca officials say the investigation involves a Seneca employee but provided no details.

The allegations come amid testy relations between the Cuomo administration and the Senecas over the tribe's halting of payments of millions of dollars in casino revenue to the state.


Village Voice stops print edition, goes digital only

NEW YORK (AP) - The Village Voice, the famed alternative weekly that's been in print for decades, is going online only.

Owner Peter Barbey announced the change on Tuesday.

He says the paper, founded more than 60 years ago, "has been a beacon for progress and a literal voice for thousands of people whose identities, opinions, and ideas might otherwise have been unheard." Barbey says he expects that to continue, with reporting and stories posted on its website.

The Village Voice was the country's first alternative newsweekly, and has won multiple Pulitzer Prizes. It has been celebrated for its arts and culture coverage and its investigations.

Barbey bought the paper in 2015. He's the president and CEO of The Reading Eagle newspaper in Pennsylvania.


NY students' math, English scores up slightly in 2017

NEW YORK (AP) - Math and English scores for students who took New York state standardized tests last spring have risen slightly compared with 2016 scores.

The state Education Department says 39.8 percent of students in grades 3 through 8 were proficient in English language arts, compared with 37.9 percent in 2016.

The department says 40.2 percent of students statewide passed the math tests, compared with 39.1 percent the previous year.

The data released Tuesday showed that the percentage of students who "opted out" of taking the standardized tests declined slightly from 21 percent in 2016 to 19 percent in 2017.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said it's "encouraging to see test refusal starting to decline."

New York City students outperformed the statewide average in English, with 40.6 percent demonstrating proficiency.


Cuomo nominates ex-Syracuse mayor to run Thruway Authority

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he'll nominate former Syracuse mayor Matthew Driscoll to run the New York state Thruway Authority.

The Democratic governor announces Tuesday that Driscoll, the current commissioner of the state Department of Transportation, will be nominated to serve as executive director of the agency that operates the 570-mile Thruway system. Driscoll, DOT commissioner since 2015, was mayor of Syracuse from 2001-2009.

He'll replace Bill Finch, the acting executive director for the past two years.

The Thruway's board of directors will meet to name Driscoll acting executive director. His nomination has to be confirmed by the state Senate after the Legislature starts its 2018 session in early January.

Cuomo says Cathy Calhoun, DOT's chief of staff, will serve as the agency's acting commissioner.


Critics: Remove statue of doctor who experimented on slaves

NEW YORK (AP) - Critics want New York City to remove a statue in Central Park that honors a doctor who used slaves in developing a pioneering approach to treating physical problems women can develop after childbirth.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is among those calling for the removal of the statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims.

Sims was a 19th century physician who used slave women to develop his surgical technique to repair fistulas and operated on these women without anesthesia.

The removal of Confederate statues sparked a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, this month. An anti-racist demonstrator was killed when a car drove into a crowd protesting the rally.

Following that violence, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said officials would review "symbols of hate" on city property.


Lawyer: NY man shot during traffic stop didn't have weapon

TROY, N.Y. (AP) - The attorney for a 22-year-old upstate New York man who was shot and wounded by police during a traffic stop says his client wasn't armed at the time of the confrontation.

Police in the city of Troy say Dahmeek McDonald was wanted on a parole violation when he was spotted by officers as he drove on a Troy street on Aug. 15. Authorities say after he was pulled over McDonald was shot twice by at least one of four officers at the scene.

Troy police and Rensselaer County prosecutors have declined to say if a weapon was found on McDonald or in his vehicle after the shooting.

The Times Union of Albany reports that his attorney, Mark Mishler, said that McDonald told him that he wasn't armed when he got pulled over.


Afghanistan vets reassured by Trump reversing calls for exit

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Many veterans who have fought in America's longest war say it's reassuring that President Donald Trump reversed his past calls for a speedy exit from Afghanistan because they don't want the sacrifices they've made to be in vain.

Trump recommitted the U.S. to the 16-year-old war in a national address Monday.

He says the U.S. will shift away from a "time-based" approach and instead link its assistance to results and to cooperation from the beleaguered Afghan government, Pakistan and others.

Veterans praised shifting away from a timeline enemy fighters could just wait out, but some worried that the strategy was too vague.

While many were pleased that it appears Trump won't micromanage the military in Afghanistan, some questioned whether victory is possible, given war fatigue among Americans.

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