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ALBANY – Thruway officials say there will not be an election-year toll increase across the 570-mile system.But next year? That’s a whole different situation.It is “fair to say” that there will be “toll adjustments” on the highway, Thruway Executive Director Thomas Madison said Wednesday.“Our revenue needs are significant, and they grow,” Madison told a state panel at the C…

Featured

ALBANY – State Sen. George D. Maziarz is leaving office with $1.1 million in his campaign account, a remarkable sum for a rank-and-file state lawmaker who has had little in the way of genuine political challenges in his re-election races over the years.The leftover cash cannot be used directly for personal expenses, but if past experience is any indication, the money could…

Local News

Although the timing is unexpected, North Tonawanda Mayor Robert G. Ortt sees his candidacy for the State Senate as a natural progression in his career.Ortt announced Tuesday that he will seek the Senate seat now held by Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, who surprised many on Sunday when he said he would not seek re-election after nearly two decades in office.Ortt was just…

ALBANY – In a bid to financially outmuscle his Republican opponent, Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday reported having $35 million in his re-election campaign account, after raising $8.5 million so far this year from an assortment of wealthy business owners, Hollywood insiders, unions, lawyers, hedge fund executives and others with and without a stake in the doings…

When State Sen. George D. Maziarz racked up $140,000 in unitemized campaign expenses in recent years, the state’s Moreland Commission and ultimately federal investigators started paying attention, according to sources close to the investigation.Now, subpoenas have been delivered to former Maziarz staffers and associates as a federal grand jury starts asking questions. Sour…

Local News

ALBANY – When State Senate Republicans were redesigning district seats to help protect vulnerable Republicans a couple of years ago, they figured that Sen. George D. Maziarz was so politically strong that he could take on a bunch of Democratic voters from Buffalo Republican Sen. Mark J. Grisanti and absorb them into his district without fear of losing.While it lasted, they…

Political highlights of Maziarz’s careerSen. George D. Maziarz, 61, represents the 62nd State Senate District, which covers Niagara and Orleans counties and part of Monroe County. The Newfane resident is chairman of the Energy Committee, a position from which he has exerted influence over the New York Power Authority and the Niagara Power Project.Here are some highlights o…

Local News

ALBANY – State Sen. George D. Maziarz, the Newfane Republican who is one of upstate’s most influential lawmakers and a key ally of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, will not seek re-election.His decision comes as a federal prosecutor looks at Maziarz’s campaign funds, and follows the resignation of two aides last week.Maziarz insisted that his decision not to seek re-election has noth…

Politics

ALBANY – Can political placards and lawn signs be returned for a refund?Many left-of-center Democrats are hoping that is what Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be asking in September if they have their way and his choice for a running mate, Erie County’s Kathy Hochul, is defeated in a party primary.For that to happen might take some considerable political miracles. But Tim Wu, a Colu…

The New York State attorney general won a court order Friday preventing the launch of a ridesharing service in New York City, and he is seeking to shut down the service in Buffalo and Rochester until it comes into compliance with state law.Also, Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said Friday that he will instruct his officers to ticket Lyft drivers if they are driv…

ALBANY – Work on a state-funded study on possible new sites for a Buffalo Bills stadium continues and the study is expected to be presented by the end of the month, sources said Friday.Buffalo television stations were reporting that the plan – which is looking at up to four new sites as well as what might be needed to keep the team at its present stadium in Orchard Park – …

Politics

ALBANY – Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is calling on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to debate him at least eight times around the state between now and the November elections.Given the governor’s lead in the polls and his refusal in 2010 to debate more than once and only if all minor party candidates were included, the challenge from Astorino is likely to fall on d…

Education

The crusade to reclaim the dignity of thousands of forgotten people buried in numbered graves on the grounds of New York State’s mental health hospitals has made great progress. Now, advocates are celebrating their success and asking for more.The Museum of DisABILITY History in Amherst is hosting a new exhibit, “Monument for the Forgotten,” chronicling the efforts to resto…

Local News

A ride-sharing service that matches drivers and passengers in Buffalo and Rochester says it will continue to operate despite a state order to stop.Calling Lyft’s practices illegal, the state Department of Financial Services said this week that Lyft exposes drivers and the private auto insurance market “to intolerable risk, cost and uncertainty.”But Lyft does not plan to ce…

The State Thruway Authority issued a warning Tuesday about an email scam which masquerades as a message from E-ZPass and tries to collect unpaid tolls.The message is not authorized by E-ZPass, the Thruway Authority or any other toll agency. Anyone receiving the bogus email is advised to delete it and avoid opening or responding to it.“The E-ZPass Service Center does not se…