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Twelve candidates for Buffalo-based state and local judgeships have been rated by the Bar Association of Erie County.The ratings are based on questionnaires each candidate was asked to complete, personal interviews with each candidate and interviews with lawyers and judges who have had interaction with the candidates, according to Bonnie O’Brian, an association spokeswom…

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday that he intends to put an end to the status quo when it comes to New York’s failing schools. Far from backing away from his recent comments calling for a “death penalty” for these schools, the governor said he intends to set benchmarks and consequences for schools – and school districts – when they don’t give students the educ…

Two bucks.For that bargain price, New York State will buy Gallagher Beach, which could become Buffalo’s first public swimming beach, and the Small Boat Harbor, with its 1,005 slips, and turn the area into a state park. The deal also transfers waterfront land that the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority controlled for nearly 60 years.“You have a location that most…

During an appearance in the North Country today, Gov. Cuomo today pushed back hard against sheriffs around upstate who have been suggesting they will not be enforcing some provisions of his SAFE Act gun control bill. “It’s not really up to law enforcement to pick and choose what laws they like and what laws they don’t like,” he said.

LOCKPORT – In his strongest statement to date on low-performing schools, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo told reporters here Thursday that there has to be “a death penalty for failing schools, so to speak.”In response to a question about Buffalo’s low-performing schools, the governor said that such schools – in Buffalo or any other district – should be given a short perio…

LOCKPORT – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is scheduled to speak at Lockport City Hall Thursday afternoon, city officials learned Wednesday.Cuomo’s appearance, set for 2:15 p.m., is expected to include an update on state efforts to aid Lockport residents whose homes were damaged by flash flooding from a six-inch downpour June 28.Cuomo spoke in Lockport July 23, promising a strong…

ALBANY – After four straight years of localities having to make higher contributions to their employees’ pension fund, the state’s towns, villages, and cities will get a slight breather in the coming year, thanks to the improving fiscal health of the state’s pension system.Pension costs have been fueling higher property taxes in Western New York and elsewhere since…

It’s been more than two years since Avi and Julie Israel lost their son, Michael, to the evils of overprescribed drugs.They’ve founded an advocacy group, Save the Michaels of the World; they’ve publicly shared their son’s story to help others dealing with similar grief; and they’ve walked the halls of the State Capitol in Albany to push for new state legislation …

BINGHAMTON – President Obama spent an hour this afternoon answering friendly questions from a friendly audience at Binghamton University, as students and professors repeatedly asked him to delve deep into his plan for cutting college costs – and never asked him much about anything else.Although dozens of anti-fracking protesters gathered outside among Obama supporters…

ALBANY – New York’s job growth rate is trailing the nation for the first time in six years, the state’s chief fiscal watchdog reported Friday.The job growth rate in New York was 1.8 percent in 2012, down from 2.1 percent the previous year, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said.The nation’s job growth level went from 1.8 percent to 2.2 percent.While New York’s un…

LITTLE VALLEY – As Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo stood at the lectern at Salamanca High School at the end of July, something completely unexpected happened on the electronic banking lines in the county treasurer’s office. An untagged $500,000 deposit from New York State appeared.“Usually funds that come from the state have some sort of tag to tell us what they are for,” Cat…

President Obama told an energetic crowd inside the University at Buffalo’s Alumni Arena this morning that he chose to speak in Buffalo about his goals for higher education because the university is doing “great work.”“I wanted to start here at the University at Buffalo,” Obama said, at the beginning of his remarks on the topic of higher education.Obama unveiled a…

ALBANY – In the largest bond act ever proposed for approval by New York voters, State Sen. Mark J. Grisanti introduced legislation Wednesday for Albany to borrow $5 billion for a range of environmental infrastructure improvements across the state.The bill was quietly introduced Wednesday afternoon by Grisanti, a Buffalo Republican who is chairman of the Senate Environmen…

ALBANY – In a case of the auditor being audited, a Cuomo administration agency on Tuesday said the pension system overseen by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has an antiquated technology operation run with computer codes dating back to the 1950s.The Department of Financial Services said taxpayers and members of the State Common Retirement Fund, which includes hundreds …

State officials today revealed the name, logo and key details about New York’s health insurance exchange, a marketplace on which individuals and small-business employees can purchase coverage starting Oct. 1.Some key takeaways from today’s announcement:The state has named its exchange “NY State of Health,” with a logo featuring the shape of New York state superimpo…