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AROUND THE STATE

Pataki gives Bloomberg endorsement for mayor

NEW YORK (AP) -- Gov. George E. Pataki endorsed Republican mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday, saying he is the right person to help rebuild the city.

"Beginning Jan. 1, we need a strong leader," Pataki told a Manhattan news conference. "And that's Mike Bloomberg."

Bloomberg, a media mogul and first-time candidate, said: "I am thrilled to have the governor's endorsement. There is nothing more important than the state and city working together to move forward."

The Pataki endorsement could lend credibility to a campaign that polls show is trailing far behind Democratic candidate Mark Green.

A poll out Wednesday from the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute had Green ahead of Bloomberg, 51 percent to 35 percent, among the city's registered voters.

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, also a Republican, has yet to make an endorsement in the race.

Subway to limit information about suspicious packages

NEW YORK (AP) -- A rash of unfounded anthrax scares on the subways and other forms of mass transit led officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to limit the amount of information made public in such cases.

The decision was aimed at protecting its 4.3 million daily subway riders and other commuters, MTA spokesman Tom Kelly said Wednesday. The MTA feared that word of repeated hoaxes would lead jaded riders to ignore potentially dangerous situations, he said.

"You should not be self-conscious about going to the police and telling them about something suspicious," Kelly said. "Don't be reluctant because, God forbid, it could be dangerous."

The recent incidents in the subway system included an hourlong delay after a bit of white powder turned out to be powdered sugar. Kelly said the MTA would still provide the causes of delays, but not the specifics of unfounded reports.

"If there's a suspicious substance or package, that's what we're telling people," Kelly said. "We're not getting into what was in the package or what the substance was."

Attica victims group blasts ex-convict's talk at college

CORTLAND (AP) -- A former convict who served three years behind bars for killing a guard during the 1971 Attica prison riots is drawing fire for agreeing to speak at a state college symposium on prison reform.

The Forgotten Victims of Attica, a relatives group, contends that John Hill is the wrong person to address Friday's gathering at Cortland State College in central New York.

Hill was convicted of beating William Quinn to death during the nation's deadliest prison uprising and was given a life sentence in 1975. Gov. Hugh Carey commuted the sentence to 20 years to life in 1976, and Hill, who maintained his innocence, was released on parole two years later.

"He wouldn't have a case to make (about prison reform) if it wasn't for Gov. Carey," Quinn's daughter, Deanne Quinn Miller, said in Wednesday's Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. "He would still be in prison."

The symposium's organizers chose Hill to talk about prison issues because he is an author and a prison reform activist, said John Ryder, dean of arts and sciences at Cortland.

Thirty-two inmates and 11 prison employees were killed at Attica. All but four were shot to death when State Police retook the prison after a four-day standoff.

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