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AROUND THE STATE

Seneca Falls 1,000-tire fire prompts state of emergency

SENECA FALLS (AP) -- The village declared a state of emergency Saturday as more than 1,000 tires were on fire at a recycling plant.

The blaze started at about 4:15 a.m. at Tire Solution International in the village of 7,500 people, about 45 miles southeast of Rochester, police said. The plant is near homes, a motel and an aluminum plant, Police Chief Fred Capozzi said.

"The fire is contained at this point. The smoke is dissipated," Capozzi said.

No injuries were reported, he said.

The village declared the emergency at about 5 a.m. as thick clouds of black smoke hovered above it, according to police.

Police urged people to keep their doors and windows shut and asked them to avoid unnecessary travel.

"Police officers did go door to door to check the air quality inside homes," Capozzi said.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation.

Obese congressman has surgery to lose weight

NEW YORK (AP) -- Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-Manhattan, has shed 61 pounds as a result of stomach-reduction surgery, a published report said.

Nadler, 55, said he decided to undergo the procedure after decades of unsuccessfully battling obesity, the New York Times reported Saturday.

Before undergoing the surgery in August, Nadler weighed as much as 338 pounds. He said that before the operation he couldn't walk up a flight of stairs. Recently, he surprised himself, walking 40 blocks from his district office in lower Manhattan to Penn Station.

He now hopes to reach his ideal weight of 160 pounds.

The surgical procedure entails narrowing the stomach into a "sleeve" so that it can take in a maximum of only 3 ounces of food. The sleeve is then connected to the lower half of the small intestine, reducing the number of calories the body absorbs.

Stomach-reduction surgery is often successful, but it is risky. Statistics show that 1 out of 200 people die as a result of the procedure.

Political pressure placed on union staff investigated

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Manhattan grand jury is investigating whether the city's janitors union illegally pressured its staff to campaign for Mark Green during his unsuccessful 2001 campaign for mayor, a published report said.

Two people who previously worked as officials for Local 32BJ said union leaders had threatened workers with reprimands unless they volunteered for the Green campaign, the New York Times reported Saturday.

Unnamed law enforcement officials told the newspaper that Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau was investigating whether union leaders engaged in illegal coercion and whether the union made improper donations to the Green campaign.

Hector Figueroa, the union's political director, told the Times that the union did not do anything improper.

Joe DePlasco, spokesman for the Green campaign, said he was not aware of the investigation or of any wrongdoing by the union.

Politicians outside N.Y. City opposed to commuter tax

NEW YORK (AP) -- Politicians from Long Island and New Jersey have warned against Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's proposal to impose a 2.7 percent tax on commuters, a published report said.

New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey called the mayor's proposal "territorial tax warfare," adding that such a move would result in other politicians responding "in kind," the Daily News reported Saturday.

McGreevey also said such a tax might cause New Jersey to "rethink our relationship on building certain infrastructure in lower Manhattan."

McGreevey and Gov. George E. Pataki share control of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the World Trade Center site.

Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi said he would lobby aggressively against the commuter tax, adding that it would result in the "Balkanization of the entire region" with "everybody trying to tax each other."

Such a tax would be subject to the approval of the State Legislature and the governor.

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