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AROUND THE STATE

Program offers cabbies use of bulletproof vests

NEW YORK (AP) -- A dozen livery cab drivers in New York City are getting bulletproof vests under a pilot program.

The president of the New York Federation of Taxi Drivers, Fernando Mateo, said the vests will provide another layer of protection for cab drivers in high-crime areas.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he doesn't think it's necessary, but he says cabbies have the right to wear the vests if they choose.

Mateo said livery drivers are the target of 300 robberies and assaults each month.

The pilot program is being launched in honor of cab driver Cesar Santo, who was fatally shot in June.

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Ex-director of state fair accused of misconduct

ALBANY (AP) -- The former director of the state fair has been charged with grand larceny, fraud and official misconduct, accused of using the Syracuse fairgrounds for personal gain, including discount wedding receptions for two daughters, State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday.

Peter Cappuccilli Jr., of Syracuse, who was a state employee in his post as director of the fair from 1995 to 2005, also hosted lavish holiday parties and received deep discounts from a fair caterer, according to the Attorney General's Office.

Cappuccilli pleaded not guilty to four counts in Geddes Town Court and was released.

He could face up to seven years in prison on the third-degree grand larceny charge.

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Congress urged to OK 9/1 1 workers' benefits

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City first responders and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are urging Congress to approve a scaled-back version of a bill providing extra benefits to emergency workers who responded to the 9/1 1 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Bloomberg and emergency workers gathered with local lawmakers at City Hall on Monday to back the legislation.

Meanwhile, New York's two senators said the votes are there for the reconfigured bill. A previous version passed the House but failed to get a vote in the Senate this month. The new bill trims the cost to $6.2 billion from $7.4 billion.

But Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., expressed concern that opponents might use a filibuster to kill the bill as Congress completes its business this week. "If no one does undue delay -- just stands up and delays and delays and delays -- we will get this done," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said they have picked up support by trimming the bill's price tag.

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Court rejects request for total vote recount

ALBANY (AP) -- The state's top court Monday rejected a Democratic state senator's request for a full manual recount of votes in his narrow loss to a Republican newcomer in the Nov. 2 election, a ruling that will return control of the Senate to the GOP.

The Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a judge's certification that Sen. Craig Johnson lost to newcomer Jack Martins by 451 votes out of almost 85,000 cast for the Long Island seat. A midlevel court last week upheld the win but said there were legal questions for review by the Court of Appeals.

Republicans will hold a 32-30 majority in January after two years of Democratic rule.

In its first ruling on the new voting machines used statewide this year, the high court said initial audits of some machines found few discrepancies, and the law permitted the judge to direct a total recount only where evidence shows "a substantial possibility" the outcome could change.

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