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AROUND THE STATE

Man admits burning site for 9/1 1 remains

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Harvard Law School graduate admitted Wednesday he set a fire at a temporary repository for Sept. 11 victims' remains, though he said he had been so drunk he barely recalled his actions.

"I cannot explain why I acted the way I did, but I take responsibility for my actions. I am sorry," Brian Schroeder said, his voice cracking slightly, as he pleaded guilty to arson, cemetery desecration and all the other charges against him in the Halloween 2009 fire.

Over prosecutors' objections, a judge said Schroeder, 27, wouldn't get jail time if he completes 100 hours of community service and meets other conditions before he is sentenced next year.

Officials have said the remains themselves weren't harmed, but the fire caused $67,000 in damage, destroyed mementos left by victims' relatives and outraged family members and city leaders. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg blasted the perpetrator as "craven and contemptible."

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Regulations approved for outdoor furnaces

ALBANY (AP) -- New outdoor wood furnaces sold in New York State will have to comply with strict air pollution regulations approved by a state environmental board Wednesday.

The regulations, which take effect in 30 days, are designed to reduce pollution and adverse health impacts from the furnaces, also called boilers. The heaters are growing in popularity in rural areas because they save homeowners hundreds or thousands of dollars a year by using wood often harvested on the owners' land.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Peter Iwanowicz said the new regulations prevent New York State from becoming a "dumping ground" for inefficient, polluting boilers that can no longer be sold in neighboring states that have enacted similar rules.

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Police check files to help identify bodies

MINEOLA (AP) -- Investigators in Nassau County and New York City are leafing through hundreds of missing-person files in an attempt to identify four women whose decomposing bodies were dumped on eastern Long Island.

Police in Suffolk County, where the bodies were found earlier this month, have been stumped so far in figuring out who the victims are. Deputy Inspector William Neubauer said last week that identification could take weeks.

Lt. Kevin Smith in neighboring Nassau County said Wednesday that detectives there are checking files on missing women "who may have a history of running away, who may have a past of getting involved in prostitution."

He said there are about 350 unresolved cases in Nassau County involving such women.

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Cuomo taps aide to head State Police

ALBANY (AP) -- New York Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo has picked the chief investigator from his Attorney General's Office to be the next superintendent of the State Police.

Joseph D'Amico, who oversees 300 criminal and civil investigators, joined the attorney general's staff in early 2007.

Two State Police superintendents abruptly departed following political scandals surrounding past governors' use of their security details of troopers.

A former New York Police Department deputy chief, D'Amico, 50, retired after 27 years of patrol and investigative assignments in the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens and command of the information and investigative support center for detectives.

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