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AROUND THE STATE

2 veteran aides hired to advise Cuomo

ALBANY (AP) -- Gov.-elect Andrew M. Cuomo is hiring two experienced hands for his administration, adding a manager to cut agencies and another to help the transition.

Cuomo is hiring Paul Francis to the new position of director of Agency Redesign and Efficiency. Francis was the widely respected top aide for former Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer and continued as director of state operations for Gov. David A. Paterson.

Francis also has extensive private-sector experience and was a founder of the travel website Priceline.com.

Cuomo also hired Paterson's chief of staff, Lawrence Schwartz. He will provide Cuomo with extensive insight into the inner workings of a governor's office and how it negotiates with the Legislature and others.

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Boy playing with gun fatally shot in head

WILTON (AP) -- The Saratoga County sheriff said Thursday that two 12-year-old boys were playing with a handgun when it accidentally went off, killing one of them with a shot to the head.

Sheriff James Bowen said one of the boys had retrieved his father's handgun from another room in the house on Wednesday.

The victim, Nicholas N. Naumkin, was taken to Albany Medical Center Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

The other boy's name was not released. Both boys were students at Maple Avenue Middle School in Greenfield.

"This is such a tragedy, especially just before Christmas," Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III said. "Nothing we do will bring this family their son back, but we owe it to them to thoroughly investigate this case "

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Taxpayers reminded to claim tuition credit

ALBANY (AP) -- Sen. Charles E. Schumer said Thursday that New Yorkers are owed $1 billion in tax credits for tuition they paid.

Schumer, D-N.Y., announced he's working with New York colleges to alert families of the tax credit for tuition that about half of families who are eligible have missed in their federal income tax returns.

The credit that he pushed in the Senate provides $1 off federal taxes for every $1 spent on tuition, up to $2,500 a year.

Taxpayers can amend last year's return to claim the credit as well as claim it in the next two years.

Schumer said colleges are now contacting families. The announcement was made at Schenectady Community College.

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Plane crash kills doctor flying to work

BARRINGTON (AP) -- A small plane crash has killed an emergency room doctor from New Jersey who was flying to work at a hospital in New York's Finger Lakes region.

Yates County Sheriff Ronald Spike told local media that Dr. Michael S. Lippe of Mahwah, N.J., was partially thrown from the plane when it clipped some trees, lost a wing and tumbled into a wooded area in the town of Barrington, about 50 miles south of Rochester.

He said the pilot, 56, was alone in the single-engine plane, which left Essex County Caldwell Field Airport just after 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. It crashed a few minutes before its scheduled arrival at Penn Yan Airport. Authorities said there was freezing rain and sleet in the area.

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