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Panel urges action on public authorities

ALBANY (AP) -- An Assembly committee says the agency that oversees more than 700 public authorities in New York needs statutory authority to impose fines on the quasi-public entities that fail to report their borrowing, bonus payments or other activities.

In a report Monday, the Committee on Corporations, Commissions and Authorities says more than 100 authorities are essentially defunct and hundreds more are duplicative and should be shuttered.

The report urges applying technical analysis and common sense, noting a recent "disturbing trend" by local governments in establishing not-for-profit organizations that assert they aren't subject to the oversight.

Committee Chairman Richard Brodsky says reform under the Authorities Budget Office has begun.


Blind man responding to fire severely burned

NEW YORK (AP) -- A 73-year-old blind man is in stable condition after suffering severe burns when he ran into a burning New York City home in response to screams from a neighbor.

Authorities say James Shackelford became engulfed in flames when he rushed into the St. Albans, Queens, home shortly after noon Sunday.

The New York Post quoted two good Samaritans who said they rolled the retired John F. Kennedy International Airport cook to stamp out the fire after seeing him ablaze as they drove by the home.

Shackelford was taken to Nassau University Medical Center, where a hospital official said he was listed Monday in stable condition with burns over 50 percent of his body. He has been blind for a dozen years.

Two other people suffered minor injuries in the blaze.

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