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AROUND THE STATE

Breakdown of ski lift not tied to high winds

WILMINGTON (AP) -- A chairlift breakdown at Little Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks stranded 76 skiers just a day after a lift derailed at a mountain in Maine, injuring eight people.

State Olympic Regional Development Authority officials said that the cause of the failure is under investigation but that high winds were not a contributing factor. The chairs were never in danger of falling, officials said.

Investigators in Maine have said wind contributed to the accident at the Sugarloaf resort that dropped some chairs 25 to 30 feet into the snow Tuesday.

The state Olympic group said that the 4,100-foot-long lift here stopped just before 11 a.m. Wednesday and that everyone was off by about 12:45 p.m.

A member of the ski patrol suffered a minor injury while helping evacuate the skiers.

The lift was built in 1978 and passed a safety inspection in November, officials said.

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Transit fare hike adds to commuter problems

NEW YORK (AP) -- Only days after a crippling storm, angry New York City commuters faced another headache: significant fare increases.

And all for what one rider called "horrible" service -- on the nation's largest transit system.

"The stations are dirty and muddy, service has declined, and the price increase hurts," said Janette Peralta, waiting for a train at Manhattan's West 34th Street station to her downtown job on the same day that a single-ride ticket rose by 25 cents, to $2.50.

MTA Chairman Jay H. Walder insists the fare increase -- the third in as many years -- is "fundamental" to balancing the budget.

In addition to the single-ride increase, the price of monthly unlimited Metrocards rose by $15, to $104, from the previous $89. An unlimited weekly pass increased to $29, from $27. The per-ride cost remained $2.25 if purchased through a Metrocard.

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State buys timberland in Adirondack towns

ALBANY (AP) -- New York is paying $30 million to conserve 89,000 acres of Adirondack timberland scattered among 27 towns.

The purchase Thursday prohibits development and establishes perpetual public rights to several snowmobile trails and some new hiking and fishing access. The largest tracts are in Long Lake, Newcomb and Indian Lake. Lumbering will continue.

"I'm not a big fan of state ownership of property in the Adirondacks," said Newcomb Supervisor George H. Canon. "In this case, the easement still provides for timber production. It still provides for recreational use of the property."

Wilderness conservation in the nearly 6 million-acre Adirondack Park has aggravated some residents who see it as a further obstacle to business for an already difficult local economy.

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Pedestrian is killed when struck by 2 cars

NEW YORK (AP) -- A pedestrian was killed when struck by two cars as he crossed a busy highway in the Bronx.

Police said the victim was crossing the Bruckner Expressway just before 11 p.m. Wednesday when he was struck by a Toyota traveling eastbound.

As the driver pulled over, an eastbound BMW struck the pedestrian a second time. The driver of the BMW also stopped and remained on the scene.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. His name was not immediately released.

Police said there was no apparent criminality.

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