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AROUND THE STATE

>Nonprofit president to run DEC for Cuomo

ALBANY (AP) -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has nominated Joe Martens, a key figure in some of the state's major land acquisitions in the Adirondacks and elsewhere, to serve as commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Martens has been president of the nonprofit Open Space Institute since 1998, directing land acquisition, historic preservation and farmland protection. He succeeds Peter Iwanowicz, who was appointed by Gov. David A. Paterson in late October after Paterson fired Commissioner Pete Grannis.

Grannis, fired over a leaked memo blasting the Paterson administration's layoff plans due to budget cuts, has since been named first deputy state comptroller in the office of Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Martens served as deputy secretary for energy and environment under Cuomo's father, Gov. Mario Cuomo.

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>Man fatally hit on road near grandson's grave

WILTON (AP) -- A family grieving the accidental shooting death of a 12-year-old boy was struck again by tragedy less than two weeks later when the boy's grandfather was killed while crossing a highway after visiting the child's grave.

Oleg Moston, 77, of Saratoga Springs, apparently was disoriented Monday evening when he tried to walk across Interstate 87 near the cemetery and was struck by a car and two tractor-trailers, state police said. The accident happened in southbound lanes near Exit 15 in Wilton, 35 miles north of Albany.

Investigator Bob Stampfli said Moston and his wife, Nina, had visited the grave of Nicholas Naumkin, 12, shortly before the accident. The seventh-grader was fatally shot Dec. 23 by a friend playing with a handgun belonging to the friend's father.

Oxsana Naumkin, mother of Nicholas and daughter of Moston, told the Saratogian newspaper her father was a pianist who accompanied the ballet department at Skidmore College.

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>Reward offered for tips on missing shelter dogs

MOUNT VERNON (AP) -- An animal welfare group is offering a reward for information about seven dogs apparently stolen from a suburban New York City shelter.

The volunteer coordinator for the Mount Vernon shelter fears that the missing animals may be used as bait for a dog-fighting ring.

Allison Roesser told the Journal News that a pit bull disappeared a few weeks ago. Five more pit bulls and a beagle have disappeared since Dec. 28.

A group called Friends of the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter is offering the $1,000 reward.

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>Friend backing truck hits man, kills him

SMITHFIELD (AP) -- State police said Tuesday a Central New York man died from injuries suffered when he was he was accidentally hit by the door of his friend's pickup truck as the friend backed out of the man's driveway.

Troopers told the Post-Standard of Syracuse that Richard McNamara, 68, of Smithfield died around 9:20 p.m. Monday at a Syracuse hospital.

They said McNamara was standing in the driveway of his rural Madison County home late Monday morning and talking to Laverne Jones, 80, of Smithfield, who was in the truck. Troopers said Jones had the driver's door open when he put the truck in reverse, striking McNamara and knocking him down.

McNamara hit his head on a patch of ice.

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