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AROUND THE STATE

SUNY given role to improve economy

ALBANY (AP) -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is assigning the State University of New York a high-profile role to help turn around the state's economy.

Cuomo's lieutenant governor, Robert Duffy of Rochester, joined SUNY officials Thursday in a meeting to create regional economic development councils, which will rely heavily on the expertise and resources at SUNY's 64 campuses.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher welcomed the effort. "Gov. Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Duffy have called us to action -- our campus presidents, our faculty, our staff, students, alumni and all New Yorkers," she said. "As their partner, SUNY accepts and embraces that challenge."

The regional centers will try to exploit each area's attributes and coordinate local and state economic development funds and tax breaks. The regional centers would also compete for the first time for a share of up to $200 million in funding for the most innovative approach.

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Cuomo plans webcasts weekly to schools

ALBANY (AP) -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo plans weekly online broadcasts to schools with updates on state government actions and the upcoming week. He also will answer questions.

Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said 16 schools have signed up so far. The webcasts are to start in two weeks.

Vlasto said other schools interested in participating should contact the governor's office.

The interactive webcasts, called "Albany at Work," are planned during the legislative session that runs through June. They also will be posted online.

Students can submit questions about government, which Cuomo says will be answered by him or other state officials.

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Obama sets visit to upstate next week

SCHENECTADY (AP) -- President Obama will return to upstate New York next week.

In a brief statement Thursday, the White House said the president will visit Schenectady, an ailing former industrial hub and one-time headquarters of General Electric.

The president was last upstate in May when he visited the Buffalo area to promote his administration's efforts to shore up small business.

The administration didn't release details about Tuesday's trip to Schenectady. The city of about 60,000 was the original headquarters for GE, which employed more than 40,000 people at its peak during World War II. There are only about 3,000 GE workers left in the city.

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Man admits shooting women during chaos

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Bronx man admitted shooting two women during a night of mayhem near Times Square last spring, pleading guilty Thursday to some of the most serious charges to arise from what has become a raucous annual ritual.

Rayvon Guice, 21, pleaded guilty to attempted murder and other charges stemming from the melee that unfolded late on April 4 and early April 5. His plea deal calls for a 16-year prison term at his sentencing.

Guice was one of hundreds of young people who poured into the Times Square area in a rowdy tradition that has cropped up on the weekend of the New York International Auto Show, police said.

Four people were shot, while people hurled bottles at one another, blocked streets and sidewalks and confronted officers, police said. More than 30 people were arrested.

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