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AROUND THE STATE

Environmentalists laud power plant standards

ALBANY (AP) -- Environmental groups are praising proposed federal standards to limit mercury, arsenic and other power plant air pollutants, calling the rules a major step in reversing damage to the state's lakes, particularly in the Adirondacks.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed the emissions standards Wednesday in response to a U.S. Court of Appeals decision in a lawsuit brought by a coalition of national health and environmental groups, including the Adirondack Mountain Club.

Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack group, said Sunday that technology required by the new standard will cut mercury contamination by 91 percent and reduce fine particulate matter, low-level ozone and acid rain.

Ninety-six percent of Adirondack lakes exceed the EPA's maximum recommended mercury level, and two-thirds of Adirondack loons have risky levels of mercury.

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University cancels rite after St. Pat's Day riot

ALBANY (AP) -- George Philip, president of the University at Albany, says the campus is canceling Fountain Day, a cherished rite of spring, after more than 40 students were charged in a St. Patrick's Day drunken riot in the city streets.

Students mark Fountain Day, when the campus' central courtyard fountain is turned on, by frolicking in the splashing water in a beach party-like celebration.

It had been scheduled for April 10.

Philip said in an e-mail Sunday that the event was suspended to "protect [the university's] students and reputation."

He noted that a number of students use Fountain Day as "an excuse to promote excessive alcohol consumption that compromises everyone's safety."

The "kegs and eggs" riot cost the city at least $12,000 to clean up and slightly injured two police officers.

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Building owner sues over removal of sign

NEW YORK (AP) -- The property owners who want to build an Islamic cultural center and mosque two blocks from ground zero are suing Burlington Coat Factory, the previous owner, for removing a sign from the building that became the focus of a national debate.

The lawsuit filed Friday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan claims the 161-square-foot sign bearing the Burlington name was illegally removed last May from the side of the building.

The papers claim Burlington ordered the sign removed from the building it no longer owned partly because of the company's displeasure with the media spotlight turned on the building.

The lawsuit also names several sign companies and seeks more than $7 million in compensation for lost advertising income and damages because zoning laws forbid replacing the sign.

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