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AROUND THE STATE

> LAKE GEORGE

Task force battles invasive Asian clam

LAKE GEORGE (AP) -- Scientists and a corps of volunteers have launched an all-out assault on a tiny invasive clam that has clouded the azure bays of Nevada's Lake Tahoe, in hopes of preventing it from befouling the crystal-clear waters of the beloved Adirondack lake.

The Lake George Asian Clam Rapid Response Task Force -- a coalition of community groups, scientists and regulatory agencies -- hopes to smother the golden, thumbnail-size Asian clam by laying up to 900 plastic mats on the bottom of the lake in a 6-acre area where the clams were discovered last August.

Task force officials say in just three years, the invasive species has spread from a few dozen clams from a bait bucket or aquarium to hundreds of thousands in the lake, a popular tourist destination 55 miles north of Albany.

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> NEW YORK CITY

Fire brings crackdown on illegal conversions

NEW YORK (AP) -- City fire and buildings officials will search for new ways to target landlords who unlawfully subdivide their properties, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Tuesday in the wake of a fire that killed a family living in illegal housing.

Bloomberg said city inspectors are unable to gain entry to roughly half the properties that are the subjects of complaints, as was the Bronx home where Christian Garcia, 12, and his parents, Juan Lopez, 36, and Christina Garcia, 43, died early Monday -- all of them cut off from fire escapes because of the illegal changes to the three-

story building.

Inspectors investigating complaints of illegal conversions are often turned away by tenants, or no one answers the door.

In such cases, inspectors must obtain a warrant to get inside.

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> UTICA

Virginia man charged in fatal Easter crash

UTICA (AP) -- Police said Tuesday they had charged a Virginia man with drunken driving in the Easter Sunday crash that killed a 50-year-old man and critically injured his wife.

Utica police told local media outlets that William Daniels, 46, of Hopewell, Va., drove through a stop sign, and his van collided with a car driven by Nurko Bakaran of Utica, who later died in a local hospital.

His wife, Dula, 47, remains in intensive care in the same hospital.

Daniels, who pleaded not guilty Monday to the drunken-driving charge, was listed in stable condition. He was being held on $10,000 bail.

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> MANHATTAN

P. Diddy police escort under investigation

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City police said Tuesday a sergeant allowed a police escort for Sean "P. Diddy" Combs for a total of one city block after a concert.

The department said the assistance was unauthorized and is under investigation.

Police said the escort was requested by the hip-hop star's dry cleaner, who asked several officers before the sergeant agreed.

One police van escorted Combs to just near the entrance for the Lincoln Tunnel in Manhattan.

The department said claims that several officers escorted Combs to New Jersey are false.

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