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AROUND THE STATE

Mother held after fire forces three to flee

ROCHESTER (AP) -- Authorities say a mother had left her three young children alone in an apartment where a fire broke out.

The children, ages 3, 5 and 6, where not injured in the fire, which started just after 1 a.m. Sunday.

The mother is in custody. Her name was not immediately released.

Rochester Fire Investigator Milton Walker tells the Democrat and Chronicle that, after failing to extinguish the fire in the family's second-floor apartment, the 6-year-old boy got his siblings outside and went to a neighbor for help.

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Schumer backs bill to curb prescriptions

NEW YORK (AP) -- Following last week's deadly shooting in a Long Island pharmacy, Sen. Charles E. Schumer says the federal government must work harder to fight prescription drug abuse.

Schumer said Sunday that the abuse of prescription narcotics is reaching levels not seen since the crack epidemic of the 1980s and early 1990s.

The New York Democrat is pushing legislation to deal with overprescribing drugs. He is co-sponsoring a bill introduced in by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., that would require doctors to participate in specialized training to prescribe Oxycontin, Vicodin and other opiate-based narcotics. The training would help doctors better identify patients vulnerable to addiction.

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Electronic tax filings ensnare some Amish

DEPEYSTER (AP) -- State rules that require business owners to file sales tax returns electronically are running up against the anti-technology beliefs of some Amish communities.

Machine shop owner Enos Yoder says that because he is Amish, he doesn't use electricity, including phones and computers. Yet the state has asked him for his phone number and Social Security number, which he also does not have.

Yoder tells the Watertown Daily Times that he wants to file his sales tax returns by mail, as he has done in the past.

But as of this year, the state Department of Taxation and Finance is requiring that the returns be filed electronically.

The Daily Times says some Amish shopkeepers and furniture builders have received letters warning them that they face a $50 fine if they do not file electronically.

Yoder's shop is in Depeyster, near the Canadian border.