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AROUND THE STATE

New arrest costs thief chance at transplant

NEW YORK (AP) -- A thief who was released from a New York jail so she could get a heart transplant is back behind bars -- possibly for good -- after she was caught shoplifting again.

A lawyer for the dying Long Island woman told Newsday the new arrest has probably cost her any chance of getting a new heart.

Diane McCloud, of Hempstead, was freed by a judge in January after a doctor said she had only six months to live if she didn't get a transplant.

After her release, she got into trouble with the court for continuing to smoke cigarettes. Then she was arrested in July for stealing beauty products from a store in Oceanside.

McCloud pleaded guilty Friday.

Now she has to finish serving her original sentence, plus additional time in the new theft case -- if she lives.

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State tests to contain fewer trick questions

ALBANY (AP) -- New York State is turning a new page on standardized tests -- with one big change: fewer trick questions.

Starting next spring, redesigned tests developed by a new company will be offered to students in third through eighth grades.

The New York Times reported Saturday that the state's $32 million, five-year contract with Pearson lays out some new rules for the exams.

Among them: Questions with "none of the above" or "all of the above" answers are banned.

Students also won't be asked to answer negative questions like, "Which of these things is not true?"

State Education Commissioner John King Jr. says the tests will give administrators a better read on students' academic ability.

The changes will be phased in gradually through 2013.

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English boy drowns in Beaver River

CROGHAN (AP) -- A 14-year-old English boy has drowned in an upstate New York river during an outing with friends and relatives.

The death happened Friday afternoon in Beaver River, in Croghan, about an hour north of Utica.

State police say McKinley Day, of Cheshire, England, was swimming in a quiet pool below a dam when he began calling for help.

Troopers told the Watertown Daily Times that people rushed to help but couldn't get to him in time.

An off-duty trooper from Idaho and his lifeguard niece found the boy minutes later under eight feet of water.

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