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AROUND THE STATE

New union approved for police units

ALBANY (AP) -- A new police union was approved Friday to represent 1,100 state university, park and conservation officers and forest rangers.

The Public Employment Relations Board unanimously approved the certification of the Police Benevolent Association of New York State. The union was formed earlier this year.

The workers had been represented by Council 82 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. In May, Council 82 members rejected a contract with a pay freeze proposed by the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo by a 2-to-1 majority. Members have been without a contract since 2005.

Manuel Vilar, PBA president and a park police sergeant on Long Island, said the new union's top concerns are negotiations that have languished too long and did not include the voice of members.

In a July 15 letter, Council 82 told members that, since a majority clearly believed PBA's promises of progress, it was withdrawing its representation. It said decertification had created ill will and delayed a contract.

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Reading of 9/1 1 names will be reviewed

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Friday that the relatives of 9/1 1 victims will be consulted about whether they wish to discontinue the annual readings of the names of the people who died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Every ceremony to mark the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has included a reading of the names of the dead. It also will be part of this year's 10th anniversary commemoration.

Speaking on WOR's John Gambling Show, Bloomberg said the question of whether to discontinue the tradition has come up before.

He said some people believe change is good while others think the solemn reading of the each victim's name should go on forever.

The mayor said the 9/1 1 memorial foundation will talk to family members and first responders to gauge their feelings.

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Center span ready for replacement bridge

CROWN POINT (AP) -- The center arch span for a new Lake Champlain Bridge will be floated to the construction site next week and lifted into place, weather permitting.

State transportation officials said Friday that tentative plans call for the 400-foot arch to be brought on barges from Port Henry, 2 miles west of the bridge. Agency officials said a definite date for the move will be set as assembly of the arch nears completion.

Moving the arch to the construction site will take about four hours, and lifting it into place could take another eight.

The 80-year-old bridge linking Crown Point and Addison, Vt., was demolished in December 2009 after inspectors deemed it unsafe.

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