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AROUND THE STATE

Campaign funds to get independent review

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City Comptroller John Liu says a former state attorney general will conduct an independent review of the potential mayoral candidate's campaign donations following questions surrounding his funding sources.

The Democrat said in a statement Friday that he had retained Robert Abrams of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. He said he looks forward to a "thorough and prompt review" of the donations.

Abrams said he would investigate Liu's campaign committee filings for the 2013 cycle. He will then issue a report of his findings.

Liu said he expects the review to be finished in 60 days.

The New York Times reported Oct. 12 that some people listed as campaign donors said they never gave Liu money.

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Chronic abuse goes on in retirement system

NEW YORK (AP) -- Scandal and intense public scrutiny may not have halted chronic abuses of the public retirement system by workers on the Long Island Rail Road.

The New York Times reported Saturday that more than half of LIRR workers who retired last year claimed they were disabled on the job, and were thereby entitled to a bigger pension. Nearly all of those claims were approved.

That rate is much higher than in any other U.S. railroad system.

Federal prosecutors charged 11 people Thursday with being part of a widespread fraud in which workers collected $120 million in disability payments they didn't deserve.

The investigation was opened after the Times reported in 2008 that almost all LIRR workers were being declared disabled upon retirement.

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Native Atlantic salmon reproducing in wild

PULASKI (AP) -- Native Atlantic salmon are once again reproducing in the wild in central New York's renowned Salmon River, where anglers travel from across North America and overseas every autumn to reel in hatchery-bred Atlantics as well as non-native chinooks, cohos, brown trout and feisty steelheads that swim upstream from Lake Ontario.

After more than a century without a wild-breeding population, this is the third year in a row that researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey have found young Atlantic salmon in the river, said USGS scientist Jim Johnson. When the young mature, eggs will be taken from some to propagate at the USGS research lab in Cortland, he said.

The goal is to re-establish a heritage species that had a prominent place in the cultural history of the region, where early settlers wrote of spearing hundreds of salmon a night during the spawning run.

Lake Ontario once supported the world's largest freshwater population of Atlantic salmon. But the fish vanished in the late 1800s as a result of overfishing and habitat destruction.

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