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AROUND THE STATE

Trump is no longer registered Republican

NEW YORK (AP) -- Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has changed his voter registration in New York State from Republican to unaffiliated.

A spokesman for Trump said the businessman and television host changed his affiliation to preserve his option to seek the presidency in 2012.

Special Counsel Michael Cohen said Friday that Trump could enter the race if Republicans fail to nominate a candidate who can defeat President Obama.

He said Trump probably would use his substantial wealth to even the playing field with Obama's re-election campaign.

Cohen said Trump's commitment to hosting TV's "The Apprentice" will keep him from doing anything until May, when the show's season wraps up.

He said Trump filed his voter registration paperwork Thursday.

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Hanukkah menorah lit by solar energy

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Jewish group in Woodstock is trading its candles for solar energy with a sun-powered Hanukkah menorah.

Rabbi Avroham Itkin told the Daily Freeman newspaper the idea came about because there is no electricity at the site where the Chabad of Ulster County sets up its outdoor menorah every year.

The group used to use candles, but someone had to stay at the site as a safety precaution.

Itkin said the solar menorah charges up during the day and turns on automatically at night.

The eight-day Hanukkah festival commemorates the relighting of a menorah in the Temple of Jerusalem after a small band of Jews reclaimed it from foreign occupiers. The Jews only had a one-day supply of oil, but the menorah miraculously burned for eight days.

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Disabled win ruling in taxicab access case

NEW YORK (AP) -- A federal judge has barred New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) from issuing medallions for taxicabs unless they are accessible to those with disabilities.

Federal Judge George Daniels issued his written ruling late Friday. He said the TLC can only provide permits for wheelchair-accessible vehicles until it produces a comprehensive plan to provide meaningful access to taxicab service for disabled passengers. He said such a plan must include targeted goals and standards, as well as anticipated measurable results.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit accusing the TLC of violating the Americans With Disabilities Act. The lawsuit was brought by disability rights groups.

Currently, only 233 of the more than 13,000 taxis in the city are wheelchair accessible.

City attorneys said they are disappointed with the ruling.