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AROUND THE STATE

Polluted soil probed at Watchtower Farms

SHAWANGUNK (AP) -- State officials are investigating chemical pollution found buried here on property owned by the Jehovah's Witnesses.

The Department of Environmental Conservation told the Times Herald-Record of Middletown that the polluted soil was found at three separate 2-acre sites at Watchtower Farms, a 1,100-acre property in this Ulster County town, 70 miles northwest of New York City.

DEC officials said the soil was contaminated by leaks decades ago from barrels of chemicals that were first found in 2007 while the organization was building an expansion. Several of the drums contained chemicals along with inks and solvents that were used at Watchtower's printing press.

The operation produces all the printed matter that the religious group distributes in North America.

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Removal of barricades sought at iconic bull

NEW YORK (AP) -- More than a month after Occupy Wall Street activists were removed from a Manhattan park, the bronze bull where the movement started is still surrounded by police barricades -- and some New Yorkers want them down.

Arthur J. Picollo, chairman of the Bowling Green Association community alliance, told the New York Post that it's "outlandish" to keep visitors away from one of the city's most popular outdoor sculptures.

Occupy protesters first gathered by the Charging Bull on Sept. 17, before building their encampment in nearby Zuccotti Park. Police evicted them from the privately owned public park in mid-November.

Authorities said the bull that symbolizes Wall Street wealth must be protected because it's a possible target of vandalism.

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Greyhound bus theft leads to man's jailing

WATERTOWN (AP) -- A man stole a Greyhound bus in Syracuse and decided to a make a Christmas Day visit to a friend in northern New York before he was caught, authorities said.

Andrew Hickey, 39, of Peekskill, Westchester County, boarded the bus Sunday morning because he was cold and the vehicle was running and warm while being fueled at the Syracuse transportation center, authorities said.

After it was fueled, Hickey drove off and headed to a friend's home in Watertown, 60 miles away. Police said he has a commercial driver's license and knows how to drive a bus.

Greyhound disabled the runaway bus electronically two hours later in Watertown. The company notified Jefferson County sheriff's deputies, who made the arrest.

Hickey was being held in the county jail on charges of stealing the bus.

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Boy, 15, denies killing father, brothers in fire

ROCHESTER (AP) -- A 15-year-old boy pleaded not guilty Tuesday to killing his father and two brothers by setting fire to the family's home in Webster.

Michael Pilato remained held without bail after his arraignment in Monroe County Court on six counts of second-degree murder, two counts of attempted second-degree murder and one count of arson.

A grand jury indicted the teenager Friday, more than two weeks after investigators say he poured gasoline throughout his family's two-story home and set it ablaze with the intention of causing deaths. He is being prosecuted as an adult.

The Dec. 7 fire killed Michael's adoptive father, Carmen, 71, and his brothers, Peter, 16, and Joshua, 12. His mother, Elaine, 59, and a sister, Elizabeth, 13, escaped with injuries.

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