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AROUND THE STATE

Trade Center project hits another snag

NEW YORK (AP) -- An 80-story skyscraper under construction at ground zero will have to stop at seven stories unless the developer can line up more tenants, planners said Monday, adding to problems that have plagued the $11.7 billion World Trade Center project.

Silverstein Properties Inc. said it is still looking for tenants to fill the first 10 floors of Three World Trade Center, the third-highest building in the planned office complex.

Without those leases, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will not guarantee the financing Silverstein says it needs to finish the building.

Many companies in New York are reluctant to invest in new offices because of the poor economy.

Work on a museum at ground zero has also stopped because of a dispute between the Port Authority and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum over who should pay for infrastructure costs.

In addition, work has slowed on One World Trade Center, the spire formerly known as the Freedom Tower. Photographs have shown little growth in recent months. The Port Authority's executive director, Patrick Foye, blamed rainy weather and high winds at the top of the building, which is now 90 stories high.

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4-year-old girl reveals father's hiding place

MASSENA (AP) -- Kids say the darndest things, especially when daddy is trying to hide from the police.

State police said Monday that troopers went to John Colby's home in Massena in northern New York on Sunday morning to serve two warrants for his arrest for failure to appear in court for vehicle and traffic violations.

Troopers said Colby's 27-year-old live-in girlfriend told them she didn't know where Colby was. But then the couple's 4-year-old daughter chimed in, telling police that "daddy is scared and hiding in the attic."

Troopers checked the attic and found 30-year-old Colby. He was charged with bail jumping, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest.

Colby was being held in the St. Lawrence County jail pending a court appearance Wednesday.

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Sex offender admits killing woman in '08

GOSHEN (AP) -- A sex offender admitted Monday that he suffocated an aspiring dancer from Texas he met at a Manhattan nightclub, stuffed her body into a laundry basket and dumped her 85 miles away in the Pennsylvania woods.

Pleading guilty to manslaughter under a plea bargain, Michael Mele, 26, said that after he picked up Laura Garza, 25, in December 2008, she became upset in his apartment when she saw a picture of his girlfriend.

"She wanted to leave. I didn't want to drive back," he said. "She started to get a little louder. I put my hand over her mouth and partially her nose, and shortly after that, she stopped yelling, stopped moving, and I realized something bad had happened."

He said he then panicked.

Orange County Judge Nicholas De Rosa agreed to sentence Mele to 23 years in prison for manslaughter and at least 16 months more for tampering with evidence -- Garza's body.