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AROUND THE STATE

Muppets get gig as ambassadors

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy are Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's newest allies in his mission to attract more visitors to New York City.

The Muppets joined Bloomberg on Friday as he announced that Jim Henson's lovable creations are the city's official "Family Ambassadors."

The whole gang will encourage families to travel to the Big Apple.

They'll highlight the city's family-friendly restaurants, parks and other attractions.

The tourism and marketing arm, NYC and Company, says the city welcomed 15 million family visitors in 2011.

Kermit told reporters that he plans to hang out in the pond in Central Park.

But Miss Piggy said she prefers shopping at Tiffany's.

Bloomberg was also joined by Gonzo the Great and Pepe the King Prawn.

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Retired officer kills armed robbery suspect

NEW YORK (AP) -- A retired New York police lieutenant who killed an armed robbery suspect said Saturday he just feels happy to be alive.

Lt. Thomas Barnes was refueling his SUV at a Harlem gas station on Thursday when a masked gunman burst from a nearby pharmacy and pointed a revolver at police officers responding to a robbery call.

Barnes didn't wait for the bandit to get off a shot. He pulled his gun and shot twice.

Police identified the slain robber as 23-year-old Wyatt Rudolph.

They said he was wanted for at least two other shootings.

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Fired teacher, 80, fails to get job back

NEW YORK (AP) -- A New York City teacher who said she was wrongfully fired at age 80 has lost one bid to get her job back. But she's still pursuing another avenue.

A Manhattan state court ruling this week said Lillie Leon's dismissal last year was "not shocking to one's sense of fairness."

Leon's lawyer, Stewart Karlin, noted Friday she still has a federal age-discrimination lawsuit pending. The Manhattan case contested the firing under state law.

City lawyers said Leon was justly dismissed, noting that an administrative hearing officer found she repeatedly refused assignments. Leon was fired after 34 years of teaching.

She said she was dismissed after complaining about a new room assignment, saying it forced her to shepherd her Queens kindergarteners to a distant bathroom on a bad knee.