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Museum cost critique backed by 9/1 1 group

NEW YORK (AP) -- A group representing some Sept. 11 family members says that it agrees with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that spending for the memorial museum at ground zero is out of control.

The group commended the governor for saying that "a tremendous amount of money" has been "wasted" at the site.

The 9/1 1 Parents and Families of Firefighters and World Trade Center Victims said that it "never asked for the world's most expensive memorial and museum."

Members said they would have been "thankful for a simple, dignified, aboveground monument to the lives and deaths of 9/1 1 victims."

They said increasing tolls to pay for the project was "unacceptable."

Their statement follows the announcement this week that the memorial foundation and the site's owners are close to an agreement to resume construction of the museum honoring the victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.


HIV saliva ruled out as weapon under law

ALBANY (AP) -- The saliva of an HIV-infected man who bit a police officer doesn't constitute a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument under state law, New York's top court ruled Thursday. In dismissing the aggravated-assault conviction of David Plunkett, the Court of Appeals sent the case back to a lower court for resentencing.

Plunkett, 48, is serving a 10-year sentence at Sing Sing Correctional Facility after pleading guilty to assault as well as aggravated assault on an officer after punching him and biting his finger in 2006.

The court said saliva should be treated the same as teeth, which it concluded in 1999 don't qualify as dangerous instruments because body parts come with the defendant and cannot heighten their criminal liability.

"Because defendant's saliva too 'came with him' -- indeed with his teeth -- its utility for penal enhancement may not be treated differently," Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman wrote. The six other judges concurred.

The officer, whose skin was broken by the bite, didn't become HIV-infected, though he took antiviral drugs for months, Herkimer County Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey S. Carpenter said. "I think the decision will place not only the general public but certainly our first responders -- be it police, firefighters, EMTs or paramedics -- in grave danger," he said.


Museum of Glass set for major expansion

CORNING (AP) -- The Corning Museum of Glass unveiled plans this week for a $64 million expansion that will include one of the world's largest facilities for glass-blowing demonstrations.

Officials at the museum in the Southern Tier announced the 100,000-square-foot expansion Wednesday. It's scheduled for completion in 2014.

The expansion's preliminary design calls for a new North Wing, featuring light-filled galleries for the museum's collection of contemporary works in glass. The museum's new glass-making space will be able to accommodate 500 people and offer 360-degree views of the process.

The museum attracts some 400,000 visitors annually.

The design work was done by Thomas Phifer & Partners, a Manhattan-based architectural firm that's designing a field house and velodrome for Brooklyn Bridge Park.