Recipients of historic preservation grants say they help preserve NY’s heritage

Thirty historic sites in 21 counties in New York received $239,634 in preservation grant money, and they say it makes a difference in a region where the economy is struggling. The grants were distributed by the Preservation League of New York State, along with help from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation. They were awarded to groups ranging from an antique boat museum to a dance center to help with preserving cultural heritage across New York....

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The state’s largest teachers union has filed a lawsuit against the state’s property tax cap, arguing it’s unconstitutional.

New York State United Teachers President Dick Iannuzzi says the cap, passed by Cuomo and the legislature in 2011, arbitrarily limits property tax increase to 2%, regardless of whether a school district is rich or poor. The lawsuit also charges that the tax cap violates the principle of one person one vote, because a supermajority of 60% of voters is required to override the cap.

A group pressing for public campaign financing has compiled a list of large corporations who gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to some New York lawmakers. They charge that the donations are preventing the legislature from closing what they say are corporate tax loopholes.

On Tuesday, New York state officials announced another delay of their final decision on hydrofracking. The Department of Environmental Conservation will wait for a report on the health protections in its environmental review of fracking, then the environmental review can be completed. The delay could be less than a month, or it could be much longer.

A document from Governor Cuomo’s Administration assessing the health impacts of hydro fracking, written several months ago, says the gas drilling process is likely safe if proper precautions are taken by the governor’s environmental agency. 

A February deadline on New York’s process to allow high-volume hydraulic fracturing will be missed, with Governor Cuomo’s Health Commissioner now saying he needs more time to complete an ongoing health study.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah said he wants to study potential health impacts from hydrofracking further, and will review some new comprehensive studies on  health and fracking that have been released over the past few weeks.

High volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has been hailed as the long-sought answer to our global energy dilemma, and an environmental catastrophe in the making. New York state is now in the final steps of evaluating the safety of this unconventional practice to extract gas from shale formations extending under large sections of the state, and the outcome of this review is expected to play out within weeks or even days.

Dueling pro and anti fracking filmmakers held screenings and promotions for their films, as they await a decision by Governor Cuomo on whether fracking will go forward in New York. That could come by the end of the month. At one point in the day, the two sides confronted each other in the halls of the Capitol.

Phelim McAleer is the creator of Fracknation, a film that claims to rebut charges made by environmentalists and the popular anti fracking movie “Gasland”. He came to Albany to hold a screening of his film.

Governor Cuomo’s Court of Appeals nominee was approved in the State Senate on a voice vote, after an unusually contentious process.

Cuomo’s nominee Jenny Rivera had already faced extensive grilling from Senate Republicans, who are in a coalition government with several break away Democrats. Then, during the vote on the Senate floor, some GOP Senators rose to say that she was not the best candidate.

Every year, New York State gives out millions in tax incentives, loans and economic development grants to the private sector. Every state does it, and New York has little choice if it wants to prevent companies from leaving. But additional attention is now being paid to the incentives going to the gun industry in New York.

New York’s newest Senator, Cecilia Tkaczyk, has been on the job for just over a week now, after a two and half month long court battle over absentee ballots resulted in her narrrow eighteen-vote win. Tkaczyk, a sheep farmer, school board member and former legislative housing analyst, is a Democrat who won the newly drawn Senate seat in the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys that was designed for a Republican.

Senator Tkaczyk says she remained confident during the lengthy legal machinations.

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