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NY man sentenced for killing former nun in '12

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (AP) - A man has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for killing an 82-year-old former nun during a burglary at her upstate New York apartment.

Local media report that 38-year-old Michael Briggs was sentenced Friday in Schenectady County Court, where he pleaded guilty in March to second-degree murder and attempted burglary.

Prosecutors say Briggs strangled and stabbed Mary Greco in her apartment in late December 2012. Her body was found on New Year's Day, 2013. Officials say Briggs had shoveled snow for her around the time she was killed.

They say at the time of the killing, Briggs had fled from parole in a Long Island assault case.


Critics say NY oil trains are polluting air

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A coalition of environmental groups says oil trains are making people in Albany sick, and they're asking state regulators to investigate.

The group includes the Sierra Club, Environmental Advocates of New York and Earthjustice. They wrote to the state's Department of Environmental Conservation on Friday asking for a "comprehensive" review of the impact oil trains have on surrounding air quality.

Residents living near the Port of Albany and the rail lines carrying the trains have complained of health problems they believe are associated with oil and diesel emissions.

The state's environmental agency tested the air near the Port of Albany earlier this year and reported no problems. There was no immediate response Friday to the request for an additional study.


New York beekeeper accused of defrauding on bees

CANTON, N.Y. (AP) - A beekeeper is being accused of defrauding people in New York and Vermont out of thousands of dollars by failing to provide them with beehives.

New York State Police charged 36-year-old John P. Clarke of the northern New York town of Waddington with felony first-degree scheme to defraud on Wednesday.

Troopers told the Watertown Daily Times they had received four complaints from people who said they sent Clarke money for beehives or beehive nucleuses that were never delivered or only partially delivered. All of the customers said they contacted Clarke through a Craigslist ad.

Clarke was arraigned in Waddington Town Court and was sent to jail on $50,000 cash bail.

It could not immediately be determined if Clarke had a lawyer.


$150K food safety grant to Trudeau Institute

SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. (AP) - The Trudeau Institute in the Adirondacks has received a $150,000 federal grant to help fight food poisoning.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture targets research for a vaccine to stop Campylobacter (camp-ee-loh-bak-tur), a harmful bacteria commonly linked to raw milk and poultry.

The Press-Republican of Plattsburgh reports that U.S. Rep. Bill Owens said the project could lead scientists to a vaccine that would help farmers and ranchers manage the threat from the bacteria.


Shark Girl statue debuts in Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Shark Girl is on display in Buffalo and at least one official from the statue's old home of Cincinnati feels a slight bite of sorrow.

The life-size stature of a girl in a Victorian dress and a shark head was installed at Buffalo's Canalside this week after a yearlong stint on Cincinnati's waterfront.

Buffalo's Albright-Knox Art Gallery paid an undisclosed sum for artist Casey Riordan Millard's statue, which was funded with a $6,000 grant through Cincinnati's Arts Ambassador Fellowship.

Jan Brown Checco, an arts administrator for Cincinnati's public parks, told the Buffalo News ( ) that the move "kind of pulled the rug out from under us" because they thought Shark Girl would stay a bit longer.

Still, Checco said the city applauds its artists and welcomes their success.


NY race shows influence of Asian-American voters

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The two Democratic candidates for New York lieutenant governor are courting the votes of Asian-Americans, highlighting the political influence of the nation's fastest growing minority group.

Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor, would be the first Asian-American elected to statewide office in New York if he wins the lieutenant governorship. On Thursday he said he's spoken with Asian-American voters who are "incredibly enthusiastic" about his campaign.

Wu's primary election opponent, former Buffalo congresswoman Kathy Hochul (HOH'-kuhl), responded Friday with a list of Asian-American leaders and organizations endorsing her.

Asian-Americans recently overtook Latinos as the nation's fastest growing minority. Political science professor Paul Watanabe (wah-tah-NAH'-bay) at the University of Massachusetts-Boston says they're a group who could have a real impact, especially in primary elections, when turnout is traditionally low.


New York dairy co-op gets school yogurt contract

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - New York's Upstate Niagara dairy cooperative will supply its Greek yogurt to public schools across three states under a federal school lunch pilot program.

Sen. Charles Schumer says Friday that a U.S. Department of Agriculture contract calls for the Buffalo-based co-op to provide 142,700 pounds of Greek yogurt to schools in New York, Arizona and Tennessee through December.

Upstate Niagara is a farmer-owned co-op consisting of 360 family-owned dairy farms in western New York.

New York's dairy industry is the third largest in the nation and has been undergoing a yogurt boom in recent years with the opening of several new plants. The New York Farm Bureau says the state produced an estimated 740 million pounds of yogurt in 2013, more than triple the 2007 output.

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