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Latest on State Budget

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lawmakers have approved a $122 billion budget for New York State. It came nine days late and despite warnings of an economic slowdown, the budget increases total spending by nearly 5 percent over last year’s budget.

Some details include $1.8 billion more for education. That's a hike of about 9 percent ...

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Comptroller Demands Cleanup of Brooklyn Rec Center

Thursday, April 10, 2008

City Comptroller Bill Thompson is calling for immediate action to clean up a city-owned athletic center in Brooklyn that houses day care and pre-kindergarten programs.

He says his auditors found decrepit and dangerous conditions during a routine financial audit of the Paerdegat Athletic Club in Canarsie — including missing fire extinguishers, ...

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A Peacemaker's Puppets

Thursday, April 10, 2008

This Friday, a new production of Philip Glass’s Satyagraha will debut at the Metropolitan Opera. It tells the story of Mahatma Gandhi’s experiences in South Africa, ones that helped define his philosophy of non-violent resistance. Gandhi isn’t the only figure who casts a large shadow on stage or, for that ...

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Victory for Teachers in Tenure Battle

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The city's public schools and teachers were big winners in the budget, approved by New York's legislature yesterday.

Gov. David Paterson and the legislature restored $644 million in additional school funding. The city now has a record $8.3 billion education budget.

Geri Palast, of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, which won ...

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9/11 Memorial Reaches Fundraising Goal

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A donation by one of the World Trade Center's former tenants has finished off the fund-raising drive for the September 11 memorial.

The memorial is scheduled to open in 2011.

Joe Daniels, president of the September 11 Memorial and Museum, says the financial firm gave $10 million.

DANIELS: Our final gift that ...

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David Gonzalez

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Poet, performer and musician David Gonzalez takes a global village approach to his art. The musician-poet grew up in the Bronx and creates musical and dramatic works about frog brides, ceiba trees, Cuban refugees, Latin music and passengers on the Underground Railroad. For 8 years Gonzalez shared his knowledge of ...

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Parents of Slain Student get Visas to Travel from China

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The parents of Minghui Yu, the Columbia University student who was killed last Friday, now have visas to travel from China to claim their son. Senator Charles Schumer says the state department granted the papers in a matter of days when usually the process takes weeks.

A graduate student of statistics, ...

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Rich Villar

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Poet, teacher and occasional actor, Rich Villar performs in English and Spanglish. Villar’s poetry is published in several journals, including the new Achiote, and was nominated by Rogue Scholars for a Pushcart Prize in 2005. He curates poetry showcases for the five-year old Acentos, the South Bronx branch of the ...

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Regie Cabico

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

After Cabico graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, he headed a few blocks east to explore the 1990s poetry scene in Alphabet City. A gay, Filipino man, he says he looks for sincerity in the poetry world. Cabico is the recipient of the Writers for Writers award in ...

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Defense Could Help prosecution in Bell Trial

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

It was a long, muffled recording, presented by lawyers defending the police officers charged with the fatal shooting of Sean Bell. But as WNYC's Arun Venugopal reports, the police interview of Bell's friend, Trent Benefield, may actually help the prosecution.

Benefield was interviewed in the hospital, when he was on morphine, ...

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Businesses Protest Queens Redevelopment

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

As fans flocked to opening day at Shea Stadium, dozens of protesters concerned about a redevelopment plan for nearby Willets Point gathered outside the ball park.

The plan calls for clearing a 60-acre industrial area to make room for apartment buildings, a shopping district and possibly a convention center. It's ...

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More Flights in NY/NJ Region Cancelled

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

American Airlines expects to cancel more flights after scrubbing at least 36 flights from LaGuardia, 11 from Newark and three out of Kennedy Airport.

The airline is grounding about 300 MD-80 planes due to an FAA rule about wiring that controls landing wheels. One thousand flights nationally are affected. American Airline ...

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Taylor Mali

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The New York City native spent almost a decade teaching everything from English to SAT prep before dedicating all his time to being a poet. Mali made it to the National Poetry Slam Finals seven times, winning four of them, and appeared on two seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. ...

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Assemblywoman Convicted of Bribery

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Assemblywoman Diane Gordon has been convicted of trying to have a private developer build her a $500,000 home for $1.

Gordon, a Democrat, represented the state Assembly's 40th District in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors say in return for her dream house, she offered to help the builder acquire a $2 million lot in East ...

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Natural Gas Could Transform Sullivan County

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Last winter, some residents of Sullivan County in upstate New York were surprised to receive mailers from companies that wanted to drill for natural gas on their land. Soon, cafes and gas stations were buzzing with talk that you could get rich off of gas deposits buried deep below the ...

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In Albany, Budget Negotiations Continue

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Senate and Assembly are scheduled to be at work today at the Capitol passing a $124 billion budget that's more than a week late.

Lawmakers reached a tentative agreement last night after a week marked by legislative boycotts, name-calling and secrecy.

The budget deal will increase spending 4.5 percent. That will ...

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Thompson to Review Council Budget Funds

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The city comptroller is the latest official looking into revelations that the City Council set aside discretionary funds in fake organizations.

Comptroller William Thompson wrote to Council Speaker Christine Quinn today, saying his office would now review all agency agreements that receive discretionary funds, before the funds are disbursed. He's also ...

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Call for Probe Into Council Finances

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Council Speaker Christine Quinn met with over 300 seniors yesterday to discuss creating a more senior friendly city.

Quinn, however, continued to be pressed by reporters about the recent revelation that for years, council leadership budgeted millions of dollars to non-existent nonprofit groups and then awarded the money to existing organizations ...

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Jury Deliberations Begin in James' Trial

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Defense lawyers for former Newark Mayor Sharpe James urged jurors to acquit him on charges of fraud and conspiracy because federal prosecutors failed to present any evidence that James participated in sweetheart land sales to a former mistress.

The defense said none of the prosecution's witnesses testified that the ex-mayor was ...

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Albany Passes $121.7 Billion Budget; 5 Percent Spending Hike

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Nine days past the budget deadline, state lawmakers passed spending bills on a budget agreement that increases spending, despite what Gov. David Paterson has deemed an economic recession. The budget is similar to the proposal put forward by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer before he resigned.

Paterson concedes the budget process was ...

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