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For Comptroller’s Allies, a Day Without an Award Is a Rarity (NYT)
David W. Chen writes about Comptroller John Liu’s habit of giving out rewards to community and business leaders who also happen to be his supporters: “City and state ethics laws typically restrict what public officials can receive as gifts, not what they can provide. But several lawyers familiar with ethics and campaign finance laws said that Mr. Liu’s commendations, which recipients often promote on their résumés, raise questions as to whether he was providing a tangible benefit to recipients, some of whom are lobbyists or have done business with the city.”

Drilling Critics Face Divide Over Goal of Their Fight (NYT)
Peter Applebome reports on shifting goals within the anti-fracking coalition: “The question is pitting brand-name organizations like the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Nature Conservancy, which are working nationwide for stringent rules, against an ever-growing universe of grass-roots groups demanding a prohibition on the kind of intensive shale gas drilling being proposed in the state.”

NYPD Won’t Divulge Key Crime Stats (NY Daily News)
Barbara Ross reports: “The NYCLU asked the courts to order police brass to release 11 years of statistics for Bedford-Stuyvesant’s 81st Precinct, where the commanding officer was transferred and disciplined and four others hit with departmental charges after a cop alleged stats were manipulated. The litigation is the latest twist in a scandal set off by Officer Adrian Schoolcraft, who was handcuffed, put into a psychiatric ward for a week and suspended without pay after he claimed his superiors were fudging numbers.”

Charges Against Some Occupy Wall Street Protesters Dropped (AP)
The Associated Press reports: “Prosecutors dropped charges on Monday against nearly two dozen people picked up in the first mass arrest of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators. About 50 other cases are headed to trial. The Manhattan district attorney’s office asked a judge to dismiss 21 cases stemming from a Sept. 24 march to Union Square, during which some protesters marched in the street without a permit.”

Lawyers Negotiating Plea for Terror Suspect (NYT)
John Eligon reports: “Lawyers for a Manhattan man charged with plotting terrorist bombings are negotiating a plea agreement with prosecutors, though the defense characterized the discussions as routine in criminal cases.”

Bloomberg: No Teacher Layoffs Expected (WSJ)
Michael Howard Saul reports: “Bloomberg’s comments on teacher layoffs mark a major turnaround from a year ago, when he told New Yorkers that his administration was bracing for a massive reduction in state education funding and would need to shed a large number of teaching positions.”

Health Dept. Offers Super-Sized Warnings (NYT)
Patrick McGeehan reports: “In a new set of posters in English and Spanish, the health department depicts the steady increase in sizes of soda cups and sleeves of French fries against backdrops of unhealthy people, including a diabetic man who is missing most of one leg. The ads, which began appearing in the subway system on Monday, warn that obesity and diabetes have become more common as the average size of food servings has risen.”

Mormon Church’s Plans for Land Upset Harlem (NYT)
Anne Barnard reports on the Mormon Church’s decision to sell a crumbling building on 129th Street to developers rather than back to the community: “The Mormons find themselves torn between two charitable missions — the global social welfare projects that go hand in hand with its energetic proselytizing, which proceeds from the sale will support; and the needs of Harlem, where the mixed-race congregation has achieved a hard-won measure of acceptance despite the church’s fraught history with African-Americans, who were barred from the church’s ministry until 1978.”

Google Plans Aggressive Hiring in Manhattan in 2012 (DNAinfo)
Mathew Katz reports: “ Amid an Internet tech boom that could turn Manhattan into the next silicon alley, powerhouse search engine giant Google is ramping up its recruiting for the New York City office. The company now employs 2,500 employees in the city, split between sales and engineering. That's after a boom year for Google: they've hired about 7,000 people worldwide in 2011.”

Top Commercial Auto Insurer Opts for New Location in Downtown Brooklyn (Crain’s)
Amanda Fung reports: “ American Transit Insurance will be taking over the entire seventh and eighth floors of 1 MetroTech, which is located on Myrtle Avenue, between Jay and Lawrence streets. Currently, the company is located at 330 W. 34th St. The tenant will be moving into its space in April, according to CoStar Group. The 1 MetroTech space was formerly home to Bear Stearns, which went bust and was taken over by J.P. Morgan in the 2008 financial crisis.”

Meadowlands Hospital Neuroscientist Fired Over Controversial Autism Treatment (The Star-Ledger)
Susan K. Livio reports: “Philip DeFina was part of an ambitious plan by Meadowlands to offer hyperbaric oxygen therapy to children diagnosed with autism. The therapy, typically used to treat burns and other wounds by energizing dying tissue, required approval from the state Department of Health and Senior Services. Meadowlands would have been the first hospital in the state to offer the experimental treatment. But the application ran into strong opposition, and questions were raised in a Nov. 27 Star-Ledger article in which traditional medical and psychological experts said the treatment offers families false hope while draining bank accounts because the experimental therapy is not covered by insurance.”

Al Green, India.Arie to Serenade Obama Next Week at the Apollo (DNAinfo)

Jill Colvin and Jeff Mays report: “President Barack Obama is set to take take center stage at the legendary Apollo Theater next week, where he’ll be serenaded by crooners Al Green and India.Arie. Officials at the Harlem theater confirmed to DNAinfo that the president will make an appearance at a concert fundraiser in his honor on Jan. 19.”