State Troopers to Crack Down on Texting and Driving

State troopers in the central New York area will be looking out for those who are not using a hands-free cell phone device to talk, or are texting.
Troop C officers will step up enforcement of illegal cell phone use next week as part of something called “operation hang up.”
Troopers have been told to take a zero-tolerance attitude.
They will use low-profile patrol cars, special vantage points to observe phone use and texting, and other methods to detect hazardous use of devices.
The penalty for getting caught is a $150, court costs and three points on a license.

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NYS No Closer to Decision on Hydrofracking

New York State’s environmental commissioner says there’s no target date by which his agency will make a decision on whether hydrofracturing gas wells will be allowed.
Yesterday, commissioner Joe Martins told a group of business leaders the review of the process and it’s impact on the environment will continue through the summer at least.
Permits for hydrofracking have not been issued in about four years. The state does have a 1,500 page environmental impact study, which is what various agencies and experts are reviewing, along with about 60,000 comments from the public on the matter.
The state needs to update the environmental review and then come up with regulations for the shale gas wells.

Coventry Fire Under Investigation

The Coventry Fire Department responded to a house fire yesterday in the town of Coventry at around 2:24 p.m. When firemen arrived at the scene they found heavy smoke and fire at the rear of the residence.

The rear of the house was totally destroyed. The family of four was not home at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. Fire departments assisting at the fire were Greene, Bainbridge, Afton, Smithville, Oxford and Harpursville.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but may be due to a possible electrical problem.

Insurance Carrier Fined $1 Million

The Excellus Blue Cross, Blue Shield insurance carrier has been fined for denying emergency room claims and failing to provide an explanation of benefits to its subscribers.
The State Department of Financial Services will collect $1 million from the insurer for incidents dating back to between 2003-07.
Excellus has told the state that it has since paid those customers who were denied emergency room claims. The company blames computer problems for the error.

Albany Think Tank Says Schools Have 3-percent Tax Cap

A fiscally-conservative Albany think tank says NYS schools really have what amounts to a 3 percent property tax cap.
The state began a tax limit last year to limit growth in a school budget so that the tax levy to property owners would not grow over 2 percent without a waiver from voters.
But the Empire Center for NYS Policy added up the figures and claims the rate is 1 percent higher. The cap excludes growth in pension costs, and the average increase over last year is more like 2.7 percent, based on tax levels reported by the state’s 679 school districts.
The group’s conclusion is that the cap is working, and the nearly 3-percent figure is not bad. The average for next year is predicted to be around 2.5 percent.

Relay for Life Raises $45,000

As of right now $45,000 dollars has been raised during a relay for live event this past weekend at SUNY Oneonta's Alumni Fieldhouse that involved SUCO and Hartwick students.

The director of SUNY Oneonta's Center for Social Responsibility and Community, Linda Drake, says the enthusiasm was great.

The annual event was organized by the Colleges Against Cancer student groups at the two colleges with support from the Center for Social Responsibility and Community.

Schneiderman Files Suit Against Sprint-Nextel

NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed a $300-million lawsuit against cellular phone provider Sprint-Nextel.
The attorney general claims the cell company deliberately under collected and under paid state and local sales tax.
If the attorney general wins, Sprint-Nextel would have to pay three times what he says the phone company owes state and local government plus penalties.
Schneiderman says sprint has been underpaying on taxes since 2005. They’re supposed to pay tax on monthly access charges since 2002.
The phone company says the attorney general’s case is without merit, and they’ve paid all the state taxes that are owed.

Norwich Fire Department Open House Sunday

The Norwich Fire Department is holding an open house Sunday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The annual event, sponsored by the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York, is an effort to show the public what it means and takes to be a volunteer fireman.
Jan Papalino of the NFD says the firemen will show some of the situations they encounter as a volunteer firefighter.
Over the last two decades, the number of volunteer firemen has decreased by 60,000, and the number of EMTs by 15,000. Papalino says the NFD had 39 volunteers in 1979, and 39 active volunteers now.


High School Softball

Roxbury blanked Stamford 15-0

Afton ran by Sidney 11-1

Hancock hammered Unadilla Valley 9-5

Greene grounded Walton 25-1

Davenport got by Unatego 11-9

Deposit dropped Bainbridge Guilford 15-1

Franklin flashed by Laurens 17-9

Gilbertsville Mt. Upton blasted Morris 16-3

Milford mastered Worcester 13-6

High School Baseball

Cherry Valley Springfield shut out Edmeston 3-0

Unadilla Valley edged Hancock 10-9

Unatego clipped Delhi 4-3

Sidney stumped 12-4

Greene got by Walton 10-6

Deposit dumped Bainbridge Guilford 9-4

Poland shut out Cooperstown 4-0

Gilbertsville Mt. Upton outdid Morris 11-9

Milford got by Worcester 9-8

High School Track

In a meet at Davenport yesterday, the Davenport/South Kortright girls topped Stamford and Andes. The Davenport/South Kortright boys also ran to first place followed by Stamford and Andes.

At Cherry Valley Springfield, both the CVS boys and girls ran to first place over Schenevus/Worcester and Richfields Springs.

High School Lacrosse

Johnson City ousted Oneonta 17-5

High School Golf

Delhi outplayed Morris 238-261

High School Tennis

Stamford stumped Davenport 6-1

Men’s College Tennis

Hartwick men’s tennis snapped a five-match slide on Thursday with a thorough 7-2 victory over visiting Elmira College. The Hawks swept all three doubles matches and earned singles wins in the top four flights over the Soaring Eagles to improve to 2-8 overall and 2-4 in the Empire 8.