Matt Ryan/WMHT

Buffalo rebirth, First look at new ADK trails

We have three interesting stories to tell in this edition of New York NOW. First off, Matt Ryan reports from Buffalo on the long overdue revitalization of the waterfront. "Canalside," after years of being a series of empty lots, attracted over a million people in 2014. Also, we highlight one of the Western New York icons that is still waiting for its rebirth, the Central Terminal Train Station. Finally, Casey Seiler heads up to one of the most remote sections of the Adirondack Park. The...
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Matt Ryan

Secession rally held in Upstate New York

On an overcast, humid day in the Southern Tier village of Brainbridge, around 150-200 residents rallied to hear speakers rail on a number of different issues: Common Core, the Safe Act, and New York's ruling on hydrofracking to name a few. But they all had one common wish... Secession. Aaron Price, the leader of the movement, says the idea is not far-fetched and today marks the beginning of a push to either join the state of Pennsylvania or split the downstate region, south of where the MTA...
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Courtesy of the Education News

  State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia says she won’t prevent parents who want their children to skip the state’s standardized tests from doing so. The commissioner detailed her views on the controversial Opt Out movement in an interview with public radio and television.

20% of children this year boycotted the third through eight grade math and English tests associated with the Common Core learning standards.

Governor Cuomo’s labor commissioner is likely in the next few days to finalize a phased in hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour for fast food workers. That action  dismays some business groups, who say it will have some unintended consequences.

The governor, after unsuccessfully trying to raise the minimum wage further through the legislature, appointed a wage board, which voted in July to increase the minimum wage for fast food worker to $15 an hour over the next several years. Cuomo spoke to jubilant fast food workers and union leaders when the vote was announced.

The New York State Government

  A state Board of Elections investigator appointed by Governor Cuomo may have found a back door way into breaking some of the secrecy surrounding a major campaign contribution loophole in New York.

  The state education commissioner’s plans to quell the testing opt out movement is getting some back lash from some Republicans in the legislature, including a former teacher.

 

   At a recent conference held by the teacher’s group Educators for Excellence, State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia says she plans to try to convince parents not have their children repeat this year’s boycott of standardized tests associated with the Common Core learning standards, which resulted in 20% of students statewide opting out of the tests.

  The controversial state ethics commission is in the midst of a review by a panel appointed by Governor Cuomo and the legislature. Government reform groups say they’ve already been asked to give their opinions on how to fix some of the commission’s problems.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or JCOPE, was designed by Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers four years ago, it replaced a former ethics commission that also was troubled.

  New York’s first openly gay state legislator says it’s time to appoint an LGBT person to the state’s highest court.

  Governor Cuomo says he doubts that there will be  federal sanctions for schools that have high rates of students who boycotted standardized tests this spring.

20% of students statewide boycotted the controversial exams associated with the Common Core learning standards, with higher rates upstate and on Long Island. Federal officials had the power to sanction schools with high opt our rates by withholding funding, and the state’s education commissioner said a few days ago that she was talking to officials and would not rule out the sanctions compete.

The State Board of Elections recently issued its final report on an experimental public campaign finance system that had no participants. Government reform groups say it’s another sign that the pilot program for one race in the 2014 election cycle was designed to fail, and that politicians in New York are not yet serious about real campaign finance reforms.

  The state’s Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx native, has spent a portion of the summer touring upstate New York. The Speaker replaced Sheldon Silver who was arrested on corruption charges earlier this year.

Heastie has been to Buffalo, Binghamton, Syracuse and Utica and surrounding areas as part of a listening tour to familiarize himself with issues that might not be front and center in New York City.

“I’m used to cement,” said, Heastie who said says he’s “gained an appreciation” of the beauty of upstate regions.

The Speaker of the State Assembly says  any talks about convincing GE executives  to relocate their headquarters back to New York should include discussions on the company’s superfund clean up of PCB’s in the Hudson River that’s about to end.

Governor Cuomo has been talking to GE executives , trying to lure the company’s corporate headquarters back to New York, according to a report by Politico New York.

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