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Minimum wage game changed when NY lawmakers return

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - When New York legislators return to Albany next week, they will face new challenges in the proposal to raise the state's minimum wage.
    
The current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposes raising that to $8.75 an hour, while Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver wants it raised to $8.50 then linked to inflation.
    
But a year's worth of rallying and negotiations has at least been given pause now that President Barack Obama has proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour.
    
The battle in New York will be in the Senate. Republicans who share control of the majority want to see how Obama's effort fares first.
    
Cuomo also prefers a nationwide minimum wage increase so states are not pitted against each other.

NYS Association of Puerto Rican Legislatures breakfast held

This weekend the annual conference of the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican legislators was held in Albany.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli kicked things off Saturday morning at a breakfast held at the Hotel Albany.

There was a full schedule of seminars and workshops.

Saturday was also a chance for New Yorkers to find out if they are owed some of the state's $12 billion in unclaimed funds.

New Yorkers can also check for unclaimed funds HERE, or by calling 1-800-221-9311.

Gillibrand, Tonko push Made in America Manufacturing Act

EAST GREENBUSH - They're calling it Made in America; it’s a new push to bring more manufacturing jobs back to the Capital Region.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Paul Tonko held a news conference Monday morning to talk about the new effort.

Those lawmakers are proposing legislation that would create a competition for federal funding that they say would spark growth and train workers with much needed skills.

Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Tonko met with local leaders at XOS in East Greenbush, a manufacturer of equipment that analyzes products like toys and clean fuels.

They say it's an example of a company that could benefit from the Made in America Manufacturing Act.

It would award competitive funding for companies that strategize with other stakeholders to expand plus give them direct access to low interest loans

The legislation would also create job training programs.

NY handgun licensees can file privacy form

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York's licensed handgun owners can keep their information private using a new form from State Police.
    
The forms, available online, should be submitted at county offices where pistol owners registered.
    
They can exempt their information from the state Freedom of Information Law, which some newspapers have used to identify owners.
    
The exemption provision was included in the state's gun control law enacted Jan. 15. It requires stating a reason for the exemption, though it also says they will be granted unless the filing was untimely or the information false.
    
Under the law, all current licensing information will be exempt from disclosure until May 15.
    

Pair rescued from homemade zip line in Greene County

Firefighters rushed to the rescue Sunday when two people became stranded on a home made zip line.

This happened in Hunter, in the Catskills.

The two people dangled about 40 feet off the ground, for nearly an hour in frigid and windy weather.

Two other people were trapped on platforms, and had to be rescued as well.

They were all treated for exposure to the cold weather.

Greene County firefighters rescue pair stranded on zip line

HUNTER, N.Y. (AP) - Firefighters in the Catskills have rescued two people who were stranded on a homemade zip line about 40 feet above the ground.

Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley tells media outlets that the two people dangled from the line for more than an hour in frigid weather Sunday afternoon before they were rescued by firefighters using ropes and ladders. Two other people were stuck on platforms on trees at either end of the line and had to be rescued.
 
Seeley said gusty winds had caused the zip line to malfunction. No one was injured, but the four were treated for cold exposure at the scene.
 
The zip line is behind a residence in the Catskill Mountain town of Hunter, about 40 miles southwest of Albany.
 
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
 

Thousands of chickens lost in blaze

Officials are investigating what caused an early morning fire at Lasher's Chicken Farm in Catskill, Sunday.

Fire fighters responded to the scene around 2:00am. One of the hen houses was completely destroyed. Officials estimate between 6,000 and 8,000 chickens were lost in the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but does not appear to be suspicious. No word on what losses the farm will face.