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State officials on the lookout for a new invasive insect

There’s a new invasive insect that state officials want to keep out of New York. It’s called the spotted lanternfly, and it has the potential to cause great damage to crops like grapes, hops and apples. Native to Asia, it has been found in parts of Pennsylvania, and a dead adult was found in New York last fall. Statewide grape and hop specialist with Cornell’s Integrated Pest Management Program, Tim Weigle, says the large insect, with its colorful wings, can also be a noxious pest to...

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Monday marked the first day that the former breakaway Democrats in the New York State Senate were working with the mainstream Democrats after they agreed to reunify earlier this month.

Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said so far, it’s all proceeding smoothly, but she dampened expectations that major new legislation would get done before the session ends in June.

  

Members of MetroJustice and the Out Alliance are calling for the end of what they say is a discriminatory legal defense.

Gay or Trans panic is a legal defense in New York and most states. After a violent crime, defendants can argue that the discovery of a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity sparked a panic that caused them to react with violence.

It can sometimes result in lesser charges or lighter sentences.

TV’s Sex and the City star and education advocate Cynthia Nixon won the endorsement of the minor party Working Families Party at a meeting in Albany Saturday. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is running in a Democratic primary against Nixon, dropped out of contention for the party’s nomination Friday night, after delegates were leaning toward Nixon.

“I am so proud to accept the endorsement of the Working Families Party,” Nixon told the enthusiastic crowd of progressive and activist groups.

A key progressive third party in New York splintered Friday, as two major unions withdrew from the Working Families Party. Those still in the WFP say it makes it more likely that the activist groups remaining in the party  will endorse Cynthia Nixon over Governor Andrew Cuomo in a party meeting on Saturday. Meanwhile, late in the day ,Cuomo said he was dropping out. 

Two top New York State education officials are telling the vendor handling computerized testing for students to make sure they get to the bottom of the recent problems.

Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia say that the problem affecting some students taking online English exams this week was “an unacceptable failure.”

They say that while more than 135,000 testing sessions were completed through Thursday, the difficulties that schools faced in administering the computer-delivered exams are "inexcusable."

Nine months after installing Gregory Vincent as president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, the colleges will be looking to replace him.

Vincent resigned from his post Friday, effective immediately, after allegations that he may have plagiarized portions of his doctoral dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. The announcement of Vincent's resignation came in a message sent to HWS faculty, staff, and students from Chair of the HWS Board of Trustees Thomas S. Bozzuto, and was obtained by WXXI.

Tensions between Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the left wing of his party heightened after the governor attended a fundraiser to raise campaign money for a now-disbanded group of breakaway Senate Democrats.

Earlier this month, the mainstream Senate Democrats and eight breakaway members of the Independent Democratic Conference announced that they were joining forces for the good of the party.

Some students in the Rochester area and around the state had a tough time taking state-issued English Language Arts tests on Wednesday.

The issue did not affect all the tests, it was the students who were taking the ELA exams online rather than the traditional paper tests who may have been affected. And not all of the students taking online exams were impacted.

A few hundred districts around the state this year agreed to give some of the exams by computer to students in grades 3 through 8.

Democratic candidate for governor Cynthia Nixon has outlined her plans for legalizing marijuana in New York in a video, saying the state lags far behind some other states. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s studying the issue.

Nixon, who is challenging Cuomo in a Democratic primary, said New York should follow the lead of eight other states and end a “key front” in what she called the “racist” war on drugs.

The Canandaigua VA Medical Center held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday to launch the construction of a new outpatient clinic space.

The project was awarded in January and will be managed by the United States Army Corp of Engineers.

David Price, Major Project Manager at the Medical Center says phase one is a revamp of outpatient services.

"Specifically primary care and specialty care, and will include new space for radiology and our dental programs, as well as some administrative spaces."

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