A member of the Holy Apostles Parish in Jamestown had a front row seat for the historic visit by Pope Francis to Madison Square Garden this past Friday Night. Peg Cornell of Jamestown says she was able to go because her ticket was chosen in a lottery held at Her sister's church in Rochester early last week. Cornell says when she arrived at Madison Square garden she waited two hours to get in due to the long line and tight security. Cornell describes the Pope's message as a simple one of love and take care of the poor and opressed.
She said it was a "Humble and Sacred Experience".
The crowds and the music lasted well into the afternoon Sunday, at the annual Busti Apple Harvest Festival.
The Allegheny Crossing String Band, provided a musical background for festival goers looking at all the historic demonstrations at the heart of the festival. Inside the old mild, the Historical Society's President, Carl Schultz talked about what delighted people this year. The restored mill has been running for the past several years. The festival is the last Sunday of September, but the mill itself operates the third Sunday of the month all year long.
The Martz Observatory in Frewsburg was packed with star-gazers and amatuer astronomers last night for the harvest moon, blood moon, supermoon eclipse. Gary Nelson, President of the observatory did a play-by-play as the clouds cleared and the eclipse began. Gary Nelson says the Martz Observatory has public nights on occasions other than eclipses... and they plan to create what he calls an 'organic planetarium'... an elevated platform with a roof that can be rolled back so people can watch all kinds of celestial events. More information is available at their website.
New York's lieutenant governor is continuing a push to inform college students about the state's new ``yes means yes'' law designed to combat campus sexual violence. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul tells The Associated Press that she plans to meet with students and faculty during a visit Monday to Pace University in New York City. New York this year became the second state after California to mandate campus policies requiring clear, affirmative consent before sexual activity. The law also boosts training for law enforcement, gives witnesses who report assaults amnesty from alcohol violations and creates a Bill of Rights for victims. Hochul says it's vital that students know about their responsibilities and rights under the new law. She says she expects to visit ``scores'' of campuses as part of the effort.
Fifty-three energy projects designed to help schools, hospitals and other facilities create their own energy are under way in New York state. Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the start of the work. The projects involve on-site power generation, typically through natural gas, that is more efficient and reliable than relying on electricity from the power grid. By generating their own power, hospitals and schools can save money and make their operations more efficient. Heat created by the generation of power can run boilers and heaters. And on-site generation means hospitals and other vital facilities can continue to operate when severe weather knocks out power elsewhere. The projects all received state support. Cuomo, a Democrat, says the projects will help the state's energy system become more efficient and resilient.
New York's governor and the president of Cuba met early last weekend to discuss economic development as relations between the Caribbean nation and the U.S. continue to thaw. Governor Andrew Cuomo and President Raul Castro met late last Friday at the Cuban mission to the United Nations in New York City. Cuomo was joined by Howard Zemsky, his administration's top economic development official. Cuomo traveled to Cuba in April for a two-day trade mission, becoming the first sitting American governor to visit the nation since President Barack Obama and Castro announced the two nations would re-establish diplomatic ties. The Democratic governor has said he wants to find ways to help New York take advantage of the emerging Cuban market.
New York environmental officials are reminding new hunters and trappers that they first need to take a safety and education course. The state Department of Environmental Conservation requires all first-time hunters to pass one or more courses before they can get a license. The courses cover topics like gun safety and hunter ethics. DEC officials work with certified instructors to provide free training courses around New York. State officials caution new hunters from waiting until just before hunting season, since courses can fill up quickly. Information on hunter and trapper education courses can be found at the DEC's website at www.dec.ny.gov.
The Empire Center says the latest public data show more than 2,900 state and local government retirees in New York are collecting pensions topping $100,000. The fiscally conservative think tank says data from the public retirement system's 2015 fiscal year, which ended in March, shows that total rose by about 200 retirees from a year earlier. Most _ nearly 1,800 _ are retired police officers and firefighters. According to the center, 10 public pensioners are collecting more than $200,000 yearly. The largest retirement benefit for the sixth straight year went to George M. Philip, former executive director of the state Teachers' Retirement System and former president of SUNY Albany. Philip's pension benefit last year was $261,649.
There's been a sizeable drop in off-track betting in New York state. A new state audit released Friday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli shows off-track wagering dropped by $1.2 billion during the five-year period of 2009-2013 compared to the previous five-year span. The nearly 25 percent decrease came at a time when gamblers had more ways to wager than ever, at casinos, slot parlors and on online games. DiNapoli says the dramatic decrease in wagering shows that the viability of off-track betting parlors is in jeopardy. He noted that OTB revenues for local municipalities are down by 42 percent from 2009 to 2013. The state regulates five regional off-track betting corporations that operate parlors around the state.
The American Museum of Natural History in New York has no shortage of larger-than-life dinosaur exhibits but a new installation coming in January will surpass them all. A cast of a 122-foot-long dinosaur is so huge its neck and head will reach out toward the elevator banks on the fourth floor where it'll be installed. By comparison, the museum's popular Tyrannosaurus rex is 39 feet long. The dinosaur is a new species and one of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered. It has not yet been formally named by paleontologists who discovered it in Argentina in 2014. It belongs to a group known as titanosaurs. On March 19, the museum also will open a new exhibition titled ``Dinosaurs Among Us.'' It will examine how one group of dinosaurs evolved into birds.