New York Briefs – September 2, 2014

Union Jobs, Dwindling in Nation, Rebound in NYC

NEW YORK – The number of New Yorkers who identify themselves as members of labor unions rose in the last 18 months to nearly one in four, a new CUNY study found. The primary cause appeared to be a surge in construction and hotel industry hiring — not the progressive campaigns for better pay.

Officials Seek Changes After Catskill Hiker Deaths

HAINES FALLS, N.Y. – The town of Hunter is calling for safety changes at a popular waterfall after two women died there on separate occasions this summer, the Kingston Daily Freeman reported. The state put a ranger near 260-foot-high Kaaterskill Falls and will install safety fencing by fall.

New Yorkers Challenged to Eat Local

ALBANY – New Yorkers are being challenged to eat local in September. The Northeast Organic Farming Association on Monday launched its fifth annual month-long Locavore Challenge to buy local fruits and vegetables, sip local wines and make bread from local organic grains.

Polar Bear Takes a Tumble At Buffalo Zoo

BUFFALO – Buffalo Zoo’s young polar bear Luna on Saturday fell about 14 feet into the dry moat of the tiger exhibit, requiring zookeepers to tranquilize her to haul her out, The Buffalo News reported. Luna and Kali have been sharing space with the tigers while their own exhibit undergoes a $14 million Arctic Edge makeover.

NY Police Get $60K for New Bulletproof Vests

ALBANY – Police departments in New York state on Thursday received another $60,000 for bulletproof vests from state civil and criminal forfeitures as they face a reduction in federal funds for the equipment, The Associated Press reported. Fourteen upstate law enforcement agencies will be able to purchase about 175 of the vests with the money.

De Blasio Signs Bill Tracking Solitary in NYC Jails

NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday signed a bill requiring correction officials to publish quarterly reports online on the use of solitary confinement. About 600 of the 11,500 inmates in the nation’s second-largest jail system are currently to 23-hour lock-in, which the correction officers’ union argued is a necessary tool for unruly inmates.