Regional Briefs – February 13, 2015

Snow Plow Strikes, Kills Man Checking Mail

HARDYSTON, N.J. – A snow plow backing up while cleaning streets in Hardyston Township struck and killed a man who was checking his mail, the New Jersey Herald reported. Nicholas Verduin, 83, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cuomo Launches $40M Microgrid Power Contest

ALBANY – New York on Wednesday launched a $40 million competition to spur the development of small, independent power grids that would keep the lights on during power failures, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced. The “microgrid” race is open to local governments, non-profits, hospitals or other groups. In the first round, prizes of up to $100,000 will be awarded to 25 to 30 communities. Larger prizes of up to $7 million will be given out in later rounds.

Assembly Votes to Aid Farmers Fight GMO Seed Lawsuits

ALBANY – New York farmers would be better protected against lawsuits from biotech companies if genetically modified crops inadvertently grow on their fields under a bill passed by the Assembly, The Associated Press reported. Seed producers have sued farmers around the country for growing their bioengineered crops without buying the seed. Farmers often argue the seeds arrived by wind or other natural means.

Utility Cuts Power to Mall Over Unpaid Bills

ROTTERDAM, N.Y. – It’s a dark day for a Schenectady mall. National Grid on Thursday cut the power to Rotterdam Square Mall because of unpaid electric bills, the Albany Times reported. The utility said it has been working with the owners for months to set up a payment plan. The mall is coping with the departures of four retailers, including Macy’s.

Bratton’s Favorability Falls below 50 Percent

NEW YORK – NYPD Commissioner William Bratton’s job approval rating is 49 percent in an NY1 poll released Wednesday, with 31 percent saying they disapprove of the job he’s doing. The NYPD overall has a 54 percent job approval rating, though 63 percent said police do not treat people of all races equally. But 81 percent said they feel “very” or “somewhat” safe in their neighborhoods at night.