Regional Briefs – March 18, 2015

NY Assembly Endorses Paid Family Leave

ALBANY – The state Assembly voted on Tuesday to make New York the fourth state to provide workers with 12 weeks of paid time off to care for a new child or sick loved one — up to $545 a week. The benefit would be funded through an employee payroll deduction that, in its first year, would be capped at 45 cents per week. The Senate version provides up to $424 for up to six weeks, which would initially be footed by the state.

Car Safety Tickets On Rise in New Jersey

WOODLAND PARK, N.J. – Police are writing more tickets for safety violations in the nearly four years since New Jersey ended motor vehicle safety inspections, The Record reported. There were about 100,000 tickets for poorly maintained lights, and tickets rose for broken windshields by 39 percent and 10 percent for worn tires.

Comptroller: NY Medicaid Spending to Rise

ALBANY – New York spending on Medicaid is projected to rise by nearly $700 million a year over the next four years, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Thursday. New York’s Medicaid spending has long been among the highest in the nation, at $55.3 billion last year. Half is paid by the federal government.

NY Regulator to Push Alternative Health Care Payments

ALBANY – Most of New York’s health insurers pays for each service regardless of quality, efficiency or outcome, and the state’s top insurance regulator wants to encourage “pay-for-performance.” Currently, a pilot projects account for less than 15 percent of payments.

Adirondack Town Says ‘Oui’ To Attracting French Visitors

TUPPER LAKE, N.Y. – An Adirondack town hopes to be saying “bonjour” to more French-speaking visitors from Quebec, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise reported. The Tupper Lake Town Council passed a resolution Thursday to replace its signs with bilingual ones.

Crocodile Found in New Jersey Basement During Raid

TRENTON – Five raids in Trenton last Thursday led to the seizure of the normal assortment of drugs and guns and the removal of one not-so normal thing: a crocodile, The Associated Press reported. The small croc living in the basement was turned over to animal control.

New Jersey Senate Passes Tesla Car Sale Bill

TRENTON – New Jerseyans are a step closer to being allowed to buy electric cars directly from manufacturers. The state Senate on Monday passed a bill that would reverse a decision by the state Motor Vehicle Commission that banned car manufacturers like Tesla Motors from selling to consumers, The Associated Press reported. Customers are forced to go to neighboring states.

Cyclist Dies After Hitting Pothole

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. – A Long Island motorcyclist died on Monday after hitting a pothole, one of many that dot roads across the region following a winter of brutal storms and sub-freezing temperatures, Newsday reported. David DeCarle, 37, was found lying on the road.

Plane Safely Returns To JFK After Bird Strike

NEW YORK – An American Airlines plane safely returned to JFK Airport Tuesday morning after striking a bird about 10 minutes after takeoff, WABC reported. The 135 passengers were put on another plane to the Virgin Islands.

Stone Thrower Credited for Saving Driver of Burning Truck

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. – The driver of a dump truck that became engulfed in flames Monday credited a passing motorist with a strong arm for saving his life, WIVB reported. Larry Coulter was hauling a load of stones on the Thruway when a tire blew, sending his truck into a guardrail and igniting a fire that trapped him inside the cab. Motorist Ed Brunner threw stones from the spilled load to crack the windshield enough for Coulter to kick his way free.

Top U.S. Solider Speaks at His High School Alma Mater

GOSHEN, N.Y. – The top officer in the U.S. military advised students at his upstate high school alma mater on Monday to “keep moving” and “keep learning” as they progress through life, the Times Herald reported. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was at Burke Catholic High School in Orange County, where he’s a 1970 graduate.