Regional Briefs – January 25, 2016

N.Y. Finds New Way to Crack Down on Toll Evaders

ALBANY – New York has a new way of fighting back against motorists who evade tolls. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that effective Wednesday, the DMV has authority to suspend the registration of any driver who fails to pay five tolls within a period of 18 months. The 35,000 toll evaders within that category deprive the state of $16 million a year.

Snow-Covered Hydrants Hinder Firefighters During Fire

NEW YORK – A popular Latin restaurant was destroyed by fire Sunday after firefighters couldn’t open the snow-covered hydrants in the West Side building, The Associated Press reported. By the time the hydrants were working the Empanada Mama was burnt.

139 Public Authorities in NY Are Behind on Annual Reports

ALBANY – The 139 water boards and other state and local authorities who failed to file financial reports with the state were name-shamed by the state’s Authorities Budget Office on Thursday as a warning, The Associated Press reported.

Honor Flight Buffalo to Dissolve After Flying 500 Vets

BUFFALO – The Buffalo chapter of a volunteer organization that flies WWII vets to Washington said Friday they’re dissolving following a vote by its board, The Associated Press reported. The chapter, founded in 2009, organized 18 flights carrying a total of 500 veterans.

Cuomo Challenges Students To $3M Energy Contest

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo is offering college students three $1 million prizes for the best proposal to use renewable energy to power their campus. The “Energy to Lead” race is due by April 4 and is open to student-run teams from private and public colleges, though a faculty member must submit it.