Regional Briefs – April 3, 2019

Change To Property Tax Rebate Program Included In New Budget

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The Democrat-controlled New York state Legislature has approved a change in a property tax credit benefit program.

The new state budget lawmakers worked out last weekend with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and approved on Monday makes changes to the STAR tax credit program.

Starting in 2016, homeowners eligible for the program started receiving their rebates in a check rather than having the savings included directly in their school tax bills.

According to Lohud.com , starting this fall, all property owners earning between $250,000 and $500,000 a year will receive a check for their STAR rebates.

Property owners earning less than $250,000 who bought their homes prior to mid-2015 will get the STAR rebate in their tax bills.

The STAR benefit program provides more than $3 billion in property tax relief each year.

NYC Man Gets 20 Years In Prison In Islamic State Group Case

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for trying to aid the Islamic State group by helping a co-conspirator travel abroad to fight for the terrorist group in 2015.

Saddam Mohamed Raishani was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams.

He had pleaded guilty in November to conspiring to provide support to the group.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman says Raishani left his wife and child in the U.S. as he sought to travel to the Middle East in June 2017 so he could train and fight for the Islamic State. He was apprehended by law enforcement.

Authorities: School Bus Crashes Into High School Garage

WOOLWICH, N.J. (AP) — Authorities say a school bus has crashed into a garage at a southern New Jersey high school, injuring the driver.

No students were on the bus when it crashed shortly before 7 a.m. Wednesday at Kingsway Regional High School in Woolwich Township. But the driver suffered undisclosed head injuries and was being treated at a hospital.

The bus and the garage were both damaged in the crash, but further details were not immediately available.

Newark Gun Buyback Event Nets 332 Firearms, Pays Out $41k

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A gun buyback event in Newark funded primarily by a lawyers’ association brought in more than 300 weapons last weekend, from handguns that fit comfortably in a palm to assault rifles with high-tech accessories.

The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office displayed some of the weapons Wednesday. They said the event held Saturday yielded 332 firearms and paid out about $41,000.

Most of the money was raised by the Essex County Bar Foundation. It’s one of the first privately-funded gun buyback events in New Jersey.

Gun owners were able to turn in the weapons with no questions asked, for a maximum payout of $250 per gun. The weapons will be melted down and recycled.

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens called the event “a tremendous success.”

Work Begins On $37M Affordable Housing Project In Western NY

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (AP) — Work has begun on a $37 million affordable housing project in a Buffalo suburb.

The 110-unit Apple Blossom Apartments in Cheektowaga is utilizing more than $40 million worth of state financial support for the project.

The privately development residences will offer affordable rents and on-site services to low-income residents with a special focus on individuals with mental illness.

State officials announced the start of construction this week.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says the project is part of the state’s commitment to expanding housing opportunities to combat homelessness.