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NY EMPLOYMENT

NY jobless rate up slightly in March to 6.9 pct.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The state labor department says the unemployment rate was up slightly to 6.9 percent in March from 6.8 percent in February.

It says New York City also saw a slight increase to 8 percent from 7.9 percent a month earlier. In March 2013, the unemployment rate was 7.9 percent overall and 8.8 percent in New York City.

The number of unemployed New Yorkers increased from 655,700 in February to 663,100 last month, while the state has added 108,200 private sector jobs in the past year.

The labor department reported the statistics Thursday.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the national unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent, down from 7.5 percent a year earlier.

GIRLFRIEND KILLED-FIRE

NY man found guilty of killing girlfriend

PORT JERVIS, N.Y. (AP) - An Orange County man has been found guilty of slashing his girlfriend's throat then setting a fire to cover up the killing.

The Times Herald-Record of Middletown reports that 39-year-old David Stevenson was found guilty Thursday on charges of second-degree murder, arson and weapons possession.

Stevenson was accused of slashing 35-year-old TyRochelle Haughton's throat in January 2013 in Port Jervis, about 60 miles northwest of New York City.

During the trial, the prosecutor said Stevenson attacked Haughton in the shower in the house they shared, then went downstairs and set the house on fire.

Stevenson could face a sentence ranging from 15 to 25 years to life in prison on the murder charge.

WOMAN KILLED-PLEA

Upstate NY man admits killing wife Christmas Eve

LAKE LUZERNE, N.Y. (AP) - An upstate New York man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the Christmas Eve stabbing death of his estranged wife.

In a plea deal that will result in a sentence of 23 years to life in state prison, 47-seven-year-old Clifford Burns of Niskayuna admitted Thursday that he stabbed his 42-year-old wife Patricia in a fit of rage in her Lake Luzerne apartment.

Warren County Court documents show she was stabbed five times in front of her daughters.

The Glens Falls Post-Star reports the self-employed logger told police he had gotten a call hours earlier about his child support payments being late and had been threatened with arrest.

Lake Luzerne is 45 miles north of Albany.

HEROIN ARREST

2 California men arrested in upstate NY for heroin

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (AP) - State police have arrested two California men on drug charges after finding more than 26 pounds of heroin in the cab of their tractor-trailer truck.

Thirty-eight-year-old Enrique Becerra-Mendoza and 35-year-old Joaquin Hernandez, both of Fresno, Calif., are charged with first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Troopers stopped the two men on Wednesday afternoon on the eastbound side of Interstate 84 near New Hampton. A canine unit found the 12-kilogram stash of heroin in a hidden compartment inside the cab of the tractor-trailer rig.

Both men were arraigned in Town of Wawayanda Court and are being held without bail in Orange County Jail.

Authorities say the heroin has a street value of more than $1 million.

FORECLOSURE ASSISTANCE

Foreclosure assistance available for Long Island

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The state is sending experts to Long Island to assist homeowners facing foreclosures.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that representatives of the Department of Financial Services will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday at the Baldwin Public Library.

Homeowners seeking help should bring records of mortgage payments and correspondence with their lenders to help representatives working on their cases. DFS staff can also help homeowners with information on foreclosure alternatives and federal programs.

Cuomo says the department's "mobile command center" will be sent to more locations, but the dates and locations have yet to be announced.

Homeowners statewide can call the department's foreclosure hotline at 1-800-342-3736.

GREEN JOB TRAINING

64 businesses using NY clean energy training funds

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo says a state program designed to boost New York's green energy industry has helped 64 businesses.

The governor's office said Thursday that more than $2.2 million in job training grants have been awarded to the companies.

The grants are intended to pay for the on-the-job training in renewable energy technology, home weatherization and other fields involving energy efficiency.

Cuomo's office says more than 250 workers have been hired using grant funds.

More than $500,000 remains available.

DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIR RESIGNS

Syracuse mayor resigns as Democratic Party chair

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is resigning from her position as co-chair of the state's Democratic Party.

In a letter sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state committee Thursday afternoon Miner says she chose to resign now to give the committee ample time to find a replacement before the November elections.

Cuomo chose Miner and Assemblyman Keith Wright to co-chair the committee in May 2012. But the relationship between Cuomo and Miner has been strained at times, with the two butting heads on several issues including state aid to cities.

Miner also authored an article in the New York Times last year criticizing Cuomo's proposal to let municipalities borrow money to off-set pension costs.

Her resignation comes just one month before the party convention.

JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS

NY commission seeks Court of Appeals candidates

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The state Commission on Judicial Nomination has requested recommendations and applications for New York's highest court, which has two upcoming vacancies.

The Court of Appeals' seven judges are appointed to 14-year terms. But they must retire at the end of the year they turn 70.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to nominate candidates this year from the commission's lists of three to seven candidates the panel considers well qualified.

They are subject to Senate confirmation.

The first vacancy is for Judge Victoria Graffeo, who was named to the court by Republican Gov. George Pataki in 2000. Her term expires Nov. 29.

The second is for Judge Robert Smith, who must retire Jan. 1. He was named to the court by Pataki in 2003.

CHELSEA CLINTON

Chelsea Clinton expecting 1st child

WASHINGTON (AP) - Chelsea Clinton says she and her husband are expecting their first child later this year.

The daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced at a Clinton Foundation event in New York that she and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are "very excited" to be having their first child later this year.

The former first lady says she's "really excited" about becoming a grandmother and it makes the work of empowering future generations even more important.

The 34-year-old vice chairman of her family's foundation made the announcement at the end of an event on empowering young women.

Chelsea Clinton said last year in a magazine interview that she hoped 2014 would be "the year of the baby."

UNION COLLEGE'S MOMENT

Parade honors Union College's hockey championship

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (AP) - Union College's championship hockey team has been awarded the key to the city after a celebratory parade from the campus to the steps of Schenectady's City Hall.

The parade Thursday afternoon honored Union's win over Minnesota on Saturday for its first NCAA title.

Union is a small liberal arts school of 2,200 that defeated college hockey powerhouses to become champions.

A ceremony at City Hall after the parade featured speeches by Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, Union College President Stephen Ainlay and numerous local dignitaries.

Diamond-encrusted sterling silver hockey pucks engraved to commemorate the team's victory were presented to Ainlay, head coach Rick Bennett and athletic director Jim McLaughlan.

WAR OF 1812-BICENTENNIAL

NY, Ontario events mark War of 1812 bicentennial

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Battle re-enactments, tours, exhibits and other events are set for this year's commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

The U.S. and Britain fought some of the war's bloodiest battles two centuries ago this year in Ontario, Canada and western New York.

The Canada-based Niagara 1812 Legacy Council earlier this week announced its list of 2014 events, including a July 5 re-enactment of the Battle of Chippawa, followed the next day by a re-enactment of the Battle of Lundy's Lane, both in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

The annual Siege of Fort Erie re-enactment will be held the weekend of Aug. 9-10 at Old Fort Erie, across the Niagara River from Buffalo.

The Buffalo History Museum's War of 1812 centennial exhibit remains on display, while Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown holds its annual re-encampment over Labor Day weekend.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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