- - Monday, December 31, 2012

ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he has issued an executive order directing state agencies to increase energy efficiency in state buildings by 20 percent in seven years.

The administration says it has an implementation plan that will set priorities based on energy savings per dollar spent. The most inefficient buildings are expected to be addressed first.

The New York Power Authority has committed to provide $450 million in low-cost financing.

According to the governor’s office, most projects will require no capital spending upfront, with agencies expected to repay loans through energy savings.

The order also applies to public authorities and commissions where Mr. Cuomo appoints the leadership.

The April 1, 2020, energy goal is 20 percent below average energy use of those buildings in fiscal 2010-2011.


Governor issues pardons for Wilmington 10

RALEIGH — Outgoing North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue issued pardons Monday to the Wilmington 10, a group wrongly convicted 40 years ago in a notorious civil rights-era prosecution that led to accusations that the state was holding political prisoners.

Ms. Perdue issued pardons of innocence Monday for the nine black men and one white woman who received prison sentences totaling nearly 300 years for the 1971 firebombing of a Wilmington grocery store during three days of violence that included the shooting of a black teenager by police.

The pardon means the state no longer thinks the 10 — four of whom have since died — committed a crime.

“I have decided to grant these pardons because the more facts I have learned about the Wilmington 10, the more appalled I have become about the manner in which their convictions were obtained,” Ms. Perdue said Monday.


Patrick looks ahead to final years in office

BOSTON — Deval Patrick is facing challenges and opportunities as he launches the last two years of what he says will be his final term as governor.

The Democrat is grappling with recent failures of government oversight, a lackluster economy, a Cabinet shake-up and increasing speculation about who might take his place.

But Mr. Patrick remains upbeat. He dismisses chatter about his lame-duck status and vows to push ahead with what he says is the unfinished business of his administration, including transportation funding measures and gun control legislation.


Christie orders flags lowered for Schwarzkopf

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie has ordered flags at all state buildings to be flown at half-staff on Wednesday to honor New Jersey-born Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf.

Gen. Schwarzkopf died last week at age 78 from complications from pneumonia. He was born in Trenton and raised in Lawrenceville.

He served two tours of duty in Vietnam, earning three Silver Stars for valor, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and three Distinguished Service Medals. But he was best-known for commanding the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces out of Kuwait in 1991.


Little bipartisan support exists for Hagel selection

If President Obama is hoping to attract bipartisan support by nominating a Republican for defense secretary, he may be disappointed in the result.

A top Republican senator said Sunday that there is “very little” GOP backing to install Chuck Hagel as Pentagon chief when current Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta steps down after the new year.

“There would be very little Republican support. At the end of the day, there will be very few votes,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Mr. Hagel, a Nebraska Republican who served two terms in Senate before stepping down in early 2009, likely will be put forth by the White House as Mr. Obama’s choice to lead the Defense Department.

The appointment would be a rare bipartisan move by the Obama administration, which has nominated very few Republicans to leadership positions. The most notable exceptions have been Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican who spent more than a decade in the House, and former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, a holdover from President George W. Bush’s administration who stayed on during the early years of the Obama presidency.


State lawmakers seek to raise care standards

SOUTH BEND — Indiana lawmakers are focusing on financial incentives as a way to raise standards at child care centers, even those that are associated with religious groups.

The Legislature’s interim Committee on Child Care is looking at setting minimum standards for any facility that receives federal money and offering financial incentives to parents to choose centers that provide a higher level of care.

Faith-based ministries that run child care centers in Indiana must meet far fewer regulations than licensed centers. But the drowning of a 1-year-old boy in a baptismal pool at an Indianapolis church’s child care center last February reignited the debate about whether the disparate regulations are a good idea.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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