- - Monday, June 4, 2012

ALBANY — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the world’s top developers will soon compete to propose a convention center and casino in or close to New York City, possibly including Manhattan or the Belmont racetrack.

The process may take more than a year and depends on voters approving a referendum to rewrite the state constitution to allow Las Vegas-style casinos, which now are confined to Indian land. That approval remains uncertain. Even Mr. Cuomo has said it will be a difficult sell among New Yorkers.

But he said Monday that planning continues for a project that could bring a casino to Manhattan or a convention center and casino package with lavish hotels to the outer boroughs. Other possible sites are the Yonkers racetrack or one of the publicly owned islands off Manhattan.

Large sugary drinks ban opposed in poll

About half of New Yorkers say Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s proposed ban of sugary drinks over 16 ounces from the city’s eateries is an example of government going too far, while 42 percent say it would be good health policy, according to a poll released Monday.

Of the 500 adults surveyed Sunday for the NY1-Marist poll, 53 percent said the proposal is a bad idea, while 42 percent praised the concept - which would make New York the first American city to so directly attempt to limit portion sizes in an attempt to fight obesity.

Forty-five percent of those polled said they think the ban would help people lose weight, while 52 percent said it wouldn’t make a difference. More than half the people surveyed said they never order a sugary drink large enough to be banned.


Phoenix man buys castle for $1.45M

PHOENIX — A castle in Phoenix that has secret passages, a dungeon and a drawbridge has sold for $1.45 million.

The Arizona Republic reports Robert Pazderka of Phoenix bought the 7,900-square-foot Copenhaver Castle, which was a financial nightmare for several previous owners.

Mr. Pazderka says he bought the unusual fortress on Camelback Mountain to get some publicity for his company, which makes armored trucks and cars in Detroit. He plans to spend $3 million to $5 million to renovate the castle before moving in and trying to get it designated as a historical landmark.

The castle was built by Dr. Mort Copenhaver, an orthodontist, over the course of a decade starting in 1967.


Inmate dies hours before prison release

VACAVILLE — A convicted killer has died in a California prison hours before he was to be freed to spend his final days with his family.

Carl Wade was recommended for compassionate release under a state law for inmates whose death is imminent and who pose no danger to the public. He was terminally ill with heart and lung diseases.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a Lake County judge blocked the 66-year-old’s release, but an appeals court overruled the judge on May 17.

The court ordered Wade’s prompt release to live with his family in Chico. The ruling became final last week, but Wade died Thursday in the Vacaville prison.

He had been serving a 32-years-to-life sentence for fatally shooting a man in Lake County in June 1986.


Thousands bid farewell to boxing champ Tapia

ALBUQUERQUE — Thousands turned out in Albuquerque to bid a final farewell to five-time world boxing champion Johnny Tapia.

Fans shared their memories Sunday night about the fighter, who died May 27 at his Albuquerque home at age 45.

The boxer had long endured public struggles with cocaine addiction and depression, but he remained a hero to many New Mexico boxing fans.


New rules mulled for band after drum major’s death

TALLAHASSEE — The head of Florida A&M University wants to limit the marching band to full-time students at the university and toughen academic requirements for joining, after a drum major’s beating death in November.

Among other proposed changes, FAMU President James Ammons said Monday he also wants to impose a four-year limit on how long students can play in the famed band.

Mr. Ammons suspended the band shortly after Robert Champion’s death. Eleven FAMU band members face felony hazing charges, while two others face misdemeanor counts for alleged roles in Champion’s death.

Mr. Ammons last month announced the band would remain off the field for the next year while FAMU tries to clean up the hazing culture that surrounds the band. University trustees are scheduled to discuss anti-hazing efforts this week.


Study: Childhood cancer survivors face new risks

CHICAGO — Women treated with chest radiation for cancer when they were girls have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than has been realized.

A new study finds that such childhood cancer survivors are developing breast cancer at rates similar to those of women with inherited genes that increase risk. By age 50, about 24 percent of them are developing breast cancer. Risk was seen even from moderate doses of radiation, suggesting that more women may need annual mammograms to watch for breast cancer.

Children treated today for cancer get lower doses of radiation to smaller areas of the body than children did in the past, so their future risks should be lower.

The study was being presented Monday at a cancer conference in Chicago.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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