Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Syracuse Post Standard

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Post-Standard, The (Newspaper) - December 28, 2005, Syracuse, New York Affiliated with SyracuM.com WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2005 -Standard FINAL EDITION O 2005 The Posl-Standard SYRACUSE. N.Y. 50 CENTS GOOD MORNING SOME RAIN Clouds will thick- en over Central New York today, and a few showers are likely this afternoon and to- night The rain will begin to taper off Thursday as dry air begins to arrive. Complete forecast P-10 HIGH: 41 LOW: 34 Transit union, MTA reach tentative agreement The union representing New York City transit workers and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced a tentative agreement Tuesday. It still must be approved by members of the Transport Workers Union. STORY, PAKA-4 Group pushes for science, math teacher scholarships The state's leading business lobbying group wants lawmakers to fund million in college scholarships for people who want to teach math and science. NEW YORK, PAGE A-IO New Bristol arthritis drug OK'd; will be made here Bristol-Myers Squibb re- ceived federal clearance for its new drug Orencia as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, the company said. The drug initially is expected to be made at the company's plant on Thompson Road in East Syracuse. BUSINESS, PAGE M Defense lawyers will file challenges to wiretaps Defense lawyers say they plan to bring legal challenges to determine whether the National Security Agency used illegal wiretaps against several dozen Muslim men tied to al-Qaida. STORY, PAGE A-8 Marriott computer tape with customer info gone Computer tapes have gone missing from Marriott Vacation Club International's Orlando headquarters, with information on employees, time- share owners and customers that could be misused by thieves. STORY, PAW A-5 Iraqi protests continue as government is discussed The Shiite religious bloc leading Iraq's parliamentary elections held talks Tuesday with Kurdish leaders about who should get the top 12 govern- ment jobs, as thousands of Sunni Arabs and secular Shiites pro- tested what they say was a taint- ed vote. STORY, PACE A-6 Online news updates The Post-Standard's reporters update the news of Central New York from morning until night seven days a week. Get the latest news when you want it at: Corrections Height of an emperor Photo at Best Sale of Pirro Bros. Call Deputy Executive Editor Tim Bunn at 470-2240 to discus? a correction on a news story. Subscription questions? Call 470-NEWS Index Business. ......C-l G-ll Classified____6-1 CNY Puzzles Editorials.......A-12 Local news....... B-l .E-l Lottery..............A-2 Movies...............E-6 New York...... A-10 Obiluoties........ B-4 Sports______D-l Sudoku..............E-9 Technology......F-l Television..........E-7 THE POST-STANDARD National Grid To Raise Rates; More Increases on the Way Utility announces average rise of a month for residential customers. ByBobNiedt writer The effect of Hurricane Katri- na and tighter natural gas sup- plies are boosting electricity costs for Central New York resi- dential customers of National Grid by an average of a month beginning in January. Further increases, totaling an average more per month, are coming in increments in April and January 2007. That's an average in- crease in January 2007's bill compared with, December 2005's. The state Public Service Com- mission Tuesday approved Na- tional Grid's request for the electricity increases a request that rocketed 265 percent from what was proposed in July: a increase in the aver- age monthly bill by January 2007. About two-thirds of the in- crease is because the commodity price of electricity has risen costs that National Grid has no control over. It charges for deliv- ery; but passes the commodity price along to consumers. National Grid, formerly Niag- ara Mohawk, blames the in- crease on the increase in natural gas prices costs that have also been a migraine for homeowners and businesses this winter. Some are seeing their natural gas bills doubling compared with a year ago. Now electricity rates, usually delivered side-by-side on the same monthly residential bill, are rising. "We didn't see a change in commodity prices said Kerry Burns, speaking for Na- tional Grid in Syracuse. "We had a season of damaging hurri- canes that increased natural gas costs." Supplies of natural gas are tight, so the price has risen, near- ly doubling in some sectors. At some plants, natural gas is used to generate electricity, so the cost of running those plants has increased. The record-high electricity supply costs arc being passed along to customers. HEDGES, PAGE A-5 A NIGHT TO REMEMBER IN McNAMARA'S LAND ;lljfIS.. 'Ifpiyilltf ma Dennis Nett Staff photographer GERRY McNAMARA waves to the crowd while leaving the floor with three minutes left in Tuesday's specially scheduled game in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Syracuse defeated Towson University 86-52 before McNamara's family, friends and neighbors. "How many fans does it WIcNamara asked about Wachovia Are- nia. I probably knew about of them." See Sports, Page D-1. For the online photo gallery, see Girlfriend says she got stolen gift cards By Delen Goldberg Staff writer Melanie Carpenter told her bosses she knew exactly where her Christmas gifts came from and it wasn't because the names of the stores were written on the gift cards she received. Carpenter, a ground handler at Hancock Airport, said she saw her boyfriend steal the gift cards from mail he was unloading at the airport, according to Syra- cuse police reports. Both Carpenter, 22, and her boyfriend, Marvin Miller Jr., 25, work as ground handlers for Piedmont Hawthorne, a private company that unloads cargo including mail at the airport. According to police reports, Carpenter told her shift supervi- sor Monday (hat on Friday, she saw Miller sift through a mail container, take out about 15 pieces of mail and open them. Inside were two gift cards: one from J.C. Penney, another from The Home Depot. Carpenter told her bosses that Miller took the gift cards, ripped up the rest of the mail and tossed AMPOIT.PAGEA-S Black Americans find cultural divide in Ghana By Lydia Polgreen New York.Times News is News Service Cape Coast, Ghana Ghana, through whose ports millions of Africans passed on their way to plantations in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, wants its descendants to come back. Ghana plans to offer a special lifetime visa for members of the diaspora and will relax citizenship requirements so that descendants of slaves can receive Ghanaian passports. The government is starting an ad campaign to persuade Ghanaians to treat black Ameri- cans more like long-lost relatives than as rich tourists. That is harder than it sounds. Many black Americans who visit Africa are unsettled to find that Africans treat them even refer to them the same way as they do white tourists. The term A JOURNEY, PAGfA-4 Inside: Central New Yorkers Vanessa Johnson (at left) and Kofi Addai describe their experi- ences in Online: From Oct. 18 to Nov. 15, The Post- Standard ran a series on CNY's ties to Ghana. Go to N S I D E TIPS ON BUYING A SNOW BLOWER WHEAT-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE Where to find help, products. Phis redoes. CNY, PAGE E-1 DATA OVERLOAD How technology will moke it better, worse. TECHNOLOGY, PAGE F-1 MEET THE CHEF Cristeta Coimrford is the White House's first female heod chef. CNY. PAGE E-2 25 CLASSIC FILMS Library of Congress odds to National Film Registry. CNY, PAGE E-6 HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS The latest on the holiday SPORTS, PAGE D-8 Panel: Split Canal Corp. and Thruway BY Erik Kriss Albany bureau The state Canal Corp. would be removed from the control of the state Thruway Authority and its spending would be paid for by state taxpayers, rather than Thruway under a proposal released Tuesday. Canal tolls on recreational boaters would be eliminated, according to the wide-reaching reform proposal advanced by a task force of top Pataki adminis- tration officials. The 524-mile state canal sys- tem has been under the control of the Thruway authority since 1992 and had a budget of about million this year. The report by the New York State Canal Corporation Intera- gcncy Task Force also recom- mends lowering the 45 mph speed limit to 25 mph on river sections west of Oncida Lake and to 10 mph on all sections at night. It urges doubling the current 100-foot no-wake triggering dis- tance on river and lake sections PAGE A-IO Inside: Other changes pro- posed for the