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View Sample Pages : Syracuse Post Standard, January 28, 2005

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Post-Standard, The (Newspaper) - January 28, 2005, Syracuse, New York PAGE A 10 THE POST-STANDARD Friday, January NEW YORK Hevesi criticizes Olympic AiifhnrJtv >v w I State comptroller says the agency's financial controls need to be improved. By Joel Stasfaenko The Associated Press Albany Internal financial controls are lax at the Olympic Regional Development Authori- ty the agency that runs the Win- ter Olympic sports venues in and around Lake Placid, state Comp- tr0iier Abn Hevesi charged i hursday. said the way receipts are collected at the state's Gore Mountain ski area could leave the enues subject to theft. He also cited weaknesses in some authority billing, collection and procurement procedures and said ORDA does not appear to be m compliance with some of Gov. George Pataki's governance practices for state authorities. ORDA's board of directors is supposed to rneet four times a year, or a total of 16 times be- tween 2000 and 2003. But Heve- si said the board met 10 times over that period and minutes from the meetings indicated that directors were not asking serious questions about ORDA's finan- cial controls or practices. Members of ORDA's board and those of other state authori- ties are supposed to get legal, fi- duciary anu ethical Uuifling under Pataki's aovemance prac- Hcves: said ORDA's board "f directors has not received that instruction. Ted Blazer. ORDA's execu- tive director, told Hevesi's audi- tors it has been a problem at timji. to get a quorum at meet- ings of the authority's board. He said efforts are being made to improve directors' attendance. But said ORDA disa- greed v.ith Hevesi's contention that fiscal oversight at the au- thority or its like Gore Mountain is inadequate, and of complaint that revenue projections at ORDA were weak. said that in a tourism- related business, income is so dependent on weather that proj- ecting revenues with certainty a year or more in advance is "im- plausible Blazer's reactions were made to a draft copy of the audit 11C- V Li) r> OillCL 111 Hi iu.ii year and released by Hevesi Thursday. The authority later re- leased a statement saying, "While we disagree with a num- bei of the comptroller's audit findings, we are pleased that it the many important changes and improvements that we've made in the past 10 years." esi did give ORDA credit for improving its operations since 1995. when former Comp- troller H. Carl McCall found that nepotism and unethical behavior rampant at the authority under former Director Ned Hark- ness. A subsequent criminal in- vestigation ended with prosecu- tors saying there was not enough evidence to bring charges. Hevesi said the current cli- mate in Albany, where the finan- cial dealings of several authori- ties controlled by Pataki are being questioned, makes it in- cumbent on ORDA to ensure that the proper internal fiscal controls are in place. "There is an increasing de- mand across New York state for public authority said Hevesi. a Democrat. "ORDA should recognize this now and take immediate steps to improve its operations." ORDA gets about one-third of its operating aid from the state S7.4 million out of mil- lion plus nearly a year from the town of North Elba. ORDA runs the ski centers at -inrl Mountain the bobsled track at Mount Van Hoevenberg and two ice arenas in Lake Placid. New York and Quebec have discussed trying to develop a joint bid for a future Winter Olympics using facilities around Lake Placid and Montreal, possi- bly for 2014. New York has not wanted to push that proposal too WIDOW EILEEN BELLEW places the helmet of her late hus- band, New York City firefighter John Bellew, on the head of their 3-year-old son. Jack, after a funeral in Pearl River on The Associated Press Thursday. Bellew died Sunday when he jumped from the fourth floor of a burning building in the Bronx. Two other firefighters died that day, including one at the same fire. Farewell for a Firefighter Tearful friends, family gather for first of three funerals The Associated Press Peari River First the mourners sat crying inurs- day for lost firefighter John Bellew. and then they stood and cheered. An overflow funeral for the 10-year veteran New York firefighter was punc- tuated by conflicting emotions during the heartfelt eulogies for Bellew on a day cold enough to freeze tears. His widow, Eileen, reduced many in the crowd to weeping with her remem- brance of the man she met on the New Jersey shore more than a decade ago. And his battalion chief encouraged ev- eryone inside St. Margaret of Antioch Church to join in a standing ovation for Bellew. who plunged to his death Sunday from the fourth floor of a burning Bronx building. It was the first of three funerals in three days for the Fire Department of New York, an extended period of mourn- ing reminiscent of the scores of firefight- er funerals that followed the Sept. 11, 2001. terrorist attack, which killed 343 FDNY members. Eileen Bellew, her voice breaking, re- called how her husband spent his life of ways to make his family happier." "Maybe the best way to take care of his kids was to do it from she said. Battalion Chief John Sullivan referred to the Bellew brood as well: Brielle, 6: Jack, 3; Katreana, 2; and 5-month-old Kieran John, who sat with their mom and grandparents. Sullivan, saying Eileen Bellew feared her children would have no memories of their father, encouraged the crowd to stand and applaud "so the kids can see and remember." They did. Bellew, 37, was one of six firefight- ers trapped while searching for people in- side the building in the Morris Heights section. All six men were forced to leap from the fourth floor, a fatal jump for Bellew and Lt. Curtis Meyran. Meyran. 46, will be remembered Sat- urday at a funeral on Long Island. The funeral for Richard Sclafani, 37, will be Friday at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church on Staten Island. He died on the same day at a tire in Brooklyn. Bellew's flag-draped casket arrived at the church atop a fireiruck. with an honor guard struggling to hold flags aloft in the whipping winds and thousands of fire- fighters standing at attention in subfreez- ing cold. The casket was brought into the church to the sadly familiar FDNY bag- pipers' version of "Amazing Grace." In addition to firefighters from as far off as Milwaukee, the funeral was attend- ed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and Cardinal Edward Egan. Some hi the crowd had known Bellew during his dec- ade on the job. 'John and I crawled down many hall- ways recalled Lt. Craig Crich- low, who worked alongside Bellew for nine years. ''But strangely enough, it was always peaceful with him. No apprehen- sion." After the funeral, as Eileen Bellew car- ried young Jack from the church, she put his father's fire helmet on his head. She had said in her eulogy that when Jack visited the firehouse recently, his parents saw a gleam in his eye that told them, had just decided what he wanted to oe wnen ne grew up.' In a New York minute Arab Americans claim discrimination by banks Arab- American- owned businesses are com- plaining that their banks are tell- ing them to take their business elsewhere, The Buffalo News re- ported Thursday. The businesses that are com- plaining are ones that do a lot of cash business, the News report- ed. They say the banks are dis- criminating against them solely because of their names and an- cestry during a time of heighten- ed fear of terrorism. T ve never been arrested. I've never done anything wrong. j and they make me feel like I've t done something Abdul- i salam Shuaibee, a Buffalo gro- j eery owner, told the paper. I Banks say they are reacting to i tighter federal enforcement of laws aimed at tracking large cash transactions. They say the issue I isn't who owns the accounts, but I how they're being used. Fast ferry company threatens to sue city OThe city of Rochester, which already has experi- enced a world of trouble follow- ing the collapse of the Roches- A quick look at what other newspapers are reporting from around the state. rgh Watertown 2- O KfW YORK Buffalo 9 Syracuse Rochester O O'- -Aubum O Utica Saratoga County Btnghamton Q tation Systems declined to com- ment, but company officials have complained in the past that the city has interfered in its ef- forts to resume the service. CATS shut down the ferry less than three months after starting it in June, saying it ran out of money. in for a little more. The company that ran the ferry says it might sue, arguing that the city has damaged its rep- utation, the Democrat and Chronicle reported. Canadian American Transpor- Capital ceremony mints 640 more N.Y. lawyers case you worry that there aren't enough lawsuits fly- ing around, have no fear. State Supreme Court Justice Anthony V. Cardona swore in 640 lawyers in Albany Wednes- day the most ever admitted to practice law in a single ceremo- ny anywhere in the nation, the Times-Union reported. New lawyers from 29 states and 17 foreign countries were sworn in alongside native New Yorkers during the noon ceremo- ny at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. Cardona led more than people in warbling renditions of "The Star-Spangled Banner." "America the Beautiful" and fi- nally "God Bless America" after a planned soloist fell ill. Snowblower thieves keeping sheriff busy Thieves in Saratoga County appear to have both a keen sense of the market and a knack for forecasting the weather. In the past month, 34 snow- blowers were reported stolen in Clifton Park, Halfmoon and Me- chanicville, the Albany Tinws Union reported. In one instance, a Halfrnoon resident's snowblower was sto- len and then its replacement was also stolen, Saratoga County Sheriff James Bowen said. The snowblowers began dis- appearing from yards before the latest round of storms. "With the weather the way it is, there's a good Bowen said. Mister Sof tee admits: That pngie is annoying An official from Mister Softee made a frank admis- sion to the New York City Council this week: The jingle that blares from his company's ice cream trucks can indeed be annoying. But James Conway Jr. said that falls short of allegations that the tune "Listen for my store on wheels, ding-a-ling down the is a health hazard and should be banned under a re- vised city noise code, The New York Times reported. "Does it get stuck in your head Conway said. "We hope so. But the Mister Softee song as a threat to the health and welfare of New Yorkers? I don't think so." The Bloomberg administra- tion favors a tougher noise code, but there was wide opposition to it at the council hearing. Girl, 7, found dead at school First-grader's frightens parents, who rash topkk up their The Associated Press Highland Falls A 7-year-old first-grader was found school Thursday morning and police said they had no suspects. Jerica Rhodes was found by a Sacred Heart of Jesus School employee at a.m. in an area she wouldn't normally be in, Highland Falls police Chief j Peter Miller said. He would not say exactly where the girl's body was discovered. i Jerica' s father. 27-year-old Chris Rhodes, dropped Jenca off i at school around a.m. dur- i ing a school assembly and she wasn't seen again until her body 1 was discovered, police said. The girl lived with her grandparents in Highland Fails, which is near i the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. There was no indication any 1 strangers entered the school, said i Miller, adding that access to the building is typically through a single door. Police late Thursday afternoon said they have not recovered a weapon. Chris Rhodes is the son of for- mer Highland Falls police Chief Linwood Rhodes Jr. Chris Rhodes lived in the same house as his parents. A woman who an- swered the phone number listed for the Rhodes family declined comment. Parents rushed to the school to pick up their children after learn- ing of the slaying, according to the Times Herald-Record of Middletown. The school, run by the Arch- diocese of New York, has 240 i students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. GOP pair weighing run at Qinton News service reports The prospects of a Kennedy- Cuomo clash ended when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said this week that he would not run against Andrew M. Cuomo for state at- torney general. But now New Yorkers face the possibility of another clash j of political families, this one pit- j ting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clin- I ton against Edward F. Cox, a j son-in-law of President Richard I M. Nixon, according to The New York Times. j Cox, 58, who married Tricia I Nixon in the Rose Garden when I her father was president, has told j friends and Republican Party in- j siders he is considering running I against Clinton in 2006, they j said. i Meanwhile, Jeanine Pirro, j Westchester County's Republi- can district attorney and frequent television commentator, is con- sidering challenging Clinton's bid for a second term in 2006, according to the New York Daily News. The News reported Thursday, quoting unidentified sources, that Gov. George Pataki was supporting a possible Pirro Senate candidacy. Mafia leader becomes informant, sources say Imprisoned Mafia don Joseph Massino secretly recorded his successor plotting the assassina- NEW YORK CITY m. wh