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CENTRAL NEW YORK
How much will the expo center cost?

The price tag to build the 136,450-square-foot New York State Fair Expo Center is larger than expected.

The state Department of Agriculture and Markets announced Thursday that a $62,643,167 contract to construct the facility at the fairgrounds has been awarded to HBP Joint Venture, a collaboration between Syracuse-based Hueber-Breuer Construction and The Pike Company in Rochester.

QPK Design, a Syracuse firm, will handle the architectural work for the project, which is expected to be completed in time for the 2018 fair.

The 2017-18 state budget included $50 million for additional improvements at the fairgrounds. That funding will be used for the construction of the expo center. The remaining $12,643,167 will be provided through the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council's Upstate Revitalization Initiative plan, CNY Rising.

Cuomo: First phase of $27M NYS Fair Orange lot upgrades begins this fall

Cuomo: First phase of $27M NYS Fair Orange lot upgrades begins this fall

Construction will begin this fall on a $27 million project to upgrade the New York State Fai…

The region won $500 million in 2015 to support economic development in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties. The pot of state funding is also being used to support the Orange Lot improvements near the fairgrounds. That project will cost $27 million.

"The new expo center will serve to maximize the economic benefits of the fairgrounds," said regional council co-chairs Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena and Rob Simpson. "The governor's vision for revitalizing the complex through the CNY Rising plan supports the economic resurgence that is happening here. This multi-use center will no doubt serve as an economic generator for the region for years to come."

This is the second phase of projects in and around the fairgrounds. The first phase of the improvements was backed by $50 million in the state budget. The projects included an expanded midway, permanent RV park and a new main gate.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled plans for the expo center during the 2017 fair. He said the facility, which would be largest events center north of New York City between Boston and Cleveland, would help the fairgrounds host more year-round events.

The center will be equipped with 110,000 square feet of programming space and have the capacity for 4,000 retractable seats. For exhibitions, there will be enough space to hold 500 booths that are 10 feet long and 10 feet wide.

There will be rooms for conferences and meetings, year-round restrooms, a concession stand, catering space and an outdoor balcony.

Troy Waffner, acting director for the New York State Fair, said the center would help boost the fair's year-round business.

"As soon as the building was announced, we began to get interest from potential users," he said. "We will capitalize on that interest and deliver the promised benefits to central New York."

Earlier this month, the state issued a request for proposals from private companies interested in booking non-fair events at the expo center and other fairground venues. The state is seeking an entity that will book at least 20 events at the expo center through 2019.

The contract with the state will require the booker to retain 75 percent of the events it schedule from 2020 through 2023.

Proposals are due at the end of January.


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CAYUGA COUNTY
Motorists slide off snowy roads in Cayuga County

A combination of snow and rain made Friday travel tricky for motorists in Cayuga County. 

Cayuga County 911 dispatch said there had been about 34 accidents as of 4 p.m. Calls involved cars spinning out and sliding into ditches in Aurelius, Weedsport, Scipio, Genoa and several other towns.

One call involved a one-car rollover around 10 a.m. in the area of 6563 Beech Tree Road, Aurelius. According to police radio reports, a woman was trapped in the vehicle after it flipped over next to a pole, but dispatch later said her injuries were minor. Aurelius and Throop fire departments responded and were able to get her out of the vehicle. The Aurelius Fire Department said the patient did not need to be transported to a hospital.

Soon after the rollover, the Aurelius Fire Department responded to Bluefield Road for a car in a ditch. The department said one patient was transported to Auburn Community Hospital by AMR Ambulance, but it was not clear the extent of the injuries. 

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A car is in a ditch off Bluefield Road in Aurelius Friday. 

A one-car accident in Scipio around 11:25 a.m. closed down part of Route 38 near Fire Lane 30 in both directions. Scipio Fire Chief Wayne Pettit said slippery road conditions likely caused the car to veer off into a road ditch.

"They smashed the dickens out of their vehicle," he said.

Two patients were transported to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. Pettit said he was not sure the extent of the patients' injuries, but emergency responders from Four Town Ambulance and Southern Cayuga had told him one person was in and out of consciousness. The road has since been reopened.

Winter weather continued into Friday evening. Localized amounts of snow were expected to be up to 5 inches.


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COURT
State court: Auburn gang assault case can be re-presented to grand jury

A mid-level state appellate court will let a special prosecutor re-present charges to a grand jury in Cayuga County in connection with a 2013 Memorial Day weekend assault case. 

In 2014, Judge Elma Bellini granted a motion to dismiss an indictment against Scott E. Blauvelt, Kyle C. Norcross and Johnathon T. Foltz. The defendants were charged with gang assault and criminal mischief for allegedly attacking a man in Auburn. 

On Memorial Day weekend 2013, two middle-aged men — Shane Maneri and Douglas Springer — claimed they were assaulted outside Angelo's Pizza in Auburn. At the time, Maneri said he suffered several injuries, including a broken leg. 

Blauvelt, Norcross and Foltz were charged in the incident, but the judge later dismissed the charges, citing "prosecutorial misconduct" and a lack of evidence. The Cayuga County District Attorney's Office appealed that ruling with respect to the cases against Blauvelt and Norcross.

On Friday, the Appellate Division, Fourth Department ruled the case can be re-presented to a grand jury

The state court agreed with the prosecution that the evidence was "legally sufficient to establish that the victim sustained a serious physical injury." However, the court also said it agreed with Judge Bellini that the district attorney "acted improperly in repeatedly asking leading questions of his witnesses and in introducing hearsay evidence." 

Although the court concluded that the indictment had been properly dismissed, it ruled that the prosecution should be allowed to resubmit the evidence to another grand jury. It noted that District Attorney Jon Budelmann offered to recuse himself and seek a special prosecutor to handle the case. 

"In my 25 years as a prosecutor, I have indicted hundreds if not thousands of cases and not one of those indictments has been dismissed by another judge," Budelmann said in a press release Friday. "In an effort to get justice for this victim, who as a result of this beating now walks with a cane, we appealed the decision and offered to have another prosecutor appointed to re-present this case. We are gratified that this victim will now be able to pursue justice and that the court found enough evidence to sustain the felony charges."

As to why the third defendant, Foltz, was not included in the appeal, the district attorney said he could not comment. Attorneys for the defendants could not be reached Friday.


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Scott E. Blauvelt


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Kyle C.D. Norcross


Local
LEGAL
State court rejects Cayuga County rapist's appeal

A mid-level state appellate court has rejected the appeal of a Brutus man who was convicted of two counts of third-degree rape in Cayuga County. 

Following a guilty plea in 2015, Andrew C. Laury was sentenced to two years in prison and five years post-release supervision. At the time, Laury admitted to having a sexual relationship with two minors in January 2013 and July 2014. The victims were both 15 years old. 

Laury appealed his case, claiming that the court failed to advise him that his plea would result in a parole violation. The 39-year-old had been convicted of two counts of third-degree burglary in 2013. 

According to an Appellate Division, Fourth Department decision issued Friday, Laury's argument was "without merit," as the trial court had no obligation to notify the defendant that his plea would violate his parole. In addition, the court said Laury's sentence was not unduly harsh or severe because he was sentenced to the minimum sentence permissible by law. 


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Andrew C. Laury