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6 THE CORNELL DAILY SUN | Monday, November 26, 2012

NEW YORK STATE NEWS BRIEFS

New York Gets $27 Million To Hire Sandy Clean-Up Workers

NEW YORK (AP) — More than 5,000 New Yorkers will be hired for temporary government jobs cleaning up after Superstorm Sandy, officials said Sunday. About $27 million in federal Labor Department money will finance the cleanup and rebuilding positions in New York City and eight nearby counties, paying about $15 per hour and generally lasting about six months, state and federal officials said. Separately, the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are working to put New Yorkers into more than 700 temporary FEMA jobs, some as administrative assistants and community relations workers. “This is a neighbors-helping-neighbors effort,” state Labor Commissioner Peter Rivera said at a news conference in Red Hook, a Brooklyn neighborhood flooded by Sandy’s surge. Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it “a chance to provide young and unemployed New Yorkers with job opportunities cleaning up their communities.” The crisis-turned-opportunity message wasn’t lost on K’Reese Cole, one of two dozen or more people who lined up after Sunday’s announcement to submit applications at a disaster relief center in Red Hook. So far, more than 800 people from across the state have applied, officials said. Cole, who’s lived in Red Hook all his 32 years, works various jobs in demolition and construction. “Now I’m trying to work with the cleanup effort out here because we did lose a lot in the community,” said Cole, a rapper who also goes by the name Tru Born. Plus, he said, a government job — even a temporary one — could represent a steppingstone to steady work for him and many of his neighbors in Red Hook. The venerable dock and warehouse area includes one of the nation’s biggest public housing complexes, along with artists' studios and accoutrements of urban bohemia. Some residents of the public housing development, the Red Hook Houses, were without electricity or heat for about two weeks after the Oct. 29 storm. While the floods have receded and the lights are back on, lingering needs were still visible Sunday in a community where many were struggling before the storm. A block away from the disaster aid center where the jobs announcement was made, members of the Lighthouse Seventh Day Adventist Church set up a table in a park and served free Jamaican-style stew chicken, rice and peas and other dishes. First Elder Dennis McCurchin estimated 500 people were served. Back at the disaster center, Mickey Reid submitted a job application and looked with surprised appreciation at the cluster of officials eager to take it. “The need was here all along,” said Reid, 58, a vice president of a tenants’ association in the Red Hook Houses. “Since the storm came, these things actually happen now.”

States Face Problems With New Driver’s Licenses ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — It was a popular idea five years ago: make sure every state had high-security driver's licenses to thwart terrorism at airports. But the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Real ID system faces opposition from states still reeling from recession. The deadline for compliance has been extended twice, until Jan. 15, and may be extended again. If a state hasn't complied, its residents won't be able to use their driver's licenses to get on planes, into federal facilities or places like nuclear power plants. Today, 17 states have enacted laws opposing compliance with Real ID, eight more approved resolutions opposing it, and two had one house of its legislature oppose the federal mandate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most states aren’t expected to comply by the deadline. In New York and Maryland, officials are being forced to choose between a high-cost material that would require a switch to black-andwhite photos, and a cheaper material that better matches strapped resources. Both are regarded as secure, though the former is favored by some in the security field. A study by NCSL, the National Governors Association and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators estimated the Real ID program will cost states $11 billion over five years. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimated the cost at no more than $3.9 billion. “NCSL urges Congress and the administration to continue to work with NCSL and its members on alternatives to the Real ID,” the group stated in a position paper. Real ID places numerous requirements on states, from setting standards on which paperwork drivers must present to mandating tamperprevention features so that IDs cannot be counterfeited. Two kinds of plastic used to make licenses are at the heart of the latest disputes, in New York and Maryland. Teslin, a longtime standard, is made to have information printed onto it, like paper. Polycarbonate can be etched, but only accommodates black-and-white photos. The industry regards both materials as secure, but polycarbonate is rated higher by some in the field, though at a higher price. Some government officials also don’t like the idea of having only black-and-white photos on ID cards; Virginia is the only state to have them. In May, the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeal upheld a complaint against the initial bidding process and required a re-evaluation. In Maryland, polycarbonate was 25 percent higher than the low bidder.

11-26-12  

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