JOE ROBACH OFFICE ANNOUCES BRUSH BURNING BAN UNTIL MAY 21

This week the office of Joe Robach announced that New York State has extended the ban on residential brush burning until May 21 due to continued dry conditions across the state. Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in the state.

State officials have been working hand-in-hand with local firefighters to help contain a rash of wildfires that have broken out across New York in recent week. As dry weather conditions persist, the burning ban has been extended to better protect the health and well-being of New Yorkers who may find themselves and their property in harm’s way. The office of Joe Robach urges everyone to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves, their neighbors and the first responders.

The eastern, central, southern and far northern regions of the state are rated as having a high risk of fire danger, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation. The Southern Tier, Lake Ontario, and Adirondack regions are rated as having a moderate risk of fire danger. Additionally, the red flag warning is a short-term, temporary warning, indicating the presence of a dangerous combination of temperature, wind, relative humidity, fuel or drought conditions which can contribute to new fires or rapid spread of existing fires. This year, 110 fires have burned nearly 3,600 acres.

Joe Robach noted that while all wildfires in New York are now contained, numerous state offices have deployed resources over the past two weeks to help battle wildfires in the eastern New York.

Since 2009, New York State has enforced a residential brush burning ban for towns with less than 20,000 residents from March 16 through May 14, the period when most wildfires occur. Some towns, primarily in and around the Adirondack Park and Catskill Park, are designated “fire towns,” and open burning is prohibited year-round in these municipalities unless an individual or group has a written permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation. Burning garbage is prohibited year-round. Violators of the open burning regulation are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense.

Campfires using charcoal or untreated wood are allowed except in the Catskill Forest Preserve. All campfires in the Catskill Forest Preserve continue to be banned through May 21 due to the continued high fire danger as a result of the dry weather conditions. Campfires should never be left unattended and must be extinguished.

Since the ban was enacted, the average number of spring fires per year has decreased from 3,297 to 1,425 or 43.2 percent. To view an updated map of fire danger ratings in New York, Joe Robach office suggests residents visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/68329.html.

JOE ROBACH OFFICE HELPS HONOR 27 FALLEN OFFICERS FROM ACROSS NEW YORK STATE

This week the office of Joe Robach announced that state officials honored 27 fallen law enforcement officers from agencies across New York State, including officers who died last year from injuries sustained in the line of duty, officers who died from Ground Zero-related illnesses, and historical deaths.

The names of the 27 officers honored today have been inscribed on the Police Officers’ Memorial located on the Empire State Plaza in Albany. They join 1,360 others represented on the memorial from 141 police agencies across the state and five federal law enforcement agencies.

The officers honored paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to their communities and their state. In press released by his office, Joe Robach said “These individuals personified bravery and selflessness, putting the safety of their communities before their own lives.”

The fallen heroes were remembered Tuesday at a remembrance ceremony where state officials joined more than 400 guests, including local, state and federal law enforcement professionals, other elected officials, and family members, colleagues and friends of the officers.

The names of fallen officers are placed randomly and without rank on the memorial’s walls to signify that every officer’s sacrifice is the same. This concept was suggested by Colleen Dillon Bergman, the daughter of Trooper Emerson J. Dillon, Jr., who was killed in the line of duty in 1974 after more than 16 years of service. Following her father’s death, Ms. Bergman wrote a letter to the Police Officers’ Memorial Advisory Committee, which oversees the memorial, writing, “It doesn’t matter from which department they came, the feeling of loss is experienced the same.” That sentence is now etched on the memorial’s nameplate, which was dedicated in 1991.

2014 Line of Duty Deaths
Eight officers died last year from injuries they incurred while in the line of duty:

• Detective Dennis E. Guerra of the New York City Police Department died from complications from smoke inhalation after responding to a fire in a Coney Island public housing development (April 9).
• Detective WenJian Liu and Detective Rafael Ramos of the New York City Police Department died after being shot without warning or provocation while they sat in their marked Critical Response Vehicle in a Brooklyn neighborhood (Dec. 20).
• Detective Douglas H. Mayville of the Albany Police Department died from Wegener’s Granulomatosis developed after inhaling toxic chemicals and materials while performing his duties at the Forensic Investigations Unit from 1982 through 1997 (April 9).
• Police Officer Daryl Pierson of the Rochester Police Department died after being shot and killed by a suspect he was pursuing on foot (Sept. 3).
• Trooper Christopher Skinner of the New York State Police (Troop C) was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while conducting a traffic stop on I-81 in Broome County (May 29).
• Police Officer David W. Smith of the Johnson City Police Department died after being ambushed and shot responding to a disturbance call at a local business (March 31).
• Police Officer Michael C. Williams of the New York City Police Department died of injuries suffered from a motor vehicle accident involving a marked department van that crashed into a highway divider while on patrol in the Bronx (Sept. 21).

Ground Zero-Related Illness
Officers who died from illnesses resulting from search and recovery efforts in the wake of the September 11, 2011 terrorist attack in New York City have been honored on the memorial since 2008. The names on the memorial now total 85, including the 14 added today:

• Detective Angel A. Creagh, New York City Police Department (Jan. 14, 2014)
• Police Officer Anthony DeJesus, New York City Police Department (May 24, 2013)
• Sergeant Paul M. Ferrara, New York City Police Department (Aug. 28, 2014)
• Police Officer Nicholas G. Finelli, New York City Police Department (June 8, 2013)
• Detective Michael R. Henry, New York City Police Department (Nov. 28, 2013)
• Detective Steven Hom, New York City Police Department (Oct. 19, 2013)
• Detective John J. Marshall, New York City Police Department (April 6, 2014)
• Detective Robert A. Montanez, New York City Police Department (March 16, 2014)
• Sergeant Donald J. O’Leary Jr., New York City Police Department (March 26, 2014)
• Police Officer Allison M. Palmer, New York City Police Department (July 28, 2008)
• Captain Ronald G. Peifer Sr., New York City Police Department (March 5, 2014)
• Detective Christopher Strucker, New York City Police Department (Jan. 3, 2014)
• Detective William B. Titus Jr., New York City Police Department (Aug. 24, 2003)
• Police Officer Perry T. Villani, New York City Police Department (Jan. 21, 2014)

The office of Joe Robach noted that to be included on the memorial, an individual must have held the position of police officer as defined in the state’s Criminal Procedure Law or have held the position of federal law enforcement officer and performed the same or similar duties as those performed by a police officer as defined in that section.

JOE ROBACH OFFICE ANNOUNCES UPSTATE REVITALIZATION INITIATIVE AND ROUND V OF REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL COMPETITION

This week the office of Joe Robach announced two major economic development programs – the Upstate Revitalization Initiative and Round V of the Regional Economic Development Councils – officially kicking off the 2015 competitions for $1.5 billion and up to $750 million in state economic development resources, respectfully.

New York’s Regional Councils have transformed the state’s economy over the past four years. The progress will continue with the largest single investment in the program and an unprecedented focus on revitalizing Upstate. Between the fifth round of the Regional Economic Development Council competition and the new $1.5 billion Upstate Revitalization Initiative, communities across the state will be able to invest in their many unique assets and expand opportunities for growth from the ground up. Joe Robach office said that every region is encouraged to come together and put their best plans forward as we continue to create a brighter and more prosperous future for New York State.

This year, the 10 Regional Councils will once again compete for awards from up to $750 million in state economic development resources through Round V of the REDC competition. Additionally, through the new Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI), seven regions – Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Capital District, and Mid-Hudson – are eligible to compete for three $500 million awards, which will be disbursed at a rate of $100 million per year for five years.

The three Upstate winners of the URI will receive approximately $130 million each this year ($100 million in URI funding, and an estimated $30 million from Round V of the REDC competition). Aside from those regions, three regions will earn “Top Performer” distinction in the REDC competition and will receive approximately $105 million each. Finally, the remaining four regions will receive approximately $90 million each through the REDC competition – which is more than the average amount awarded to the top place finisher in prior year. The office of Joe Robach noted that this approach ensures that no region is a loser, while also maintaining the competitive nature that has worked so well to bring local business, academic, and community leaders together to develop long term, impressive economic visions for their regions.

The Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) will open to applicants on May 1 with a deadline of July 31 at 4:00pm, allotting more time than past years for the Regional Councils to solicit and identify projects in their areas. This extended period also provides additional time for businesses, municipalities, not-for-profits and the public to apply for assistance from dozens of state funding programs for job creation and community development projects.

Upstate Revitalization Initiative

For the seven Upstate regions eligible for the $1.5 billion Upstate Revitalization Initiative, the regions will submit a “Revitalization Plan” as an addendum to their progress report. In addition to the priorities outlined in the 2015 Progress Report update, the Upstate Revitalization Plan should provide a more detailed analysis of the region and develop ideas and strategies to transform the regional economy.

The purpose of each region’s Revitalization Plan will be to 1) provide a well-researched and credible argument that the region is ready for revitalization; and 2) to describe the transformation that will happen in the region if granted those funds. Each REDC should address in their plan concepts such as job creation, increasing net wealth in the region, private sector investment, and other key indicators.

URI designated regions will receive a total allocation of $500 million, at a rate of $100 million per year for five years. As part of the Revitalization Plan, each region will submit a list of initial projects they recommend for funding should they be selected a “Best Plan Awardee” of the competition. Each URI region will be required to identify potential projects seeking URI funds and may continue to do so after the CFA closes.

Examples of the types of projects or how funds will be used include:
•Infrastructure targeted to job creation and economic growth;
•Acquisition and development of sites for industrial growth;
•Job training and employment readiness, particularly when focused on key local economic sectors;
•Encouragement of and support to start-up companies and their founders;
•Creation of venture capital funds;
•Direct support of companies in sectors targeted by REDC;
•Support innovation, particularly college and university based;
•Targeted support to companies to assist them in keeping up with technological advances; and
•Creation of opportunities for hard to place workers, including veterans, ex-offenders, low income, under educated, refugees, immigrants and persons with special needs.

Joe Robach added that the URI Revitalization Plans will be due to the State on October 5, 2015.

JOE ROBACH OFFICE ANNOUNCES SENATE PASSES LEGISLATION TO HELP FAMILY CAREGIVERS

The office of Joe Robach announced this week that The New York State Senate passed a measure that would help caregivers receive the necessary resources to deliver care to older adults and others with long term health needs in a home setting. The CARE Act (S676A) sponsored by Senator Kemp Hannon (R, Nassau), would reduce future hospitalizations of patients by ensuring that caregivers are involved in and educated about patients’ needs and how to best meet them once they leave the hospital.

By identifying a caregiver while the patient is still in the hospital, involving the caregiver in the discharge plan and providing personalized instruction on post discharge care, Joe Robach office noted that this legislation will make a real difference in patient care and health outcomes. “This legislation embodies the triple aim of health care — improving health, enhancing quality, and reducing cost.” said Joe Robach.

At any given time, an estimated 4.1 million New Yorkers provide varying degrees of unreimbursed care to adults with limitations in daily activities. While most caregivers are asked to assist an individual with basic activities of daily living, such as mobility, eating, and dressing, many are expected to perform complex tasks on a daily basis such as administering multiple medications, providing wound care, and operating medical equipment.

Joe Robach office also noted that despite the vast importance of caregivers in the individual’s day-to-day care, many caregivers find that they are often left out of discussions involving a patient’s care while in the hospital. That it is only upon the patient’s discharge, do caregivers receive little to no instruction in the tasks they are expected to perform.

The Caregiver Advise, Record, and Enable (CARE) Act passed today would help address these challenges by having caregivers and hospitals work together in the development of a care plan. Upon admission to a hospital, a patient would be able to designate a caregiver in the patient’s medical record. Prior to the patient’s discharge to their residence or transfer to another facility, the hospital would need to notify and offer to meet with the designated caregiver to discuss the patient’s plan of care and offer to adequately train the designated caregiver in certain aftercare tasks.

This approach would not only improve the quality of care provided to patients once they leave a hospital setting, but it would help reduce an estimated $17 billion in Medicare funds spent each year nationally on hospital readmissions that would not be needed if patients get the right care.

In addition to this measure, the Senate recently passed a state budget that includes significant funding increases that support resources for long term care patients and caregivers. An additional $25 million will support Alzheimer’s programs in 2015-16, and an increase of more than $8 million will go to the New York Connects program for a statewide expansion that will give more patients access to long term care options, services, and support. The budget also increased funding for the Community Services for the Elderly Program by $2.5 million and included an additional $500,000 for the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.

According to the office of Joe Robach, this bill will now be sent to the Assembly for a vote.

JOE ROBACH OFFICE AND JOINT SENATE TASK FORCE ON HEROIN AND OPIOID ADDICTION ANNOUNCE FORUMS

This week the office of Joe Robach and The New York State Senate announced the schedule for the first round of forums being held by the bipartisan Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction. The Task Force will meet in Yorktown, Rochester, Lewiston, Albany and additional communities to examine the issues created by increased heroin abuse that is causing hundreds of deaths in communities across the state.

The Task Force is co-chaired by Senator Terrence Murphy (R-C-I, Yorktown); Senator Robert Ortt (R, North Tonawanda), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Mental Health; and Senator George A. Amedore, Jr. (R-C-I, Rotterdam), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. The forums will provide an opportunity for Senators to solicit input from stakeholders and experts and use the information collected to develop recommendations for legislative action.

Joe Robach office referenced recent opiate statistics show a pressing and urgent need to find a solution to this statewide epidemic. Deaths in New York from opiate overdoses are increasing with 34 suspected opiate deaths in Erie County so far this year — 13 of which occurred in just one recent week. And in New York City, the most recent statistics available showed that for the second straight year heroin deaths surpassed homicides with 420 people dying from heroin overdoses compared to 335 homicides in 2013.

The first four forums are being held this spring and will be followed by additional forums in other communities this fall.

2015 Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction Schedule

Westchester County:
Thursday, April 30, 7 p.m.: Mildred E. Strang Middle School, 2701 Crompond Rd, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598

Monroe County:
Wednesday, May 6, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: St. John Fisher College Wegmans School of Nursing Building, Room 100, 3690 East Ave., Rochester, NY 14618.

Niagara County:
Thursday, May 7, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Niagara University Dunleavy Hall, Room 127, 5795 Lewiston Rd., Niagara University, NY 14109.

Albany County:
Tuesday, June 2, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: SUNY Albany D’Ambra Auditorium, Life Sciences Research Building, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222

Members of the bipartisan task force include the offices of Senator John Bonacic (R-C-I, Mount Hope), Senator Phil Boyle (R-C-I, Suffolk County), Senator David Carlucci (D, Rockland), Senator Thomas Croci (R, Sayville), Senator Hugh Farley (R-C, Schenectady), Senator John Flanagan (R-C-I, East Northport), Senator Rich Funke (R-C-I, Fairport), Senator Pat Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma), Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn), Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R, Rome), Senator Kemp Hannon (R, Nassau), Senator Andrew Lanza (R-C-I, Staten Island), Senator William Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson), Senator Kenneth LaValle (R-C-I, Port Jefferson), Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R, Syosset), Senator Kathleen A. Marchione (R-C, Halfmoon), Senator Jack Martins (R-C-I, Mineola), Senator Michael Nozzolio (R-C, Fayette), Senator Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats), Senator Michael Ranzenhofer (R-C-I, Amherst), Senator Patty Ritchie (R-C, Heuvelton), Senator Joe Robach (R-C-I, Rochester), Senator Diane Savino (D, Staten Island/Brooklyn), Senator Susan Serino (R, Hyde Park), Senator James L. Seward (R-C-I, Oneonta), Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida), Senator Michael Venditto (R-C-I, Massapequa), and Senator Cathy Young (R-I-C, Olean).
Joe Robach asks residents to visit his Senate website and contact his local office directly for additional questions.

JOE ROBACH OFFICE ANNOUNCES REGISTRATION OPEN FOR FOURTH ANNUAL I LOVE MY PARK DAY

This week the office of Joe Robach announced that online registration is now open for the fourth annual I Love My Park Day, to be held on May 2 at state parks and historic sites across New York. Since its launch in 2012, the number of parks involved in I Love My Park Day has more than doubled, with the number of volunteers taking part tripling. Event details can be found at www.nysparks.com.

New Yorkers who enjoy the state’s beautiful parks and historic sites throughout the year are invited to volunteer on May 2 and help ensure these sites remain some of the best in the nation. “These parks showcase some of the best of New York’s outdoor recreational opportunities, attract tourists who support local economies and bring people together.” Said Joe Robach in a press release issued by his office. “It is a great way to give back to these special places. I encourage everyone to come and lend a hand.”

Sponsored jointly by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Parks & Trails New York, Joe Robach explains that I Love My Park Day is a statewide event that improves and enhances New York’s parks and historic sites, bringing increased visibility to the entire park system. Volunteers will celebrate New York’s park system by cleaning up winter damage and other debris on park lands and beaches, planting trees and gardens, restoring trails and wildlife habitat, removing invasive species, and working on various site improvement projects. Nearly 90 parks and historic sites will participate, from Montauk Point to Niagara Falls.

In 2014, more than 6,000 volunteers took part in over 120 cleanup, improvement and beautification projects at more than 80 state parks and historic sites, contributing 12,000 hours of volunteer service.

The New York State Commission on Volunteer and Community Service is joining the effort again this year to help recruit volunteers, promote the initiative and provide support to projects across the state. I Love My Park Day underscores New York’s commitment to improving parks and expanding access to outdoor recreation.

Registration for I Love My Park Day can be found by visiting: http://www.ptny.org/ilovemypark/index.shtml.

JOE ROBACH ANNOUNCES AVAILABILITY OF ADDITIONAL HOME HEATING ASSISTANCE

The office of Joe Robach announced this week that those in danger of running out of heating fuel or having their utility service shut off can now apply for a second emergency benefit through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). The additional assistance is being made available in light of the prolonged cold weather and additional federal funding awarded to the state.

The severe winter this year has left many families struggling to pay their heating bills. “That is why this second round of emergency assistance is so important and will help people stay warm and safe through the end of the season,” Joe Robach said in a press release issued by his office. This extra funding will be a crucial form of support for families across the state, and residents who may need help affording their heating bills are encouraged to reach out to HEAP today.

Normally, eligible households can receive one regular HEAP benefit per season and could also be eligible for a single emergency HEAP benefit if they face an energy emergency situation. Households that have already received a regular benefit and an emergency benefit can now apply for a second emergency benefit if they find themselves in a crisis situation. Applications for regular and emergency HEAP benefits will be accepted through Friday, March 27.

HEAP is 100-percent federally funded and New York State has received a total of $377 million in federal HEAP funding for the 2014-15 season, including a late-winter release of $33.3 million. Emergency benefit amounts vary depending on the emergency, up to a maximum of $575.

Eligibility varies based on income and household size. For the 2014-15 HEAP season, a household of four can earn up to $50,629 a year, or $4,219 a month, and still qualify for assistance.

So far this winter, a total of nearly 1.4 million HEAP benefits have been issued, including more than 75,000 emergency HEAP benefits.

For more information about the Home Energy Assistance Program, Joe Robach encourages residents to call the office hotline at 1-800-342-3009. New Yorkers can find contact information for their county department of social services at http://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/HEAP-contacts.pdf.

JOE ROBACH OFFICE REMINDS NEW YORKERS OF DROWSY DRIVING DANGERS AS DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME APPROACHES

Joe Robach office this week reminded New York motorists to be aware of the dangers of drowsy driving as Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 8. A “Stay Awake, Stay Alive” message will be displayed on message boards along the New York State Thruway, the I-87 Northway and other major roadways statewide during morning and afternoon commutes to remind travelers of the dangers of drowsy driving as part of Sleep Awareness Week.

Fatigue and inattention can be a deadly combination on the road and has caused far too many preventable tragedies New York. “With the ‘Stay Awake, Stay Alive’ campaign, we are urging all New Yorkers to be aware of the warning signs of drowsiness before they get behind the wheel, ensuring that New York’s roads are safer for all”, said Joe Robach in a press release issued by his office this week.

In 2013, there were 3,244 reported crashes statewide in which the driver fell asleep at the wheel and another 1,228 in which fatigue/drowsiness was cited as a contributing factor. This represents a significant decrease from 2012, when there were 3,399 reported crashes statewide in which the driver fell asleep at the wheel and another 1,374 in which fatigue/drowsiness was cited as a contributing factor.

The New York Partnership Against Drowsy Driving (NYPDD) was created in 2004 to educate the public and high-risk groups about the dangers of drowsy driving and promote the adoption of preventive strategies. Members of NYPDD include representatives from the NYS Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, New York State Department of Health, Thruway Authority, New York State Police, Department of Motor Vehicles, New York State Motor Truck Association, New York State Association of Traffic Safety Boards, New York State Movers and Warehousemen’s Association and New York State Department of Transportation.

The Partnership has been instrumental in implementing a variety of drowsy driving countermeasures. These initiatives include: developing the nation’s first comprehensive public awareness campaign on drowsy driving; revising the police crash report to incorporate a new code for falling asleep; integrating drowsy driving topics into the training provided by New York State Police; developing a standardized, medically accurate curriculum on the risk and prevention of drowsy driving for inclusion in driver education programs; and the installation by DOT and the Thruway Authority of shoulder rumble strips on interstate highways.
The common strategies for avoiding drowsy driving, such as opening a window, turning on air conditioning or playing loud music, will not overcome fatigue, and caffeine offers only a short-term increase in driver alertness. The only effective countermeasure for drowsiness is to find a safe place to pull over for a rest or to sleep for the night.

Other drivers at high risk for crashes due to drowsy driving include commercial truck drivers, parents of young children, people with untreated sleep disorders and young drivers. According to the NYS Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC), 16- to 24-year-old male drivers have the highest fatigue-related motor vehicle crash rates.

Motorists should always get adequate sleep before driving and take breaks every two hours or 100 miles. Bringing a passenger on long trips to provide company and share driving responsibilities is also recommended. Motorists should never drink alcohol before driving, and drivers should always be aware of the potential for drowsiness and other side effects of any medications they might be taking.

For more information on driver safety tips and information Joe Robach office suggests residents to visit the DMV’s website at dmv.ny.gov or the GTSC website at safeny.ny.gov/

JOE ROBACH OFFICE ANNOUNCES ANNUAL $500,000 NEW YORK BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION

This week the office of Joe Robach encouraged college students to take part in the sixth annual New York Business Plan Competition – one of the largest contests of its kind in the country. With deadlines quickly approaching, student teams can submit their business plan for the chance to win more than $500,000 in total prizes. The regional semifinals will be held in March and early April, and the statewide finals will be hosted by SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany on Friday, April 24.

The purpose of this competition is to give some of New York’s most entrepreneurial college students the opportunity to pursue their business ideas right here in the Empire State. By continuing to provide these opportunities, the next generation of business leaders are being helped to kickstart their most innovative business plans and strengthening the State’s economy in the long run. “I am proud that the State is hosting this competition once again, and I encourage all interested teams to apply today.” Said Joe Robach in a press release issued by his office.

More than 600 students from accredited colleges and universities across New York State are expected to participate, with each team pitching a business idea to an experienced panel of judges. Judges include national venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, private equity investors, and seasoned entrepreneurs. Interested students should submit their business plans for game-changing ideas related to areas that include:

•nanotechnology and advanced technology
•energy and sustainability
•biotechnology and healthcare
•products and services
•information technology and software
•social entrepreneurship and non-profit enterprise

The semi-final round of competition will be held in 10 regions across New York, which are based around the 10 Regional Economic Development Councils. Participating host institutions include:

•Capital Region: SUNY Poly
•Mohawk Valley: SUNY Poly’s Utica campus
•Central New York: Syracuse University
•Southern Tier: Ithaca College
•Mid-Hudson: Marist College
•New York City: New York Institute of Technology
•Long Island: SUNY Farmingdale
•North Country: Clarkson University
•Finger Lakes Region: St. John Fisher College
•Western New York: Hilbert College

Since the competition’s inception in 2010, more than 1,130 student teams from 75 New York State colleges and universities have competed, claiming more than $1,300,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

More information about the 2015 New York Business Plan Competition, including the date and location of each regional competition, an online application, and filing deadlines by region the office of Joe Robach encourages residents to visit :
http://www.sunycnse.com/NewYorkBusinessPlanCompetition/2015Program.aspx .

JOE ROBACH OFFICE ANNOUNCES NY DMV WEBSITE NAMED ONE OF AMERICA’S BEST

The office of Joe Robach announced this week that the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website is the second-best DMV website in the country, according to rankings by DMV.com, a portal for driver and motor vehicle information. The State DMV site gained the ranking due to its design, ease of use, and scope of available services online.

New York’s DMV website (www.DMV.ny.gov) underwent a complete redesign in February 2014, giving customers the ability to order replacement driver licenses, renew registrations on mobile devices, make online reservations for DMV visits, and easily conduct 35 types of transactions online.

According to Joe Robach office, the state launched the redesigned DMV website last year. The goal was to make it as user friendly as possible – and this ranking is proof that completing a DMV transaction is faster and easier than ever. This revamped website has set a new standard of customer service with the DMV, and is another example of how New York State is making government work more efficiently and effectively for the people for New York.

According to DMV.com, the New York State DMV website scored high in a number of areas.

An increasing number of New Yorkers are turning to the State DMV website to conduct transactions. In 2014, the top online transaction was registration renewals with more than 1.9 million completed. Customers also completed more than 5.5 million transactions on the website last year, up from 5 million in 2013 and 3.4 million in 2010.

One of the newest features of the State’s DMV website gives customers the ability to create a free MyDMV account allowing them access to a variety of information. MyDMV account users can update their address, check whether they have any driving restrictions or points against their license, and gather information about suspensions or revocations – along with steps to clear them. Additionally, users can sign up for mobile alerts to be reminded when registration and vehicle inspection deadlines approach. “These are all great features of the website that will continue to make our DMV one of the best.” said Joe Robach in a press release issued by this office.

Washington State’s Department of Licensing narrowly captured the top spot in the 2015 State DMV Website Rankings over New York.