In brief

| 15 Feb 2012 | 11:10

    NY closes last of seven prisons in move to save millions ALBANY — The state has closed the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility on Staten Island, the seventh prison, camp or work release facility shuttered in 2011 as New York transferred several thousand inmates and staff to its 60 remaining sites to try to save millions of dollars. Beginning last fall, the Cuomo administration closed the medium-security Mid-Orange in the lower Hudson Valley and Oneida Correctional in central New York as the inmate population has continued a decade-long decline to the current 56,000. Four minimum-security facilities were shut: Buffalo Work Release in Erie County, Camp Georgetown in Madison County, Summit Shock in Schoharie County and Fulton Work Release in the Bronx. Data show 1,449 of the 1,706 staff transferred within the department or to other agencies, 131 were laid off, 95 retired and some resigned. Judge blocks college plan to kill campus deer BINGHAMTON — A judge has blocked Binghamton University’s plan to have sharpshooters kill 90 percent of deer in a campus nature preserve, saying the college has to do an environmental impact study. The Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin reports that state Supreme Court Justice Molly Fitzgerald ruled the university’s deer-culling plan doesn’t comply with the State Environmental Quality Review Act. Michael Danaher, an assistant attorney general representing the university, said at a hearing last week that Department of Environmental Conservation rules didn’t require such a study. DEC had issued a permit for the shooting, which was to be done over Christmas break. A retired professor who lives near the preserve mounted the court challenge. A university environmental committee recommended the culling plan because the overpopulation of deer is damaging the forest. Bullet travels half-mile through neighbor’s door POMPEY — State police say a bullet that ripped through a front door in central New York was fired a half-mile away by a man taking aim at a couch in his back yard. The Post-Standard of Syracuse reports that 45-year-old James Nichols was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon, both misdemeanors. Troopers say Nichols told them he was firing his .308-caliber rifle Saturday afternoon in Cazenovia, 20 miles southeast of Syracuse. A couple in the town of Pompey alerted police when a bullet came through their door, ricocheted off a wall where a family member was standing and landed on a dining room table. No one was hurt. NY honor guard unit conducts most funerals ever ALBANY — The New York National Guard unit that conducts military funerals throughout the state had its busiest year ever in 2011. National Guard officials say the New York Military Forces Honor Guard has participated in funerals for more than 10,500 veterans. In 2010, the unit provided military honors at the funerals of more than 10,400 soldiers, service members and veterans. Don Roy, the director of the honor guard program, says more than 90 percent of this year’s funerals were for veterans of World War II. Sixty soldiers work full-time with the New York honor guard, with another 70 assigned on a part-time basis. On average, they conduct 900 funerals each month from Long Island to Buffalo. Only California’s honor guard performs more military funerals than New York.