State briefs

Dec. 15 trial set for 2 in Amish girls kidnapping

SYRACUSE (AP) - A December trial date has been set for the northern New York couple charged in the kidnapping two Amish girl’s from their family’s roadside stand last summer.

Local media report that a federal magistrate on Tuesday scheduled the trial to begin Dec. 15 in Syracuse.

Prosecutors say 25-year-old Nicole Vaisey and her boyfriend, 37-year-old Stephen Howells, are charged with sexually exploiting three children between September 2013 and August 2014 and Howells is additionally charged with six counts involving four children at other times.



The charges against the couple from Hermon in St. Lawrence County include kidnapping and sexually abuse charges stemming from the August abduction of 7- and 12-year-old Amish girls from their family farm stand in rural Oswegatchie, near the Canadian border.

The girls were set free by the couple the next day.

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Legal petition seeks NY ban on outdated rail cars

ALBANY (AP) - A coalition of environmental groups and city residents has filed a legal petition seeking a ban on older model rail tanker cars carrying volatile crude oil from North Dakota to the Port of Albany.

The petition filed Tuesday by a group represented by Earthjustice asks Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens to issue an order prohibiting receipt of crude in DOT-111 tank cars at the port.

A DEC spokesman said the federal government has sole authority to regulate oil transport by rail.

The federal Department of Transportation has proposed gradually phasing out these cars, which are prone to rupture on impact and have been involved in a series of catastrophic explosions. Earthjustice has a legal case against the government for an emergency ban on the old cars.

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