Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on October 20, 2015 · Page A5
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October 20, 2015

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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page A5

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Rochester, New York
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Tuesday, October 20, 2015
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Page A5
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H437;5B4F/E;:;HN454+;7N+-HN6-2#/46;/-7;CN5&?NE-/'/FN.-H$/4F&$ %F/43-0.D;H-/D;B9H4;/46;5HN:&-H;D;BN5;:$;/6N5&.-;.N8-EN77;4/ 3-/$;3.;)/.H":7;../;N7L4F/5-BH4H$-;D-"N5.3N/N5&';5;8N;5?4:JN-.2 '46--C374/-H$-D4/782 >3;:-N.7N6NH-82?-.-/E;HN45.;/-/-1FN/-82 4*!53"/1,,).+++.&%#.0(&)'*-1$2 STEELENTRYDOORS WINDOWS SIDING•DOORS 654-7000 NYState News and issues around the Empire State. NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. - A 17-year-old boy who was brutally beaten inside a church along- s ide his older brother w as released from the h ospital and planned to t estify at a hearing against at least one of his attackers, authorities said Monday. Christopher Leonard and his 19-year-old brother, Lucas, were pummeled with fists and kicked Oct. 11by their parents, a sister and other members of their small and secretive church to get them to confess their sins and s eek forgiveness, authorities allege. Lucas Leonard died in the beating, but Christopher was discharged from the hospital over the weekend and is now under the supervision of Oneida County Child P rotective Services, New Hartford police s aid. He is expected to testify against his 33-year- old sister, Sarah Fergus on, at a preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday. She is charged with assault and remains in custody. T he victims’ parents, B ruce and Deborah Leonard, face the most serious charge, manslaughter, and were being held on $100,000 bail. T hree other church m embers are also charged with assault. T hey are Joseph Irwin, 26, David Morey, 26, and Morey’s 54-year-old mother, Linda Morey. A ll six have pleaded not guilty. An attorney for the victims’ mother has said she was too timid to stop the beating. A lawyer for the father has said the incident stemmed from a family meeting that had n othing to do with the church. D uring an Oct. 16 hearing in New Hartford Town Court, Oneida County Assistant District Attorney D awn Lupi said Christopher Leonard’s testimony would be integral against those charged with assaulting him and asked t hat scheduled court hear- i ngs be postponed until his release from the hospital. Police said Irwin will be in court Wednesday, b ut the DA believes the j udge will probably give him a new date. Both Ir- w in and the Moreys are free on bail. The arrests in New Hartford, a town of 22,000 p eople, have thrown a spotlight on the regimented and insular Word of Life Christian Church that operated from a redbrick former school that also served as a communal home for several members. T he Leonards’ home in the nearby town of Clay- v ille, meanwhile, was described as foul-smelling and filled with garbage by an animal advocate who r escued four seemingly neglected dogs and other animals several days after the couple’s arrest. Kimberly Strong, found er of Lainey’s Army, an a nimal advocacy group based in central New York, said the home had four neglected dogs, three birds and several cats in a nd around their house. A ll the animals are now in foster care, she said. Victim in church a ttack to testify MIKE GROLLAP The Word of Life church in New Hartford, N.Y.(AP Photo/Mike G roll) CAROLYN THOMPSON ASSOCIATED PRESS ALBANY— Few things are always certain at the state Capitol, but this is one of them: When the state makes plans to s pend major money d ownstate, upstate law- m akers will soon push for t heir share. That scenario is playing out once again after Gov. Andrew Cuomo committed earlier this month to putting $8.3 billion in state funds toward the New York City public- transit system’s capital plan as a way to help close afunding gap of more than $10 billion. It hasn’t taken long for lawmakers from other p arts of the state to call for parity. And it promises to be a major issue when the Legislature returns to the Capitol in January. “If Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders are going to find billions of dollars for downstate m ass transit in next year’s state budget, we want to m ake sure that local roads, bridges and culverts across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes re- g ions, and throughout the state, receive a fair share of state assistance,” Sen. Thomas O’Mara, R-Big Flats, Chemung County, a nd Assemblyman Phil P almesano, R-Corning, Steuben County, said in a joint statement Monday. O’Mara and Palmesano were among the Southern T ier officials who held a n ews conference Monday hoping to draw attention to the issue. The pair called for a boost in the state Consolidated High- w ay Improvement Pro- g ram, which is currently a $488 million program dedicated to fixing local roads. They’re not alone in c alling for a spending boost on upstate infrastructure following the Metropolitan Transportation Authority deal, which calls for New York City to c hip in $2.5 billion. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli was in Syracuse on Monday, w here he and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner called for more spending o n upstate bridges. DiNapoli issued a report last yearthat found the state’s municipalities should be spending about $3.9 billion a year on their deteriorating infrastructure. But in actuality, the local spending has been about $1.2 billion, which DiNapoli said points to the n eed for a state and feder- a l infusion of funding. “ Too many of New Y ork’s roads, bridges and water and sewer systems need repair or replacement,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “For our state’s economic future, we need to fix them. And we must do a better job in prioritizing capital projects and in identifying funding for critical infrastructure.” According to Cuomo’s office, the state has comm itted $2.6 billion toward upstate roads and bridges through the 2016-17 fiscal year as part of various highway and infrastructure programs. When state and New York City officials began discussing an MTA fund- i ng deal back in July, Cuomo acknowledged an a greement would likely be met with calls for parity from other parts of the state. “ Will the upstate people say, ‘What about us?’ Yes,” Cuomo said then on “The Capitol Pressroom,” apublic radio program. “ We have a big, robust r oads and bridges program which we had last year and we’re going to propose next year. That will be addressing the n eed for upstate, and the M TA is downstate.” In a statement Tuesday, Cuomo spokesman R ich Azzopardi said the governor’s office looks forward to “working with the Legislature to pass a transportation infrastructure plan for the whole state that won’t require additional tax- e s.” S uch a plan would n eed the backing of the s tate Legislature, which traditionally begins negotiating an annual state budget with Cuomo in January ahead of an April 1deadline to have one in place. In a “Capitol Pressroom” interview last week, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, R-Suffolk County, said Republicans are “on board” with funding the M TA’s capital plan, which includes things like needed upgrades to train stations and subway cars in the New York City-based transit system. But Flanagan -- whose conference is largely m ade up of senators from Long Island and u pstate -- said he’s looking for parity upstate, where it’s not difficult to find sewers and bridges a ging and beyond their prime. “If we’re going to talk about the MTA, our conference is on board with t hat because it’s an econ omic engine for the city of New York and the surrounding metropolitan region,” Flanagan said. JCAMPBELL1@gan- n ett.com T witter.com/Jon- CampbellGAN MTA deal draws push for transit projects upstate BY JON CAMPBELL ALBANY BUREAU

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