Page A8 article text (OCR)
Page8A Friday,October23,2015 DemocratandChronicle. com DC-0000359702 FALL FOLIAGE TROLLEY RIDES FALL FOLIAGE TROLLEY RIDES Every Sunday Oct. 11 – Nov. 1 TROLLEY RIDES MODEL TRAINS FIRE TRUCK STEAM LOCOMOTIVE OPEN SUNDAYS ONLY 11 am to 5 pm yy yy New York Museum of Transportation 6393 E. River Rd, 1 mile north of Rt. 251 west (I-390 exit 11) www.nymtmuseum.org (585)533-1113 *!(!,(*$"+#)&)%!!'"#) 3-%$02' 1$$(&)$ ($!$1&,*#* .#,3/+"4 DC-0000360747 • BUY • SELL • TRADE • Antiques • Furniture • Collectibles • One-Of-A-Kind Items 585.545.4844 8 W. Main St. Webster, NY Tue, Wed, Sat: 10-6pm • Thur & Fri: 10-7pm • Closed Sun & Mon TheGarageSaleStoreNY.com FoamCushionReplacements DinetteCushions Recovered FoamMattresses, BedToppers &muchmore Upholsteryand Hospitality Fabrics HOWARD’S Foam&Fabrics 342-1538 519EastRidgeRd.Irondequoit howardsfoamandfabrics.com Since1897 COUPON 2632SteinRd.|Weedsport13166 1/4mileNorthofTollbooths–RiverForestArea JayBrubacker–Builder/Retailer ColdSpringStructures 13166 QualityStorageShedsandGarages “FORALLYOURSTUFF” 315-834-6001 CommunityConnection toadvertisecall 258-2476 CommunityConnection toadvertisecall 258-2476 “customer credits” — money it owes consumers for past overcharges — to hold down the size of surcharge payments. Under the original proposed deal, made public in February, residential customers would have paid 4.2 percent more each month for 3 ½ years. Large commercial and industrial customers would have paid 6 percent more. The new proposal will be subject to a hearing in Albany and needs formal approval by the commission. Because approval of an agreement has taken longer than originally anticipated, the commission has already approved “temporary” surcharges that RG&E electric customers began paying last month. That surcharge, which amounts to $1.85 a month for a typical residential customer, was to remain in effect until a full agreement is reached. The idea of electric customers reaching deeper into their pockets to keep Ginna in operation first arose about 1½ years ago when the plant’s owner, Exelon Corp., said Ginna was no longer profitable and might be closed. Exelon, based in Chicago, purchased the facility in 2012. Ginna, located in the town of Ontario, Wayne County, about 17 miles from downtown Rochester, is the fourth-oldest commercial reactor in operation in the United States and one of the oldest in the world. It can generate up to 580 megawatts of electricity, or enough to satisfy the needs of about 400,000 homes. The plant employs 700 people and likely is the largest property-tax payer in Wayne County, and has been a mainstay on the local electric scene for decades. But Exelon said it could not operate profitably in the current marketplace. In part, it blamed the low price of natural gas, which fuels many power plants. There was a catch. Exelon asserted it could not close the plant because a study it had commissioned showed that RG&E needed Ginna to meet its customers’ needs. Without the nuclear plant’s supply, the study concluded, customers’ homes and businesses might go dark during times of peak demand. That finding, which some have questioned, allowed Exelon to invoke a regulatory process under which it could seek extra payments from customers to return the plant to profitability and give Exelon an incentive to keep it open. What followed were months of private negotiations and exchange of documents by RG&E, Exelon, the PSC staff and several third-party groups that intervened in the case. The initial proposal in February was not acceptable to all parties, leading to a new round of talks. Separately, RG&E has proposed to construct a new connection to the statewide power grid that would eliminate its reliance on the Ginna plant for electricity. The work is projected to be done by mid-2017. Meier said Thursday that RG&E is progressing that project “as quickly as possible.” None of the parties that signed off on the new proposal— Exelon, RG&E, the PSC staff and a group representing large industrial and commercial electricity users — has made any public announcement of the latest deal Wednesday. That was left to the Alliance for a Green Economy, a pro-renewable, antinuclear group that is involved in the case. The non-profit issued a news release late Wednesday praising its shorter term but criticizing other aspects of the proposal. Specifically, the group, known as AGREE, said RG&E’s shareholders should bear some of the cost of company officials’ failure to anticipate the possibility that Ginna would close and that some alternative source of power would be needed. It also knocked Exelon for not pledging outright to close Ginna when the deal expires, as is often done when such agreements are negotiated. “There’s been a lot of skepticism all along about whether Exelon was ever really serious about closing Ginna, or whether this whole thing was a fishing expedition to look for a subsidy,” AGREE’s Jessica Azulay said Thursday. SORR@DemocratandChronicle.com Surcharge Continued from Page 1A ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo has g ranted clemency to a woman who elude d police for 14 years after skipping a trial on drug-trafficking charges in Rochester. Lydia Ortiz, 70, will be released from the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County on Oct. 27, according to Cuomo’s office. She was one of two inmates to receive sentence commutations Thursday, the first Cuomo has handed out since taking office in 2011. A rrested as a key player in a New Y ork City-to-Rochester cocaine ring in 1 988, Ortiz skipped her trial the next y ear and remained a fugitive for the next 14 years,according to the Democrat and Chronicle archives. She was discovered in 2003 after authorities received a tip that she was living in Houston, where she was working as a cleaning lady and using the name “Carmen.” In deciding to commute Ortiz’s sentence, Cuomo’s office pointed to her “se- v ere mobility issues.” She can’t walk without assistance, has a clean prison record and has completed programs aimed at easing the process of re-entering society, according to Cuomo’s office. “Today we are taking a critical step toward a more just, more fair, and more compassionate New York,” Cuomo said i n a statement. “With this new initiative, w e are seeking to identify those deserv- i ng of a second chance and to help ensure that clemency is a more accessible and tangible reality.” New York state’s Constitution gives governors the power to issue clemency in two forms: sentence commutations, which wipe out the remainder of an inmate’s sentence; and pardons, which erase a previous conviction. Ortiz, who was automatically convict- e d of three drug charges when she s kipped her trial, will live with her fam- i ly upon her release, according to the g overnor’s news release. Her family could not be reached for comment Thursday. Along with Ortiz, Cuomo also commuted the sentence of Michael Correa, a 43-year-old Bronx man on conditional release from prison. He had been serving time on a drug conviction after selling drugs to an undercover officer in 2010. Cuomo also granted pardons to two m en Thursday, one from New York City a nd one from New Jersey, whose minor d rug convictions were hampering their efforts to obtain legal residency or citizenship. It marked the sixth and seventh pardons of his tenure. ADemocrat, Cuomo has received criticism from some criminal-justice reform advocates for his reluctance to issue clemency throughout his first five years in office. In 2011, Cuomo’s first year in office, t he state received 496 applications for p ardons and 773 for commutations. The n umber has steadily dropped, to 21par- d on applications and 150 commutation applications in 2014. Last month, a group of clemency advocates organized a candlelight vigilout- side the New Castle, Westchester County, home Cuomo shares with his partner, Food Network star Sandra Lee. Anthony Papa, manager of media relations for the Drug Policy Alliance, c ommended Cuomo for issuing the commutations. But he said there’s more work to be done and worthy cases to be reviewed. Papa has long pushed governors to issue more clemency, filing legal challenges against the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervi- s ion in an attempt to obtain the names of t hose who have applied. In 1996, then- G ov. George Pataki commuted Papa’s 15- years-to-life sentence related to a drug charge in Mount Vernon. “What I would like to say is: Governor, thanks for letting these two people out,” Papa said. “But there are many more people who are inside and deserve clemency. So hopefully he will look into the records of these people and give more out to worthy people.” A long with the commutations and par- d ons handed down Thursday, Cuomo’s o ffice also unveiled that it plans to l aunch a new program to assist inmates with clemency requests and pair them with pro bono attorneys to assist. The new effort comes with a revamped website for clemency applications: www.ny.gov/clemency. JCAMPBELL1@Gannett.com Jon Campbell is a writer with the Gannett Albany Bureau. Cuomo grants fugitive clemency Woman involved i n Rochester case JON CAMPBELL @JONCAMPBELLGAN Police mugshot of Lydia Ortiz, now 70, from 2003. lower mortgage rates still available before the looming increase, which is anticipated before the year’s end, said GRAR President Andy Burke. Mortgage inter- e st rates have been hovering around the 4percent range for 30-year loans, said P at Cusato of Mortgage Bankers Association of Genesee Region. Typically, spring is the busiest season in Rochester real estate but that’s chang- i ng. “We have seen a trend toward a longer selling season over the last several years, and this is another sign that trend is continuing,” Burke said. T he market continues to be hot in late f all, said Craig Schneider, broker at N ORCHAR Realty in Brighton. Many buyers are still in the market shopping for homes, he said. Ranch-style homes and multi-family homes are what’s trending in new builds, s aid Rick Herman, CEO of Rochester H ome Builders’ Association. For the f irst three quarters of 2015, there were 499 multi-family new build permits compared to 290 during the first three quarters of 2014, he said. There were 650 single-family permits during the first three q uarters compared to 637 during the same period. “ The market is very strong throughout our industry,” Herman said. “Whether consumers are looking for an entry- level home, moving up or downsizing.” Across the state, home sales are also improving. The New York housing market closed its third quarter this year with a9.1percent increase in sales compared to the third quarter of 2014, according to t he state Association of Realtors. The statewide median sales price also inc reased, up 4.3 percent in the 2015 third quarter, with median statewide year-to- date sales price at $232,000, which is a 3.1 percent gain from last year. I n the Greater Rochester region, median sales prices rose 6.7 percent to $136,000, according to the local Realtors’ group. M CHAO@Gannett.com Sales Continued from Page 3A MARY CHAO Aranch-style home recently sold on Warren Avenue in Brighton.