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Will Barclay

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FROM THE ASSEMBLY: Federal lunch changes cost schools

School lunch purchases are on the decline. According to the New York School Nutrition Association, more than 19 million fewer meals were sold across the state during the 2012-13 school year than the year before. In the 2011-12 school year, 94 million meals were sold, but in 2012-13, only 75 million were sold.

FROM THE ASSEMBLY: Is weather detection system necessary? Spend budget surplus on Upstate infrastructure, too

Here in central New York, our municipal budgets are often stretched during time of high snowfall because of snow removal costs. If anything, $18 million would be better used to provide our municipalities assistance with these costs as opposed to using the $18 million on a duplicative weather detection system.

Volunteers make holiday efforts possible

This time of year, there are a number of foot soldiers out there working to make someone’s holiday special. Whether it’s adopting a family to make sure they have presents under the tree or working at a local community dinner to ensure that people have a warm holiday meal in good company, many volunteer their time to give back to their community.

State offers scholarships, assistance with higher ed

Fall is the time of year when many graduating high school seniors start to look toward the future. According to the New York State Education Department, in 2010, 82 percent of high school graduates in New York entered postsecondary education which includes either two- or four-year institutions.

One energy tax eliminated, others still heavy hitting

My office receives a lot of inquiries from constituents who wonder why their energy bills are so high. These inquiries are well founded, as New Yorkers pay some of the highest residential energy costs in the nation. In fact, New York’s energy costs rank in the top five highest in the country. We pay on average 19.56 cents per kilowatt hour - significantly higher than what customers pay in other states.

BARCLAY: New York to allow medical marijuana

The 2013-14 NYS legislative session has come to an end. During the final week, hundreds of bills were passed. However, the legislation that got the most attention was legislation that legalized medical marijuana.

Scams, identity theft affect local residents

Unfortunately, our office often hears firsthand accounts from local residents who have been scammed. I wanted to let people know of common scams local residents have experienced recently and how to avoid scams and identity theft.

Dairy still leader in ag, regional economy

There has been some good news lately involving dairy and the local economy. New York was recently named the top yogurt producer in the nation. This is the second year our state has earned this distinction, in large part due to the Greek yogurt producers who call New York home. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York produced 741 million pounds of yogurt, up from 695 million pounds in 2012. New York also accounted for 15.7 percent of the total U.S. yogurt production in 2013.

Barclay: New law seeks to assist disabled veteran-owned businesses

New York is home to more than 900,000 veterans, and some estimates indicate that as many as 72 percent have seen combat. Additionally, New York is home to approximately 30,000 active duty military personnel, as well as 30,000 National Guard and reservists.

Barclay: Libraries see increased use; NOVELny provides access to safe internet research

Library use has increased across the state. According to some of New York State Library’s latest statistics, visits to public libraries increased by seven million from 113 million to 120 million from 2007 to 2009. The number of items borrowed — books, ebooks, movies, magazines and more — has increased by more than 11 percent.

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