New York state briefs

Staff reports

Leaders eye ways to plug brain drain

ELMIRA — For the next two years, a small team of Republican assemblymen will tour the state to gather ideas for retaining New York’s young professionals.

On Thursday, the group made its first tour stop in an area significantly affected by the exodus of New York state’s brightest: the Southern Tier.

The team of three assemblymen – Rob Walker, R-Hicksville; Marc Molinaro, R-Tivoli; Jack Quinn, R-Hamburg – met with local assemblymen Tom O’Mara, R-Horseheads, and Jim Bacalles, R-Corning, along with other community leaders Thursday during a forum at Elmira’s Workforce Development Center at Corning Community College.

According to data released by the group, 22 percent of all New Yorkers ages 20-34 moved out of the state between 1990 and 2000.

The most obvious and influential factors included the lack of affordable housing, high property taxes, availability of quality jobs and an overall high cost of living. Those problems still exist, leaders said.

During Thursday’s meetings, young professionals offered ideas to the assemblymen, who hope to eventually present legislation to address the exodus. Their ideas included more internships and a closer relationship between the educational and the professional sectors.

The assemblymen will collect and mull all the ideas they hear during the two-year tour, leaders said.

Logger killed in Canisteo

CANISTEO — Bath-based state police are still investigating a fatal logging accident Thursday afternoon off County Route 119.

Troopers said they, along with dozens of area firefighters and Steuben County Sheriff’s deputies, responded to a ridge above the Canisteo River at 3:20 p.m. following a report of a man injured in a logging accident.

According to troopers, Charles E. Burlew, 47, of Beaver Dams, was pulling logs along a steep hillside with a log skidder. Burlew apparently lost control of the log skidder and the vehicle rolled over. Investigators believe Burlew was struck from behind by the vehicle and the logs. Burlew was pronounced dead at the scene. Troopers did not report any other injuries in the accident.

Burlew’s body was transported to the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office in Rochester for an autopsy.

The accident occurred on a hill south of the Canisteo River, according to firefighters at the scene. Police and rescue personnel had to drive down a long private road, cross the river and climb up close to 800 feet in elevation to reach the accident scene.

Rescue personnel at the scene did not know who owns the property or whether Burlew was working for himself or a logging company.