News Briefs: Tuesday, Oct. 29

Oct 29, 2013

Oneida nation to discuss Redskins controversy with NFL

The Oneida Indian Nation will meet Wednesday with National Football League officials to discuss its desire to have the Washington Redskins team change its name.

The Oneida say the name is a racial slur to Native Americans. They've been putting pressure on the league and team in recent weeks to change it. The team's owner has defended the name, saying it's a badge of honor.

The Associated Press reported that the league and Oneida will meet in New York City. There was talk of the NFL coming to the Oneida's territory in central New York.

Commercial Drivers now banned from cell phone use in traffic

In New York it is now against the law for commercial drivers to use handheld cell phones at stoplights or in traffic. These restrictions, which don't apply to other drivers, bring the state in line with 2012 federal regulations for interstate trucking.

Commercial drivers can still use hands-free phones and two-way radios, even though the radios require one hand to operate. A move to extend this restriction to other drivers did not make it through the state legislature during the last session.

DEC survey aims to collect thoughts on deer management plan

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is mailing out surveys to 7,000 big game hunters across the state to get their thoughts on the new deer management plan.

When the DEC was developing its 2012-2016 deer management plan, some hunters were interested in changing the rules to allow more bucks to live longer. The survey is intended to help wildlife managers see which strategy works for the most hunters.

Roosevelt School to be demolished after 20 years of abandonment

The former Roosevelt School building in Utica will be demolished after shuttering its doors more than 20 years ago. According to Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri, the city secured a variance from the New York State Department of Labor to allow for the school to come down. Palmieri said post-demolition clean up of the site may last until spring, given the building's size and the city's budgetary constraints. The Roosevelt School was in operation for nearly a century, before being closed by the Utica City School District in 1992.