ALBANY, N.Y. — In New York state government news, a new chancellor will soon take over the state’s higher education system, the Court of Appeals faces a busy week and state leaders mourn the passing of Lauren Morelle, the daughter of a top lawmaker who became a model for others by speaking out about her battle with cancer.
A look at stories making news:
NEW SUNY CHANCELLOR STARTS
New York’s public higher education system is getting a new leader.
Kristina Johnson formally takes over as chancellor of the State University of New York on Tuesday. She replaces Nancy Zimpher, who stepped down in June after eight years in the position.
Johnson is the former provost of Johns Hopkins University and served as dean of Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering. She taught at the University of Colorado-Boulder, was appointed an undersecretary of energy in the Obama administration and founded and led a company that developed hydroelectric facilities. She holds 118 patents and received her undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as a Ph.D. from Stanford University.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo hailed Johnson’s appointment last spring, calling her “an exceptional talent who brings an extensive record in higher education, the sciences, and the private sector.”
Johnson will make an annual salary of $560,000.
MORELLE’S DAUGHTER PRAISED
State leaders are remarking on the courage of Lauren Morelle, the daughter of Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle. She died Wednesday from breast cancer.
The 31-year-old mother of two became a champion for many families after she detailed her fight in frank, humorous and heartfelt Facebook postings following her 2016 diagnosis.
Joe Morelle, a Rochester-area Democrat, released a statement Wednesday announcing his daughter’s death. His office said the Morelle family has been comforted “in knowing that Lauren was loved by so many people throughout our community.”
Morelle’s colleagues from both sides of the aisle praised his daughter’s strength and spirit. Cuomo lauded the way she “bravely and openly discussed her battle with cancer.” Ed Cox, chairman of the state Republican Party, called Lauren “an inspiration to so many.”
NO DOG DAYS FOR COURT
New York state’s highest court has a busy week scheduled for oral arguments in several high-profile cases.
One, to be argued Tuesday, involves a Bronx tow truck driver who was charged with possession of an illegal radio scanner after a police officer found it in his pocket during a traffic stop. The charge was initially dismissed in criminal court after the driver’s lawyers argued that the device had to be installed in his vehicle to break the law.
Another appeal set for arguments Thursday centers on forensic evidence lost during the floods of Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Prosecutors used DNA evidence to tie Peter Austin to two business break ins in the Bronx, but shortly before the trial began the evidence warehouse was flooded and the evidence was deemed unusable. Austin was convicted anyway, but has argued the jury should have been allowed to discount the DNA evidence.