More than 100 groups urge Congress to reject budget cuts

ALBANY (AP) — A coalition of more than 100 nonprofit community service organizations is urging New York’s congressional delegation to reject proposed budget cuts to food stamps, Medicaid and other social programs.

The group wrote to the state’s federal lawmakers Thursday asking them to fight the cuts, which they said would devastate services for the most vulnerable residents.

Groups that signed on to the letter include child advocacy organizations, food banks, community service groups and religious organizations like Catholic Charities and the state’s Council of Churches.

In the letter, the groups say that proposals to cut billions of dollars from family assistance programs, the Child Tax Credit and Medicaid are “deeply disturbing.”

They say Congress should find a bipartisan solution that protects services and avoids big problems at the state and national level.

Responders head to Florida, Virgin Islands

ALBANY (AP) — New York is sending 124 National Guard members and a specialized rescue team to help with the Hurricane Irma response.

The members of the National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing were being deployed Thursday to the U.S. Virgin Islands with planes, helicopters and boats.

The Division of Homeland Security’s Task Force 2 Urban Search and Rescue Team is being assigned to Florida. Its specialties include structural collapses, excavation, confined spaces and technical rope rescues.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo notes that New York has had a lot of “firsthand experience” with “extreme weather.”

Upstate man charged with murder, arson in fatal fire

HUDSON FALLS (AP) — Authorities have charged a 22-year-old man with killing his girlfriend by setting fire to the upstate home they shared.

Officials in the Washington County village of Hudson Falls say Derrick Guilder was charged Thursday with second-degree murder and first-degree arson.

Police say the fire was set early Wednesday morning inside the two-story home Guilder shared with 19-year-old Ashley Coltrain. Officers used a ladder to rescue Guilder from the porch roof. Coltrain’s body was found by firefighters inside the home.

Police say Guilder and Coltrain were both in the same second-floor room when he started the fire in what authorities believe was supposed to be a murder-suicide.

Guilder is being held in the county jail. His public defender had no comment at Guilder’s arraignment.