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Report: Woman set on fire by man with gun in Schenectady

One woman was airlifted to the burn unit at Westchester Medical Center after her boyfriend set her on fire Saturday morning, reports say. A Gazette photographer on the scene reported that a man with a gun allegedly set a woman on fire at 142 Elmer Ave., and the victim ran outside with burns over most of her body. Emergency crews believed the man was still inside with a gun while they extinguished the house fire. gallery_items:

SHAREReport: Woman Set On Fire By Man With Gun In Schenectady – Schenectady firefighters direct a stream of water through the front window of a house on Elmer Avenue after a woman was set on fire by a man with a shot gun shortly before 6 a.m.

Saturday, March 4, 2017. She was flown by helicopter to the Westchester Burn Center. SHAREReport: Woman Set On Fire By Man With Gun In Schenectady – Schenectady firefighters use caution as they approach a house on Elmer Avenue after a woman was set on fire by a man with a shot gun shortly before 6 a.m. Saturday, March 4, 2017. She was flown by helicopter to the Westchester Burn Center. SHAREReport: Woman Set On Fire By Man With Gun In Schenectady – Schenectady firefighters use caution as they approach a house on Elmer Avenue after a woman was set on fire by a man with a shot gun shortly before 6 a.m. Saturday, March 4, 2017. She was flown by helicopter to the Westchester Burn Center. The man with the gun was believed to be still inside the house. SHAREReport: Woman Set On Fire By Man With Gun In Schenectady – Schenectady Police officer keeps his gun pointed at a house on Elmer Avenue after a woman was set on fire by a man with a shot gun shortly before 6 a.m. Saturday, March 4, 2017. SHAREReport: Woman Set On Fire By Man With Gun In Schenectady – Schenectady Police officers look into the living room area of a house at 142 Elmer Ave. after a woman was set on fire by a man with a shot gun shortly before 6 a.m.

Saturday, March 4, 2017. SHAREReport: Woman Set On Fire By Man With Gun In Schenectady – Schenectady firefighters and Albany Medical Center physicians stand by at the scene of a house fire at 142 Elmer Ave. after a woman was set on fire by a man reportedly with a shot gun Saturday, March 4, 2017. She was flown by helicopter to the Westchester Burn Center. SHAREReport: Woman Set On Fire By Man With Gun In Schenectady – Schenectady firefighters use a high pressure hose to break windows of a house at 142 Elmer Ave. after a woman was set on fire by a man with a shot gun shortly before 6 a.m. Saturday, March 4, 2017. She was flown by helicopter to the Westchester Burn Center. SHAREReport: Woman Set On Fire By Man With Gun In Schenectady – Schenectady firefighters and Albany Medical Center physicians stand by at the scene of a house fire at 142 Elmer Ave. after a woman was set on fire by a man reportedly with a shot gun Saturday, March 4, 2017. She was flown by helicopter to the Westchester Burn Center.

SHAREReport: Woman Set On Fire By Man With Gun In Schenectady – A relative of a victim burned at on Elmer Avenue is detained by police as he arrives on the scene, Saturday, March 4, 2017. SHAREReport: Woman Set On Fire By Man With Gun In Schenectady – Schenectady Police officers look into the living room area of a house at 142 Elmer Ave. after a woman was set on fire by a man with a shot gun shortly before 6 a.m. Saturday, March 4, 2017. SHAREReport: Woman Set On Fire By Man With Gun In Schenectady – A relative of a victim burned at 142 Elmer Ave. is detained by police as he arrives on the scene Saturday, March 4, 2017. SHAREReport: Woman Set On Fire By Man With Gun In Schenectady – The burn victim from a house at 142 Elmer Ave. is transferred to a LifeNet helicopter to be flown to the Westchester Burn Unit at Schenectady High School Saturday, March 4, 2017.

SHAREReport: Woman Set On Fire By Man With Gun In Schenectady – LifeNet helicopter takes off from a parking lot at Schenectady High School with a female burn victim from a house at 142 Elmer Ave. on the way to the Westchester Burn Unit Saturday, March 4, 2017.

Police scanner chatter said the man has turned himself in to police at the downtown Schenectady station. The house was on fire when emergency crews arrived. Firefighters extinguished the fire from outside, citing the man with a gun inside.

The emergency call came in from 146 Elmer Ave. at 5:49 a.m. Saturday, Police Sgt. Matthew Dearing said. Police are investigating the area as an active scene.

Report: Woman Set On Fire By Man With Gun In Schenectady

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Government must ensure access to high-speed Internet

I’ve heard a lot about how the 2016 election was about fed-up rural Americans sticking it to the cities. The story is, I’m told, that rural communities have been left behind. In one particular way, they have been: More than half of all rural Americans lack basic internet download speeds of 25 mbps (megabits per second) — compared to 17 percent of all Americans lacking the same service.

We’re better connected than most states, but New York has major gaps outside of the Big Apple. A full 108,000 rural New Yorkers have no access whatsoever to wired web service. Another 399,000 lack a connection with a download speed of over 25 mbps. About 661,000 are only serviced by one provider, meaning less competition and higher prices. New York, for its part, classifies 2.5 million homes as having limited or no access to high-speed internet.

High-speed internet isn’t just a luxury: You need the internet in order to find a job, for instance. Eighty percent of Fortune 500 companies only accept online job applications. You often need the internet to start and run a business.

You need it to acquire information, interact with public services and simply communicate. Last year, a federal court ruled that the internet is a public utility. The United Nations has even declared internet access to be a human right. But in many cases, companies are not going to expand capacity to rural areas on their own. It’s not profitable.

That’s exactly where government steps in. Our “New NY Broadband program” provides 50 percent grants to fi rms that expand and upgrade internet access in underserved areas. The hope is to wire the entire state for high-speed internet by the end of 2018.

This plan is ambitious, and ambitious long-term plans can often go off track or be forgotten when the political winds change. Snags come up. For instance, one of the vendors already partnering with the state — Spectrum/Time Warner Cable — is currently being sued by the state attorney general’s offi ce for misleading consumers on internet speeds. In the event that this telecom company backs out of its commitment to participate in the state’s broadband expansion program, New York must not delay in getting those funds elsewhere. There are plenty of other companies which would gladly take the money.

There’s federal money involved, too. The Connect America Fund is similar to our state’s broadband program. It provides grants to companies to help them upgrade and develop rural infrastructure.

New York makes good use of this money. But recently, Verizon turned down a $170 million federal grant to expand rural broadband in New York. It took a bipartisan group of our representatives to restore that money for investment in New York; it will now go through the state program. Our elected offi cials need to keep this kind of pressure on. Encouragingly, 70 members of the House of Representatives, both Republicans and Democrats, have signed a letter to President Trump asking that he prioritize investment in rural broadband.

Trump is an infrastructure-friendly guy. So if he is truly the champion of rural America, he should increase the funding to the Connect America Fund. Unfortunately, the biggest snag in universal broadband might just be uniform Republican control of the federal government.

With the GOP in charge, no federal funding is safe. Conservatives in Washington are often seduced by the promise of short-term budget cuts at the expense of long-term prosperity. Broadband could wrongly be made out to be a frivolous expenditure. Our representatives must combat that impression. And if the federal government abandons the broadband commitment, New York must step up its game.

We must also ensure that once internet access is gained, that citizens can afford it, no matter their income. According to Pew Research, 23 percent of U.S. adults earning less than $30,000 do not use the internet compared to 3 percent of adults making over $75,000.

Though there are a large number of factors involved in non-adoption, the fi nancial disparity is stark. Disappointingly, President Trump’s FCC recently halted routine expansion of the Lifeline broadband subsidy program. Our federal representatives must make sure the program functions properly; our state government must be ready to pick up the slack. Simply trusting, or even pressuring, telecom companies to provide affordable rates is not enough.

There are a number of other factors at play, too. Some red tape surely needs to be removed. New York should also consider incentives or regulations to get companies to lease their infrastructure to their competitors so as to keep rates down.

Another radical-but-not-actually-radical idea is to provide public options for service where companies refuse to. Governments around the world already do this to great effect. Existing municipal broadband providers in New York should consider expanding beyond their own borders. Many won’t.

Internet access is important, and it will only become more important.

So we need to make sure it’s available to all, even if you don’t live in a city.

Steve Keller of Averill Park is a regular contributor to the Sunday Opinion section.