Timelines 10/20/16

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Psychiatrist Awaiting Trail Found Dead in Home

A local psychiatrist on house arrest awaiting trail, Alfred Ramirez, was found dead in his Orange County home on Friday. Ramirez was accused of illegally selling prescriptions for thousands of pain pills in the Hudson Valley, including pills that killed Daren Gajdusek, a Yonkers teacher. This case started connecting doctors with the opioid and heroine epidemic in New York. According to his lawyer, Michael Sussman, Ramirez was found when court officers were doing a pre-trial house check. The cause of death is under investigation. Before Ramirez died, a search of his home led federal ages to seize almost $350,000 from his home. Now the estate plans to ask the court to return the money.

Target Pulls Clown Masks from Stores

Last week Target pulled several clown masks from the shelves and company’s online site. This comes after recent reports of people wearing clown masks potentially making threats against schools and universities nationwide. Some schools have closed or gone on lockdown because of these threats and communities reacted claiming violence is possible if creepy clowns were around. While this trend of creepy clowns haunts the nation, evil clown costume sales are up nearly 300% according to the chain Halloween Express.

East Ramapo to Vote on School Renovation Bond

Residents will be voting on Dec. 6 on a $58 million capital projects bond to budget funds to replace boilers, windows, and roofs. It will also fix sidewalks, flood barriers and bleachers among other things according to the ballot. The bond proposal also includes a security system linking all of the district schools to police, repairs to elementary school classrooms, upgrading two athletic fields and adding a high quality Wi-Fi network to all classrooms and offices. In 2015 voters failed a $40-million bond for facility improvement because of low turnout and voter distrust in the school board.

NYS Automatic System Registers Record Number of Voters

The NY Department of Motor Vehicles processed 214,000 online voter registration applications during the first two weeks of October, a new record for online voter sign-ups. The system added over 120,000 first-time voters to the system, significantly more than added in September. Governor Andrew Cuomo believes these numbers show the success of online registration, which began in 2012. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants to provide poll workers with affidavit ballots for voters who believe they are registered but not listed in the poll book.

Clinton Family Stressed Over Wikileaks and Trump

The Clinton family and campaign is getting more distressed as Wikileaks released emails from Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. Politico checked in on the Clintons following rumors, and found the family is not doing well between the constant leaks and Republican nominee Donald Trump bringing up past scandals. Donors and friends of the campaign share in the Clintons’ stress. Chelsea Clinton is upset over Wikileaks information about what one of her father’s former top aides said about her in 2011. One current Clinton aide wrote, “This is making me tear up, it’s so infuriating and disgusting.” Former President Bill Clinton’s distress lies in Trump bringing up his past sexual indiscretions to attack the nominee.

Buffalo Bills Fans Boo at Kaepernick Before Sunday’s Game

When the San Francisco 49ers played against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Bills fans chanted “USA, USA” across the stadium before 49ers quaterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem. Kaepernick disagreed with the idea that the chanting questions his patriotism. “I don’t understand what’s un-American about fighting for liberty and justice for everybody, for the equality this country says it stands for,” Kaepernick told ESPN. When he took the field, Bills fans booed Kaepernick. Outside the stadium vendors sold anti-Kaepernick shirts. But not everyone at the game was against the quarterback. Some Bills fans supported him by doing a “kneel in” outside the stadium.

Schumer Sets Sights on Senate Majority

New York State Senator Charles E. Schumer is focused on becoming Senate majority leader if Democrats control the Senate following November’s election. He was seen in Tuxedo, New York talking on his flip phone with Senate candidates facing tight elections. If Hillary Clinton wins the White House, Schumer will be even more critical in Washington since the two were New York’s senators for eight years. He’s criticized some of President Obama’s decisions showing some divide among Democrats and will have to work with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on future issues.

Cuomo Denies Knowledge of Corruption Connections

Governor Andrew Cuomo claimed he was not aware of connections linking nine people currently charged in a federal corruption case with donations to him and his campaign. He also claimed to not know anything about any of their business relationships. According to the Wall Street Journal, Cuomo was informed about the ties between his team and the alleged conspirators attending an event before a May 2014 fundraiser. Last month Cuomo denied any knowledge of the situation, specifically of Todd Howe, a lobbyist who plead guilty to eight counts of extortion and is cooperating with the federal investigation.

Two School Buses Collide on Palisades Parkway

Two buses carrying more than 60 students from a New Jersey high school crashed on the Palisades Interstate Parkway on Oct 17. A state police spokesman said one bus rear-ended the other at the southbound Exit 11 at approximately 2:15 p.m. The buses were bringing Northern Valley Regional High School students back from Woodmont Day Camp in New City. None of the injuries appear to be life threatening, and five students were transported via ambulance to Nyack Hospital.  Brega Transport and Clarkstown Schools buses took 20 more students to Nyack Hospital, and 20 others to Good Samaritan Hospital for minor injuries.

Two Democrat Operatives Lost Jobs After “Rigging the Election” Video Series

Two democratic operatives have lost their jobs following the release of James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas Action’s video series “Rigging the Election.” This video series created by undercover journalists who used hidden cameras to film Robert Creamer and Scott Foval. Foval and Creamer, the husband of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill), have proven to be party influencers. In these videos Foval explains how an organization would cover up in-person voter fraud and Creamer explained how voter IDs are distributed to bring people in from other areas to vote in an election.

Since the release of the videos Creamer has stepped down from his work on the Democratic campaigns and Americans United for Change fired Foval. Democracy Partners claims, “Our firm has recently been the victim of a well-funded systematic spy operation that is the modern day equivalent of the Watergate burglars.” O’Keefe and PVAction have been criticized before for doctoring videos and going undercover to create false accusations. It also isn’t the first time Creamer has been investigated – in 2006 he was sentenced to five months in federal prison for bank fraud and tax violation.

EPA grant to aid Sparkill Creek

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing grants to two organizations to help protect and restore waters in New Jersey and New York. NY/NJ Baykeeper will receive a $48,150 grant to expand its plastic pollution reduction project and Sarah Lawrence College will receive a $60,000 grant to investigate local sources of water pollution in the lower Hudson River region.

Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak will work with citizen scientists to investigate the severity and local sources of water pollution, while increasing community engagement and stewardship in Sparkill Creek in Rockland County and the Bronx River, the Saw Mill River, and the Pocantico River watersheds.

The funding is part of the EPA’s Urban Waters program, which supports community efforts to restore and revitalize local canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays and ocean areas and provide public access to them. The Urban Waters Small Grants are competed and awarded every two years. Since its inception in 2012, the program has awarded approximately $6.6 million in Urban Waters Small Grants to 114 organizations across the country, with individual award amounts of up to $60,000.

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