New Challenge to the Affordable Care Act
The United States Supreme Court ordered a federal appeals judge earlier this week, to consider an argument against the 2010 Affordable Care Act from Liberty University. In 2010 a federal judge threw out the university’s challenge. Earlier this year the Supreme Court voted to uphold the law 5-4 in June of this year.
In its lawsuit, Liberty challenges that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because of the mandate that employers must provide birth control and contraception to their workers. Liberty University is a private Evangelical Christian university in Lynchburg Virginia.
Obama Regulators Ban Americans from using Intrade.com
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sued the prediction market earlier this week in the form of Intrade.com, a website where users can bet on future events, such as who will be the next president or which movie will be best pictures next week.
Under United States law these predictions are considered commodity options. The site received the ire of the CFTC because Intrade.com was licensed to trade these commodities under U.S. law. The site will receive a penalty of $140,000 per violation.
Expect a Snowy Winter
The meteorologists at AccuWearther.com are predicting above average snowfall for the Northeast I-95 corridor this 2012 – 2013 winter season.
Changes in the jet stream could allow for the rapid formation of multiple storms this season. According to forecasters, January could be a tough month for snow with the potential for multiple heavy storms. The average snowfall for New York City during the winter is 25.3 inches. Will the Big Apple surpass that this year?
Israel’s Defense Minister Quits
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced on Monday that he will be leaving his post after new elections in January. Barak said he would stay on through negotiations for a new governing coalition, which are expected to take up to three months following the election.
The 70-year-old Barak said that he was growing tired of politics and wanted to spend more time with his family. During a short press conference after his announcement, Barak was quick to say he would not entertain the idea of serving in the next administration. Barak has served as Defense Minister since 2007 and briefly served as Prime Minister from 1999 to 2000.
NY Attorney General Prosecutes Price Gougers
Earlier this month, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that his office notified 13 gas stations in the state that they were charging them with violating New York State’s price gouging law. “Our office has zero tolerance for price gouging and we are taking action to send a message that ripping off New Yorkers is against the law,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.
The stations are located in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County. No Rockland County gas stations are on the list. Schneiderman said that this is only the first round of notices and that there will be others as the investigation into customer complaints continues.
If you believe you are a victim of price gouging or a post-hurricane scam, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Helpline at 800-771-7755 or find a complaint form online at: www.ag.ny.gov.
Controversial Medicaid Experiment
Medicaid is implementing a controversial plan that will pay people with certain conditions for going to the doctor, supposedly saving money in the long run and encouraging healthier choices.
A federally funded program known as Medicaid Incentives for Prevention of Chronic Diseases will conduct a study, giving 16,700 people across the state debit-card payments of up to $250 in exchange for healthier lifestyles. These participants are all smokers, pre-diabetic, diabetic, or have high blood pressure.
This program has been set up in nine states so far under President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act. New York was granted $10 million over a five-year period. It is unknown when the program is set to begin.
New City Worker Trapped in the Mud
An unidentified worker was trapped beneath a house on Friday in New City, buried by layers of mud when the trench he was working in collapsed.
The incident occurred at a house on Germonds Road. The worker was stuck there for two hours as rescue teams from various departments attempted to free him. He was allegedly conscious the entire time, and spoke to the rescue workers via a police officer who translated the man’s words from Spanish.
The weight of the clay-like dirt, coupled with large boulders and stone pieces that were also in the trench, delayed the rescue effort. They had to dig approximately six feet into the mud to free the man’s legs. An investigation will be conducted to determine whether there were any building violations that led to the collapse.
Fire in Nanuet
The Prospect Avenue post office in Nanuet was evacuated for several hours on Friday due to a fire on the roof of the building. At around 3:30 p.m., employees were told to leave the building by a man performing repairs on the roof. That same worker then crossed the street to the Nanuet firehouse, alerting them of the issue.
Volunteers from various departments arrived on the scene and had the fire controlled within 20 minutes. They remained for two more hours to insure the fire had not spread elsewhere. There was little damage done to the inside of the building and workers were able to return to their positions. The fire is believed to have been sparked by construction equipment being used to repair the roof, though an investigation is pending.
Potential Budget Cuts in East Ramapo
The East Ramapo school district discussed budget cuts at a November 20 meeting, aimed at reducing their $7 million deficit.
Several possibilities exist, such as eliminating school nurses, shortening the school day, or cutting art and music at the elementary level. Though getting rid of the kindergarten program had been discussed, Superintendent Joel Klein stated that he would rather “take the fallout” than make the children or staff suffer the loss of the program’s services.
The community will be actively involved in deciding which programs to cut. A public workshop has been considered to review a list of potential budget cuts, though it is unclear whether there will be time for that, as a decision must be made immediately. Parents, teachers, and community members offered suggestions and criticisms of proposals at the meeting.
Huge Drug Bust in NYC
On Tuesday, officials released details of a massive drug bust in Times Square, resulting in the confiscation of over 100 pounds of cocaine.
Six supposed drug traffickers, staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, were apprehended on October 25. They have been indicted on conspiracy and drug possession charges. The men accused are: Fernando Alvarado, 23, of the Bronx; Gerinerdo Hernandez, 34, of the Bronx; Luis Cuevas-Muniz, 25, of Puerto Rico; Roberto Alvarez, 37, of the Bronx; Kaleb Altiery-Vazquez, 23, of Winston Salem, NC; and Juan Alverio-Ruiz, 50, of Puerto Rico.
At around 6:00 p.m. on Oct. 25, Alvarado was seen wheeling a suitcase filled with cocaine out of the hotel, speeding away in a car driven by Hernandez. Cuevas-Muniz was arrested after placing a suitcase full of drugs in a livery cab driven by Alvarez, and attempting to leave the hotel with a third suitcase.
The other two men were arrested inside their hotel room, where police found cell phones, plane tickets from Puerto Rico to NY, and plastic wrappings used to cover narcotics. All six men are being held without bail, four of them having pleaded not guilty on Tuesday before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon. Their next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 17.
Brave Mexican Politician Brutally Murdered
Having survived two previous attempts on her life, the former mayor of Tiquicheo, a rural district west of Mexico City, has been found beaten to death on the side of a road.
Maria Santos Gorrostieta, 36, was known for standing up against the violent and unrelenting Mexican drug cartels. Narcotics gangs in the country had attempted to assassinate Gorrostieta twice before, once in a barrage of gunfire that killed her husband, Jose Sanchez. These attempts occurred in 2009 and 2010.
Her body was found by people heading to work in the fields of San Juan Tararameo, Cuitzeo Township. It showed signs of torture, her waist and chest covered with burns, her legs and hands bound, and multiple stab wounds present. A blow to the head was listed as the official cause of death.
Gorrostieta, survived by three children, was reported missing on Nov. 14. A murder investigation is under way.
NY Granted Money for Sandy Cleanup
Governor Cuomo announced on Sunday that New York State has been awarded a federal grant of $27 million that will be put toward hiring workers to clean up in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
This National Emergency Grant will be used in areas hit the hardest by the storm and funds will be doled out by the state Department of Labor. According to officials, 800 people have already applied for the jobs, which will last approximately six months, with pay up to $15 per hour.
Orange County CE Diagnosed w Liver Disease; Still Running for Fourth Term
Republican Orange County Executive Edward Diana announced on Wednesday that he still plans to seek a fourth term in office even though he needs a liver transplant. Diana is diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which can lead to liver failure. He currently on a waiting list for liver transplant surgery.
Teaberry Port Razed
The historic Teaberry Port building finally met its end earlier this week. United Water, which owns the property, had been trying for years to demolish the building and was finally granted a demolition permit earlier this month.
The company cited dangerous conditions as the reason for demolition. Teaberry Port had been cited by the Town of Clarkstown as one of 31 buildings in the town worth saving. But the cost to repair the structure was estimated around $500,000 and no takers were found for the project.
Teaberry Port was built in the 1770s as a three bedroom, single-family house. It has not been lived in since 2005 and has been falling apart from neglect.
Suffern’s First Female Justice
In statement released Wednesday morning, officials in the Village of Suffern announced the appointment of the village’s first female justice. Stephanie Furgang Adwar, a lawyer, will be officially sworn in this coming Monday at Village Hall. Suffern’s Mayor Dagan Lacorte praised Adwar appointment.
Robbery in Spring Valley
On Wednesday afternoon, Spring Valley Police blocked off the area around the Latino Food Mart on South Main Street, after an apparent robbery at the convenience store. According to police, the suspect reached over the counter and snatched money from the cash register after speaking to the clerk. Currently the police are reviewing security camera footage to identify the suspect.
The incident comes on the heels of a robbery at a Hickory Street convenience store earlier this week, that police think the suspect may be linked to.
Repairs Planned for 2 East Ramapo Schools
According to district officials, repairs are expected to begin shortly at Kakiat Elementary School and Spring Valley High School, to address gas leaks at the schools. Orange and Rockland Utilities attempted to fix the problems, but ultimately recommended that the district replace the againg systems.
At Kakiat the plan is to replace the underground gas and oil lines, and at Spring Valley High, gas vents and valves in the boiler room are up for repair. The repairs are expected to cost $74,000 and take about a month to complete. Over the past several week, employees at the two schools have reported gas orders, which prompted O&R to investigate the causes.