Timelines 7/25

Stony Point man killed by train
A Tomkins Cove man was hit and killed by a CSX freight train on July 19, according to a police report from Stony Point Police. Kenneth Brunck, 60, was found by emergency personnel at around 10:37 p.m. after being struck by a northbound train. Brunck was found to have sustained “severe trauma” and was pronounced dead at the scene. Dorothea Matone-Brunck, the deceased man’s wife, explained to the Journal News that she believed his death was accidental. According to her, he explained before leaving the house that he was hot and it was cooler by the river, statements which were consistent with his regular trips across the tracks to a strip of beach near their Shore Drive home. An investigation is ongoing and police have not announced whether they have ruled the death to be accidental, but said they do not believe the death to be suspicious.

Mass breakout in Iraq frees hundreds of imprisoned insurgents, al-Qaeda leadership
About 500 militants, including many senior members of al-Qaeda, were freed in a raid on Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq on Sunday in an attack indicative of growing momentum among Sunni-led insurgents. The raid occurred when suicide bombers drove cars filled with explosives through the gates, after which other militants opened fire with mortars and RPGs and fired on reinforcements coming from Baghdad further up the main road as fighters on foot entered the facility and assisted in the escape of prisoners. Four militants and ten security personnel were killed in the attacks. Another attack which killed 16 soldiers and six militants was reported on a prison on Taji, which is north of Baghdad, but no prisoners were freed by that raid. Sources explained most of the freed prisoners were convicted senior members of al-Qaeda who faced the death penalty if they remained. The attack is the latest in a string of increasingly aggressive acts by Sunni-affiliated groups-including Iraq’s branch of al-Qaeda-which have contested the authority of the largely Shi’a-led, American-backed government and its security forces.

Zimmerman emerges from hiding to rescue family trapped after accident
Only four days after being acquitted of murder, George Zimmerman made his first public appearance to save a family trapped under an overturned SUV. According to a sheriff’s spokesperson with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, the Ford Explorer was travelling in the area of Interstate 4 and State Road 46 when it flipped over. By the time police arrived, Zimmerman, who did not witness the crash itself, had assisted the people inside-two children and their parents-to escape the vehicle. Nobody was injured in the crash. Neither the police report nor audio records of the 911 call mention Zimmerman by name. The 911 audio was redacted at certain points, but police explained this was to block out personal information of the caller. Zimmerman had been in hiding since his trial for what he claims was the self-defense killing of Trayvon Martin. He has since remained hidden from public view, owing largely to multiple death threats he and his family had received.

LaGuardia crash landing under investigation
A Southwest Airlines jet crash landed as it touched down at LaGuardia airport on July 22, causing injuries to multiple passengers and prompting a federal probe into the incident. Flight 345, which was inbound from Nashville, lost its front landing gear as it touched down, causing the nose to plow into the runway and skid hundreds of feet before veering to the side and coming to a stop in a nearby grassy area. After precautions were taken to prevent a fire, the passengers were evacuated to safety. Of the 150 people onboard, 5 passengers and 3 crew members sustained minor injuries, but no fatalities or serious injuries were reported. During the cleanup effort, the runway was closed, leading to significant delays. Given the plane sustained “substantial” damage due to the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board announced it has begun a formal investigation, working with Boeing to identify the cause of the landing gear’s collapse. The NTSB is currently reviewing the crash-proof recorders for evidence of a cause.

IRS chief counsel William Wilkins met with Obama two days before standard revisions
William Wilkins, the IRS’ chief counsel and an Obama appointee, met with President Obama and other associates in a meeting two days before he sent revised standards on handling tax exempt organizations to his agency. Obama met with Wilkins in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on April 23 in a meeting attended by 13 people. Then on April 25, he sent the IRS’ exempt organizations determinations unit “additional comments on the draft guidance” for the evaluation of tax-exempt organizations, specifically Tea Party-affiliated groups. As one of two IRS officials appointed directly by Obama, Wilkins is joining others in the agency by coming under close scrutiny for incidents between the years of 2010 and 2012 when the IRS demanded personal records, training materials, and other sensitive information from Tea Party-affiliated groups in an alleged effort to impede conservative activists applying for tax exempt status.

Weiner had more sext after scandal
NYC Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner admitted to another raft of online chats with women, but will be staying in the race with little more than an apology. The chats, which were reported by thedirty.com, show Weiner using the screen name “Carlos Danger” to chat up a 22 year old woman for six months, sending explicit pictures and texts. He also offered the anonymous woman perks including a job at Politico and a condominium paid for by Weiner. Unlike the previous incident, Weiner’s most recent clandestine affair was with a woman above the legal age of consent. Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, is reportedly standing by Weiner and is not pursuing a divorce. “As my wife and I have said, we are focused on moving forward,” Weiner said.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in Hudson River
New research published in the Journal of Water and Health has given Rocklanders one more reason to avoid Hudson River water, detecting the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in locations up and down the lower Hudson, including Piermont. Researchers repeatedly tested water at 10 sewage outlet locations, finding bacteria resistant to ampicillin 84 percent of the time and bacteria resistant to tetracycline 38 percent of the time. Among the locations tested was an area off Piermont Pier in the vicinity of sewage pipes. Other locations included Newtown Creek between Brooklyn and Queens and Flushing Bay near LaGuardia Airport. Sewage releases were given as the primary reason for the presence of bacteria. Oftentimes, heavy rains force sewage treatment plants to divert runoff containing raw sewage into the Hudson River to prevent flooding in a process known as combined-sewer overflow. Another 2002 study similarly found the bacteria in the Hudson, though this study is unique in that it tested multiple locations in the river. In spite of the news, however, Suzanne Young, the study’s lead author, stated the overall condition of Hudson River water has improved since the beginning of water studies, with regulations boosting awareness of the Hudson’s condition. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose a health hazard due to their ability to withstand common antibiotics, a trend which likely results from practices such as overuse of the drugs in medical treatment and livestock.

Former New Orleans Mayor indicted on corruption charges
A 21-count indictment has been leveled against former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin for allegedly receiving kickbacks and perks from business associates. Nagin, who served as mayor from 2002 to 2010 and presided during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, allegedly received bribes in return for favorable treatment of business associates who sought building contracts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and placed payments in the accounts of Stone Age LLC, a company he established in 2005. Among the perks Nagin allegedly received were cash and check payments, granite inventory, wire transfers for personal services and free trips to locations such as Hawaii, Jamaica, and Las Vegas. In one instance, Nagin allegedly received private jet travel and limousine services to New York City from a business in exchange for a waiver of the businesses delinquent tax bill, while in another he received $10,000 for awarding a $1 million post-Katrina sidewalk repair project to another local businessman. In addition, Nagin allegedly accepted a whopping $50,000 one-time payment and $12,500 monthly wire transfers from businessman Frank Fradella, who had previously pled guilty to bribing another New Orleans city official. The total from those transactions alone reached $112,500. Nagin is expected to appear in court later this month.