Timelines 9/11/14

Man killed, woman seriously injured in Haverstraw crash

Two individuals from Long Island were injured-one fatally-after their vehicle rolled down an embankment and struck a tree on Willow Grove Road in Haverstraw at around 9 p.m. on Sunday night.

Julia Stanwycks, 22 of Dix Hills was driving with Jacob Nadien, 22 of Huntington in the passenger seat when the accident occurred. Police confirmed Nadien was pronounced dead at the scene while Stanwycks was seriously injured after being thrown from the car.

Though accident reconstruction is ongoing, it is known the vehicle went off-road while traveling eastbound and rolled 20 feet before coming to rest against a tree. The road was closed for several hours, but re-opened at around 5 a.m. after it had been cleared.

“Burn ISIS Flag Challenge” takes off in Arab world

Internet users in Arab nations are taking part in a unique social media experiment similar to the ALS ice bucket challenge but with a far more political twist.

Instead of dumping buckets of water on their heads, the youths are burning the flags of the Islamic State, the extremist Sunni group which seized power in Northern Iraq and Syria in June. The trend went viral after three Lebanese youths posted a YouTube video showing them burning one of the signature black ISIS flags.

The trend is particularly popular in Lebanon, which lost two soldiers to beheading-style executions. Though the challenge has proven popular, Lebanese Minister of Justice Ashraf Rifi took issue with the protests by arguing it was inexcusable for a Muslim to burn a flag which contained religious symbols and that the gestures would likely exacerbate tensions in the region.\

ISIS has made a name for itself with open shows of brutality including civilian massacres and the murders of American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley. However, the same tactics seem to have provoked anger in the rest of the Muslim world and alienated even other extremist groups such as al-Qaeda, which disavowed any connection to ISIS.

Actor Morgan Freeman lands malfunctioning airplane

Morgan Freeman has proven competent in not only acting for the silver screen but also piloting in potentially hazardous situations.

Freeman was piloting his own personal plane en route to the Toronto Film Festival premiere of his new film Ruth & Alex on Friday night when he discovered the plane’s slats would not retract. After 10 minutes in the air, he landed the plane without incident.

The landing was not the end of Freeman’s troubles. He attempted to work the slats four more times before he decided to take another fully-functional plane to the premiere. Freeman insisted the malfunction posed no danger.

Freeman has been a pilot for 12 years and owns two planes. Before that, he served time in the U.S. Air Force, where he repaired radar equipment.

Obama to announce three year U.S. campaign against ISIS

A potential campaign against ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria could last three years and span three separate phases of military activity, according to senior officials in the Obama Administration.

The plan consists of an initial campaign of airstrikes to weaken ISIS’ hold on newly-won territories in northern and western Iraq, followed by intensive training of the Iraqi military to handle such threats and an eventual push into Syria to eradicate the Islamic State’s strongholds in the region.

The effort reflects a broader mission than the initial strategy of limited airstrikes in Iraqi territory. The U.S. would lead a coalition of other nations rather than taking the relatively smaller role of equipping, training and supporting existing anti-ISIS forces in the region. Obama also stressed the campaign would not be an equivalent to the Iraq War and would not include “boots on the ground” in the form of American combat troops.

Loss of grant specialist could cost Spring Valley $2 million

Disagreements over the role of a grant specialist hired by the Village of Spring Valley and a subsequent vacancy in the position might cost the Village a substantial sum, according to Mayor Demeza Delhomme.

Delhomme argued the Village stood to lose $2 million in grants it was projected to receive next year if the Village Board does not re-appoint Department of Community Development chief Rita Grayson, who was let go earlier this Spring. Though she is currently out of the position, Grayson has the credentials to be re-hired and manage grants for the Village.

Grayson, who served in the part-time position since 2010, seemed to be another casualty of the bitter divide between the Mayor and the rest of the Village Board. Delhome attempted to convince the Board to re-appoint her twice, but failed when trustees favored handing over the position to a full-time employee instead.

The federal and state grants at risk have been used in the past for village improvements, including urban renewal efforts and updates to parks and roads.

County Executive vetoes bus washing bill

County Executive Ed Day vetoed a bill approved by the County Legislature which could have boosted county bus washing costs $3.6 million over the course of four years.

The bill would have bumped the washes up from once a week to once a day, minus days when particular buses are not in operation or operate in rain or snow. For Brega’s 62 buses, the washes could have approached $900,000 per year, $310,000 of which might be covered by money from a federal transit fund.

The legislation was proposed partly in response to a February 8 bus fire and to align county buses with what Legislative Chairman Alden Wolfe argued was common industry practice. In response, Day argued in his veto message that there was no evidence the fire was caused by a lack of cleaning and that the legislature was over-reliant on the opinion of Brega Transportation Corp., which operates the county’s bus services.

The Legislature has until mid-October to override the veto.

U.S. military to aid African nations’ ebola response

President Barack Obama announced on Sunday that the U.S. military would provide equipment and supplies to medical personnel fighting the ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Though Obama stated the virus was not a current risk to the U.S., he argued the situation had to be kept under control before it spread further or mutated to become more infectious. Ebola has already claimed the lives of about 2,100 people, most of whom reside in the nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Though military intervention was initially opposed by many aid organizations, the situation has now become so serious that calls have been made for military assistance. According to Doctors Without Borders President Joanne Liu, the U.S. military’s air capabilities and logistical support could make a difference in organizing a quick response in a region with over-burdened, inefficient healthcare systems.

Proposed funding from the U.S. government could bring total aid up to more than $250,000. Included in that figure is $100 million already spent on medical efforts, a planned $75 million dedication from the U.S. Agency for International Development and, if approved by Congress, a proposed $88 million for additional CDC personnel and equipment.

Founder of Chick-fil-A dies at 93

S. Truett Cathy, the founder of the popular fried chicken chain Chick-Fil-A which was put in a national spotlight with his son’s critical comments on gay marriage, died on Monday at the age of 93.

Cathy, who opened his first Chick-fil-A in 1967, oversaw the national expansion of what was once just a small restaurant in Atlanta where he served chicken sandwiches, biscuits and gravy and other staples of southern cooking. The chain now has over 1,800 locations in 39 states and Washington D.C. with sales that topped $5 billion in 2013.

Cathy was also noted for his conservative views, which translated into Chick-fil-A’s policy of closing its locations on Sundays to adhere with the Christian day of rest and donations to conservative Christian causes. The position put the chain in a national spotlight for a brief period of time in 2012 when his son Dan expressed his opposition to gay marriage in an interview with the Baptist Press, sparking protests and boycotts of the chain.

Nonetheless, with a net worth of $6 billion, Cathy remained one of the wealthiest men in the country and his chain remains in business. In his later years, Cathy retained an active role in the chain, but left day-to-day operations in the hands of his children.

Respiratory virus behind child illnesses in 10 states

A rare virus might be behind an increase in respiratory infections among hundreds of children in ten different Midwestern and Southern states, according to the CDC. The CDC announced human enterovirus 68 is believed to be behind a rash of unexpected children’s hospital visits, though tests have not yet confirmed its presence.

About 10 to 15 million instances of the virus occur every year, but usuall take the form of a bowel infection. Infants and children appear to be most susceptible to the respiratory form of the virus. Possible cases have been reported in Missouri, Kansas, Ohio, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Iowa, Illinois, North Carolina and Georgia.

To prevent the spread of the virus, doctors have recommended basic sanitary precautions such as hand-washing, disinfecting surfaces and not sharing items with sick people.

Schneiderman: We will push for kill switch to fight iPhone theft

With the release of Apple’s iPhone 6, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has renewed calls for a “kill switch” to combat smart phone theft.

In an announcement releasedd on Tuesday, Schneiderman argued a kill switch, which would disable a smart phone in the instance of theft, would help protect customers by preventing instances of theft and violence against smartphone users.

“With strong evidence supporting the ability of kill switches to deter smartphone thefts, a strong coalition continuing to push for change, and the most tech savvy companies in the world working with us to find a solution, the is no reason why more families should have to lose loved ones because a criminal decided to steal their phone,” Schneiderman said.

Schneiderman serves as the co-chair for the Secure Our Smartphone (S.O.S.) Initiative, a coalition of elected officials, law enforcement officers and consumer advocates calling for greater action on smart phone theft.

Republican lawmakers hire private detective to bug Long Island Assemblyman’s car

In a particularly unique case of political rivalry, Republican lawmakers were revealed to have hired a private eye to track a Long Island Democratic Assemblyman, even going so far as to place a GPS tracker on his car.

Court transcripts from a hearing last month revealed a representative of the Assembly Republican Campaign Committee hired private investigator Adam Rosenblatt to track Assemblyman Edward Hennessey (D-Suffolk) to identify his place of residence. Rosenblatt ran license plate checks on vehicles at various residences suspected to belong to Hennessey and even planted a GPS tracker on the Assemblyman’s car which stayed in place from April 4 through June 7.

The Republicans planned to use the evidence to demonstrate he lived outside his district and kick him out of his race against Republican opponent Dean Murray, but were unsuccessful. The use of private investigators is extremely rare in political campaigns.

Hennessey called the behavior “disturbing” and argued Murray had “taken the campaign to a new low” with the use of the tracking device. Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver similarly criticized the tactic, arguing it was akin to “Big Brother” regardless of its legality.

 

Nyack blackout adds spice to Saturday night scene

NYACK, NY. Approximately 800 Orange and Rockland utility customers in downtown Nyack were without power from 11 p.m. Saturday, September 6, until service was restored at 3:15 a.m. Sunday morning. O&R states the cause of the blackout was an electrical fire due to lighting strike on High Ave near Park St.

Those affected by the outage included Main St. bars and restaurants. While most drinking establishments stayed open during the blackout, some closed early due to lack of power. A few bars were able to have limited power due to patrons bringing their generators from home. Peter Checchi, an O’Malley’s patron, brought his generator from home in Palisades, NY. and stated, “Even with the power out, we keep rocking.”

No major incidents reported.

 

High-risk sex offender moves into Clarkstown

Picture 4A high-risk sex offender recently moved to Clarkstown, according to a Clarkstown Central School District statement sent to parents on Tuesday.

Marcus Coltrane, 31, was arrested for sexual misconduct with a teenage girl in the upstate town of Mamakating in 2003. He is classified as a Level 3 sex offender and is considered by the state to be at high risk of re-offense.

Upon conviction, Coltrane served six months in jail before moving to Newburgh. His current residence is at 10 Twin Elms Lane in New City. Coltrane has a teardrop tattoo under one eye and a tattoo on one side of his neck. It is illegal to use publicly-available information to harass registered sex offenders.