Regional Briefs – December 3, 2014

Christie Nominates Democratic Strategist to Board

NEWARK – A prominent Democratic strategist who sits on the board of a liberal super-PAC that conducts opposition research on Republicans, including Gov. Chris Christie, is among Christie’s picks for Rutgers University Board of Governors, The Associated Press reported. Susan McCue also served as chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Audit: NYC School Computers Going Unused or Missing

NEW YORK – Many computers meant for New York City schools are unused or missing, according to an audit by Comptroller Scott Stringer. The Department of Education didn’t know where 1,800 laptop and desk computers were, and 400 others were never unpacked. Stringer says the audit represents a sample and may be “just the tip of the iceberg.”

Historic Bell to Ring Again In Upstate Village

ORISKANY, N.Y. – A nearly 200-year-old bell will ring out again for the first time in years, the Observer-Dispatch of Utica reported. Oriskany village’s bell has been a fixture since 1819. Local lore claims that it was rung to herald the visit of the Marquis de Lafayette in 1825. The bell will be rung on Dec. 14 to celebrate the centennial of the village’s incorporation in 1914.

NY Troopers Write 11,198 Tickets Over Thanksgiving

ALBANY – State Police issued more than 11,000 tickets over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, 4,237 for speeding, 565 for distracted driving, 172 for DWI, and 138 for not obeying the move-over law.

MetroCard Coding Error to Blame For Commuter Woes

NEW YORK – The MTA blamed a MetroCard coding error for the hassles experienced by about 10,000 commuters on Monday. Commuters who signed up for the Mail & Ride program got messages indicating “insufficient fare” when they swiped. Customers should purchase a new card and will be issued a credit for $119 for the month of December.

Proposal: Trim NYC’s List of Potential Landmarks

NEW YORK – The Landmarks Preservation Commission chairwoman has proposed removing from the list about 100 historic structures who have been under consideration for at least five years without a vote, The New York Times reported. Eighty have been on the books for over 20 years. The proposal, up for a vote on Dec. 9, would free the agency to focus on more pressing matters.

New Visitor Center Opens at NY Capitol Plaza

ALBANY – Visitors to the New York state Capitol can now stop by a new visitor center and gift shop at the Empire State Plaza. The center is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will feature visitor information as well as products with a New York theme.

Man Fined in Saddam Hussein Family Gun Plot

NEWARK – A man who tried selling guns formerly owned by the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s son was fined $5,000 by a federal judge Monday. Howard Blumenthal, 76, had faced up to five years in prison after seven guns were seized in 2012, including a .357 semi-automatic pistol featuring a gold medallion “QS.” That’s presumed to be Qusay Hussein.

Woman Dies on London-to-Newark Flight

NEWARK – A 23-year-old Newark woman died Monday aboard a United Airlines flight from London that landed at Newark Airport, The Associated Press reported. A doctor aboard unsuccessfully tried to help when the woman was found unconscious. She may have had a pre-existing medical condition, and other passengers were not quarantined.

Ebola Monitoring Ends for 114 NYC Health Workers

NEW YORK – The active monitoring period on Tuesday ended for the last of the 114 health workers who cared for New York City’s Ebola patient. Dr. Craig Spencer was released from Bellevue Hospital on Nov. 11 after he was declared Ebola-free. Another 222 people who arrived within the last 21 days from four Ebola-affected countries are still being monitored.

Cuomo Spent More Than $35M on Re-election Bid

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo spent more than $35 million on his successful re-election bid, disclosures filed Monday show. The Democrat still has more than $9 million in his campaign account. Altogether, he raised more than $45 million — the largest of any governor in the country. Republican Rob Astorino raised $6 million and lost 52 to 40 percent.