Regional Briefs – December 25, 2014

Owen Johnson, Longtime NY State Senator, Dies

ALBANY – Former state Sen. Owen Johnson, who represented Long Island for 40 years, died early Wednesday, The Associated Press reported. The 85-year-old Republican retired in 2012. He backed tax cuts and government spending caps. One of his final bills banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

NY Law Limits Probes of Unconventional Medicine

ALBANY – New York law now prohibits state investigations of doctors for unconventional treatments of diseases, specifically including Lyme disease, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced. It was conditioned on additional legislation to ensure the Office of Professional Medical Conduct can investigate some complaints.

NYC First Lady Appoints New Chief of Staff

NEW YORK – New York City’s first lady on Friday appointed a new chief of staff after her controversial prior top aide took a leave, The Associated Press reported. Chirlane McCray said that Roxanne John will fill the role vacated by Rachel Noerdlinger. John will remain at her job as executive director of Gracie Mansion with a combined salary of $200,000.

Eastern Long Island Gets New 934 Area Code in 2016

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Attention people calling eastern Long Island: A new area code is coming in late 2016. The code 934 joins existing 631, which is running out of assignable telephone numbers. Similar to New York City, it will also require 10-digit dialing.

Police Dog Who Inspired State Law Dies at 13

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – A police dog who inspired a state law that stiffened penalties for injuring or threatening the lives of police animals died. Dano, a 13-year-old narcotics-sniffing Belgian Malinois, was threatened in 2008, leading to a law with penalties of 18 months in prison.