Regional Briefs – May 7, 2015

Assembly Panel: Swap ‘Failing’ School to ‘Struggling’

ALBANY – The Assembly education committee unanimously approved changing “failing” schools to “struggling” in the recently adopted state budget. “Adults may fail,” said committee chair Catherine Nolan. “But the children don’t fail.”

Light Rain Helps Contain Catskills Forest Fire

ELLENVILLE, N.Y. – A light rain Wednesday is helping contain a forest fire at the southern Catskill Mountains, with the Ellenville fire department calling it 76 percent contained, The Associated Press reported. The fire started Sunday and affected 2,300 acres. Over 100 firefighters were brought in.

Firefighter Dies From Cardiac Issues After Battling Blaze

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – A firefighter died Tuesday hours after battling a blaze, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported. Timothy Gunther, 54, was at a blaze Monday when he felt tingling in his arm. His condition deteriorated at the hospital and he was taken for a bypass operation, from which he didn’t wake up.

Tractor Bursts Into Flames Upstate; No Injuries

LOUISVILLE, N.Y. – Steve Billings escaped with just a few singed arm hairs after his farm tractor burst into flames on Tuesday, The Associated Press reported. He was driving a large John Deere on a two-lane county road when it started vibrating, blew a drive shaft, and he lost control. Firefighters saved a plow, but the tractor was gone.

Nearly 3 Dozen to Sue Metro-North Over Deadly Crash

VALHALLA, N.Y. – Thirty-four survivors of the Metro-North train crash in February that killed six people intend to sue the MTA, the Journal News reported. Monday was the deadline to file a notice of claim. The family of the SUV driver, Ellen Brody, a”h, is among those.

Artists Who Put Snowden Bust on Monument Ticketed

NEW YORK – The mystery artists who put a bust of Edward Snowden on a Revolutionary War memorial in a Fort Greene, Brooklyn, park got $50 tickets Wednesday but were not criminally charged, The Associated Press reported. The city returned their confiscated statue.