Regional Briefs – September 17, 2015

Cuomo Aide Is Brain Dead After Shooting Before NYC Parade 

NEW YORK (AP) – An aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been declared brain dead after he was shot in the crossfire between two gangs in the hours before the West Indian Day parade.

Carey Gabay’s family made the announcement Wednesday. He remains on life support pending what his family says are “difficult decisions” in the days to come.

The 43-year-old Harvard-educated lawyer served as first deputy general counsel at the Empire State Development Corp.

He was shot in the head during a predawn party celebrating the parade Sept. 7.

FEMA Extends Deadline to Review Sandy Flood Claims 

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended the deadline for homeowners to challenge their Superstorm Sandy flood damage claims.

The 30-day extension came just before Tuesday’s deadline expired and after the Housing and Urban Development Department announced it would not seek to recoup duplicate benefits already paid to homeowners, up to $20,000.

FEMA sent letters to 142,000 policyholders in New Jersey and New York after congressional delegations in those states responded to complaints from homeowners who said they were shortchanged by insurers under the National Flood Insurance Program.

FEMA says more than 20,000 homeowners have asked for reviews. The agency says 459 claims worth $7.3 million have been approved so far.

Requests can be made at www.fema.gov/hurricane-sandy-nfip-claims or by phone at 866-337-4262.

NY State Plans to Shorten Spring Common Core Tests 

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – New York state’s education commissioner says the Common Core tests to be given in the spring will be shorter than in previous years.

Speaking to the Board of Regents at its monthly meeting Wednesday in Albany, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said that some of the writing and reading passages will be removed from the English assessments and the math assessments will lose some multiple choice questions.

Elia says the tests’ length is why some parents sat their kids out during the last school year.

NY Deadline to Check Cooling Towers After Disease Outbreak 

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – New York health officials say the deadline has arrived for registering and inspecting cooling towers statewide under regulations that followed the recent outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in New York City.

The Health Department says tower owners should register, inspect and obtain bacteriological test samples by Wednesday, and thousands already have.

Reporting is done on a state website.

Owners are also required to begin a maintenance program by March 1 that includes a schedule for routine sampling and conditions requiring emergency testing and disinfection.

An outbreak that began in July killed a dozen people in the Bronx and hospitalized more than 100 others.

The towers release warm mist that can spread the legionella bacteria.

Crossing Guard in Critical Condition After Being Hit By Car 

BERGENFIELD, N.J. (AP) – Police say a 60-year-old crossing guard was seriously injured after she was hit by a car while on duty in northern New Jersey.

Officials say Jo-Ann Hans was struck on New Bridge Road in Bergenfield around 8:00 a.m. Tuesday. She was assisting Congregation Beth Abraham during Rosh Hashanah services at the time.

Witnesses told police the collision sent Hans airborne after she had signaled for the driver to stop.

Police say Hans was transported to Hackensack University Medical Center, where she was listed in critical condition. The Record newspaper reports Hans was unconscious and on life support at the hospital Tuesday night.

The motorist was issued a summons for careless driving, failure to obey a crossing guard and failure to stop for pedestrian crossing.

Cornell Receives $600k Grant For Food Processing Equipment 

GENEVA, N.Y. (AP) – Cornell University’s Agricultural Experiment Station has been awarded $600,000 in state funding for new food processing equipment.

The Ithaca Journal reports the funds were used to purchase a Hiperbaric 55 High Pressure Processing machine, which uses high pressure instead of high temperatures to eliminate food-borne pathogens.

Officials say the new machine, unveiled Monday, will bring a higher quality to foods in addition to enhanced safety through its more effective elimination of germs.

The technology will be beneficial for the grape industry in addition to producers of dairy products. State Sen. Mike Nozzolio of Seneca County says the new machine allows the station to “conduct transformational research, instruction and outreach that will revolutionize the food processing industry.”

Cornell President Elizabeth Garrett says the machine will enable researchers to “open new frontiers for food safety.”

Russian Pleads Guilty in U.S. To Selling Hacked Credit Cards 

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) – A Russian man has pleaded guilty in New Jersey to selling some of the 160 million credit and debit card numbers obtained in a computer hacking scheme.

Moscow resident Dmitriy Smilianets entered his plea Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Camden. The 32-year-old faces up to 30 years in prison plus millions in fines when he is sentenced Jan. 13.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in 2013 that the case is the largest hacking scheme prosecuted in the U.S.

Another Russian national pleaded guilty Tuesday. Two other Russian nationals and a Ukrainian are charged in the case. Two remain at large.

Princeton-based Heartland Payment Systems Inc. was one of the main corporate targets of the scheme.

The information was sold and used to create magnetic strips for counterfeit credit cards.

Council Bill Would Require Defibrillators at Ballfields 

NEW YORK (AP) – The New York City Council is set to introduce legislation that would require defibrillators at all city baseball and Little League fields.

The bill mandates that defibrillators, which re-establish normal heart function with an electric shock, be ready before the start of the next spring’s baseball season.

Officials said the legislation will be introduced on Thursday and a vote will be scheduled in the coming weeks.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo support the measure.

The Staten Island Heart Society will provide each council member four defibrillators for use in the program.

Officials said the rest would be purchased with city funds.