Regional Briefs – May 4, 2016

NY Giving Free Park Passes to 4th Graders and Their Families

ALBANY – New York state is giving free state park passes to fourth-graders to encourage kids to enjoy the outdoors. The passes are available on the state Parks Department website, and are good for everyone in the students’ vehicles, or for free tours for a student and three adults.

Cuomo Taps Bronx State Senator for Housing Post

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appointed state Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson as special adviser at the agency responsible for affordable housing and rent regulations. The Bronx Democrat will leave the Senate and begin work in July.

Man Sent to Prison for Massive ATM Scam

NEWARK – A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced a Chicago man to seven years in prison and ordered him to pay $7.4 million in restitution for his role in a long-running ATM scam, The Associated Press reported. Dinu Horvat, 29, was a high-level member of the scheme to install hidden card-reading devices on ATMS across the country.

Bronx Man Arrested for Grabbing for Officer’s Gun

BRONX – A man was arrested Tuesday night for walking up to an NYPD officer outside Monroe College and trying to grab his gun, The Associated Press reported. The cop struggled with Ronald Santos, 24, who was tackled by a college security guard. The officer was treated for a knee injury at a hospital.

Hudson Valley Distillery Wins National Award for its Vodka

ALBANY – New York’s agriculture commissioner on Tuesday visited Hudson Valley Distillers to congratulate them for winning a national award for its vodka, The Associated Press reported. The distillery makes vodka, gin and applejack from local apples and grapes.

Candles Possible Cause of NYC Church Fire

NEW YORK – FDNY officials said Tuesday they are eying candles that were insufficiently extinguished as the cause of a blaze that destroyed a historic church earlier this week, The Associated Press reported. The Serbian Orthodox Cathedral was built in the early 1850s.