Regional Briefs – July 26, 2018

Family Receives Copy of Civil War Medal Earned by Ancestor

NEW CITY, N.Y. – A Rockland family on Wednesday received a Civil War medal for their ancestor who died before the military decoration was created, The Associated Press reported. John Ferguson Pratt, who served from 1863 to the end of the war, was entitled to a Civil War Campaign Medal but he died in 1892, several years before the award was established. His great-great-granddaughter Viola Silverman accepted it.

Centuries-Old Butternut Tree Topples in Heavy Rain

KINNELON, N.J. – A 245-year-old butternut tree survived wars and depression, but couldn’t withstand the heavy rain and strong wind in Wednesday’s storm, The Record reported. The 60-foot tree featured in the town’s logo and on the patch worn by police officers was destroyed. The town hopes to use the wood for benches and a fireplace mantel at a new community center. A sapling using nuts from the tree was planted 10 years ago; it’s now 15 feet tall.

Biden’s Niece Gets Probation for $110,000 Credit-Card Fraud

NEW YORK – A niece of former Vice President Joe Biden who racked up $110,000 in charges on someone else’s credit card was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation, The Associated Press reported. Caroline Biden has paid back the money and completed community service. She promised that “nothing like this will ever happen again,” The New York Post reported.

Art Dealer Buys Storage Locker for $15,000, Finds Treasures

NEW YORK – An art dealer who bought the contents of a New Jersey storage locker filled with paintings for $15,000 got much more than he bargained for — half a dozen paintings believed to have been were done by artist Willem de Kooning, whose works have sold for millions of dollars at auction, the New York Post reported. David Killen bought from the studio of art conservator Orrin Riley, who died in 1986, and Susanne Schnitzer, who died in 2009.