Regional Briefs – Aug, 01, 2018

Officials: Mosquitoes in Yonkers Test Positive For West Nile

YONKERS, N.Y. (AP) — Health officials in Westchester County say mosquitoes in the area have tested positive for West Nile virus.

The Journal News reports the Westchester County Health Department confirmed two batches of mosquitoes collected in Yonkers tested positive for the virus. There were 134 batches tested in the county.

According to officials, there were three reported cases of West Nile virus in the county last year.

Westchester County Commissioner of Health Sherlita Amler said in a statement residents should remove standing water that sits near their homes. Amler added that people spending time outdoors should use repellents “from dawn to dusk.”

Most people don’t develop any symptoms, but those who do may have fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhea. In rare cases, people develop severe illnesses like meningitis, which can be deadly.

New Yorker Gets Prison for Trafficking Parts of Rare Cats

SHERMAN, Texas (AP) — Prosecutors in Texas say a New York City man must serve nine months in federal prison for trafficking more than $150,000 worth of body parts from endangered African lions and tigers.

Arongkron “Paul” Malasukum was sentenced Wednesday in Sherman. Malasukum in November pleaded guilty to wildlife trafficking in violation of the Lacey Act, a conservation law.

Malasukum acknowledged buying a tiger skull from undercover agents working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He also acknowledged purchasing lion skulls from an auction house in Texas.

Authorities say Malasukum shipped the skulls to his New York home, then sent the items to Thailand for sale to a wholesale buyer.

Schumer: Collapse Shows Need For More Rail Bridge Inspectors

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer says the recent collapse of an elevated railroad sidewall shows the need to hire more federal railroad bridge inspectors.

The New York Democrat on Wednesday demanded that officials in Washington increase funding to expand bridge inspections. The Senate minority leader says that currently there are only three inspectors responsible for 3,000 rail bridges throughout New York state.

During the incident last month in Syracuse, the concrete sidewall of a rail bridge collapsed onto a city intersection. No injuries were reported.

Schumer says the collapse should serve as an “eye-opening wake-up call” for the Federal Railroad Administration.

He says it highlights the need for regular bridge inspections, and that low staffing levels mean that inspectors now have a “nearly impossible” job.

First Families Return to Area Impacted by Ice-Jam Floods

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The first families are returning home to a North Country area devastated by floods earlier this year.

The state announced Tuesday that five families have moved into new homes in Plattsburgh’s Underwood Estates community. Officials called it a “major step” in Plattsburgh’s recovery from last January’s flood.

Almost 70 families were forced out of their homes when ice jams caused the Saranac River to flood.

Most of the impacted residents will receive new homes when the rebuilding project is complete later this year.

The state worked to find temporary housing for families while the work is ongoing.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the area is on track for a full recovery. He says the new homes are being built to withstand future flood events.

Court Nixes Plaintiffs’ Experts In Acne Drug Lawsuit

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s Supreme Court says plaintiffs suing the maker of an acne drug can’t present some expert testimony that seeks to cast doubt on the drugmaker’s claims.

More than two thousand plaintiffs contend there is a link between the drug Accutane and Crohn’s disease, a chronic gastrointestinal illness.

Drug maker Hoffman LaRoche cites studies published in the years since earlier suits were settled that conclude there’s no causal relation.

Plaintiffs had sought to introduce experts who disagree. The trial court had excluded the testimony, but an appeals court reversed that decision and allowed it.

Wednesday’s ruling sided with the trial court and excluded the testimony. It agreed with the trial court that the experts had “deviated from core scientific principles” to reach their conclusions.

Boy, 3, Dies After Being Found Unconscious in Family Pool

HOWELL, N.J. (AP) — Authorities say a 3-year-old New Jersey boy died the morning after he was found unconscious in his home’s swimming pool.

The Howell Township police department says officers and emergency medical personnel were called to the home shortly before 5:30 p.m. Sunday and found 3-year-old Lucas Hynes unresponsive.

First responders began resuscitation efforts that resulted in the child regaining his pulse, and he was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Police said he and other children were swimming while supervised, and the group went to the yard and later inside, but the child’s mother realized Lucas wasn’t present. She found him floating in the pool, got him out and began CPR.

Police and Monmouth County prosecutors called the case a tragic accident.