Regional Briefs – February 16, 2020

New York Courts Snowmobiling Tourists With Free Weekend

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – New York is courting winter tourists with a fee-free weekend for out-of-state snowmobilers.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the plan Sunday at Saranac Lake. Fees will be waived March 14 and 15 for Canadian and other out-of-state visitors with registered, insured vehicles.

New York State Snowmobile Association President Rosanne Warner says a lack of snow has made it tough to get the state’s more than 10,000 miles of trails ready this season. The state has committed $4.2 million in grants for trail maintenance and grooming, funded by snowmobile registration fees.

Bowhunting Group Says NJ Bear Set World Record

(AP) – A bowhunting organization says a 700-pound bear shot in New Jersey last fall has set a world record as the largest black bear killed with a bow and arrow in North America.

The Pope and Young Club, a bowhunting and conservation organization, said the bear killed on Oct. 14 in Morris County toppled a record set in 1993 by a hunter in California. The new record was announced after a special panel of judges was assembled on Feb. 8 in Harrisburg during the Great American Outdoors Show, the group said.

The state’s black bear hunt has generated controversy in recent years, with Gov. Phil Murphy vowing during his campaign to seek an end to it and in 2018 instituting a ban on hunting bears on state lands. The New Jersey Sierra Club is still seeking a complete ban.

Man Killed Leaping From Burning Building; Others Injured

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) – Authorities say a man leaped from a burning New Jersey building to his death during a fire that sent more than a dozen other people to the hospital.

Fire crews responded at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday after spotting the smoke at the Paterson building from their headquarters.
NorthJersey.com reports that 30-year-old Andrés de Jesus Valdez had made it out of the burning building but ran back inside to help others when he became trapped on the second floor and plunged to his death.

Contractor Sentenced for Cheating Sandy-Damaged Homeowners

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) – A contractor who stole more than $450,000 from 19 homeowners in New Jersey after failing to repair their properties following Superstorm Sandy was sentenced Friday to three years in state prison.
George LaRosa, 50, of Barnegat, will also have to pay restitution to his victims. He had pleaded guilty in September to theft by deception.

Ocean County prosecutors have said LaRosa pocketed the money for personal use and never completed the agreed-upon work. He also shut down his GL Construction company.