Official: Broken rail eyed in Conn. train crash
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Officials investigating a train collision in Connecticut have ruled out foul play and are studying a rail fracture where a derailed commuter train was struck by another bound for New York City.
National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener says the broken rail is of substantial interest to investigators and a portion of the track will be sent to a lab for analysis.
Weener says it's not clear if the accident caused the fracture or if the rail was broken before the crash. He says he won't speculate on the cause of the derailment.
Seventy-two people were sent to the hospital Friday evening after a Metro-North train heading east from New York City derailed and was hit by a train heading west from New Haven.
HOFSTRA STUDENT SHOT
Authorities: Police say Hofstra University student in home invasion was killed by police
MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities say a police officer's bullet killed a New York college student during the response to a home invasion at an off-campus home.
Nassau County homicide squad Lt. John Azzata said Saturday night that Andrea Rebello was killed by a police officer as she was being held in a headlock by a masked intruder.
Azzata says the police officer opened fire as Dalton Smith made a motion to fire at the officers early Friday morning.
Azzata says the officer fired eight shots, hitting Smith seven times and Rebello once in the head, killing her.
Earlier Saturday, police said Smith had an extensive criminal history and was wanted on a parole violation related to a first-degree robbery conviction.
HOFSTRA STUDENT SHOT-FUNERAL
Funeral set for slain Long Island college student
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (AP) - A funeral Mass has been scheduled for a Hofstra University student who was fatally shot during a break-in at her apartment near the school's Long Island campus.
The Journal News reports (http://lohud.us/16w8ch2) that the funeral for Andrea Rebello will be Wednesday at St. Teresa of Avila Church in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. The newspaper says the service will be in Portuguese.
Rebello and an armed intruder were both fatally shot Friday.
Police said the victim was in the two-story house in Uniondale with her twin sister Jessica, another woman and a man when a gunman wearing a ski mask forced his way in.
The shooting has cast a pall over the university community gearing up for commencement ceremonies Sunday.
NY pol accused of serial sex harassment to resign
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A New York assemblyman accused of sexually harassing young female staffers for years says he will resign before he's expelled from the Legislature.
Assemblyman Vito Lopez informed leaders on Saturday he will resign effective Monday morning.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had planned a rare expulsion proceeding against Lopez beginning Monday.
Lopez was once a powerful Brooklyn Democratic leader and has been in the Assembly's Democratic majority since 1984.
Two reports released last week detailed lurid accusations of sexual harassment of several women on his staff, but neither report found proof of a crime.
Silver was trying to expel Lopez on the basis of apparently violating Assembly policies against sexual harassment and retaliation.
The state ethics board has also accused Lopez of civil violations of the Public Officer's Law.
Gov. Cuomo talks tough with Indians over casinos
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (KWOH'-mohz) tough talk about Indian casinos breaks with the past practice of governors treading carefully with tribes protective of their sovereign rights.
Cuomo's explanation is simple: Money issues between the state and the tribes have been discussed for years. Now he is proposing three casinos in yet-to-be disclosed locations in upstate New York.
Cuomo was already in negotiations with the Oneida Indian Nation on May 9 when he warned that the state would consider allowing casinos near existing operations run by tribes that weren't in good standing with the state. The talks bore fruit Thursday with an agreement that would provide exclusive territory for the Oneida's Turning Stone casino in central New York.
Agreements will likely be harder with the Senecas and the Mohawks because of money disputes.
NY spending $90M upgrading parks, historic sites
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The Cuomo administration says about $90 million will be spent this year on construction projects at 50 of the state's parks and historic sites.
It says that will cover almost 90 projects to upgrade infrastructure or fix potential health and safety problems.
Planning will also begin on 60 more projects to be undertaken in coming years. There are 179 state parks and 35 historic sites in New York.
The funding includes $7.4 million in New York City, $11.3 million in the Capital Region and $7.9 million in the Finger Lakes. It also includes $13.2 million in the Hudson Valley; $10 million on Long Island, $4.8 million in the Mohawk Valley, $4.7 million in the North Country, $5.8 million in the Southern Tier and $16 million in western New York.
NY state parks gets 36 police academy graduates
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The New York state parks system is adding 36 new officers to the ranks of its police force responsible for safety at 179 parks and 35 historic sites.
Officials with the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced this week that 36 recruits have graduated from the New York State Park Police Academy in Rensselaerville, outside Albany. It's the agency's first training academy graduation since 2008.
Academy classes were put on hold because of state budget cuts brought on by the recession. Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey says the class of 2013 represents the beginning of the rebuilding of the Park Police force and the entire state parks system.
The 36 recruits will be assigned to regional commands throughout the state.
NY bills proposed to overhaul charities oversight
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Legislation introduced last week by key New York lawmakers and backed by the state attorney general would overhaul the state's oversight of its charities and other nonprofits.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the nonprofit sector accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars annually and 1 of every seven jobs in New York. But he says but public trust has eroded from recent fraud cases with officials pocketing money from charities established to help the needy or nonprofits meant to benefit the public.
One bill would require that charity boards actively oversee financial audits, require full disclosure of any insider dealing and prohibit any nonprofit employee from chairing its board.
Another would require nonprofit boards review chief executive pay to determine if it's justified.
Central NY man accused of killing 36-year-old wife
NORWICH, N.Y. (AP) - A central New York man has been accused of killing his wife, whose body was found months after she disappeared in December.
Chenango County Sheriff Ernest Cutting says Ganesh Ramsaran was arrested Friday on a second-degree murder charge for the killing of Jennifer Renz Ramsaran.
Cutting declined to comment on how she was killed or a motive.
Ramsaran told investigators he last saw his wife when she left on Dec. 11 to go Christmas shopping. Her body was found Feb. 26 off a rural road in Pharsalia, 10 miles west of the couple's home in New Berlin.
Ramsaran pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Friday and was being held on $150,000 bail.
His lawyer, James Chamberlain, says the 38-year-old IBM project manager and father of 3 has his family's support.
Human remains found in Mohawk Valley identified
LITTLE FALLS, N.Y. (AP) - Police say human remains found in the Mohawk Valley are those of a man who hadn't been seen alive since as long ago as 2004.
State police say they still haven't determined how Donald Wichelns died. His body was found May 1 behind a home where he'd been living in the Herkimer County city of Little Falls.
Wichelns would have been 71 if he were alive. He had not been seen since sometime between 2004 and 2006.
Troopers are asking anyone with information about Wichelns to contact investigators.
Little Falls is 60 miles west of Albany.
Police call fatal NYC shooting a hate crime
NEW YORK (AP) - Police say the suspect arrested in the death of a gay man on a Manhattan street in an apparent hate crime has a previous arrest for attempted murder.
New York City police allege 33-year-old Elliot Morales used anti-gay slurs before fatally shooting 32-year-old Marc Carson early Saturday in Greenwich (GREN'-ich) Village.
Investigators say Morales was carrying forged identification but was identified after it was submitted to the department's Facial Recognition Unit. Details on his previous arrest weren't immediately available.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says the suspect shot Carson in the face after apparently asking him if he wanted to die. He says Carson and a companion were walking along Sixth Avenue when they were confronted.
Kelly says the suspect flashed a gun and threatened a bartender just minutes earlier.
NEW YORK (AP) - Police say a gunman used anti-gay slurs before fatally shooting a 32-year-old man in New York City's Greenwich (GREN'-ich) Village.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Saturday that the shooting, which occurred just after midnight, appears to have been a hate crime.
Kelly says the gunman was seen urinating on the street outside a bar, then made anti-gay remarks to the bartender and showed him that he was wearing a holster with a silver pistol.
The commissioner says the gunman then confronted the victim and a companion on the street and asked if they were "gay wrestlers."
Kelly says the man shot the victim in the face. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Police identified him as Harlem resident Marc Carson. The name of the suspect was not immediately released.
NYC schools chancellor blasts mayoral candidates
NEW YORK (AP) - The head of New York City's public schools is lashing back at mayoral candidates who say they would change Mayor Michael Bloomberg's education policies if elected this November.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said Saturday that the policies championed by several candidates to succeed Bloomberg would "hurt children."
Five Democratic candidates plus independent Adolfo Carrion addressed a United Federation of Teachers forum on May 11.
Some of the candidates said that if elected they would not let new charter schools share space with traditional public schools as they do now. Such a change would make it difficult to open charter schools.
Walcott said opponents of Bloomberg's policies want to put "the brakes on choice."
He spoke to nearly 2,000 school administrators meeting in Brooklyn.
NYC mayor urges courage at Ohio commencement
GAMBIER, Ohio (AP) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told college graduates in Ohio that success in life requires courage, curiosity and hard work.
Bloomberg addressed Saturday's commencement at Kenyon College northeast of Columbus.
According to The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer (bit.ly/YR0WXT), Bloomberg encouraged the 410 graduates to "have the courage to think for yourself and to believe in your idea."
He says lack of courage lies at the heart of political problems.
Bloomberg, who backs stronger federal gun control laws, highlighted recent gun violence and says the inability to enact tougher gun laws reflects a lack of courage.
The three-term mayor worked on Wall Street and founded the Bloomberg financial news and information service before he was elected.
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