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MISSING AMISH GIRLS

Life easing back to normal in NY Amish community

OSWEGATCHIE, N.Y. (AP) - Life among the Amish in a northern New York community is easing into a sense of normalcy a week after two young sisters were kidnapped from their family farm and as more allegations emerge about their day in captivity.

Smiling men waved from their buggies at passing strangers this week as the girls' father stood with his arms draped loosely around two of his young boys, offering produce for sale at the farm stand where the 7- and 12-year-old girls were lured into a car on Aug. 13.

The father says his daughters are "doing fine."

Investigators continue to go through evidence from the home of 25-year-old Nicole Vaisey and 39-year-old Stephen Howells Jr. They're being held on kidnapping charges.

Authorities say the couple intended to keep the girls as slaves and sexually abused them.

CATSKILLS-FATAL CRASH

1 dead, 4 injured in 2-vehicle crash on rural road

COLCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities say one person is dead and four others are in critical condition after a two-vehicle crash on a rural upstate New York road.

The Delaware County Sheriff's Office tells The Daily Star of Oneonta (http://bit.ly/1wh5VDv ) that the head-on collision occurred around 10 a.m. Thursday on a road in the town of Colchester, on the western border of the Catskill Park 75 miles southwest of Albany.

Deputies say a man who was the sole occupant of one of the vehicles was killed. Police say all four people in the other vehicle were injured. They're listed in critical but stable condition at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.

Deputies say the names of those involved in the accident are being withheld until their families can be notified.

The cause of the accident is being investigated.

CHAPMAN-PAROLE-HEARING

Parole denied yet again for Lennon's killer

NEW YORK (AP) - A parole board has again declined to release John Lennon's killer.

It's the eighth time 59-year-old Mark David Chapman has been denied parole. New York corrections officials announced the decision Friday.

They say a three-member board denied Chapman's parole after a hearing Wednesday.

Chapman shot Lennon outside the former Beatle's Manhattan apartment building in December 1980. The musician, singer, songwriter and activist was 40.

Chapman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 1981 and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

BANK OF AMERICA SETTLEMENT-NY

New York mulls how to use $300M bank settlement

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Candidates and state officials in New York are proposing ways to use $300 million the state will receive as part of the national Bank of America settlement.

Several candidates for the state Senate say the money could help local school districts reduce property taxes.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office says his administration is inclined to spend the money on one-time expenses such as transportation infrastructure and not on new programs that would need additional funding when the settlement money runs out.

Bank of America will also pay New York another $500 million in the form of mortgage modifications and other measures to help consumers and local communities.

The settlement is part of a $16.65 billion national settlement over the bank's role in the 2008 financial crisis.

SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDS

NYC comptroller says city losing special ed funds

NEW YORK (AP) - New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer says the city failed to secure $356 million in federal Medicaid payments for special education services over the last three years.

Stringer says in a report Friday that the city Department of Education must improve its claims process so that it can recoup its spending on Medicaid-eligible services.

Stringer adds that the state and federal governments should cut the red tape that makes it difficult for cities to be reimbursed.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education says the department believes its corrective action plan along with additional actions taken this year will result in increased Medicaid revenue.

TOWN OFFICIAL CHARGED

NY developer charged in campaign donation probe

HALFMOON, N.Y. (AP) - A prominent Albany-area developer has been arrested in connection with a government corruption investigation in a suburban town.

The Times Union of Albany reports that Bruce Tanski was arraigned Friday morning in Saratoga County Court on a charges of offering a false instrument and violating election laws.

Tanski, owner of a construction and development company, is one of the largest contributors to the Republican Party in the town of Halfmoon.

According to the FBI and state Attorney General's Office, the builder used business associates to conceal some of his political donations.

Tanski's holdings in southern Saratoga County include commercial properties, a golf course and thousands of apartments.

A call to his lawyer wasn't immediately returned.

In October, authorities indicted Halfmoon Supervisor Melinda Wormuth on federal bribery and extortion charges. She resigned in November.

UTILITY VEHICLE STOLEN-ARREST

Boston man charged with stealing New York vehicle

HYDE PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities say they've charged a Massachusetts man with stealing a $23,000 utility vehicle from a Hudson Valley business after claiming to be a member of a Boston-area emergency services unit.

The Dutchess County Sheriff's Office says Timothy MacDonald of Boston contacted a Hyde Park business about buying a Polaris Ranger. Deputies say he told the business owners he was a member of the Suffolk County Emergency Services Unit and sent them a purchase order that turned out to be false.

Police say MacDonald picked up the truck in June but never sent a check for payment. The sheriff's office began its investigation in July and arrested MacDonald Aug. 13.

The vehicle was recovered in Maine.

MacDonald was charged with grand larceny. He's being held in the Dutchess County Jail. It couldn't be determined if he has a lawyer.

FORT DRUM-LIGHTNING INJURIES

6 soldiers hurt by lightning strike at Fort Drum

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (AP) - Army officials say six soldiers are recovering after lightning struck during a field exercise at Fort Drum in northern New York.

A Fort Drum spokeswoman says the soldiers were training on a range when lightning hit the area around 9:15 p.m. Thursday.

Officials say six soldiers were taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries not considered life-threatening. Spokeswoman Julie Halpin says four returned to duty as of Friday morning, while two remain hospitalized.

The nature of the injuries and details of the lightning strike haven't been released.

In August 2012, a lightning strike injured 10 New Jersey National Guard soldiers who were training at Fort Drum, 70 miles north of Syracuse.

FITNESS DATA

Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

San Francisco-based Fitbit said Friday that it has clarified its privacy policy to make it clear the company doesn't share information about its users.

Schumer raised concerns about the company's privacy policy earlier this month and called for federal rules to allow consumers to protect their data.

But the company said Friday that it's never sold private data and updated its online privacy policy to make that clear.

Schumer said Friday he hopes other manufacturers of wearable devices adopt similarly transparent rules.

Many Americans wear fitness bracelets and monitors or use mobile apps to monitor their activity.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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    Friday, August 22 2014 5:17 PM EDT2014-08-22 21:17:11 GMT
    The school year in Newark is getting off to a rocky start. Classes start in less than two weeks and parents are still waiting in line for hours to find out where their kids are enrolled. The problem is being blamed on a glitch in the school's new online open enrollment system. To say mother of three Jennifer Caraballo is frustrated may be an understatement. She is one of hundreds of Newark parents desperately now trying to find a new school for her children.
    The school year in Newark is getting off to a rocky start. Classes start in less than two weeks and parents are still waiting in line for hours to find out where their kids are enrolled. The problem is being blamed on a glitch in the school's new online open enrollment system. To say mother of three Jennifer Caraballo is frustrated may be an understatement. She is one of hundreds of Newark parents desperately now trying to find a new school for her children.
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  • Mark David Chapman

    John Lennon's killer denied parole again

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    Friday, August 22 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:10:09 GMT
    John Lennon's killer was denied release from prison in his eighth appearance before a parole board, New York corrections officials said Friday. The decision on Mark David Chapman by a three-member board came after a hearing Wednesday, the state Department of Corrections said. Chapman fired five shots on Dec. 8, 1980, outside the Dakota apartment house where Lennon lived on Manhattan's Upper West Side, hitting the ex-Beatle four times.
    John Lennon's killer was denied release from prison in his eighth appearance before a parole board, New York corrections officials said Friday. The decision on Mark David Chapman by a three-member board came after a hearing Wednesday, the state Department of Corrections said. Chapman fired five shots on Dec. 8, 1980, outside the Dakota apartment house where Lennon lived on Manhattan's Upper West Side, hitting the ex-Beatle four times.
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