NYC TRAIN DERAILMENT
NY train wreck could be case of highway hypnosis
NEW YORK (AP) - It's sometimes called "highway hypnosis" or "white-line fever," and it's familiar to anyone who has ever driven long distances along a monotonous route.
Drivers are lulled into a semi-trance state and reach their destination with little or no memory of parts of the trip. But what if it happened to an engineer at the controls of a speeding passenger train?
A lawyer and union representative say the man driving the Metro-North train that went off the rails Sunday in New York City, killing four passengers, experienced a momentary loss of awareness as he was zooming down the rails. They called the episode a "nod," or a "daze."
Their accounts raise questions about just how widespread the problem is in the transportation industry and what can be done to combat it.
NYC TRAIN DERAILMENT-CUOMO
Gov. Cuomo: Human error behind fatal NY crash
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it appears an engineer's speeding is likely to be what caused the fatal derailment of a New York City commuter train.
Cuomo made his comments Wednesday on New York public radio's 'Capitol Pressroom' show. Four people were killed and more than 60 others injured in the Sunday morning crash on a riverside curve in the Bronx.
The National Transportation Safety Board said the Metro-North Railroad train was travelling at more than 80 mph going into the curve, nearly three times the 30 mph speed limit.
The NTSB is investigating. A spokesman says the agency hasn't yet determined what caused the accident.
Cuomo also said in the interview the Metropolitan Transit Authority is looking at train safety technology designed to prevent human errors.
NYers glad trains are back but mindful of deaths
NEW YORK (AP) - A New York City commuter says he's impressed with how fast service has returned to Metro-North's Hudson line after Sunday's deadly train crash.
Matthew Adam was waiting for the 8:14 a.m. into Manhattan Wednesday at the Spuyten Duyvil (SPY'-tuhn DY'-vuhl) station in the Bronx where the accident occurred.
He says there's no excuse for the accident but says "getting the station open already is impressive."
Adam lives near the station and heard the crash on Sunday that killed four people and injured more than 60 others.
The video producer says he had to explain to his 5 year old "why bad things happen and that daddy is still safe on the train."
His train arrived at 8:29 a.m.
One of three Hudson Line tracks reopened Wednesday. Full service is to resume Thursday morning.
NY jury convicts 3 of drug dispute triple slaying
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - A federal jury has convicted three men of killing three drug-ring confederates inside a suburban Rochester apartment in 2010, slayings that stemmed from a dispute over money.
The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports jurors found them guilty of murder and drug conspiracy soon after starting deliberations Wednesday.
The trial for Richard Emanuel Anderson, Andrew Wright and Aston Johnson started two months ago. Prosecutors say they traveled from the Phoenix area to shoot the victims in an apartment in the town of Greece in March 2010.
They said the men were all Jamaicans involved in a trafficking network that moved more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana from 2008 until the time of the killings.
The victims were 29-year-old Robert Moncriffe, 40-year-old Christopher Green and 38-year-old Mark Wisdom.
Western NY man arrested after firing at police
BRANT, N.Y. (AP) - A 42-year-old western New York man is behind bars after firing shots at police.
Shaun Humphrey was taken into custody early Wednesday after a standoff with police who had responded to reports of a barricaded subject at a home in Brant, a hamlet just south of Buffalo. Authorities said Humphrey was reportedly upset about child custody issues.
State police crisis negotiators were able to have several short conversations with Humphrey, but he came out on the home's porch with a weapon just after 2 a.m. and fired several shots at police before going back inside.
After no contact for five hours, state police knocked in the front door and Humphrey surrendered. He was arraigned on several charges and is being held on $25,000 bail at Erie County Jail.
Upstate NY attorney arrested in financial scam
BRUNSWICK, N.Y. (AP) - After a year-long investigation, a 49-year-old upstate New York attorney has been arrested for her alleged role in a financial scheme.
The Albany County district attorney's office says Marcia Doyle of Averill Park bilked victims, most of whom were clients, friends, and business people, out of about $36,000.
State police say Doyle obtained the cash by promising very high return rates and short turn-around times. Most victims never received any repayment.
Doyle is charged with grand larceny and scheme to defraud. She was arraigned in the Town of Schaghticoke (SKAT'-ih-kohk) Court and is being held in Rensselaer County Jail on $25,000 bail.
Additional charges are pending.
It could not immediately be determined if Doyle has an attorney.
Government to dismiss charges in NFL phone prank
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Federal prosecutors have agreed to dismiss charges against two Massachusetts men who initiated and recorded a prank telephone call between two NFL general managers earlier this year.
U.S. Attorney William Hochul's office said Wednesday that Joshua Barber and Nicholas Kaiser must abide by certain undisclosed conditions for 18 months.
Prosecutors say the 21-year-olds from Plymouth, Mass., posed as Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik in March and dialed Buffalo Bills then-GM Buddy Nix, but hung up when he answered.
Barber then called Dominik's office at the same time that Nix called Barber's number back, thinking he'd been disconnected from Dominik.
Prosecutors say Barber used his cellphone to connect the two GMs and Kaiser recorded the candid conversation, which they sold to a website.
Investigators say the men had hoped to get Barber a tryout.
NY registration drive for STAR property tax breaks
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Officials are trying to get more homeowners to register for New York's STAR property tax break before the end-of-year deadline.
State tax officials are providing direct assistance to homeowners in seven STAR registration locations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday. The centers will be in Albany, Binghamton, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Long Island.
The STAR exemption averages $700 statewide. All homeowners have to reapply for the benefit as part of an effort to weed out waste and abuse.
State officials say 800,000 people still haven't registered with the Dec. 31 deadline looming.
More than 1.9 million homeowners have registered for basic STAR exemptions.
HOSPITAL UNION VOTE
Nurses at upstate NY hospital join union
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Nurses at an upstate New York hospital have voted to unionize.
The New York State Nurses Association reports the vote was 92-18 by registered nurses at Bellevue Women's Center in the Schenectady suburb of Niskayuna.
Christine Walthers, an RN, says they decided to join after management changes in patient care were made without consulting the nurses. She says the union gives them a voice.
Issues include changing assignments for nurses with specialized training who normally care for adults or newborns.
Matthew Van Pelt, spokesman for Ellis Medicine, says hospital leaders are disappointed by the vote but will negotiate with the union over the next several months to create a contract.
The New York State Nurses Association already represents nurses at Ellis' two nearby Schenectady campuses. The union says it now represents 37,000 nurses at 77 hospitals and 95 other health care facilities statewide.
NY settles complaint over child beverages ad
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says his office has reached a settlement with Abbott Laboratories over advertising for its Pediasure SideKicks beverages.
According to Schneiderman's office, Abbott has agreed to cease ads with unsubstantiated claims that the sugary drinks with added vitamins and minerals, which were introduced in 2010 and 2012, "targeted nutrition" for children's "unique needs."
The company, based in Abbott Park, Ill., will also pay a $25,000 penalty to the state.
The office said began investigating after getting complaints the ads were misleading by implying that pediatricians recommend Sidekicks for healthy, thriving children.
Abbott did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
VAN BUREN HONORED
NY National Guard to honor President Van Buren
KINDERHOOK, N.Y. (AP) - Members of the New York National Guard will be paying tribute to President Martin Van Buren at his Hudson Valley gravesite.
Van Buren was born in his family's tavern in Kinderhook, 20 miles south of Albany, on Dec. 5, 1782. He was the first president born under the United States flag. Van Buren served in the White House from 1837 to 1841. He died in July 1862 and is buried in Kinderhook Cemetery.
Brig. Gen. Raymond Shields, director of the joint staff for the New York National Guard, will be joined by Army and Air Guardsman at the cemetery Thursday morning for a wreath-laying ceremony marking Van Buren's 231st birthday.
The U.S. military honors the nation's former presidents by laying wreaths at their gravesites on the anniversary of their birth.
Knish crunch persists following NY factory fire
COPIAGUE, N.Y. (AP) - The knish crunch continues.
An official at a suburban New York factory that makes the popular square fried potato treats says it may be several more weeks until the shortage abates.
Gabila's Knishes, a 92-year-old company based in Copiague, Long Island, experienced a fire in late September that damaged the machinery that makes the potato puffs.
Gabila's bills itself as the world's biggest maker of knishes and ships them around the world.
Gabila's Stacey Ziskin Gabay had said last month that she hoped production would resume by Thanksgiving.
She says the company is still waiting for an important piece of equipment to complete repairs.
It could be until later this month before the kvetching over the knish crisis abates.
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