Official Cause of Death Released in Late-Term Abortion Botch
Authorities confirmed on February 20 that New Rochelle resident Jennifer Morbelli, 29, died from complications arising from a late-term abortion performed in Maryland. The cause of death was stated to be a result of amniotic fluid which seeped into her bloodstream, preventing clotting and causing her to bleed to death. Problems arose in her hotel room with complaints of shortness of breath and chest pains, leading to her admission to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, where she died.

Brooklyn Man Pleads Guilty in Large-Scale Holocaust Reparation Fraud
Brooklyn resident Henry Gordin, 75, pled guilty on February 20 to defrauding member organizations within the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc., which seeks to compensate elderly survivors of Nazi atrocities. Gordin is one of thirty one defendants to be tried in a long-term case of fraud which lasted for over a decade until it was discovered in 2009. The defendants committed the fraud by filing false applications with the Hardship Fund and Article 2 Fund, two groups formed specifically to disburse Holocaust reparations. Gordin, who worked as a caseworker with the Hardship Fund, also assisted in approving known fraudulent requests. In total, the group filed 4,951 applications, costing the organizations a combined total of $57.3 million. He will be sentenced on August 7, facing a maximum of twenty years in prison.

New Nanuet Chamber of Commerce and Officials Announce Proposed Renovations of Nanuet Main St.
Stephanie Hausner of the Nanuet Chamber of Commerce hosted a community meeting on ideas to enhance Main Street and Route 59 and revitalize the town by making it more accessible and aesthetically-pleasing. Much of the discussion centered on suggestions to improve facades and sidewalks on Main Street, which has been criticized for its inconsistent and slightly decrepit appearance. Route 59 was discussed as part of a long-term update to Clarkstown’s comprehensive plan, which will review and upgrade Routes 9W, 303, 59, and 304, transforming them from local highways major state corridors. The process of opening Nanuet up into an aesthetically-pleasing and Main Street-geared neighborhood will likely involve retail, major retail, and residential zoning. According to Hausner, the first two zoning categories will likely be easier to accomplish due to the less suburban, more storefront-driven character of Nanuet.

Attorney for West Haverstraw Gas Explosion Defendant Blames Utility 
White Plains attorney Vojtech Bystricky, who is representing West Haverstraw resident Fidel Padilla, addressed a reckless endangerment case stemming from a gas explosion on January 16, 2012 by publicly defended his client’s innocence. According to Bystricky, Padilla’s workers with FGC Communications were contracted to lay down new fiber optics cable for Verizon when they were given faulty information on underground gas line locations. The dig punctured a natural gas line in the Village Fairgrounds II Housing Complex, destroying a townhouse at 52 Zariello Lane and damaged several nearby residences. Bystricky went on to state Padilla’s company followed all New York State “Dig Safely” rules and argued that Orange & Rockland had the primary responsibility to warn against digging in the location of the accident, but chose to give FGC the go-ahead for the proposed location.

State Report Shows Federal Actions Enhanced State Tax Collections
A report released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli revealed significant growth in state income tax revenue. The growth is believed to be a temporary increase spurred by changes taxpayers made in response to new federal tax laws. DiNapoli explained that the 3.3 percent increase came partly as a result of changes to federal tax law which encouraged high-income taxpayers to shift their income, resulting in unexpectedly high personal income tax collections for the state. The new federal regulations also boosted the number of bonuses at the end of December, a move meant to avoid federal tax increases. Though there was an increase in state revenue, DiNapoli pointed to Medicaid reimbursement cuts and other state finance difficulties to caution against making similar forecasts for the next fiscal year.

Piermont Community Garden Comeback Planned
Piermont residents working with the Piermont Community Garden have announced plans to rebuild their project, which was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. Garden members have begun fundraising for the new garden through their website. The new garden will have paved walkways and new irrigation measures, taking over 10,000 bricks and pavers to complete. Founding member and architect Dan Sherman stated the intention was to design an aesthetically-pleasing but somewhat storm-resistant garden. In the aftermath of the storm, the garden’s fence was wrecked, garden beds were ripped out, the garden shed was upended, and debris was strewn across the lot. Though it was not the first time the lot had sustained storm damage, it was some of the worst seen since the garden was created in 1995.

White House Plans to Provide Open Access for Government Research
The White House announced a new initiative on February 23 to open federally-funded research to the general public. Findings will be released free of charge by directing any organization with over $100 million in research expenditures to have a White House-approved plan to open its findings within six months. Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren stated the goal of the program was to both protect the interests of the scientific community and enhancing public access to cutting edge research. The decision came at a juncture between events including an online petition requesting disclosure of federal studies, the suicide of Reddit co-founder and internet activist Aaron Swartz following prosecution for leaking scholarly articles, and concerns in the scientific community over the financial impact of open access.

Forty Four Gun Companies Halt Sales to Law Enforcement in Gun Control-Heavy States
The Blaze published a growing list of gun companies which have ceased sales to law enforcement. Since last week, they added twenty six names to an initial list of eighteen, bringing the total up to 44 groups. The companies largely justify their positions by stressing their refusal to sell weapons to lawbreakers. By extension, they will not sell to police in states such as New York, which they argue undermined the U.S. Constitution by passing the SAFE Act. While most of the list consists of local gun and tactical supply retailers, it also includes national retailers, online outlets, and manufacturers such as Barrett Firearms, though the “Big Three” manufacturers (Sig Sauer, Glock, and Smith & Wesson) have not joined.

Adolfo Carrion to Run for NYC Mayor on Independence Party Ticket
The Independence Party unanimously voted for Adolfo Carrion as their candidate for the next New York City mayoral race, introducing a third candidate into what was expected to be a race between Democrat and Republican primary winners. The Party’s decision marks a change from the last three races, where they contributed to Mike Bloomberg’s three wins as he ran on a Republican line and. Given their separation from Republican allies, competition is anticipated to be stiffer than previous races. Carrion served as the White House Director of Urban Affairs and regional director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama Administration before switching party affiliation from Democrat to Independent in fall 2012.

Carlucci Joins Mental Health Advocates in Call to Restore “Prescriber Prevails”
State Senator David Carlucci met with mental health advocates, doctors, and patients on February 21, referring to the cuts as a “prescription for failure” and joining critics in a call to restore Medicaid’s “Prescriber Prevails” program for state drug plans and especially for atypical antipsychotics. The Prescriber Prevails program gave doctors the final authority on which medications will best assist their patients. It is at risk in the upcoming budget proposal, which threatens to cut the program to save $9.38 million. Critics have argued the repeal could create serious problems when patients lose access to fast, careful, and detailed consultations on medications, which become far more difficult when patients must work with insurance entities. 

Egypt Denies U.S. Authorities Access to Benghazi Suspect
Egyptian authorities have denied U.S. investigators direct access to Abu Ahmed, a suspect involved in the September 11 U.S. Embassy attack in Libya which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and four others. Though Egyptian authorities have not given investigators a direct line to interrogate Ahmed, they have provided intelligence from their own operations. According to Thomas Joscelyn with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Egyptian authorities often prefer to maintain indirect lines of communication between American interrogators and Egyptian-held terror suspects. Ahmed did not directly take part in the attack, but is suspected to have trained direct participants in in East Libyan camps, introducing them to the same mortars and heavy artillery which were used in the assault.

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