Terror attacks in NYC

At least eight people were killed and 15 injured after a speeding Home Depot pickup truck plowed along a street a few blocks north of the World Trade Center Tuesday afternoon in what officials are calling a terror attack. The NYPD said the rented pickup truck entered the West Street pedestrian/bike path a few blocks north of Chambers Street in Tribeca around 3 p.m. before striking a school bus and multiple people on the path.

The suspect exited the vehicle displaying imitation firearms—a paintball gun and pellet gun—and was then shot by the police in the abdomen. Police captured the 29-year-old driver, ID’d as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, an Uzbek national who was reportedly heard shouting, “Allahu Akbar.” He is currently at Bellevue Hospital and reportedly was in possession of a driver’s license from Florida.


NYC terror attack suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, entered US through Diversity Visa Program

The alleged ISIS fanatic, Sayfullo Saipov, who was behind Tuesday’s deadly New York City attack, came to the United States seven years ago from Uzbekistan under the Diversity Visa (DV) Program.

The DV Program, introduced in 1990 by Sen. Chuck Schumer, offers a lottery for people from countries with few immigrants in America. The DV program makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available annually. Applicants must prove they have a clean criminal record, have a high school diploma or equivalent, or have at least two years of work experience within the past five years in order to qualify. The program was part of a larger House immigration bill, which had bipartisan support and was ultimately signed by President George H.W. Bush.

President Trump tweeted about the program after the attack, stating that the DV program was “a Chuck Schumer beauty,” and said. “We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter).” Schumer responded to Trump’s comments early Wednesday, calling on the president to rescind proposed cuts to “vital anti-terrorism funding” in his budget.


Manafort Indictment

The special counsel’s five-month-old investigation into possible ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia escalated dramatically with news that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates were indicted on a dozen felony counts.

The 12 charges against Manafort and Gates fall broadly into three categories: failing to disclose lobbying activities on behalf of foreign entities, financial crimes and making false statements. Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to these charges. Separately, a foreign policy adviser to the campaign, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to misleading the FBI about outreach efforts to Russian government officials.

Papadopoulos misled the bureau about the timing of his involvement with the campaign, as well as the significance of interactions he had with people he understood to be connected to Russian government officials. Papadopolous’ repeated outreach efforts are sure to raise more questions of collusion.

Hi Tor to hold first public meeting in years

Hi Tor Animal Care Center representatives and county officials will hold a rare meeting on November 2 to discuss the shelter’s finances and plans for the future. The meeting will take place from 7-9 p.m. at the Rockland County Fire Training Center auditorium, 35 Fireman’s Memorial Drive, Pomona.

Hi Tor’s new leadership has called attention to its desperate financial condition and has requested that Rockland’s towns pay substantially more to send strays to its facility. It is also raising money to build a new shelter on land adjacent to the aging building that has housed its operations for decades. Hi Tor President Debbie DiBernardo and representatives from the board of directors will be there to present updates about the budget, policies, service dog program and its move to become a contract agency under the Rockland County Department of Health.

Stephen Powers, Rockland County’s director of public policy and intergovernmental relations, will also be available to address questions about land the county is allocating to Hi Tor and the $1.2 million bond in the budget toward construction of a new facility.


ATV crash in Sloatsburg

Two people sustained serious injuries when an all-terrain vehicle and a Subaru collided in front of Sunnyside’s Bar and Grill on Saturday night. The driver of the ATV, a 51-year-old Sloatsburg man, suffered serious head injuries and was taken to Sloatsburg ball field where a medevac helicopter flew him to Westchester Medical Center.

The driver of the Subaru, a 30-year-old Monroe man and his 29-year-old passenger were rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital in a Sloatsburg ambulance for observation and released. As of Monday afternoon, Ramapo police said no tickets have been issued, but the crash remains under investigation.

University Research Institute Find New York State Park System Supports $5 billion in sales, 54,000 jobs

A new economic impact study commissioned by the park advocacy group Parks & Trails New York and conducted by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts found that the New York State Park System and its visitors generated spending of about $5 billion, which supported nearly 54,000 jobs within the state of New York and over $2.8 billion in state GDP.

The parks system also offers numerous other benefits, including potentially increasing property values for properties near parkland; increasing tax receipts; reducing pollution; mitigating the impacts of climate change; promoting health and wellness; and fostering a sense of community. Visitation to New York State parks and historic sites has increased 21 percent since 2011, when Governor Cuomo initiated NY Parks 2020, a multiyear plan to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for state park capital improvement.


Albany area state, county, local leaders call for investigation into absentee ballot fraud

On October 30, more than 30 state, county, and local elected officials united outside of the offices of the New York State Board of Elections to call on the state Board of Elections, Attorney General Eric G. Schneiderman, and Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares to investigate potential wrongful activity in the absentee ballot process in both the primary and general elections in the City of Albany and Albany County.

The investigators believe affidavits were provided to voters containing false reasons for their need to file an absentee ballot. In all 45 voters have offered statements supporting irregular activities and dozens of officials are now asking for a full investigation into evidence of possible wrongdoing under New York Election and criminal law.


Warming Center

Ya’el Williams, executive director of Helping Hands, and Joan Silvestri, the county’s commissioner of social services, will be using the Robert L. Yeager Health Complex—which has been vacant for four years—as part of a new warming center where Rockland’s homeless population can find shelter, food and access to services during the coldest months of the year.

Helping Hands will provide transportation to and from the warming center from sites in Nyack, Village of Haverstraw and Spring Valley. Individuals will undergo a screening process when they arrive in order to determine if they are in need of additional mental health or medical services. The space will be able to house about 75 people and is expected to be completed by mid November.

It will require at least 12 employees, which includes private security, case managers, supervisors and drivers. The total cost will be $455,000, at least half of which is expected to be reimbursed by the state.


NY has poor hospital safety ratings, Hudson Valley mediocre at best

According to the nonprofit Leapfrog Group’s latest state ranking, Hudson Valley hospitals got mixed grades, but New York overall ranked the 47th worst state for hospital safety. The grades factor in medical errors, infections and injuries, based in part on patient responses to surveys, data provided to federal agencies, the American Hospital Association and voluntarily to Leapfrog.

Leapfrog is a watchdog organization that was started by employers and unions that wanted more public information about patient safety and quality. Leapfrog is one of the most prominent national watchdogs and is widely considered among the toughest graders, with 15 hospitals nationally getting a failing mark. The latest Leapfrog report issued grades for 2,600 hospitals in the US, but that doesn’t represent all hospitals nationally. Some hospitals are excluded from safety ratings for a number of reasons, such as insufficient data reported during the select period.


Ed Day’s mother passes

The Rockland County executive election campaign took a temporary pause after the death of incumbent Ed Day’s mother. Jane E. Day passed away on October 28 at her home on Staten Island at the age of 89.

Jane Day was originally from Brooklyn, where she and her husband, Edwin Day, raised their family. Day and challenger Maureen Porette both pledged to ease up on the politics during this time. Day canceled a scheduled appearance at a candidates forum and several other local events on Sunday, but was back at work on Monday. Visitation was held on Wednesday at Matthew Funeral Home in Staten Island, and the funeral service was held at the funeral home as well.

Memorial donations can be made in her name to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, 2361 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10306.

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