<![CDATA[NBC New York - Local News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Fri, 31 Oct 2014 18:29:11 -0400 Fri, 31 Oct 2014 18:29:11 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[4th NJ Family Tied Up, Robbed by Intruders in 10 Days]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:24:02 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Home-Invasion-Edison-NJ.jpg

A fourth family in one New Jersey county was tied up and robbed by intruders just days after authorities said three other homes were hit, possibly by the same group of masked gunmen.

Prosecutors said two masked intruders barged into an Edison home, tied up the family and ransacked the house. It wasn't clear if anything was stolen. The home's owner said his wife was taking out the garbage when the invaders attacked. He and his wife were tied up along with their three children.

The robbery marks the fourth time in less than two weeks that intruders have targeted families in Middlesex County in less than two weeks. The first two homes were robbed in Old Bridge last week; the third home, in South Plainfield, was hit on Tuesday.

All four families robbed were Indian-American, and authorities say they could have been targeted because of their ethnicity.

Regardless of why the thieves are targeting certain homes, Middlesex County homeowners are concerned.

"I have two daughters and they say, 'Mom, I'm afraid. What's going on here?'" said Maria Tantillo, whose family leaves near the scene of the third home invasion. "They don't want to stay home by themselves."

South Plainfield's mayor says additional police patrols will be dispatched in his town.

--Tracie Strahan contributed to this story. 

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<![CDATA[Man Who Fell to Death in NY Mall Slipped Off Escalator: Police]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:58:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/palisades+mall+fall+credit+journal+news.jpg

The 54-year-old man with developmental disabilities who fell to his death during a group trip to a New York mall Thursday lost his balance and fell off the side of an escalator, police said Friday.

Police have described the fall as a "tragic accident."

The man, who lived in New York Foundling’s group home in Rockland County, was riding up the escalator between the third and fourth floors at The Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack with his back to the railing when he lost his balance, Clarkstown detectives say. 

Police say as the man stumbled, the upward motion of the hand railing’s belt continued to push his body off the side of the escalator, causing him to plummet to his death.

A group home staff member who was with the man and three other residents tried to grab the man to stop him from falling to no avail.

The New  York Foundling said it was "deeply saddened" by the man's death.

"The safety of the individuals in our care is paramount, and we are doing everything we can to help determine what led to this terrible accident," the group home said in a statement.

The Palisades mall is the largest shopping mall in the New York metropolitan area.



Photo Credit: The Journal News]]>
<![CDATA[Sick Driver, 65, Hits 2 People, Crashes Into Cars]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:34:07 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/queens+accident.jpg

A 65-year-old driver with a heart problem hit two pedestrians and slammed into parked cars in Queens after suffering a medical emergency on the road Friday, authorities say.

The driver smashed into the cars near 108th Street and 66th Avenue in Forest Hills shortly before 9:30 a.m.

He hit two pedestrians, police said, but their injuries were minor and they didn't go to the hospital.

The driver was taken to the hospital in stable condition.



Photo Credit: @minyuforce/Instagram ]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Help Line Worker Suspended for Robot Voice]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:34:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WEB+Call+Center.jpg

A city worker on a help line was suspended from his job for 20 days after callers complained that he was answering customer-service calls in a robotic voice, according to a published report. 

Ronald Dillon, 66, who works on a help line for the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, frequently answered calls in a "slow, monotone and overenunciated manner," according to a ruling written by administrative judge Kara J. Miller.

For a six-month period in 2012 and 2013, he would state in an "unprofessional, robotic voice," according to the ruling published by The New York Times, "You have reached the help desk. This is Mr. Dillon. How may I help you?" 

Dillon would eventually adjust his voice to a "normal tone," but callers didn't like they he greeted them, according to the Times.

Dillon, who unsuccessfully tried to appeal Miller's decision to suspend him for insubordination, argued that he was only trying to neutralize his Brooklyn accent. 

He added that his boss was constantly "harassing" and "belittling" him, according to the Times, and wanted to maintain an even phone voice so that his boss wouldn't have an excuse to harp on him any further. 

But Miller concluded Dillon appears to be a "disgruntled employee who is acting out" in response to a change of duties and a new supervisor, the Times reported. 

The judge said she believed Dillon, a civil servant since 1975 with a prior record of good service, is capable of reforming his behavior.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[1 Killed, 2 Hurt in Shooting Outside Nightclub: NYPD]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:34:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Queens-Nightclub-Shooting-Scene.jpeg

A woman was killed and two other people were injured in a shooting outside a Queens nightclub early Friday, police say.

The woman, whose identity hasn't been released, was shot in the neck and legs outside Club Hive NYC on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst at about 4:15 a.m., according to the NYPD.

She was taken to the hospital in critical condition and later died.

Another woman was shot in the buttocks and legs and a man's head was grazed by a bullet, police say. Both of those victims are in stable condition and are expected to survive.

Investigators say the shooting stemmed from a large fight inside the club that spilled onto the street.

The club said on its Facebook page it was hosting an after-party for a concert sponsored by a local hip-hop radio station Thursday night and Friday morning.

No arrests have been made.

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<![CDATA[Police Look for Link Between Ax Attacks on Cops]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 12:55:25 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/hatchet+attack+nypd.jpg

The NYPD is working with authorities in Washington, D.C., to determine if there's a connection between an ax on a police officer in the U.S. capital Friday and a similar attack on a group of New York cops last week.

John Miller, the NYPD's Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counter-terrorism, said there is nothing to indicate at this time that Zale Thompson, the suspect shot dead after assaulting a group of rookie officers with a hatchet on a Queens street last Thursday, communicated with anyone else prior to the attack.

In the D.C. attack, a man smashed a police officer's car with an ax. The officer wasn't hit by it, but hurt his shoulder when he tried to tackle the suspect. The suspect got away.

Authorities have described Thompson as "self-radicalized." They say it appeared terror was his "intent" in attacking the officers. One was badly hurt after Thompson hit him with a hatchet in the head; that officer was released from the hospital Thursday. A second officer whose arm was cut was treated at a hospital and released shortly after the attack.

Thompson's activity on social media indicated he was a convert to Islam and included rants about injustices in American society and oppression abroad but offered no clear evidence of any direct affiliation with terror groups or other individuals, police said.

Thompson charged a group of four officers with the 18-inch hatchet as they posed for a picture by a freelance photographer on a Jamaica street corner, striking two of them. The two other officers who were not yet opened fire, killing Thompson.

Thompson had six prior arrests in California in 2003 and 2004, mostly on domestic charges, authorities said. His only point of contact with the NYPD was in 1998 -- as a victim of assault. Thompson was involuntarily discharged from the military in 2003 after a three-year stint, possibly because of drugs, officials said. An ax and a hunting knife were recovered from his home.  

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<![CDATA[Water Main Break Floods New Jersey Intersection]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:25:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Bergen-Water-Main-Break.jpg

A large water main break in New Jersey flooded streets and sent a geyser bubbling into a New Jersey intersection Friday, authorities say.

The main burst around noon at Moonachie Avenue and Moonachie Road in Moonachie, causing water to rush into the roadway.

Chopper 4 footage from the scene shows flooding at the intersection and water continuing stream out of the pipe.

The cause of the break isn’t clear, but construction equipment is nearby.

It’s not clear when the break will be stopped.

The intersection is closed while crews work.

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<![CDATA[Suspect Charged in Apartment Building Sex Attack: NYPD]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:45:25 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/192*120/suspect+morningside+heights.jpg

A homeless man who police say has a violent past was charged in an alleged sex assault on a Manhattan block filled with off-campus Columbia University students, authorities say. 

The 27-year-old victim was walking into her Morningside Heights apartment building at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday when the suspect allegedly followed her into the vestibule and attacked her, police said.

He allegedly fondled her, then knocked her to the ground and tried to remove her underwear before he ran away, according to police.

The victim wasn't hurt and declined medical treatment at the scene, police said.

Police say 27-year-old Allen Taylor, was arrested early Friday and is charged with attempted rape, burglary and sexual abuse in the attack. Details on his prior arrests weren't immediately available, but police sources said they were violent in nature.

The area of the attack, West 113th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, is popular with Columbia students living off campus. The school's public safety department issued an alert campuswide after the attack.

Columbia University grad student Zainie Jamani was startled when she recognized the picture in the email. She'd seen a man matching Taylor's description on the street the night before and said he appeared "pretty drunk and sort of kept turning around and looking back."

"We had one of those situations where he was sort of sidestepping one way, and we were going the other way," she said. "I remember thinking I'm so glad there's a doorman right here."

Another grad student with her at the time, Hannah Abbas, said the street was not even deserted at that time.

"There was a lot of people around," she said.

Columbia junior Cameron Molin said the area is "known for being a comfortable area for a lot of people, nobody really expects anything like that to happen near here."

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<![CDATA[Crime and Courts]]> Mon, 10 Sep 2012 11:40:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/gavel.jpg

Photo Credit: Martin Poole /Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[School Bus Driver, 60, Accused of Masturbating on Road]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:05:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bertart+masturbate.jpg

A 60-year-old upstate school bus driver was arrested for allegedly masturbating behind the wheel, authorities say.

Police say a student on the bus in Suffern Wednesday morning allegedly saw the driver expose and touch himself. The alleged behavior "lasted a short period of time," according to police.

The student was dropped off at a nearby parochial school and told his parents and school officials.

The driver, Robert Bertart, of Orangetown, was subsequently arrested and charged with public lewdness and endangering the welfare of a child.

Vel Coach Company of Nanuet, which operates the bus Bertart was driving, said Bertart no longer works there. The company said it is cooperating with authorities.

"To help safeguard against this type of incident, we do conduct background checks that include fingerprinting and FBI criminal history of all drivers during the hiring process," the company said in a statement. "We have zero tolerance for these incidents."

Bertart had been with the company for about six years and drove buses for various schools. 

Michael George contributed to this report. 

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<![CDATA[WATCH: News 4 New York]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:55:27 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NBC-4-NewYork-Watch-NOW.jpg

NBC 4 New York streams live at 5 p.m. every weekday.

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<![CDATA[Man Caught on Camera Shooting Into Building Lobby: NYPD]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:57:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Bushwick-Building-Shooting-1031.jpg

Police say they are looking for the man who was caught on camera firing a gun into the lobby of a Brooklyn building and hitting a 31-year-old man inside Wednesday night.

The gunman and an accomplice were spotted on surveillance cameras going into the lobby of the building on Woodbine Street in Bushwick at about 11 p.m., according to the NYPD.

They walk back out a few seconds later and one of the two men is then seen pulling out a handgun and firing several times. Both men then ran away.

Officials say the 31-year-old man was hit in the left arm and chest. He was taken to Brookdale Hospital and is in stable condition.

Anyone with information about the men is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

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<![CDATA[The Death of Eric Garner]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:45:32 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/eric+garner+death+inset.jpg

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Dies in Fall at New York Mall]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:13:12 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/palisades+mall+fall+credit+journal+news.jpg

A 54-year-old man with developmental disabilities living in an upstate assisted living home fell to his death during a group trip to a New York mall Thursday in what police are describing as "a tragic accident."

Police say the man fell near Best Buy at The Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack shortly before 10:30 a.m. He apparently fell near the entrance of a third-floor escalator and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The man was on a "Day Habilitation" trip with a staff member and three other residents of The New York Foundling's Rockland County group home at the time of the accident. The staff member was there when it happened.

It wasn't clear why the man fell, nor was it known how many stories he fell.

The New York Foundling said it was "deeply saddened" by the man's death.

"The safety of the individuals in our care is paramount, and we are doing everything we can to help determine what led to this terrible accident," the group home said in a statement.

Grief counselors are being made available to staff and clients.

The Palisades mall is the largest shopping mall in the New York metropolitan area. 



Photo Credit: The Journal News]]>
<![CDATA[Most NYers Approve of Cuomo's Ebola Response: Poll]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:20:01 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cuomo+astorino1.jpg

Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers approve of the way Gov. Andrew Cuomo handled the state's first case of Ebola, and even more are in favor of quarantining people who have come in contact with Ebola patients, according to a new poll that shows him with a solid lead over his gubernatorial challenger.

Sixty-three percent backed Cuomo on his reaction to the hospitalization of a New York City doctor with Ebola versus 22 percent who did not, the NBC 4 New York/The Wall Street Journal/Marist College poll released Thursday found.

The poll comes less than a week before Cuomo faces Republican challenger Rob Astorino at the polls in a bid for a second term. Cuomo is ahead of Astorino, the Westchester County executive, by almost two to one, with 56 percent of likely voters supporting the incumbent and 30 percent supporting Astorino. The Green Party candidate, Howie Hawkins, gets 6 percent of the vote.

Seven percent of respondents are undecided.

“This remains a lopsided contest between Cuomo and Astorino,” said Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion.

The poll surveyed 1,042 adults from Oct. 26 through Oct. 28. It included 880 registered voters, 503 of whom were expected to vote. The margin of error for all adults was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The poll comes after Craig Spencer, a New York City doctor who had recently volunteered with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea, was hospitalized and diagnosed with Ebola last week, and after Cuomo announced strict new quarantine requirements for Ebola workers returning from West Africa. The day before Spencer developed symptoms and was isolated at Bellevue Hospital Center, he had gone running, visited a park, eaten at a restaurant, taken the subway and gone bowling in Brooklyn.

On Oct. 24, Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced a mandatory 21-day quarantine of all medical workers and others arriving from West Africa who had had contact with Ebola patients. The policy immediately drew criticism from public health and medical experts who called it unnecessary and likely to discourage much-needed volunteers in West Africa.

New York’s new protocols allow travelers to be quarantined in their own homes. If a traveler were planning to stay at a hotel, the New York City Health Department must first assess its suitability. Out-of-city and out-of-state quarantines can also be approved.

New Yorkers, according to the poll, are in favor of a ban on travel to the United States from the West African countries in the midst of an Ebola epidemic, with 57 percent approving a ban compared with 38 percent who do not. Only black likely voters disapproved of such a ban, with 42 percent backing one and 53 percent opposing one.

Cuomo has said that the federal government should consider a travel ban during the Ebola crisis.

An even greater percentage of New Yorkers, 82 percent, said they supported the 21-day quarantine of anyone arriving from West Africa who had contact with Ebola patients, regardless of whether the person were showing symptoms. Only 15 percent disapproved of that quarantine.

Joy Dunkley, a 53-year-old librarian from New York City, said there was no need for quarantines for medical personal who could monitor themselves, nor for a travel ban.

Dunkley, who has a master's degree in public health, said she was a Democrat but would not vote for Cuomo.

“I think he was just an opportunist,” said Dunkley. “This is an election year and we all know his intention is to run for president so he just thought he could jump on the band wagon. But it’s a poor way to treat our health professionals.”

In the race for governor, Cuomo is winning among three-quarters of Democrats and almost a third of Republicans, Miringoff said. The race is closest upstate, where the governor is ahead of Astorino by 9 percentage points. In New York City, Cuomo leads 72 percent to 13 percent. In the suburbs, Cuomo leads 57 percent to 37 percent.

Those numbers are little changed from September, when Cuomo led Astorino 54 percent to 29 percent among likely voters.

The majority of voters who favor Astorino are voting against Cuomo, he said. Forty-one percent of likely voters do not have a favorable opinion of Astorino compared with 32 percent who do. Twenty-seven percent said they were unsure or had never heard of Astorino.

Favorability numbers were flipped for Cuomo as compared with Astorino. Fifty-six percent had a favorable opinion of the governor, 37 percent had an unfavorable one and only 7 percent were unsure.

But if New York’s registered voters seem inclined to re-elect Cuomo, they have little interest in sending him to the White House. Only 20 percent said they wanted him to run for president in 2016. Sixty-seven percent said they did not.

“Not a big send-off at this point if Cuomo has wider ambitions,” Miringoff said.

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<![CDATA[Radar Could Help Prevent Bird Strikes: Lawmakers]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:24:45 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bird-stirke-radar.jpg

On Oct. 4, JetBlue flight 683 left John Kennedy F. International Airport around 7 a.m., bound for Orlando. But shortly after takeoff, the plane carrying 144 passengers returned to Kennedy. A JetBlue spokeswoman said the captain encountered a bird strike.
   
In April, passenger Grant Cordone left Kennedy on Delta Flight 1063 bound for Los Angeles. He was recording video out his window moments before a flock of birds went into the plane’s right engine.

“I’ll never forget the jolt of the plane,” said Cordone, a business consultant. “The cabin filled with smoke and it smelled like barbecue chicken.  It was the most terrifying moment of my life."

Since 2009, there have been 1,053 bird strikes at Kennedy, 728 at LaGuardia Airport and 697 at Newark Liberty Airport. 

There is a technology that can track and even predict where birds fly and flock. The radar, which is currently being tested at airports in Seattle and Dallas, has been effective at helping airport officials manage birds near airports, the Federal Aviation Administration wrote in a 2011 report. 

Airport officials can interpret the radar, figure out where the birds are and dipatch wildlife experts to either capture them or scare them away. Experts say that removing these hazards from the flight path of planes is one way of preventing bird strikes.  

"It's been very successful," said Steve Ozmek, resident wildlife biologist at Seatle-Tacoma International Airport, where it's being tested. "We are looking at approach corridors going to and from airports."

Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens) and Congressman Jim Moran, a Virginia Democrat, sent a letter to the FAA asking why avian radar systems are not being used at all airports, particularly at LaGuardia Airport. 

In Jan. 2009, United Flight 1549 left LaGuardia but shortly after takeoff, a flock of geese disabled both of the planes engines. What happened next would be dubbed the "Miracle on the Hudson,"  when Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger splash-landed the plane on the Hudson River.  Everyone survived.

"You know this airport is one of the most congested and heavily used airports in the United States," Crowley told the I-Team. "And we have a history of bird strikes here."

The FAA says they tested avian radar at Kennedy Airport but the results of the study have not yet been published. Ed Herricks, a researcher from the University of Illinois who worked on the study told the I-Team that the area surrounding Kennedy Airport had particularly dense bird traffic that made reading the radars difficult.  Herricks added that any use of avian technology at Kennedy would require several radars, not just one.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta responded to the congressional letter by saying that the "FAA has been highly supportive of avian radar systems...but no U.S. airport has requested financial assistance to buy a system."

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which would be responsible for purchasing avian radars, told the I-Team the test run at Kennedy had "significant drawbacks," including "false positives, failures to detect birds, as well as an inability to update quickly enough for real time use."

Researchers admit the radars are not yet ready for real time capabilities, but avian radar is being used successfully at airports in Israel and Japan.  

"And we don’t think we’re asking too much for the flying public," said Crowley.  "For the safety of the surrounding homes as well."  

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<![CDATA[Dad of NJ Boy Who Fatally Shot Pal, 6, Pleads Guilty]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:44:14 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/anthony+senatore+guilty+plea.jpg

The father of a then-4-year-old New Jersey boy who fatally shot his 6-year-old neighbor with his father's unsecured gun has pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in exchange for less jail time, NBC 4 New York has learned.

Anthony Senatore of Toms River pleaded guilty Thursday to the charges in connection with the April 2013 shooting death of Brandon Holt. Senatore's young son shot Holt once in the head with Senatore's gun -- a .22-caliber rifle the father was accused of keeping loaded, unsecured in his bedroom.

Senatore's lawyer previously said his client was "deeply horrified over what took place and feels awful about it," but that the case should've been tried in civil, not criminal, court.

Last November, Senatore rejected a plea deal that would've required him to serve seven years in prison. In exchange for the guilty plea Thursday, Senatore will serve two three-year jail terms simultaneously when he is sentenced Feb. 5.

Senatore had originally faced six counts of child endangerment -- one for each of the five unsecured firearms investigators say they found accessible to his three children and one for endangering the welfare of Holt by leaving his gun in a place where his own child could get it. . 

The Holt family has filed a lawsuit against the Senatores accusing Senatore and his wife of recklessness that led to their son's death. .  



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Drunk Driver Tried to Lure Girls at Bus Stop: Police]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:44:02 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/jake+giffuni.jpg

A Long Island man drove up to two girls waiting at a bus stop and asked if they wanted a ride to school while he was intoxicated behind the wheel, police say. 

The 23-year-old suspect drove his 2002 Honda Accord to the stop on East Pulaski Road in Huntington Thursday morning and asked the 13-year-old and 15-year-old sisters if they wanted a ride to school, according to police. The girls said no, and the man drove away. 

The girls' parents called 911, and a responding police officer found the suspect, Jake Giffuni, in his car in front of his home and determined he was intoxicated, police said. 

Giffuni was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated and two counts of child endangerment. He's being held overnight at Suffolk's Second Precinct station for arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip Friday, police said.

Attorney information wasn't immediately available. 

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<![CDATA[Gore Still on Manhattan Traffic Pole Days After Accident]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:27:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/human+remains+midtown.JPG

A Manhattan resident is frustrated by the runaround she says she's gotten from the city while trying to get gore removed from the scene of a gruesome midtown crash last week. 

Cassandra Dunn first contacted NBC 4 New York with photos of what appear to be small bits of remains spattered on a light pole at 33rd Street and Lexington Avenue.

Dunn said she believes the remains were left from a crash involving an SUV, taxi cab and several pedestrians last Thursday. The FDNY confirmed two pedestrians were hurt in the crash. 

She said the carnage included fat, blood and hair.

"It's pretty gross, definitely a major biohazard," she said. "People are walking by with their dogs, their children." 

Though the remains haven't been tested, biowaste worker Sal Pain of Bio Recovery Corporation said at the scene Wednesday he's positive they are human.

"You have human hair, all different types of fluids," said Pain, whose company has several high-profile contracts with the city, including for potential Ebola waste removal. 

Pain said the remains will likely "just sit there until someone decides to hose it down." 

Dunn has been on a mission to get the scene cleaned up since the accident, but can't find anyone to help. She called 311, who referred her to the NYPD, who referred her to the sanitation department. 

She then called the state health department, who referred her to the medical examiner -- who then referred her to the forensics department. 

She tried the CDC, who pointed her back to the state health department.

Dunn finally emailed the mayor's office, and she said she's still waiting for a response. 

"Basically, I've been run around and no one wants to help me with this," she said. 

NBC 4 New York's attempts to reach the same departments and agencies yielded the same results: each department referred questions to another. 

A spokeswoman at the city's sanitation department said it was their understanding that "NYPD generally calls a medical waste removal company to crime/accident senes to remove any potential medical waste." 

The NYPD did not respond to a message Wednesday. The FDNY said in certain instances, it hoses down accident scenes as a courtesy but they are not responsible for doing so. The department said it was not asked to do that in this case.

But the mayor's office said Thursday the FDNY typically does wash down the street in those situations and that it cleaned the scene the night of the accident, despite evidence of remains still there Wednesday night. A spokeswoman said a fire battalion went back after NBC 4 New York's report aired and washed it down a second time. 

-- John Chandler contributed to this report. 

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<![CDATA[NJ, NY Mayors Order Halloween Curfews for Kids]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:59:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/halloween_generic.jpg

Trick-or-treaters – and just about anyone else under the age of 18 – will have to be home by early this this Halloween in two large tri-state cities.

Mayors in Newark, New Jersey, and Yonkers, New York, announced that unaccompanied minors must be home for most of the night between Friday night and Saturday morning.

Newark's curfew mandates that unaccompanied minors must be home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. In Yonkers, kids who are 13 or younger have to be home between 10 pm. and 6 a.m., but teens between 14 and 18 years old can stay out for an extra hour.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said his city's curfew is to ensure the safety of children and to prevent any late-night mischief.

“Halloween will fall this year on a Friday, which will enable more children to participate in these annual festivities,” Baraka said. “It is important for residents to be safety-conscious at all times, particularly on Halloween night, when children are out on our streets trick-or-treating.”

Minors caught out after curfew in Newark will be written a warning ticket that will be kept in a file for six months. If a child misses curfew more than once in that period, they could be arrested and face a fine of up to $1,000. 

In Yonkers, police will pick up children out after curfew, holding them at a precinct until a parent or guardian can come pick them up. 

Children can stay out after curfew in both towns if they're with a parent or if they're traveling to or from school, cultural or religious events. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect Says "Excuse Me," Gropes Woman: NYPD]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:19:45 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Queens-Elevator-Groper-NYC.jpg

Police say a suspect in his late teens said “Excuse me” before groping a woman in a Queens elevator Wednesday afternoon.

The 31-year-old woman was riding in an elevator in a Forest Hills building with the suspect at about 5:45 p.m. when the he grabbed her buttocks, according to the NYPD.

After the groping, the suspect ran out of the elevator and then left the building.

The woman was not injured.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

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<![CDATA[Organic Milk Shortage Looms as Demand Spikes]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:49:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000005209730_1200x675_350097987587.jpg Demand for organic milk is outpacing supply, which could mean a nationwide shortage is looming. John Chandler reports.]]> <![CDATA[4 Burned While Doing Track Work in Union Square: MTA]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:49:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Union-Square-Injuries.jpg

MTA officials say four workers were taken to the hospital after being burned while doing FASTRACK work on the rails at the Union Square subway station Thursday morning.

The MTA employees were working on the southbound express tracks along the line that carries No. 4, 5 and 6 trains at about 3:30 a.m. when they were burned, the authority says.

They were working on the electrified third rail cable when the cable came into contact with the rail, causing an electrical explosion, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.

One worker has serious burns on his face and hands but is expected to survive, the MTA says. The other three workers had minor injuries to their faces and arms.

All four workers were taken to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s Weill Cornell Medical Center's burn unit.

Service was disrupted along the No. 4, 5 and 6 lines for several hours Thursday morning, but service resumed at about 6 a.m. with residual delays.

Intermittent disruptions are possible throughout the day as investigators look into the cause of the accident. 

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<![CDATA[City to Close Streets Along Ghoulish Parade Routes]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:57:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/20131031-Village-Halloween-Parade-2013_8.jpg

Throngs of ghosts, goblins and assorted ghoulish characters take to the streets Friday in Halloween parades across the city.

Transportation officials say the following streets will be closed from 7 to 11 p.m. in Manhattan for the Village Halloween Parade:

  • 6th Avenue between Canal and West 18th streets.
  • Dominick Street between Varick Street and 6th Avenue
  • Sullivan Street between Broome and Spring streets
  • Broome Street between Sullivan and Varick streets
  • Spring Street between Sullivan and Varick streets
  • West 10th Street between 6th and Greenwich avenues
  • West 16th Street to West 18th Street between 5th and 7th avenues.

The following streets will be closed from 6 to 8 p.m. in Brooklyn for the Park Slope Halloween Parade:

  • Seventh Avenue between 3rd and 14th streets
  • 14th Street between 7th and 8th avenues
  • 3rd Street between 5th and 7th avenues

In the Bronx, City Island Avenue between Hawkins and Fordham streets will be closed from 6 to 6:30 p.m. for the Children’s Halloween Parade.

Information about street closings and traffic advisories is available on the city DoT website.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[3 NJ Families Tied Up, Robbed in 9 Days: Officials]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:24:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/old+bridge+home+invasions.jpg

Officials believe the same masked gunmen who recently tied up and robbed two families in a New Jersey town hit a third house Tuesday, and authorities believe residents are being targeted based on ethnicity, prosecutors said.

All of the families robbed are Indian-American. In each of the three cases in the pattern, the suspects tie up the families and steal cash, computers, jewelry and small electronics. Two of the home invasions were in Old Bridge; the most recent one was in South Plainfield.

In the latest attack, at least two gunmen barged into the family's home Tuesday night, according to South Plainfield Mayor Matthew Anesh.

They tied up the family and ransacked the house, attacking the homeowner in the process. The homeowner was taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.

In the Old Bridge robberies, were were Oct. 20 and Sunday, families were also held at gunpoint and tied up by masked thieves.

Regardless of why the thieves are targeting certain homes, neighbors are concerned.

"I have two daughters and they say, 'Mom, I'm afraid. What's going on here?'" said Maria Tantillo, whose family leaves near the scene of the third home invasion. "They don't want to stay home by themselves."

"I'm making sure doors are locked and being vigilant," said Brian Raymond, another neighbor.

South Plainfield's mayor says additional police patrols will be dispatched.
 

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<![CDATA[Mother-Daughter Team Prepare for NYC Marathon]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:08:31 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/mom+daughter+train+marathon.jpg In the New York City Marathon this Sunday, 50,000 runners are expected to take part. For two of those runners, a mother and daughter, it's less about their final time and more about their time spent together. John Chandler reports.]]> <![CDATA[The Good Fight: Male Breast Cancer Awareness]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:01:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/good+fight+male+breast+cancer.jpg It's a health problem most of us don't rellly hear about: male breast cancer. Pat Battle talks to some survivors and the effort to raise awareness that impacts men of all ages.]]> <![CDATA[Man Hit, Killed by MTA Bus in Brooklyn: NYPD]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:29:40 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Bushwick-Bus-Accident1030.jpg

An MTA bus hit and killed a pedestrian crossing a Brooklyn street early Thursday, police say.

The bus was turning from Wyckoff Avenue to Palmetto Street in Bushwick at about 5:15 a.m. when the rear wheel portion of the vehicle hit a man in his 40s crossing Myrtle and Wyckoff avenues, according to the NYPD.

Police say the bus driver may have not known he hit a person and continued down Palmetto Street for a short distance. When he found out that the bus hit someone, he stopped.

The pedestrian was taken to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center with severe trauma. He was pronounced dead on arrival.

No arrests have been made.

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<![CDATA[NYC "Actively Monitoring" 117 People at Risk for Ebola]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:49:34 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ebola+transport.jpg

The city is actively monitoring nearly 120 people who have recently returned from Ebola-stricken countries out of an abundance of caution as it seeks to prevent the spread of the deadly virus, Mayor de Blasio's administration said Thursday.

Marti Adams, a spokeswoman for the administration, said most of the 117 people being monitored arrived in New York City from Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia  on Oct. 11 or later. Active monitoring means state or local health officials establish regular communication with the individuals, rather than relying on them to self-monitor and report potential symptoms.

The list of people being monitored includes members of the staff at Bellevue Hospital Center who are caring for Craig Spencer, New York City's first and only confirmed case of Ebola.

Spencer tested positive for Ebola last week after developing a fever nearly two weeks after he returned to his Harlem home following a Doctors Without Borders stint treating patients in Guinea.

The emergency personnel who transported Spencer to the hospital and the lab workers who handled Spencer's blood are being monitored, along with Spencer's fiancee and two friends who had close contact with him in the days before he got sick. None has shown symptoms to this point.

Adams said the number of people being monitored is subject to change on a daily basis as more travelers from the countries affected by Ebola arrive in the city, as travelers leave the city and as the 21-day incubation period ends for people already being monitored.

Meanwhile, the city's Ebola response is expected to cost "many millions" of dollars, the mayor's office said earlier this week.

The Office of Management and Budget is gathering the financial details to date and computing future expenditures as it works to develop a full accounting of the costs of Ebola preparation and treatment.

But the anticipation is that the costs "will be significant," Adams said. She added that the city would seek federal assistance.

On Thursday, Gov. Cuomo added two hospitals to the list of facilities designated to treat potential Ebola patients in the state. Ten hospitals are now equipped to do so, and the governor said more were expected to be added to the list. Also Thursday, Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio announced they will create a program of financial incentives and other employment protections to encourage health care professionals to take Ebola assignments in West Africa to help contain the disease.

Several sick patients have been taken to local hospitals over the last few weeks with fevers or flu-like symptoms, though not all have been tested for Ebola. A 5-year-old Bronx boy was tested for the deadly virus after falling ill Sunday night following a trip to West Africa, but authorities said Tuesday he had a respiratory infection and would be removed from an isolation room.

Ebola has early symptoms in common with diseases like malaria, salmonella, cholera and the flu, and though the chances of the average New Yorker contracting the virus are slim, health officials are conducting tests in select situations out of an abundance of caution to ensure no outbreak.  

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<![CDATA[Kanye West Surprises Crowd at Jersey City Open Mic]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:21:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kanye+the+dopeness+jersey+city.jpg

Rapper Kanye West shocked the crowd at a hip-hop open mic event in Jersey City when he dropped by unannounced to watch the daughter of a close family friend perform, the venue owner said.

West appeared at downtown Mexican restaurant The Dopeness just before its monthly open mic showcase started Wednesday night, The Jersey Journal first reported.

"It was totally sporadic, totally happened off the bat," restaurant owner Jon Scanlon told NBC 4 New York.

West, who entered with two bodyguards, was there to see 17-year-old Jahmila Sandifer, an amateur rapper and daughter of a close family friend who was performing at the showcase for the first time, according to Scanlon.

"It was a 15-minute thing. I walked him to the back, he used the restroom. He came and gave her a big hug and a kiss, watched her perform, and he was out," Scanlon told The Jersey Journal.

He said West's appearance energized the place.

"It really set the tone and everyone had a Kool-Aid smile on their face," Scanlon told the paper. "Nobody expected it, that a world-renowed rapper shows up out of nowhere. It totally hyped up the crowd for the night and it probably enhanced everyone's performance. He gave everybody life."

Event organizer Earl "Ego" Davis told the newspaper the notoriously brash rapper was friendly with the crowd, smiling and nodding at people.

"He showed so much respect to the culture and looked really comfortable," he said.

Scanlon said Sandifer is a Jersey City native who's been to the open mic event two or three times before she made her debut.

"She definitely showed a lot of skill," he told NBC 4 New York.

Scanlon estimated there were about 80 people who gathered to watch the open mic, and the crowd grew to 100 by the end.

"It was a great experience, and great for the community. It was awesome in a million different ways," he said. 



Photo Credit: Jon Scanlon]]>
<![CDATA[Man in SUV Flashed Girl, 11, on Long Island: Police]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:00:34 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Flasher-Report-Suffolk-County.jpg

Police are looking for the driver they say flashed an 11-year-old girl walking down a Long Island street last week.

The girl was walking on Madison Avenue between Harrison and White avenues in Brentwood at about 3 p.m. Oct. 20 when the man, in a Chevrolet Suburban, drove up next to her and exposed himself, according to the Suffolk County Police Department.

The girl ran home after being flashed, and police say the suspect drove off.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.

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<![CDATA[Columbia Students Protest Rape Case Treatment]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:58:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/rape-protest-inset.jpg

More than 100 Columbia University students gathered outside the home of president Lee Bollinger to protest the way they say the school has handled senior Emma Sulkowicz's rape complaint against another student.

The protesters brought with them a stack of mattresses, an homage to the movement started by Sulkowicz, who has been carrying her own mattress everywhere she goes on campus in protest of the way she said her sexual assault case was handled. 

Rally organizer Zoe Ridolfi-Starr said Wednesday the university's response to Sulkowicz's complaint was "completely inadequate, and a large majority of the changes [Bollinger] has made and the statements he's made, it's been purely symbolic." 

Organizer Lhana Ormenyi said, "I'm really hoping this is a moment of reflection for him, that he takes the opportunity to really start to engage with us." 

Sulkowicz was at the rally, which began with more demonstrators on campus, but chose not to do interviews with media. The student she accused of raping her is still a student at Columbia. 

"I think she's incredibly brave," student Michela Wiehl said of Sulkowicz. "I think what she's done has given an enormous boost to the movement." 

The university said it has changed policy in light of the case by including more people devoted to rape crisis and created a new gender-based misconduct policy, among other things.

The school said in a statement Wednesday, "Columbia embraces its responsibility to be a leader in preventing sexual assault." 

But Ridolfi-Starr said it doesn't go far enough. She said she was also sexually assaulted and never reported it because she saw the way Sulkowicz was treated. 

"I said to myself, why would I ever put myself through an eight-month long investigation where I'll be treated poorly, where I'll be blamed for my assault, only to have the perpetrator given a slap on the wrist, if anything?" she said.

The demonstrators said they want Sulkowicz's case reopened. The university said it cannot comment on any particular case, to protect student privacy. But there's been no indication they plan to reopen the investigation. 

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<![CDATA[Rookie Cop Hurt in Hatchet Attack Moving to Rehab]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:59:00 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/hatchet+cop.jpg

An NYPD rookie who was struck in the head with a hatchet wielded by a man authorities described as a "lone wolf" terrorist on a Queens street corner is entering a rehab facility to begin the next phase of his recovery, officials said. 

Officer Kenneth Healy had been posing for a picture with three other rookie cops last Thursday when Zale Thompson struck him in the head with an 18-inch hatchet, leaving him in critical but stable condition at Jamaica Hospital. He was released from the hospital Wednesday.

Healy, the son of a police officer, is talking and moving around but remains in great pain, police officials said. He is entering a rehabilitation center at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park.

The other rookie officer injured in the attack, Joseph Meeker, was released from the hospital after being treated for arm wounds. Thompson was shot dead on the scene.

The day after the attack, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called Thompson a "self-radicalized" lone wolf who committed "an act of terror."

Thompson's activity on social media indicated he was a convert to Islam and included rants about injustices in American society and oppression abroad but offered no clear evidence of any direct affiliation with terror groups, police said.

Detectives say Thompson was still holding the hatchet when he was pronounced dead. The attack -- and the shooting -- happened in less than 10 seconds, Bratton said.

"Those officers exhibited extraordinary bravery and skill in not only taking down an individual who was intent on killing them but also rendering first aid immediately to their fallen comrade," Bratton said.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York/Handout]]>