<![CDATA[NBC New York - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2018 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York https://www.nbcnewyork.com en-usThu, 13 Dec 2018 04:46:25 -0500Thu, 13 Dec 2018 04:46:25 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Placement of Wreaths at Holland Tunnel Sparks Petition]]> Thu, 13 Dec 2018 02:43:27 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Holland_Tunnel_Decorations_Cause_Controversy.jpg

A photo of the Holland Tunnel sign has gone viral, with people losing it over the Port Authority's holiday-wreath placement choices.

Cory Windelspecht, a frequent voyager between Manhattan and Hoboken, was driving into the city last Friday when he noticed the unusual placement of one of the three wreaths hung for the holiday season. While the two “O-shaped” wreaths covered the “O” and “U” of Holland Tunnel, the “tree-shaped” wreath was placed over the “N” instead of the “A."

“You’ve obviously put the wreath over the ‘O’ and another wreath over the ‘U’ cause it’s kind of ‘O’ shaped, but with the tree you didn’t give a flying f--- because you put the A shaped tree over the N,” Windelspecht told NJ.com.

The picture, which Windelspecht posted to Facebook, has been shared over 11,000 times come Tuesday evening, proving that Windelspecht was not the only one whose OCD was in overtime over the placement.

“One guy told me he avoids the Holland Tunnel and takes the Lincoln for the entire month of December, even though it adds an hour to his commute,” Windelspecht told NJ.com. “There’s no better time in the city. It’s an awesome time of the year—and that’s the entrance we have?”

Windelspecht even started a petition now that has amassed over six hundred signatures, which he plans to drop off Thursday at the Port Authority office.

“Apparently this has been going on for years,” he said. “Jalopnik wrote a story in 2012 called ‘The Holland Tunnel can’t even get Christmas decorations right.”

Budweiser on Wednesday tweeted a picture of its Newark brewery, supporting Windelspecht. The picture shows a wreath over the "U" and a tree over the "E" in Budweiser. 

The Port Authority, after telling NJ.com Tuesday that they had acknowledged Windelspecht’s perspective, but had no comment, posted a press released saying it will conduct a survey from Thursday to 5 p.m. Sunday asking the public their opinion on the matter.

Click here to take the poll.

The poll will offer four options: 

  • Leave the decorations as they are
  • Move the tree to hang over the “A” in the word “HOLLAND”
  • Move the tree to hang over the “A” and remove the second wreath that’s now over the “U” in the world “TUNNEL”
  • Add a tree to hang over the “A”, but keep and adjust the existing tree to make the decorations symmetrical


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<![CDATA[FDNY Firefighter Killed in Road Rage to Be Laid to Rest ]]> Thu, 13 Dec 2018 04:11:03 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ff-killed-loudlabs-inset.png

The FDNY firefighter allegedly killed by a road rage suspect will be laid to rest at his funeral on Thursday. 

The wake for 33-year-old Faizal Coto was held Wednesday at XXXX. His funeral will be held at Leone Funeral Home in Brooklyn at 11 a.m. Family members, friends and members of the FDNY are expected to say their final goodbyes. 

Coto was found dead, lying on the shoulder of Belt Parkway, near Bay 8th Street and Shore Parkway in Bath Beach, with head trauma early Sunday. Police said he was the victim of road rage.

Two vehicles had collided as they merged onto the parkway, police said.

When officers got to the scene, they Coto lying next to a 2008 Ford Mustang parked on the right shoulder of the highway. The other vehicle had left.

Police believe Coto got out of his car to talk to another driver after the fender bender, then that driver struck him in the head with an unknown object.

The suspect, 29-year-old Joseph Desmond, is a Latin Kings member who served time in prison for a hate-crime assault, the NYPD said. He was arrested at a New Jersey motel on Monday.

Coto had been with the FDNY for three years, the department said. He was assigned to a Coney Island engine company.



Photo Credit: Loudlabs/FDNY/NYPD]]>
<![CDATA[Massive Blaze Rips Through Row of Queens Businesses]]> Thu, 13 Dec 2018 04:40:30 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/QNS+FIRE7.jpg A strip mall in Queens went up in flames early Thursday, the FDNY says, engulfing several businesses and sending neighbors into the cold.

Photo Credit: News 4]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Destroys NYC Restaurant, Spreads to Nearby Businesses]]> Thu, 13 Dec 2018 04:32:51 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SIDETRACKS+QNS+FIRE.jpg

A strip mall in Queens went up in flames early Thursday, the FDNY says, engulfing at least four businesses and sending nearby residents and their pets into the cold seeking safety at a nearby Wendy's as they watched the building burn. 

The four-alarm blaze broke out at around 2 a.m. Thursday on Queens Boulevard, near 45th Street in Sunnyside, according to officials and video from the scene. Firefighters said the flames started somewhere on the first floor and quickly spread. 

Fire officials said at least seven people, including four firefighters, were injured. One is seriously hurt while the six others, including the firefighters, suffered minor injuries.

The FDNY is still working to put out the blaze. Twenty-five fire departments and 160 firefighters responded to the fire. 

One witness at the scene told News 4 that she heard sirens for about an hour when she realized what was happening. 

"I felt the building shake and I started to smell smoke," Nicole Zeinert said. "So I ran in to get my husband and we grabbed our cats and coats and just ran outside."

Fire officials are warning people to avoid the area because of the heavy smoke suffocating the streets. 

It's not yet clear what may have sparked the blaze. 



Photo Credit: News 4]]>
<![CDATA[NYPD: Suspect Shot When He Turns Gun on Cops]]> Thu, 13 Dec 2018 04:29:51 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/pis+bronx+12+12a.png

A suspect was shot by police in the Bronx Wednesday night moments after he shot another man and then pointed his gun at the plainclothes officers who confronted him, police said. 

Plainclothes police officers were driving in the area of White Plains Road and East 241st Street in Wakefield when they heard about three to five gunshots and came across the suspect, who had just shot another man in the torso, police said. 

"There was two people fighting -- and push comes to shove, one person got up and just started shooting," a witness named Doug said. 

When the plainclothes officers confronted the armed man and ordered him to drop the weapon, he turned his gun at them, according to police. The officers fired and hit him.

The suspect collapsed. Police radio transmissions reveal officers on the scene calling for an ambulance after reporting a man wearing all black had been shot.

"I need a bus, we need more cars," one officer could be heard saying.

"Confirm male shot, bus is rolling."

"Perp in custody, no perp outstanding." 

The suspect was taken to an area hospital, along with the man he shot. The suspect is in stable condition and the victim is in critical condition, police said. No officers were injured. 

The suspect's silver gun was recovered on the scene, police said. 

Witnesses described a chaotic scene as bullets were fired by a busy subway station. 

"It was like right there and I was like, 'I need to hide,'" said Zoe Figueroa. 

The NYPD initially said the suspect fired his gun at officers but later clarified the suspect never shot the gun -- just pointed it toward them. 

This marks the fourth shooting involving law enforcement in New York City in a week.

Last Wednesday, police fired at least 20 rounds during the shootout with a drug suspect in the Bronx, hitting two bystanders at the scene, the NYPD said. On Saturday, an FBI agent was shot while conducting surveillance in Brooklyn; on Sunday night, an NYPD officer was shot during a standoff with a blade-wielding suspect, getting hit by fellow officers' gunfire. The suspect in that case was killed. 

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<![CDATA[December Snow Is on the Way, Could Drop 1-3 Inches]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 23:24:25 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1061959854.jpg

December snow is on the way -- but Storm Team 4 says it won’t be much.

A disturbance that will send snow showers across the Great Lakes is moving toward the tri-state and will bring some of the white stuff to the region on Thursday.

Meteorologists say although little accumulation is expected in and around New York City, areas to the west and north could see anywhere from 1 to 3 inches. 

The snow will still make for slick travel conditions on Thursday. The city's emergency department has issued a travel advisory. See the full advisory from the city.

Snow flurries could begin falling sometime in the morning toward the west and move east and arrive in the city sometime in the early afternoon.

A more powerful storm system arrives Friday with much warmer temperatures and heavy rain for the first half of the weekend, forecasters said. Highs on Saturday could reach 50 degrees. It begins to clear up Sunday, but temperatures will dip back into the 40s.

The start of the work week next week is expected to stay dry with temperatures in the 40s.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/File
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<![CDATA[Man in Ski Mask Rapes Woman Inside Her NYC Apartment: Police]]> Thu, 13 Dec 2018 00:35:46 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Bx_Sex_Assault_Dec_12.jpg

A man in a ski mask allegedly raped a woman after making his way into her apartment through her unlocked door, the NYPD said.

Officers responded to the woman’s home on Cruger Avenue, near Maran Place, in Pelham Parkway, around 12:48 p.m. Wednesday after receiving a report of an assault, the NYPD said.

When they arrived, the approximately 40-year-old woman told them a man in a black ski mask entered the apartment, forced her into a bedroom and raped her before fleeing the scene.

The woman was taken to Jacobi Hospital for treatment, police said.

Longtime neighbor and friend of the victim Sue Ann Whalen said she arrived at the building to find the woman in the back of an ambulance, with police surrounding the building and inside the apartment. 

"She's hysterical crying, I'm like, 'OK, I'll take the kids when they come home from school," said Whalen. 

Police didn’t immediately release additional information about the suspect.

"Your home is like your safe haven so it's a scary feeling, you can't even be safe in your own home," said Ione Gutierrez. 

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<![CDATA[Sandy-Damaged Home Being Lifted in Queens Collapses]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 19:11:41 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/breezy+point+house+collapse.jpg

A home has collapsed in the Breezy Point section of Queens as it was undergoing the process of being lifted, five years after Hurricane Sandy. 

Firefighters and other emergency crews were responding on Hillside Ave., near Centre St. 

Chopper 4 over the scene shows the home leaning onto the home next to it. 

The house was undergoing renovation and being lifted up when it apparently slipped off its temporary cribbing.

There was no immediate report of any injuries. 



Photo Credit: News 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[New Clue Could Lead Cops to Peephole Killer of NYC Mother]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 00:22:35 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/CAR+PEEPHOLE.jpg

Another has clue has emerged in the murder case of a woman shot through the peephole on her apartment door in front of her 15-year-old son.

The NYPD late Tuesday released a new surveillance photograph of a car they believe may be linked to the chilling case of 45-year-old Wendy Martinez who was shot in her home in Concourse Village neighborhood of the Bronx last month.

The car is a four door BMW 3 Series with black rims. It was last seen traveling northbound on Sheridan Avenue from East 161 Street.

The new clue is the second to pop up in recent weeks since Martinez's slaying. 

Last month, surveillance video was released that shows a man walking in the hallway of the apartment building with an umbrella. He quickly disappears off frame before quickly emerging again, seen darting away from the scene after the lethal shot is fired. 

Martinez, who worked at the nearby Lincoln Medical Center, was pronounced dead at the scene shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday, the NYPD said. 

A private investigator hired by her family, Manuel Gomez, said she may not have been the intended target. 

Gomez was hired after her older son was charged with murder. That son was released on his own recognizance last year and his family has been getting death threats ever since, Gomez said. 

"This is an unfortunate murder that should have never occurred," he said. "The family was giving death threats for more than two years."

The investigation into Martinez's death continues. No one has been arrested. 


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<![CDATA[3 Missing in West Virginia Mine Found Alive]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 21:57:12 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/policeline5.jpg

Three people missing in an inactive coal mine in West Virginia were found alive Wednesday after being reported missing four days ago, authorities said.

The three had been trapped in the Rock House Powellton mine in Clear Creek, NBC News reported

"Efforts are underway now to bring the individuals to the surface, where they will be transported for medical treatment," said Samantha Smith, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Commerce.

One of four people who initially went into the mine and managed to get out late Monday told authorities the rest were alive and provided information on their location, state officials said.



Photo Credit: yo_co - stock.adobe.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged in Deadly Throat-Cutting of 3-Year-Old Niece]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:54:57 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+THROAT+SLASH+121218.00_00_00_00.Still007THUMB.jpg

Emanuel Fluter, 33, appeared in court Wednesday to face murder charges after allegedly slashing his 3-year-old niece's throat over the weekend, killing her. Josephine Bulubenchi, the victim, was asleep at the time of the attack. A plea of not guilty was entered on Fluter's behalf.

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<![CDATA[School Staffers Have Rubella on Long Island]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 19:13:56 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/School_Staffers_Have_Rubella_on_Long_Island.jpg

Two high school faculty members are recovering after coming down with suspected rubella. Greg Cergol reports.

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<![CDATA[NYPD Steps Up Security at Christmas Markets]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:44:19 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NYPD_Steps_Up_Security_at_Christmas_Markets.jpg

The shooting rampage at a holiday market in France has NYPD ramping up security at Christmas markets across New York City. John Chandler reports.

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<![CDATA[NYC Announces Sweeping Plan to Overhaul NYCHA]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:41:58 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NYC_Announces_Sweeping_Plan_to_Overhaul_NYCHA.jpg

The city has announced a sweeping plan to overhaul public housing, promising billions of dollars in repairs. Gaby Acevedo reports.

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<![CDATA[Airline Fails to Pay Promised Reimbursement]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:28:38 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Airline_Fails_to_Pay_Promised_Reimbursement.jpg

A Westchester man is looking for answers after an airline failed to pay his claim after a flight was canceled. Lynda Baquero reports.

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<![CDATA[Slashed NYC Student: Weeks-Old Dispute Sparked Attack]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 19:13:20 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/qns+slashing+2.png

The teenage boy slashed by another student inside their high school in Queens is speaking out for the first time as he recovers in a hospital bed. 

The 16-year-old boy's face is covered in stitches after the slashing at Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside Tuesday morning. In an exclusive interview, his mother Ketty Parkinson tells News 4 New York she got the phone call at work.

"It was my sister telling me a situation had occurred with my son," she said. "And that he was hurt and she was in the ambulance." 

Cellphones captured the attack in a school stairwell. The victim said it started three weeks ago, when the alleged attacker, who's 15, bumped into the victim's girlfriend by accident. That small encounter led to an argument, and then on Tuesday morning, the attacker viciously attacked him inside a school stairwell. 

"He was cut from one side of the forehead to the other," said Parkinson. "Plus underneath his chin. I think he almost missed his neck." 

The victim, whose father is a school safety agent, had to get more than 500 stitches across the top side and bottom of his face after the attack.

The suspect turned himself in later that day. The victim is expected to recover but his mother said his injuries are severe.

"I wouldn't wish that on any mother, to see their son go through that," she said. 

The 15-year-old suspect has been charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon, police said. 

A city Department of Education spokesperson on Tuesday said, "We are working with NYPD as they conduct an investigation, and are taking additional safety measures at the school." 



Photo Credit: News 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[National Enquirer Publisher Admits Paying Hush Money]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 16:29:20 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_18108813927417.jpg

The company that publishes the National Enquirer admitted that it paid $150,000 in hush money to silence alleged mistresses of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump prior to the 2016 election, prosecutors said Wednesday. 

The publisher, American Media Inc., will avoid prosecution by stipulating that it worked with Trump's campaign to buy the silence of women — who have identified themselves as adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal — ahead of the vote two years ago, prosecutors said. 

The agreement between prosecutors and AMI was signed and dated Sept. 21, NBC News reported. A representative for AMI and the company's CEO, David Pecker, a long-time ally of Trump's, declined comment on Wednesday.

The announcement comes the same day Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for lying to investigators about the hush-money operation.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File]]>
<![CDATA[Smucker Recalls 9Lives Canned Cat Food Products]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 17:15:48 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/211*120/9Lives+Cat+food+Recall.jpg

The J.M. Smucker Company is voluntarily recalling specific lots of 9Lives Protein Plus wet canned cat food due to possible low levels of thiamine, an essential vitamin for cats, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA said no illnesses related to this issue have been reported and the products are being recalled "out of an abundance of caution." 

The products impacted by the recall are as follows:

 

  • 9Lives Protein Plus with Tuna and Chicken, 4-pack cans (5.5 oz. each can), UPC: 7910021549, Best if Used by Date: Mar. 27, 2020 - Nov. 14 2020)
  • 9Lives Protein Plus with Tuna and Liver 4-pack cans (5.5 oz. each can), UPC: 7910021748, Best if Used by Date: Apr. 17, 2020 - Sept. 14, 2020)

The FDA said the products were sold to a variety of retailers nationwide.

No other 9Lives or J.M. Smucker Company products are impacted by this recall, the agency said.

Cats fed diets low in thiamine, also known as Vitamin B1, over the course of several weeks may be at risk for developing a thiamine deficiency, according to the FDA.

The agency said symptoms include decreased appetite, salivation, vomiting, failure to grow and weight loss. In advanced cases of thiamine deficiency, neurological signs can develop, including ventroflexion of the neck (bending towards the floor), mental dullness, blindness, wobbly walking, circling, falling, seizures and sudden death.

If your cat is displaying any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. Thiamine deficiency is typically reversible if treated promptly.

Pet owners should stop feeding the recalled products to their cats and throw it out, the FDA said.  Customers who would like a refund or coupon for a replacement product should contact the company by filling out this form or calling 1-888-569-6828, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m ET and 6:00 p.m ET.



Photo Credit: FDA]]>
<![CDATA[Hurricane Florence, Anthony Bourdain Among Most Googled ]]> Thu, 13 Dec 2018 01:09:22 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1026614180.jpg

It’s been an overall pretty rough year for the United States, if 2018’s top Google searches are any indication.

The county’s top searches this year covered everything from destructive hurricanes to celebrity deaths to mass shootings. Many of this year’s most googled topics in the U.S. were also reflected in the year’s most searched topics globally

Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain made the top 10 most searched topics. Spade was the original creator of the handbag line by the same name, and Bourdain was the host of CNN’s award-winning show “Parts Unknown.” Both reportedly died by suicide.

Rapper Mac Miller and singer Demi Lovato were also frequently searched about this year. Miller reportedly died from a drug overdose in September. Lovato’s struggles with drug addiction also made headlines when she was hospitalized following an apparent overdose in August.

People connected to the #MeToo movement, a campaign started on social media fighting for justice for sexual assault survivors, also made the list .

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court’s newest addition, faced a contentious nomination battle that captivated the nation after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. Kavanaugh denied the allegations. He was sworn in as the 114th justice of U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 6.

Former NBC “Today” show host Matt Lauer made 2017’s top Google searches list after he was accused of and fired for sexually harassing female colleagues.

Just as with last year’s top Google searches, another mass shooting made the list. Twelve people were killed in a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, in November after a former Marine Corps veteran opened fire on them. Many of the victims were in their early 20s.

In October 2017, 58 people were killed and hundred more injured when a gunman shot into a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The Las Vegas Shooting was one of the most googled news events in 2017.

In 2016, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando left 49 people dead and dozens injured, with the majority of the victims and survivors being members of the LGBTQ community. The Orlando shooting made the most searched news events list in 2016.

But not all the searches were depressing.

The World Cup was this year’s most searched topic.

The Marvel Studios film “Black Panther” was the sixth most searched topic this year. The super hero flick and its notably diverse cast made history when the movie became the first Marvel film to receive a Golden Globe nomination.

Duchess of Sussex and former “Suits” actress Meghan Markle made the list for the most searched people of 2018. Markle also made the list last year. Her royal wedding also made the most searched news list. Markle captured American and U.K. hearts alike as the world followed her engagement to the Britain's Prince Harry.

Arguably, the real winner for 2018’s top Google searches was the Mega Millions jackpot lottery results, which had much of the country hoping they’d wake up with $1.6 billion in their pocket. It was the first time in Mega Millions history and the second time in U.S. lottery history that the possible winnings reached 10 figures.

Hopefully next year’s top Google searches will be richer than this year’s.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Long-Missing Dad’s Basement Bones ID’d; Death Deemed Murder]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 13:31:08 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/body-found4.jpg

A father whose remains were found in a Long Island basement more than 50 years after he went missing was most likely murdered, police say.

Steven Carroll and his brother Michael stumbled upon a skeleton they believed to be their long-missing father in the basement of their childhood home in Lake Grove this past October.

On Wednesday, Suffolk County police confirmed the bones belonged to their father, the late George Carroll. His death is being investigated as a murder, police said.

Authorities say they got a call from the Carroll family on Oct. 31. When they got to the home on Olive Street, Michael Carroll met them to report human remains in the basement.

The brothers told police they believed the bones belonged to their father, who disappeared in 1961.

The family never knew what happened to him. But police say for reasons that weren't clear at the time of the discovery of the bones, the family had always thought he might be buried in the home.

It was that hunch that led the missing man's grandsons to start digging. They excavated the basement over several months, police say. And coincidentally, they hit the remains — which sat below concrete — on Halloween.

Steven Carroll said his mother told him and his siblings very little about what had happened to their father until just before her death in 1998. The family never filed any missing persons report and there is "no record" of police involvements in his disappearance, Suffolk County police said.

He and his siblings all had different theories about their father's disappearance, Carroll told News 4 after the bones were discovered, though he declined to share some of the differences in speculation.

"We felt abandoned as kids but he was here the whole time," Steven Carroll, who was just 5 when his father George disappeared, told News 4 shortly after making the discovery. 

Polie said that for reasons that remain unclear, the family had always thought he might be buried in the home, which is now owned by Michael Carroll.

The sons had hoped to give their father, a Korean War veteran, a burial at Calverton National Cemetery if the bones turned out to be his.

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<![CDATA[NY Woman Who Was Unwittingly Used in HIV Ad Awarded $125K]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 12:46:35 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-187441983.jpg

A New York woman whose photo was used in an ad campaign promoting the rights of HIV-positive people without her knowledge has been awarded $125,000 in damages, NBC News reported.

Avril Nolan — who does not have HIV — sued the state's Division of Human Rights, alleging it had improperly used her photo in a 2013 ad that included the words "I AM POSITIVE" and "I HAVE RIGHTS."

Nolan had posed for the picture for a "street-style" magazine piece in 2011. The picture was later sold to Getty Images, which licensed it to DHR for the ad.

In a ruling made public Tuesday, Justice Thomas Scuccimarra wrote that the ad didn't contain a disclaimer clarifying the person depicted is a model. "Ms. Nolan did not give permission for the use of her photograph, taken in an entirely different context, and apparently thereafter sold," Judge Scuccimarra wrote.

The ad ran in four print publications and three online publications.



Photo Credit: WireImage]]>
<![CDATA[Teens Set Fire That Destroyed Historic NY Mansion: Police]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 11:54:08 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/wildcliff1.jpg

Four teenagers have been arrested in connection with a massive fire that destroyed a historic mansion in New Rochelle last month, police said.

More than three dozen firefighters were unable to save Cyrus Lawton House, known as the Wildcliff mansion, after a fire tore through it on Nov. 26.

On Wednesday, the New Rochelle Police Department said four 13-year-olds were responsible for the blaze.

Three of the teens have been charged with third-degree criminal trespass, and one has been charged with third-degree criminal trespass and fourth-degree arson, according to police.

Built in the 1850s, the mansion was owned by the city and wasn’t occupied when the fire started.

After the fire, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said he was “deeply saddened” by the loss of the mansion he “personally [knew] and loved.”

Wildcliff was designed by architect Alexander Jackson Davis, and the Gothic cottage was gifted to the city of New Rochelle by the Julius Prince family in 1940, the city said. It overlooked the Long Island Sound atop a hill on Woodcliff Road.

An article published in April 2012 on theLoopNY.com, a community website in Westchester, said the 20-room house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, but has since continued to fall into ruin.

The city had been looking to have the storied property leased for use. Officials said the home had "many lives over the years."

"We just put in a new roof and new custom windows in the last 6 to 8 years, so it's been vacant," Suzanne Reider, senior project manager for the city, said last month.

"Hopefully we'll be able to do something but nothing would replicate what was here," she added. "It was a spectacular space."



Photo Credit: @JDalois/Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[2018's Top Stories: Vote on Your Pick for Number 1]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 11:18:48 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/newer+steam.png

Four'easter. A deadly bus crash. The #MeToo movement. It's been an incredible news year, and we want to hear from you about it.

Which of these stories was, in your view, the top New York news story of 2018?

Cast your vote and we'll reveal the answer on TV in a future newscast. 



Photo Credit: News 4
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<![CDATA[MTA Approves Budget That Assumes Fare Hikes for 2019]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 12:14:54 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Penn+Station+Interior+Generic+V2+Resized.jpg

The MTA approved a $17 billion budget for 2019 on Wednesday that assumes a series of broad fare hikes. 

But the exact scope of those hikes, which are meant to fill a $250 million hole in the budget, won't be voted on until January.

One plan under consideration would raise tolls by double the usual amount, hike fares on commuter rails and express buses and eliminate the bonuses on subway tickets.

Even with the fare hikes, MTA officials have already said the system will face budget cuts as well, including the prospect of cleaning the subways less frequently.

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<![CDATA[Traveler Busted at JFK With 70 Live Finches in Hair Rollers]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:22:38 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/finches+8.jpg On Saturday, U. S. Customs and Border Protection stopped a passenger arriving from Guyana and discovered they were carrying 70 live birds hidden in hair rollers in a black duffel bag.]]> <![CDATA[Texas' Julian Castro Moving Toward 2020 White House Run]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 11:05:11 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/julian+castro2.jpg

Former Obama housing chief Julian Castro says he's taking a step toward a possible White House campaign in 2020 by forming a presidential exploratory committee. The Texas Democrat tells The Associated Press that he will announce a decision Jan. 12.

The move Wednesday gives the 44-year-old former San Antonio mayor an early start to what's shaping up as a crowded Democratic field without a clear front-runner to challenge President Donald Trump.

Castro indicated in an AP interview that his mind was all but made up.

"I know where I'm leaning, for sure," said Castro, who has said for weeks that it was likely he would seek the nomination.

An exploratory committee usually is a formality before a candidate launches a presidential campaign. It legally allows potential candidates to begin raising money.

But just as important for Castro, the step gives him an early jump on bigger name Democrats who are considering running but are taking a slower approach.

No potential contender is more ascendant than outgoing Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who lost last month in a surprisingly close race against Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. O'Rourke has excited donors and activists who are now prodding him to seek the presidency.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey, along with former Vice President Joe Biden, are also potential candidates.

Castro would be among the youngest candidates in the field and the most prominent Latino. He played down the attention that others are generating and pointed to past election cycles in which early favorites ended up faltering.

"People might say right now, 'Well, hey, you're way down here in polling that's taken.' The most dangerous place to be right now is actually in the pole position," Castro said. "It doesn't bother me that in December of 2018 I'm not right up at the top of the list. If I decide to run, it would be because I believe I have a compelling message and I'm going to work hard and get to the voters and I believe I can be successful."

Castro, who attended O'Rourke's election-night party in El Paso last month, said O'Rourke doesn't complicate his own chances.

"He's talented. He ran a good race against Ted Cruz," Castro said. "I'll let him talk about his future."

Castro said he has not spoken to former President Barack Obama about his potential candidacy but plans on consulting Democratic leaders. Obama has spoken to O'Rourke, who has said he won't make a decision on 2020 until after leaving Congress in January.

Obama picked Castro to take over the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2014. Two years later, Castro was on the short list of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's potential running mates.

For Castro, running for president would fulfill a destiny that Democrats have projected since he was elected San Antonio mayor at 34, followed by his star-making turn as the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

He is the grandson of a Mexican immigrant and son of a Latina activist. His twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a Democratic congressman from Texas. Julian Castro said the Latino community has been treated "like a pinata" under Trump and deserved a candidate in the field.

"I'm also very mindful, especially now for the Latino community, that there's a particular meaning to my candidacy," Castro said. "We can't go through the 2020 cycle with nobody on that stage because of what's happened over the last couple of years."

Young and telegenic, Castro rose to national prominence early in his career as a Latino leader from a state that Democrats are eager to retake after decades of Republican dominance. But in Texas, O'Rourke has eclipsed Castro after getting closer to a statewide victory than any Democrat in a generation. It now puts Texas in the formerly unthinkable position of having two Democratic presidential candidates in the same year.

The last Texas Democrat to run for president was Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, who had a short-lived campaign in 1976.

Maryland Rep. John Delaney is the only declared 2020 Democratic presidential candidate so far. Others are expected to announce their intentions in the coming weeks.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Thief Baffles NJ Cops By Stealing 20s, Leaving 10s]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 11:03:38 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cash+generic+dalet.jpg

Ramsay Police in New Jersey are baffled by a burglar who took $40 from a pair of gift card envelopes and left $20 behind, in plain view.

It happened overnight Tuesday in a driveway when the burglar opened the unlocked car door and rifled through a purse to take $100.

Each of the gift card envelopes had a $20 bill and a $10 bill. And in both cases, the burglar took only the 20s. Police Chief Bryan Gurney speculated that maybe it was a thief with a conscience.

"I have never seen anything like this before," he said.

He adds that the woman who owns the car had taken her groceries in Tuesday night and forgot that she left her purse in the vehicle.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Newark Ranks 3rd Neediest City in US: Study]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 11:57:39 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-175048006+1.jpg

Newark ranked third in a recent report of the neediest cities across the United States.

According to WalletHub, Newark, New Jersey, comes right behind Detroit, Michigan, and Cleveland, Ohio, when it comes to high levels of child poverty, food insecurity and homelessness.

The personal finance website compared more than 180 United States cities according to 27 key indicators of economic disadvantage such as poor plumbing, food scarcity and inadequate plumbing and kitchens.

While Newark ranked 3rd overall, New York City had the 5th highest homelessness rate this year. Rochester, New York, had the 2nd highest child poverty rate and 5th highest adult poverty rate, and Jersey City, New Jersey, had the 6th highest percent of homes with inadequate kitchens.

There are over 40 million individuals lacking access to adequate food, according to Feeding America, a non-profit nationwide network of food banks and third largest U.S. charity, and 12.3 percent of the U.S. population lives in poverty. In January 2017, nearly 554,000 people had been homeless at some point, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

Check out the full list here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Former Toys R Us Manager Opens Md. Store With Toy Diversity ]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 14:36:13 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Maryland+Toy+Store+Diversity.jpeg

A new brick-and-mortar toy store in Maryland opened by a former Toys R Us manager is seeing success thanks to the diversity of its dolls and toys.

Glendon Warner said he worked for Toys R Us when it went bankrupt. He decided to stock all he learned there into something new.

Toys, Babies and More in Hyattsville has been open for about two months and has found a customer base during a time when brick-and-mortar stores struggle to compete with Amazon and other online shopping options.

Warner sees that as an opportunity.

“They don't think about people who still don't know how to use a website,” he said. “They don’t think about people who still want to walk around and still bring their kids into a store where they can see live toys.”

Part of the draw is what he stocks on his shelves: Dolls of color. Dolls that reflect the diversity of the children who play with them can be hard to find.

“I noticed that even when I was with Toys R Us,” Warner said. “Before the second week of December, you can't find African-American dolls."

The diversity of the toys and dolls he offers has gained him some international sales.

“My second sale was from Great Britain,” he said.

Because of the diversity and the hard-to-find toys, Toys, Babies and More has a strong presence online.

As word of his toy story spreads, so does his business, something of which he and his wife are very proud.

“It's not easy, but when you have good family, you have God, anything is possible,” Claudine Warner said.

Toys, Babies and More is located at 7455 Annapolis Road.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[LA Bus Driver Horror Stories: 'Most People Don't Have Any Idea']]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 11:32:25 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/160129-metro-assault-report.jpg

Retired Metro bus driver Jim Lucitt lost count of the assaults and insults he and other operators were subjected to during his 20 years on the job in Los Angeles.

The horror stories ranged from unruly behavior to attacks that posed serious safety threats to drivers and passengers. 

"Most people don't have any idea what the job is like," Lucitt said. "You become the target of somebody’s agitation or aggression,and it's a very dangerous job."

NBC4 obtained three years of internal agency reports that show operators were victims of assaults an average of 11 times per month. They document incidents in which they were choked, pepper-sprayed, splashed with hot coffee, punched, struck with bottles and threatened with box cutters and handguns.

"People have urine thrown on them," said Lucitt. "They get the urine in a cup and they throw it on them, and they spit on them, and they open up their soda cans on them."

In another disturbing case, a man approached a bus that was on a layover and began masturbating in front of the female driver. 

"It could be anywhere from someone just verbally assaulting all the way on up to physical assault, even stabbing of operators, rape, urine, feces," said Art Aguilar, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1277, which represents drivers. "And, for what cause? I mean, dogs get treated better than some of these operators."

Metro's security director said the agency is taking steps to protect drivers from such unprovoked attacks. Along with panic buttons that allow drivers to instantly summon police or deputies, many buses also feature new barriers to protect drivers. LA Metro is also testing live security cameras in 100 buses.

"We can actually view streaming real-time video on the bus," said Metro security Director Alex Wiggins. "That way, if there is an issue on the bus, we'll be able to intervene in real-time.

"Our operators are really on the front lines. They’re the first to interact with some individuals that may be in crisis."

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano co-authored a bill to improve safety nationwide. Introduced in June, the bill never made it out of a subcommittee, but Napolitano plans to try again next year.

"It requires transportation agencies to install barriers in order to prevent them within two years," Napolitano told the I-Team in August. "We will fight for this bill because we think it's important."

Metro said is has voluntarily installed barriers on 1,500 of its roughly 2,500 buses, but the agency plans to include them on all buses.

Until recently, the sheriff's department handled law enforcement on Metro buses, but the agency now shares that job with Los Angeles police. Officers and deputies are regularly riding buses.

NBC4's Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this article.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Arrest Made in Hit-and-Run That Killed Brooklyn Mom: NYPD]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 10:13:09 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/gravesend+deadly+hit+run.jpg

A woman has been arrested for allegedly leaving the scene after fatally hitting a 56-year-old mother in Brooklyn, police said.

Francine Labarbara died after she was struck down in the crosswalk on Avenue Y in Gravesend Tuesday morning while carrying groceries home, police said.

Susan Liebowitz, 55, of Brighton Beach, has been arrested and charged in connection with Labarbara’s death, the NYPD said.

She faces charges including leaving the scene of an accident, failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due care, according to police.

Police say Liebowitz was traveling south on West 2nd Street in a white Ford Econoline van when she tried to make a left turn onto Avenue Y and hit Labarbara as she was crossing the street. Liebowitz allegedly fled the scene after hitting Labarbara.

Labarbara was taken to Coney Island Hospital with trauma to her head and body, where she was pronounced dead.

The single mother of twin teenage sons was beloved in her Brooklyn neighborhood. She was the marketing director at the Brooklyn Bagel Store in Williamsburg.

Neighbors told News 4 the intersection where Labarbara was hit is a dangerous one.



Photo Credit: News 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Police Seek Tips on Colo. Mom Missing Since Thanksgiving]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2018 18:21:59 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Kelsey-Barreth.jpg

Police looking for a 29-year-old Colorado mom who's been missing since Thanksgiving are hoping that newly released surveillance video showing her last sighting at a grocery store will help in finding her.

Kelsey Berreth, who was reported missing by her mother on Dec. 2, was last seen in public with her 1-year-old daughter at a Safeway supermarket on Nov. 22 in Woodland Park, where she's lived since 2016.

The video shows Berreth, dressed in dark pants and a light jacket with her hair pulled back, pushing a cart with her child in a carrier on top. Authorities said they have already received a number of tips in the case and they hope the new footage, posted Tuesday to the Woodland Park Police Department's Facebook page, will lead to more.

Patrick Frazee, Berreth's fiance, told police he saw Berreth Thanksgiving afternoon when they exchanged their daughter, police chief Miles De Young said Monday. Frazee is taking care of the young girl now at his home. 

Frazee and Berreth were planning to marry and had been living in separate homes. Berreth would either sleep at Frazee's house or take the child to her home.

Frazee told police he took care of the child during the day while Berreth worked as a flight instructor at Doss Aviation. Berreth's employer got a text from her phone Nov. 25 saying she needed to take off the upcoming week. Her phone was tracked as being 700 miles away in Gooding, Idaho, that day.

De Young said Frazee is cooperating with police and is not a suspect in the case. Berreth's fiance could not be reached for comment by NBC.

Frazee's attorney confirmed in a Wednesday statement that his client is cooperating and added that Frazee voluntarily turned over his phone.

"Mr. Frazee hopes and prays for Ms. Berreth's return. Mr. Frazee will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and continue to parent the child he shares with Ms. Berreth," the statement read.

"At this point, he is the father of Kelsey's daughter, and we're gonna leave it at that," De Young told reporters. "So, this is a missing person's case."

Cheryl Berreth, Kelsey Berreth's mother, said at a press conference that "this is completely out of character" for her daughter.

"She loves her family and friends, and she loves her job," Cheryl Berreth said. "Kelsey, we just want you home. ... We won't quit looking."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Woodland Park Police Department via AP
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