Friday, January 5, 2018

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Settlement With Allure Group

Settlement Requires Allure to Make Major Improvements
to Greater Harlem Nursing Home, Open New Healthcare
Facilities in Brooklyn and Lower East Side

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced a comprehensive settlement with the Allure Group to revitalize the Greater Harlem Nursing Home and replace healthcare gaps in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side. The agreement results from the Attorney General’s investigations into the closings of two nursing homes, Rivington House - The Nicholas A. Rango Health Care Facility on the Lower East Side, and the CABS Nursing Home in Brooklyn. As part of the settlement, the Attorney General required new measures to fully reform the processes that led to the closure of Rivington House and CABS Nursing Home. Allure will also pay $750,000 in penalties and costs to the State, in addition to $1.25 million to Lower East Side healthcare non-profits.

“The processes that led to the closure of Rivington House and CABS never should have happened – this settlement ensures they won’t happen again, while addressing critical healthcare gaps in the impacted communities,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We’re requiring Allure to open new healthcare facilities in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side, and make major improvements to its Harlem facility, while also providing $1.25 million to non-profits serving vulnerable New Yorkers.”

The settlement resolves an investigation by the Attorney General’s office into the closure of two facilities that had been sold by non-profit nursing home operators to the Allure Group and its principals, who own and manage a group of nursing homes in New York City. In each case, the facilities were closed shortly thereafter with minimal notice to the affected communities. While such closures were taking place, the Allure Group was managing the Greater Harlem Nursing Home as a Receiver; the non-profit owner of the Greater Harlem Nursing Home is now petitioning the Court to sell its facility to Allure-related companies.

Click here for the full report. 

Source: The Office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

President Trump Meets with Republican Members of the Senate About Immigration

This video was published on YouTube on January 4, 2018. 

Source: The White House

Trump’s First-Year Jobs Numbers Were Very, Very Good

By Philip Bump, The Washington Post

On Friday morning, the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released employment numbers for December, bookending President Trump’s first year in office.

With those numbers in hand, we can now compare Trump’s first year in office to his predecessors’. And in that comparison, Trump comes out looking pretty good.

Relative to the figure from January in each president’s first year in office (excluding those presidents who took office after a death or resignation), Trump saw one of the biggest percentage-point drops in the unemployment rate.

Under Trump, there were 1.8 million more people working in December than in January. Under Obama, 4.3 million fewer.

Between January and December of last year, the country added 184,000 manufacturing jobs, the third-most of the presidents for whom data is available after Carter and John Kennedy.

Trump’s consistently celebrated the economic numbers the country has seen during his time in office and the numbers from the BLS certainly give him some reason to do so.

Click here for the full article.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Former. Lt. Gov Betsy McCaughey Calls Cuomo Lawsuit 'Laughable'

Former. Lt. Gov. of New York Betsy McCaughey discusses New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s lawsuit to stop the tax reform law from going into effect, calling his argument that the bill is “unconstitutional” is “laughable.”

Source: Fox News

Mayor de Blasio Holds Media Availability

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Mayor de Blasio & Police Commissioner O’Neill Holds Media Availability Regarding Crime Statistics

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Mumia Abu-Jamal's Health Deteriorating

The following statement was submitted by Noelle Hanrahan, a private investigator and the director of Prison Radio

I just came back from a visit with Mumia at S.C.I Mahanoy. Right now, Mumia is ill and his health is precarious. The call from the movement is to demand that Mumia receive an independent medical exam.

In the wake of our groundbreaking efforts that secured Hepatitis C treatment for Mumia in 2017 after two years of medical neglect, Mumia is currently experiencing the same debilitating symptoms - including worsening skin conditions - that put him in intensive care in March 2015. His vulnerability to this condition has been caused by the substandard treatment he received at SCI Mahanoy and from Correct Care Solutions during the last three years.

Although Mumia has received the anti-viral medication to cure Hepatitis C, it is past due for an independent medical exam. Correct Care Solutions, the for-profit contracted "health care" provider, and the PA Department of Corrections cannot be trusted to get the job done. Now it is time to demand that independent doctors are able to diagnose and treat our brother. 

Click here to read the complete statement.

Too Much At Stake to Allow the 2016 Federal Elections to Stand

 'Revote Coalition' Aims to Ensure Americans Are
Solely Responsible for Electing Representatives

By Jerroll M. Sanders

( – We now know beyond all doubt that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. elections to help Donald J. Trump and certain Republican congressional candidates win.

Although almost a year has passed since Trump and newly-elected congressional leaders took office, it’s still not too late for a revote. Redoing 2016 federal elections is the only way to make things right for the American people.

There is nothing unique about my call for a revote of the 2016 primary and general elections. It is customary for contest winners such as athletes who are victorious due to fraud or doping to relinquish their title and metals. Why shouldn’t we expect the same of politicians?

If the U.S. Supreme Court were to declare the 2016 federal elections unconstitutional, President Trump and newly elected congressional leaders would be forced to vacate their office. The ruling would also lead to an undoing of all federal laws, policies and judicial appointments accomplished during the Trump Administration.

Some view the call for a revote as wishful thinking. Others have taken a wait-and-see position, hoping that President Trump will be impeached and removed or will succumb to defeat in 2020—as might be suggested by recent democratic victories in Virginia and Alabama. But the Revote Coalition’s goal is not to remove President Trump from office but to ensure that the American people, not a foreign enemy, determine who our elected officials are.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: National Black Guide

The Biggest Secret: James Risen on Life as a NY Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror

Source: Democracy Now!

Glenn Greenwald on Iran Protests: Trump Tweets 'Time for Change' While Backing Dictators Worldwide

Source: Democracy Now!

'Flashback Friday': Negative Portrayals of Black Women

Historical and Modern Perspectives  

This video was published on YouTube on October 26, 2011.

Infiltration: COINTELPRO

This video was published on YouTube on January 20, 2014. 

Source: Stuff They Don't Want You To Know

The US Medical System is Still Haunted by Slavery

This video was published on YouTube on December 7, 2017. 

Source: Vox

A Call for Black America to Stay Focused in 2018

Attorney Antonio Moore discusses the recent dispute between Tariq Nasheed and Dr. Umar Johnson. Moore states a general position that both men should come together and iron out their disputes amicably. He also addresses the recent article by Damon Young that trivializes the dispute between the two men, and attempts to create click bait out of the discussion.

This video was published on December 31, 2017. 

Source: tonetalks

African-American Company Buys Essence Communications from Time, Inc.

by Mashaun D. Simon

Essence Communications, a brand known for its popular monthly magazine and annual music festival, is once again 100 percent African-American owned.

Time, Inc. announced Wednesday, that Essence Ventures, LLC, an independent African-American owned company, acquired the media company.

“The ESSENCE team has extended the brand’s reach and influence across multiple platforms, solidifying its position as the premier destination for African-American women serving an audience of 16.3 million,” said Time, Inc. President Rich Battista in a memo to staff obtained by NBC News.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Just How Far Trump Went to Try and Stop Sessions from Recusing Himself

Dow Hits Record High, Breaks 25,000

Global Impact of Iran Protests, Aid to Pakistan, Trump's Feuds and More

Source: CBS News

Sean Spicer Reacts to Details in Trump Tell-All

NBC News Exclusive 

National Weather Service: Wind Chill Warning

Click here for listing. 

Source: NOAA

East Braces for Dangerous Temperatures After Nor'easter

Is Facebook Silencing Palestinians at Government’s Request?

Haiti Prisons: Overcrowding a Major Problem

Zambia Cholera: Outbreak Gov't Operation to Stamp Out Disease

North-South Korea Talks Set for Tuesday

Thailand's Stateless: Generations Without Citizenship

Computer Chip Bugs: Tech Firms Scramble to Fix Flaws

Ending Child Marriage in Egypt

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Brexit: Scores of British Jews Apply for German Passports

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Emmanuel Macron's Goals and Resolutions for 2018

Source: FRANCE 24 English

In Memoriam: NY State Trooper Michael J. Anson

Trooper Michael Anson died as the result of cancer that he developed following his assignment to the search and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site following the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks.
Trooper Anson had served with the New York State Police for 31 years and was assigned to Troop G. He was last stationed at SP New Scotland. He is survived by his wife, three children, and brothers.

Click here for additional information. 

Flags to Be Lowered to Half Staff

Governor Andrew Cuomo today directed that flags on all state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, in honor of Trooper Anson.

"Trooper Anson embodied all of what it means to be a member of the State Police: Dedicated, tough, and committed to his colleagues, friends, family and community," said Governor Cuomo. "He made the ultimate sacrifice through his selfless service at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks. I ask all New Yorkers to join me in offering our thoughts and prayers to his family, friends and colleagues at the New York State Police." 

Sources: Officer Down Memorial Page and the Press Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

City Scoop: 1,500 Security Bollards, Emergency Shelter, City’s Discretionary Spending Limit On Small Contracts

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Bharara: 'Sessions Must Go. Now' If Explosive New Report Is True

By Ryan Sit

A former U.S. Attorney now says the Attorney General "must go" if a new report saying he tried to undermine the Trump-Russia investigation is true. 

Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York, tweeted Jeff Sessions should step down after a New York Times article reported the Attorney General asked for "derogatory information" about then-FBI Director James Comey, days before Trump fired him.

"If true-emphasis on IF- Sessions must go. Now," Bharara tweeted on Friday.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: Newsweek (via Empire Report New York) 

NY May Scrap Its Income Tax for a Payroll Tax

By Joseph Spector, Gannett Albany 

ALBANY -- New York may end its income tax and instead expand its payroll tax as a way to outmaneuver the new federal law that limits deductions for state and local taxes.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday during his State of the State address that he is exploring how to make the complicated switch, joining other high-tax states in considering how to protect residents' tax deductions and state revenue.

California and New Jersey leaders have also discussed similar steps, such as programs to allow people to pay charitable contributions to their state governments -- rather than pay income taxes.

"It's a question of our competitiveness long term and preserving the strength of New York state and New York's state economy," Cuomo said, "at a time when we have federal government that is giving other states a structural competitive advantage against us."

Click here for the full article. 

Source: (via Empire Report New York) 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Mayor de Blasio Hosts Press Conference to Discuss Winter Weather and the City’s Response

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Trashed: Inside the Deadly World of Private Garbage Collection

Waste removal is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. On the darkened streets of New York City, it’s a race for survival. 

by Kiera Feldman, The Investigative Fund  

Shortly before 5 a.m. on a recent November night, a garbage truck with a New York Yankees decal on the side sped through a red light on an empty street in the Bronx. The two workers aboard were running late. Before long, they would start getting calls from their boss. “Where are you on the route? Hurry up, it shouldn’t take this long.” Theirs was one of 133 garbage trucks owned by Action Carting, the largest waste company in New York City, which picks up the garbage and recycling from 16,700 businesses.

Going 20 miles per hour above the city’s 25 mph limit, the Action truck ran another red light with a worker, called a “helper,” hanging off the back. Just a few miles away the week before, another man had died in the middle of the night beneath the wheels of another company’s garbage truck. The Action truck began driving on the wrong side of the road in preparation for the next stop. The workers were racing to pick up as much garbage as possible before dawn arrived and the streets filled with slow traffic. “This route should take you twelve hours,” the boss often told them. “It shouldn’t take you fourteen hours.”

Working 10- to 14-hour days, six days per week, means that no one is ever anything close to rested. The company holds monthly safety meetings and plays videos, taken by cameras installed inside the trucks, of Action drivers falling asleep at the wheel. “You’re showing us videos of guys being fatigued, guys falling asleep,” a driver told me. (All Action employees asked for anonymity for fear of retaliation.) “But you aren’t doing anything about it.”

“In the history of the company I am sure there have been times where supervisors have inappropriately rushed people,” said Action Carting CEO Ron Bergamini. “They shouldn’t be, and they’d be fired if they ever told people to run red lights or speed. But you have to find the balance between efficiency and safety, and that’s a struggle we work on every day. But you cannot turn around and say, ‘Hey just take your time, go as long as you want.’” He pointed out that workers can anonymously report concerns to a safety hotline. As to the questions of overwork and driver fatigue, Bergamini responded, “That’s a struggle that the whole industry has — of getting people to work less.”

Click here for the full article.

Source: ProPublica

Fordham Students Sue Over Free Speech Rights to Establish Students for Justice in Palestine Group

Source: Democracy Now!

Train Derails in Icy Weather from Southeast Snowstorm

Justice Department ‘Looking Into’ Hillary Clinton’s Emails— Again

It’s the most scrutinized email server of all time. But the president is demanding it get scrutinized again. And DOJ is taking a fresh look.

By Betsy Woodruff

Justice Department officials are taking a fresh look at Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of State, The Daily Beast has learned.

An ally of Attorney General Jeff Sessions who is familiar with the thinking at the Justice Department’s Washington headquarters described it as an effort to gather new details on how Clinton and her aides handled classified material. Officials’ questions include how much classified information was sent over Clinton’s server; who put that information into an unclassified environment, and how; and which investigators knew about these matters and when. The Sessions ally also said officials have questions about immunity agreements that Clinton aides may have made.

A former senior DOJ official familiar with department leadership’s thinking said officials there are acutely aware of demands from President Donald Trump that they look into Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of State—and that they lock up her top aide, Huma Abedin.

For instance, Trump tweeted on Dec. 2, “Many people in our Country are asking what the ‘Justice’ Department is going to do about the fact that totally Crooked Hillary, AFTER receiving a subpoena from the United States Congress, deleted and ‘acid washed’ 33,000 Emails? No justice!”

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Beast

Governor Cuomo Declares State of Emergency Across New York City, Long Island and Westchester

Governor Andrew Cuomo today declared a state of emergency across New York City, Long Island and Westchester. Additionally, a travel advisory has been issued from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, with the worst weather expected from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sustained winds of 25-30 mph are expected with gusts of up to 60 mph across the downstate region. The coastal system is expected to bring 6 to 10 inches of snow to New York City; 4 to 8 inches to Nassau County; 9 to 12 inches to Suffolk County; and 4 to 8 inches to Westchester County. The system will also create blizzard conditions that could lead to blowing snow and whiteouts on roadways, with coastal flooding possible and overnight drops in temperatures causing hazardous black ice.

Yesterday, the Governor activated the State Emergency Operations Center at a Level 4 enhanced monitoring to track potentially dangerous winter storm conditions from two different low-pressure systems - one approaching from the north and the other affecting coastal areas - as well as frigid temperatures that will overspread the state through this weekend.

"In the face of blizzard conditions and freezing temperatures, I am declaring a state of emergency across New York City, Long Island and Westchester to urge New Yorkers to stay home, stay off the roads, and stay safe," said Governor Cuomo. "We will continue to monitor the storm and have deployed hundreds of assets and personnel across the state and on Long Island, ready to respond and assist impacted communities. I ask all New Yorkers to stay informed, and continue to prepare for cold and snow."

Dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills will continue through the weekend and wind chill watches will remain in effect for all of Upstate New York. The northern system is also expected to bring 8-10 inches of snow in the typical lake effect snow areas of upstate.  Low pressure systems to the north and moving up the Atlantic coast will bring snow across all of New York State today through the weekend. Into this weekend, the arctic temperatures are expected to continue with the majority of the state seeing temperatures only reaching highs in the single digits and wind chills as low as 40 below.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Let's Talk Education - Educating Our Young African-American Men

This video was published on YouTube on November 2, 2012. 

Source: WHUTDC32

Saving Our Youth: Gang Life (Teach Kids Early to Stay Away)

April 2017 - Senator Marty Golden explains his legislation to provide education and intervention to prevent the growth of criminal street gangs.

Source: NYSenate

Trailblazers in Black History: Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr.

Levi Watkins Jr., a pioneer in both cardiac surgery and civil rights, was best known for implanting the first automatic heart defibrillator in a patient, recruiting minority students to the school of medicine and founding the annual Johns Hopkins Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration. This video was shared during a memorial tribute on Sept. 24, 2015.

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine 

Five Things About Dana Gresham, Senate Democrats' Only Black Chief of Staff

by Mashaun D. Simon

Doug Jones was sworn into office as Alabama Senator Wednesday, after his historic win over Republican Roy Moore in December. The selection of his staff is also significant, as his pick for chief of staff, Dana Gresham, makes him the only Senate Democrat to have an African-American in the position.

Jones’ selection of Gresham is being considered a response to the pressure he received from the NAACP, the National Urban League and other minority groups to select people of color for his top staff positions. According to a 2015 report by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, of the 336 top Senate staffers, only 24 were people of color.

Here are five things to know about the newest chief of staff in the Senate.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: NBC News 

Explosive New Book Slams Trump and His Family

Canadian Veterans Demand Accountability Over Medication

Turkish Banker Hakan Atilla Convicted in Iran Sanctions Case

Tens of Thousands Displaced as Fighting Continues in Idlib, Syria

Brazilian Women Protest Over Government Plans to Further Restrict Access to Abortion

Source: euronews.

Macron Takes on 'Fake News' with Plans to Change France's Media Laws

Source: euronews.

Rwanda’s Evangelical Church Boom

Source: FRANCE 24 English

The Top Risks Facing the Global Economy and the World in 2018

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Newt Gingrich on Iran Protests, 2018 Political Landscape

This video was published on YouTube on January 2. 

Source: Fox News 

Iran's Government Takes 'Upper Hand' Against Protesters

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Pence: 'This Time, We Will Not Be Silent on Iran'

By Vice President Mike Pence
The Washington Post
January 3, 2018

The last administration’s refusal to act ultimately emboldened Iran’s tyrannical rulers to crack down on the dissent. The Green Revolution was ruthlessly put down, and the deadly silence on the streets of Iran matched the deafening silence from the White House. To this day, many Iranians blame the United States for abandoning them in their hour of need.

Today, the Iranian people are once again rising up to demand freedom and opportunity, and under President Trump, the United States is standing with them. This time, we will not be silent.

More broadly, the president declined to certify the previous administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, which flooded the regime’s coffers with tens of billions of dollars in cash — money that it could use to repress its own people and support terrorism across the wider world. We have already issued new sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the president is weighing additional actions to punish the regime for its belligerent behavior and assault on its own citizens.

The United States has spoken clearly and unequivocally. Unfortunately, many of our European partners, as well as the United Nations, have thus far failed to forcefully speak out on the growing crisis in Iran. It’s time for them to stand up. The suppression of the Green Revolution in 2009 shows the disastrous price of silence. The president and I call on leaders of freedom-loving nations across the world to condemn Iran’s unelected dictators and defend the Iranian people’s unalienable right to chart their own future and determine their own destiny.

The president has said that “oppressive regimes cannot endure forever,” and our administration will continue to support the protesters in their calls for freedom and demand that Iran’s leaders cease their dangerous and destabilizing actions at home and abroad.

We stand with the proud people of Iran because it is right, and because the regime in Tehran threatens the peace and security of the world.

Click here for the full article.

Beyond Extreme Energy: Spreading Awareness on Climate Change

The following commentary was provided by Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) member Drew Hudson.

"For years we've battled to get people to understand the connection between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), fracking, and extreme fossil fuels that threaten our health, communities, and climate. Many times in the course of that fight, we've described FERC as 'the most dangerous federal agency you've never heard of'.

"Thanks to the unfortunate build out of dozens of new fracked gas and oil pipelines, combined with Trump and team's outrageous plan to subsidize coal and nuclear plants to the tune of over $1 billion with our electricity bills,* a lot more people are hearing about FERC. But still millions of our neighbors have no idea that we're living through the biggest build out of fossil fuel infrastructure in US history. And they may not even know that they're living next door to an activist, frontline group, or protest encampment.

"So BXE has come up with a plan to produce a series of smart, informative, powerful videos about extreme energy, FERC, and our work together."

This video was published on YouTube on December 20, 2017. 

Click here for additional information. 

Erica Garner Was 'Unbought and Unbossed' in Push for Justice....

Source: Democracy Now!

The Case for the Subway

It built the city. Now, no matter the cost — at least $100 billion — the city must rebuild it to survive.

By Jonathan Mahler

Long before it became an archaic, filthy, profligate symbol of everything wrong with our broken cities, New York’s subway was a marvel — a mad feat of engineering and an audacious gamble on a preposterously ambitious vision. “The effect it is to have on the city of New York is something larger than any mind can realize,” said William Gaynor, the New York mayor who set in motion the primary phase of its construction. A public-works project of this scale had never before been undertaken in the United States, and even now, more than a century later, it is hard to fully appreciate what it did for the city and, really, the nation.

Before the subway, it was by no means a foregone conclusion that New York would become the greatest city on earth. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants fleeing poverty and persecution were arriving on its doorstep every year, but most of them were effectively marooned, herded into dark, squalid tenements in disease-ridden slums. The five boroughs had recently been joined as one city, but the farms and villages of Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens might as well have been on the other side of the planet from Manhattan’s teeming streets. Bound up in the fate of the city were even larger questions: Would America be able to manage the transition from the individualism and insularity that defined its 19th-century frontiers to the creative collaboration and competition of its fast-growing urban centers? Could it adapt and excel in this rapidly changing world? Were cities the past or the future of civilization? And then came the subway: hundreds of miles of track shooting out in every direction, carrying millions of immigrants out of the ghettos and into newly built homes, tying together the modern city and enabling it to become a place where anything was possible.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Times 

ICE Boss Wants Politicians in Sanctuary Cities Locked Up for Barring Feds from Busting Undocumented People

By Jillian Jorgensen

If the acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement has his way, elected officials like Mayor de Blasio could wind up in handcuffs.

ICE acting Director Thomas Homan said in an interview Wednesday that politicians running sanctuary cities might be violating the law — and he wants to see them locked up.

“We’ve got to take these sanctuary cities on, we’ve got to take them to court and we’ve got to start charging some of these politicians with crimes,” Homan said in a Fox News interview.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The New York Daily News (via Empire Report New York) 

Health Care Industry Braces for State Budget Crunch

As state legislators return to Albany Wednesday, the health care industry groups that will be fighting for funding said they're worried that federal cuts will force the governor and the Legislature to make difficult choices.

"I expect that this year you'll see proposed cuts at a magnitude you haven't seen in years," said Paul Macielak, the outgoing president and CEO of the state Health Plan Association. Macielak retired at the end of last year, with Eric Linzer, the former executive vice president at the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, taking over.

One of the trade group's priorities in the upcoming session is urging the state to introduce measures that would stabilize the individual insurance market. Congress' tax-reform bill repealed the individual mandate, which required people to buy insurance or pay a fine. When the repeal takes effect in 2019, fewer people are expected to buy insurance, particularly healthier individuals whom insurers rely on to balance out the high health costs of their sicker members. 

Click here for the full article. '

Source: CRAIN'S New York Business (via Empire Report New York)

National Weather Service: Snow Amount Potential for the Tri-State Area

The purpose of these experimental probabilistic snowfall products is to provide customers and partners a range of snowfall possibilities, in complement to existing NWS deterministic snowfall graphics, to better communicate forecast uncertainties during winter weather events. 

Click here to review the calculations. 

Source: NOAA

Heavy Snow and High Winds Pound the East Coast

By Harriet McLeod and Scott Malone, Reuters

CHARLESTON, S.C./BOSTON, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Heavy snow and high winds pounded the U.S. East Coast along a front stretching from Maine as far south as North Carolina early on Thursday, knocking out power, icing over roadways and closing hundreds of schools.

The storm, the product of a rapid and rare sharp drop in barometric pressure known as bombogenesis that on Wednesday dumped snow on Florida’s capital Tallahassee for the first time in 30 years, was expected to last through the day.

States of emergencies were in effect in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia and blizzard warnings from the Canadian border as far south as Virginia.

Click here for the full article.

Source: The Huffington Post 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

White House Press Briefing

Source: The White House

Fire Breaks Out at Hillary and Bill Clinton's House in Chappaqua


NEW CASTLE - A fire broke out today at the Clintons' home in Chappaqua and was quickly extinguished.

The fire was reported about 2:50 p.m. at 15 Old House Lane where former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have lived for nearly 20 years after buying it for $1.7 million in 1999.

Click here for the full article. 


Two Severe Weather Systems Approaching New York from the North and South

Governor Cuomo Urges Caution as Winter Storms 
and Frigid Temperatures Threaten Most of State

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that he will activate the State Emergency Operations Center at a Level 4 enhanced monitoring to track potentially dangerous winter storm conditions from two different low-pressure systems - one approaching from the north and the other affecting coastal areas - as well as frigid temperatures that will overspread the state through this weekend. The coastal system is expected to bring 7 to 12 inches of snow to Long Island over the next 5 days, primarily in Suffolk County. The system will also create blizzard conditions that could lead to blowing snow and whiteouts on roadways. The northern system is expected to bring 8-10 inches of snow in the typical lake effect snow areas of upstate.

"New York is no stranger to severe winter weather and this time we are facing two systems at once," said Governor Cuomo. "We have assets and personnel deployed throughout the state and we are ready to respond when and where it is needed. I ask all New Yorkers to stay informed, stay safe and make sure you prepare for cold and snow."

Dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills will continue through the weekend and wind chill watches will remain in effect for all of Upstate New York. Low pressure systems to the north and moving up the Atlantic coast will bring snow across all of New York State today through the weekend. A winter storm warning has been issued for Suffolk County from 1 a.m. Thursday through 1 a.m. Friday. Winter storm watches have been issued for New York City and Nassau County from 1 a.m. Thursday to 11 p.m. Thursday.

In the Long Island Region, Suffolk County is expected to see the highest accumulations from the coastal system with anywhere from 7 to 12 inches over the next 5 days with Nassau county as well as New York City forecast to receive from 3 to 6 inches of snow, with a potential for 6 inches or more, late tonight through Thursday. The balance of the State can expect generally from 3 to 8 inches through the weekend.

The typical lake effect snow regions of the Chautauqua Ridge in Western New York and Tug Hill Plateau in the North Country will see the highest amounts of snow accumulations from the northern system (generally 8-10 inches of accumulation over the 5 days).

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

Governor Cuomo will activate the New York State Emergency Operations Center Thursday morning to a Level 4 enhanced monitoring mode with State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services - Office of Emergency Management staff.

State OEM is prepared to respond to requests for assistance with assets from its stockpiles, including 678 generators, 235 light towers, 909 pumps, 9 sandbaggers, more than 930,000 sandbags, more than 46,700 ready-to-eat meals, almost 70,000 bottles and 312,000 cans of water, almost 9,000 cots, more than 11,000 blankets and pillows, nearly 4,000 flashlights, 960 traffic barriers, 594 traffic barrels, and 6,800 feet of aqua dam.

Thruway Authority

The Thruway Authority has 667 supervisors and operators ready to deploy 246 large snow plows, 113 medium snow plows, 10 tow plows and 52 loaders across the state with more than 101,000 tons of road salt on hand. Variable Message Signs, Highway Advisory Radio and social media are utilized to alert motorists of winter weather conditions on the Thruway.

The Thruway Authority encourages motorists to download its mobile app which is available to download for free on iPhone and Android devices. The app provides motorists direct access to real-time traffic and navigation assistance while on the go. Motorists can also sign up for TRANSalert e-mails which provide the latest traffic conditions along the Thruway here. For real-time updates, motorists can follow @ThruwayTraffic on Twitter or by clicking here to see an interactive map showing traffic conditions for the Thruway and other New York State roadways.

Snowplows travel at about 35 miles per hour — which in many cases is lower than the posted speed limit — in order to ensure that salt being dispersed stays in the driving lanes and does not scatter off the roadways. The safest place for motorists is well behind the snowplows where the roadway is clear and salted.

Department of Transportation

The New York State Department of Transportation is ready to respond with more than 1,555 large plow/dump trucks, 205 medium plow/dump trucks, 325 loaders, 39 truck/loader mounted snow blowers, 52 tow plows, 20 graders and 14 pickup trucks with plows. DOT also has nearly 366,000 tons of road salt on hand. DOT continues to monitor weather forecasts and stands ready to shift resources as necessary to any areas of the state anticipating significant weather conditions.

Governor Cuomo recently announced the State Department of Transportation's acquisition of 44 Two-Stage Plows that clear snow and ice from the roads more efficiently. A second plow located directly behind the main plow blade will conform to the road surface, removing more snow to better clean the road surface and allow for reduced salt usage. The new plows will be located strategically across the State and will be used at targeted locations where less salt use is preferred due to environmental factors.

Motorists are reminded to check 511NY  or call 511 before traveling. The free service allows users to check road conditions and transit information. Mobile users can download the free 511NY mobile app from the iTunes or Google Play stores. The app features Drive mode, which provides audible alerts along a chosen route while a user is driving, warning them about incidents and construction. Users can set a destination prior to departing and receive information on up to three routes.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

MTA Bridges & Tunnels

The MTA's bridges are equipped with embedded roadway sensors for temperature and above-ground atmospheric sensors that deliver real-time information on wind velocity, wind direction, humidity and precipitation via wireless communication. These sensors record data used to determine if speed restrictions are necessary. Managerial staff will be activated, the Command Center is prepared to operate their weather desks, and all equipment and supplies have been prepared for deployment. Bridges and Tunnels has 8,540 tons of roadway deicer and 106 pieces of snow-fighting equipment in service and available for storm fighting operations, including conveyor trucks, pay loaders, front loaders and plows.

Long Island Rail Road

The LIRR anticipates running normal service, as conditions warrant. As safety is a top priority of the LIRR, staff will monitor the storm as it progresses and make any adjustments necessary.

The LIRR will be taking preventative measures to deal with snow accumulation, including the activation of equipment heaters and deployment of de-icing equipment. Switch heaters will be used to keep rail switches moving freely so trains can be routed from one track to another. Anti-freeze trains also will operate as needed to help prevent icing on the third rail and ensure that electric trains can draw power properly. Station waiting rooms have remained open to the public around the clock due to the cold and will remain available to the riding public until Monday, January 8, when regular station waiting room hours will resume.

The LIRR has at the ready several different types of equipment during storms to ensure safe travel and operations, including 1 million pounds of de-icer, 25 cubic yards of sand, three cold-air snow blowers/throwers, four de-icer trains, nine rail-bound jet blowers/snow melters, 12,000 third-rail heaters/melters, 108 track switch heaters/snow melters, two rail-bound snow blowers/broom throwers, one rail-bound spreader, and seven mountable snow plows/salt spreaders. The LIRR also has two excavators, two forklifts, 31 loaders, 42 barricades, and 29 work vehicles/trucks to assist in weather-related conditions.

Customers are advised to allow extra time to get to the station and use caution when navigating stairways and platforms and when boarding and exiting trains in case of slippery conditions. Customers can sign up for the LIRR's Customer E-Alert/Text Message service for updates about service changes related to the storm here. Customers can also check the MTA/LIRR website for service advisories here.


Metro-North Railroad will deploy additional staff and specialized equipment to stay ahead of the wintery conditions. The railroad will bring in about 1,500 extra personnel to increase coverage around the system. Maintainers, track workers and power personnel will be on site to deal with such weather related issues as broken rails, catenary problems and switch failures.

To battle the elements, Metro-North has more than 900 pieces of storm-fighting equipment, including: 220 portable snow blowers, 3 rail-bound jet engine powered snow blowers/melters, 6 cold-air (rail) snow blowers/throwers, 2 rail-bound snow broom throwers, 635 track switch heaters/snow melters, 196 portable generators, 35 pickup truck plows, 70 mountable snow plows/salt spreaders and 767,000 pounds of salt.

NYC Subways and Staten Island Railway

MTA New York City Transit's Department of Subways and Staten Island Railway are operating under its Cold Weather Plan for forecasts of significant snow accumulation. Under this plan, some subway trains may be moved and stored underground in anticipation of heavy snow or ice to prevent them from being blocked in yards. On lines with express service, trains may operate local service only during this change. Station crews will be deployed to clear snow and to salt platforms, as well as station entrances, sidewalk vents, emergency exits and other Transit operational and employee facilities.

Mobile wash operations for stations and refuse trains will be suspended during this time. Personnel will activate 500 track switch heaters, more than 1,600 third-rail heaters and lift-rail heaters systemwide. While the underground portions of the subway system are unaffected during snowstorms, nearly 220 miles of outdoor track throughout the boroughs are particularly vulnerable to snow and freezing precipitation, such as the Rockaway AS, Sea Beach N, Flushing 7, Brighton BQ and Dyre Av 5 lines. To combat ice buildup, non-passenger trains will continuously operate in outdoor tracks to help snow and ice accumulation. Trains also will be deployed with ice-scraping shoes, and diesel trains will be activated as de-icers. Personnel will have access to 600,000 pounds of calcium chloride and 200,000 pounds of sand to melt snow and ice.

Staten Island Railway will protect trains from the inclement weather by storing them at St. George. A de-icer train will be staffed for 24 hours, and additional staff will be activated during overnight hours to clear snow and salt platforms. Additional personnel will be deployed to inspect four critical interlockings and dispatchers will operate more than 80 switch heaters to ensure continued service on the railway, which operates on outdoor tracks for most of its route.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo