Brooklyn’s Covid-19 lockdown is “unconstitutional,” suit claims

first_imgTurturro Law at 1602 McDonald Avenue in Brooklyn with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Getty; Google Maps)A Brooklyn law firm is suing Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio for state-mandated restrictions placed on Covid-19 hotspots in Brooklyn this week, claiming that “arbitrary” lines have forced the firm to close its doors.Turturro Law filed the suit Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn. The firm’s office is located on MacDonald Avenue in Midwood, within a “red zone” identified by Cuomo. The complaint alleges that the governor’s line-drawing violated the law firm’s constitutional rights and criticizes its “confounding” reasoning.The lawsuit also notes that before carrying out the line-drawing, Cuomo singled out places of worship and mass gatherings, which should not apply to the law firm.Matthew Turturro“It is unconscionable that our office is being forced to close while law offices literally a few blocks away from us continue to operate and generate new business,” said Matthew Turturro, a real estate attorney at the firm.“Go ahead. We’ve gotten sued on virtually every action taken ‎during this pandemic,” Richard Azzopardi, a spokesperson for Cuomo, said in a statement. “We’re focused on breaking this cluster and saving lives. Being unhappy is better than being sick or dead.” A spokesperson for de Blasio declined to comment.The complaint states that none of the firm’s employees have tested positive for Covid-19, and argues that shutting the firm’s doors will do nothing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.The plaintiffs also argue that there is no “no scientific or other rational basis” for the hot zones, which allow some businesses to remain open, while others down the street are closed. Nothing will prevent individuals from traveling down the block to a more, or less, restrictive area, according to the lawsuit.The plaintiffs want to prevent enforcement of the measure, and are seeking compensation for the interruption to their business.The restrictions on non-essential businesses and houses of worship are so far limited to several neighborhoods in Brooklyn — including Borough Park, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay and Marine Park — where positive coronavirus tests have surged in recent weeks. Schools and non-essential businesses in those areas must close, while houses of worship must limit attendance to 10 people at a time.The reaction to the closures within the real estate community has been mixed. Small-business owners and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce expressed concerns, while real estate trade associations, including the Real Estate Board of New York, supported the measures and implored communities to enforce social distancing and mask-wearing.The lockdown has been met with intense protests in the Orthodox Jewish community, with crowds massing in Borough Park on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Local media documented hundreds of observant community members circling bonfires of masks in the street, while denouncing Cuomo’s order. Contact Georgia Kromrei Share via Shortlink Email Address* Full Name*center_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Message* TagsbrooklynCommercial Real EstateCoronavirusReal Estate LawsuitsResidential Real Estatelast_img read more

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ACOVSD Board holds Jan. 21 meeting

first_img By Austin Rust-The Adams County Ohio Valley School District Board of Education held a regular meeting on Jan. 21 in the Ohio Valley Career and Technical Center (OVCTC). At this meeting, the ACOVSD Board set the age limit for guests at prom dances to 20 (instead of 19, as it had previously been), voted to approve a resolution stating their disapproval of coming changes to the EdChoice voucher program, and adopted a districtwide K-6 Kindness Campaign.After a call to order, the Pledge of Allegiance, approval of the agenda, and the approval of past meeting minutes, the Board first watched a video created for Board Appreciation Month by the young students at North Adams Elementary School. Next, Adams County Court Administrator Veronica Grooms introduced and asked for the approval of the Kindness Campaign, a program court employees hope to initiate in the current school year to reward small acts of kindness. In this program, intended for students in kindergarten through sixth grade, positive interactions with fellow students, school resource officers, and Adams County Court staff would be encouraged through the recognition of good deeds. This program would come at no cost to the district, and would only require minimum teacher involvement. It was unanimously approved by the Board.District K-6 Curriculum Coordinator Lisa Toole then discussed professional development with OLi4, or Ohio Leadership for Inclusion, Implementation, Instruction, and Improvement. Toole explained that the district’s elementary school principals continue to thrive in this program, and said that a district in-service would be held on Universal Design for Learning (UDL), described as an educational framework geared toward the development of flexible learning environments. The district continues to follow the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP) standards in using proven methods to guide instruction, allowing educators to improve in effectiveness and collaboration.OVCTC Director Tad Mitchell gave the Board an update on secondary education. The OVCTC has added EDUC 2243 / Individuals with Exceptionalities to its CCP offerings; this course will be taught by Amy Hoop at the OVCTC this semester. Mitchell also noted that the Study Sync online Language Arts curriculum was a hit with teachers in the subject, and that one year of a new online program, Knowledge Matters, had been ordered for business and personal finance teachers to supplement their other resources.Social Studies teachers at the OVCTC are reviewing materials for next year, Mitchell said, and plan to order new books with online access. In the next month, Mitchell plans to work with Grade 9 – 12 math teachers to review several free online resources for high school mathematics. Lastly, Mitchell noted that a meeting was held last fall with district computer teachers to discuss students earning credentials in Microsoft Office.Board Member Gay Lynn Shipley then gave an update on Future Plans assessments and the GRIT (Growing Rural Independence Together Through Jobs) Program, which had officially launched earlier that day. Shipley advised that the district should guide students to focus on careers at a younger age, perhaps in junior high, and consider fully replacing its now obsolete career passports with Future Plans assessments. Shipley also explained that the district will reach out to OhioMeansJobs (OMJ) in the near future to have them explain their services to students.District Systems Manager Eddie Butcher and Coordinator Jonathan Bowman gave a sneak peek into Registration Gateway, an online registration and form submission system that will add to district efficiency, reduce paperwork, and eliminate data duplication. The district’s Technology Department will complete training on this system in April, and plans to have a soft launch of the program during registration for kindergarten this coming fall. In other business, the Technology Department explained that it had completed Windows 10 upgrades to all district computers.In the Treasurer’s Report, the Board voted to approve a resolution opposing the State of Ohio EdChoice Scholarship (Voucher) Program. Treasurer Brian Switzer explained the potential cost that coming changes to the program could bring to the district, due to the fact that the ACOVSD would lose funding for each student that decides to move through the program to another district. Superintendent Richard Seas remarked that the planned changes to EdChoice would have a very negative effect on public education, and explained that taxpayer funding should not contribute to private school tuitions. Private schools are held less accountable than public schools, Seas added, in ensuring that students are provided with the environment, education, and resources they need.In concluding his report,Treasurer Switzer made note that an Entrepreneurship class had begun at North Adams High School that will function as a small manufacturing business. The students will produce printed t-shirts, following the example of an observed class at Piketon High School.In the Superintendent’s Report, an extended field trip request for Peebles High School Spanish students to visit Ecuador in June was approved. The Board then entered into executive session. When the Board returned from executive session, they voted to approve resignations, employ one certified contract (a teacher), and employ supplemental contracts (coaches).The Board also voted to adopt the following policies and/or procedures: agenda format, agenda preparation and dissemination, family and medical leave, and community use of school premises. Additionally, the Board voted to adopt a change in policy setting the maximum age for guests at the prom dance to 20 (instead of 19, as it had been changed to previously). The Board then voted to approve the district’s Ohio High School Athletic Association Membership for the 2020 – 2021 school year, and with no other business, the meeting was adjourned. ACOVSD Board holds Jan. 21 meetingAge limit for Prom guests set at 20; Board states disapproval of EdChoice voucher programFebruary 11, 2020Mark CarpenterNews0 PreviousSenior Profile- Isaac Young, North Adams High SchoolNextRegistration now open for the Adams County Imagination Library program Around the WebThis Video Will Soon Be Banned. Watch Before It’s DeletedSecrets RevealedMd: Do This Immediately if You Have Diabetes (Watch)Blood Sugar BlasterThis Weird Method Can Restore Your Vision Naturally (Watch)Healthier LivingHave an Enlarged Prostate? Urologist Reveals: Do This Immediately (Watch)Healthier LivingIf You Have Ringing Ears Do This Immediately (Ends Tinnitus)Healthier LivingWomen Only: Stretch This Muscle to Stop Bladder Leakage (Watch)Healthier LivingThe content you see here is paid for by the advertiser or content provider whose link you click on, and is recommended to you by Revcontent. 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Over 350 lawyers, legal professionals who had abortions file brief in landmark Supreme Court case

first_imgiStock(WASHINGTON) — More than 350 lawyers and legal professionals who had abortions filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court Monday as part of the latest landmark abortion case.“My hope is that my classmate on the Supreme Court will not want to demonize me,” Claudia Hammerman, a partner at the prestigious law firm Paul, Weiss, told ABC News. Hammerman is also the lead signer of the brief and a Harvard Law School alumnae. “I was smart and I deserved my career and I deserved to be able to give it my all and to become a mother when I was fully, emotionally, psychologically, and in terms of resources prepared to become the best mother I could be.”The legal professionals included attorneys, law professors, public defenders, prosecutors, retired judges, current law students and a senior attorney with the Department of Justice, who joined the brief anonymously and “on behalf of herself and all the other lawyers working in the highest echelons of government who have had abortions.” Two MacArthur “Genius” Fellows are also among those who signed on.The Supreme Court will hear arguments in June Medical Services vs. Gee, an abortion case out of Louisiana, on March 4, 2020. In question is a Louisiana law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges with a nearby hospital. A similar law, out of Texas, was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional in 2016.Amicus — or “friends of the court” — briefs are filed on behalf of people who are not formally part of a case but who support one side. On Monday, several briefs were filed in the June Medical Services case urging the Supreme Court to strike down the law.One brief was from the lawyers and legal professionals; another was from about a dozen “storytellers” from a variety of backgrounds who have had abortions; one was from abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, the Nationals Abortion Federation, Physicians for Reproductive Health and Abortion Care Network.The brief from legal professionals reads, “they would not have been able to realize their personal and/or professional goals were it not for their ability to control their reproductive lives.”They wanted to put the brief together to show the justices that abortion was not an “abstract” concept but something that directly affects the legal community, Alexia Korberg, an associate at Paul, Weiss who worked on it, told ABC News.A variety of personal stories were told in the brief, ranging from women who had abortions as teenagers to those who had them as mothers facing extreme health risks and fetal diagnoses. Some of the women said they had abortions while in abusive relationships, while others were dealing with depression or addiction when they got pregnant.“A doctor’s appointment years ago is not the most important part of who I am, but it has allowed my life to be everything that it is today,” one woman, who was accepted to Harvard Law School shortly after getting an abortion, said in the brief.In addition to the question of hospital admitting privileges — which the Supreme Court in 2016 deemed an undue burden unnecessary to improve the health outcomes of abortion, a statistically safe procedure when done by medical professionals — June Medical Services vs. Gee also includes a challenge from Louisiana on the rights of abortion providers and organizations to challenge abortion restrictions on behalf of patients.Should the Supreme Court rule that providers and organizations do not have the right to represent patients in a third-party capacity, individual women would have to personally challenge laws, potentially putting their names into the spotlight and delaying their access to an abortion.A number of the women in the amicus briefs explain why they would not have been able to personally challenge laws, including potential stigmas they may have faced personally and professionally.One woman in the legal professionals brief who “received her first birth control prescription at the very same Planned Parenthood in front of which she and her family regularly protested,” said that putting her name on the brief and saying she had an abortion “will likely cost me my relationship with my mother.”One woman in the “storytellers” brief said she would not have had the resources to sue the state, while another, who had two abortions due to pregnancy complications, said she would not have emotionally been able to handle bringing a lawsuit to obtain an abortion.For the 2016 case, Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt, a number of women, including over 110 legal professionals, also participated in filing amicus briefs.Korberg, who worked on that brief as well, said many of the signers have told her “how empowering the experience was,” adding that the response then “was overwhelmingly positive.”“It is empowering,” Hammerman, who also works abortion cases, agreed, “and I do feel it’s absolutely critical that people who can speak about it and normalize do that — make the roads for others.”“I would never have been able to help the people I’ve helped as a lawyer … had I not been allowed the freedom to determine my own future, by controlling my own body at a pivotal point in my life,” a former public defender said in the brief filed Monday.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. 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Coronavirus live updates: China slams Trump’s ‘Chinese virus’ comments

first_imgSamara Heisz/iStock(NEW YORK) — Major cities are shutting down restaurants, bars, gyms and schools to try to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has killed at least 85 people in the United States.There are at least 4,661 confirmed cases in the country. COVID-19 has reached 49 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.Globally, there are more than 181,580 coronavirus cases and more than 7,130 deaths, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.Here’s how the news is unfolding Tuesday. All times Eastern:5:21 a.m. China’s Foreign Ministry says Trump “Chinese Virus” tweet a “smear”China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, not mentioning President Donald Trump by name, called the tweet “a smear” and that China “expresses its strong anger and opposition to that.”“Some politicians in the U.S. associated the coronavirus with China, and smeared China. China expresses its strong anger and opposition to that,” Shuang said on Tuesday. “We call on the U.S. to stop finger pointing at China. The utmost priority is for the international community to cooperate on fighting the virus. The U.S. should focus on its top priority, and play a constructive role in international cooperation on health security.”5:00 a.m. Russia mobilizes to shield economy from impact of coronavirusWith a total of 93 recorded cases so far, Russia’s government is moving to prepare a broad spectrum of measures to try to shield the country’s economy from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.In addition to a $4 billion support fund, the state will also increase state guarantees for some companies by enlarging the list of firms deemed strategically important. It is looking at delaying tax payments, as well as penalties for businesses, as well as short-term loans. The Russian rouble currency has strengthened in response to some of the announcements.Russia’s foreign ministry has also called on the U.S. to lift sanctions on Iran that it says are preventing it from combating the coronavirus outbreak effectively. Iran has recently said it is suffering from a shortage of key medical equipment and medicines needed due to the sanctions imposed as part of the U.S.’ “maximum pressure” campaign. Russia’s foreign ministry has accused the U.S. of putting millions of Iranians at risk and called on it to lift them immediately and end its “inhuman policy”.3:57 a.m. Dutch Prime Minister announces opposition to nationwide lockdown, calls it “impractical”The Netherlands will not impose a national lockdown over coronavirus because it would have to be in place for too long to make a difference, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on TV on Monday.“It wouldn’t be a matter of days or weeks. In that scenario, we would actually have to shut down our country for a year, or even longer, with all the consequences that follow,” he added.1:10 a.m. San Francisco Police Department going door to door to make sure bars and clubs are complying with public health orderThe San Francisco Police Department tweeted that they would be visiting bars and clubs throughout the city to make sure they are in compliance with the city’s public heath order.California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the directive to shut down all of the state’s bars, clubs, breweries and taprooms on Sunday when he announced the virus had killed six people in California.“These are profoundly significant steps and they are significant steps from two days ago,” Newsom said in a news conference. “We’re guided deeply by what’s happening, not just by anxiety, not just by fear, but by a very pragmatic response to meet this moment without creating other unintended consequences.” Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Meet the HFZ exec accused of taking mob bribes

first_imgFormer HFZ Capital Group executive John Simonlacaj (Credit: HFZ, iStock)UPDATE: Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, 5:20 p.m.: As an executive at HFZ Capital, John Simonlacaj had overseen some of the city’s top developments.Now he’s been charged with accepting bribes to let the mob siphon off hundreds of thousands of dollars from projects, including his company’s most ambitious one: the XI along the High Line.The 50-year-old Scarsdale resident has been fired from HFZ, where he was managing director of development, a spokesperson for the company said.Simonlacaj pleaded not guilty Friday to wire fraud conspiracy and tax fraud and was released after posting $250,000 bail, The City reported.Simonlacaj could not be reached and his attorney, Glenn Colton of Arent Fox, didn’t respond to a request for comment. Simonlacaj’s social media pages, including his LinkedIn profile and a personal website, have been taken down.ADVERTISEMENTThis isn’t Simonlacaj’s first brush with the law. In 2016, while running an unnamed company, he was charged with instructing someone who did business with the company to file a false tax form five years earlier. The filing was in connection with the award of contracts by the New York Power Authority.Simonlacaj pleaded guilty, paid a fine and was sentenced to three months in jail, court records show.Nir Meir, a managing principal at HFZ who helped to found the firm in 2005, penned a letter to the court on Simonlacaj’s behalf in 2016. Meir wrote that he had known him for more than two decades, and when Meir and his partner started a new venture, they took Simonlacaj with him as “a key member of our management team.”In the letter, Meir said Simonlacaj had expressed remorse. “He has always been forthright with me and my partner and and has a reputation for being fair and honest within the industry,” Meir wrote.A sentencing memorandum from his attorneys at the time said because of Simonlacaj’s client-facing role, he would lose his position if his work were interrupted by incarceration.Meir and Zeil Feldman, HFZ’s chairman and founder, did not return requests for comment.Simonlacaj is the son of Yugoslavian immigrants who settled in Brooklyn in 1967 to escape ethnic oppression and who went on to own apartment buildings in the Bronx. He grew up around New York — from Westchester to the Bronx to Washington Heights — and lived “modestly,” according to the memorandum and other letters on Simonlacaj’s behalf.The filings describe Simonlacaj as a hard worker and a family man; he married in 1993 and has three children. He was also portrayed as an active member of the local Albanian community, helping scores of immigrants settle into life in America.At HFZ, he has had a hand in major projects, including its 34-story under-construction NoMad office tower at 3 West 29th Street and Bryant Park’s first residential tower, The Bryant.The latest indictment charged a dozen defendants, including alleged members of the Gambino crime family from the Bronx and Westchester.Simonlacaj’s cousin Mark “Chippy” Kocaj and the alleged mobsters ran a carpentry firm, CWC Contracting, that paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks and bribes to employees of numerous construction and development companies — Simonlacaj among them, prosecutors allege.The firm worked on multiple HFZ projects, including the XI, public records show. The bribes were paid in the form of free labor and materials to renovate Simonlacaj’s home in Scarsdale, according to the indictment.In a statement, HFZ said it, along with other developers in NYC, learned of the investigation into CWC months ago and removed CWC from its projects. “HFZ immediately terminated Mr. Simonlacaj’s employment upon learning of the allegations against him, which run contrary to the values of the firm and how its business is conducted,” HFZ said.Prosecutors allege that Kocaj, an alleged associate of the Gambinos, and Vincent Fiore, an alleged Gambino soldier, bragged about the connection.“This director, John. There’s a beautiful ‘in’ there,” Fiore allegedly said. “There’s things we can do with [Kocaj] there, he whispers what he needs to whisper and we get things done.”Update: This article was updated to include a statement from HFZ and additional information about Simonlacaj’s first conviction. This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Nowlast_img read more

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Junior WCh 2013 TOP 16: Germany VS France, Hungary against Spain!

first_imgClick to comment ShareTweetShareShareEmailCommentsSchedule for Junior World Championship 2013 in Sarajevo is fixed. Matches will be played on Monday in two halls:ZETRA:13:30 Slovenia – Brazil16:00 Hungary – Spain18:30 Argentina – Sweden21:00 Bosnia – EgyptSKENDERIJA13:30 France-Germany16:00 Tunisia – Croatia18:30 Denmark – Switzerland21:00 Serbia – Netherlands Related Items:Junior wch 2013 handball Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published.Comment Name Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. ShareTweetShareShare Emaillast_img read more

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Switzerland takes in first Syrian refugees from Greece

first_imgThe first 30 Syrian refugees will soon arrive in Switzerland from Greece under the EU relocation scheme, local media reported Sunday.The State Office for Migration (SEM) announced that the country will take a total of 900 asylum seekers from Italy and another 600 from Greece, according to the news agency SDA.Until now, the country had not specified the number of people it would take from Greece since committing to the EU agreement that relocates refugees in Italy and the Greek islands to EU member states last fall. So far, 460 applications for asylum have been accepted, according to SEM’s spokesperson Gieri Cavelty. Of those, 120 people have arrived in Switzerland from Italy, and more will be arriving in the coming months.Cavelty said that the EU has refused to pay transport costs, leaving the bill with the Swiss.The Swiss parliament will decide by the end of the year if it will make new migration commitments. Also On POLITICO Greece will bring refugees to mainland By Cynthia Kroet Refugee children get little education in Europe By Zia Weiselast_img read more

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Police investigating network linked to Manchester attacker: senior officer

first_imgPolice are investigating “a network” linked to the man who carried out the attack on Manchester Arena, police said Wednesday.Greater Manchester police chief Ian Hopkins told reporters it was “very clear” that the investigation was looking into a network connected to the bomber, Salman Abedi. Hopkins added that extensive searches across Greater Manchester are still being carried out.“We have made three further arrests in connection with the attacks overnight and this afternoon we entered an address in Manchester city center using a controlled explosion. Officers are at the scene searching that address. The total number [of people] in custody is at four,” he said. Police on Tuesday confirmed that Abedi, a 22-year-old British man of Libyan origin, carried out Monday’s suicide-bomb attack. Abedi’s father says his son is innocent, the Associated Press reported. Ramadan Abedi also confirmed that police have arrested another of his sons — believed to be 23-year-old Ismail Abedi.According to Reuters, Hashem Abedi, another brother of the Manchester attacker, was arrested in Tripoli on suspicion of Islamic State linksHopkins said there has been increased police presence on the streets of Manchester, with support from the military. He stressed that there are no plans for soldiers to patrol the streets.He also confirmed that one of the victims was a police officer and police have spoken to the immediate family of all 22 victims. After the Home Office has carried out postmortems in the coming days, the victims will be officially named. Also On POLITICO Manchester attacker is Salman Abedi: security sources By Giulia Paravicini Amber Rudd: US officials leaking Manchester attacks info ‘irritating’ By Saim Saeed and Peter Baughlast_img read more

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Bob Weir & RatDog Join Widespread Panic At Aspen Harmony Festival, On This Day In 1999 [Audio]

first_imgAugust 8th marks the 21st anniversary of Widespread Panic’s performance at the Aspen Harmony Festival, where the band shared a bill with Bob Weir‘s RatDog. Considering the jam synergy between both groups, it’s no surprise that Weir and members of Ratdog joined forces with Panic during the 1999 festival.The sit-in came in the middle of Panic’s second set when Weir along with RatDog drummer Jay Lane and bassist Rob Wasserman sat in for both “Me And The Devil Blues” and “Pusherman”. Weir then left the stage, but Lane and Wasserman remained for a big jam segment that riffed heavily on the Grateful Dead‘s “The Other One”. Finally, Wasserman left, leaving Lane to rock a “Drums” segment with Panic’s Sunny Ortiz and Todd Nance.Fortunately, thanks to PanicStream, fans can relive the 1999 sit-in via the audio player below.Setlist: Widespread Panic | Aspen Harmony Festival | Aspen, CO | 8/8/99Set 1: Love Tractor > Dyin’ Man, Hatfield > The Waker, Big Wooly Mammoth, Machine > Barstools and Dreamers, All Time LowSet 2: Ain’t Life Grand > Chilly Water, Me And The Devil Blues*, Pusherman*, Jam** > Drums*** > Vacation > Tie Your Shoes > Climb To SafetyEncore 1: Pigeons > One Arm SteveEncore 2: Red Hot Mama* with Bob Weir on guitar, Jay Lane on percussion, Rob Wasserman on bass** with Jay Lane on percussion, Rob Wasserman on bass*** with Jay Lane on percussion[‘The Other One’ jam after ‘Pusherman’; Ratdog also appeared][Photo taken from Bonnaroo 2005, setlist via Everyday Companion][Originally published 8/8/17]last_img read more

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Dozens of Fla. Tourists Injured in Bus Crash

first_imgAs paramedics rescued passengers from the tour bus, many retrieved their luggage and hugged each other to shake off the shock, Rosa said. But the South Florida outing ended abruptly for dozens of tourists Saturday morning, when a sports car spun out of control on Interstate 595 and hit their tour bus, sending it across a median and through oncoming eastbound traffic before it grazed an exit ramp wall. The surgeon described the minor injuries as “things that are ugly but not life threatening that may require plastic reconstructive surgery later on,” adding that the skin of many passengers had been lacerated and partially peeled off. Staff Writer Brian Haas and Staff Researcher William Lucey contributed to this report.Elizabeth Baier can be reached at [email protected] or 954-356-4637. Barrios said Ordu ez had been wearing a seat belt, but was ejected from his seat by the impact. The tourists in his charge had disembarked from a cruise aboard Holland America’s MS Maasdam at Port Everglades and were heading out on a day tour of the Everglades before returning home. “People were a little disoriented but they seemed to be in decent spirits considering they had just gone through a tremendous trauma,” he said. Traffic was shut down for more than an hour in both directions of the busy Interstate highway after the accident. Both the tour bus and the black Mustang had been heading west on the rain-slicked road when Davie resident Omar Abu-Jabir, the driver of the Mustang, apparently lost control of his vehicle and hit the tour bus, Sgt. Mark Wysocky, spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol, said. “The Mustang was in really bad shape,” Rosa said. “It looked pretty much totaled.” The bus was operated by Miami-based Endeavor Bus Lines. The company issued a statement late Saturday saying: “We are saddened by the accident that happened today January 5, 2008. The accident is being investigated both internally and by official agencies.” “My uncle, he’s doing OK,” said Norma Barrios, 41, of Hialeah. “But he has a lot of pain.” The bus, driven by Gustavo Ordu ez, 62, of Hialeah, swerved across the road, broke through the median railing and crossed the eastbound lanes, eventually stopping on a grassy shoulder against the wall of the State Road 7 northbound exit ramp. Relatives of Abu-Jabir could not be reached for comment Saturday night. Records show his driving history include charges for speeding, improper lane changes, driving with a suspended license, failure to pay traffic fines and driving with an expired tag. Doctors at Broward General said they received a total of 19 accident victims. Two remained in critical condition Saturday afternoon, one with severe injuries and bleeding in the brain, “but not the kind that surgical intervention might help,” according to Dr. Moshe Stav, a trauma surgeon in the emergency room.center_img Five other passengers suffered serious but nonlife-threatening wounds, and the rest were treated for soft-tissue injuries and knee fractures, as well as bumps and bruises, Stav said. Shortly after 9 a.m., paramedics, police and deputies from Davie, Plantation and the Broward Sheriff’s Office responded to the accident scene just west of the State Road 7 exit and set up a triage area where they treated 42 tour bus passengers, Braulio Rosa, spokesman for Davie Fire Rescue, said. In all, 32 people were transported to Broward General Medical Center, in Fort Lauderdale, and Memorial Regional Hospital, in Hollywood, Rosa said. Many drivers along Interstate 595 got out of their cars as they waited in gridlocked traffic. The road was reopened around 10:30 a.m. Outside Broward General, Ordu ez family members waited Saturday evening as the bus driver recovered inside. “He saw the car coming and he couldn’t stop,” Barrios said. “It was a car in front of him, it was spinning. The car hit the front of the bus.” There were no deaths, but one person in serious condition was flown to Broward General, Rosa added. The bus accident occurred just weeks after Davie Fire Rescue members participated in “mass-casualty training,” which Rosa, the department’s spokesman, said helped emergency rescuers be ready for Saturday’s accident. She said Ordu ez suffered a broken arm, at least three broken fingers and cuts and bruises to his head. She said that he was conscious and able to relay a little of what he remembered of the crash. The Mustang, partially crushed and charred from the impact, came to rest on the median. Abu-Jabir, 34, was hospitalized in critical condition, according to Wysocky. “It got us prepared to deal with this kind of situation,” Rosa said. FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — It was supposed to be a day of fun in the Florida Everglades, a perfect end to a weeklong New Year’s cruise in the Caribbean.last_img read more

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