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Lawsuits end, questions linger about '09 air crash

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - For five years, lawyers for families of those killed when a plane crashed into a house in western New York and the airlines they blame have prepared for trial.

But with the last of more than 40 federal wrongful death claims recently settled and talks ongoing in the few remaining state cases, a trial is increasingly unlikely.

That means any new details about the crash would remain unknown as documents filed under seal stay shielded from public view.

Fifty people died when Continental Flight 3407 from Newark, N.J., stalled and crashed onto a house in the Buffalo suburb of Clarence in 2009.

The lawsuits blame the pilots and flight's operators, Continental Airlines, regional carrier Colgan Air and its parent, Pinnacle Air.

Unresolved state cases would be tried in November.


1 dead, 1 hurt in shooting at Hudson Valley bar

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. (AP) - Police say one person is dead and another wounded after a shooting at a New Paltz bar.

Police Chief Joe Snyder tells local media outlets the shooting happened shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday at Murphy's Bar. The victims were taken to a hospital, where one was later pronounced dead.

The incident is being investigated by the Ulster County Sheriff's Office, state police, New Paltz Police and State University at New Paltz police. The bar is popular with college students as well as locals from the village.


Body found on NY street with burns; death probed

WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. (AP) - The Dutchess County Medical Examiner is looking for answers after a man's body was found on a village street.

Wappingers Falls Police Commissioner Carl Calabrese tells the Poughkeepsie Journal that police received a call around 1 a.m. Saturday about a structure fire with someone possibly trapped inside. Officers found no fire, but found the body of 54-year-old William Long outside a house on Main Street.

An autopsy was done but the cause of death remains undetermined. Calabrese said officials expect to receive additional information from the medical examiner on Monday.

Calabrese said Long and others had been around a nearby campfire, and Long's body had burns on it. He said the death may have been an accident.


Police: Human remains found in Putnam County woods

PATTERSON, N.Y. (AP) - Officials say DNA and pathology testing will be needed to identify decomposed remains found in Putnam County woods.

Police tell local media outlets the remains, apparently human, were found shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday about 500 feet off Maple Avenue in the town of Patterson, about 60 miles northeast of New York City.

Police K-9 units were called to the scene after the remains were found, and found additional remains and evidence.

The case was initially investigated by the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, but has been turned over to state police investigators.


NY man dies after car crashes, burns on highway

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - A 47-year-old Buffalo man has died after his car crashed through a guide rail and plummeted to the Kensington Expressway in the city, bursting into flames.

Police tell local media outlets the driver apparently was driving his BMW at high speed and racing with another driver along Main Street around 1:30 a.m. Saturday before the crash occurred.

Emergency medical personnel happened to be on the expressway and saw the crash, but were unable to extricate the driver from the burning wreckage.

Police haven't released the victim's name, nor that of the other driver.


NY man killed, brother hurt in ATV crash

WOODHULL, N.Y. (AP) - A 22-year-old man has died after he lost control of his all-terrain-vehicle and struck a tree in the Steuben County town of Woodhull.

Steuben County Sheriff's deputies say 22-year-old Aquila Byler of Addison was riding the ATV on a private road around 2 a.m. Saturday with his brother as a passenger.

Family and friends took the brothers to a hospital in Corning and they were airlifted from there to a hospital in Sayre, Pa.

Aquila Byler was pronounced dead at the hospital and 18-year-old Elam Byler was listed in critical condition.


Ravitch to discuss fiscal plight of cities

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Former New York Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch is returning to Albany to discuss the financial challenges facing local governments.

Ravitch is set to deliver a lecture on the fiscal woes of America's municipalities Tuesday afternoon at Albany Law School. The event is free and open to the public.

Ravitch served as lieutenant governor under Gov. David Paterson. He is considered a leading expert on municipal financial calamities and has been asked to serve as an adviser in the Detroit bankruptcy case.

He is also credited for helping New York City avoid bankruptcy in the 1970s. His recently released memoir is entitled "So Much to Do: A Full Life of Business, Politics and Confronting Fiscal Crises."


NY agency sponsors week of Earth Day events

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The state Department of Environmental Conservation is commemorating the 44th Anniversary of Earth Day with a weeklong series of events around the state.

The activities include hikes, wildlife watching, tree-planting and educational exhibits.

Earth Day was founded by Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson in 1970 after he toured the devastation of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. On April 22, 1970, demonstrations by an estimated 20 million Americans advocated for a healthy, sustainable environment.

DEC and the Environmental Protection Agency were created the same year as Earth Day, and the Clean Air Act was enacted. The Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act followed in 1972 and 1973.

More information about Earth Day is on the DEC website.


New NY group to promote Champlain Valley hiking

WESTPORT, N.Y. (AP) - A new nonprofit group that has been developing trails in the Champlain region for the past five years is planning an inn-to-inn trekking event to showcase the area.

The organization Champlain Area Trails is hosting an event called the Grand Hike on May 3. Hikers will depart at 9 a.m. from the Westport Hotel in Westport, walk along trails and scenic back roads, and end up at the Essex Inn in Essex.

The group's executive director, Chris Maron, tells the Adirondack Daily Enterprise the idea is to have a trail network like they have in England, where people walk from pub to pub and town to town.

Maron says one of the biggest assets of the region is that it has relatively short and easy hikes that just about anyone can do.


Central NY museum to host '12 Years a Slave' talk

AUBURN, N.Y. (AP) - A New York college professor will give a talk on the 19th-century memoir "12 Years a Slave" at an upstate museum linked to Solomon Northup's story of enslavement and eventual freedom.

Richard Newman, professor of African-American history at the Rochester Institute of Technology, will give his talk Wednesday night at the Seward House Historic Museum in Auburn.

Museum officials tell The Citizen of Auburn that the Seward House and the Finger Lakes city have a direct connection to the slave memoir that was the basis for the Oscar-winning film of the same title.

Then-New York Gov. William H. Seward signed the 1840 legislation that allowed agents to reclaim the kidnapped Northup from slavery on a Louisiana plantation. Northup later detailed his ordeal in "12 Years a Slave," first published in Auburn in 1853.

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