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NYS Thruway reopens following 21-vehicle crash



vehicle crash

A crash involving 21 cars and trucks Wednesday shut down a section of the New York State Thruway in western New York, where blizzard warnings were in place and people were urged to stay inside and out of the wind-driven snow and sub-zero wind chills.

Troopers said some of the vehicles involved in the 2 p.m. crash between Buffalo and Rochester were tractor-trailers, even though the trucks had been banned from that part of the thoroughfare because of the storm since Tuesday evening. All lanes on the section were reopened by Wednesday evening.

A trooper suffered non-life threatening injuries in the crash, state police said. The number and extent of other injuries wasn’t immediately known.

Earlier Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned those who defied the ban would be ticketed.

“I anecdotally believe that some tractor-trailer operators are not respecting the ban,” the governor said at a news conference in suburban Buffalo. “They should know we’re going to enforce that ban and the state police will be out in full force.”

The governor later issued a statement saying “violators will be punished with fines up to $450, two points on the license and potential criminal charges.”

“The investigation into the crash is ongoing, but make no mistake: anyone found to have done something they shouldn’t will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Cuomo said.

Other drivers were glad to comply.

A blast of wind on the highway could “turn you sideways or flip the truck completely over,” trucker Steve Lorber told WKBW in Buffalo.

“Buffalo is a tough city. We’re used to cold weather,” Mayor Byron Brown said during a midday news conference as plows worked to clear the foot (30 centimeters) of snow that had fallen there since Tuesday. But unless it was necessary to go out, Brown urged, “please stay home.”

Brown later issued a ban on all travel, except for emergency personal, in Buffalo from 9 p.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz issued a state of emergency, along with travel bans in several suburbs as conditions deteriorated through the day.

Blizzard warnings were in effect through 1 a.m. Thursday in Erie, Genesee and Wyoming counties in western New York and Jefferson and Lewis counties in central New York.

Cuomo said plow crews were being sent from downstate to help out.

With up to 2 feet (61 centimeters) of snow expected by early Friday accompanied by 40 mph (64 kph) wind gusts and dangerous cold, the conditions “should not be taken lightly,” Cuomo said.


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9-year-old genius to graduate university




Laurent Simons

(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.

Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.

Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.

He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.

“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.

Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.

While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.

But Lydia has her own theory.

“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.

“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.

“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”

Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.

“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”

Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”

His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.

“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.

“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”

While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.

“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”

Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.

However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.

In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.

Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.

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New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne




Lena Horne

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem




Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.

The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.

Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.

Father and son were both knocked through a gate.

The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.

One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.

McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.

McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.

Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.


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