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BREAKING NEWS

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The Manorville carpenter charged with killing two women more than 20 years ago left two calling cards at each crime scene, a Suffolk prosecutor said Thursday — his DNA and wood chips.
John Bittrolff, 48, pleaded not guilty Thursday to an indictment charging him with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Rita Tangredi, 31, of East Patchogue, on Nov. 2, 1993, and Colleen McNamee, 20, of Holbrook, on Jan. 30, 1994.
Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla told Suffolk County Court Judge John Toomey Jr. that several things — including Bittrolff’s DNA and the wood chips — tied the crimes together and to the defendant.

Ethics probe possible on Governor Cuomo

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The U.S. Attorney in Manhattan is eyeing Governor Andrew Cuomo in a widening ethics probe. 

“The New York Times” is reporting that Preet Bharara  is now threatening to look into possible obstruction of justice or witnessing tampering in connection with Cuomo shutting down his own anti-corruption panel.  The newspaper says Bharara believes several people on the now-defunct Moreland Commission were pressured by an intermediary of New York’s governor to release statements defending him. 

The U.S. Attorney has sent a letter to the panel’s lawyer demanding details.   

Search called off for missing boater in the Sound

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More than 15 hours of searching for a boater who went missing in the waters off Sands Point was unsuccessful Thursday and U.S. Coast Guard officials said they were calling off the effort.
Scott Donsavage, 43, of Pleasantville in Westchester County, was last seen by his wife Wednesday about 10 p.m., before he got under way from Pleasantville aboard his 15-foot Chris Craft.
The Coast Guard said it had searched more than 276 square miles in the Long Island Sound, or an area roughly eight times the size of Manhattan.

Dust Devil being blamed for skydiving death

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The top safety expert for a national skydiving association said a “mini-tornado,” known to jumpers as a dust devil, caused the Calverton accident Wednesday that killed a correction officer and injured his instructor during a tandem jump.
The mix of wind and dust churned into a funnel and made it impossible to control the parachute, said Rich Winstock, a national director of the United States Parachute Association, who chairs the organization’s safety and training committee. Witnesses told Riverhead police Wednesday that the parachute had opened before the victims hit the ground.
Gary Messina, 25, a New York City correction officer who grew up in Medford, was killed, and his instructor Christopher Scott, 28, was critically injured in the 4:10 p.m. accident at Calverton-based Skydive Long Island.

Woman dies in Medford nursing home

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The attorney general’s office and the state Department of Health are investigating the death of a 71-year-old woman in the ventilator unit at a Medford nursing home, where employees are facing criminal charges in the death of another resident on the same unit.  Attorney Andrea Camacho of Manhattan, who represents the patient’s family, identified the woman as Sandra Cunha and said she died July 20.
Jason Newman, spokesman for the Medford Multicare Center for Living, said Thursday that the woman — who suffered from acute and chronic respiratory failure and had lived on the unit for six years — died after her ventilator mechanically malfunctioned and she was unable to breathe. Newman said ventilator alarms went off at 3:46 p.m. He said an employee walking by the room 80 seconds later heard the alarm and entered the room. She, along with others who were quickly called, tried to resuscitate the patient, who was declared dead at 3:48 p.m., Newman said.