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February 2021

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An ailing 73-year-old woman died while climbing the stairs to her 19th-floor apartment during a massive power outage at her Co-Op City complex in the Bronx on Friday, a law enforcement source said.

The woman, whose name was not released, had reached the 18th floor of her De Kruif Place building and had just one more story to go when her oxygen tank apparently gave out and she collapsed sometime around 3 p.m., the source told The Post.

She was found in the stairwell between the 18th and 19th floors. Her cause of death was under investigation, and it was possible she died from the fall, the source said.

Thousands of Co-Op City residents were left without power, water and heat into early Saturday after a basement transformer caught fire Friday morning.

“The damage caused by the transformer fire is extensive and will take a while to repair,” the Co-Op City Department of Public Safety tweeted at 6:30 p.m.

“If there are no further incidents, we estimate that electric, water and heat services will be restored sometime late tonight or early this morning,” the tweet said.

Community rooms elsewhere in the massive complex were open as warming and cell-phone-charging centers, the officials said.

“The power is slowly being restored!” the officials tweeted at 11 p.m.





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“Real Time” host Bill Maher sounded the alarm ahead of former President Trump’s highly anticipated speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where he is expected to tease another presidential run in 2024. 

Toward the end of this panel discussion on Friday night, Maher brought up a subject he “didn’t want to talk about,” which was the 45th president, whose scheduled CPAC address on Sunday in Orlando, Fla., will mark his first major public appearance since leaving office. 

“After he lost, people kept coming up to me and [saying], ‘Are you gonna?’ and I say, ‘He’s gone. Stop obsessing. I don’t want to talk about him!’” Maher began. “But knowing what’s going to happen this weekend at CPAC, I must bring this up. … The shark is not gone. We need a bigger boat. The shark went out to sea for a while, it’s going to come back, and eat more people on the shore.”

Maher continued, “He is going to say Sunday that he’s the presumptive nominee in 2024, no one is going to oppose him, there are nine panels at the CPAC convention all about how the election was stolen, none about why it was lost. That’s where they are. If you think that 2024 is not going to be a nailbiter or that he isn’t going to be the nominee, I think you’re being naive.”

Maher’s guest, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., agreed, declaring Trump the “absolute frontrunner right now,” who “very well might be” the GOP nominee in 2024, citing Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s drastic turnaround declaring that Trump would “absolutely” have his vote despite his fierce condemnation of the former president following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Fellow panelist Ezra Klein of The New York Times insisted that the “problem” isn’t Trump but instead is the Republican Party that “enables him,” adding that they “don’t have the courage” to tell the former president that he is “bad for the party at this point.”

“The two wings of the party that I can see are Trump and then the people who want to take his voters, who want to be his successor,” Maher responded. “There’s Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley and Nikki Haley. They want to be the next nominee but they’re not about to get rid of his voters. They just want to be Trump’s successor.” 



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A 47-year-old New Jersey man has been charged with DWI and manslaughter after fatally mowing down a woman pedestrian in Brooklyn Friday afternoon, police said.

Lakierdra Thomas, 32, was crossing Graham Avenue and Broadway in Bushwick when drunken Uri Hochberg slammed his gray 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee into her after 12:30 p.m., according to police.

When cops arrived at the scene, they found the Williamsburg woman unresponsive on the ground with trauma to her body.

She was rushed to nearby Woodhull Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Hochberg, of Edison, was arrested and charged with manslaughter.

Police continue to investigate the crash.



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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is telling California’s Santa Clara County that it can’t enforce a ban on indoor religious worship services put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The high court issued an order Friday evening in a case brought by a handful of churches. 

The justices, in early February, told the state of California that it can’t bar indoor church services because of the pandemic. The justices said at the time that the state could cap indoor services at 25% of a building’s capacity and continue to bar singing and chanting.

But Santa Clara had argued that its temporary ban on indoor gatherings of any kind including worship services should be allowed to stand. The county, which includes San Jose, said that it was treating houses of worship no differently from other indoor spaces where it prohibits gatherings and caps attendance. The county said people could go into houses of worship to pray or go to confession, among other things, but couldn’t gather with groups of others. The county said the same was true of retail establishments, where shoppers can go but not gather for an event such as a book reading. 

The justices’ unsigned order Friday said that their action was “clearly dictated” by their order from earlier this month. The court’s three liberal justices dissented.

Santa Clara had told the court in a letter Thursday that coronavirus cases in the county have recently continued to decline and that it was already close to lifting its ban on indoor gatherings. If the data continued the positive trend, the letter said, the county expected to allow all indoor gatherings, subject to restrictions, as soon as next Wednesday.



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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on the state Legislature to investigate the “extraordinarily serious” sexual harassment accusations leveled against Gov. Andrew Cuomo by a former staffer, Lindsey Boylan.

During an interview with DC reporters in the Capitol Thursday, AOC described the accusations as “extraordinarily serious” and said alleged victims “deserve to be heard.”

She said the “process for hearing this allegation falls squarely in the state legislature.”

Boylan, a candidate for Manhattan borough president, alleged in an essay posted on Medium Wednesday that Cuomo kissed her “on the lips” and suggested, “Let’s play strip poker,” while conversing on a plane trip.

Cuomo personally denied Boylan’s initial harassment claims back in December, saying, “It’s not true.”

Her essay on Wednesday for the first time spelled out alleged specific acts.

Lindsey Boylan on Jan. 5, 2020.
Lindsey Boylan, now running for Manhattan borough president, leveled sexual harassment claims in an essay against Andrew Cuomo.
Rashid Umar Abbasi

The governor’s outgoing press secretary, Caitilin Girouard, issued a statement Wednesday dismissing Boylan’s more detailed claims.

“As we said before, Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false,” Girouard said.

A growing chorus of elected officials and harassment survivors are calling an investigation into Boylan’s sex harassment claims against Cuomo.

In this Dec. 30, 2020, file photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks in New York.
Andrew Cuomo denied the claims made by Lindsey Boylan in December.
Seth Wenig/AP

State Attorney General Letitia James is reviewing a letter sent by five female Republican senators requesting an “immediate appointment of a special prosecutor.”

But some influential pols who have fought sexual harassment in the workplace — among them Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — appear to be giving Cuomo a longer leash than others accused of misconduct.





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The city of Memphis, Tennessee took over COVID-19 vaccination efforts in one county after reports of widespread mismanagement — including precious vials being stolen, wasted or diverted for unauthorized use.

Investigators with the Tennessee Department of Health were in Shelby County looking into mismanagement of the vaccine when they learned a volunteer allegedly stole multiple doses at the Pipkin Building on Feb. 3, said Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey, WMC-TV reported.

The Shelby County Health Department said it removed the volunteer after receiving reports of “suspicious behavior.”

Law enforcement found there was insufficient evidence to prove the alleged theft, health officials said.

The state notified the FBI about the potential theft.

Additionally, Piercey said another volunteer vaccinated two children who had appointments at the Appling Road site on Feb. 3.

It’s unknown if they received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. The vaccines have not been approved for use in children.

The Commercial Appeal also reported that health officials found 2,400 doses had expired throughout the month of February.

Alisa Haushalter, head of the Shelby County Health Department, resigned from her post Friday following the apparent mismanagement.



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A record daily high of more than 179,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses has been administered across New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.

According to the latest data, more than 2.6 million New Yorkers have gotten at least one vaccine dose — or 13.4 percent of the state’s population.

As of 1 p.m. Friday, New York’s health-care distribution sites have administered 91 percent of first doses so far delivered, Cuomo said.

“Nearly 180,000 vaccinations in a single day is a major milestone in our ongoing efforts to ensure eligible New Yorkers, especially those in communities that were hit the hardest by COVID, have direct access to the vaccine,” Cuomo said in a statement.

But the governor explained that the fight against the coronavirus isn’t over.

 “We’re still in a foot race to keep the infection rate down and drive vaccinations way up. While the infection rate is a function of our behavior, the rate of vaccination is tied directly to supply and right now demand for the vaccine is still far outpacing our supply,” he said.

“We will keep working with our federal partners and vast vaccine distribution network to dispatch doses as soon as we get them — with a focus on vulnerable and underserved communities — and get shots in arms as quickly and fairly as possible.”



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A Virginia police officer was shot and killed during a traffic stop Friday afternoon, cops said.

Officer Nick Winum, 48, had stopped the car of suspect Dakota Richards in the town of Stanley at around 3:30 p.m., according to the Daily News-Record.

But the suspect got out of his car and opened fire on Winum before the five-year veteran even left his patrol car.

Winum died at the scene. Richards fled and was arrested by law enforcement at a nearby field, the outlet reported.

The police department was mourning Winum’s death.

“Since joining our department in 2016, he proudly served and protected the Stanley community,” Chief Ryan Dean said in a statement posted to Facebook.

“I know the Stanley and Page County community are keeping Nick and his family in their prayers during this most difficult and tragic time.”



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The Democratic-led New York state Assembly released a package of nearly 20 nursing home accountability bills Friday, aimed at tightening restrictions on the hundreds of for-profit facilities.

Among the 19 bills is one sponsored by Assembly Health Chair Dick Gottfried (D-Manhattan) that would prohibit the creation of any new for-profit homes and impose a moratorium expanding the capacity of existing homes.

“Lots of people have been discovering that there are enormous problems in our nursing homes. COVID may have brought them to light and made them worse but a lot of us know those problems have been there for many, many, many years,” Gottfried said during Thursday’s remote Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Health. 

He railed against the for-profit industry in an interview later Thursday evening with NY1, arguing those nursing homes often have higher infection rates and instances of bed sores among patients.

“We’re not going to license any more for-profit nursing homes or for-profit beds,” he said. “We should stop the creation of for-profit beds…you should [operate a nursing home] to care for people not because you want to make money.”

Right now, there are 401 for-profit, privately owned nursing homes out of the roughly 619 in the Empire State, according to a January report from the office of state Attorney General Letitia James.

View of the inside of the New York State Assembly Chamber.
The New York state Assembly released a package of 19 nursing home accountability bills.
Hans Pennink

That report also found that of the 400-plus facilities, two-thirds, or 280 of these elder care facilities, have low federal ratings related to adequate patient to staff ratios. 

Other measures included in the proposal concern family visitation guidance, infection control protocols and changing the state’s corporate immunity provision extended to hospital and nursing home administrators at the pandemic’s start.

The Assembly’s package comes several days after the state Senate passed a similar package of 10 bills, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his own proposal tightening laws governing the long term care facilities which have been home to 13,586 deaths  tied to the deadly coronavirus, as of the state’s latest recorded data as of Feb. 25,

The Cuomo administration has come under fire in recent weeks after The Post exclusively revealed that top gubernatorial aide Melissa DeRosa admitted officials withheld death data related to the virus in nursing homes because they feared backlash from the federal government under former President Donald Trump. 

Since then, it has come to light that the Eastern District of New York and FBI are investigating the state’s handling of the virus in long-term care facilities following The Post’s reporting.

But representatives from the nursing home industry have taken issue with state lawmakers’ methods.

Jim Clyne, CEO of LeadingAge New York — an association that represents hundreds of nursing homes, adult care and assisted living locations across the state — argue legislators “completely miss the point.”

“The problem is not lack of regulation, the point is lack of financial support by the state,” he noted, telling The Post during the COVID-19 pandemic, the state cut Medicaid funding specifically directed to nursing homes. 

When asked when the Assembly would move to pass these bills on the chamber floor, a spokesman for Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) did not provide a specific timeframe. 

“The Speaker and our members are focused on improving the lives of all New Yorkers and that includes making sure nursing homes are safe. We are working on several different issues to meet this goal,” said Mike Whyland. 

“As Dr. Zucker said repeatedly during more than five hours of testimony yesterday, Gov. Cuomo will not sign a budget that does not include sweeping reforms to the nursing home industry that include putting patient care over profit, increasing transparency, and holding bad actors accountable,” said Health Department spokesman Gary Holmes.



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He’s one of the greatest golfers of all time — but to the firefighters who saved his life, he was just another victim who needed their help.

Firefighters who rescued Tiger Woods from his mangled SUV following Tuesday’s single-car crash in California recalled an ax was used to get him out safely — and one noted he was “just another patient.”

Cole Gomoll, a firefighter with Fire Station 106 in Rolling Hills Estates, says he used a 6-pound ax to chop up Woods’ 2021 Genesis SUV, where he saw the famous athlete trapped inside and tangled up in his seatbelt.

Woods was immediately rushed to Harbor UCLA Medical Center, where he underwent surgery for his leg fractures.

The rescue took 12 minutes, and it was initially reported as a traffic collision with a person trapped inside a vehicle.

Firefighters say anyone in Woods’ position would have received the same treatment.

“He’s just another patient,” Gomoll told the Associated Press on Friday.

“His identity really didn’t matter in what we do,” Capt. Jeane Barrett added.

Capt. Joe Peña said he didn’t know who was in the car until a sheriff’s deputy told him.

On Thursday, Woods was transferred from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for “continuing orthopedic care and recovery,” according to hospital officials.

A post on his Twitter account Friday night said he “received follow-up procedures on his injuries this morning. The procedures were successful, and he is now recovering and in good spirits.”

With Post wires



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