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New York state aims to increase organ donation

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York state is taking steps to make it easier to sign up as an organ donor.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new executive order Monday directing state agencies to work to make it easier to enroll on the state's Donate Life Registry, the list of organ donors.

The order also directs officials to offer the choice of signing up whenever New Yorkers apply for state services or benefits. The state is also revamping the registry enrollment website to make it easier to use.

Cuomo also signed legislation making permanent a rule that individuals can say whether they'd like to donate their organs on the driver's license renewal form.

The governor says more than 84,000 people have signed up to be donors in New York state so far this year.


New York man who killed self in prison tied to '95 slayings

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities in New York say they've used DNA technology to link the mid-1990s slayings of two prostitutes to a man who committed suicide in prison.

The Schenectady (skeh-NEHK'-ta-dee) County District Attorney's Office announced Monday that the evidence makes Polish immigrant Stanislaw Maciag (MAY'-see-ag) the prime suspect in the killings of 17-year-old Suzanne Nauman and 37-year-old Phyllis Harvey.

The teen's naked body was found in a field along a Schenectady golf course in May 1995. Harvey was reported missing a month earlier. Her body was later found on a back porch of a Schenectady home.

Maciag killed himself in Auburn state prison in 1997 after being convicted of unrelated sexual abuse charge.

Police reopened Nauman's case last year and obtained a search warrant to exhume Maciag's body after obtaining blood samples from his relatives.


Police identify victim in fatal Thruway crash over weekend

WOODBURY, N.Y. (AP) - State police have released the name of a New York City man who was killed in a two-car accident on the Thruway in the Hudson Valley over the weekend.

Troopers say they responded around 9:30 p.m. Saturday to reports of a serious crash in the northbound lanes of Interstate 87 just south of Exit 16 in the Orange County town of Woodbury.

Police say one of the drivers of the two vehicles caused the accident. Troopers on Monday identified the victim as 24-year-old Eric Luzardo, of the Elmhurst section of Queens. Police say he was a passenger in one of the vehicles. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No other details have been released. Troopers say the cause of the accident remains under investigation.

The crash caused northbound traffic delays on the Thruway for hours.


Woman faces charges in wrong-way crash fatal to mother of 2

HAMBURG, N.Y. (AP) - State police say a woman faces charges after she drove the wrong way on a western New York highway and hit another vehicle, killing a 29-year-old woman and injuring the victim's two young children.

Troopers say a 65-year-old woman was driving west in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 around 11 p.m. Friday when her vehicle collided head-on with another car in the town of Hamburg, just south of Buffalo.

Police say the driver of the other vehicle, Jessica O'Connor of Amherst, later died from her injuries at a Buffalo hospital. Her children, ages 2 and 4, were taken to another hospital. Troopers say both children are in stable condition Monday.

The older woman also was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.


15 attorneys general oppose Trump transgender military ban

BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is leading a group of 15 Democratic attorneys general in opposing the Trump administration's plan to bar transgender individuals from openly serving in the military.

The group filed a brief in federal court Monday arguing that banning transgender individuals from the military is unconstitutional, against the interest of national defense and harms the transgender community.

Trump tweeted in July that the federal government "will not accept or allow" transgender individuals to serve "in any capacity" in the military.

That would reverse a 2016 policy change allowing transgender people to serve openly.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders filed a lawsuit in August on behalf of eight transgender individuals, including members of the Air Force, Coast Guard and the Army.


Man wanted in Illinois charged with killing upstate NY woman

NEWBURGH, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities say a man wanted in Illinois has been charged with killing a 47-year-old woman in New York's Hudson Valley.

Police in the city of Newburgh say officers responded around 2:40 p.m. Sunday to a report of an unattended death. When officers arrived they found Tanya Smith, of Newburgh, dead in a second-floor bedroom.

Newburgh detectives and the Orange County District Attorney's Office began an investigation resulting in the arrest of 59-year-old Kevin Cook, who was staying with a relative in the city located 60 miles north of Manhattan.

Cook was charged with second-degree murder and with being a fugitive from justice stemming from a warrant issued by the Illinois Department of Corrections in August.

It wasn't clear if cook has an attorney prior to his arraignment Monday.


Candidate touts apparent hoax idea of drug-sniffing bunnies

PHOENIXVILLE, Pa. (AP) - A Philadelphia-area mayoral candidate says he was serious when he vowed to investigate the use of drug-sniffing bunnies if elected - even though it appears to stem from an internet hoax.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Republican nominee Dave Gautreau broached the idea Thursday at a Phoenixville mayoral forum.

The candidate told the newspaper he had been told about the idea at a gathering and thought he had confirmed with someone in Lancaster the rabbits were in use there.

Last year, the idea surfaced in an April Fools' post by Amherst, New York, police and on a satire page called People of Lancaster.

Gautreau said in a since-removed Facebook post he takes his mayoral run seriously and is looking for "creative ways" to fight the war on drugs.


Police identify man killed on I-81 while helping friend

LAFAYETTE, N.Y. (AP) - Authorities have released the name of the man they say was helping a friend on the side of an upstate New York highway when he was struck by a vehicle and killed.

The Onondaga County Sheriff's Office says the accident occurred on Interstate 81 around 10:30 p.m. Friday in the town of Lafayette, just south of Syracuse.

Deputies say 36-year-old Madhav Regmi, of Syracuse, was driving south on I-81 while following a friend who was driving a truck.

Police say Regmi noticed an open door on the friend's vehicle. After alerting the friend, both of them pulled to the shoulder of the highway to close the door.

Deputies say as Regmi walked back to his vehicle was hit by a passing FedEx tandem-tractor-trailer. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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