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This Hour: Latest New York news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:21 a.m. EDT

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NY Senate's heroin task force headed to Long Island

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A special legislative task force examining the scourge of heroin and opioid abuse is coming to Long Island.

The New York state Senate's Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction is scheduled to meet Wednesday at the NYU Winthrop Hospital Research and Academic Center in Mineola.

Similar meetings have been held around the state as the task force seeks to understand how the increase in overdoses and addiction is impacting local communities.

The panel is expected to hear from law enforcement officials, addiction experts, health care professionals, and recovering addicts and their loved ones.

Lawmakers included more than $200 million in this year's state budget for efforts to prevent and fight addiction.


Police in Buffalo investigate fatal hit-and-run

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Police in upstate New York say a pedestrian has been killed in a hit-and-run crash.

An SUV struck a man who was crossing the street in Buffalo around 3 a.m. Sunday. Police say the vehicle also struck a bus shelter.

The victim was taken to Erie County Medical Center where he died. Police have not identified the victim.

An unoccupied SUV was later found and taken into police custody.

No arrests have been made.


George A. Romero, father of the zombie film, is dead at 77

NEW YORK (AP) - George Romero, whose classic "Night of the Living Dead" and other horror films turned zombie movies into social commentaries and who saw his flesh-devouring undead spawn countless imitators, remakes and homages, has died. He was 77.

Romero died Sunday following a battle with lung cancer, said his family in a statement provided by his manager Chris Roe. Romero's family said he died while listening to the score of "The Quiet Man," one of his favorite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher, and daughter, Tina Romero, by this side.

Romero is credited with reinventing the movie zombie with his directorial debut, the 1968 cult classic, "Night of the Living Dead." The movie set the rules imitators lived by.


Driver charged in 4-vehicle NYC crash that killed 2, hurt 7

NEW YORK (AP) - Police say a New Jersey man has been charged in a four-vehicle crash on a New York City highway that has left two people dead and seven others injured.

Authorities say 33-year-old Andrew Shakespeare, of Roselle, New Jersey, was driving a BMW SUV west on the Grand Central Parkway in Queens early Sunday when it sideswiped a car and lost control.

Police say it crossed three lanes and hit another SUV, causing both vehicles to hit a guardrail, cross into the eastbound lanes and roll over. The BMW then hit another SUV on the eastbound side.

Killed were two of Shakespeare's four passengers, 16-year-old Akeam Grant and 34-year-old Layon Campbell, both of Brooklyn.

The charges against Shakespeare include DWI and vehicular manslaughter. It couldn't be determined if he has a lawyer.

Shakespeare and six people in the other vehicles were injured.


Police vehicle strikes 2 at beach

LONG BEACH, N.Y. (AP) - Police in Long Island say two people have been struck by a police vehicle at the beach.

Authorities say the victims were struck by an officer on beach patrol in Long Beach around 8 p.m. Sunday. The victims were taken to a hospital for treatment.

Officials say the victims sustained injuries that aren't life-threatening.

Police say the officer involved in the crash was also transported to the hospital.

An investigation is ongoing.


EPA to hold 2nd meeting on PCB cleanup of Hudson River

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) - The Environmental Protection Agency will hold a second public meeting this week about a $1.7 billion cleanup of the Hudson River.

The EPA is taking questions Wednesday night in Saratoga Springs during the public comment period for a recently released review of the Superfund project.

The EPA says that based on the data so far, General Electric's cleanup of contaminated sediment from the upper Hudson looks like it will protect human health and the environment in the long run.

Many environmentalists and New York elected officials disagree. They want more work done.

GE factories discharged PCBs into the river until the mid-1970s.

The EPA held its first public meeting on the review last month in Poughkeepsie (poh-KIHP'-see). Public comment will be accepted until Sept. 1.


Wasp tested as control for devastating lily leaf beetle

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Researchers have released parasitic wasps at several sites in New York to test them as a natural control against a devastating beetle that has led many gardeners to give up on growing lilies.

The wasps kill lily leaf beetles by laying eggs in the beetle larvae. Researchers at the University of Rhode Island began evaluating the wasps in 1999 to make sure they were safe for other insects, and had them approved for release by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Cornell University researchers have released the wasps at Cornell Cooperative Extension sites in Putnam and Albany counties, and plan to release them in Erie County.

A Cornell survey found lily leaf beetles were present in 30 New York counties, causing so much damage that many gardeners had quit growing the flowers.


$1M grant promotes science education for deaf students

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - The National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester is getting $1 million to develop a training program for scientists.

Rep. Louise Slaughter says the five-year federal award will be used to develop a program aimed at deaf and hard-of-hearing undergraduates. The goal is to increase the number of deaf and hard-of-hearing students who enter biomedical and behavioral science Ph.D. programs.

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf is one of the colleges of Rochester Institute of Technology. Institute officials called the program a "historic development" for deaf and hard-of-hearing students and for the college.

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