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6,220 birds, 59 species found in annual count

NEW YORK (AP) -- Bird-watchers have counted 6,220 individual birds and 59 species in Central Park.

The 111th annual Christmas Bird Count on Sunday found some birds that are rarely spotted in New York this time of year, such as the red-headed woodpecker.

The bird count was undertaken by teams of bird-watchers guided by park rangers. They spent the morning canvassing all of Central Park's 843 acres.

City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said the total number of birds was boosted by good weather conditions.

The results of the bird count will be added to the results of other bird counts across the nation.

The tallies will help paint a picture of how bird populations have changed over the last 100 years.


Man accused of using pillow to kill mother

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Brooklyn man is accused in the death of his 86-year-old mother, whom police say he smothered with a pillow at the apartment they shared.

Police said Saturday that Yefim Tsirinsky, 52, was arrested on charges of murder and strangulation.

A neighbor, Donald Solomon, said he was in "shock." He said he "couldn't believe" that Tsirinsky had been involved in his mother's death "because he used to take good care of her."

Solomon said Tsirinsky would push around her wheelchair.

Frida Tsirinsky was found unconscious by officers responding to a call at the apartment Friday, police said. The woman was taken to Coney Island Hospital, where she was pronounced dead Saturday.

Police declined to discuss a possible motive in the killing. They said the son appeared to be unemployed.


Excessive tethering of dogs is targeted

NEW YORK (AP) -- It could become illegal in New York City for dogs to be tethered outside for more than three hours in a 12-hour period.

Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr. proposed a new anti-tethering measure that would make it a violation punishable by fines. He said animals are "harmed mentally and physically" by being restrained for excessive periods of time.

A separate City Council proposal would raise license fees for dogs that have not been neutered to $34, from $11.50. A new $25.50 surcharge would benefit the City Animal Population Control Fund.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals rallied at City Hall on Friday in support of both proposals.


School being renamed in honor of Paterson

HEMPSTEAD (AP) -- He'll soon be out of office, but at least one Long Island school will always remember Gov. David A. Paterson.

Fulton Elementary School here is getting renamed in honor of Paterson, who was a student there.

Officials voted Thursday to make the change and announced it Saturday at a festival that Paterson attended. The renaming will take effect in September.

A governor's aide told Newsday it's believed to be the first school named after Paterson, whose term ends Dec. 31.

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