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16 in NYPD indicted in ticket-fixing scheme

NEW YORK (AP) -- Prosecutors filed charges Friday against 13 members of the nation's largest law enforcement union after a lengthy probe into the longtime but under-the-table practice of making parking tickets disappear for friends and family.

The charges against the 13 New York Police Department officers, two sergeants and a lieutenant were announced just three days after the arrests of five police officers in a separate gun-running sting.

Friday, hundreds of members of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association came to support the officers at their arraignment in the Bronx.

Patrick Lynch, president of the union, which has nearly 23,000 members, said ticket fixing was sanctioned at the highest levels. "Taking care of your family, taking care of your friends is not a crime," he said.

The officers pleaded not guilty to charges including misconduct, grand larceny and obstructing governmental administration. The case was touched off as authorities investigating an officer overheard talk of fixing tickets.


Season's first snow hits eastern parts of state

ALBANY (AP) -- Residents in parts of eastern New York were scraping snow and ice off their vehicles Friday morning as the region got its first significant snowfall of the season, with forecasters saying more is on the way.

The National Weather Service said 2 to 6 inches of snow fell across an upstate swath stretching eastward from the Schoharie and Mohawk valleys to Rensselaer County just east of Albany. The snow began falling Thursday afternoon and continued into the night.

Interstate 90 in Albany was closed for about two hours early Friday because of icy conditions.

Near Binghamton, police said a driver who stopped on an icy stretch of Route 17 in Windsor to help at the scene of an accident was struck and killed by another vehicle.

The weather service issued a winter storm watch for today in the Hudson Valley from New York City's northern suburbs to the Catskill Mountains. Forecasts call for 4 to 8 inches of snow.


Ex-state engineer faces charges over chat lines

ALBANY (AP) -- A former state environment department employee has been charged with calling telephone chat lines while on the job, racking up a $20,000 bill.

Inspector General Ellen Biben said Edward Reilly, 52, of Delmar spent more than 500 hours making 760 calls to services with names like VIP Sensual Chat, Quest Chat and Secret Encounters.

Reilly resigned in August from his $88,000-a-year job as an environmental engineer at the Department of Environmental Conservation headquarters in Albany.

He was arraigned Friday on a third-degree grand larceny charge and five other felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing.


Mother heard of son's death on Facebook

HOMER (AP) -- A mother who learned on Facebook that her son had died of a head injury during a high school football game says authorities should do a better job notifying people during emergencies.

Jacqueline Barden, of Oswego, told a Syracuse TV station that she got the news about her son after the Oct. 14 game and tried to learn more while waiting to hear from officials, which didn't happen until the next day. "On Facebook, on the news, that's how I had to learn of my son's death," she said.

Ridge Barden, 16, was hurt in a helmet-to-helmet collision while playing as a lineman for John C. Birdlebough High School in Phoenix, about 90 minutes south of Oswego. An autopsy showed he died of a subdural hematoma after being taken to a hospital.

Coaches at the game had contact telephone numbers provided by the family for only the boy's grandmother and father, who lives in the district, School Superintendent Judy Belfield said Friday. "At the football game, we had no information about the mom," she said.