January 23, 2021


Capital Region synagogues may be closed, but the congregations are finding creative ways to make Hanukkah celebrations warm and bright, a beautiful Festival of Lights breaking the gloom of this pandemic winter.

Hanukkah is celebrated this year from Thursday, Dec. 10 to Friday, Dec. 18.

On Saturday, Dec. 12, Temple Israel of Catskill’s Rabbi Zoe B. Zak will host an online Havdalah & Hanukkah Celebration that reflects her flair and gift for forging emotional connections across cyberspace.

“Havdalah is our way of saying goodbye to the Sabbath and greeting the new week,” Zak explained.

The ceremony can begin after believers are able to see three stars in the sky, signifying nightfall. A blessing is said over wine and another blessing is said over spices. The latter shows appreciation of the happy surprises and mysteries that add sparkle and depth to everyday life.
Zak of her synagogue’s Havdalah garden. She often picks basil or rosemary there to use in the blessing.

“Finally, most people extinguish the braided Havdalah candle in juice, but I use alcohol because it makes a dramatic flame before the light goes out,” Zak said.

Then, on Dec. 17, she hosts a Facebook Live Candle Lighting Hanukkah Nosh & Learn. Participants can light the menorahs in their own homes then dine on holiday treats like gelt (chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil) while they listen to and share Hanukkah stories.

“It’s still in the planning stage,” Zak told the Times Union. “But there will be Hanukkah stories from all over the world, maybe family stories that people can share.”

Schenectady’s Gates of Heaven congregation begins the holiday with a Dec. 10 Hanukkah discussion that includes how interfaith families celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. One topic is, “To Tree or Not to Tree?” It also covers Hanukkah foods and symbols.

The Bethlehem Chabad invites everyone to Zoom in for the menorah lighting at Delmar’s Four Corners at 6 p.m. Dec. 10. Then at 3 p.m. Sunday, the Chabad offers a parade through town that onlookers can watch from their cars. Organizers promise circus performers and prepackaged Hannukah treats.

Troy’s Berith Sholom invites the congregation to join a Zoom menorah lighting throughout Hanukkah. Worshippers are welcome to join by phone. On Dec. 12, there will be an online Hanukkah party from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Not only does Albany’s Congregation Beth Emeth have Zoom menorah lightings, it also will be delivering Hanukkah gift bags. The website alerts worshippers to have the glow stick inside on hand for the Dec. 11 Hanukkah celebration.

Beth Emeth embraces the mandate to the faithful to “repair the world” with a fundraiser called “the mitzvah menorah.” Congregants donate to buy gift cards for the needy served philanthropic groups including Refugee & Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus, Inc. and Mary’s Corner (a charity for women with babies and toddlers).

Temple Beth El in Glens Falls near Lake George will have a Family Hanukkah Night at 6:15 p.m. Dec. 11.

Rabbi Mordechai Rubin is known for unique, creative


Formula One driver Max Verstappen says it was a “big relief” to see Romain Grosjean jump out of his car after a horrific crash at the Bahrain GP on Sunday.

a man riding on the back of a fire: A steward reacts as officials put out a fire on Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean car following a crash during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

A steward reacts as officials put out a fire on Haas F1’s French driver Romain Grosjean car following a crash during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The incident occurred on the third corner of the first lap as Grosjean plowed into the barriers following contact with Daniil Kvyat.

The Frenchman said he “saw death coming” after the car split in half and was instantly engulfed in flames.

Dramatic live footage showed Grosjean jump out from the burning wreckage after what he says was 28 seconds.

“It was a big relief to see Romain jumping out of the car. You can really see the safety of Formula One cars. It was incredible that he basically jumped out of the car like that,” Verstappen told CNN Sport.

“At the time, when we were driving back to the pits, I could see the flames which were very scary.

“I was asking on the radio, ‘Is he out? Is he out?’ Then we saw the footage that he did jump out and that’s the most important thing.

“Then you just have to wait for the injury report but luckily it wasn’t too bad.”

READ: Hamilton to miss Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for coronavirus

Grosjean was rushed immediately to hospital where he was treated for minor burns on the back of his hands.

He was discharged from the Bahrain Defence Hospital (BDH) on Wednesday and will remain in the country to receive private treatment for his burns.

Verstappen says all drivers on the grid are fully aware of the risks involved in the sport and was determined to get back on the track to compete in Bahrain.

After a lengthy break, the race restarted and Verstappen eventually finished second behind Lewis Hamilton.

The Red Bull driver currently sits third in the driver standings having won one race this season.

a group of police officers riding on the back of a motorcycle: Stewards and medics attend to Romain Grosjean after the crash.

Stewards and medics attend to Romain Grosjean after the crash.

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A woman was arrested after her two children were allegedly found unconscious inside a running car in a Walmart parking lot in San Jacinto, California.

Deputies arrived at the parking lot Monday evening after receiving reports that two children were alone in a black Toyota Solara. The officers found a 1-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy unconscious in the vehicle.

“Deputies removed the children from the car, and fire personnel began performing life-saving measures. The children were taken to Hemet Valley Hospital via American Medical Response for advanced care,” Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said, Patch reported.

Preliminary investigation revealed the children were left unattended in the car for over two hours.

Investigators searched the car and found methamphetamine and heroin “within arm’s reach of both children,” the Sheriff’s Department added.

Following a search, the mother of the two children, identified as 29-year-old Sarah Casciato, was taken into custody and charged with child endangerment. She was being held at Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility as of Wednesday in lieu of a $500,000 bond.

Reports stated the accused was homeless, but it remained unclear where the woman was when she was taken into custody.

Child Protective Services took custody of the children after they were discharged from the hospital.

The incident comes weeks after a woman in New York was arrested after she left her children unattended in a car for over 30 minutes. Officers arrived at the scene after receiving information that two children were found alone in a car parked near a mall. Investigation revealed the mother, 27-year-old Guadalupe Guevara-Diaz, had left the children, a 9-year-old girl, and 3-year old boy, in the vehicle and gone shopping in the mall. The mother was arrested and charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

In another incident, last month, a woman in Virginia was arrested and charged with child neglect after she left her toddler alone in a car for approximately 30 minutes. The vehicle was parked at a Walmart while she shopped in the store.

Handcuffs In this photo, a woman is handcuffed at the Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, New Mexico, on Aug. 2, 2017. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images


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A Florida Department of Corrections inmate hit a corrections officer with a shovel before stealing his truck and crashing it in Lake County Thursday afternoon, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.


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OCSO deputies received a call reporting an escape shortly before 1 p.m. and responded to the intersection of North John Young Parkway and State Road 408, a spokesperson said.

An OCSO helicopter spotted the marked Department of Corrections vehicle and tracked it from a distance until it crashed in Lake County, according to OCSO.

The inmate crashed near County Road 470 and County Road 48 in Okahumpka, where he was apprehended by officers with the Leesburg Police Department, agency spokesman Lt. Joe Iozzi said.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. FHP’s Lt. Kim Montes said the inmate ran a red light, hit an SUV and caused a four-car crash near the intersection. Nobody was injured in the crash, she said.

FHP officers arrived at the scene of the crash just before 3 p.m., according to the agency’s live traffic condition report. The crash is listed as blocking traffic in the area.

The corrections officer whose vehicle was stolen suffered minor injuries, but he is expected to make a full recovery, according to OCSO.

The FDC could not immediately be reached for comment.

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.

[email protected]


©2020 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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A highly toxic chemical used in the production of millions of tires every year is killing salmon in the Pacific Northwest, and it is being detected in streams across Northern California, a new study finds.

Scientists have known for decades that stormwater runoff from roads, highways and other urban areas has been linked to high rates of coho salmon deaths in Washington state, where as many as 90% of salmon in the Puget Sound area have died before they could spawn.

The new study published in the research journal Science on Thursday has identified a culprit chemical for the first time — a commonly used preservative called 6PPD used to give tires longer life.

“I think the broader impact is as we have already found this in San Francisco (Bay) creek water as well as the road runoff,” said the study’s lead author, Zhenyu Tian, a researcher at the University of Washington Tacoma. “We believe this thing is a prevalent contaminant. Wherever you have a busy highway, you have runoff from there and you probably will detect it. Our detection rate for this chemical in runoff is almost always 100%. For coho salmon, it’s definitely a threat.”

As part of the study, stormwater running into four Bay Area waterways and creeks tested positive for deadly concentrations of the toxin known as 6PPD-quinone. The creeks that tested for high toxicity included Rodeo Creek in Contra Costa County, Elmhurst Creek near Oakland and two locations near Coyote Creek near San Jose.

As tiny pieces of tire break off on roads and highways, the preservative 6PPD interacts with ground-level ozone to create 6PPD-quinone, which in turn washes into creeks and rivers when it rains, according to the study. The study led by the University of Washington and Washington State University found the toxin was highly deadly, killing some young coho salmon in just four hours when exposed to it.

Estimated to have once numbered in the hundreds of thousands, coho salmon numbers in California have been devastated since the mid-20th century by human development, damming, habitat loss and changing climate and ocean conditions. Coho have been federally listed as an endangered species and are at risk of extinction on the Central California coast, where only 1% of the historic population remains.

State agencies and environmental groups have been working for decades to restore coho salmon populations between Santa Cruz County and the California-Oregon border, including remaining coho strongholds on Lagunitas Creek, in San Mateo and further north in the Klamath and Eel rivers.

The discovery of the toxin could help to inform further recovery efforts throughout the state, researchers said.

“Here in the tributaries that discharge into San Francisco Bay, we no longer have coho,” said Rebecca Sutton, a study co-author and senior scientist with the San Francisco Bay Estuary Institute, which tested Bay Area stormwater as part of the research. “But up north we still have coho and we want those populations to thrive. So removing stressors like this particular chemical could


Former Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Chris Hovan was arrested in Florida driving while extremely drunk with a child in the seat next to him, according to authorities.

Hovan, a first-round pick of the 2000 NFL draft, was pulled over Monday night in the Tampa suburb of Oldsmar and jailed that night on suspicion of drunken driving and felony child neglect. He was released about nine hours later on bond that required no dollar amount.

The Boston College standout recorded 192 tackles and 17 sacks over five seasons with the Vikings. He joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2005 and played another five seasons before retiring.

A message was left Wednesday morning with Hovan seeking his response to the allegations.

According to Pinellas County court records:

A sheriff’s deputy stopped Hovan about 7:40 p.m. along a well-traveled road and noted several signs of drunkenness including bloodshot eyes and being unsteady on his feet.

Hovan “performed poorly” during a field sobriety test, and preliminary breath tests administered at the scene measured his blood alcohol content at 0.309% and 0.315%, which is nearly four times the legal limit for driving in Florida.

The extreme level of intoxication “posed great risk to the child’s safety,” one of the court filings read.

Authorities declined to identify the child or explain the youngster’s connection to Hovan.

“We cannot release information that might tend to identify the minor victim, hence the redaction” from publicly disclosed court records, Sheriff’s Cpl. Charles Skipper said Wednesday.

In 2018, a court ordered Hovan to stay away from his wife and four children, ages 5 to 11 at the time, in connection with domestic violence allegations, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Hovan’s criminal history includes a drunken driving conviction in 2015.


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COTABATO, Philippines (AP) — Dozens of militants aligned with the Islamic State group opened fire on a Philippine army detachment and burned a police patrol car in a southern town but withdrew after troops returned fire, officials said Friday.

There were no immediate reports of injuries in Thursday night’s brief attack by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Datu Piang town. Nevertheless it sparked panic among residents and rekindled fears of a repeat of a 2017 militant siege of southern Marawi city that lasted for five months before being quelled by government forces.

“We are on top of the situation. This is just an isolated case,” regional military commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said in a statement.

Security officials gave differing statements on the motive of the 30 to 50 gunmen. Some said the militants targeted Datu Piang’s police chief over a feud but others speculated that the militants wanted to project that they are still a force to reckon with by attacking the army detachment in the center of the predominantly Muslim town.

Officials denied earlier reports that the militants managed to seize a police station and burn a Roman Catholic church.

When reinforcement troops in armored carriers arrived and opened fire, the militants fled toward a marshland, military officials said.

The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters is one of a few small armed groups waging a separatist rural insurrection in the south of the largely Roman Catholic nation. The groups opposed a 2014 autonomy deal forged by the largest Muslim rebel group in the south with the Philippine government and have continued on and off attacks despite being weakened by battle setbacks, surrenders and factionalism.

The armed groups include the Abu Sayyaf, which has been blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines as a terrorist organization for kidnappings for ransom, beheadings and bombings.

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A driver in Washington was pulled over after police noticed the headlights on his car had been replaced by flashlights.

the engine of a car: A driver in Washington was pulled over after police noticed the headlights on his car had been replaced by flashlights.

© Washington State Patrol
A driver in Washington was pulled over after police noticed the headlights on his car had been replaced by flashlights.

A Washington State Patrol officer pulled over a motorist on I-90 near North Bend early Monday morning after seeing the vehicle with “super dim” headlights, WSP officer Rick Johnson told CNN.

Upon inspection, the officer realized that the headlights on the car had been replaced by flashlights, which is illegal in the state as it does not meet the lumen requirements, Johnson said.

The car appears to have noticeable damage to the front of the car and the headlights seem to have fallen or broken off. The lights were running out of power, and the motorist was driving on a suspended license, according to Johnson.

“I don’t know of any car manufacturer that duct tapes flashlights to the front of their cars upon sale,” Johnson said. “But you know, I guess this is 2020, right?”

a close up of a car: Flashlights were used to replace the headlights on the motorist's vehicle.

© Washington State Patrol
Flashlights were used to replace the headlights on the motorist’s vehicle.

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By Alan Baldwin

a child wearing a helmet: Bahrain Grand Prix

© Reuters/HANDOUT
Bahrain Grand Prix

(Reuters) – Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc says he would bet on George Russell winning Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix when the Briton makes his Mercedes debut as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement in the penultimate race of the season.

Russell, 22, has yet to score a point in 36 races with struggling Williams but he could go from zero to hero in Bahrain after seven-times world champion Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19.

Mercedes have won 13 of the 15 races this season — Hamilton 11 and Valtteri Bottas two — and been on pole position in all but one.

“I think he will show how much of a good driver he is this weekend,” said Leclerc when asked what Russell might be capable of achieving.

“A podium at least, but I have some hope of a win. I mean, it’s very optimistic but I know he’s very good. I could bet on a win.”

The Monegasque is one of a group of young racers who grew up together and progressed through the junior rankings — and who still have a close bond maintained this year through virtual races when COVID-19 closed everything down.

Leclerc, 23, was Formula Two champion in 2017, Russell in 2018.

McLaren’s Lando Norris, 21, runner-up to Russell in Formula Two, is another of the gang and he too felt sure Russell would shine.

He said he had sent a congratulations message before the news was announced, because it was so obvious he was going to get the drive.

“He’s probably going to score his first points in Formula One and a high chance to score a podium and maybe even a win. I wish him all the best,” the Briton told Reuters.

Norris will be the highest-ranked British driver at the start in Hamilton’s absence, currently seventh overall, but he knows it is a hollow boast given the car Russell has at his disposal.

He is certainly not about to indulge in any bragging.

“I haven’t (said anything) because I’m sure that after FP1 (first practice) he’s going to be laughing in my face,” said Norris.

“There’s no point saying things like that because karma will bite me quite quickly I’m sure.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ed Osmond)

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Your car may not have gotten the kind of use it usually does this year. Travel restrictions put a lot of wanderlusty road trips on hold for the moment. Meanwhile, folks who had to trek to work increasingly opted to drive over riding public transit. And yet, the auto industry has continued to push technology forward. When we’re all back into our regularly-scheduled cruising habits again, the vehicles on it will be a little safer, comfier, and even more efficient. This year’s top automotive innovations include a seat built for snoozing as well as upgrades to key safety features that will save lives.

The year's most important developments in the world of autos.

© Provided by Popular Science
The year’s most important developments in the world of autos.

The uniquely shaped airbag is designed to prevent the most common head injuries during a wreck.

© Provided by Popular Science
The uniquely shaped airbag is designed to prevent the most common head injuries during a wreck.

Grand Award Winner: 2021 TLX Passenger Air Bag by Acura


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The airbag, reimagined

In the US, car accidents account for more than 16,000 fatal brain injuries every year, and a portion of those happen in the passenger’s seat. Acura’s 2021 TLX features a uniquely redesigned bag that eases impact on those delicate noggins. While a conventional airbag inflates into a bulbous balloon that heads can easily slip or slide off, the TLX’s offering looks more like a catcher’s mitt. Immediately after impact, three chambers inflate, two of which extend out to wrap around the rider, gently guiding their head into the bag like a baseball going into a well-padded glove. The formation cushions passengers earlier in impact than past models and keeps them cradled on the airbag during an off-center hit. Ultimately, the design promises to reduce the profound rotational forces that slam brain tissue into the skull during a wreck. Though the bag debuted in the TLX, Acura’s parent company, Honda, has agreed to let other manufacturers use the technology down the line.

The 2021 Bronco is more than a reboot of the classic SUV series.

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The 2021 Bronco is more than a reboot of the classic SUV series.

2021 Bronco by Ford

The truck anyone can offroad

Legend has it that the original Bronco was referred to as the GOAT—”Go Over Any Terrain”—during its development in the 1960s, but getting the truck to transverse changing paths required specific skills like knowing when to lock the differential for traction—or knowing what a differential is in the first place. The new 2021 Bronco offers a GOAT mode that hands the work off to onboard computers, making the shift from, say, sand to turf, quick and easy. The system taps traction-control sensors to analyze driving conditions and make adjustments to maximize grip and ground clearance. For instance, it’ll tweak the linkage and the power going to the wheels so the tires grip better on uneven terrain. Even on the street, there’s plenty to appreciate, including doors that come off with just a single bolt and plug, and a manual transmission option for purists.

a woman smiling for the camera: You don’t need to block out the entire sky to prevent glare.

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You don’t need to block out the entire sky to