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Victims of bike path attack reflected a diverse city

Published: Thursday, November 02, 2017 @ 1:26 AM
Updated: Thursday, November 02, 2017 @ 1:21 AM


            This Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017 photo provided by the Trevisan family shows from left to right; Hernan Ferruchi, Alejandro Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij, Ivan Brajckovic, Juan Pablo Trevisan, Hernan Mendoza, Diego Angelini and Ariel Benvenuto, gather for a group photo before their trip to New York City, at the airport in Rosario, in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina. Mendoza, Angelini, Pagnucco, Erlij and Ferruchi were killed in the bike path attack near the World Trade Center. They were part of a group of friends celebrating the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation with a trip to New York City. (Courtesy of Trevisan family via AP)
This Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017 photo provided by the Trevisan family shows from left to right; Hernan Ferruchi, Alejandro Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij, Ivan Brajckovic, Juan Pablo Trevisan, Hernan Mendoza, Diego Angelini and Ariel Benvenuto, gather for a group photo before their trip to New York City, at the airport in Rosario, in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina. Mendoza, Angelini, Pagnucco, Erlij and Ferruchi were killed in the bike path attack near the World Trade Center. They were part of a group of friends celebrating the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation with a trip to New York City. (Courtesy of Trevisan family via AP)

One of the dead was a mother of young sons from Belgium. Five had traveled from Argentina to New York with a tight-knit group of classmates to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their graduation.

The other victims were Americans: One a new college graduate working as a software engineer, the other a doting son who had recently lost nearly 100 pounds and was getting a bike ride in between meetings at his World Trade Center job.

Those killed in the New York bike path attack reflect a city that is a melting pot, a magnet for international visitors and a business and technology capital.

"They saw New York as a special place to be," said Mayor Bill de Blasio, "and we now and forever will consider them New Yorkers."

The victims were mowed down by a rental truck Tuesday afternoon near the World Trade Center. Police called it a terrorist attack, saying the driver was an Uzbek immigrant who "did it in the name of ISIS."

The largest group of victims came from Rosario, Argentina, the country's third-largest city and the hometown of international soccer star Lionel Messi and guerrilla leader Che Guevara. They had made the trip courtesy of one of their well-heeled friends, who was also among those who perished.

"It hurts us to think that these are people who walked the same school halls as we did or that studied in our same classrooms," said Agustin Riccardi, a senior at the victims' alma mater.

President Mauricio Macri said in Buenos Aires that the attack "hit all Argentines hard."

On Wednesday, friends and relatives began remembering the victims — and recounting the circumstances that led them to New York.

___

ARGENTINA: A GROUP OF FRIENDS

Three decades had passed since their 1987 graduation from the Polytechnic School of Rosario, Argentina. But the Argentine victims of Tuesday's truck attack, most of them architects, had remained close friends, getting together several times a year.

The five dead were among a group of 10 friends marking their graduation with a tour of New York and Boston, where a survivor of the group lived.

They had gone on a bike ride through Central Park on Tuesday before turning south, to lower Manhattan.

"They were pedaling in lines of two, chatting, laughing, enjoying the ride. My husband was the last one in the line, when he felt a speeding car, and then the truck that zoomed by" at high speed, Cecilia Piedrabuena, the wife of survivor Ariel Benvenuto, told an Argentine radio station. "The truck took away his friends, and he saw them all scattered on the ground."

One victim, Hernan Diego Mendoza, was an architect and father of three who designed the home of his close friend, Estanislao Beas.

"The news destroyed my wife and I," Beas said. "We had a tight bond. We cared for him so much. It's incredible that this happened to him and that he was there at that time."

Another friend, Cesar Lagostino, attended a candlelight vigil for the victims Wednesday evening outside the school. He remembered Mendoza as an honest and generous person, "among those who deserve to stay in this world."

The Argentine foreign ministry identified the other victims as Ariel Erlij, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damian Pagnucco and Hernan Ferruchi.

The reunion trip was partially financed by Erlij, the chief executive of Ivanar, an Argentine steel products manufacturing company, according to Argentina's La Nacion newspaper.

Another classmate , Martin Ludovico Marro, of Newton, Massachusetts, near Boston, was being treated at a Manhattan hospital.

In Rosario, a minute of silence was observed at the high school earlier Wednesday, and the light-blue and white Argentina flag was flown at half-staff.

Only days earlier, before flying to the U.S., they had posed for a group photo, all of them wearing T-shirts with the word "Libre," or "Free" — meaning free from any responsibilities, said Piedrabuena, the wife of survivor Ariel Benvenuto.

___

BELGIUM: ANN-LAURE DECADT

Ann-Laure Decadt, 31, the mother of a 3-year-old and a 3-month-old son, had traveled with her relatives to New York from a rural town in Belgium.

Decadt belonged to a prominent family that owns a venerable animal feed business in Staden, a town of 11,000 some 60 miles (100 kilometers) west of Brussels.

The family said in a statement that "she was riding a bike and apparently was surprised by a vehicle that came from behind." Her husband and children had not traveled with her. Other family members escaped injury.

Decadt grew up in the town and was active in its social scene, taking part in the youth council and village fairs, said Staden's mayor, Francesco Vanderjeugd.

"Ann-Laure meant so much to us in town," he said. "It is an attack in New York, but also one on our community."

Flags flew at half-staff in the village, and a condolence register was opened at the community center Wednesday — All Saints' Day, when Belgium traditionally remembers the dead.

Johan Verstervete, a friend of the family, said: "We knew her as a very spontaneous person, very dynamic, loving her family and her children."

Vanderjeugd said he was delighted when he first heard that Decadt was going to New York. He even sent the family a message saying: "Wow, you'll have a great time there, with Halloween and the New York marathon and all."

"And then," he said, "this happens."

___

NEW JERSEY: DARREN DRAKE

Darren Drake, a 32-year-old project manager for Moody's Investors Service at the World Trade Center, had recently lost a lot of weight — 93 pounds — after undergoing lap band surgery. He was out for a bike ride between meetings when the truck hit and killed him.

"While other people would take cigarette or coffee breaks, he would go out and ride the bike for 15 to 20 minutes," his father, Jimmy Drake, told NJ.com.

Drake, a voracious reader who enjoyed listening to audio books, used to serve on the school board in New Milford, in northern New Jersey, where he was a native and lived with his parents. He had a master's degree in business administration and was working toward a second master's degree, at Stevens Institute of Technology.

Stevens' president, Nariman Farvardin, said in a message to the university community that Drake's death was "a heartbreaking loss for the Stevens community."

Jimmy Drake told NorthJersey.com he and his son were close. They went hunting and fishing together, and Jimmy drove Darren every day to the terminal in suburban Hoboken so he could catch a train to his job in the city.

He sobbed as he recounted seeing his son's body at the morgue.

"Just picture that face. He really looked like he was having a nice dream," he said.

He called the Uzbek immigrant suspected in the attack a "psycho" but said he's "not angry at all."

"I'm hurt," he said. "I'm absolutely hurt."

___

NEW YORK CITY: NICHOLAS CLEVES

Nicholas Cleves, 23, died not far from his home in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. He was a software engineer and web developer.

Online profiles show he went to Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City and graduated last year from Skidmore College with a degree in computer science. He had been working as a software engineer for the Unified Digital Group.

Cleves described himself on his Facebook page as a "nerdy white boy." The most recent photo posted there showed him posing with some friends next to a Darth Vader figure at a Star Wars exhibit.

"Our hearts go out to Nicholas's mother, Monica Missio, who is a member of the Skidmore class of 1981, the other members of his family, and his closest friends," Skidmore President Philip A. Glotzbach wrote on the school's website.

Outlining his aspirations on LinkedIn, Cleves wrote that he was "searching for ways in which technology can be used to make positive impacts on our everyday lives."

Alex Silverstein, who hired Cleves as a Unified Digital Group intern during his senior year in college, wrote a glowing recommendation on LinkedIn.

"I immediately recognized his intelligence and desire to know more about everything," Silverstein wrote. "He is great with customers — polite, considerate, and patient. This is extremely useful emotional intelligence that you can't put a price on."

___

Rey reported from Rosario, Argentina. Rubinkam reported from northeastern Pennsylvania. Contributing were Associated Press writers Hernan Alvarez in Rosario; Victor Caivano, Almudena Calatrava and Luis Andres Henao in Buenos Aires; Raf Casert in Brussels; David Crary and Claudia Torrens in New York; and Philip Marcelo in Boston.

Thieves steal woman's dog's surgery money; friends raise nearly 20K

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 11:26 PM

(Boston25News.com)
(Boston25News.com)

A week ago, Melissa Horstman's Worcester, Massachusetts, home was invaded by burglars who smashed the glass on her sliding door and took nearly $3,000 in valuables and cash. 

>> Read more trending news

Shortly after 9 p.m. last Thursday night, the thieves broke into her home and not only stole the money Horstman was saving for her dog's operation but left her sick pup Prince in a heap of glass.

Foreboding as he may look, Prince has bone cancer on his back leg and can barely move. Not only is Prince on heavy painkillers, but his leg will need to be amputated, and Horstman believes his condition is worsening.

"I'm just lucky they didn't kill my dog," Horstman said. 

Horstman says that after Boston 25 News interviewed her last Monday, one of her friends created an online fundraising page for Prince with the goal of raising $5,000 - the amount needed for his surgery.

However, to her surprise, the overwhelming generosity of those who contributed to the fundraiser help not only reach the goal but exceed far past just $5,000 .

"It is very close to $20,000 right now," Horstman said.

Initially, when Horstman posted about the burglary on Facebook, her mind was set on trying to catch those responsible for the theft.

She says she didn't ask for a dime, but is immensely thankful for those who helped. Prince will have surgery Tuesday and hopefully feel a lot better.

As for the rest of the money, Horstman plans on giving it to other pet owners who need it just as much as she did.

"I've decided to make some donations to Broken Tail Rescue that are here local in Worcester and possibly another rescue depending on how much is left over from Prince's surgery," Horstman said.

After our initial story on the burglary aired, Horstman said police told her this may be related to other recent burglaries. She is anxiously awaiting word of an arrest.

Horstman is urging people who want to help to give back to local animal shelters. She has since asked her friend to shut down the fundraising page. 

Police: 86-year-old woman with gun tried to rob bank

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 10:45 PM

(Photo Illustration by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
(Photo Illustration by Alex Wong/Getty Images)(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

An 86-year-old Philadelphia woman allegedly pushed her walker into a bank Tuesday afternoon and attempted to rob it.

>> Read more trending news

Bank employees told police the woman, identified as Emily Coakley, brandished a gun and demanded $400, CBS Philly reported.

It didn’t take long for the police to arrive, and they arrested the senior citizen. Authorities say the woman had a .38-caliber revolver.

They said the gun was not loaded, but, she did have bullets in her purse, according to The Morning Call.

University of Pennsylvania police responded to a robbery call at the TD Bank at 3735 Walnut St. around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Coakley has been charged with aggravated assault, robbery and other related offenses.

According to witnesses, Coakley had visited the bank the day earlier and was under the impression she had been shorted $400 from her withdrawal that was the specific total she demanded from the teller. Her family later arrived and tried to defuse the situation.

Despite this, people near the bank weren’t happy.

“Someone could have got shot, even accidentally. You have to have concerns. People bring their kids here,” customer Will Duggan told Fox 29 in Philadelphia.

The Morning Call said she did not offer comment as police escorted her from the bank.

Black Friday 2017: When do stores open on Thanksgiving, Black Friday?

Published: Monday, November 13, 2017 @ 8:39 AM

Black Friday 2017 Deals

With Black Friday a little more than a week away, shoppers are drawing up game plans and sorting out options for grabbing holiday shopping deals. 

To help you get ready for the Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping rush, bestblackfriday.com has compiled this list of store opening times on Thanksgiving Day 2017.

  • Bass Pro Shops – 8 a.m.
  • Bealls Florida – 6 p.m.
  • Belk – 4 p.m.
  • Bergner’s – 11 a.m.
  • Best Buy – 5 p.m.
  • Big Lots - 7 a.m.
  • Bon-Ton – 11 a.m.
  • Boston Store – 11 a.m.
  • Cabela’s – 8 a.m. 
  • Carson’s – 11 a.m.
  • CVS Pharmacy (hours not yet announced)
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods – 6 p.m. 
  • Dollar General – 7 a.m.
  • Elder-Beerman – 11 a.m. 
  • Five Below – 6 p.m. 
  • Fred’s Pharmacy – 9 a.m.
  • GameStop (hours not yet announced)
  • Herberger’s – 11 a.m.
  • JCPenney – 2 p.m.
  • Kohl’s – 5 p.m. 
  • Kmart – 6 a.m.
  • Macy’s – 5 p.m. 
  • Meijer – 6 a.m.
  • Michaels – 6 p.m. (Opens at 5 p.m. for Rewards members)
  • Rite Aid – Hours Vary by Location (most stores open)
  • Sears – 6 p.m. 
  • Shopko – 4 p.m. 
  • Stage Stores – 2 p.m.
  • Target – 6 p.m. 
  • Toys R Us – 5 p.m.
  • Walgreens – Varies by Location
  • Walmart – 6 p.m. (for Black Friday deals)
  • Younker’s – 11 a.m.

See the complete list of Thanksgiving openings/hours here.

 

Black Friday 2017 Hours

Here are a few notable store hours for Black Friday 2017:

  • Babies R Us - 8 a.m.
  • Bass Pro Shops - 5 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Belk - 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Best Buy - 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Big Lots - 6 a.m.
  • BJ's Wholesale Club - 7 a.m.
  • Cabela's - 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Costco - 9 a.m.
  • Dick's Sporting Goods - 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Guitar Center - 6 a.m.
  • Hobby Lobby - 8 a.m.
  • Home Depot 6 a.m.
  • JCPenney - Thanksgiving 2 p.m. to Black Friday 10 p.m.
  • Kmart - 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Kohl's - Thanksgiving 5 p.m. to Black Friday 1 p.m. 
  • Lowe's - 6 a.m.
  • Macy's - 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Meijer - 6 a.m.
  • Michaels - 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Office Depot & OfficeMax - 7:45 a.m.
  • PetSmart - 7 a.m.
  • Sam's Club - 7 a.m.
  • Sears - 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Staples - 7 a.m.
  • Target - 6 a.m.
  • Toys R Us - Thanksgiving 5 p.m. to Black Friday 11 p.m.
  • Walmart - Thanksgiving 6 p.m. overnight into Black Friday

See the complete list of Black Friday 2017 hours here. 

Black Friday advertisements: 

The president's Thanksgiving message to the troops causes a stir

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 9:58 PM

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before speaking with members of the armed forces via video conference at his private club, Mar-a-Lago, on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP
President Donald Trump speaks to the media before speaking with members of the armed forces via video conference at his private club, Mar-a-Lago, on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)(Alex Brandon/AP)

On Thanksgiving morning, President Donald Trump delivered a message via teleconference from his luxury resort in Mar-a-Lago to American military service members overseas — but not everyone is happy about it.

>> Read more trending news

Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling appeared on CNN on Thursday to air his grievances with the content of President Trump’s Thanksgiving message to the troops, referring to the president’s remarks as “somewhat insulting” and “off-kilter.”

Hertling was gracious enough to confess that he was “thankful for the fact that [Trump] did address the soldiers,” but added, “[T]he message that I heard and some of the things he said would have not rung very well with me, had I been a deployed soldier.”

“Everybody’s talking about the progress you’ve made in the last few months since I opened it up,” the president said in his message. “We opened it up, we said go ahead, we’re going to fight to win. We’re not fighting anymore to just walk around, we’re fighting to win. And you people, you’ve really turned it around in the past three to four months like nobody’s seen and they are talking about it. So thank you very much, brave, incredible fighters.”

“We have been winning,” Hertling said on CNN. “You’re talking to soldiers and military personnel around the world who have been in this fight for 17 years, and to suddenly be told they’re winning now when they weren’t winning before is somewhat insulting, first of all.”

“I know it’s hard to be away from home at this time of the year. We’re doing well at home,” Trump said, in a boastful remark about the state of the nation’s economy. “The economy is doing really great. When you come back, you’re going to see with the jobs and companies coming back to our country, and the stock market just hit a record high, unemployment is the lowest it’s been in 17 years, so you’re fighting for something real. You’re fighting for something good.”

Hertling also took issue with that, saying, “The comments about the economy and where the economy is growing — deployed service members don’t want to hear about that.” He then said troops just want to be thanked.

“So again, trying to be positive, I’m glad the president at least took some time to say thank you to the troops around the world, and he’s going to a Coast Guard station today, but the rest of the message may have been a little off-kilter,” Hertling concluded.