Latest news and conversation around the news from Westchester, Rockland and the Hudson Valley.
BloggersSarah Armaghan Nik Bonopartis John Dyer Meghan E. Murphy Timothy O'Connor Matt Sartwell Kenneth Schachter Jillian Sederholm Christian Wade Thomas Zambito Ryan Chatelain Mae Cheng Karl de Vries Nirmal Mitra
Pope conclave begins, tiger den jumper in court among Top 5 stories for Tuesday, March 12
1) When will puffs of white smoke over the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican announce the successor to Pope Benedict XVI? We'll know sometime after Tuesday afternoon, when a conclave of Catholic cardinals gathers to elect the new pontiff. The cardinals won't have access to any outside news or media while they weigh their votes and will sleep in close quarters at the Apostolic Palace. Read what Hudson Valley Catholics want in a new pope here.
2) David Villalobos, who was mauled by a 400-pound Siberian tiger at the Bronx Zoo after he leaped into its den, will return to a Bronx court room for the first time since pleading not guilty to criminal trespassing in the Sept. 21 incident. Villalobos, of Mahopac, suffered bites to his arms, legs, shoulders and back, police said, after 10 minutes in the tiger den. Villalobos was rescued by zoo workers who used a fire extinguisher to chase the animal away.
3) In Washington, the details of a Senate bill to carry the government through September are emerging. The bill would deny President Barack Obama's administration money for implementing new regulations on Wall Street and the expansion of government health care subsidies but would provide modest additional funding for domestic priorities like Head Start and health research, according to The Associated Press. Passage of the bill this week could signal the end of the most recent budget battle between the White House and House Republicans.
4) The U.S. Department of Transportation's Credit Council has its monthly meeting tomorrow in Washington. Why do we care? There's a chance the council could sign off on the state's request for a $1.5 million federal loan to kick-start the financing for a new $3.9 billion Tappan Zee Bridge. On Friday, the state said the feds agreed to turn over a low-interest loan, which states and cities can use to repair their aging bridges, tunnels and highways. New York expects to raise the remainder of the cost of the bridge by issuing bonds. It all will be paid back by raising tolls on the Rockland-to-Westchester span.
5) Three Westchester County teens will learn whether they've ranked in the top 10 natonwide in the Intel Science Talent Search on Tuesday night. High school seniors Chris Traver, 18, of Croton-Harmon High School; Jiayi Peng, 17, of Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua; and Daniel McQuaid, 17, of Ossining High School, were chosen in January as finalist for the prestigious competition in Washington. The teens were grilled on their own research over the weekend, which they have conducted for several years. The top winner receives $100,000.