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Lightning struck the grounds of a Long Island animal shelter, shattering a memorial fountain and shooting the shards across the facility, causing $30,000 of damage, the shelter said Saturday. 

Little Shelter said its industrial air conditioning unit was destroyed, along with a phone system control panel and the central alarm station were destroyed. 

No animals were hurt. 

A thunderstorm on Wednesday night was part of the aftermath of Tropical Storm Barry. A lightning bolt struck a tree at the Huntington shelter at about 10 p.m., then traveled to the fountain, the shelter said. 

The fountain shattered and pieces of it were strewn across the grounds, with one even flying over the cat building, the shelter said. 


Photo Credit: Little Shelter
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Prospective pet owners can now choose the furry friend they want to rescue without having to leave their home.  

Five years after it first launched, the adoption app WeRescue has expanded its reach across the U.S. and in Canada, and has hundreds of thousands of pets available for adoption at over 3,000 rescue organizations.

“We pull in data from all these different shelters and from the management system we are able to provide it to people before they actually go out to adopt a pet," said Mark Wade, a software developer from Illinois, was inspired to develop the WeRescue app after an experience buying a puppy at a pet store. 

Wade said he was told the adorable Shiba Inu pooch came from a "small family farm in Iowa" and later learned that his four-legged family member was actually from a puppy mill.

Then, in 2014, he participated in a start-up "hackathon" competition, where groups of strangers pitch ideas and develop apps over the course of a weekend. Using a popular dating app as a template, Wade and his team wanted to create something that would help connect people with eligible rescue animals at local shelters. Their "Woof" app, the first rendition of WeRescue, won best in show.

That win was the incentive Wade needed to invest more time into his passion project.

The app is now one of several available on app stores that are aimed at connecting would-be pet owners with animals to adopt.

Wade's app originally was limited to cats and dogs before he added birds, horses, rabbits, reptiles and small animals in 2017. And with the additional species, the name "Woof Rescue" would no longer do. Wade rebranded the app as "WeRescue."

The app includes dozens of filters so that users can narrow their search results based on more than just breed, size and age, but also personality traits and whether the animal is hypoallergenic. The distinct filters make finding the perfect pet a walk in the park. Once you've selected a pet the app helps you contact the shelter to keep the process moving along. 

"It’s really important for people to adopt a pet. They are going to want to keep it forever. So, if they’re in an apartment, they need an animal that is appropriate for that situation. So what you are able to do it go into these filters and if you are in an apartment you may want to look for a smaller dog," Wade said.

What's more, this year, Wade has added a Clear the Shelters filter for users looking to adopt a furry friend during NBC and Telemundo stations' fifth annual animal adoption drive. The filter will allow users to narrow their search results to include participating shelters.

"We were happy to connect with shelters nationwide," he said. "Shelters that participate in this are even in Puerto Rico and Hawaii."

More than 1,000 shelters and rescues have already registered to participate in this year's event. So if you’re thinking about taking home a pet, consider heading to a local animal shelter to adopt during Clear the Shelters on Aug. 17 when hundreds of shelters will waive or discount fees as part of the one-day adoption drive. And with the Clear the Shelters filter on WeRescue, it's easier than ever to find the purr-fect pet at a participating shelter.  

WeRescue is available to download on the Apple App store.


Photo Credit: WeRescue
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A police officer shot and killed a scythe-wielding man in New Jersey on Friday, the state attorney general’s office said. 

A Pemberton Borough police officer responding to a 911 call around 9 p.m. on Friday found Witney Rivera, 41, involved in an altercation with several other people near his home on Kinsley Road in Sunbury Village, according to the attorney general’s office.

Witnesses said Rivera was armed with a long scythe when the officer got to the scene, the office said.

At some point during their encounter, the officer shot Rivera. He was taken to a hospital in Mount Holly, where he was pronounced dead, the attorney general’s office said.

The attorney general’s Shooting Response Task Force is investigating the fatal shooting.

The AG's office didn’t immediately provide additional details about the incident.

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A man who allegedly tried to rape a 74-year-old woman after forcing his way into her home and hitting her in the head with a bottle has been arrested, police say. 

Rodrigo Escamilla, 27, of Queens, was arrested and charged with attempted rape, assault, strangulation, burglary, criminal sex act, sex abuse and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the attack, the NYPD said. 

His attorney information wasn't immediately available Saturday. 

Police say the woman answered a knock at her door at her home near 108th Street and 38th Avenue in Queens around 1:20 a.m. on July 17 thinking it was her son, police said. 

That's when Escamilla allegedly forced his way inside, knocking her to the ground and hitting her in the head with an empty Heineken bottle before dragging her into her bedroom, according to police. 

Police say he then attempted to rape her before fleeing the scene. 

The woman suffered a laceration to her head, but was in stable condition after being transported to a nearby hospital, according to police.

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A shark was spotted in shallow waters off of Long Island Saturday morning, police said.

The Quogue Village Police Department received a report of a shark in shallow waters near Penniman Creek around 9:07 a.m. on Saturday, it said.

It wasn’t clear what kind of shark it was, but it was reported to be around 10 to 12 feet long, the department said.

“At this time the Quogue Police are working with Southampton Town Bay Constables who are monitoring the shark with marine vessels,” the department said.

“At this time we are cautioning swimmers and boaters in the area to be aware of this ongoing situation, and to keep distance to allow the Bay Constables and Law Enforcement to monitor this situation,” it added.

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A 33-year-old man was fatally stabbed during a fight in Manhattan Friday night, the NYPD said.

Police responding to a 911 call found the man with a stab wound to his back in front of an apartment building on West 135th Street, near Amsterdam Avenue, in Harlem around 11:15 p.m.

He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to police.

Police say the man was involved in an argument with two other males of unknown ages when one of them grabbed him and the other tried to intervene.

The man ended up getting stabbed in the back, the NYPD said. His name wasn’t immediately released.

No one had been arrested in connection with his death as of Saturday morning. An investigation is ongoing.

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An NYPD officer responding to an assault at an Upper East Side subway station was hit by a train Friday night, according to police.

Around 9 p.m., cops went to check on a reported assault at the East 86th Street subway station on the 4, 5, 6 lines. The officers attempted to grab one of the suspects, when one of them was clipped on the head by a southbound 6 train.

The injured cop was brought to Cornell Medical Center, and is in serious bu stable condition.

There was no word on the suspects in the alleged assault. A police investigation is ongoing.

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Thousands of protesters continue to demand the resignation of Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rossello, and the demonstrations have gone on for a week. NBC 4 New York's Gaby Acevedo reports from San Juan.

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Imagine having a front-row seat for the first lunar landing.

Astronaut Jim Lovell, who makes his home in suburban Chicago, had just such a seat, directly to the left of capsule communicator Charlie Duke during the harrowing descent of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in their lunar module.

“There was a great feeling of relief on the part of the entire mission control team, including me,” Lovell recalls. “You know---they’re already down, we’ve accomplished landing on the Moon, but that’s only half the story!”

Indeed, the landing had been filled with frightening moments. First the lunar module’s computer kept relaying obscure alarms, which could have led to a last-second abort. Computer experts in mission control waved those off, and gave the green light for the landing to continue.

“What I was amazed at, was how quickly that mission control people analyzed the situation, new the situation, and said yeah, keep going down and taking care of it,” Lovell says.

Then there were the craters. Armstrong was forced to take manual control of the landing, when that same computer guided him to a landing site in a crater filled with boulders.

“Last think you didn’t want to do was land inside a crater!” Lovell says. “Never land on the side of a crater. So he took over manually to keep going forward to find a flatter spot to land a vehicle on.”

That was a good thing. The extra time Armstrong took finding a landing site burned precious fuel. He and Aldrin touched down after a callout by mission control that only 30 seconds of fuel remained---and there are some estimates it may have been as little as 15 seconds.

“Armstrong said, you know, when the gas gauge reads zero you always have a few more gallons,” Lovell laughed. “I took his word for it!”

At that point, Lovell had already flown three times in space---twice in project Gemini and a third flight aboard the trail-blazing voyage of Apollo 8, mankind’s first trip to the Moon. He would later command the ill-fated Apollo 13, which suffered an explosion en-route to the Moon, but became NASA’s greatest triumph when Lovell and his crewmates safely returned.

Now 91, Lovell still lives in suburban Chicago with wife Marilyn, and still gets excited when talks about a space program he clearly loves.

“The thought now is go back to the Moon---learn more about the Moon---get comfortable going to the Moon,” he says. “So it is not what we think of as a real roll of the dice, that we have the infrastructure, and the architecture, to make sure people can get in there to fly to the Moon, stay on the Moon for a while, learn things, and come back again.”

He marvels at the achievements of the unmanned probes on Mars, which have roamed the surface and even retrieved and analyzed rocks, beaming the results back to earth.

“We know more about the Martian surface than Armstrong knew about the lunar surface when he landed,” he says. “That is incredible!”

Lovell expresses frustration that after the triumphs of Apollo, NASA became a program which “retreated to Earth orbit,” but he speaks with hope about the future.

“There’s been a lot of talk about going to Mars and I think that’s what we’re going to do,” he says. “I don’t think we’re going to do it in my time.”

And would he like to make the trip?

He laughs. “Marilyn wouldn’t let me go!”

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Parents in an Eastern Pennsylvania school district are no longer being threatened with losing custody of their children if they don't pay their school lunch debt. The letter warned parents that if they don’t pay up, they could be reported to dependency court, where they risk losing their children to foster care.

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