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Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 10:59 am, Thu Jan 16, 2014.

Latino children use devices more, read more, study says

Hispanic children use computers, smart phones and other electronic devices more than youths in other ethnic groups, according to a new study by Northwestern University and the National Center for Families Learning. It was published by the National Institute for Latino Policy.

Young Latinos — part of one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in Queens as well as the nation — also watch more television and read more than their peers, the study says.

While Hispanics may have fewer electronic devices than other groups due to having lower incomes, children in families that have computers, tablets, smart phones and televisions use them all more often, according to the report, which studied 663 Latino families with children under age 9.

The children use computers 35 minutes a day, it found, compared to 22 minutes among other groups; smart phones 26 minutes, compared to 10 minutes; and tablets 34 minutes, compared to 23 minutes.

They watch television two hours a day, compared to an hour and 31 minutes; and read for one hour and eight minutes, compared to 54 minutes among other groups.

The study said Hispanic parents believe the use of electronic devices is helpful in improving their children’s learning.

State abuzz over gov’s med marijuana plan

Gov. Cuomo plans to allow 20 hospitals around the state, not yet named, to dispense marijuana for medical purposes.

The governor announced his plan this week, saying he would legalize the drug’s use in such a limited manner through executive action rather than a bill in the state Legislature. He said existing law allows him to do that.

“This program will allow qualified eligible participants to seek relief for their symptoms in a safe and legal manner, while also evaluating the effectiveness and feasibility of a medical marijuana system,” the governor’s office said in a prepared statement. “Its findings will be used to inform future policy.”

Twenty states and Washington, DC allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The drug is believed to benefit people suffering from a variety of conditions, including cancer, though the federal government does not recognize it as medication.

Two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized the drug for recreational use, with limitations. There is a bill in the New York State Senate to do the same, introduced a month ago by state Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan). The state Liquor Authority would regulate the herb under that proposal.

Several bills target motorcycle gangs

A series of four bills introduced late last month by state Sen. Adriano Espaillat and Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa, both Manhattan Democrats, is meant to crack down on illegal activities among groups of motorcyclists.

The measures come in response to the beating of a motorist by several bikers in Manhattan last fall. They would only apply in the city.

One bill would stiffen penalties for a group attack by bikers. Another would make it illegal for motorcyclists to do stunts such as wheelies in traffic. A third would require groups of 50 or more bikers to get a permit approved by the NYPD. And a fourth would allow the city to install traffic cameras without state approval.

Espaillat said that while the beating of a man in front of his family highlighted the problem, rogue bikers have been a menace for years.

City agencies battle

The city Board of Elections is claiming that the Department of Investigation broke the law when it had agents cast fake votes as part of a recent probe, the Daily News reports.

The DOI last week released a report that said the BOE should be depoliticized and professionalized. One problem it found was that people who are ineligible to vote could get away with it. The BOE says casting fake votes is a felony, and that the DOI was wrong to do so.

— compiled by Peter C. Mastrosimone

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