Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Suffolk County police officer who was critically injured by an alleged carjacker who struck him while fleeing a traffic stop last month was released from Stony Brook University Hospital on Friday.Officer Nicholas Guerrero, 36, had been recovering since undergoing a neurosurgical procedure in the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit a day after the incident, police have said.Guerrero and his partner had stopped a Ford Explorer that had been reported stolen from Commack when the driver, 34-year-old Chad Morizsan of Northport, allegedly fled the scene, hitting the two officers while they tried to talk to the suspects on Partridge Lane in Huntington at 11 a.m. Sept. 22, authorities have said.Guerrero was then airlifted to the hospital with serious head injuries. Fellow police officers were on hand to support the officer as he was released from hospital.After fleeing, Morizsan allegedly stole gas from a gas station moments later, was involved in a hit-and-run with another vehicle while fleeing the gas station and then carjacked a woman in Commack, according to investigators.Morizsan and his alleged accomplice and passenger, 22-year-old Nicholas Franzone, also of Northport, were apprehended shortly later inside Target in Central Islip, where they were trying to buy a TV with a credit card stolen from the carjacking victim, prosecuitors have said.Morizsan and Franzone pleaded not guilty last week at Suffolk County court after a grand jury indicted them on upgraded charges of assaulting a police officer, grand larceny, conspiracy, robbery, leaving the scene of an accident and other counts.Judge Fernando Camacho set bail for Morizsan at $3 million cash or $30 million bond. Bail for Franzone was set at $300,000 cash or $900,000 bond. They are due back in court Nov. 5.
Man in the paddockTHE median value of Queensland farmland jumped an astonishing 10.3 per cent in 2016, according to Rural Bank’s new Australian Farmland Values report.The findings underline the strength of Queensland farmland value and shows the average annual median price of the state’s farmland has increased on average by 6.3 per cent per annum over the last 20 years. While the estimated number of farmland transactions in 2016 decreased slightly compared to 2015, the area of farmland traded in 2016 surged by an astounding 43.5 per cent year-on-year. In 2016, a total of 7.95 million hectares of farmland was traded in Queensland at a total value of approximately $2.14 billion. The report features a comprehensive analysis of Australian farmland property values and key national, state and regional trends such as commodity prices, climatic conditions and other sectoral factors, lending rates and the broader investment environment.Produced by Rural Bank’s specialist market insights division Ag Answers, the report is based on real farm sales since 1995 and draws on more than 230,000 transactions, accounting for 278 million hectares of land with a combined value of $132 billion.More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020Rural Bank Regional Manager Agribusiness, John Ellwood, said that despite the decrease in the volume of transactions recorded in 2016, demand for farmland in Queensland remains very high. “The transaction numbers recorded in 2016 don’t reflect the fact that land, notably quality pastoral land, is coveted in Queensland, particularly in the state’s north,” Mr Ellwood said.“For example, the median price for North Queensland increased by 14.8 per cent in 2016, taking the five year average annual price growth for the region to 4.9 per cent. “Many land owners are in a position where they not only want to hold onto their existing land but also want to expand it. “This is especially true in the case of livestock producers who have reaped the benefits of positive seasonal conditions as well as strong cattle and sheep prices. Looking ahead, Mr Ellwood said 2017 is likely to follow the same trend as 2016. “With low summer rainfall and hot conditions, Queensland has had a tough start to 2017 and as a result, we expect sales activity to remain relatively flat for the first half of the year at least,” he said.“However, the outlook remains positive for livestock producers in particular, especially given the recent trend in prices for cattle and sheep. Consequently, we think it’s likely land value will continue to grow in 2017.”