Rockland Woman Wins Millions in NY Lottery

The New York Lottery handed over a ceremonial check to a lucky woman in Garnerville today at 10:30 AM. The unnamed woman won $2,500,000 from the game $2,500 A Week for Life scratch-off ticket and will be receiving the prize from a representative for the New York Lottery at the Railroad Deli at 146 West Railroad Avenue in Garnerville this morning.

Do Crude Oil Freight Trains Pass Too Close To Schools?

According to sources compiled by the Journal News the environmental group River Keeper and Healthy Schools Network released a report on Thursday registering that over 100 tanks of oil being carried by freight trains more than 30 times a week pass by 101 school locations from Rockland County to Albany. The report shows that the schools are often within a mile of the CSX rail line, which carries oil for companies from the Midwest in cars that have been deemed unsafe for transport by federal officials. Officials such as New York Senator Charles Schumer and County Legislator Harriet Cornell, and local parents are calling for new rules to be put in place to protect students from the highly volatile crude oil. Some safety regulations have been put into place in Rockland including a reduction of the speed limit. Parents are asking that the limit be reduced further in school areas and better evacuation plans be put in place for students.

Controversial Budget Proposal by Rockland County Legislature

On Tuesday, hundreds of supporters of the nonprofit groups in Rockland County that are facing cuts in funding, came out to rally against the proposal. The county legislature held a meeting last night at the county office building and before residents and officials appealed to the legislature to rethink passing county executive Ed Day’s proposed 2015 budget, which would cut 111 county held positions as well as the funding for an unknown number of services provided by nonprofit organizations. Many residents spoke out about the danger of getting rid of county funding, and how it would damage communities to reduce services. The 772 million dollar budget would raise property taxes by only two percent; the first time in the past years that they will not be increased by double digits.

Rockland Community College Professor Arrested

The District Attorney’s office arrested a Rockland Community College professor on Tuesday after an investigation into the man led to the discovery that he was stealing money from the college, and the teacher’s union he was the president of. District Attorney Thomas Zugibe stated that the 61-year old Hackensack, New Jersey resident Cliff Garner was arrested on felony charges of second-degree grand larceny, first-degree falsifying business records, and first degree offering a false instrument. Garner has taught English at the college wince 1989, and was accused of charging three thousand dollars in hotel and personal expenses to the school when he attended study-abroad trips with students to England. The investigation, completed by the District Attorney’s special investigation unit, uncovered that over the last four years, Garner stole 200 thousand dollars from the Rockland Community College Federation of Teachers. The professor was arraigned on Tuesday and held on 50 thousand dollar bail, and faces 15 years in prison.

East Ramapo Fiscal Monitor Reviews District

The fiscal monitor assigned to East Ramapo School District by NEw York Governor Andrew Cuomo, met with the State Board of Regents on Monday. Hank Greenburg, who recently finished his 5-month review of the district, proposed to the board of regents and Education Commissioner John King, that new Legislation be put into place to keep the school district in check, such as more state funding, but not without an overseer who will make sure that money given to a program stays in that program, diversity training, and a better handling of shared finances between private schools and public schools, especially in special education and transportation. The 61-page report also blamed the East Ramapo School Board for bad decisions and Greenburg stated that oversight is needed, using an example that 60-70 percent of board meetings held happens behind closed doors in executive sessions. At Monday’s meeting Greenburg asked the state Legislature and Governor to assign a full-time monitor to begin facing the problems addressed in his report.

Rally Set to Support Nonprofit Groups Facing Cuts

The many nonprofit groups in Rockland County that are facing funding cuts with the $772 million budget proposal for 2015 will be holding a rally on Tuesday. The budget would save $6.8 million by cutting 111 countywide positions including 37 within the Sheriff’s Department. Supporters of Sheriff Lou Falco have staged several protests asking the Legislature to rethink the proposal. 33 positions will be cut in the Department of Social Services, laundry, security, and hospital radiology, as well as 41 jobs in departments that have not been announced. Funding cut from nonprofit organizations will save the county $3.3 million, but cut services given to residents. The rally in support of the nonprofits will be held at 6:00 PM just before the 7:00 Legislature meeting at the county office building in New City.

Congers Elementary Bid Awarded

The Clarkstown Central School District announced that they have awarded bids on the Congers Elementary School repairs that created controversy last school year. In February residents voted between closing the school and moving the students to various schools in the district, or repairing the cracked wall that officials proved to be a health and safety hazard to students and faculty. The vote approved repairs and the district now states that enrollment is declining, and is expected to continue doing so, though officials have not stated if that will effect the decision to rebuild. The district awarded a $4.3 million dollar bid for contract work in repairs, which could begin this month, hopefully being completed by June 2015. A study completed by Western Suffolk BOSCES showed that many of the buildings in the Clarkstown District are underused and the school board will hold a public meeting on December 17 to discuss the findings.

Attempted Robbery at Knife-Point

Ramapo Police stated that they arrested a Sloatsburg man on Saturday morning after they received reports that he held a woman at knife point. According to police around 3:00 AM they arrived at an address on Orange Turnpike to find that 18-year old Edward Feeley had attempted to rob an 18-year old woman of marijuana after they were set to make a drug deal. Police arrested the woman and charged her with a misdemeanor count of criminal sale of marijuana. A witness to the robbery detained Feeley until police arrived and they charged him with felony count of first-degree robbery as well as criminal possession of a weapon and possession of marijuana.

Orange and Rockland Seeking Rate Increases

According to a request filed with the Public Service Commission by Orange and Rockland Utilities and numbers compiled by the Journal News, the energy company is seeking a rate increase of $34 a month. Split between natural gas, which would rise by $8.13 per month, and electricity which would rise $26.18, the company would see and increase of $33.4 million from electricity bills and $40.7 million from gas. According to a spokesman for O&R, Mike Donovan, the company is planning a nearly $9 million station in Warwick, Orange County, as well as making improvements to transformers and Smart Grid Programs equaling to almost $18 million, but the company states the improvements will create better service for more than 25,000 customers. According to the company additions to natural gas services are in the works as well, using most of the $40.7 million to replace pipes over an 8-year period and build a new fueling station so delivery trucks can use natural gas instead of gasoline.

ALERT: Water Discoloration for North Rockland

United Water New York announced they will be completing work in Haverstraw, West Haverstraw, and Stony Point today, which may result in water discoloration and low water pressure. The company states the changes in color is caused by sediment in the water mains, which poses no threat to users, but they may want to use bottled water or store containers of clean water.