Rockland County residents are expressing concern surrounding the railroad crossing at Congers Lake Road West and South Rockland Avenue in Congers. On Tuesday night of last week an 80-year old woman was attempting to turn at the crossing when her car got stuck in a ditch and was struck on the passenger side by a CSX train carrying municipal waste. She exited the car before it was hit and was not injured in the incident, and the train was not derailed. Then again at 5:25 on Saturday evening a vehicle being driven by a 76-year old Nyack became stuck in the same place and was struck three minutes later by a passing CSX line freight train carrying 116 cars loaded with crude oil. Luckily nothing was spilled in that incident either, and the was uninjured, though residents are now calling for changes to rail safety in the area, many saying that next time may not end the same way. The crossing is poorly lit and people often confuse the tracks for the road, accidentally driving onto them. The state Department of Transportation will be sending rail safety officials to visit the site later today.
According to police two people were found dead in their home on Monday afternoon, from what investigators believe to be Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Police responded to the Rye Brook home of 85-year old Joseph Persson on Maywood Avenue, he lived with his step-grandson 50-year old Joseph Pendrack. Officials stated that the Medical Examiner has yet to confirm the cause of death for both men, but they found a car in the garage with a dead battery and an empty tank of gas that appeared to have been left running and they suspect the fumes from the vehicle entered the house, which had no Carbon Monoxide detectors, and caused Persson and Pendrack to suffocate while in their beds in separate bedrooms.
According to police someone was stealing credit card information from customers at a Rockland County gas station. Investigators uncovered a skimming device at the mobile gas station in Garnerville, attached to one of the pumps. Police did not identify if anyone had their identity or cards compromised by the device, which can often be discovered when it is harder to slide your card through, or out of a machine. Investigators recommend that residents be sure to check their receipts agains their bank statements to ensure their cards were not compromised and stay vigilant about card usage.
According to records a group of parents in East Ramapo have filed a lawsuit against several yeshivas in the school district, claiming their children were not provided with the proper education while at school there. The students are all over 18 now, and attended four boys’ schools in Monsey, New Square, and Spring Valley where the lawsuit claims they received a religious education but not secular studies such as English and Math. The complaints also state that the yeshivas failed to hire competent teachers, use tax dollars in the creation of secular studies, and provide boys with an equal quality of secular education as girls. The lawsuit is blaming the yeshivas, the East Ramapo District and the state, and is calling for changes to private religious education to be implemented by September 2016, such as requiring one-third of the school day be used for secure classes that will prepare students for employment and a monitoring system for courses and finances.
According to officials with a California realty group, they have finalized the agreed purchase of the Pfizer site in Pearl River. A spokesman for the Industrial Realty Group stated that the company bought 38 buildings on the campus, which will be turned into a commercial project with potential shopping, dining, and offices or industrial buildings. Along with the interest in retail opportunities IRG will be leasing areas of the site to Anellotech and Protein Sciences for research. County and Orangetown officials are optimistic that the sale will provide revenue and keep taxes down for residents. Pfizer spokeswoman Susan Rutledge stated the company will continue leasing parts of the campus for certain drug development projects, one vaccine through 2016 and another cancer drug through a longterm agreement. They will retain ownership of 25 acres of the site.
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Construction has begun on the new cashless toll system for the Tappan Zee Bridge. On the Rockland side in South Nyack, drivers heading south to the bridge will drive under the steel bars with cameras mounted that will register the EasyPass in each car, instead of having people stop at cash booths, which can lead to serious traffic problems on the Thruway. Those who do not have an EasyPass in their car will have an image taken of their license plate and will receive a bill in the mail for the cost of the toll, which Thruway Authority officials recently stated will remain the same for 2016. The all-electronic toll collection system is expected to be up and running by April of next year, and members of the newly formed Tappan Zee toll task force will continue to study traffic patterns and costs to determine a price for the tolls on the new bridge, while state officials work to determine better ways to prevent or punish toll evaders.
According to prosecutors in the case against a group of men arrested in 2013 for abducting husbands and coercing them into religious divorces, the court hearings are coming to an end. The gang of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men were arrested and charged with traveling in interstate commerce to commit extortion, following an undercover investigation by the FBI, in which agents acted as wives and family members looking to hire Rabbis Martin Wolmark of Monsey and Mendel Epstein of Brooklyn who were in charge of the gang, who would abduct their husbands. On Monday 32-year old Moshe Goldstein was sentenced to 48 months in prison after admitting that he and the other men would then take the husband to New Jersey and use cattle prods and other forms of violence to force them to offer a “get” or a religious divorce to their wives. David Hellman and Simcha Bulmash were also sentenced to 44 months and 48 months in prison on Tuesday, with more members set to be sentenced Thursday, including 42-year old Ariel Potash of Monsey.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that he disagrees with Republican members of governments’ attempts to block Syrian refugees from entering the state. Cuomo stated that it does not fall on state government to decide who to allow in, and they must allow the federal government to make the final decision. Various officials have urged Cuomo to take a stand against allowing refugees in, following the terror attacks in Paris last week. According to information compiled by the Journal News from the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, in 2015 forty-eight Syrian refugees came to live here, before that just three had arrived since 2011. Cuomo stated on Tuesday,”The day America says ‘close the gate, build the wall,’ then I say take down the Statue of Liberty because you’ve gone to a different place.” The Governor stated he stands by the Federal Government’s belief that they can screen incoming refugees, as long as it’s done right.
Police stated that a man was struck and killed by a vehicle in Valhalla on Monday, while walking along the road. According to Mount Pleasant Police around 8:00 PM the unidentified 60-year old was walking on Grasslands Road near Westchester Community College and was hit by the car driving by. He was pronounced dead by officials following the accident.