Public Hearings for United Water

Public Hearings on United Water.
Today 4/23/14 at the auditorium of Felix Festa Middle School- 30 Parrott Road West Nyack 4:30 PM and 7:30 PM.
Tomorrow 4/24/14 at the Town Council Room at Ramapo Town Hall- 237 Route 59 Airmont 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM.
Info at www.dps.ny.gov under case number 13-W-0295.

Man Attempted to Lure Boy Into Car

According to the Orangetown Police Department they are searching for a man who drove into a family’s driveway on Monday and attempted to lure a boy into his car. Detective Lt. James Brown with the Orangetown Police stated that around 10:45 Monday morning the boy was playing in his front yard when a white sedan, newer model Lexus or BMW, pulled up and the man behind the wheel, described as about fifty- years old with dark skin and a mustache, asked the 5- year old boy to get in the car and go to the park. The mother of the child reported to police that her son said no and ran inside. Lt. Brown stated that police could not find the car, and parents should tell their children if they are confronted to yell and draw attention while running away. Police ask if anyone has any information on the incident call Orangetown Police at 845-359-3700.

East Ramapo School Board Plans to Consolidate Transportation

The East Ramapo School Board presented a plan that would consolidate transportation for the district, which currently employs sixty to seventy bus drivers. In the proposal about twenty drivers would be terminated and seventeen buses taken out of service, officials stating that they would save 2.5 million dollars by doing so. According to Superintendent Joel Klein most of the buses are past their prime and need about 10 to $20,000 in repairs, and discontinuing them will allow programs under the threat of being cut within the district to continue. Klein stated that the board is looking into negotiating contracts with a private service to save on costs as well, since the district can’t find existing documents and their hope is that the drivers laid off will get first job opportunities within the private company. According to Spring Valley Mayor Demeza Delhomme who talked with drivers on Tuesday at the Kurtz Civic Center promised to write to the district and Governor Andrew Cuomo on behalf of the bus drivers. Klein stated that the termination of good drivers wasn’t a first choice, but if the district can’t save money there it would mean cutting other things.

Firefighter Injured in Brush Fire

A Nyack Village Firefighter was injured while responding to a brush fire on High Avenue on Monday afternoon. According to Nyack Deputy Fire Chief, Vincent Reid, the fire started near the Exit 11 ramp off the Thruway, and may have accidentally been started by welders working on a hotel construction site in the area. Reid stated that twenty-five firefighters responded and worked to control the fire within a half an hour, and the Thruway entrance ramp was closed for a short time. The man, whose name was not included in the report, was injured when he fell off a wet beam and landed on his back and was taken to Nyack Hospital. The dry weather is not helping to prevent fires, this past weekend there was a brush fire on about five acres in Montebello. According to Fire Chief Chris Szklany on Saturday afternoon the Tallman Fire Department spent hours fighting the brush fire and a strong breeze that was threatening to spread the flames. At the same time there was a small fire in the wooded area off Rome Avenue in bedford Hills.

Suspicious Item Brings Bomb Squad Response to Middle School

The Rockland County Sheriff’s Department’s Bomb Disposal Unit responded to a call at the Felix V. Festa Middle School in West Nyack on Monday, with reports of a suspicious item in a courtyard. According to Police Captain Robert Mahon Clarkstown Police worked with the unit to evacuate people in the area the item was found about a half an hour before the 3:30 class dismissal time and had the scene cleared by 4:45 PM. The item turned out to be a small glass jar with liquid in it and two wires attached by wax and was determined not to be dangerous, though Mahon stated that the bomb unit was called as a precaution to protect students, faculty, and officers and school officials will continue investigating.

Rockland Clergy for Social Justice Plans Albany Trip

The Rockland Clergy for Social Justice, a group of Rabbis, Ministers, Pastors, and Imams, which formed in March in an attempt to assist the East Ramapo School District’s major issues released a statement announcing that they plan to travel to Albany on Wednesday April 30 to meet with state officials and to once again call on Governor Cuomo to step in with the district. The letter states that the main issues that will be focused on are the miscommunication between groups within the district who send their children to private religious schools and those who send their children to the public schools within the district. Group member, Reverend Weldon McWilliams stated at a meeting in early April that it is a struggle to get a dialogue and it is time for state officials to step in. The clergy also sent out a petition that received over 500 signatures asking for Governor Cuomo to intervene. Another issue is the fiscal problems the district faces, such as cuts in the arts, music,and sports. Traveling to the New York State Capitol and Well of Legislative Office building in Albany are speakers for the day Reverond McWilliams, Rabbi Adam Baldachin, Rabbi Ari Hart, Pastor Joel Michel, Azeem Farooki, and Rabbi Paula Mack Drill, who will be meeting with Senators and the Governor’s staff. The press release announced that there is room on the bus and they are hoping to fill it with members of local clergy to meet with officials.

Suspicious Fire Investigated in Haverstraw

Haverstraw Police are investigating a fire that occurred on Sunday afternoon on Clove Avenue. According to officials the Rockland County arson investigation unit is working with police to look into the fire at a vacant home, that was labeled as suspicious. Haverstraw Fire Chief Al Lynch stated that because the electric and gas were shut off in the home officials have determined that the fire’s start is suspicious. Lynch stated that no one was injured and firefighters were able to put out the flames within a half hour before they could spread to any other buildings.

Clarkstown Republican Committee Holding Hearing to Discuss “Disloyalty” Charges

According to a letter sent out by the Chairman of the Clarkstown Republican Committee, Bob Axelrod, a hearing has been set up for Wednesday to discuss disloyalty charges against Jeanine Vecchiarelli of New City, which could lead to her expulsion from the committee. Axelrod stated that in March Vecchiarelli attacked candidate Duncan Rogers Lee while he was running for Upper Nyack Village Justice in an attempt to form a campaign against him. Lee is the attorney in a case against two Rockland County bloggers, which Vecchiarelli stated is an attempt to silence bloggers, like herself, and take away their right to free speech. Axelrod is asking members to remove Vecchiarelli from the committee for a post that she had written on her facebook that some believe cost Lee the election, though Vecchiarelli states that Lee was working on the case against bloggers Michael Hull and Anthony Mele, simply to gain points within the Republican party. Similar hearings have happened twice within the party since 2011, first Ralph Sabitini was brought to a hearing for attending a Democratic fundraiser, though it was dropped after discussion. The second was when Clarkstown Councilman Frank Borelli had allegedly been secretly taped making a deal for the Democratic party, and was removed from the committee, but not charged criminally. Vecchiarelli stated that she will most likely not be attending the hearing.

Case Between Haverstraw and Company Seen in Supreme Court

The Village of Haverstraw is in court over a property on Dr. Girling Drive, which had been declared condemned eight years ago and was to be turned into extra parking and later a condominium complex. The former owner, Ferguson Management Company LLC is fighting a potential refund on the advanced payment of $575,000 Haverstraw provided, because the village argues the property is worth less than they paid. Both parties were recently seen before state Supreme Cout Justice Bruce Tolbert where the village presented an appraisal that the building was worth $316,000, leading to a refund of $258,000 and Ferguson brought forward an appraisal report of $800,000. Now it is up to the judge to decide which appraisal is correct for the as of yet undeveloped property. Haverstraw Mayor Michael Kohut stated tax payers will not be responsible.

Nyack Hospital Behavioral Health Center to Open

Nyack Hospital held a ribbon cutting and open house on Thursday for the opening of the new Behavioral Health Center, which is officially set for Tuesday. The center is housed on the third floor of the hospital, and provides 26 beds and safety measures such as covered lighting and recessed shelves. According to Dr. Michael Rader, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at the hospital, with the center now being a part of the hospital emergency services and medical evaluation can be completed on location instead of transporting patients from the original center with ambulances. Rader stated that they will be treating anyone who is diagnosed with mental health issues and requires help, inlcuding the most common, depression and manic-depressive disorders, and patients will be able to access follow up treatment. Rockland’s clinic will close on Tuesday, according to Rockland County Mental Health Commissioner Mary Ann Walsh-Tozer and will provide the county with 1 million dollars this year and 2 million in 2015, though the main reason for closure was to ensure care could be easily reached for patients. An 8 million dollar grant from the State Health Care Affordability Law paid for construction and the hospital will take over costs for patient care. Rockland’s Personnel Commissioner Joan Silvestri stated that about 80 jobs will be lost when the center is closed, though hospital spokeswoman Lauren Malone stated the new center will provide 64 full and part time positions.