Clarkstown Solarfield Project Completed

Clarkstown officials and business people attended a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, for the newly completed project that was proposed in 2009 to turn a capped landfill into a solarfield to provide energy for the town. OnForce Solar invested $6 million to install and operate the field, which sits on 13 acres of the former landfill, and received a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The town will face no cost and by selling the electricity back to the utility grid it will actually save $4 million over the next 30 years. According to Supervisor Alex Gromack the town is the first in New York State to use a capped landfill to house a renewable energy resource.

Man Arrested for Touching Child Could Have More Victims

According to Ramapo Police a man who was arrested this summer for allegedly touching a 14-year old boy in a McDonald’s bathroom was a school bus driver with the Ramapo Central School District from 2002 to 2007. Police stated that they arrested 71-year old Robert Cosenzo of Airmont in July on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and forcible touching when they received reports that he was inappropriately touching the boy at the Route 59 McDonald’s and they are now looking for other potential victims. After Cosenzo’s arrest a man came forward claiming that the former bus driver had molested him when he was a child in 1980. Ramapo Detective Lt. Mark Emma stated to the Journal News people arrested for crimes such as these tend to have a 100% chance of continuing them with different victims. The police are now working with the school district, who stated they conduct background checks on all employees and are disturbed to learn about the crimes. Anyone with information can call Ramapo Police at 845-357-2400.

House Fire Victims Identified

Officials have released the identities of the couple caught in a house fire in New City on Monday night. 67-year old Luis Fernandez was killed when the home he shared with his wife, 65-year old Ruth Fernandez, caught fire after neighbors heard some sort of explosion around 11:30 PM. Fire officials stated that Mr.Fernandez had gone to the garage searching for the cause of a gasoline smell and became trapped in there with the blast and fire. Mrs.Fernandez managed to escape the house, but was injured and taken to Columbia University Medical Center’s burn unit in Manhattan. The couple has a daughter and grandchildren. Officials are continuing investigation into the cause of the explosion.

Rockland Sheriff Speaks Out On CE’s Decision to Cut Patrol

According to Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco the $772 million budget proposal that was released by County Executive Ed Day and includes cutting 37 positions in the marine, mounted, and street patrols, is based on a one sided interpretation of the reports provided to the county by a consultant. On Monday Falco spoke with WRCR about the report on the Sheriff’s Office, which was presented by consultant Louis Anemone a former NYPD officer, stating “The words in the report clearly indicate to shift things around and enhance the police division, not do away with it. This is the County Executive’s own initiative to try to do away with this.” Day’s proposal presents including the patrol unit in 111 countywide positions to be cut in order to save 6.8 million dollars. According to Anemone’s analysis, which was obtained and reported by the Journal News on Friday, the Sheriff’s Department responded to 23 crimes, or 0.6% of county crimes, in 2013 and officers with the Sheriff’s Department make up 11% of Rockland police officers. Falco stated to the Journal News that his officers often respond to calls in towns and villages, which are not represented in the numbers provided by Anemone. The Legislature has until December 7 to approve the proposed budget or make changes to it and if they choose to do nothing it will automatically be put into place.

Two Men Arrested in Robbery

According to Ramapo Police two men were arrested on Monday after being accused of robbing two people at knife point. Police stated that 21-year old Paul Figueroa of New City held a knife to a woman’s neck at 12:15 PM in the Holland House parking lot, and ordered her and the man with her to give him their jewelery, cellphone, and the $700 on their person. Police also arrested 20-year old Pomona resident David Anthony Phillips on charges of first-degree robbery and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. According to police the two men and a third member had arranged to meet the man and woman in the lot and had planned out the robbery beforehand. Figueroa was charged with first-degree robbery, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first-degree unlawful imprisonment, and criminals obstruction of breathing. They are being held in Rockland County Jail. Police are still searching for information on the third man involved in the scam.

New City Fire Claims Man’s Life

Firefighters responded to a call in New City at 11:30 Monday night. According to New City Firechief Jim Avaras the fire started in the attached garage and quickly spread through the three story home to the roof. Firefighters searched the building despite the dangerous conditions and when they were finally able to put out the fire they discovered the body of a man in the garage. The man was pronounced dead, his wife had managed to escape the blaze and was in the yard when first responders arrived. She was taken to Columbia University Medical Center’s burn unit for treatment of unknown injuries. Officials stated they are still investigating the cause, though neighbors reported hearing an explosion.

Families Left With No Home After Fire

Firefighters responded to a call on Friday night to find an apartment building in flames. Officials reported that witnesses saw smoke coming from the second floor of the building located in Spring Valley around 10:00 PM. A neighbor helped wake several families in the building and get them out before the fire spread. No one was reported injured and according to officials the cause is still being investigated, and though the fire only directly affected the second floor the house is uninhabitable and the Red Cross is helping to find housing for seven families who were left homeless.

Monsey Car Break-Ins See Arrest

According to police suspects accused of breaking into multiple cars in Monsey were arrested on Saturday. Ramapo Police stated that on at 4:00 AM Saturday they received a call reporting a group of men who were acting suspiciously near parked cars, and responded to find five men aged fifteen to nineteen years old targeting parked cars. In the suspects’ vehicles police found ID’s, checks, cash, and credit cards. Police stated they are attempting to return the found items to their owners and if you have information you can call the Ramapo Police Department at 845-357-2400.

Poultry Plant Fined for Pollution of Ramapo River

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Attorney’s Office have fined a chicken slaughterhouse in Kyrias Joel for polluting the Ramapo River, which provides drinking water for Rockland and Bergen Counties. Regional Administrator for the EPA Judith Enck stated to the Journal News that various forms of pollution, including animal parts and waste were dumped into storm drains and sewers and the company, Kyrias Joel Poultry Processing Plant Inc, violated the Clean Water Act. The operators were fined $330,000 for violations and stated that there was no intentional pollution going on since, in 2011, they installed a treatment facility that solved waste overflow problems. Federal prosecutors set up guidelines for the company to follow to protect the river, or they could be fined again, anywhere from $100 to $2,000 a day.

Accused Killer’s Court Case Delayed

A judge in Westchester County Court ruled in Thursday that Lacey Spears, who is accused of poisoning her five-year old son Garnett by putting high levels of sodium in the boy’s feeding bag in January, will have a delayed court date in December. According to Judge Richard Molea witnesses lawyers had conflicting schedules and ordered that the case be postponed until a date can be decided. Lawyers stated that they plan to meet on december 11, with more information and a set schedule. Spears will continue to be held at Westchester County Jail without bail.