Lawyers for Lacey Spears, the former Chestnut Ridge mother who is accused of kiling her five-year old son Garnett, chose ten of the required twelve jurors in a court date on Thursday. The process began on Monday but was cancelled due to the weather and started up again yesterday with six men and four women chosen to sit through and make a final decision on the case against the 27-year old, who was arrested in June 2014 for allegedly fatally poisoning her son with high levels of sodium. Lawyers are expected to finish the selection of two more jurors and two alternates today, and the trial will begin on Monday.
A report released on Thursday by the New York State Comptroller’s Office announced that 90 school districts in New York are fiscally stressed, with East Ramapo listed as third most stressed. The report is based on the office’s evaluation of 672 districts with information from the 2014 fiscal year ending in June. 10 districts were listed with significant fiscal distress, 27 with moderate, and 53 as susceptible to stress. Despite being listed as significantly stressed, East Ramapo has faces various changes in the past year, especially with the appointment of a fiscal monitor by Governor Andrew Cuomo to oversee and review the board’s decisions. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli stated that the districts should use their scores to further solve the problems that led them, and create a working budget plan.
All Rockland School Districts- 2 HR delay
North Rockland School District- 3 HR delay, no AM or PM Kindergarten
East Ramapo School District- no AM Kindergarten
Rockland BOCES- 2 HR delay
St. Catherine’s Early Childhood Learning Center- 2 HR delay
Nyack Headstart- 2 HR delay
Jawanio- Children’s programs opening at 11:00 AM, no AM Preschool or EI, 2 HR agency transportation delay and all staff are to report as usual.
According to the New York state Department of Labor Rockland County has some of the lowest unemployment rates in the state. In their recently released study for December 2014 it shows that Rockland is fourth on the list for lowest unemployment numbers following behind Tompkins County, Nassau County, and Putnam County. According to the Department the study is completed through phone surveys, in which 3,100 households are contacted and questioned about their jobs. With 4.3 percent unemployment for the month of December fro Rockland, unemployment rates in most counties appear to be going down.
On Tuesday New York State Democratic majority leader Joseph Morelle announced that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will be stepping down from the position after his arrest last week on corruption charges. Silver was arrested after a nearly yearlong federal investigation led to the discovery of $4 million he was receiving on the side as alleged kickbacks and payoffs. Silver has stated that he is innocent of the accusations and he expects to be exonerated. Morelle stated that the position will be open by Monday of next week, though it has not been stated whether Silver will resign or be removed, and Morelle will be stepping in as a temporary replacement while lawmakers attempt to change the law to allow them until February 10 to find candidates.
Traffic on the New York State Thruway is at a standstill this morning due to an accident involving a tractor-trailer. According to officials around 6:40 AM a truck heading north on the Tappan Zee Bridge collided head on the car. Police stated that the driver of the car suffered minor injuries. With no reports on the condition of the truck driver. Cleanup resulted in the closure of all Northbound lanes, as of 8:20 AM all lanes were reopened and are moving slowly, and traffic on side roads and exits was reported as slow.
All Rockland school districts are closed
St. Thomas Aquinas College closed
Dominican College closed
Rockland Community College closed
St. Catherine’s Early Childhood Learning Center in Blauvelt closed
Camp Venture Day Programs closed
Stony Point Senior Club 1 meeting cancelled
Clarkstown Senior Show Rehearsals cancelled
Finkelstein Memorial Library closed
Rockland County Department of Health Clinics closed including Pomona and Spring Valley and WIK Sites in New Square and Spring Valley- you can call a site to reschedule if needed. The department will remain open for staff.
Transport of Rockland and Tappan Zee Express buses will attempt service at 1:00 PM, weather permitting
TRIPS Buses are suspended
Clarkstown Minitrams will begin services at 8:40 AM
Jawanio is cancelled today and staff with transportation issues should call their supervisors
Rockland Independent Living Center closed today, the food pantry scheduled for today will take place tomorrow from 12-3
The Village New Hempstead will be closed today and the Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Thursday at 11:00 AM
Local and state officials are calling for New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s retirement after his Thursday morning arrest on charges of corruption. After a lengthy investigation into the incomes of state officials by the FBI and US Attorney Preet Bharara, it was discovered that Silver was allegedly receiving payments from outside law firms that he had failed to inform the state about. Rockland County Executive Ed Day stated that it is necessary that the public trust their elected officials and commended Bharara and those involved in the arrest and investigation. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino released a statement calling for the Speaker to resign, and was joined by many members of the Legislature and various state officials.
The New York State Thruway Authority announced that they will be holding meetings in the coming months to discuss options for the controversial bike path that will be built as a part of the new Tappan Zee Bridge. The path will run from South Nyack to Tarrytown in Westchester, and many South Nyack officials and residents are concerned that the visitors will bring traffic and parking issues. Currently the state has addressed the ideas that the expected 470 visitors per hour can park in a proposed lot and information center, or on streets, or existing lots. According to the village Mayor Bonnie Christian many residents are backing the idea to make parking available at Interchange 10 off the Thruway. According to officials with the Thruway Authority the meetings will take place in Rockland and Westchester counites and will most likely be in March.
According to officials for Orange and Rockland Utilities, they have filed a lawsuit against contractors responsible for an explosion in West Haverstraw in 2012. The law suit states that Fidel and Christian Padilla and their crews were installing Verizon FIOS cable lines on Zariello Lane in West Haverstraw when they hit and ruptured a gas line, leading to an explosion that injured four emergency responders. O&R is suing the contractors for damages, and are a part of a suit by seven individuals against the utility company and Verizon. O&R is accusing the Padillas of violations of public service laws and negligence in the explosion, which caused about $1.4 million in damages.