Crews will be working on Congers Road in New City and Lake Road in Congers beginning this week until the middle of May. According to Scott Salotto, Rockland’s Communications Director, the roads running East to West in the county will have construction ongoing on the weekdays from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM and drivers can also expect delays from work on East Main Street in Stony Point, Railroad Avenue in Haverstraw, Germonds Road in Clarkstown, Sickletown Road in Orangetown and West Washington Road in Pearl River as the County Highway Department completes repairs until May.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey announced on Friday that Rockland County’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, of Colombia University, has received $35 million through a five-year contract from the National Science Foundation to their studies of the ocean floor. At a conference the Congresswoman stated that the money will help scientist continue to learn about and understand earthquakes, climate change, and global warming and how it all relates to the bottom of the ocean, an area of the planet where researchers have much more exploration to do. The contract will allow Lamont- Doherty to create a project run by five employees, that will collect and study samples taken from the ocean.
Former Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret is expected in Westchester court in a few months to receive his sentence in the corruption case against him. Desmaret was arrested along with former Mayor Noramie Jasmin and several New York City officials during a lengthy investigation in the “Corridor of Corruption”. In January of 2014 the former politician pleaded guilty to mail fraud and extortion for accepting $10,800 from a business man who was working with the FBI at the time. Desmaret will be seen in court on June 18 and could receive 7-9 years in federal prison.
Accordingt to officials in Ramapo, the town will be covering the cost of legal representation for employees that were named in an investigation by the securities and exchange commission in May of 2014. On April 16 the town board approved a resolution that would provide legal services to those involved in the claims. The board voted 4-1, with members Brendel Charles and Yitzchock Ullman, as well as Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and Deputy Supervisor Patrick Withers voting yes, and Daniel Friedman opposing, stating that there needs to be a limit of what the town will spend on legal fees. The resolution states that in the event of a conflict of interest and the Town Attorney cannot represent an entity or person named in the investigation, legal fees must be covered for them. Those named in the original subpoena are the town, St. Lawrence, the Town Audition, Financial Advisor, and the Local Development Corporation.
According to officials with New Jersey Transit, plans are in the are in the works to cut services on certain lines. Officials stated that the proposal includes a rate hike of 9% for all fares, which would take effect on October 1, as well as the removal of the 12:45 AM train on the Pascack Valley Line that runs from Hoboken to Spring Valley, stopping in Nanuet and Pearl River. This means that the final train would leave Hoboken at 10:42 PM and many residents and commuters are speaking out against the change, though the MTA stated that only about forty people take the 12:45 AM train. With most events such as concerts and sports games ending later at night making the train home to Rockland County would require taking the Port Jervis Line to Suffern. The MTA would need to approve the removal of the train from the schedule before any decision are made. County Executive Ed Day stated about the proposal, “Service cuts and fare hikes once again seem to be the options of first resort rather than the last. Rockland County, as well as many families and business, have closed budget gaps by reducing expenses and improving efficiencies. NJT should be taking similar steps, instead of balancing its books on the back of riders.” The fares will rise about $9 a month for Suffern commuters and $6 for Sloatsburg on the Port Jervis Line to Penn Station and $4 a month on the Pascack Valley Line.
A Spring Valley murder case has been put on hold while stated police investigate a scandal in one of their labs involving DNA analysts who worked on evidence from the scene. Officials are investigating 15 lab technicians for obtaining answers to training exams, including the analyst who testified in the case of 43-year old Juan Perez-Coira who was arrested on Christmas Eve in 2013 for allegedly raping and murdering his girlfriend 55-year old Deborah Burns. The man was later convicted of second-degree murder, first-degree attempted criminal assault, and first-degree attempted rape by state Supreme Court Justice James Hubert, who stated that in light of the laboratory scandal he will postpone sentencing and most likely order independent testing to go over the DNA results. The defense team has until June 30 to move to vacate Perez-Coira’s conviction.
Clarkstown Town Board members George Hoehmann and Frank Borelli have proposed resolutions that would increase the number of members on the board and switch the town to a six-ward system for elections, along with reduce their salaries from $41,000 to $30,000 to prevent taxes from increasing if more members are elected. Supervisor Alex Gromack would need to include the resolution in the agenda of the May 5 town meeting, but stated that he is up for discussing how the change would effect residents. One concern raised by board member Stephanie Hausner was where and by whom the district lines would be drawn for a ward system. If approved by board majority the propositions would be added to the November election ballot.
According to police they are searching for a man suspected of robbing a Spring Valley salon on Tuesday. Police stated that around 4:00 in the afternoon a masked man entered Kelly’s Unisex Salon and drew a knife on the 31-year old woman who was working with her daughter at the time. The man then took the cash and fled from the business at 99 South Central Ave. He was described as 5’4″ to 5’7″ tall wearing a dark hoodie and blue jeans. No one was injured during the incident and police are asking anyone with information call the Spring Valley Department at 845-356-7400 while they continue to search through surveillance videos.
According to a list released by Zillow, an online real estate website, Rockland County residents are paying the second highest property taxes in the country. The company compiled information from sufficient sample sizes collected from counties in the fifty largest metro areas nationwide for 2013. Westchester County was first on the list with the median bill for 2013 being $13,842, and Rockland followed close behind with $10,550 for the year. According to the site, analysis found that the median property tax bill in the US was $2,132, and the lowest was Tunica County, Mississippi with $216.
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