State Education Department Gives East Ramapo Schools Failing Grades

The State Education Department has released three reports on the East Ramapo School District. The effectiveness reports released Monday expressed the need for oversight of the school board, stating that the district has failed when it comes to ESL programs, teacher training and spending. State officials wrote the report after visiting the schools back in December, during which they criticized the many problems in the English Language Learner Program, where students are unable to graduate on time because they spend most of their time completing uncredited ELL classes. The reports issued the district some of the lowest marks in the state for overall education and financial strategies. On Monday evening hundreds of parents met at Memorial Park in Spring Valley to listen to speakers before marching to East Ramapo district offices, in an attempt to get the senate to vote on the oversight bill. Assembly members Ellen Jaffee and Kenneth Zebrowski spoke to the crowd along with Judith Johnson who announced the release of the report and brought to light the inappropriate actions of the board. The Legislature remains in session and late last night they agreed on a deal extending rent regulations for four more years and approved $250 million for non-public schools funding, though no tax credit for private school donors. No information has been released as of yet regarding the passage of the oversight bill.

Nanuet Man Accused of Child Pornography Possession

According to the Rockland County Sheriffs Department, after the completion of a six-month investigation, they arrested a 60-year-old Nanuet man on accusations of child pornography. John Wu, who worked in computer services at the Germonds Presbyterian Church in New City was being investigated by the Sheriffs Computer Crime Task Force and Clarkstown Police for allegedly downloading and sharing child pornography on the church’s computer server. He was charged with a felony count of promoting and obscene sexual performance by a child, which according to his lawyer Kenneth Gribetz, he pleaded not guilty. Gribetz said that his client never met with a young child and will be back in court next week.

Firefighters Battle Attic Fire in New City

Firefighters responded to a call on Tuesday morning, to find an attic fire quickly spreading. Hillcrest, New City, West Nyack, Pearl River and Nanuet all responded to the call on West Clarkstown Road and began putting out the fire in the home. According to officials the fire was under control with in 30 minutes and all residents were able to get out on time, and the damage will not prevent them from returning home. Investigators are continuing to search for what may have caused the fire, however it does not appear to be suspicious.

Rockland to Receive Funding for Road Repaving

On Monday Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that five state highways in New York State will be receiving funds for repaving. The state will be providing $75million to Rockland, Westchester, and Putnam Counties this year, allowing the counties to repave local roadways. In Rockland Route 59 from Route 17 to Route 202 will be repaved, as well as from Route 202 to west of Hemion Road, and the New Jersey state line to Route 59. Dates of the construction have not yet been released.

Hundreds Gather In Support of East Ramapo Bill

Hundreds of activists met in support of the controversial East Ramapo oversight bill on Monday evening. Starting at 7:00 at Memorial Park in Spring Valley, members of the community including County Executive Ed Day, State Assembly people Ellen Jaffee and Kenneth Zebrowski, and New York Regent Judith Johnson spoke to the crowd about the need for oversight. The Assembly has already voted to approve the bill that would allow monitor to veto decisions made by the board and would require the district to follow a five year improvement plan. However, according to Senator David Carlucci, who was one of the sponsors of the original bill, the senate recently stated they would not be voting on the legislation, leading him to present a new version that takes away veto power and lessens the oversight time to two years. In response Jaffee and Zebrowski revised their own version as a form of compromise. The rally was held in an attempt to get the Senate to hold a vote today, as they remain in session for the time being. A petition in support of the bill reached 6,000 signatures and the emotion behind the crowd on Monday night was strong as students, parents, and community leaders marched through the streets, ending at the East Ramapo District offices. The Legislature is set to end their session today.

Boulders Weekend Recap

The Boulders played their remaining three games in the four game home series against the Shikoku Island League Japanese All Stars this weekend. On Friday the Boulders won 10-2, and on Saturday despite the fog and wet weather they won again 7-2. On Sunday with thousands of fans attending the Father’s Day festivities at Provident Bank Park, the Boulders won 2-1, winning the series against the international team. Tonight the Boulders remain home to play the Sussex Miners in a three game series starting at 7:00 PM. You can listen live here on wrcr.com or on the dial at 1300 AM!

Spring Valley Man Drove Drunk with Child in Car

According to Ramapo Police a 35-year old Spring Valley man was arrested on Saturday for driving while intoxicated. Police stated that Edgar Espino-Vasquez was pulled over at 1:19 AM after his gray Honda was spotted driving erratically on North Main Street in New Hempstead. When the officer approached the car it was discovered that Espino-Vasquez’s 8-year old nephew was in the car as well, not wearing a seatbelt. The Rockland Child Protective Services returned the boy to the care of his parents and the man was charged with an aggravated DWI, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor and was released from jail on $1,000 bail.

RCC Student’s Settlement With Hospital Reached

A hospital in Westchester County has settled with the parents of an Orange County teenager who was also a student at Rockland County Community College, who passed away in May after complications following testing. 19-year old Raina Ferraro had an endoscopy at Phelps Memorial Hospital Center for stomach pain in 2013. During the procedure the young woman went into cardiac and respiratory arrest, falling into a coma from which she did not wake up. Ferraro’s family filed a suit against the hospital claiming that doctors were negligent and careless while treating their daughter, and the anesthesia was not properly administered. Raina passed away at the age of 21 after two years in a vegetative state, and the hospital and two other defendants settled with the Ferraros for $18 million.

County Executive Controls Fate of Rockland Drone Law

The drone law proposed by Rockland Legislator Jay Hood with the help of the County Sheriff’s Department was passed last week. At the Legislature’s meeting members approved the bill that would regulate the use of unmanned drones by limiting where they are allowed to be flown. Sheriff Louis Falco raised concerns that the devices could be used to smuggle drugs or weapons into sensitive areas, such as prisons, prompting Legislators to draft the bill that makes it illegal to fly a drone within 100 feet of a jail, school, houses of worship, or government buildings and allows the owner to fly their drone only on their own property, or with the permission of the property owner. Anyone caught breaking the law would be fined a minimum of $250, $500 for a second offense, and $1,000 and one year in jail for a third offense. County Executive Ed Day has 16 days remaining to veto the law or sign it into action, though he stated that there may be unnecessary side effects if it passes, for example the law could effect people flying kites, or radio controlled airplanes. Day is working with County Attorney Thomas Humbach to evaluate the bill, Humbach stated there may be a way to limit the law to spying or preventing smuggling.

Rally For East Ramapo Oversight Bill Support

Advocates for the East Ramapo School District will be hosting a rally tonight, while state officials continue debating whether or not to pass the oversight bill presented by Assembly members Kenneth Zebrowski and Ellen Jaffee and Senator David Carlucci that would give a state appointed monitor veto power over board decision. Recently the bill was passed by the Assembly, and was set to move on to a vote in the Senate, though according to Carlucci many members were unwilling to approve the legislation, expressing fears about taking power away from an elected body. In response Carlucci presented a new bill that took away the veto power and lessened the oversight time from five years to two years. Since Carlucci’s proposal many residents have spoken out against the Senate’s choice not to vote and the Assembly presented a revised version of the original law, seeking a compromise. Supporters are holding a rally at Memorial Park in Spring Valley at 7:00 PM where Jaffee and Zebrowski will be addressing the crowd in a final attempt to get the Senate to vote.

Snow Closings Updated Regularly

Please click on the image below to view all snow closings for Rockland County.