Two Ramapo Town Board members are questioning the appointment of two new positions within the town. Councilman Daniel Friedman released a letter on Monday stating that the details of the hirings were different when he voted with the board to hire Bernard Charles to the position of public affairs consultant and Melinda Mallia as a temporary clerical assistant. Friedman stated that he was told Mallia’s job would be part-time, paying 10- 20 dollars an hour. She was hired for a 35 hour work week, making $22 an hour. Friedman claims that he voted for a $5,000 a month salary for Charles because it was believed that he was going to leave his $35,000 a year job in Spring Valley. Board member Patrick Withers stated his agreement with Friedman, commenting that the current positions are not what the board voted to approve. Both members of the bard are requesting an investigation into the hirings, stating that a violation of the vote is at the expense of taxpayers.
According to police a Spring Valley man was arrested on Sunday night in Peekskill after allegedly getting in a fight with another man at a party. Patricio Guartan- Jimenez was arrested and charged with a felony count of second- degree assault after police were called to the scene and found a man who was missing a large piece of his nose. According to Lt. John White, Guartan- Jimenez was intoxicated when he got into a fight with the other man, grabbed him and bit his nose off. Police stated that Guartan- Jimenez was taken to Westchester County Jail and the victim will most likely need reconstructive surgery for his injuries.
As Nyack Hospital gets closer to offering mental health programs Rockland will begin closing down the Inpatient Mental Health Care Unit and Crisis Service this year. According to the Rockland County Mental Health Commissioner Mary Ann Walsh- Tozer the transfer of facilites makes sense because patients have to be transported by ambulance to be approved for medical treatment at Good Samaritan or Nyack Hospitals before they can be treated at the mental health unit. By moving the treatment center patients will be able to gain medical care at the same location. The process will also save the county one million dollars this year and an expected two million next year. Lauren Malone, a hospital spokeswoman, stated that about 93 county workers will lose jobs, though interviews have taken place fro 50- 60 positions at the new location. Legislator John Murphy has stated that Nyack Hospital has yet to obtain a license from the state Health Department and he thinks that they should wait to lay people off until then. According to County Executive Ed Day there is a plan B to have the county continue care if something goes wrong, though the new unit is expected to be opening in mid April.
The Ramapo Town Board announced recently that they would be hiring two relatives that they would be hiring two relatives of town officials. The board voted 4-0 to hire Bernard Charles of Spring Valley who is married to Brendel Charles for the position of oublic affairs consultant, which pays $5,000 a month. His wife sat out of the vote. The resolution for the position states that he will be responsible the food bank, the cultural arts center in Spring Valley, increasing participation in recreational activities, as well as an assessment for spending on fire protection. According to Supervisor Chris St. Lawrence, Charles will most likely be keeping his job as Recreation Director of Spring Valley, which pays $35,000 a year. St. Lawrence also stated that Melinda Mallia, a paralegal from Airmont, whose father is the Director of Building, Planning, and Zoning, Anthony Mallia, was hired by the board as a temporary clerical assistant at $22 an hour. According to St. Lawrence she was hired to help with legal issues, since two of the town attorneys had lost their jobs. Town Attorney Michael Klein stated that hiring officials’ relatives is not illegal since both of the individuals hired are qualified for the postitions. Michael Castelluccio, a member of the Preserve Ramapo group criticized the town’s actions, saying that Charles’ $60,000 job that St. Lawrence, “created out of the air”, was a handout.
On Friday Judge Kenneth Karas decided that former Mayor of Spring Valley, Noramie Jasmin, would be prosecuted seperately from the three New York City officials who are facing charges in connection to a bribery scheme that took place last year. Jasmin was arrested for allegedly accepting a bribe, along with Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret, in exchange for allowing the building of a kosher catering hall on village property. In January Desmaret pleaded guilty to accusations that he accepted $10,500 from an FBI informant, Moses Stern. He will be sentenced to up to nine years in prison on May 22. Jasmin is accused of wire fraud and extortion charges after allegedly demanding fifty percent of the ownership of the catering hall. She will be seen in court after Senator Malcolm Smith of Queens, former Republican Chairman Vincent Tabone, and Republican Councilman Daniel Halloran sentenced during their trial beginning June 2.
According to the Rockland County Sheriff’s office they are taking stricter steps to help prevent issues with trains shipping crude oil and other hazardous materials. Recently Governor Cuomo ordered that companies and local government review their emergency plans, since shipments of crude oil have significantly increased in recent years. On Tuesday a train derailed in Kingston, New York, that had passed through Rockland County. The train had only been carrying sand, but in December a train car carrying oil was hit by a truck in South Nyack, which didn’t derail. According to Sheriff Louis Falco this incident is what caused him to want to regulate train traffic within the county more. Oil is transporte dby about eighty to one-hundred cars on two trains travel through Rockland daily and Sheriff Falco stated that he would like to keep track of that, informing police, fire officials, and ambulance workers incase of a spill. Since last week the Sheriff’s office has been using radar checkpoints to register the speed of locomotives as they pass through, at the request of assistant director of Rockland Office of Fire and Emergency Services, Dan Greeley, who stated that the speed limit fifty miles per hour, but should be much less. Senator Charles Schumer agrees with Greeley, stating that they are pushing to have the limit reduced to forty in populated areas. Sheriff Falco stated that a list should be shared with local officials referring to any hazardous materials that train cars are carrying daily, and CSX spokesman Robert Sullivan responded that the railroad would be open to the idea and already have a program online known as SecureNow which tracks trains and provides information on the contents of cars.
East Ramapo School District has been awarded a grant for their Pre-K program that will bring the current amount of $371,250 for this school year to $675,000 for next school year. As long as the district follows state set performance standards they will receive the grant, which allows them to enroll about 150 more Pre-Kindergarten students to the free program and will extend the current program that enrolls 100 students to five hours. According to Arnie Warmbrand, the coordinator of the program, at least 150 four- year olds have been on the waiting list for the last two years and this grant will allow them to provide an education for all of them. Warmbrand stated that a study has shown that Pre- Kindergarten programs allow children, especially low income children, to succeed in their academic lives.
In March six villages in Rockland County will be holding elections though only three of them have more than one candidate running. Four candidates in South Nyack; Alain Leinbach, Andrew Goodwillie, Ann Hekker, and Erik Simon; will be running for the two- term position of Trustee, which pays $4,000 a year. Running for South Nyack Village Justice is Dennis Lynch who is looking to hold on to his postition for another four- year term that pays $10,000 a year. Upper Nyack’s Village Justice race will put Duncan Rogers Lee II against Phyllis Ingram for the $8,000 a year job. Two trustee spots will be filled by Joseph Diamond and Karen Tarapata. In Hillburn George J. Cotz will challenge incumbent Village Justice Brian D. Nugent for the four- year position that pays $9,785 a year. Three other villages that are having unchallenged elections are Grand View, for trustee seats; New Hempstead, for trustee seats and Deputy Mayor Fred Brinn will be filling the position of Mayor Larry Dessau; and in Wesley Hills, also for trustee seats.
An accident on the New York State Thruway at exit 16 in Orange County led to the death of a 53- year old New jersey man who worked at Lamont- Doherty Earth Observatory in Rockland. Mark Becker worked as a scientist at the Columbia University Observatory Program known as the Center for International Earth Science Information Network studying human impact on the environment by mapping environmental trends for various public health programs. According to the New York State Thruway Authority, the accident occurred in the Northbound lanes near Woodbury at 10:46 on Wednesday morning, involved a thruway plow truck, and resulted in six other individuals suffering non-life threatening injuries. Police have stated that they are further investigating.
A 23- year old man was arrested and charged with two counts of seventh- degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession of hypodermic instrument, both misdemeanors, as well as a misdemeanor count of petty larceny. John J. Sullivan the third from Waterbury, Connecticut was caught stealing various items from the Travel Plaza in Sloatsburg on Friday after a State Trooper recognized his car. During a search the troopers found hypodermic needles with heroin residue and cocaine in pipes along with the stolen items. Sullivan will appear in Sloatsburg Village Court at 5:00 PM Wednesday.