The organization Riverkeeper is requesting that an independent consultant complete a study on the proposed Algonquin Pipeline that is set to run through Rockland and Westchester counties. The group released a letter which was sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, stating that a study done by Entergy, who operates Indian Point Nuclear Powerplant, was inadequate in assessing the risks of a rupture in the natural gas pipeline. A spokesperson for the company stated that Entergy doesn’t have an opinion on the pipeline expansion, though a the study was completed and concluded that the there was little to no risk to the plant. Many residents and officials in Putnam, Westchester, and Rockland counties have opposed the pipeline, which will run underneath all three. The Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a hearing at the stony point community center on Clunhouse Lane in Stony Point at 6 pm on January 22 for further discussion.
According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York State will be investing money in infrastructure, including increasing mass transit, commuter parking garages in areas outside of New York City, and expanding airports. The thruway authority will be receiving a large amount of money as well, to help with the organizations’ budget issues. Cuomo stated in a speech on Tuesday that 1.3 billion dollars will be used for state infrastructure, including keeping thruway tolls down, especially on the New Tappan Zee Bridge, though the cost has yet to be announced. The money will be coming from 5 billion dollars from settlements between the state and various financial institutions.
Rockland County Legislator John Murphy announced that he will be retiring from his elected position. Murphy has been representing Orangetown for 44 years and stated that since turning 80 he will not be seeking reelection in order to spend time working with the handicapped, a cause that he has been supporting for many years as the president and Chairman of the Board at Camp Venture. The Rockland Democratic party is currently looking for a candidate to run for the open seat in the legislature, and murphy stated he recommends Vincent Tyer who is best known as former president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in the county.
According to Rockland Commissioner of Health Patricia Schnabel Rupert, a highly contagious sickness is affecting residents of the county. Rupert stated that the stomach bug Shigellosis, caused by a bacteria known as Shigella, has been confirmed in 17 cases in January, with 66 cases since early November. Dr. Oscar Alleyne, Rockland’s Director of Public Health Planning, stated to CBS New York that the infection was seen in about 80 cases in Brooklyn, before being tested for and found in cases in Rockland. The illness appears to be the worst in children ages 2-4 and if symptoms occur they can include high fever, bloody diarrhea, cramping, and abdominal pain, though not in every case. If such symptoms occur parents are warned not to give their child anti-diarrhea medication and are advise to take them to the pediatrician for treatment. The Health Department also stated that the best way to keep Shigellosis from spreading through households is disinfect all surfaces in the home, especially the bathroom and kitchen, keep sick children home from school, and most importantly wash hands with soap and warm water often.
Drivers can expect delays tonight, as the Thruway will be closing down two northbound lanes near exit 10 to allow workers to paint new lines on the roadway and exit ramps. At midnight a third lane will close at the same location, and all three are expected to open again on Wednesday morning at 5:00 AM. The exit 10 ramp will close at 10:00 PM and will reopen at 5:00 AM Wednesday as well. Drivers can take exit 11 in Nyack to Route 9W when exit 10 closes. For commuters, exit 9 on the other side of the Tappan Zee Bridge in Tarrytown will be closing two lanes at 8:00 PM and a third at midnight, as well as the exit 9 ramp at 10:00 PM, all will reopen at 5:00 AM.
Residents Spring Valley have filed a suit with the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court against Mayor Demeza Delhomme in an attempt to have him removed from office. The suit, filed by Tommy Booth, Heyward Reed, and Yvette Teal Tynes, claims misconduct against Delhomme, including allegations of hiring and firing employees without following proper laws, harassment of village officials, religious discrimination, and using village funding for personal expenses. Attorney William Gerard, who is representing the three residents, held a press conference on Monday, where he stated that he is financing the law suit. Delhomme had no comments on the case, and it is unclear who will be representing him, as Village Attorney Jerrold Miles resigned in december, stating that the dysfunction between the village board, mayor, and residents was too much to take on in his position. Delhomme must respond to court by February 9.
Pomona Middle School students may not be facing the extended school days that were implemented in September, as officials announced that they will be cutting back the long days. According to a letter sent home to parents by the East Ramapo School District, the school will be dropping tenth period from the school ay, changing students’ dismissal time to 4:41 PM, rather than the 5:21 dismissal that was implemented when periods nine and ten were added to the day at the beginning of this school year. The letter stated that clubs will be held after dismissal on Mondays and Tuesdays until 5:15 PM. Many parents, teachers, and students complained that children were exhausted by the end of the late school days, resulting in trouble learning, less students completing assignments, and some parents even picking their children up early. The change will take place on February 2.
Firefighters responded to a building engulfed in flames on Route 303 in Blauvelt on Saturday morning. Around 8:00 AM reports of a fire at George’s Auto Body were received and volunteers from Blauvelt, Valley Cottage, and Pearl River arrived to fight the flames. Officials stated that the fire was difficult to put out due to minor explosions within the garage, most likely from paint cans and other accelerants used by the shop. After an hour firefighters had the flames under control and no injuries were reported. The owner was the only one inside when the fire started, but he got out quickly after crews began working. Investigators stated that the cause is still being looked into, but the fire most likely started in a car by accident, due to proximity to the gas line within the building.
According to the financial group, Moody’s Investment Services, they recently withdrew ratings for 25 municipalities in New York state due to a policy set in place in 2013. The policy from Moody’s requires that towns and other municipalities must have an annual audit completed or verified by a consultant outside of the state. Officials for Airmont stated that private consultants cost about $20,000 and the village chose to save money to keep below the tax cap. The village’s rating was released as an upper-medium grade, but without a 2013 independent audit, the rating has been withdrawn.
Investigators looking into a house fire in Haverstraw that left fifteen people homeless stated that a candle was the cause. According to officials the candle accidentally sparked a fire in a bedroom at 12 South Street and the mattress in the room caught quickly, spreading to the rest of the house and next door to a two-family house, which received damage as well. Building inspectors who looked into the damage stated that 12 South Street was illegally altered to serve as a boarding house and violations will be served to the owner. 14 South Street received mostly water damage and the basement was illegally altered to an apartment, as well as the top floors, which were altered to fit several extra rooms. The owner will also receive a summons for the violations.