Man Jumps Off Tappan Zee Bridge

According to reports a man jumped from the Tappan Zee Bridge early this morning. State Police responded to a call at 5:18 that a man had stopped his car while driving Northbound and jumped. Police, construction employees, and the Tarrytown Fire Department helped pull the man’s body from the river, and transferred him to Westchester Medical Center, where he was officially pronounced dead by the county Medical Examiner’s office. The man’s identity is being withheld until family can be reached.

New Phone System for Rockland County Jail Will Record Calls

Plans to install new phones at the Rockland County Jail will include the ability to record inmates’ conversations. According to Sheriff Louis Falco the current system is provided through a company in Virginia known as Global Tel Link Corp. through a contract which gives the county $103,000 a year. With the new contract recently approved by the Legislature the county will receive $151,000, which will be used to fund rehabilitation programs for inmates. Falco stated that taping calls will help the department with investigations and prisoner control and the inmates will be warned that their calls are being recorded by signs near the phone stations.

Ramapo Councilman Continues Questioning New Position

Ramapo Town Council member Daniel Friedman recently called out, for the second time, an employee of the town who also holds a job within the village of Spring Valley. Bernard Charles Jr. was hired as the Public Affairs consultant, with the town board voting 4-0 to approve the position. Charles’ wife, Brendel Charles is a member of the board as well, though she abstained from the vote. Friedman stated that he voted yes to the hiring, but he had thought that would mean Charles would leave his position as Spring Valley’s Parks and Recreation Director, which pays him $35,000 a year. In order to keep the position Friedman stated that Charles would be required to work at least 30 hours a week, and he questioned how the man could work 65 hours a week as well as sit on the board of the East Ramapo School District and have time to do a complete job. According to Charles’ time sheets for the village he works there from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday, and stated that he works for the town after 4:00, as well as on Saturdays and Sundays. The position for Ramapo pays Charles $5,000 dollars a month for developing programs for youth and other members of the community, and running the town’s food pantry, all in the Cultural Arts Center.

TOR, TZX, TRIPS Fares To Go Up

Rockland County government officials released a statement regarding proposed increases in fares for the Transport of Rockland, Tappan Zee Xpress, and TRIPS buses. According to the Department of Public Transportation as of June 1st TOR’s cash fares will remain at $2 and TZX’s will remain at $3. The proposed chage will come for reduced fares for eligible riders. The cost will be raised from $0.75 for TOR to $1 and $1 for TZX to $1.50. The TOR E-Saver will cost $20 for 11 rides and the TZX E-Saver will be $30 for 11. Proposed electronic fare discounts available will include an unlimited semester pass for college students, TOR unlimited 7-day E-pass, and a TZX 30-day unlimited E-pass. On the same date TRIPS buses will be raising to $4 per ride and passengers will have the option of buying a book of 10 rides for $30. According to the statement the discounted rates are being raised to better meet industry standards. Officials stated that the county meets requirements set by the Americans with Disabilities Act by provideing the TRIPS bus services, though adding the regular TRIPS services for people over the age of 60 is optional for them. In order to continue providing these services fares must go up, with the option of bulk discounts. According to Dan Moscato of County Executive Ed Day’s office the fare increases were included in last year’s budget and the raises are not proposed across the board, but only in some services.

Man Rescued from River, Flipped Sailboat

On Saturday Stony Point firefighters and police and EMT’s from Haverstraw responded to a call that a man had flipped his sailboat on the Hudson River around 7:00 PM. Rockland and Westchester County Marine Units responded to assist the man, who was grabbing the bottom of the flipped 21- foot boat to stay afloat in the cold water. According to Thiells Fire Chief Ray Redmond a diver was sent to retrieve the man from the water, which was recorded at around 40 degrees, and firefighters and police from both sides of the river worked to get the boat right-side up, when they later found it near the Bowline Generating Station. Redmond stated that they don’t know for sure what caused the boat to flip, though conditions were windy all day and evening.

Suffern and Nyack Budgets Remain Under Tax Cap

While some villages are struggling with spending plans this year, both Suffern and Nyack passed budgets over the weekend that met the state mandated 1.48 percent tax cap. According to Suffern Village Treasurer Thomas Zordan the 17.14 million dollar spending plan will remain below the cap and work to lower the deficit and will involve placing $100,000 to $249,000 in the sewer fund and $148,000 in the water fund. This plan will allow the village to increase the rates for both sewer and water and will eliminate the water deficit within two years ago and the sewer in four. With the new budget taxes will go up 2.1 percent from this year until next, while the sewer rate goes up 5.1 percent, and water up 3.8 percent. The village’s police buyout for the Public Safety fund, which accounts for 40 percent of the village’s spending, will be going down 1.4 percent, though police will be receiving a 2.5 percent raise. According to Zordan village employees will be receiving a 2.75 percent raise and elected officials will have the same salaries. Early in 2014 the state Comptroller’s office stated that Suffern was one of the most fiscally stressed towns in New York, having a 1.3 million dollar deficit. There will be a public hearing at 7:00 PM tonight at Suffern Village Hall. Nyack’s 5.7 million dollar budget for 2014 and 15 will be discussed at a public hearing at Nyack Village Hall on Thursday at 8:00 PM.

Stony Point Man Arrested After Car Chase

Police arrested a Stony Point man who led them on a car chase through two states, after he hit a tree on the Palisades Interstate Parkway. Peter DeNicola was reported driving a stolen SUV in Elmwood Park, New Jersey at 4:00 PM on Wednesday and when police attempted to pull the man over he drove off. According to Elmwood Police Sargent Ralph Sigone DeNicola drove North on the Garden State Parkway and police lost him near the George Washington Bridge, though they set up barricades and State Troopers in his path on the PIP. Around 4:30 PM the man hit a trooper’s car and then a tree near exit 6W. DeNicola was arrested and taken to Rockland County Jail where he was held on $10,000 bail. He will be seen in court on Tuesday facing charges of third-degree criminal mischief, a felony, and third-degree unlawful fleeing an officer in a vehicle, second-degree reckless endangerment, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and driving while under the influence of drugs, all misdemeanors.

NY State Education to Use BOSCES In Place of InBloom

The state Education Department is looking to replace the InBloom program with BOSCES information centers to allow districts to keep track of students’ data. State officials recently agreed to disband plans for InBloom, a non-profit company that would present student data to teachers and parents, after many people expressed concern about the privacy of their children’s information. According to Senator David Carlucci BOSCES is capable of holding all of the data, without having to go through a private company, which will give district officials better control over records. The state is set up to receive about 700 million dollars from the Federal government through the Race to the Top contract and has 15 months to reform the education process or they may lose the money. According to the Board of Cooperative Educational Services there are twelve information centers in New York that are capable of doing what the InBloom system would have performed.

New York State Heroin Antidote Program

New York State officials released plans Thursday to supply local police with Naloxone, which acts as an antidote to the effects of heroin. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman along with other officials created the five million dollar Community Overdose Prevention program and announced on Thursday that it will be funded by crime money seized during investigations. Schneiderman stated that New York will be the first to have a state- wide program and departments can get fully reimbursed for the $60 kits which include two syringes with the drug, two inhalers, sterile gloves, and an instructional manual, that will be carried by officers within each department. Officials stated that their hope for the program is to save lives in the heroin epidemic that is all too prevelent in the Hudson Valley and throughout the United States according to the New York City Department of Health deaths from heroin increased by 84 percent between 2010 and 2012.

Rockland Social Service Challenging Judge’s Decision on Childcare Payments

The Rockland Social Services Department is requesting a hearing before a second judge after a state judge ruled that students in religious study centers known as kollels who were being paid to answer questions and complete research work are eligible for child care payments. Rockland DSS has claimed that more than $50,000 in child care is going to adult students who are paid a stipend and do not have federal taxes taken out of their paychecks, rather than employees at the centers who have federal taxes deducted. Families in the child care program are provided assistance while looking for jobs. According to officials there are about 511 families with 1,500 children receiving assistance. Susan Sherwood, DSS Commissioner, stated that a state audit of the service raised their awareness to a lack of FICA payments from the student employees, which led them to look into the recipients of the aid. According to records three families challenging the DSS decision to declare them ineligible made about $52,450 between January 1 and October 2013 through their own income as well as medicaid, child care aid, and food stamps. Sherwood stated that the pattern is a clear misuse of the program, which has a waiting list of about 381 families, and the removal 118 families should have been upheld in court.