On Monday the Spring Valley village board held its first meeting with its new members. Mayor Demeza Delhomme, who was sworn in Monday afternoon, stated that the priority for the board is going to be the East Ramapo School District and he proposed a “non- binding” resolution that would declare the school district as being in a crisis situation. The district has recently had financial problems resulting in less funding for programs such as music and the arts, though they received an advance in lottery funds in November, giving them 3.5 million dollars toward extracurricular programs. According to Delhomme the resolution will allow the village board to assist the school board in creating benefits for the 9,000 students. The resolution proposed that members of the village board attend school board meetings and that the district provide financial and academic reports. The plan passed 3-0, trustees Asher Grossman and Anthony Leon choosing not to vote, though Grossman stated that he supports the board’s intent to help the student’s within the district.
Bones discovered in Harriman State Park on Saturday that were believed to belong to missing murder suspect Eugene Palmer were found to belong to an animal. According to Haverstraw Police Chief Charles Miller the bones were spotted by Clarence Palmer, the missing man’s oldest son, and his friend Kevin Rose, by the Lake Welch Dam. The two men found the skeleton of a forearm, shoulder, and fingers and brought them to the Rockland County Medical Examiners Office, but officials have not uncovered what type of animal the bones came from. The family and police have been searching for 73- year old Eugene Palmer for over a year, since the murder of his daughter- in- law Tammy Palmer in September 2012. Family believes that the elderly man died in the woods from multiple health conditions and were led to the bones by a tip from a psychic. Police continue searching the woods around where Palmer abandoned his pickup truck the day of the murder, but have spread their investigation to friends and family throughout New York State, incase he is alive and hiding.
The Clarkstown School Board is still determining whether to redistrict the students of Congers Elementary or allow residents to vote on a 6.5 million dollar plan to rebuild the school. According to Board of Education President Michael Aglialoro the board will decide on a plan for the bond on December 12 at 8:00 PM and a vote will happen in early February. Aglialoro stated that if the bond passes the entire building will be rebuilt to last, starting with the most immediate repairs such as replacing the failing gym wall that caused the school’s closure in August, as well as window replacements, asbestos removal, and upgrades to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act. The board is currently looking into state aid available for the proposed 6.5 million dollar bond and will release a statement on a decision in January.
The Village of Spring Valley is in dispute with the owner of an empty lot on North Main Street that they have been cleaning up and using for holiday displays for nearly 30 years. On Tuesday, when village workers were setting up to light the menorah for the first night of Hanukkah on Wednesday, officials received a letter from the owner of the lot, Holland Management, stating that they are no longer allowed access to the property, as they have been using it without permission. In the letter the owner stated that the two properties had an informal agreement that the village abused and the company is now requesting a $1,000 monthly rental agreement. Until the town responds to the offer no trespassing and private property signs have been posted and the lot is cornered off. According to Mayor Noramie Jasmin she and village officials did not know that Spring Valley doesn’t own the property and they have no proof that Holland Management is the owner. Sheryl Holland, the owner, stated that she allowed the village to use the property in exchange for lawn and winter maintenance, but she revoked the agreement on Tuesday after she had seen village workers placing cinderblocks and pavement at the site. According to Peter Klose, the lawyer representing the company, their main concern is that there is no insurance for the property and the risk of a lawsuit from potential users of the so called park is too high. The next mayor, Demeza Delhomme, takes office on Monday and the village will continue discussions then.
In a statement released by the police on Wednesday a patient at the Rockland Psychiatric Center was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor count of fourth- degree stalking. According to Orangetown Police 48- year old Michael Sanchez reportedly approached a 15- year old girl at an Orangetown shopping center on Orangeburg Road, asking her age and following her through stores. Detective Lt. James Brown stated that the girl became uncomfortable when Sancez asked if he could buy her a donut at the Dunkin Donuts and called the police when she noticed him following her to another store. When police arrived Sanchez had left the area, but officers found him through surveillance photos recognized by security officers at the Rockland Psychiatric Center. Orangetown Police Chief Kevin Nulty stated that the staff had deemed Sanchez healthy enough for a day pass to go off the grounds, which has now been revoked. Sanchez will appear in town court on December 6 for arraignment.
As of Wednesday Democrat Andy Stewart has been in the lead for the position of Orangetown Supervisor. Stewart, the current Supervisor, is leading Republican candidate Walter Wettje by 3 votes. Wettje had held the lead by 36 votes since the November 3 General Election, until Stewart won 30 of the absentee ballots. According to Rockland County Democratic Elections Commissioner Kristen Stavisky 42 of the 54 disputed absentee ballots have been counted and the candidates will return to court on Monday at 11:00 AM, when the remaining 12 ballots will be counted and state Supreme Court Justice Victor Alfieri will determine their validity.
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A woman in Stony Point was arrested Monday for cutting a family member with a box cutter after an altercation at the residence they share at 122 Route 210. According to Lt. Keith Williams, 27- year old Mara Cavallaro was confronted by her nephew, 21- year old Clifton Taylor, after a Facebook post that he had written about her. Police stated that they do not know officially what the argument was about, but Taylor threatened his aunt with a knife and punched the landlord, who stated that police are often at the apartment, when he came to investigate the noise. At some point in the argument Cavallaro cut Taylor with a box cutter, causing him to visit Nyack Hospital for medical treatment. Both were arrested, arraigned in Stony Point Town Court, and taken to Rockland County Jail. Cavallaro was charged with second- degree assault, a felony, fourth- degree criminal possession, and second- degree harassment. Taylor was charged with third- degree criminal possession of a weapon, both misdemeanors, menacing, and two counts of second- degree harassment, a violation. According to Lt. Williams when responding to the call police discovered the possibility that the single- family home may have been illegally divided into apartments and building inspectors are investigating.
The East Ramapo School District is in court with the tenants of Colton Elementary School over the agreed sales contract. The Congregation Bais Malka and the Hebrew Academy for Special Children are suing the district, stating that they are owed 1.3 million dollars in rental credit towards the sale price of 6.6 million dollars. According to the attorney for the renters, Paul Savad, the contract was signed in 2011 and the congregations, who have rented the property since 2009, continued paying rent between July 2011 and July 2013. Savad stated Tuesday that his clients have been cleared and obtained a mortgage and the district is stepping out of the deal arranged in the contract. State Education Commissioner John King held the agreement up for a year and a half, after a resident of the district filed an appeal, but he recently allowed the sale to move forward. Officials for the school stated that the rent credit is not owed because the tenants owe $551,286 in back rent as of September 9 and much of the rent prior to July 1 was not in full. According to Savad the lower payments were a mutual decision. If the school district forgoes the sale they would lose 5 million dollars on revenue already in the 2013- 2014 budget.
The driver of a July 2008 accident on the New York State Thruway that killed a 19- year old New City resident, was cleared by an appeals court of negligence charges after arguing that she was in an emergency situation when a back seat driver untied top of her bikini, exposing her breasts. Lindsay Lahm, then 19, and four friends were returning to Rockland County after a day at the beach when 19- year old Brandon Berman of New City pulled the strings on her bikini and Lahm reached up for a second to grab the top, losing control of the car and crashing into a guard rail. The crash killed Berman and injured the other passengers. According to Lahm’s lawyer in 2011 passenger Jason Pelletier filed a law suit against Lahm for damages and last week the courts ruled in favor of Lahm and dropped the charges, though the decision could be taken to the state’s higher court.