According to officials a 17-year old Spring Valley teenager was seen in court this month following accusations that he stabbed a classmate during a robbery. In March 2015 Christopher Bermeo was arrested when he robbed two teenagers, putting one in the hospital with stab wounds and beating the other up. He was charged with attempted murder, but on February 8 pleaded guilty before a grand-jury to second-degree robbery and second-degree assault. He will be sentenced in May and since he was 16 at the time of the crime; he could be granted youthful offender status by a judge.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day delivered his State of the County address this week, speaking about the future of the economy, housing safety, and business plans. Presenting to the Legislature and other county officials, Day stated that the economy is improving and the unemployment rate of 3.8% represents that, in part thanks to his administration’s work to consolidate local government. Day also spoke about the Summit Park Hospital, which closed at the end of 2015, after a $32 million sale fell through. In his proposals the County Executive recommended turning the empty buildings into a center that will house Health and Human Services. Day’s address also referred to the continuation of the Rockland Codes Initiative, which will add to the already existing regulations against illegal housing, by having properties with more than three renters register with the county. Along with continuing to tackle the county’s fiscal issues, including fighting welfare fraud, Rockland will be putting more money into tourism to attract new visitors.
According to Ramapo Police, they are investigating a shooting in Ramapo that apparently left one person dead and another in the hospital. Officials stated that officers from the Ramapo Police Department and the Sheriff’s as well, responded to a home in Wesley Hills following reports that a man allegedly shot his wife while she was in bed in their home on Deerwood Road. The man then allegedly shot himself at the home and was rushed to the hospital.
New York State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia toured three public schools in the East Ramapo School District on Wednesday and spoke with officials about what she witnessed. Elia participated in classes, sitting with students and asking questions, later stating that she was impressed with the instruction of students she was seeing. In the afternoon the Commissioner also visited a private Yeshiva in the district. Even with the positive areas in the education of students, Elia stated there is still a ways to go with improvements, including physical repairs of the buildings, and the recommendation from two reports, to have a monitor appointed with the ability to veto decisions made by the school board. Elia stated she is hoping to find resources from the state, for the district to make such improvements, and used some of the time to inform residents and teachers that she is continuing to make changes to the state testing standards.
A second school in Rockland County has stopped showing a video that allegedly portrays antisemitic ideas. Last week the Clarkstown School District sent home a letter of apology to parents of 9th graders in the high school who were shown a video of the Roman Empire released by study.com, that spoke about Jewish vs Christian people, and referred to Jews in a negative light. On Wednesday Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski wrote a letter to the company that created the website, urging them to make changes to their videos, and recommended that every district in New York stop using them until then. This week Nyack pulled two videos that were shown to sixth graders in the Middle School and Superintendent James Montesano released a statement apologizing and informing parents that the school has been in touch with the company.
State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia and Regent Judith Johnson will be visiting the East Ramapo School District today. According to her office Elia will be touring the troubled district, especially focusing on the buildings, which many parents and students claim are in desperate need of repairs. Currently Ramapo High School is waiting for $1 million in funds found by Senator David Carlucci to repair a leaking roof, which school officials stated a recent inspection determined does not have mold. Elia will visit the high school and two elementary schools. This will be her second time in the district and when appointed she stated to parents that East Ramapo would remain a focus for the Board of Education.
New York Senator David Carlucci and local officials, including interim Superintendent Deborah Wortham, were at Ramapo High School on Monday, where they looked into complaints that a leaky roof is creating dangerous situations for faculty, staff, and students. Parents and students have frequently complained in the past year that the roof is leaking and the school is facing several similar issues, though voters turned down a $40 million bond last year, that would have helped pay for many of the repairs. Those in opposition to the bond stated until there are regulations on how and where the East Ramapo School Board uses money, they did not want to approve spending. On Monday Carlucci stated that his office has obtained $1 million to fix the leak, but again the district is facing opposition from residents saying it is not a solution but a quick fix.
According to officials in New Square, Emergency Services for the village rescued a woman from the Hudson River on Tuesday. Police stated that the crew is continuing to search for 46-year old resident David Ahronowitz who has been missing since Friday of last week, and presumed dead by officials, after surveillance footage showed him jumping off the George Washington Bridge. While out searching for the man’s body, New Square Emergency Services found a 20-something year old unidentified woman, who had apparently jumped from the bridge into the Hudson River. They recovered her form the water, stating that she was conscious though her leg had been severely injured.
According to police an alleged drug dealer was arrested in Westchester on Tuesday, following a lengthy investigation into her crimes. Officials 20-year old Yorktown Heights resident Alexis Mitchell, was arrested on felony charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, intent to sell, and criminal sale of a controlled substance. An investigation into Mitchell began in December by the Yorktown Police, County Police, and the Northern Westchester Drug Task Force leading to the officials finding her in Yorktown with $6,700 and upon searching her home uncovered more than $30,000 cash. She is being held in Westchester County Jail.
Clarkstown School District officials released a statement this week, apologizing for a video shown to students that was allegedly antiSemitic. The video was shown in a high school history class, and was from the point of view of Romans comparing Christians’ and Jews’ experiences in the time of the Roman Empire. Superintendent Thomas J. Morton apologized to the district, after parents and residents complained about parts of the video, which states, for example, “Jews held themselves aloof, as a result the Jews were easily labeled as violent extremists to be attacked.” Local government and religious leaders have come out against the video, saying that the antisemitic statements are historically inaccurate and teach students negative and hateful things. Morton agreed in his apology, stating, “The video depicted Judaism in a demeaning and historically inaccurate way.”