Housing Market Better Than Ever in 2014

According to an annual report released by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors on Monday, the Hudson Valley housing market is on the upswing. In the report it’s stated that the cost of a single-family home in Rockland County has risen by 3.4 percent, at an average cost of $400,000, and it was the best selling year since 2008. According to the group, in 2014 more than 14,000 homes were sold in Rockland, Westchester, Putnam, and Orange Counties, with all areas’ percentage of sales increasing in the last four years, except for Orange, which saw a decrease of .8 percent. The rise in the housing market has led experts to believe that the coming years will continue to show an increase in sales.

Senator Schumer Asks FDA to Increase Inspections

United States Senator Charles Schumer has requested that the Food and Drug Administration make changes to the inspection process when it comes to food warehouses and suppliers. According to Schumer’s proposal, which he released Sunday; recent reports of rodent feces, dead mice and rats, and insects have surfaces throughout the country, including New York State. Schumer stated that restaurants and consumers should be guaranteed that the products they are buying are clean and free of issues, and is asking the FDA to increase inspections. The proposal also includes a more organized format for retailers to look up a facility’s sanitation records and higher fines for violations.

Gas Station Attendant Fights Off Robbers

According to Clarkstown Police a Congers man fought off two men who attempted to rob the gas station he was working at. 56-year old Paul Kunz stated to the Journal News that around 7:45 on Saturday night he was working at the Oasis Gas Station on Route 303 when two men attempted to enter the building, one holding what appeared to be a rifle or pellet gun. Kunz stated that he rammed the man and forced him outside, where they wrestled in the parking lot for about fifteen seconds, fighting for the gun. When it seemed the men would be unable to rob the store Kunz stated they both got into a car and drove off. According to police the men were described as black and in their early twenties, and investigations are continuing into surveillance footage and ask that anyone with information call 845-639-5800.

Independent Report on Clarkstown Highway Department Released

A report released this week on the Clarkstown Highway Department shows that many employees have expressed thoughts that “the work environment has deteriorated”. Public Sector HR Consultants LLC, an independent consultant hired by the town board to assess the department in September, recently released their report including anonymous interviews with 64 employees who volunteered to participate. According to information from the report, compiled by the Journal News, 47 of the employees stated that in recent years the work place has gotten worse, many claiming the cause to be Superintendent of Highways Wayne Ballard’s alleged unequal treatment of workers. According to some of the interviews Ballard gave promotions and vacation time to supporters of his 2013 campaign for the position, while handing out unwanted assignments to those who supported his opponent. Ballard denied the accusations and the full report has been sent to the District Attorney’s office for review.

Suffern Man Arrested for Drug Charges

According to Ramapo Police, a 23-year old Suffern man who was arrested in September after officers raided his home and discovered ingredients for producing methamphetamine faces new drug dealing charges. Sammy Foda, a construction worker who lives in his mother’s Suffern house, was recently accused by police of selling oxycodone from his home while out on bail. While on the original search of the house, police stated they found more than 14 ounces of marijuana, more than 15 grams of cannabis, hash oil, and $20,000. He now faces felony counts of criminal drug charges, to which he pleaded not guilty last month, when he is set to appear in court on Tuesday.

Legislator Alden Wolfe Reelected as Chairman

On Tuesday the Legislature held their annual reorganization meeting, conducting elections for positions on the board. Aaron Weider was reappointed as majority leader, with Toney Earl as Deputy Majority Leader and Chris Carey was reelected as Minority Leader. New Legislator Lon Hofstein was appointed as Deputy Minority Leader. Alden Wolfe was reelected as Chairman of the Legislature, stating that the successes of 2014 include opposing United Water’s Desalination plant and the budget approval, which saved jobs and put public safety first, as well as voters passing the charter reform. According to Wolfe 2015 will focus on the economy and CSX train safety regulations, and concerns of food shortages in the county.

New Commissioner of Hospitals

County Executive Ed Day’s office announced on Monday the new Rockland County Commissioner of Hospitals. Dr. David Freed has been appointed as the acting Commissioner after thirteen years as president and CEO of Nyack Hospital and will be replacing Donna Pauldine who is retiring on January 16. According to the County Executive, Dr. Freed will play a major role in the successful transition of the Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center to Summit Park Acquisition Group. The group bought the hospital from the Rockland County Health Corp for $36 million last year and will be leasing to Sympaticare LLC. About choosing Freed for the position Day stated, “His experience and aptitudes will guarantee a positive outcome for the patients and employees of Summit Park and taxpayers of Rockland County.”

Students Attacked at Spring Valley Basketball Game

Two students were attacked at a Spring Valley basketball game on Tuesday night. According to police the game took place at the Spring Valley High School and into the second quarter two 19-year old men, who are not students, began punching and kicking the victims, an 18-year old Ramapo High School and 19-year old from Spring Valley High School. School security intervened during the fight and coaches were forced to stop the game, when one of the victims puled a knife in what police describe as an attempt at self-defense. The victims were apprehended by police but have chosen not to press charges against their attackers. The game between Spring Valley and Nanuet will resume at 11:00 AM on Saturday.

NYPD Officer Who Was Shot, Returns Home to Garnerville

One of two New York City police officers, who was shot while pursuing suspects in an armed robbery in the Bronx, returned home to Garnerville on Wednesday. 38-year old Rockland County resident Aliro Pellerano suffered gunshot wounds to his arm and chest, when he and his partner, Andrew Dossi of Stony Point, tracked down the suspects at the end of their shift around 10:30 Monday night. Dossi remains in St. Barnabas Hospital for another operation for gunshot wounds to his arm and back. Police arrested 24-year old Jason Polanco and 28-year old Joshua Kemp on Tuesday. Polanco was charged with attempted murder of a police officer, attempted murder, robbery, assault, and criminal possession of a weapon. Kemp received treatment for a gunshot wound to his arm and was charged with criminal possession of stolen property, robbery, grand larceny, and criminal possession of weapon.

Tappan Zee Accident Revisited

According to a spokeswoman for Tappan Zee constructors, last month’s accident on the company’s cement construction barge is still being investigated. Carla Julian stated to the Journal News on Tuesday that construction will continue as planned, though, since silos fell over and have halted the production of cement on the site, trucks will be carrying in product from the shore. The deliveries will be coming from the Rockland side of the river, and trucks will travel maintenance roads from the thruway while crews continue to repair the damaged plants. The thruway authority and Tappan Zee constructors are continuing to investigate what caused the silos to fall over and what impact the repairs will have on the construction schedule.

Snow Closings Updated Regularly

Please click on the image below to view all snow closings for Rockland County.