Man Killed in Fall at Palisades Mall

According to police a 54-year old disabled man was killed in a fall at the Palisades Mall in West Nyack on Thursday. Police stated that the man, whose name has not been released as of yet, was on a trip with a staff member of the adult home he was a resident of as well as other residents. Around 10:20 AM the man fell 30 to 40 feet from an escalator on the third floor of the building and was killed in the fall. Police are investigating the cause, but stated they are led to believe it was an accident.

26 Arrested and Charged in Rockland and Bergen Bank Fraud

According to the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, Police and FBI arrested multiple suspects in a long running investigation into bank fraud in Rockland and Bergen Counties. District Attorney Thomas Zugibe stated that early Wednesday morning, Police began arresting the 35 people named in warrants, completing 26 individuals by the afternoon. All suspects were involved in buying money orders for between one and three dollars and fraudulently changing them to between 850 to 1,000 dollar valued before depositing them into bank accounts. Zugibe stated that the crimes were conducted as part of a national scam and the quick opening and closing of accounts led them to discover the local ties. The 26 suspects were taken into custody on charges of grand larceny, criminal possession of forged instruments, and criminal facilitation of bank fraud. Thirteen were arraignmed Wednesday morning before being released on bail.

House Fire Victims Identified

Officials have released the identities of the couple caught in a house fire in New City on Monday night. 67-year old Luis Fernandez was killed when the home he shared with his wife, 65-year old Ruth Fernandez, caught fire after neighbors heard some sort of explosion around 11:30 PM. Fire officials stated that Mr.Fernandez had gone to the garage searching for the cause of a gasoline smell and became trapped in there with the blast and fire. Mrs.Fernandez managed to escape the house, but was injured and taken to Columbia University Medical Center’s burn unit in Manhattan. The couple has a daughter and grandchildren. Officials are continuing investigation into the cause of the explosion.

New City Fire Claims Man’s Life

Firefighters responded to a call in New City at 11:30 Monday night. According to New City Firechief Jim Avaras the fire started in the attached garage and quickly spread through the three story home to the roof. Firefighters searched the building despite the dangerous conditions and when they were finally able to put out the fire they discovered the body of a man in the garage. The man was pronounced dead, his wife had managed to escape the blaze and was in the yard when first responders arrived. She was taken to Columbia University Medical Center’s burn unit for treatment of unknown injuries. Officials stated they are still investigating the cause, though neighbors reported hearing an explosion.

Poultry Plant Fined for Pollution of Ramapo River

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Attorney’s Office have fined a chicken slaughterhouse in Kyrias Joel for polluting the Ramapo River, which provides drinking water for Rockland and Bergen Counties. Regional Administrator for the EPA Judith Enck stated to the Journal News that various forms of pollution, including animal parts and waste were dumped into storm drains and sewers and the company, Kyrias Joel Poultry Processing Plant Inc, violated the Clean Water Act. The operators were fined $330,000 for violations and stated that there was no intentional pollution going on since, in 2011, they installed a treatment facility that solved waste overflow problems. Federal prosecutors set up guidelines for the company to follow to protect the river, or they could be fined again, anywhere from $100 to $2,000 a day.

Baby with Rockland Family Killed in Israel in Terror Act

On Wednesday morning officials reported that a 3-month old girl who has family in Monsey was killed in Jerusalem when a car drove onto the platform where she and her parents were waiting for a train. Israeli authorities reported that the crash was intentional and are calling it a terrorist attack by a Palestinian man. The baby, Chaya Braun, was in her stroller when the car drove into a crowd of people, and she died later at a local hospital, where her mother Chani Halperin-Braun formerly of Monsey, and father were also taken for injuries along with seven others. Chani’s parents still live in Monsey and residents as well as county officials have expressed condolences and sadness for the family in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Rockland Resident Cleared of Ebola Risk

According to county and health officials a Rockland resident who returned to the United States from Liberia on October 5 was held in quarantine for 21 days while waiting for potential Ebola symptoms. On her arrival back to Rockland County woman was released to her home for a voluntary monitored isolation period of three weeks and after not showing symptoms was cleared of any Ebola risks. County Executive Ed Day defended the decision not to inform the public until yesterday of the unidentified woman’s quarantine, stating that the county’s plan was put in place even though, at the time, there was little to no chance that she had been exposed, as she was not showing symptoms, and it was best to avoid county-wide panic.

Armed Robberies in Haverstraw and Orangeburg

According to police a customer at the Chase Bank on Route 9W in Haverstraw was robbed in the parking lot on Tuesday morning. A woman reported that two black men wearing black shorts and hoodie sweatshirts pulled a handgun on her while she was making a deposit around 8:00 AM. No one was reported injured and the men ran away with the cash and police began the search for them using a helicopter. Also on Tuesday morning police responded to an unrelated call reporting an armed break in at an apartment in Orangeburg. According to police a couple living in an apartment above the Cloverleaf Inn on Western Highway were in their home at 2:00 AM when two men forced their way in with a handgun and punched the man in the head, while the woman locked herself in the bathroom. Police stated that she escaped out the bathroom window onto the roof of the porch, and the suspects did not find what they were looking for before leaving. Police are still investigating both robberies.

East Ramapo Fiscal Monitor Reaches out

According to a letter obtained by the Journal News, Hank Greenburg, the fiscal monitor assigned by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to watch the East Ramapo School District has expressed concern surrounding the district’s recent plans for developing programs geared towards immigrants. At an August school board meeting Superintendent Joel Klein made remarks stating many non-English speaking students take advantage of what schools offer, such as vocational skills, meals, and learning the language, though they are not likely to obtain a diploma, leading to the district’s high dropout rate. These statements led to anger and protests from many residents, some asking for Klein’s resignation. In the letter from Greenburg to Klein, he asks the district for a layout of the plan that would allow some of the students access to programs. On Friday Klein released a letter to parents apologizing for the statements made at the school board meeting, stating that he did not mean to disrespect the students and their communities. Klein also stated on Friday that a transitional plan for students may still be in talks.

Rockland County Sheriff Opposes 2015 Budget Cuts

At a demonstration held in front of the Rockland County Office Building in New City, officers from the Sheriff’s Department including Sheriff Lou Falco, and members of the Rockland PBA expressed their opposition to County Executive Ed Day’s proposed budget that would cut 37 patrol officers. The proposal calls for 111 county positions to be cut, saving 6.8 million dollars, while only raising property taxes by 1.67 percent for the average homeowner. Falco stated at the conference, held on Friday afternoon, that cutting patrol officers would risk public safety, especially at a time when the county has seen an increase in drug overdoses and crimes. According to Falco the cuts would be to specialized patrol units, such as mounted, marine, and street patrols. Speakers and officials asked attendees on Friday to write to the County Executive and Legislators opposing to the position cuts.