According to Ramapo Police a family in Chestnut Ridge all suffered from Carbon Monoxide poisoning in their home on Thursday morning. The nine family members ages ranging from an infant to 42-year old were all taken to Westchester Medical Center after they reported suffering from symptoms caused by the odorless and colorless gas filling their home on Beckett Court. Police stated that it appears the Carbon Monoxide was backed up into the house because of a problem with the furnace and heat. It also seems the home did not have a Carbon Monoxide detector, which officials stated are incredibly important and will detect andy level of the gas in a home. All the family members are expected to be fine after the incident.
Rockland County representative are pushing for more regulation from New York State when it comes to the East Ramapo School District. Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski announced on Wednesday that he and fellow Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee and Senator David Carlucci have been working to draft legislation that will allow a monitor for the district to veto decisions made by the board. The bill, which has been introduced to the legislature, follows the recommendations stated in the report submitted by the temporary state-appointed fiscal monitor Hank Greenburg and would require an improvement plan be put in place that will measure progress in academic and fiscal stability in the district, as well as an annual report from the appointed monitor. All three officials behind the bill agreed that the students are in need of a district that can be trusted, and the placement of a fiscal monitor will ensure that more programs and funding will be possible in the future. The legislation will now move on to the Education Committee in the Senate and Assembly.
The Board of Regents is postponing a vote to make standalone exams mandatory after outcry in opposition from parents and educators. Thousands of letters were submitted to the Education Department during the 45-day public comment period prompting a response by the Board. The controversial tests would be taken in addition to the multiple standardized tests that students must take. These field exams are thought of as ‘product development’ to test out possible questions on future tests. The exams have proved somewhat inconsequential due to the mixed results because no effort is given to the questions when students know it does not count.
The vote scheduled for the 25th will be replaced by a $8.4 million request for the Education Department to print versions of tests with the field questions included to reduce the total number of questions. At least 6 school districts in the Lower Hudson Valley have refused to administer the field tests this past June among 26 districts across the State.
Suffern building inspectors responded to an apartment building on Orange Avenue on Monday after reports of flooding due to leaking pipes most likely caused by the freezing temperatures the county is facing this week. Late Tuesday night officials continued to investigate the building which holds 7 small apartments and uncovered various violations including electrical issues and reports that at least six people were living in a small space that was not designed to house that amount. Officials stated that the tenants in these situations are not to blame but the landlords who enforcers claim are putting residents’ lives at risk by violating building standards. Recently the State Division of Building Standards and Codes sent out a letter to the Town of Ramapo and the Village of Spring Valley stating that they will step in if necessary when it comes to illegal housing issues that are becoming an epidemic in the county. According to officials, Orange Avenue, LLC., the landlord of the building, will face violations and receive a court date.
Senator David Carlucci together with The Senior Advisory Council gathered Tuesday afternoon to push forward Senior Affordability in Rockland County. This event comes on the heals of the passage of bills addressing issues faced by Seniors brought by a group of New York State Senators. Among the proposals are a $40 million grant for senior housing for the State and separate funds allotted for modifications within the home. Carlucci emphasized support for New York to join the 40 other States across the nation to establish a Utility Consumer Advocate as part of the Public Service commission in which the Senior Utility Circuit Breaker could work to combat rates which are among the highest in the nation. Seniors raised concerns that the overhead for utility fees is more costly than the service itself. According to U.S. Census data, up to 15% of the county’s residents are seniors. Next month will mark the 3rd year of the Senior Advisory Council’s establishment which has covered issues including healthcare services and pharmaceutical coverage.
Firefighters from the South Spring Valley, Pearl River, Orangeburg, Tallman, Monsey, and Hillcrest departments responded to a call Monday morning to find a house engulfed in flames. Officials reported that just before 8:00 AM reports came in that the refrigerator in the Chestnut Ridge home on Manis Avenue had caught fire and the flames quickly spread to the rest of the house, breaking through the roof of the building. All those in the home were able to get out without injury, though the home was lost to the damage. Firefighters spent a long time battling the flames, due to the freezing temperatures throughout the morning, which often cause problems with hydrants. Investigators are continuing to look into the officials cause of the fire.
According to state officials with New York’s Division of Building Standards and Codes, Ramapo and Spring Valley are at fault when it comes to the dangerous housing conditions found in both municipalities. In a letter released in late January by the department the town and village must respond to the order that they fix the problems with housing violations, such as temporary approvals for long-term use of buildings as schools, many of which hold classes in illegally altered one-family homes. After looking into various sites with known violations, the agency claims that the town and village have failed to follow building standards and enforce the safety violations. The department has the ability to step in, and hold public hearings, if the municipalities do not comply with the changes.
Governor Andrew Cuomo stopped into the Pascack Community Center in Nanuet to discuss his plans for the future of New York State with protesters rallying outside the event. Cuomo covered topics relevant to the county and the overall State including the Tappan Zee Bridge renovation project, tax cuts for small businesses with his ‘Start Up New York’ program’, statewide high speed broadband, enforcing sexual assault policy in SUNY schools, and education reform focusing on teacher performance. Cuomo also mentioned making Orange County’s Stewart Airport a tax free zone, moving cargo away from the congestion that plagues in and around the city of New York, saying “…getting the economy working region-wide.” Cuomo spoke at length about improving the teacher evaluation process to correct the disparity between supposed effective teachers and poor graduation rates. Also high on the agenda was his proposal for ethics reform including campaign finance disclosure among other reforms in light of the scandals in Albany including the recent arrest of State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Cuomo concluded his speech by urging community involvement to aid in the improvements he outlined for the state.
According to Haverstraw Police a woman gave birth to a healthy baby in the backseat of a taxi on Wednesday afternoon. Police responded to a call from the driver, who stated that the 22-year old woman went into labor and called the cab to take her to the hospital. The woman did not make it to the hospital and police officer Edward Lopez helped her to deliver the baby girl in the back of the parked taxi on Grant Street, and EMT’s arrived soon after to transport the new mother and her daughter to the hospital. First responders reported that both are doing well.
Firefighters responded to a call in Pearl River on Tuesday night, to find a home in flames. According to officials, Pearl River, Nanuet, and West Nyack departments arrived to the Orchard Lane house around 10:00 PM, and found most of the flames were in the basement area. A woman and two teenagers were home at the time, but made it out unharmed, though the building was deemed uninhabitable due to smoke damage. Investigators believe that the fire was accidental, possible starting due to clothing placed too close to a water heater or furnace. The flames were controlled within a half-hour and one firefighter suffered minor injury while fighting the flames.