According to the Clarkstown Town Board they will be holding a public hearing on September 9 to discuss term limits for elected members. The limits would mean 8 consecutive years for all officials except town justices, and would allow members to run for a new position after their eight years are up. Democratic Chairwoman Stephanie Hausner stated she supports term limits and due to the voter support believes that it will pass unanimously, and bring new opportunities to the board. Recently Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack voiced his support for limits as well, stating that his earlier belief that elections act as a form of accountability for officials, will still be present but now having a time limit will be a positive addition. Another supporter, Republican Councilman George Hoehmann stated, “Term limits are a way of insuring that periodically, the people have the playing field leveled with a guarantee of turnover.” With the three members of the board showing support, the term limits will be able to be passed.
Rockland County Legislators voted 6-1 to cut seven positions in the Mental Health Department, and save 69 laundry work, security aide, and radiology jobs, after County Executive Ed Day proposed that the county cut 39 positions to save about 1.68 million dollars in salary costs. According to Day when the sale of Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Home is complete those terminated will be able to apply for jobs with the new private owner and the private vendors he is planning to bring in to do the work for less cost to the county. Legislators stated that the savings for 2014 would not be worth terminating all the positions proposed, though in 2015 the money saved would increase significantly. According to Day’s Chief of Staff Guillermo Rosa, cutting jobs now would save time and money, stating “We have to move forward. We cannot go on with a loss of 1.2 million dollars a month.” Rosa stated that the county is losing $38,000, with Summit Park adding to a majority of that. Legislator Michael Grant stated that the proposal will likely come up again in Day’s 2015 budget plans.
According to Brian Conybeare, Governor Cuomo’s Special Adviser for the New Tappan Zee Bridge Project, pile driving at the construction site is set to resume today, after being suspended on July 31 when the noise rose above the allowed 90 decibels. Conybeare stated on friday that due to the testing and research done by Tappan Zee Constructors since building was halted, they have been allowed to resume work installing 200 metal sheet piles to the wall of the bridge on the Rockland shore, and they will be using techniques to keep noise levels down such as a guide beam to prevent rattling, a double layer rubber sound barrier, and a noise shroud around the hammer and metal sheets. Mayor of South Nyack Bonnie Christian stated that she and residents are waiting to see if the new techniques help keep sound levels low.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day released a statement early this morning announcing that the county signed a letter of intent with Hi Tor Animal Care Center to build a new shelter at the existing location in Pomona. The letter of intent states that the structure used as a shelter now will be demolished turned into the parking lot for the new building. According to Day the agreement between the County and the care center will help increase adoptions while improving conditions for the average 2,500 animals that pass through looking for homes each year and he and other members of county government look forward to “continuing to work with Hi Tor President Lizanne Fiorentino and her Board of Directors to increase adoptions, save more lives, and prevent animal suffering.” The agreement uses Chapter 212, which allows the county to have a say in the rules and regulations of an animal care organization, and states the construction will require Legislative approval.
According to prosecutors in the homicide case of Clarkstown resident Peggy Nadell, Diana Nadell of Florida, was making plans with an inmate to have two witnesses set to testify against her murdered while she’s being held in Orange County Jail was waiting for her trial. Prosecutors stated that Nadell was arrested in the January killing of her 80-year old mother-in-law Peggy Nadell, with the motivation to gain access to the woman’s $3 million estate that would have been split between her two children, Susanne Nadell-Scaccio of Airmont, and Diana Nadell’s husband James Nadell of Florida. Coconspirators to the murder were also arrested and being held after pleading guilty to felony charges. 25-year old cousin of Diana Nadell, Andrea Benson, testified against her, stating that she choked the 80-year old with a pocketbook strap and beat her before stabbing her multiple times in the woman’s Clarkstown home, using a falsified alibi to make it seem like they were at a wedding in Washington DC at the time. The plans to have the unnamed witnesses killed carry two counts of second degree conspiracy, two counts of intimidating witnesses and two counts of second degree criminal solicitation. Nadell pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. She faces a life sentence in prison.
The East Ramapo School District’s Board of Education voted on Tuesday night to approve emergency repair for Pomona Middle School. According to District Clerk Cathy Russell, the ceiling in the auditorium is considered a safety hazard for faculty and students when it was discovered this month that it began separating from the roof, so the board voted to approve the Superintendent’s recommendation to demolish and rebuild it. The district will most likely replace the ceiling at a different time, which will cost about $300,000 or more, and will be spending $19,905 in repairs in repairs in time for the school year to start on September 4.
State Supreme Court Justice Victor Alfieri made a decision recently on the Town of Haverstraw’s plans to build a shopping center on property that would place it on Route 202 right on the border between Ramapo and Haverstraw and would include a new Walmart. The Village of Pomona filed several lawsuits against Haverstraw, one after developers were allowed variances by the Town Zoning Board of Appeals that would enable the to build less parking than town code ordered. Alfieri made a decision that this case would continue if the village wins the overall case against the town. Pomona’s suit states that the town zoning board did not complete appropriate environmental research. The judge also denied Haverstraw’s request to dismiss one of the seven lawsuits against them. Pomona is also appealing a decision made by Justice Gerald Loehr on the approval of proposed development.
According to the New York State Education Department Rockland BOSCES was among three schools state wide to be awarded the teaching is core grant which would support art and music teachers in offering daily tests that coincide with the Common Core curriculum, rather than written tests. Since the Common Core took hold in New York State districts have had no way to keep track of students’ progress or teacher evaluations for subjects such as art, music, and gym, so the Student Learning Objectives were instituted and written tests were handed out the first and last weeks of the school year. With the new grants the SLO’s were on a list of tests districts can eliminate from the curriculum. Rockland BOSCES Assistant Superintendent Charlene Jordan stated that new model will keep track of students’ learning with the help of parents and the community. Officials from several districts seem to agree this means less testing for the school year and a more open environment for children to learn in.
On Thursday morning the Ramapo Police stated that the driver of a Toyota Camry was taken to Nyack Hospital in critical conition after hitting a 180 pound buck that went through the windshield of car and landed in the backseat. According to police 30-year old Elmer Adilio of the Bronx was riving along Route 45 in Spring Valley on Wednesday night when the deer came through the front of the car, leading to the driver crashing into a utility pole. Detective Lt. Mark Emma stated that the man may have been hit by a hoof or another hard part of the deer and he suffered serious injuries to his head and neck. The car was also carrying 36-year old Emerita Najarro, also of the Bronx, who received injuries to her chest, face, and neck, though police stated they were non-life threatening.
An informational meeting Wednesday night brought hundreds of parents to Pomona Middle School to hear news on the East Ramapo District’s choice to extend the school day by two hours. The district announced in July that they had received a grant from the state Education Department to fund an extended learning period, which will lengthen the day by two periods, a ninth and a tenth. In response to many parents’ anger at the short notice of the changes, Pomona officials stated that they were informed of the grant much later than expected and only had about three weeks to organize the new school days. Various parents at the meeting brought up concerns such as their children walking home at the later hour, and now being unable to participate in after-school activities such as sports. The final dismissal bell for the coming school year will now go off at 5:21 PM instead of the original 3:14 PM for seventh and eighth graders. Principal Christine Alfonso stated that the school is attempting to keep parents and students informed and will be sending home reminders and more information as the school year gets closer. Several parents stated they understand change, and some are happy about it, saying their children deserve the opportunity to learn more and expand future opportunities by raising their grades.