Rockland County Executive Vetoes Legislature Amendments to the Budget

Rockland County Executive Ed Day vetoed 22 of the 37 amendments made by the Legislature to his proposed budget for 2016. Day’s originally proposed $723 million plan called for a $4 a month increase in taxes for residents. Members of the Legislature later made amendments restoring jobs and services, as well as $1 million set aside for the deficit, raising taxes by 10%. On Friday the County Executive released a statement saying that he vetoed the move to restore six finance positions in the Summit Park Hospital, which is closing at the end of 2015. Day stated that keeping those positions would be illogical since there will be no work for the employees to do once the nursing home and hospital are closed. Day also vetoed the amendment to pay thirteen security guards to protect county owned buildings. In his proposal the County Executive gave responsibility for the security of those to the Sheriff’s Department, and in his press release on Friday he stated, “While our existing security personnel provide information and directions, they are ill-equipped to handle today’s violent threats. Now more than ever we must harden security at all county facilities.” The Legislature now has ability to override the veto, with a required two-thirds vote.

Police Chase Ends in Death of Suspect

According to Westchester Police two men were involved in a chase on Tuesday that resulted in the death of one of the suspects. Police officers attempted to pull over 25-year old Akeem Smith and 36-year old Florida resident Miguel Espinal in the Bronx and when the car did not stop, police followed the vehicle to the Saw Mill Parkway, where it turned into the opposite lanes and struck a black Volkswagen. The driver of the Volkswagen was taken to Jacobi Medical Center for non-life threatening injuries, and the Parkway was closed while police investigated the scene. Smith was also taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries, but Espinal climbed out of the car after the crash, forcing police to chase him on foot into the woods near the roadway. Officers fired a single shot at the man, killing him. The violations that led police to chase the vehicle were not released, though officials state Smith was on probation and Espinal was apparently wanted for a previous record. The State Attorney General’s office will be investigating the case, due to the police shooting.

Man Arrested in Clarkstown Homicide

According to Clarkstown Police, a young homeless man was arrested in the early Tuesday morning death of a 66-year old resident. Police responded to a multi-family home on Demarest Avenue in West Nyack just before 2:00 AM, where they discovered the body of Michael Wimbert who had been fatally stabbed in the chest by 19-year old Dylan Lentini yelling to call 911 while fleeing the home, and he was found later by officials with a knife wound on his right hand. Investigators stated that Wimbert lived alone in the second floor apartment of the home, and they are looking into how the two men may have known each other. Lentini claimed to have been living at the Covenant House homeless shelter in Manhattan, and it is unclear what he was doing at the older man’s home, though the landlord of the building told the Journal News that Wimbert was a charitable man who had a tendency to help others. Lentini was charged with a felony count of second-degree murder and is facing 15 to 20 years to life in prison.

Man Fatally Stabbed in Clarkstown

According to Clarkstown Police, officers responded to a home on Demarest Avenue in West Nyack early Tuesday, where they are investigating the death of a man. Officials stated that around 1:45 AM they found the body of a 66-year old resident in the third floor apartment the multi-family dwelling, and determined that he was stabbed to death. Police took into custody a 19-year old man and are questioning him on the incident while they continue to investigate the apparent homicide, and the work to identify the victim.

Rockland Woman Killed in Car/Bus Accident

Police responded to an accident on Wednesday night after calls came in that a woman crashed her car into a bus in Rockland County. According to reports 57-year old Holly Unger of Spring Valley was driving her car on Viola Road near Ramapo High School around 7:15 PM when she swerved into the other lane and struck a Monsey Trails bus. Hatzolah Ambulance were nearby and transported Unger to Westchester Medical Center where she died from injuries sustained in the crash. The bus was stopped at the time of the accident and had no passengers, and no injuries aside from Unger’s were reported.

Two Men Dead From Carbon Monoxide

According to police two people were found dead in their home on Monday afternoon, from what investigators believe to be Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Police responded to the Rye Brook home of 85-year old Joseph Persson on Maywood Avenue, he lived with his step-grandson 50-year old Joseph Pendrack. Officials stated that the Medical Examiner has yet to confirm the cause of death for both men, but they found a car in the garage with a dead battery and an empty tank of gas that appeared to have been left running and they suspect the fumes from the vehicle entered the house, which had no Carbon Monoxide detectors, and caused Persson and Pendrack to suffocate while in their beds in separate bedrooms.

Parents Suing Private Yeshivas for Not Providing Quality Education

According to records a group of parents in East Ramapo have filed a lawsuit against several yeshivas in the school district, claiming their children were not provided with the proper education while at school there. The students are all over 18 now, and attended four boys’ schools in Monsey, New Square, and Spring Valley where the lawsuit claims they received a religious education but not secular studies such as English and Math. The complaints also state that the yeshivas failed to hire competent teachers, use tax dollars in the creation of secular studies, and provide boys with an equal quality of secular education as girls. The lawsuit is blaming the yeshivas, the East Ramapo District and the state, and is calling for changes to private religious education to be implemented by September 2016, such as requiring one-third of the school day be used for secure classes that will prepare students for employment and a monitoring system for courses and finances.

Pearl River Pfizer Site Sold

According to officials with a California realty group, they have finalized the agreed purchase of the Pfizer site in Pearl River. A spokesman for the Industrial Realty Group stated that the company bought 38 buildings on the campus, which will be turned into a commercial project with potential shopping, dining, and offices or industrial buildings. Along with the interest in retail opportunities IRG will be leasing areas of the site to Anellotech and Protein Sciences for research. County and Orangetown officials are optimistic that the sale will provide revenue and keep taxes down for residents. Pfizer spokeswoman Susan Rutledge stated the company will continue leasing parts of the campus for certain drug development projects, one vaccine through 2016 and another cancer drug through a longterm agreement. They will retain ownership of 25 acres of the site.

Cuomo Says States Cannot Block Refugees

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that he disagrees with Republican members of governments’ attempts to block Syrian refugees from entering the state. Cuomo stated that it does not fall on state government to decide who to allow in, and they must allow the federal government to make the final decision. Various officials have urged Cuomo to take a stand against allowing refugees in, following the terror attacks in Paris last week. According to information compiled by the Journal News from the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, in 2015 forty-eight Syrian refugees came to live here, before that just three had arrived since 2011. Cuomo stated on Tuesday,”The day America says ‘close the gate, build the wall,’ then I say take down the Statue of Liberty because you’ve gone to a different place.” The Governor stated he stands by the Federal Government’s belief that they can screen incoming refugees, as long as it’s done right.

NY Regents Request Funding Increase

On Monday the New York State Board of Regents requested an increase in state aid for schools in the 2016 budget. In the proposal board members are seeking a 10% raise in spending, to lessen the burden of districts that cannot afford to keep up with faculty contracts, the minimum wage, programs for students, and healthcare. The desired increases of $2.4 billion would give education in New York a total of $26 billion in spending for the coming fiscal year, which begins April 1 and $2.1 billion of it would be used in formula aid, while $434 million would go to the Gap Elimination Adjustment and $300 million to additional programs.

Snow Closings Updated Regularly

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