Officials with the Thruway Authority and Village of South Nyack met last week, with Executive Director Robert Megna recently releasing a statement that the two parties are working to compromise on the location of a bike and walking path for the new Tappan Zee Bridge. Currently the plans are to put the entry to the path in a residential area, which many residents and village officials have taken a stand against, many stating that the excessive amount of visitors to the bridge’s walkway will lead to traffic and parking problems. According to officials the village and Thruway are working on finding a resolution, one proposal being the use of Exit 10 off the Thruway as an entrance, when it is finished being used as a construction site. Recently South Nyack received a grant for $250,000 to complete a study on traffic patterns and accessibility of Exit 10. The Thruway Authority has completed a study that estimates about 473 people will be visiting the path per hour.
The Clarkstown Police Department issued a Fraud Alert on their facebook page today that details an incident involving the deletion of a woman’s computer information due to a fraudulent phone scheme. According to the facebook post, a caller from an unknown number told the women that her computer had been hacked by Russian thieves and that by granting remote access and paying him $3,000 to 5,000, he could save her computer files. When she refused, the caller then deleted the contents from her computer. Nothing could be retrieved when she attempted help from ‘Apple Care.’ The Police department’s alert warned against trusting just anyone with remote access to a computer and to contact local authorities if they had been victim to an internet or computer scheme.
Rockland County Chairman of the Legislature Alden Wolfe recently spoke out about the controversy surrounding a video released in March titled “The Jew in Rockland”, which compares a local FaceBook page to Nazi propaganda in the early days of the holocaust in Germany. Wolfe stated on Monday that the FaceBook, called “Block the Block” shows “hostility toward the Orthodox community in Rockland County.” According to Wolfe the creator of the page, James Foley, is a county employee, working as a social worker in the Mental Health Department. Speaking with the Journal News Foley stated that he does not represent the county’s opinions and while he does not use the social media site at work he did not give up his right to free speech when he became employed by Rockland. Wolfe called on County Executive Ed Day to ensure that the county’s employees are using their work hours efficiently. Day stated in response, “While Chairman Wolfe focuses on FaceBook, I and other responsible leaders of all faiths are still wondering why, over two weeks later, he has yet to join us in condemning a video that compares his county to Nazi Germany. It is the view of many that is an abdication of his responsibility as an elected official. This particular matter was assessed weeks ago and it is shocking that he is unaware that existing county policy governs the use of social media. He can be assured that while he is away from his part time Legislative job, I am ensuring that all our employees are ‘performing their duties properly’.”
Officials in the Pearl River School District announced that they are selling the condominium complex that it owns. The ten units have been under the district’s ownership since 2010 when a $4.9 million bond was approved to purchase the property from the Africa Land Mission for $4.6 million, in order to use the offices and cafeteria area that were already there as the district offices. The offices will remain in their current location and each condo is for sale from $159,000 to $231,000. Officials stated that residents in the district voted to sell last year in February and once half of the units are sold a homeowners association will take responsibility, allowing the district to step away from covering utilities and landlord duties. The sale will cover the repayment of the $4.9 million bond and enable the district to reissue a $3.3 million bond.
A four-alarm fire broke out at Mid-State Lumber on Kings Highway in Warwick Thursday evening which took firefighters from 20 departments, all night and into Friday morning to extinguish. Stacks of wood and buildings fed the flames where crews had to rely on water tanks since there were no hydrants in the area. Orange & Rockland also responded to the scene to cut the gas line that was entering the lumber yard. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries but are expected to fully recover.
At a press conference on Thursday Rockland County Legislator Aaron Weider discussed a controversial video that was released online in late March. Rumors on the internet and throughout the county spread that Weider was the narrator in the video, which compares hateful and offensive comments on a social media page to the early days of Nazi Germany, though at the conference the Legislator stated that he was not involved in the production at all. When a resident asked if Weider thought the video should be taken down he said it should, stating that it would be for the best to remove the video, which contains harsh visual comparisons to Nazi propaganda released in Europe to describe the fear that the Orthodox Jewish Community feels in Rockland County. Weider stated that while he thinks the video was not done properly and it broadly describes issues in Rockland as anti-semitic, there is tensio that needs to be addressed, stating, “We must acknowledge that a major problem exists in our county and that regardless of political differences, debates about issues should never descend into hateful and destructive rhetoric aimed at any community.”
Rockland County Executive Ed Day held a press conference on Tuesday with state and county mental health officials to introduce the new Behavioral Health Resonse Team. The State Office Mental Health provided the Rockland Paramedic services in Chestnut Ridge and the county with $950,000 for the team. Day stated that the BHRT will be trained to respond to and care for people who call 911 with a mental health emergency. In the past when 911 operators received such a call the dangers faced by both first responders and those calling in the emergency were greater because of transport time to the emergency room, where they were required to go. Now with the mobile team emergency workers can respond and make decisions on the scene, allowing patients and families to obtain the potential longterm care that they need right away. Each unit has two team members, one behavioral health clinician and one with EMS training who will use their medical expertise to provide on-site and follow-up care.
The New York state legislature has released the details regarding education spending for the 2015-2016 fiscal year beginning tomorrow. Orange, Rockland, and Westchester counties will all receive an increase in aid from the previous fiscal year. Reform and policy proposals which have been hotly contested by teacher unions has yet to be announced as well as the ethics legislation bill and the nearly $5.4 billion surplus capital projects bill.
Suffern Police are warning bankers to take a close look at their accounts with the First Niagara Bank on Lafayette Avenue in Suffern, where employees discovered a skimming tool attached to one of the ATM’s. According to officials, personal information on credit and bank cards were stolen before the device was found and reported to employees by a customer last week, who stated that he was having difficulty using his card in the machine. Police stated that they are unsure how long the skimmer had been attached or how many people were affected, but it has been removed and investigators are looking into suspects.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday night that the Assembly and Senate have reached an agreement on a budget deal. The $142 billion New York State budget for 2015-2016 includes $1.5 billion for Upstate revitalization, controversial education reform, and an ethics package. The details will be released later Monday with a vote Tuesday on parts of the budget, such as higher minimum wage proposals and property tax relief which were both dropped. The final budget is due Wednesday April 1.