New York State Medical Marijuana Sites Announced

New York state officials have released the companies approved for the sale and growth of medical marijuana. According to the state Department of Health, the Hudson Valley has three of these locations. The five companies awarded permits statewide are Bloomfield Industries, Columbia Care NY LLC, Empire Health in White Plains. Orange County officials stated they are excited for the possibility of job creation, and proponents of the Compassionate Care Act that was signed by Governor Cuomo last year, are looking forward to the availability of marijuana to those with health issues such as epilepsy and cancer. The locations could be up and running by the end of the year.

Rockland Town Receives Bond Downgrade

Standard and Poor’s released a report this month, in which they detailed a Rockland County town’s financial standing. According to analysts at S&P Clarkstown has two years to improve their rating before it is too late to fix. The report lowered Clarkstown’s bond rating AAA to an AA+, but continues to hold a stable outlook, officials stating the reason is the expected improvement and the town’s upcoming move to issue $9.8 million in public improvement bonds. The outlook could get worse, however, if the town doesn’t begin to make changes regarding the deficit in the budget. Town Councilman George Hoeman, who is challenging incumbent Alex Gromack in the election for Supervisor stated that the rating downgrade should be taken as a warning for the town and is a direct result of failed fiscal policies. Gromack stated that the lower rating is still one of the highest in New York, and past budgets have all been unanimously approved by the town board.

East Ramapo Board Meeting Cancelled

As tensions grow between residents and the board in the East Ramapo School District, nearly 200 people arrived at the school board’s meeting on Tuesday night, a majority there to continue pushing for the resignation of Superintendent Joel Klein. At the time the meeting was set to begin, only four members of the board had arrived, leading to the anticipated meeting being cancelled. According to officials at least five members are needed to hold a meeting. Board President Yehuda Weissmandl apologized on Wednesday and stated that several members contacted the clerk last minute informing they could not attend. Seating was increased for the rise in attendees, though Weissmandl stated that the district is working to arrange holding the meetings in the gymnasium to accommodate everyone. Parents and activists have been protesting for months, at the meetings as well as at Klein’s home, after he made comments many found disrespectful toward the large Hispanic population in the Rockland district, which he has since apologized for.

Air Quality Health Advisory Heat Issued

Orange and Rockland has issued a Heat Watch Advisory for the area today, as the high temperatures and heavy humidity continues. The company recommends that people be as conservative as possible with their energy consumption today, to help prevent heat related issues. Rockland County government officials issued an Air Quality Health Advisory as well, and recommended that residents remain indoors as often as possible and limit strenuous physical activity while outdoors.

Cuomo Announces Airport Upgrades

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that upgrades will be made to multiple airports in the area. At a press conference Cuomo stated that LaGuardia Airport would be completely redesigned and rebuilt, allowing for an upgraded system that will expand the cramped, inefficient terminals there currently. The plan was presented after Vice President Joe Biden criticized the dated airport last year and worked with the governor’s office to come up with a solution. Work will begin next year, with private funding providing half of the $4 billion needed, including Delta Air Lines who is a partner in the terminal. Cuomo also announced that Republic Airport on Long Island and Stewart Airport in New Windsor have been approved for Start Up New York, which will allow them to act as start up businesses tax free for ten years. John F. Kennedy Airport will also have one of its existing buildings turned into a hotel. According to Cuomo and Biden the unified terminal at LaGuardia will create jobs and provide the airport with much needed room for concessions and security screenings.

Fire at Orangeburg Senior Complex

Rockland County firefighters responded to a blaze in Orangeburg on Saturday night, fighting flames that were quickly spreading through a two-story senior complex. Volunteers from seven departments arrived at the Cortwood Village Senior Complex around 11:00 PM, where Orangetown Police were helping to evacuate residents from 25 apartments in the buildings. Officials stated that the cause of the fire is being investigated and the flames appeared to being by spreading up the siding of the building and through the roof, damaging 20 of the 24 apartments that burned, which are now uninhabitable. No residents were reported injured.

Arrests Made in Rockland Drug Investigation

According to the Rockland County District Attorney’s office, officials from the Drug Task Force and several police departments concluded an undercover investigation into drug sales in the county, leading to the arrest of eighteen residents. Christopher Goldrick, the director of the task force stated that the local offices worked with federal officials to obtain warrants and investigate street level drug dealers, the highest charge being felony counts of federal conspiracy. The eighteen arrested are accused of selling cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and opioids in Spring Valley, Stony Point, Haverstraw, Clarkstown, Suffern, Ramapo, and Orangetown. Police also uncovered cash and guns during their searches. District Attorney Thomas Zugibe stated that cases like this one are a step forward in stopping drug-dealing and addiction in the county.

Clarkstown Schools Redistricting

According to Clarkstown School district officials, they will be implementing a new plan for the coming school year that will help balance out the number of students enrolled in each elementary school. Board President Michael Aglialoro stated the new plan allows parents the option of choosing which school near their address their child will attend. Enrollment in the district has declined by 7.4% in the last ten years and demographic studies show it will continue to do so. Four of the district’s nine schools are participating in the plan, Bardonia, West Nyack, Woodglen, and Little Tor. Students that register for enrollment after July 1, 2016 will be assigned a school, but according to Superintendent J.Thomas Morton, the district is offering the plan to balance each school’s student populations. Parents can also opt to keep their child in the same school for the 2015-2016 year and move them for the 2016-2017 year. Parents changing schools for this coming fall must do so by July 27.

Oil Train Emergency Drill in Orangetown

Rockland officials and first responders will be participating in an emergency oil train drill on Thursday. According to Orangetown Police the drill will help officials see how prepared the county is in the event of a spill or an accident on the CSX Rail Line that runs through all but one town in Rockland. After recent incidents throughout the nation involving highly flammable Bakken crude oil that is often transported by train cars, officials are searching for ways to protect the community in a possible emergency. The drill will take place from 6-10 PM on Thursday night, and will close parts of Western Highway and Highview Avenue from 5-10 PM while police, ambulance, and fire departments respond to the crossing. Police will be informing residents in the area with automated calls and are notifying them not to be alarmed when they see smoke and realistic injuries presented in an accident.

Education Commissioner Making Plans for East Ramapo

According to New York Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia the department will be stepping in with the East Ramapo School District. Elia stated on Monday that while the Board of Regents and Education Department cannot do much, the state is working on options to help members of the district determine a more stable financial plan. On Sunday the Journal News reported that 72-year old Superintendent Joel Klein will allegedly be removed from the position a year before his contract is set to end. The Commissioner spoke at the regents meeting on Monday along with Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch who stated that she was happy to read the news that the school board will be searching for a new Superintendent as a starting point for change.

Snow Closings Updated Regularly

Please click on the image below to view all snow closings for Rockland County.