Rockland County Executive Ed Day officially named the new Economic Development Director, releasing a statement earlier this week. According to his announcement, Day named Calherbe Monel of Spring Valley to the position, which he states is one of the most important roles in getting the county’s financial status back on track. The job pays $85,000 a year and will ask the business man to expand the businesses coming to Rockland County. Monel has worked at Lascomp Institute in Montvale, New Jersey where his job was to maintain and build on businesses and marketing. He most recently worked as an IT Business Specialist for the Clear Channel in White Plains, as well as the Executive Director of the not for profit group Christians United for Haiti, Inc. Day stated that Monel will assist in growing the economy and bring in top businesses to Rockland County. Monel ran for Spring Valley Mayor in November and holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management, as well as certificates in Nonprofit Leadership and Management, and Neighborhood Leadership and Development. He is also currently pursuing his Masters in Business Administration from New England College.
Local activists and members of the Legislature are taking issue with a meeting that County Executive Ed Day had with a group of developers planning the Tuxedo Reserve. The Related Companies are building 1,195 single- family homes, condos, and townhouses on the Sloatsburg/ Tuxedo border and have been attempting to connect to the Advanced Water Treatment Plant in Rockland Sewer District No 1. In 2004 the Legislature passed five resolutions stating that no one can connect to the system unless approved by the board, leading some members to question Day’s involvement. Legislature Chairman Alden Wolfe stated that the Legislature should have been involved with the meeting since they are a part of county government and have a say in the decision process. Community members also stated that they should have been allowed present if the County Executive were going to talk about the towns. According to John Kwasnicki of Sloatsburg residents were not told about negotiations, though they spent years fighting the project, which he stated will bring more pollution, traffic, and drainage issues. Day stated that the meeting was held simply to organize facts and see if the sewer district’s board backed the idea and no agreements were made at the meeting. According to Day the company was offering the district money as well as 2 million dollars to the county, and if the county, and if the county can find a way that would be less harmful to the environment it would be good to consider.
Another man has pleaded guilty to charges of traveling in interstate commerce to commit extortion in Federal Court on Tuesday. Simcha Bulmash joined Moshe Goldstein, Avrohom Goldstein, and David Hellman’s guilty pleas after all were arrested in connection to gang activity, in which they beat and tortured Orthodox Jewish men into granting religious divorces, or gets, in October 2013. According to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman all four men have confessed to driving from New York to a warehouse in New Jersey with a man with the intentions of threatening him to force him into a divorce. Also charged with the same counts are five men from Brooklyn and two from Monsey, Ariel Potash and Rabbi Martin Wolmark. Bulmash could receive up to twenty years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Nyack Hospital will be completing a crisis simulation on Wednesday, featuring fake gunfire. The drill will take place from 9 AM to 3 PM tomorrow in an area of the hospital with no patients, and is designed to simulate a code silver, or a shooter entering the hospital. According to Nyack Hospital Safety Officer Jared Shapiro training will involve the staff of the hospital and the Rockland County react team to help them prepare for the unlikely event that a shooter got into the building. The hospital will be surrounded by emergency vehicles and gunfire will be heard, but it is not expected to interfere with patient care.
Local school officials have begun lobbying the GEA, or Gap Elimination Adjustment, which state government set up in 2010 to slowly adjust budgets and funding. According to records the GEA has reduced more than 455 million dollars of school aid in the past four years, executive director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium Rick Timbs stated the Governor is attempting to restore the state deficit, but in doing so is taking money from schools and students. School Districts in Rockland and the surrounding counties are urging Governor Cuomo to add money to the 2014-15 budget that would make up for the millions lost to schools. According to the Governor’s spokeswoman Dani Lever he has proposed an 807 million dollar increase in funding for education in this year’s budget, and the government has invested 918 million in the last two years. However, all over the state districts are expressing a need for more money. In Rockland the East Ramapo School District enrollment has risen by one- hundred students per year for the past four years, having cut 450 positions in that time. According to members of the assembly and senate a partial restoration of 8.4 million dollars has been included in the 2014-15 budget.
The Pomona man who went missing on Friday March 14 was found dead in his Kia Optima on Sunday afternoon by hikers in Harriman State Park. According to Rockland County Legislator Aaron Wieder 50- year old Peretz Sontag was found in a ravine which he had apparently driven into off a hidden private road near the Lake Welch area. Wieder stated that Sontag’s family had asked volunteers continue to search the park, worried that he would not have survived. According to authorities no foul play is suspected. Volunteers and police had been searching for Sontag since he went missing, his last known position was found by receiving a signal from his phone near the State Park. Police had stated that a neighbor shared that Sontag was depressed and talking about self- harm before he left his home on Friday afternoon. Sontag was described by those who knew him as a kind and charitable man. The funeral for the husband and father of seven is planned for today and he will be buried in his former home of Israel.
Residents of South Nyack are asking officials to redevelop a plan to demolish the Village Hall to make room for parking and bathrooms that would cater to visitors hoping to use the bike and pedestrian paths to be built on the New Tappan Zee Bridge. At a meeting Thursday night the idea was shared of using some of the 25 acres at Interchange 10, some residents stated that using the Interchange will solve the parking problem without intruding on the center of the village, especially since it is unknown how much parking will ultimately be needed to accommodate users of the paths. Special advisor to the Governor, Brian Conybeare stated that estimates have shown there will be about 30 to 35 cars on each side of the bridge at a time, though people have expressed fears that visitors will park on side streets. A three- member task force has been set up and is working with the state to ensure the chosen project works for everyone. One idea is to put in a 22- space parking lot and restrooms and demolish and relocate the Village Hall but keep the structure as restrooms and redesign the plan to accommodate 15 vehicles. The new bridge will be completed in 2018 and the paths will run alongside traffic, with six viewing sites for people to enjoy the scenery of the Hudson River.
A Valley Cottage resident is suing the village of Nyack for 6.1 million dollar, claiming that negligence on their part led to the sinking of his water home during superstorm Sandy. According to Jerry Donnellan, who is the Director of Rockland’s Veterans Service Agency, his part- time, three bedroom home, which rested on a 20×40 foot barge, was listed for sale at the time of the storm, and was moored at the Nyack Municipal Marina. Donnellan stated that the pilings of the docks snapped and pierced the barge, leading to the house sinking. The lawsuit, which will be heard in U.S. District Court, is seeking 3 million dollars for negligence 3 million for damages, and $10,000 in rent that Donnellan stated he paid to the village, even though his home was moored on navigable water, not village property. The suit is claiming that the village did not complete proper stability and safety tests on the structures in the marina, and that the moorings and pilings were in a state of disrepair. The suit also claims that the village enlarged the opening of the marina that leads to the river; so more water flowed in faster.
The town of Ramapo recently settled a law suit filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office for admitted violations to the Clean Water Act when wetlands were filled in during the building of Provident Bank Park. According to records 1.11 acres of wetlands were filled in 2010 when the stadium was built, and the town was ordered to fix the environmental problems caused and pay a $125,000 fine. The town allegedly filed for a permit from the Army Corps. after already filling the wetlands. The permit is required under the Clean Water Act and stated that crews would have had to create 1.8 acres of wetlands to make up for the areas that were filled in. According to Ramapo Town Attorney Michael Klein the town has taken the necessary actions to correct the mistakes that they have accepted responsibility for.
State Supreme Court Justice Gerald Loehr ruled to reverse Spring Valley Mayor Demeza delhomme’s decision to remove Vilair Fonvil from the board of trustees, stating that the Mayor broke the law when he fired the Deputy Mayor with the reasoning that he was sworn in by Village Clerk Kathryn Ball, whose position and actions taken in office were recently nullified by a judge because she was appointed without the proper board vote. Loehr stated that Ball’s position did not have anything to do with the appointment of Fonvil and ordered the removal of Miguelino Joseph, who was hired a a replacement by Delhomme. Delhomme stated that there is no legal proof that Fonvil ever held the position, though according to Loehr, the law does not state that an affidavit for the job needed to be filed. Delhomme announced Monday that he would appealing the decision in the state Appellate Division. According to Fonvil’s representation, Dennis Lynch, Fonvil was fired the day after the law firm began an investigation into the purchase of a 2014 Ford Expedition as an official village vehicle, though the Mayor denied knowledge of an investigation taking place.