Nadell Pleads Not Guilty in Killing

Diana Nadell, the woman accused of killing her mother-in-law, 80-year old Peggy Nadell of Valley Cottage, pleaded not guilty in court on Wednesday. Police believe that 50-year old Nadell and three other women, who have already pleaded guilty, planned the murder of the older woman to gain access to her $4 million estate. Last week Nadell was indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree murder and has been held at Rikers Island in New York City. On Wednesday the facility had technical trouble which led to a delay in the court case, once it started Justice William Kelly set her bail at $5 million and ordered that attorneys to find a closer prison where the defendant can be held. The evidence provided at the court hearing includes video statements from Nadell, recordings of wiretaps, and coconspirator Andrea Benson’s statements against Nadell. Nadell is to appear back in court on July 30. Prosecutors stated they will be seeking life without parole.

Transit Commissioner Resignation Announced

According to Scott Salotto, spokesman for County Executive Ed Day’s office, Rockland’s Commissioner for the Planning and Public transportation Departments, Thomas Vanderbeek, officially resigned from his position on June 5. Vanderbeek has held the $121,900 a year job since April 2011, and in recent years was a liaison between the new Tappan Zee Bridge project and the county, especially during former County Exeuctive Scott Vanderhoef’s term. Vanderbeek has yet to comment on his departure. Before his retirement the former Transit Commissioner approved fare hikes for Tappan ZEExpress, TOR, and TRIPS and in 2013 the county signed a $70 million five-year contract with Brega Transport Corp. to operate Tappan ZEExpress and TOR. Salotto stated that the county has not begun looking for a new commissioner and currently Donald Schuetz, who has a job in the Planning Department, is the temporary replacement. The county is also searching for a new Department of General Services Commissioner, Gerald Walsh retired this month as well. Commissioner of Mental Health Mary Ann Walsh-Tozer recently announced that she too will be retiring.

PSC to Make Decision on United Water Rate Increase

The Public Commission is set to make a decision on the proposed United Water rate hike at a meeting on Thursday. The company asked for an increase in revenue of $21.3 million, which would cost homeowners in Rockland 19.8% more on annual bills. Opponents of the increase have been speaking out since April, Legislator Harriet Cornell stating that the company has been known to be fiscally mismanaged, the quality of service does not match other utility providers in New York, and that because of these she hopes that the PSC will consider the tax payers in their decision. According to United Water spokeswoman Deb Rizzi, the company has tried to keep up reliable services, but the costs will no longer cover it and the rate increase is necessary for improvement in services. In April two state judges recommended that the company ask for 15% instead of the 19.8% increase, giving them an $11.1 million rise in revenue. In a separate request United Water is asking for a special rate increase to help cover the cost of the proposed $56.8 million water treatment plant.

New Buses Expected in Rockland

According to Sue Cerra, the Rockland Transit Administrator, the county will most likely be receiving four used buses from the Albany bus system. Cerra stated that each bus has about 400,000 miles on them and for the cost of the tire leases, about $8,000, Rockland will be taking them to use as spares. The agreement is still bein finalized between Rockland officials and the owners of the Albany buses, but they are expected to arrive in Rockland by the end of the summer and will bring the number of buses in Transport of Rockland’s fleet up from 38 to 42 until next year when new buses costing $1.5 million will be delivered. Starting in 2016 the county is expected to replace seventeen TOR buses from 2004 and in 2017 Tappan Zee Express is expected to replace fifteen buses for the cost of $500,000 to $600,000 each.

New Rockland County Water Task Force

The Rockland County Legislature voted 17-0 on Thursday to approve a resolution signed by County Executive Ed Day that would form a task force to create a water policy. The resolution was sponsored by Legislator Harriet Cornell and Chairman Alden Wolfe, and would potentially prevent the need for a $150 million water treatment plant to be built on the Hudson. At a press conference on Thursday Wolfe announced that the new task force will be an open form of making decisions together, and is the best way to keep water rates down for the county. County Executive Day stated that the idea behind the task force is that residents can become involved in taking control of the supply and demand of water as a natural resource. According to Cornell there is no crisis yet, but the county’s goal is to keep demand low enough that they won’t need to worry about supply. The state Public Service Commission stated last month that United Water can continue to seek permits for the plant but Rockland will not face a serious need for a new water source until 2020, giving opponents time to come up with conservation plans.

Peggy Nadell’s Killer Indicted

Diana Nadell, who was accused in the January murder of her mother-in-law, 80-year old Valley Cottage resident Peggy Nadell, was indicted before a grand jury Wednesday. Nadell and her accomplice Andrea Benson were charged with first and second degree murder and face life without parole, for plotting to kill the older woman in her home on January 25 around 1:00 AM by tricking her into opening the door with a phone call. Investigators believe that Nadell’s motive was to gain access to her husband’s mother’s $4 million estate, Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe stated, “They are accused of conspiring in a sinister plot to murder the victim during a violent attack, in her own home, for personal greed.” According to Zugibe Nadell offered to pay Benson to drive her from Washington DC, where two other women, Elita Grant and Tanisha Joyner, who have already pleaded guilty, agreed to create an alibi for the woman. According to the Rockland Medical Examiner’s office Peggy Nadell was killed by multiple stab wounds to her torso and was found with strangulation marks and various blunt force trauma wounds to her head and face. Benson will be arraigned Thursday and Nadell will be arraigned next Wednesday.

RAMAPO COOLING CENTERS

COOLING CENTERS FOR TOWN OF RAMAPO

1) Ramapo Town Hall 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
2) Joseph T. St. Lawrence Center 7:00 AM- 10:00 PM
3) Ramapo Senior Center 8:00 AM- 4:00 PM

If you have an emergency due to heat call (845)357-2400

Mother Charged in Chestnut Ridge Boy’s Death

Former Chestnut Ridge resident Lacey Spears was arrested Tuesday following an investigation that began with the January 23 death of her five-year old son Garnett at Westchester Mrdical Center in Valhalla. According to police they suspect that the 26-year old mother was suffering from Munchausen by Proxy, a psychological disorder that causes parents to medically abuse their children to gain attention or sympathy. Assistant District Attorney Doreen Lloyd stated at the court hearing on Tuesday that Garnett’s visit to Nyack Hospital, just before he was transferred to Westchester’s Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, is when Spears allegedly delivered the fatal amounts of sodium to the boy through his stomach tube, leading to his rapid overnight downturn in health. According to Lloyd investigators provided internet searches completed by Spears showing that she had searched for the effects of salt on young children. During the investigation a neighbor at the Chestnut Ridge Fellowship Community reported to police that Spears had called her and asked her to throw out an old feeding bag that police eventually found to have high traces of sodium in it. Authorities arrested Spears on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter after they obtained a warrant from a grand jury’s vote based on a two-week long presentation of facts from the investigation on Spears’ life in New York, Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee. Spears pleaded not guilty to both charges, which state she acted with depraved indifference toward Garnett’s life, not intentionally killing him, and was released to be held at Westchester County Jail without bail. She will return to court on July 2 and faces twenty-five years for manslaughter and twenty-five years to life for murder.

Police Investigate Armed Robberies

According to Clarkstown Police a man in Haverstraw was robbed at gunpoint on Sunday morning. Police stated that the man was walking down Pine Street around 12:05 AM when a group of men approached him while pointing a gun at him. The report states that the men demanded cash and when the victim resisted they knocked him to the ground and stole $50 and his cellphone. The victim could only describe two of his assailants, the gunman was described as black, in his early twenties wearing a gray hoodie. The second man was also black in his early twenties with dreadlocks, weighing about 180 pounds and 5’8″ tall. On Friday morning Clarkstown Police were investigating an unrelated robbery at the Nanuet Hilton Garden Inn, where a man described as black, 6′ tall, with a scar on his face, tied up the front desk workers and stole $400, a computer, and a safe around 1:59 AM. According to police the suspect was carrying a semi-automatic pistol. A week before that Ramapo Police opened an investigation into a robbery at the Howard Johnsons Inn, where the front desk employee was found in a similar situation, ziptied in a back room around 1:45 AM. Police stated that the suspect was described as 6′ tall weighing about 190 pounds. If anyone has information on the Haverstraw or Nanuet robberies call Clarkstown Police at 845-639-5800. If you have information on the Ramapo robbery call police at 845-357-2400.

Summit Park Bid Awarded

According to the chair of the Rockland COunty Health Facilities Corp, the LCD set up to be in charge of the sale of the Summit Park Nursing Home the board awarded a bid for the property on Friday. Susan Sherwood stated that the board unanimously voted to award the bid to the Summit Park Acquisition Group, who will then be leasing to Sympaticare LLC., both are owned by Shalom Braunstein of Monsey. Sherwood stated that Braunstein has operated several nursing homes and he filed a certificate of need showing the State Health Department that he is capable of running Summit Park. County officials are hoping the sale of the nursing home is the next step in lowering the 30 million dollar deficit Rockland faces. According to Sherwood Summit Park Acquisition Group will sign an agreement of purchase and sale with the LDC at a public meeting as well as a transition agreement with the county to ensure the care of patients remains the same.