Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack announced last week, a plan to get a greater police presence in Rockland and Westchester County malls. Gromack is requesting $94.5 million dollars for an increase in police funding statewide, following recent terrorist threats against shopping centers throughout the country, which would provide at least $2 million for each mall. Gromack stated at a conference that the money would not be used to reduce law enforcement budgets, but to add services to malls in the area. Clarkstown has two major shopping centers, the Palisades Center Mall and the Shops at Nanuet, and according to Gromack extra police could not be funded by their real estate and sales tax revenue, and additional funding in the state budget is necessary. The New York budget was already presented by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this year is being reviewed for approval by the Legislature.
Diana Nadell, 51, plead guilty to murdering her mother-in-law, Peggy Nadell, last January in an attempt to obtain over $4 million due to her son, James Nadell, Diana’s husband. Nadell admitted to hiring accomplice Andrea Benson for help in the act who is also pleading guilty to second-degree murder. The two women both tried to blame each other in the plotted death however Clarkstown Police recounted telephone conversation, surveillance, and other evidence that proved that Benson choked Peggy and Nadell stabbed her. Two other women involved in the murder plot plead guilty to hindering prosecution, a reduced charge for cooperating with the prosecution. Nadell’s sentencing is May 12th and with serve 23 years to life in prison.
According to police, Monika Taylor, 42 of Haskell, New Jersey, died after apparently jumping from the fourth floor of the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack on Thursday afternoon. Police responded to several reports around 4:00 PM, arriving to find the woman on the lower parking garage level, receiving CPR from a shopper who happened to be a physician’s assistant from Nyack Hospital. Taylor was taken to Nyack Hospital where she was pronounced dead due to her injuries. This is the fifth incident of accidental or intentional death by falling or jumping from inside the Palisades Center Mall.
All seven people from a Blauvelt home that went up in flames early this morning, safely evacuated from the home with no injuries reported. 60 firefighters arrived to fight the fire which began in the basement, traveling up the home and required two hours to put out. The cause of the incident is still being investigated at this time. Another fire in Blauvelt earlier this week was caused by candles where two women tried to put the fire out themselves. Orangetown Police Department and Blauvelt Fire Chief Dave Schnitzer posted on social media about the necessity to call 911 immediately without hesitation.
Three departments responded to a fire in Stony Point on Wednesday, after calls came in that smoke was coming from a detached garage on the property. Firefighters from Stony Point, West Haverstraw and Thiells arrived at the address on Route 210 around 4:30 PM fighting the flames that had completely engulfed the garage. Officials stated that the fire was caused by two oil tanks, and destroyed the structure as well as two boats and a pickup truck, though the flames did not spread to the nearby home and no injuries were reported.
Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack along with Deputy Supervisor Shirley Lasker and Police Chief Mike Sullivan gathered outside the Palisades Mall this afternoon to outline the Supervisor’s proposal to request a funding increase for security measures throughout New York State malls. Supervisor Gromack addressed the clear and present dangers from terrorist groups that exist against malls across America, “It’s not a secret that they view malls as a high risk area. And it’s not a secret and municipalities across the state have had to put more and more resources to protect our malls. The proposal that we are submitting to the governor of the state of New York and our state legislatures is a measure that we believe will have an important effect on supplementing the security of malls around the state.” The proposal calls for state funding for malls greater than 750,000 square feet, specifically requesting $2 million for malls from 750,000 to 1,000,000 square feet and $2.5 million for malls greater than 1,000,000
This equates to total expenditure for New York state at $94.5 million, yearly. Gromack made clear that the funding would go toward adding security personnel and not for holes in the town budget, remarking that the budget is indeed stretched thin. The Palisades Mall at 1.8 million square feet is the third largest mall in New York State which would receive $2.5 million and the Shops at Nanuet at just under 900,000 square feet would receive $2 million. An estimated 34 million combined shoppers visit these two malls each year and by receiving an additional 6-7 officers, Deputy Supervisor Shirley Lasker believes this would free up resources for the community. Police Chief Mike Sullivan stated that the funding will allow for more training and additional staff which will work directly with mall security in all circumstances.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the Algonquin Pipeline on Tuesday, issuing a certificate that will allow Spectra Engery to construct their planned natural gas pipeline. Many residents throughout the Hudson Valley have protested the project, stating that it would harm both the environment and property values in the area. According to the agency the pipeline would stretch from New York to Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, to carry natural gas from Ramapo to those areas. Recently the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Indian Point operators released studies that show there would be no threat to, or from, the pipeline where it nears the power plant. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has to issue permits for the project in New York before work can begin.
Rockland Community College’s main and Haverstraw campuses will be closing at 1:00 PM today.
Lacey Spears, former Chestnut Ridge resident on trial for the death of her 5 year-old son, has been convicted of second-degree murder. Jurors convened this morning and delivered their verdict a little after noon today after deliberating all of last Friday as well as Thursday evening. It appeared jurors were leaning toward this charge over the first-degree manslaughter charge when they had asked the judge to define “depraved indifference” last Friday, an element of second-degree murder under the New York Penal code. Evidence and testimony from medical personnel asserted the only explanation for the high sodium level that ultimately caused Garnett’s death was forcing salt through his feeding tube. Prosecutors had argued that Spears and did it for attention, and called it “nothing short of torture.” Prosecutors chose not to pursue a case based on Spears suffering from munchhausen by proxy, a rare psychological disorder in which parents intentional harm their children for the attention, believing the evidence was strong enough to stand alone. In a press conference after the conclusion of trial, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said her confidence was high that that when defense appeals, the conviction would be upheld. She also stated that her office would ask for the maximum penalty of 25 years to life. Spears’ sentencing is set for April 8th.
A jury is set to continue deliberations today after sitting in discussion all day on Friday, asking to see evidence and testimonies once more in the case against former Chestnut Ridge mother Lacey Spears who is accused of killing her son with fatal levels of sodium in January 2014. The jury began deliberating the case on Thursday and continued Friday, watching video evidence brought forward by the prosecution, which shows Spears and her five-year old son Garnett head into the bathroom and soon after the young boy getting visibly sick in his hospital room. The jury spent most time with the video, but also referenced charts of sodium, and testimony by a friend of Spears. Jurors also asked the judge for a definition of “reckless and depraved indifference”. Spears is waiting for the jury’s decision on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter.