In a unified front against the implementation of a bike path beside the bridge, residents met last night inside the Living Christ Church in Nyack for the Nyack Village Board. They rallied against the plan for the $10 million path set to end in a residential neighborhood. More than 20 people stood at the podium to state their case and propose staging public opposition such as protests and bus trips to Albany, all to make lawmakers and the Thruway Authority aware of the unwelcome changes. At the heart of the debate is the added traffic congestion and new construction that are inevitable consequences due to this new tourist attraction. Thruway Authority Officials estimate up to 473 visitors every hour during peak times which will require 151 news parking spaces in both counties. More meetings by the Thruway Authority are expected in March to further gauge feedback on the project before any decisions are made.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey held a press conference at the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack on Monday afternoon, in the wake of a potential loss of funding for the Department of homeland Security. Lowey stated that the decision made by House and Senate Republicans to approve only temporary funding for the DHS, in an attempt to stop the President’s immigration policies would hurt Rockland County in several ways. The county receives various grants equaling more than $1 million that provide resources for emergency situations, including the measures to fight the fears of terrorist actions against shopping malls throughout the country after the recent threat against the Mall of America, and with the department’s approved funding ending on February 27, these grants could fall through. Lowey and a group of 192 cosponsors have introduces a bill that would allow the DHS to obtain a full year of funding, does not include immigration issues, and would ensure funding for communities throughout New York. Another fear that was discussed at the conference was the dangers presented by train cars that transport crude oil on railways through Rockland County. The resources used by the County Sheriff’s Department to prevent accidents happening on the railroads are also in jeopardy with the potential shutdown, such as equipment and emergency drills used to prepare officers. Lowey stated, “Recent and very public rail accidents have highlighted how an inadequate homeland security funding bill would have serious consequences for our local emergency personnel… It is time to end this charade and pass the clean DHS funding bill.”
Firefighters responded to a call in Upper Grandview on Friday to find a home in flames. Around 1:00 PM neighbors reported that the fire on Route 9W was spreading quickly through the home. According to officials when they entered the home they found nearly $30,000 books stacked against the walls, blocking doors and windows. The books belonged to the owner of the home, Fred Rosselot, who collected and sold rare books. The 82-year old man was injured in the blaze, officials reporting that he was taken to Nyack Hospital for treatment to burns and smoke inhalation. The fire took hours to be put out completely, due to the slope of the hill the house was built on and the freezing weather and ice, as well as the extent that the flames spread through the old books. Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire and it appears the home did not have a working smoke detector. Rosselot was provided temporary housing and neighbors have started a Fundrazr page online to help collect money for the man.
Firefighters are reportedly at the scene of a blaze in Upper Grandview off of Route 9W. Piermont, Nyack and Central Nyack Fire Departments responded at around 1:00pm and continue to work to contain the fire where one person escaped unharmed and was sent to Nyack Hospital for treatment. Route 9W from Treeline Terrace to Old Mountain Road is closed off at this time.
According to Ramapo Police a family in Chestnut Ridge all suffered from Carbon Monoxide poisoning in their home on Thursday morning. The nine family members ages ranging from an infant to 42-year old were all taken to Westchester Medical Center after they reported suffering from symptoms caused by the odorless and colorless gas filling their home on Beckett Court. Police stated that it appears the Carbon Monoxide was backed up into the house because of a problem with the furnace and heat. It also seems the home did not have a Carbon Monoxide detector, which officials stated are incredibly important and will detect andy level of the gas in a home. All the family members are expected to be fine after the incident.
Rockland County representative are pushing for more regulation from New York State when it comes to the East Ramapo School District. Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski announced on Wednesday that he and fellow Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee and Senator David Carlucci have been working to draft legislation that will allow a monitor for the district to veto decisions made by the board. The bill, which has been introduced to the legislature, follows the recommendations stated in the report submitted by the temporary state-appointed fiscal monitor Hank Greenburg and would require an improvement plan be put in place that will measure progress in academic and fiscal stability in the district, as well as an annual report from the appointed monitor. All three officials behind the bill agreed that the students are in need of a district that can be trusted, and the placement of a fiscal monitor will ensure that more programs and funding will be possible in the future. The legislation will now move on to the Education Committee in the Senate and Assembly.
The Board of Regents is postponing a vote to make standalone exams mandatory after outcry in opposition from parents and educators. Thousands of letters were submitted to the Education Department during the 45-day public comment period prompting a response by the Board. The controversial tests would be taken in addition to the multiple standardized tests that students must take. These field exams are thought of as ‘product development’ to test out possible questions on future tests. The exams have proved somewhat inconsequential due to the mixed results because no effort is given to the questions when students know it does not count.
The vote scheduled for the 25th will be replaced by a $8.4 million request for the Education Department to print versions of tests with the field questions included to reduce the total number of questions. At least 6 school districts in the Lower Hudson Valley have refused to administer the field tests this past June among 26 districts across the State.
Suffern building inspectors responded to an apartment building on Orange Avenue on Monday after reports of flooding due to leaking pipes most likely caused by the freezing temperatures the county is facing this week. Late Tuesday night officials continued to investigate the building which holds 7 small apartments and uncovered various violations including electrical issues and reports that at least six people were living in a small space that was not designed to house that amount. Officials stated that the tenants in these situations are not to blame but the landlords who enforcers claim are putting residents’ lives at risk by violating building standards. Recently the State Division of Building Standards and Codes sent out a letter to the Town of Ramapo and the Village of Spring Valley stating that they will step in if necessary when it comes to illegal housing issues that are becoming an epidemic in the county. According to officials, Orange Avenue, LLC., the landlord of the building, will face violations and receive a court date.
Senator David Carlucci together with The Senior Advisory Council gathered Tuesday afternoon to push forward Senior Affordability in Rockland County. This event comes on the heals of the passage of bills addressing issues faced by Seniors brought by a group of New York State Senators. Among the proposals are a $40 million grant for senior housing for the State and separate funds allotted for modifications within the home. Carlucci emphasized support for New York to join the 40 other States across the nation to establish a Utility Consumer Advocate as part of the Public Service commission in which the Senior Utility Circuit Breaker could work to combat rates which are among the highest in the nation. Seniors raised concerns that the overhead for utility fees is more costly than the service itself. According to U.S. Census data, up to 15% of the county’s residents are seniors. Next month will mark the 3rd year of the Senior Advisory Council’s establishment which has covered issues including healthcare services and pharmaceutical coverage.
Firefighters from the South Spring Valley, Pearl River, Orangeburg, Tallman, Monsey, and Hillcrest departments responded to a call Monday morning to find a house engulfed in flames. Officials reported that just before 8:00 AM reports came in that the refrigerator in the Chestnut Ridge home on Manis Avenue had caught fire and the flames quickly spread to the rest of the house, breaking through the roof of the building. All those in the home were able to get out without injury, though the home was lost to the damage. Firefighters spent a long time battling the flames, due to the freezing temperatures throughout the morning, which often cause problems with hydrants. Investigators are continuing to look into the officials cause of the fire.