Moody’s Withdraws Airmont’s Rating

According to the financial group, Moody’s Investment Services, they recently withdrew ratings for 25 municipalities in New York state due to a policy set in place in 2013. The policy from Moody’s requires that towns and other municipalities must have an annual audit completed or verified by a consultant outside of the state. Officials for Airmont stated that private consultants cost about $20,000 and the village chose to save money to keep below the tax cap. The village’s rating was released as an upper-medium grade, but without a 2013 independent audit, the rating has been withdrawn.

Card Skimming Device Found in ATM

According to Clarkstown Police a credit card skimming device was found on a Citibank ATM at the 7-Eleven on Route 59 in Nanuet on Thursday. Police stated that they received a call from a man claiming the ATM’s card slot seemed tighter, leading officers to check the machine. While searching they found a tiny camera placed so that it was viewing the PIN key pad, and a skimming device, which was used to steal user’s information from the card’s magnetic strip. Police stated that they removed both devices and urge anyone who used the ATM to call their bank and check if their accounts were compromised while they continue to investigate surveillance footage from the scene to find the thief.

Two Wednesday Fires in Rockland County

Around 5:00 on Wednesday night firefighters responded to a house fire in Haverstraw. According to officials the flames had started on a mattress on the second floor of the multi-family home and took about twenty minutes for volunteers to put out completely. The fire, which destroyed the apartment building, displaced fifteen residents, though no one was reported injured, and the Redcross will be assisting the thirteen adults and two children. Investigators are looking into the possibility that a candle may have sparked the flames, though arson investigators were also inspecting the scene. Also on Wednesday night firefighters in Nanuet responded to a fire at an auto shop. Officials stated that the small amount of flames started by a fault in equipment within the garage and they were able to be put out quickly.

Housing Market Better Than Ever in 2014

According to an annual report released by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors on Monday, the Hudson Valley housing market is on the upswing. In the report it’s stated that the cost of a single-family home in Rockland County has risen by 3.4 percent, at an average cost of $400,000, and it was the best selling year since 2008. According to the group, in 2014 more than 14,000 homes were sold in Rockland, Westchester, Putnam, and Orange Counties, with all areas’ percentage of sales increasing in the last four years, except for Orange, which saw a decrease of .8 percent. The rise in the housing market has led experts to believe that the coming years will continue to show an increase in sales.

Legislator Alden Wolfe Reelected as Chairman

On Tuesday the Legislature held their annual reorganization meeting, conducting elections for positions on the board. Aaron Weider was reappointed as majority leader, with Toney Earl as Deputy Majority Leader and Chris Carey was reelected as Minority Leader. New Legislator Lon Hofstein was appointed as Deputy Minority Leader. Alden Wolfe was reelected as Chairman of the Legislature, stating that the successes of 2014 include opposing United Water’s Desalination plant and the budget approval, which saved jobs and put public safety first, as well as voters passing the charter reform. According to Wolfe 2015 will focus on the economy and CSX train safety regulations, and concerns of food shortages in the county.

NYPD Officer Who Was Shot, Returns Home to Garnerville

One of two New York City police officers, who was shot while pursuing suspects in an armed robbery in the Bronx, returned home to Garnerville on Wednesday. 38-year old Rockland County resident Aliro Pellerano suffered gunshot wounds to his arm and chest, when he and his partner, Andrew Dossi of Stony Point, tracked down the suspects at the end of their shift around 10:30 Monday night. Dossi remains in St. Barnabas Hospital for another operation for gunshot wounds to his arm and back. Police arrested 24-year old Jason Polanco and 28-year old Joshua Kemp on Tuesday. Polanco was charged with attempted murder of a police officer, attempted murder, robbery, assault, and criminal possession of a weapon. Kemp received treatment for a gunshot wound to his arm and was charged with criminal possession of stolen property, robbery, grand larceny, and criminal possession of weapon.

Spring Valley Board Votes No on New Positions

On Monday afternoon the Spring Valley Village Board of Trustees met to discuss Mayor Demeza Delhomme’s proposal to fire ten full-time employees. The mayor presented the idea to use just over $600,000 to hire three assistant building inspectors, two fire inspectors, and five code enforcement officers, as well as the recently proposed four part-time fire inspectors. The board voted not to pass the proposal with a 2-2 vote, Trustee Anthony Leon and Mayor Delhomme voting yes, Trustees Vilair Fonvil and Asher Grossman voting no, and Trustee Emilia White abstaining. Fonvil and Grossman stated at the meeting that setting aside $600,000 made no sense and, though safety and code enforcement are important, the decision should wait until an expert’s report can be filed. White stated that she needed to speak with the village Treasurer first, who did not attend the meeting. Delhomme set the emergency meeting after two separate suspicious fires destroyed one illegal boarding house and one illegal dormitory in a yeshiva last week.

Building Violations a Common Issue in Spring Valley House Fires

JUst after midnight on Saturday morning, firefighters responded to a house fire on Johnson Street in Spring Valley. According to officials the building was acting as an illegal boarding house, with eight families living there, and faced multiple violations including having no smoke alarms inside. All fourteen adults and four children, one a newborn baby, were able to get out of the building before the fire spread, but have been left homeless by the blaze. The Redcross is caring for the families and investigators stated there will be a summons for electrical violations filed against the landlord. Less than two days before the fire on Johnson Street, a building housing a Yeshiva and Dormitory on Funston Avenue was also destroyed by fire. Officials stated that the fire, which started on the back porch, appears to be suspicious and both could have been prevented if regulations had been followed. The Yeshiva had dozens of students living in the attic area, and fire officials are once again raising concerns of illegally converted buildings, which create life threatening problems for firefighters and those living there. No summons have been filed against the yeshiva as of yet, and investigations into the cause are ongoing. Spring Valley Mayor Demeza Delhomme set a Village Board meeting for 2:00 Monday afternoon to discuss hiring four part-time Fire Inspectors.

Driver in Chestnut Ridge Accident Remains Hospitalized

The two young men involved in a car crash at the intersection of Scotland Road and Scotland Hill Road in Chestnut Ridge on Wednesday have been identified. According to police, the driver, 20-year old Stony Point resident Frank Squilla, was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern for treatment of major injuries after his car went about 40-feet off the road and hit a tree around 3:40 AM. The man’s 19-year old passenger, Jake DiMarsico of Thiells was treated for minor injuries and released. Police are still investigating what may have caused the crash, and no charges have been filed.

Felony Charges for Destructive Drivers

Officers with the Rockland Sheriff’s Department arrested two men on Saturday who were accused of driving on fields at Rockland Community College and tearing up the ground. Brooklyn resident 22-year old Samuel Benedek and 27-year old Moshe Amsel of Lakewood, New Jersey were arrested with misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief and on Tuesday police stated that the charges will be upgraded to felony counts of third-degree criminal mischief, because the men allegedly caused $1,700 in damages to the turf after doing donuts across the lawns and being caught by college security. Benedek and Amsel were released without bail and will be seen in Ramapo court on January 13.

Snow Closings Updated Regularly

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