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.

Rockland Residents Arrested After Allegedly Drugging Victims

Two Rockland residents were arrested this week following accusations that they were a part of a group that lured wealthy men out on dates and drugged them using ketamine and methylone. Carmine Vitolo, a Queens strip club manager who lives in Pomona and Roselyn Keo of Nanuet were arrested along with three other women described as professional strippers who took advantage of the men and drove them to expensive New York City strip clubs where they used the victim’s credit cards for $5,000 to $50,000 charges for the night. Afterwards the group allegedly blackmailed the men, saying that they would release what happened publicly if the men spoke out. According to Bridget G. Brennan, a special narcotics prosecutor, the group stole aout $200,000 over the course of the scheme, as well as compromising the safety of the targeting individuals. Each of those arrested face charges of grand larceny, assault, and forgery. Vitolo pleaded not guilty and was released without bail. Keo and her attorney declined to comment, though she was reported to be released on $5,000 bail.

Chicken Slaughterhouse Not Yet Approved

According to a spokesman for the Empire State Development fund that awarded the village of New Square with a 1.6 million dollar grant to build a new chicken slaughterhouse recently announced that the agency is still in the process of approving the final project. Jason Conwall stated on Wednesday that the state has the ability to turn down the proposal and are taking into account the concerns of everyone involved. The project could also potentially come to a stop if the village asked for the money to be taken back, though Conwall stated that so far the village has not made a request to do so. Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski reached out to the estate earlier this week, sending a letter to the director of the Empire State Development board of directors, Kenneth Adams, in which he asked that they rescind the grant due to the potentially hazardous effects on the residential area the 26,500 square foot plant would be built. More than 2,000 residents signed the letter opposing the $3 million project to build the plant that would process about 5,000 chickens daily with the plant opening at 5:00 AM. According to Zebrowski’s letter the grant was awarded in 2009 for improvements to the existing plant in New Square, which was later shut down for multiple violations. Zebrowski stated that the grant can be rescinded by the board in their upcoming June meeting if the plans have not proceeded in a timely manner. Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee recently put her support behind those opposing the plant as well.

Fiscal Monitor Put in Place in East Ramapo School District

Governor Andrew Cuomo has assigned the East Ramapo School District a fiscal monitor to focus on solving the problems surrounding the public schools. According to State Education Commissioner John King, Hank Greenburg, an attorney from Albany, who worked as counsel with the governor during his time as Attorney General will be tasked with monitoring the fiscal crisis by looking through financial reports and books in order to make recommendations to the district. Reverend Weldon McWilliams a member of the Rockland Clergy, a group of religious leaders and local activists who has been traveling to Albany since April to speak with state leaders to gather support for the district and the students, stated that this is hopefully the first step toward an understanding between the East Ramapo Board of Education and community members. The school board and officials have stated that the extra monitoring will not solve the problem, according to many the state needs to change their aid formula to take into account the numerous private school students, which make up 22,000 out of the 31,000 kids in the district. The state added eleven percent to the aid East Ramapo received this year, though programs such as sports and the arts have remained cut.

Hi Tor Long-time Volunteer Resigns After Internal Dispute

A volunteer at the Hi Tor Animal Care Center in Pomona resigned from his position on Monday night after an alleged dispute with the board. According to Donald Franchino, who worked with the Hi Tor rebuild project for many years raising money to build a new shelter for animals, a complaint was filed with authorities accusing him of illegally using the shelter’s name to raise money for a separate fund. Franchino stated that the fund was set up with a separate tax number and account to protect money raised specifically for rebuild incase the shelter’s former director filed a lawsuit against them. Current board President Lizanne Fiorentino stated that Franchino was not running the rebuild project as he was supposed to and she had ordered for him to turn the funds raised over to Hi Tor’s original account, though Franchino stated that he was the one who had been asking for documentation of funds acquired for the first six months of the new president’s term, with no answer leading to the separate account. According to Fiorentino she filed complaints with the Rockland District Attorney’s Office as well as the State Attorney General’s office for Franchino to stop using Hi Tor’s name for his causes. Volunteers have raised about $300,000 for the shelter since the rebuild operation was announce in 2012.

Ramapo Consultant Receives New Position

The town of Ramapo recently addressed the challenge of town board member Daniel Friedman against the decision to hire Bernard Charles, husband of board member Brendel Charles, as a consultant and Melinda Malia, the daughter of town Building Inspector Anthony Malia, as a temporary Clerical Assistant. According to Parks and Recreation Director Michelle Antosca, Charles was recently chosen from three applicants as the new assistant recreation activities coordinator for the town, pending passing a civil service exam. Charles resigned from his position as Parks and Recreation Director with the Village of Spring Valley and the controversial $5,000 a month position as Ramapo Affairs Consultant, which was questioned by Friedman in January was terminated on May 30. The new full-time job pays $45,973 and was approved in a town vote 4-0, with Brendel Charles abstaining, at a May 28th meeting. At the same meeting the board approved the creation of a Town Attorney’s Office Service Aide position to be filled by Melinda Malia, with a salary of $41-42,000 a year. Her original temporary contract as clerical assistant was terminated. Friedman stated that he is happy with the outcome of the situations and called it a victory for taxpayers.

Video Released of Spring Valley Police Using Violence

A Spring Valley police officer is under investigation after the release of a video online that shows the officer forcibly pushing a man to the ground. In the 16-second video a young man is holding a ticket and appears angry with the officer, about halfway through the video the officer appears to swing the man’s leg out from under him and holds him to the ground. Police Chief Paul Modica stated Monday that they are investigating the entire interaction, which was about five or six minutes long, and the video is 16 seconds of a situation not shown, which makes it troubling. According to Modica, investigators are looking into police and arrest reports and are speaking with witnesses and the officer, who was not named, is still on the job. Wilbur Aldridge, the Regional Director of the Mid-Hudson NAACP, stated that the video seems to be a “blatant form of police brutality,” and that the actions taken by the officer were unnecessary. Aldridge and Willie Trotman, President of the NAACP, spoke with Modica and believe that the investigation should close by the end of the week. Aldridge stated “the police officer should be held to a higher standard. He may be annoyed, but that’s the nature of the job.”