The Ramapo School Board is looking for a new member to replace Trustee Clarke Osborn, who is also the Suffern Police Chief and resigned on December 3. Osborn served on the board for ten years and stated that due to personal reasons and other commitments he had to give up his seat, he is working towards obtaining his masters degree and teaching part- time at Rockland Community College. Osborn is the second member to resign this fall, following Pam Frederick in September, who was offered the position as Executive Director of the Rockland County School Boards Association. Frederick’s replacement, Marlyse Haward of Suffern, was sworn in on December 3 and according to President Craig Long will help the board get back to full power after the resignation of two veteran members. The board will meet next on December 17 to further discuss issues in finances that arose after the state Comptroller’s audit stated that the district has been saving more that 16.3 million dollars since 2011 which could have been used to lower taxes for residents.
At a meeting on Thursday the Rockland County Legislature voted 16-1 to transfer ownership of the entire Building A of the Dr. Robert L. Yeager Health Center to the newly formed Rockland County Health Facilities Corp., out of interest expressed by potential buyers. Originally the LDC took over ownership of the Summit Park Nursing Home on floors 3 and 5 though 9, and now a public hearing will be held December 30 to finalize the agreement allowing the LDC to sell the remaining floors of Building A, which house a long-term acute care hospital, or LTACH. According to Susan Sherwood, the chair of the LDC, the group is continuing interviews and background checks on the four buyers that came forward with offers meeting the minimum price of 22.47 million dollars.
Spring Valley Mayor Demeza Delhomme and fire chiefs are working on a schedule for his new proposal for volunteer firefighters employed by the village. On Thursday the Mayor revoked his policy stating that employees could not respond to calls during the workday. And on Friday the mayor announced that one of the two chiefs that work for the village will respond to a call and if it is serious more volunteers will be released from work. According to village attorney Jerrold Miles volunteers will be on call and the schedule will rotate weekly. Coordinator of Rockland’s Fire and Emergency Services Gordon Wren stated that he had proposed a similar system to prevent all of the volunteers from answering to non-serious calls or false alarms and he is looking to meet with the Mayor and fire officials to discuss.
SWAT teams surrounded a Spring Valley apartment building on Saturday afternoon while searching for a man accused of shooting into a crowd of people that morning in Hillcrest. Police are looking for 28- year old Spring Valley resident Reginald Louis on charges of second- degree attempted murder and more. According to a witness, the shooting occurred when a man saw his ex-girlfriend with another man, and no one was injured in the attack. Louis’ mother, sister, and two children were removed from the apartment before police entered just before 2:00 PM and they and the SWAT teams left the building at 2:00.
Police and emergency workers responded to a call on Friday morning for a train that crashed into a truck transporting cars and motorcycles on Pineview Road in West Nyack. Police stated that the truck driver had been attempting to cross at a part of the road where there were no gates when the engineers of the train saw the vehicle on the tracks and sounded the horn to warn the driver, but not in time. According to the reports neither of the two men on the train, 30- year old James McCormick and 32- year old Ryan Pauley, both from Jacksonville, Florida, were injured in the crash. The driver of the truck, 55- year old Esad Sadikovic, also of Jacksonville, suffered several fractures after being thrown from the vehicle and was taken to Nyack Hospital before being transferred to Westchester Medical Center. A hazardous materials team was called in to clean up 75 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from the truck, and volunteer firefighters fought to keep flames caused by fumes from the five cars being transported under control.
Former Mayor of Spring Valley Noramie Jasmin, former Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret, and State Senator Malcolm Smith were seen in Federal Court Thursday, where a judge ruled that evidence being used in ongoing corruption cases cannot be released to the media or public. Prosecutors for the case, in which Smith has been accused of attempting to pay Republican officials $15,000 to gain a nomination for the New York City Mayoral race, stated that it is a win for everyone involved, especially after a letter used as evidence in the case was leaked. Recently former Republican Chairman for the Bronx, Jay Savino, pleaded guilty to accepting the money from Smith. Jasmin and Desmaret are linked to the case by their arrest for allegedly accepting money from Moses Mark Stern to vote for an ultra- Orthodox Jewish catering hall to be built on village property.
Demeza Delhomme, new Mayor of Spring Valley, took back his recent policy prohibiting volunteer firefighters who are employed by the village from responding to calls during the work day, after facing much opposition. On Thursday when village employees responded to calls once again, Deputy Mayor Vilair Fonvil stated that everything is the way that it was before the policy was announced and that fire officials, the Mayor, and village trustees will meet to further discuss changes to the system. According to Rockland Fire and Emergency Services Director, Gordon Wren, the law requires that volunteers respond to calls and the policy threatened volunteers and residents. An attorney for the village stated that the mayor stands by the volunteers and will discuss future plans of aid for fire calls.
The Rockland County Legislature voted on the 2014 budget Thursday night. Legislators voted 11-6 to pass the amended version of the County Executive’s proposed budget after New York State Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli reviewed the plan and recommended that the county address the 9 million dollars in overestimated revenues in energy sales taxes and bond income. The new plan will call for a 9.9 percent tax increase for residents, the same as it would have been had they voted for the original plan, but in the new budget 3 million dollars in sales tax revenue has been added. County Executive elect Ed Day was among the six that voted against the amended plan, stating that his vote symbolized his thoughts that residents should not have to pay another 9.9 percent in property taxes. Michael Grant, the Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee stated that following the Comptroller’s requirements ensures the 96 million dollar bond that Governor Cuomo approved last month.
An SUV accident on Route 45 in Pomona early this morning resulted in the death of an unidentified man. According to Ramapo Police Sargent Chris Franklin the road was reopened at 8:30 AM after the 1:50 AM accident where the SUV drove off the road and hit a guardrail closed the road for over six hours. The identity of the man will not be released until family can be reached.
Rockland County government spokesman Ron Levine passed away Wednesday of a fatal heart attack at 64. His family stated that paramedics responded to a 911 call from the home and transported him to Good Samaritan Hospital. Levine worked as a teacher, administrator, and spokesman for the New York City Board of Education for many years and worked as Communications Director for late New York State Senator Thomas Morahan for seven years. According to Joan Silvestri, Rockland’s Personnel Commissioner and Morahan’s daughter, Levine and her father were close friends and Levine was there for her family while Morahan was facing Leukemia diagnosis and treatment. Levine also spent three years working closely with County Executive Scott Vanderhoef who stated he is upset by his passing and he was an experienced asset to the office. Ron is survived by his wife Nancy, daughters Brooke and Beth, and grandsons Michael and Harrison. His funeral service will be held Friday at 11:00 AM at Hellman Memorial Chapel in Spring Valley.