State Officials Ask for Poll Watchers in Ramapo Ward Vote

State officials released statements on Sunday, urging the town of Ramapo to use poll watchers for the ward votes on Tuesday. Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, and Senator David Carlucci all voiced their agreement that poll watchers will help the vote go smoothly. Zebrowski stated in an email that Ramapo should allow both sides of the referendums to have representation at the polling stations, with Senator Carlucci agreeing, stating that the avoidance of using poll watchers is unfair and goes against the spirit of democracy. Jaffee stated that poll watchers keep the voting process transparent and benefits everyone. Last week a state Supreme Court Justice ordered that poll watchers are only required for candidate elections and are assigned by the party, so there is no need for them in the ward vote, which will be two yes or no votes the first on whether or not residents can choose their representative based on where they live, and the second will increase the number of town board members from four to six. Town Attorney Michael Klein stated that the town is following the law.

Weekend Motorcycle Accidents

On Sunday afternoon police responded to an accident on Route 17 in Ramapo. According to Executive Director of Rockland Paramedics Ray Florida, a 62-year old man and his 60-year old wife were traveling by motorcycle when their vehicle rolled off the road around 1:45 in the afternoon. The names of the couple have not been released, officials stated that the man received traumatic internal injuries, and his wife suffered severe head injuries. Both were flown to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson NJ. This follows an unrelated fatal motorcycle accident on Saturday night. Around 7:30 PM Vincent P. Russell of Chestnut Ridge collided with a car head on, and officials stated the 49-year old man was declared dead at the scene by first responders. The driver of the car was not injured in the crash and has not been issued any charges. An accident investigation team is looking into the cause.

Water Task Force Meeting

County officials are announcing plans for the water problems faced by Rockland. The Chairman of the Legislature Alden Wolfe and County Executive Ed Day, will be speaking at a meeting open to the public tonight from 5:30 to 7:30 at Rosary Hall in Dominican College 500 Western Highway in Blauvelt. The meeting will open discussion with the new nineteen member task force chaired by Democratic Legislator Harriet Cornell. Earlier in the year the Public Service Commission declared that the need for water wouldn’t be urgent until the year 2020, and United Water New York should not pursue building plans for their proposed water treatment plant on the Hudson River until the need was present. This allowed opponents, such as the Rockland Water Coalition, time to create conservation platforms that will involve protecting wetlands and groundwater, and other solutions. The task force includes county officials, local business owners, school officials, and United Water officials who will be presenting their thoughts on solutions at tonight’s meeting, as well as hiring a new coordinator after the 30 minute public participation session.

County Forced to Spend Money on Bedbug Problem

According to Susan Sherwood, the county’s Commissioner of Social Services, the Department of Social Services’ Medicaid Unit floor in Building L at the Dr. Robert L. Yaeger Health Center in Ramapo was found to have furniture that was infested with bed bugs. On September 16 the Legislature authorized the use of $53,000 to replace 135 chairs that could not be saved after extermination. Sherwood stated that the emergency was addressed quickly because the office has 250 employees with 289 visitors daily. According to the County Health department bedbugs can be transferred by clothing, feed on humans, but do not spread disease, though the bites can be irritating. Officials stated that they will most likely be reimbursed by the Medicaid Program, and will be covered by state and federal aid.

Hillcrest Building Destroyed in Fire

Hillcrest, Spring Valley, and Monsey fire departments responded to a call on Thursday morning at 263 North Main Street in Hillcrest. Around 1:00 in the morning on Thursday firefighters arrived at a medical office building that was in flames and used force to enter the locked building. Police stated that the building was empty at the time and the fire was deemed not suspicious and most likely started from an electrical problem in the roof, leaving firefighters to tear down the walls and ceiling to get to it. Police also reported that one firefighter suffered an injured ankle and was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern for treatment.

Rockland Ranked Most Fiscally Stressed in NY for 2013

New York State Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli released his evaluation on New York communities’ fiscal statuses for 2013. According to his reports Rockland was ranked as the most fiscally stressed municipality in the state for the second year in a row. Dinapoli stated that the review is meant as a warning and to promote discussions between the residents and government officials to find solutions to the issues. County Executive Ed Day stated that the reports are not surprising, people elected him to fix the economic problems Rockland faces and with Moody’s recent promotion to a positive outlook the county can continue making making steps toward an “A” rating. The Comptroller’s report was compiled based on 23 financial and environmental factors and involved !,043 New York communities, with a total of 35 described as stressed. The County Executive is set to release his budget proposal for 2015 next month.

Two People Hit by Cars in Monsey

According to police two people were hit by cars in Monsey on Wednesday morning. Police responded to the first call at 8:30 AM and found that a 21-year old woman was hit while crossing the street in the crosswalk at a red light at Route 59 and Robert Pitt drive, while the car was attempting to make a right. Police stated the woman received minor injuries and was taken to Nyack Hospital and the driver was issued three summonses. The second call was at 9:00 AM on Monsey Heights Road, where a nine-year old boy was hit by the side mirror of a silver Toyota Prius described as having taxi writing on the side, while on his bicycle. The boy suffered an injury to his hand but his parents refused medical attention from first responders. Police stated that the driver didn’t stop and ask that anyone with information call 845-357-2400. Police recently started a campaign to catch drivers who fail to yield for pedestrians, placing undercover officers in crosswalks and on sidewalks in an attempt to prevent accidents similar to these.

Poll Watchers Not Required for Ward Vote

On Wednesday a judge ruled that the town of Ramapo will not require poll watchers for the ward referendum on Tuesday September 30. Activists Michael Parietti and Robert Romanowski, who originally filed petitions to hold the vote that would decide whether or not to switch the town to a six ward system that will allow voters to choose a representative based on the area of town they live and increase board members from four to six, asked the judge on Wednesday to order the town’s use of poll watchers. Last week Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St.Lawrence stated that poll watchers will not be used, with Deputy Town Attorney Janice Gittleman reasoning in court that state law requires poll watchers be present for a candidate election, not a proposition. State Supreme Court Justice Margaret Garvey stated that based on state law, political parties appoint poll watchers, and so the town will not be required to do so for this vote. According to Parietti this will make it difficult to challenge the results, without proof of possible irregularities.

East Ramapo Schools Hire Media-Consultant

According to East Ramapo school board president Yehuda Weissmandl, the district will be working with a new government relations team to help them obtain state aid. Weissmandl stated that they hired lobbyist Darren Dopp of the firm Patricia Lynch Associates as a media consultant to handle press-related issues in June, around the same time Hank Greenburg was appointed as the district’s fiscal monitor by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The district signed a seven month long contract with the firm, playing $7,000 a month. Dopp stated that his goal is to help district officials and residents work together toward getting money for students and programs.

Goats Killed by Neighborhood Dogs

Early Tuesday morning police responded to a call in New City from a woman up around 3:00 AM to find her one-year old pet goats being mauled by a neighbor’s two dogs. According to Marie Harrow, who spoke with the Journal News about her incident, she went into her backyard and found two dogs attacking her Nigerian Dwarf goats, Sonny and Poppy, inside their pen and attempted to fight the dogs off, though eventually she had to give up and call the police. Harrow stated that she has raised goats for over 30 years and in November 2012 the same dogs attacked and killed another two of her goats. Jason and Lauren Feldman, the owners of the dogs, who are 45-pound part labrador mixes, were fined by Clarkstown Justice Court and Harrow was forced to build a taller pen. This time Clarkstown Animal Control Officer Patricia Coleman stated that she took the dogs to Hi Tor Animal Care Center and will be pursuing with the courts a dangerous dog order. The judge can then issue a fine, or have the dogs euthanized.