A federal judge has ruled that the town of Ramapo was not at fault in a lawsuit filed by a local yeshiva. The lawsuit was originally dismissed by U.S. Judge Kenneth Karas in 2010, and the Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim refiled claiming that the villages of Pomona, Montebello, Chestnut Ridge, and Wesley Hills blocked their plans to build adult student housing and various other projects on Grandview Avenue, because of anti-Hasidic reasons, and were seeking $100 million in damages. Karas ruled that the Yeshiva lacked sufficient evidence to prove that town officials were targeting their building plans, and stated that while the feelings of discrimination may exist. The yeshiva and town of Ramapo have been facing off in the courts since 2004, when they were brought up on fire and zoning violations.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday night that the Assembly and Senate have reached an agreement on a budget deal. The $142 billion New York State budget for 2015-2016 includes $1.5 billion for Upstate revitalization, controversial education reform, and an ethics package. The details will be released later Monday with a vote Tuesday on parts of the budget, such as higher minimum wage proposals and property tax relief which were both dropped. The final budget is due Wednesday April 1.
Home health aide worker Sharon Ellis, 52, of the Bronx, has been charged with grand larceny, possession of a forged instrument, and a misdemeanor count of petty larceny for stealing $36,000 from an 86 year-old Ramapo client. Hired in September of last year, Ellis is alleged to have cashed stolen checks and forged the name of the victim without his knowledge. Police say Ellis was arrested in her home Thursday and is now held at the Rockland County Jail where her bail is set at $50,000. Investigators hope that any other clients and possible victims will contact the Ramapo police at (845) 357-2400.
18 Year-old Purchase College Freshman Raymond Turchioe was arrested Thursday evening and charged with a felony count of first-degree aggravated harassment for drawing swastikas and nooses in campus dormitory buildings at Purchase College. The drawings began to appear in Big Haus, Crossroads, and Farside, dormitories from March 17th for which the Westchester Bias Crime Unit together with the SUNY Purchase police had been investigating reports of the offensive graffiti. Turchioe has been charged with incidents from one dorm while the other reported incidents are still under investigation. He is barred from entering campus following an interim suspension pending the outcome of a hearing while a $15,000 bail is set at the Westchester County jail.
According to a memo from the County Executive’s office, County Attorney, Thomas Humbach stated that elected officials who are being paid for their positions as commissioners of a Rockland County Sewer District, are actually not entitled to salaries and must pay the money they have received back. Town Supervisors Andy Stewart of Orangetown, Christopher St. Lawrence of Ramapo, and Alex Gromack of Clarkstown, as well as Hillburn Mayor Craig Flanagan, Spring Valley Mayor Demeza Delhomme, and Sloatsburg Trustee Daniel O’Leary, were informed in January that county law orders that elected officials do not get paid and they would not continue receiving salaries, and recently they were informed that they must pay back the money. Of the officials who responded to the memo, most stated that they would follow the county’s order, while some questioned if it is possible to get all the money back because of income and social security taxes that have already been paid. The thirteen seats on the sewer district board are filled by the Legislature, eight are for elected officials and five are reserved for residents who are allowed by county law to receive a salary. Former Clarkstown Councilman John Maloney who finished his term in 2009, remained as a commissioner in the seat reserved for an elected official, though he stated that he was a commissioner in the seat reserved for an elected official, though he stated that he was appointed as a residential commissioner. He was asked to step down in January following Humbach’s description of county law. All of the officials agreed in January to continue serving without pay.
A 47 year-old Orangeburg man was struck by a car in front of Tappan Zee High School Wednesday evening. A special police investigation unit is investigating the cause of the incident while the driver, a Blauvelt resident, has not been ticketed nor charged. The pedestrian is said to be hospitalized, suffering from serious injuries sustained from the accident.
$4,888,354 in funds from FEMA will go toward rebuilding the Grand View-On-Hudson Village Hall which was severely damaged from 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. The grant announced today by Senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand and Congresswoman Nita Lowey, will recoup 90% of rebuilding costs on the structure which was condemned after 18 inches of flooding and structural and foundation damage. Grand View-On-Hudson Mayor Larry Lynn thanked FEMA and the State and local officials in their efforts to secure the funding for the 300-resident village.
A judge has made a new ruling in the ongoing case against former Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin, who was arrested in 2013 for allegedly accepting bribes in exchange for political favors. Earlier in March Jasmin and her attorney filed papers with the court requesting that evidence obtained by the FBI through cooperating witness Moses Stern, who wore a wire and recorded conversations with the former Mayor, be thrown out. Defense Attorney Benjamin Ostrer argued that Stern led his client in the conversation to make her appear guilty of some crimes. On Wednesday a federal judge ordered the audio of Jasmin allegedly telling Stern to eliminate absentee ballots in a certain election may not be used in court since it is not related to the indictment filed by prosecutors. According to the judge the other audio tapes presented as evidence can be used during the trial.
According to a U.S. Census Bureau report detailed by the Journal News, Rockland County had the largest population growth in Rockland increased by 4% to 323,866 people since 2010. Rockland was the third on the list of counties with the highest increase, along with Queens and Brooklyn who also had a 4% increase each. According to the information the counties int the Lower Hudson Valley all saw increases, while areas in upstate New York have decreased over the last five years, researchers crediting the numbers to the related crediting the numbers to the related economies, though in Rockland’s case the population changes may not coincide with a rising economy, but with current residents staying or new ones moving in for other reasons.
An eleven month long investigation by the District Attorney’s office and the Rockland Drug Task Force into the sale of prescription drugs in Rockland County led to the arrest of 29 people. At a press conference on Wednesday District Attorney Thomas Zugibe stated that the dealers arrested were selling drugs including Oxycodone and heroin at the shopping centers throughout the county, such as the Palisades Center and the Shops at Nanuet. During the undercover investigation officers purchased drugs from the dealers, who obtained and and sold nearly $1 million of pills by forging prescriptions and in some cases pretending to be doctors, and also searched the homes of all those involved, discovering forgery equipment, as well as various drugs. The charges include federal charges of conspiracy and state charges of fourth-degree conspiracy, all felonies.