OSC Report Released on East Ramapo Schools

New York State Comptroller’s Office released a report Tuesday defining the progress East Ramapo School officials have made in regards to two previous audits in August 2011 and July 2013 and the OSCs recommendations for improvements. State Senator David Carlucci, Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffe recommended a follow up audit and a review of the school officials progress on the recommendations was made in January 2016. In a letter to Interim Superintendent of Schools Deborah L. Wortham and Members of the Board of Education, Deputy Comptroller Gabriel F. Deyo wrote, “it appears that the District has made limited progress on implementing corrective action.” The audit shed light on the fact that the district had not properly budgeted for spending over the last three fiscal years – underfunding two years and overfunding another. According to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, of the 16 recommendations made the district fully implemented only two and partially implemented eight. DiNapoli said that in order to “avoid a worsening financial situation” the school board “must do a better job at managing finances”. Last Thursday the Legislature approved a one-year bill that would provide $3M in state aid to provide programs and services in exchange for greater state oversight on the East Ramapo schools. School Board President Yehuda Weissmandl agreed, “there is more work to do.” He said in a statement that “as a result of our close collaboration with state monitors and as a result of recently approved funding from the state” he believed school officials would be able to take action on the outstanding recommendations. Zebrowski issued a statement that he is “hopeful that the oversight bill” will “enable the monitors and commissioner to institute necessary reforms.” Governor Andrew M. Cuomo now has 30 days to sign the measure into law.

Ossen Lavaud Identified as Burn Victim on Waldron Terrace

Police now know the name of the person found burned to death Tuesday morning on a dirt road off Waldron Terrace in Sloatsburgh. Ramapo police Chief Brad Weidel told WRCR this morning, the victim is 48-year-old Middletown resident Ossen Lavaud. He is married and the father of two small children. There are still many unanswered questions surrounding the investigation. Chief Weidel said they find the death suspicious and they are trying to uncover why Lavaud was on the road in the first place. There were no hazardous chemicals found at the scene. No evidence has been discovered that anyone else was present during the fire, and they do not have an answer yet as to where the fire ignited and how Lavaud got out of the car. Rockland County Sheriff’s Office, state police and fire investigators are assisting in the investigation. Cause of death is yet to be determined by the Medical Examiner’s Office. If you have information regarding this incident you can call the Town of Ramapo Police at 845-357-2400.

Ira Bernstein Pleads Not Guilty

On Tuesday, 42-year-old podiatrist, Ira Bernstein pleaded not guilty to felony charges and conspiracy counts in Rockland County Court. Bernstein and girlfriend, 35-year-old Kelly Gribulek are accused of allegedly plotting to murder Bernstein’s wife and beat up two insurance agents who were looking into fraud at Bernstein’s medical practice. The two had approached a man to help them carry out the plot and he subsequently turned them into local authorities leading to an undercover sting. Bernstein is scheduled to return to court on July 12 and Gribulek is scheduled to be in court on August 2.

CPR Certification Class Thursday 6 p.m.

This coming Thursday at 6 p.m., New City Chiropractic Center will sponsor a CPR Certification class in their office at 490 Rt 304, New City. The class will be taught by certified instructor Randi Colton of FitChick CPR and will accommodate those who have never been certified as well as those looking to re-certify. The cost is $50 and space is limited. If interested call: 845-634-8877

Afternoon News

WRCR News – Tuesday June 21st

Police have identified the two victims of that deadly car crash which occurred Sunday night off of I-287. Sam Cali and Leo Vagias, both 19 years old, were thrown from the vehicle after it went off the highway and into the woods. Cali and Vagias were childhood friends, as well as, former football teammates at Don Bosco Prep. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

In Sloatsburg this morning, Police are investigating the death of a man who was found outside of a burning car off of I-87. The man, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was discovered around midnight after firefighters reported the burning car. The investigation continues as police have yet to identify the victim or the cause of the fire.

Yesterday, a twin engine plane had to make an emergency landing at Republic Airport on Long Island. The plane, which took off from a Westchester airport, landed with its gear up at an estimated speed of 125 MPH. The pilot, 68 year old Jan Nerud, and his passenger were not harmed during the incident.

The Rockland Boulders continue their home stand tonight at Palisades Credit Union Park as they look to move ahead in the standings and take one from the first place New Jersey Jackals. Coverage begins at 6:30 pm here on WRCR.

County Executive Announces Emergency Financial Measures

The County Executive Ed Day stated in a press release yesterday that a series of emergency financial measures will be put in place to address a potential budget shortfall caused by the Legislature’s failure to move forward with the sale of the Sain Building. Day said, “We are facing a $4M hole in our budget, not because of poor planning or economic circumstances beyond our control” he said, “We are facing a $4M deficit because of senseless political posturing.” In a press release yesterday from Rockland County Legislature Chairman Alden H. Wolfe claims, a “fiscal emergency” has been manufactured by the County Executive to put political pressure on Legislators to approve the sale of the Sain building to a private developer. Wolfe said, “We have requested information from the County Executive that is germane to the proposed sale of the Sain building and those requests have been unanswered since February.” He added, “(The County Executive) agreed to give us information and then changed his mind when he decided he wanted to sell the Sain building to a private developer.” As the county’s chief budget officer Day says he must make sure finances are handled properly. He said, “We will make some very painful cuts in programs and services in an attempt to recoup as much of that $4M shortfall as possible.” Wolfe said that as of June 15th the county is ahead of budget revenues by $4.3M due to strong showings primarily through sales tax revenues, and that the county expects $1.4M in other sources of revenue through new state and federal reimbursements and salary savings from vacant government posts. Day says, “As of Friday, his office, was informed by the budget director that they are projecting a $8.5M shortfall for 2017 and that even if you are ahead in your numbers under no circumstances do you throw away $4.5M.” The Legislature will be asking the County Executive to personally appear to tell them about the plans, to answer questions and to work through the issues. In the meantime, Day “urges all county residents to contact their legislators with this simple message: Sell the Sain Building.”

Orlando Candlelight Vigil June 25th

As Federal authorities continue to investigate the mass shootings at an Orlando, Florida nightclub many in the US are continuing to work through their grief, shock and anger. On Saturday June 25th Rockland United for Change will host a Candlelight Vigil in Spring Valley from 7-9 p.m. at 1 Veterans Drive sponsored by WRCR, Relax FM, Model Radio, and Kreyol FM. The gathering is free and open to everyone.

$43M Approved for Smart Schools Investment

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced 36 Smart Schools Investment Plans totaling $43M have been approved as part of the $2B Smart Schools Bond Act – intended to support investment in education technology that will equip students with skills they need to thrive in the global economy. The investment will close the “digital divide” and increase access to technology and high-speed broadband in hundreds of schools across New York. State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, “These funds will enable schools to provide our students with the tools, the technology and the skills they’ll need in the classroom and beyond – whether they go on to college or the workforce.”

Woman Stabs Boyfriend in Haverstraw

59-year-old Cynthia Coleman of Wesley Hills has been arrested for allegedly trying to kill her boyfriend, a 60-year-old man whose name is not being release at this time. According to Haverstraw town police Lt. Martin Lund, Coleman allegedly stabbed the man at approximately 10 a.m. on Route 9W and Tor Avenue with a “small edged weapon”. Police found the victim conscious, injured and bleeding but were still able to get some details of what happened from the victim at the scene and at the hospital. Authorities do not yet know the cause of the attack. Coleman faces charges of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon that could lead to a state prison sentence. According to authorities, Coleman does not have a criminal record. She is in Rockland County jail on $50,000 bail.

Unidentified Man Found Dead Outside His Burned Car

This morning at approximately 12:20 a.m. Ramapo police received a call from firefighters reporting a car fire on a dirt road off Waldron Terrace in Sloatsburg. Journal news is reporting, “First responders arrived and found a four-door sedan on fire, with a man burned outside the car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.” The Rockland County Sheriff’s Office and Ramapo police Chief Brad Weidel are investigating to determine the man’s identity and cause of death. If you have any information you can call: 845-638-5400.

Snow Closings Updated Regularly

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