According to a statement released by the Rockland County Legislature, Chairman Alden Wolfe and Legislator Jay Hood sponsored a resolution that was recently adopted by the Budget and Finance and Planning and Public Works Committees. The resolution would provide Hi Tor Animal Care Center with $500,000 as a part of the county’s Capital Project Budget to go toward the $1 million building proposal for the new shelter. In March Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski obtained $500,000 grant from New York State, to be applied to the project’s $300,000 funds raised in private donations over the years. About his decision to sponsor the resolution Wolfe stated, “There is no doubt that this organization has operated in the best interest of the animals entrusted to its care, however, the building is no longer adequate to house the revolving and growing population of lost or abandoned animals.” While the resolution was approved at Tuesday’s Planning and Public Works meeting it still needs to be passed by the remainder of the Legislature at the upcoming meeting. As well as by the County Executive. The proposal states that the new shelter would be owned by the county and leased to Hi Tor.
Standardized testing for English Language Arts began today for the nearly 700 school districts throughout New York state with math to follow later this month. The controversial tests are part of the Common Core standards that each student should reach by the end of each grade. Last year, over 60,000 students opted out of English and math tests with a higher number expected this year. Districts in the Lower Hudson Valley are reporting lower than 55% participation from students who are coming to school after testing or just sitting out in cafeterias and gymnasiums. Some officials are calling on the state education department to clarify the consequences of opting out of the Common Core tests as test enrollment dropping under 95% may impact federal funding received by school districts. School officials are encouraging parents to consider the impact opting out can have on school funding though teacher unions and advocacy groups firmly argue that testing unfairly judges teacher efficacy as well as takes valuable class time away for test preparation.
Highview Elementary School in Nanuet experienced a brief ‘safety hold’ Monday morning after reports of shots fired within the area prompted the precautionary procedure. According to an email sent out to parents by Nanuet School District Superintendent Mark McNeill, the ‘safety hold’ requires students to remain inside the building, going about their usual schedule. Clarkstown Police received report of the incident at around 10:38am, then informing the elementary school across the street to implement security measures. The hold was lifted two hours later after police found no evidence and now believe the incident to be unfounded.
Former Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin was seen in court on Monday, the first day of her non-jury trial. Jasmin is charged with allegedly accepting bribes in exchange for her political influence, including approving a catering hall on village property for 50% of the business, and faces charges of extortion and wire fraud. On Monday the defense portrayed their client as a victim, claiming that she was enticed into situations by FBI cooperating witness Moses Stern, who was working with the agency after being arrested for his own extortion charges. Prosecution called an undercover FBI agent who posed as a developer seeking a bid from the village to the stand, where he testified that the former mayor met with him during the investigation to tell him what to say before the board of trustees. The trial continues before Judge Colleen McMahon Tuesday morning.
The Chestnut Ridge man who was shot multiple times at his business in South Hackensack New Jersey was pronounced dead at Hackensack University Medical Center. According to Bergen County Prosecutors on Sunday evening around 7:00 PM 51-year old Richard Zariello was shot six times, twice to the head, during what appears to be an attempted robbery at his business Clean Sweep Chimney Depot on Route 46. The married father of two was pronounced dead around 3:45 Monday afternoon. Police have ruled the incident as a homicide and have opened an investigation into the case, which will continue to be run by the Bergen County Prosecutors Office.
Police arrested a Brooklyn woman on Thursday after she allegedly used 48 false credit cards to make more than $3,000 in purchases at stores in the Palisades Center Mall. Clarkstown Police stated that 27-year old Christina Blackett was arrested and received felony charges of grand larceny, possession of forged instruments, and possession of stolen property after employees at the Lord & Taylor store reported to police that the credit cards she used for purchases of goods and gift cards appeared suspicious. She is being held in Rockland County Jail on $10,000 bail.
Firefighters responded to a call around 3:45 on Saturday afternoon, to reports that an apartment complex in Monsey was in flames. Officials stated that eight apartments were completely destroyed when one unit at the Regency Village Garden Apartments on Robert Pitt Drive caught fire, and 40 other units were left uninhabitable from smoke and water damage. Though the fire’s cause was originally suspicious, officials now believe it was started accidentally by a knocked over candle. Nearly 200 people were left without homes due to the damage though no injuries were reported and the RedCross provided temporary shelter to many of the residents.
According to Ramapo Police a crash involving a minivan and an ambulance on Sunday led to one of the drivers being hospitalized. Police stated that the EMStar Ambulance was not transporting any passengers when it collided with the van on College Road around 1:00 PM, flipping on its side. The driver was trapped and had to be freed by Rockland Paramedics and Monsey Firefighters, and was transported to Westchester Medical Center for chest pains, while the driver and passenger of the van were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital for evaluation. Police closed the intersection of College Road and West Carlton for nearly an hour and a half, and are continuing to investigate the accident.
The trial for the case against former Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin is set to begin today. In 2013 Jasmin was charged with extortion for allegedly accepting bribes from local businessman Moses Stern, who was working with the FBI at the time, along with former Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret who pleaded guilty to mail fraud and extortion last year. A judge ruled recently that claims made by the prosecution that Jasmin asked Stern to eliminate votes in an election, would not be allowed to be used in the trial, with defense claiming that when Stern recorded the former Mayor he did so to gain favor with the FBI. Defense Attorney Benjamin Ostrer and his client also filed papers requesting a nonjury trial, which was approved and so the case will be seen only before Judge Colleen McMahon in White Plains.
According to a Bergen county Prosecutor a Chestnut Ridge resident was the victim of a shooting in New Jersey on Sunday night. John L. Molinelli stated that the shooting took place at the Route 46 business Clean Sweep Chimney Depot in South Hackensack and the victim is the owner, 51-year old Richard Ziarello of Chestnut Ridge, who was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center for treatment to critical injuries. Police are investigating the cause, with suspicions appearing that it may have been a robbery and are searching for a suspect. Limited information has been released, but officials stated that Ziarello is in grave condition.