State Officials Plan Tappan Zee Bridge Tolls

Senator David Carlucci announced a plan at a press conference in Tarrytown on Tuesday that would give residents of Rockland and Westchester Counties a discount for crossing the new Tappan Zee Bridge, stating, “If we can’t afford to cross the bridge it will be devastating to our economy.” In the past year the Senator has made clear his plans for new laws that will fight toll evaders as well. New York state loses about $30 million a year to people who do not pay for passing through tolls. According to Carlucci, he is working with lawmakers in Albany to create a plan, in which residents would receive a $250 tax credit for those who file as a single tax payer and $500 for those who file jointly. The plan will also allow residents of both counties to receive a discount on the toll, which according to speculation, could be as high as $15.

Man Dies Due to Gas in Apartment

Orangetown Police responded to a call on Monday to an apartment building in Orangeburg after receiving reports of natural gas smells around 10:00 AM. According to police, officers found an 85-year old man in the living room, who was pronounced dead on the arrival of ambulance workers, and his 84-year old wife on the floor unconscious. The woman was taken to Nyack Hospital in critical condition, her current condition and the identity of the couple has not been released yet. Orange and Rockland crews also responded to the address and evacuated residents from the building until 12:30 PM when they found no problems. Company spokesman Mike Donovan stated that the stove burner had been left on and it appears to be an accident, though the police are still investigating.

Partial Deconstruction of Tappan Zee Bridge Begins

According to spokeswoman for Tappan Zee Constructors, Carla Julian, the company has started the process of removing part of the current bridge. Julian stated that crews have begun removing 500 feet of the Westchester side of the bridge to make room for the new landing, as well as a colum and footing, and the section can be safely removed without harming the structure. According to officials the column is being removed to make room for the foundation of the new Northbound lanes and the work will be completed by crane at night. The I Lift New York super crane arrived last week and will assist in the dismantling of the current bridge, which project officials stated will mostly take place in 2017.

East Ramapo School District Protests

East Ramapo residents and school district members have been expressing concern and anger towards remarks made by School Superintendent Joel Klein last month, referring to the children of immigrants. In a video released of a September meeting Klein claims that certain students know that they will not be obtaining a degree and are attending school simply to learn the language and take advantage of lunches and programs. The residents responded to the statements by attending meetings and protests, some asking for Klein’s resignation. Klein stated that his remarks on the diploma program designed to help students who won’t be graduating were “taken out of context”, and the district also recently hired a lobby firm, Patricia Lynch and Darren Dopp, to assist in public relations. On October 8 hundreds of parents and students held a third protest, with growing numbers. Another is set to be held before the October 21 school board meeting at 7:00 PM.

Weekend Accidents; Bear Killed, Building Hit

Orangetown Police responded to a call on Sunday afternoon for an accident in Blauvelt. According to officers just after 12:00 PM a car crashed into a building at the intersection of Route 303 and Route 340. The driver was treated for minor injuries and remains unidentified and the cause has not been reported, though investigators were at the scene. An unrelated accident was also reported in Ramapo over the weekend. On Friday evening police arrived at the scene of an accident in Wesley Hills to find a young black bear had been hit and killed by a car. Police stated the 200 pound bear was crossing Route 202 when it was hit and survived the crash, but died before police responded. Both the driver and passenger in the car were uninjured and the car sustained minor damage.

Road Closed for Spill Cleanup

Clarkstown Police and the Rockland Hazardous Materials unit responded to a call on Thursday where three vehicles were involved in an accident. According to police a truck was involved in the accident around 11:00 AM, spilling about thirty gallons of diesel on Route 303 at the intersection for Palisades Center Drive in West Nyack. Police stated an SUV and garbage truck collided with the tractor trailer when the driver ran a red light. Five people were taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries and the road remained closed for cleanup until 1:00 PM.

Tappan Zee Constructors Fined for Violations

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, Tappan Zee Constructors, the company building the $3.9 billion new bridge across the Hudson, has been fined for permit violations. According to state reports the constructors began working on building large portions of the bridge at a site north of the project, where they are leasing land and will later ferry the pieces South to the actual construction site. Officials for the group Riverkeeper stated in August they observed the company improperly dredging areas of the Hudson near the Albany site and alerted the DEC of possible violations. Director or Riverkeeper’s Hudson River Program Phillip Musegaas stated that dredging should be continuous movements between the river and barge where materials are dumped, so water and sediment doesn’t drain from the river, but dredging cranes allegedly paused in the process, harming the environment. The company was fined $10,000 for violations and must pay $55,000 to a project for the environment. TZC officials stated that work will continue on schedule, despite the fines.

Rockland Department of Health Offering Flu Shots

The Rockland County Department of Health will be offering flu shots to the community tomorrow, Friday October 10. According to the County’s Commissioner of Health Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, the vaccine is the best way to prevent catching and spreading the different types of influenza viruses for everyone 6 months of age and up. The clinic is the first of several that the DOH will be holding, officials stating that it is better to be vaccinated in early fall because it takes about four weeks for the antibodies to develop. The clinic will be held from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM in Building A’s Exhibition Hall in the Robert L. Yeager Health Center in Pomona. Vaccines are free for residents over 65-years old and $30 for ages 9 to 64 and attendees must show proof of Rockland County residence. More information can be obtained by calling the Department of Health at 845-364-2520.

Town to Appeal Judge’s Decision on Ramapo Referendum

The Ramapo Town Board announced Wednesday that they unanimously voted to appeal state Supreme Court Justice Margaret Garvey’s decision to invalidate the ward referendum results from the special election that was held September 30. Judge Garvey ordered on Tuesday that the votes be held by the board of elections until today, when they were to be destroyed. If the town decides to remain with Garvey’s decision a new election date will be set for 60 to 75 days from now, unless the board files the appeal before then, which would allow a panel to hold and review the results.

No Legislature Vote to Override CE Day’s Bus Company Veto

The County Legislature appears to have agreed not to override County Executive Ed Day’s veto of the proposal to pay Brega Transport Corp. $300,000 to have the bus fleet washed daily. Members of the Legislature were set to vote Tuesday on whether or not to override Day’s decision, but before the meeting the issue was pulled from the agenda by Legislature Chairman Alden Wolfe. Day stated on his Facebook page, “Vetoes do not get pulled as a rule unless the support to override is not there.” and went on to say that he thanks the unknown members who reviews the information provided with his veto. The $70 million contract with Brega requires that the buses be washed a minimum of once a week, and the County Executive stated in his argument that this means the operator would cover the costs of extra washing and maintenance, not tax payers. According to Day’s statements on the social media site, the proposal has been defeated, unless the Legislature holds a special meeting within the next week, which is unlikely.