County Executive Ed Day along with County Health Commissioner Patricia Schnabel Ruppert released a statement on Friday alerting residents that the New York Department of Health in Rockland County confirmed that a group of mosquitos collected on June 15 from the Town of Clarkstown tested positive for the West Nile Virus. Ruppert stated that vigilance and testing would be conducted with regularity through the summer season. “Health Department mosquito control teams will continue to treat all known mosquito breeding sites, including those near these positive mosquito pools. Larval control activities will continue throughout the summer.” A bite from a mosquito infected with West Nile can cause infection and serious illness with the greatest risk posed against individuals over 50 years of age. Those infected with the virus may present symptoms mimicking a very mild flu which may develop into complications such as neurological diseases. To prevent mosquito breeding sites, eliminate any standing water on your property, from drinks left outside, covered pools, recycling containers, gutters, and ponds. If you think you are presenting symptoms of West Nile Virus, see your doctor right away.
On Sunday Morning residents rallied outside of East Ramapo School District Superintendent Joel Klein’s home in New City, where they asked the school official to resign his position. The crowd held handmade signs and chanted “Klein must Resign” to express their frustration of what many believe are bad decisions made by the Orthodox Jewish controlled school board. Many parents have stated that public school students are being ignored when it comes to funding for transportation and programs such as art and music, because the board favors private schools. Last week the State Legislature failed to pass the East Ramapo oversight bill that would have allowed a monitor to veto the boards choices and required the district to follow an improvement plan. The Assembly passed the bill, but the Republican leaders in the senate stated that wary of the legislation because it would set a precedent for other New York districts to take power away from elected board members. Senator David Carlucci, one of the sponsors of the original bill wrote a new bill that took away veto power of the monitor and and gave the comptrollers office more authority while also lowering the time frame from five years to two. The majority of residents and state officials including Assembly members Ellen Jaffee and Kenneth Zebrowski were disappointed in the new bill, and fought for a revised version of the original, which the senate decided to forgo voting on. On Thursday the Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch stated that Klein should resign from his position as Superintendent. And on Sunday parents and students of the district expressed their agreement of those statements, urging Klein to resign.
Ramapo officials will be holding a meeting Wednesday to discuss residents concerns surrounding the Orange and Rockland rate increases. The utility company is requesting to the Public Service Commission that electric rates go up by $18.1 million through 2017 and that gas rates go up by $49.2 million through 2018. This means that residents will be paying $11.52 more per month for both services. The hearing will take place at Ramapo Town Hall in Airmont this Wednesday from 4pm to 7pm and will be open to the public.
In the series against the Ottawa Champions the Boulders won Friday Nights game 9-5 before beginning their series against the Quebec Les Capitales. On Saturday, Rockland won the first game 5-4 and on Sunday they did it again beating Quebec 7-4. The Boulders return to Provident Bank Park to play the Kansas City T-Bones in a three game series beginning tonight at 7:00. You can listen to the game live here at WRCR 1300AM or at WRCR.com
Late Thursday into early Friday morning, the state Senate and Assembly adjourned without reaching a compromise on the East Ramapo oversight bill much to the disappointment of local officials and maligned community parents and students. Assemblymember Ken Zebrowski commented on the reason the Republican-led Senate stalled any passage by saying, “I think the state Senate leadership turned its back on East Ramapo’s children. We felt we had a sound and reasonable approach to the issue. However, recognizing the Senate’s opposition, we attempted to negotiate. But at the end of the day, the Senate refused to authorize a monitor that had authority over anything other than state or federal law.” Zebrowski along with Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee refused to accept the revised bill brought by the Senate which would limit the state appointed monitor’s power and and override the elected school board. Acknowledging the issues within the district, Republican Senate Majority leader John Flanagan believed that the involvement of the state education department and Comptroller’s office would not infringe on state and federal law but still provide assistance for the troubled district. Governor Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie both supported the state appointed monitor and looked to next year’s legislative session to seek out a meaningful solution. The Office of Senator David Carlucci released a statement late Thursday evening regarding the impasse and addressed the two reports from earlier this week which outlined the deficiencies of the East Ramapo education system and his next steps, “Although I am disappointed with the outcome of this year’s legislative session, the report released earlier this week by the State Education Department provides another course of action. I will be strongly urging SED to do what it is legally required to, and act on its own reports of failure within East Ramapo.”
The 31-member New NY Bridge Mass Transit Task Force consisting of business leaders, Rockland, Westchester, and State Department of Transportation officials met Thursday at Dominican College in Orangeburg to discuss the plan outlined from February of 2014 to replace the Tappan ZEExpress mass transit service to be ready once the bridge is complete. The details of cost and timeline for the new service called Hudson Links were discussed including creating Wi-Fi equipped double-decker buses and modern bus stations between Suffern to White Plains. Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald estimated that phase one of the transformation would cost $91 million. Altering traffic lights along Route 59 in Rockland and Route 119 in Westchester to keep bus traffic moving in the dedicated bus-only lanes, ramp metering, and station upgrades would be complete in this phase. The creation of up to seven new routes and bus stations could push the cost up to $160 million. McDonald stated that the bottom line for the new service is to provide improved ridership and reliability for the community and attaining funding for the investment will need to be prioritized.
A Rockland County grand jury indicted 44-year-old former Nyack softball coach Kurt Ludwigsen on Thursday on a collective 204 counts of inappropriate touching which now includes several counts of a felony charge. Ludwigsen of Ridgewood, New Jersey, worked at the college from September of 2014 to this past March when he was fired after complaints surfaced that he harassed some of the players on the team. This all comes after being accused of similar charges in 2013 when he was a coach for a girls travel softball team in California. Ludwigsen, who also goes by the name Kurt Vogner, was arrested in April and is now facing seven counts of first-degree coercion, a felony, along with 94 counts of forcible touching and 94 counts of sexual abuse, both misdemeanors. Police say they began investigating back in March when they started to receive complaints, however the accusations go as far back as October.
The Boulders carried their momentum into Canada yesterday with a 5-4 win over the Ottawa Champions winning 7 of their last 10 games. The tight game opened up on a blooper by Stephen Cardullo, which was bobbled by Ottawa outfielders breaking the 4 all tie in the 7th. Starting pitcher Richard Salazar went six innings giving up four runs with Boulders relievers keeping the one run lead. Closer Luis Sanz bested the heart of the order to cement the team effort. The Boulders are back on top of the Can-Am League by a half a game over the Quebec Capitales. Game two of the Ottawa series begins tonight at 7:05 p.m.
And the Boulders were victorious in their final two games against the Sussex Miners on Wednesday night. After Tuesday’s game was rained out the teams played two seven-innings games yesterday. In the first game pitcher Alex Gouin led the Boulders a 6-0 win over the New Jersey team, and in the second Mike Denhardt took over the role, giving up zero runs, and leading the Boulders to a 4-0 win. The Rockland team now travels to Ottawa for a three-game series against the Champions starting tonight at 7:00.
Clarkstown Police are searching for a suspect involved in the theft of copper wires from a utility pole. According to police they are seeking any information on the crime that occurred a few weeks ago, during which it is believed that someone dug up and stole 43 copper wires from South Mountain Road in New City, that run electricity to the power lines. The wires protect workers from the risk of electrocution and though no injuries have been reported police and Orange and Rockland are working to solve the problem for safety reasons. The cost of fixing the wires is estimate at $10,000. Anyone with information or spotted people working on the poles within the last few weeks can call Clarkstown Police at 845-639-5840.