Advocates for the East Ramapo School District will be hosting a rally tonight, while state officials continue debating whether or not to pass the oversight bill presented by Assembly members Kenneth Zebrowski and Ellen Jaffee and Senator David Carlucci that would give a state appointed monitor veto power over board decision. Recently the bill was passed by the Assembly, and was set to move on to a vote in the Senate, though according to Carlucci many members were unwilling to approve the legislation, expressing fears about taking power away from an elected body. In response Carlucci presented a new bill that took away the veto power and lessened the oversight time from five years to two years. Since Carlucci’s proposal many residents have spoken out against the Senate’s choice not to vote and the Assembly presented a revised version of the original law, seeking a compromise. Supporters are holding a rally at Memorial Park in Spring Valley at 7:00 PM where Jaffee and Zebrowski will be addressing the crowd in a final attempt to get the Senate to vote.
Rockland County executive Ed Day has approved the $150,000 purchase for temporary flood barriers. According to the press release, the barriers will be Kevlar- type material and will replace sand bags. These barriers can be set up by as few as two people as opposed to the many people it takes to place sandbags. The barriers can be combined into almost any length or shape, providing protection from floods anywhere that is needed. In a statement Ed Day said “These barriers can be moved to the appropriate area in a matter of hours, providing a last-resort measure for local homes and businesses that are threatened by rising waters.” One of the areas in the county that has seen its share of devastating floods and will greatly benefit from the new barriers is the Squires Gate area of Suffern, which suffers the flooding from the Mahwah River. Village advocates applaud the purchase saying in part “These new barriers will help keep the Mahwah River from destroying the Squires Gate community and surrounding neighborhoods in the years to come.” The barriers will be stored at the Rockland County Fire Training Center, and be available to all towns and villages across the county.
Three women from Blauvelt massage parlors have been arrested on accusations of prostitution related offenses. According to police, Lee Chengi and Chom Sun Meinke from Queens are facing felony charges of unauthorized practice of a profession, along with a misdemeanor prostitution charge. The third woman, Hyea Kim of New Jersey is being charged with unauthorized practice of a profession. The arrests took place within the last week at Ace Day Spa and Physical Relax LLC, with the help of undercover officers from the Rockland County Drug task force. All three were released on bail; Kim and Meinke are due in court later this month. A court date for Chengi, who was arrested on Wednesday, has not yet been set.
The Boulders began their first international showcase last night against the Shikoku Island League Japanese Allstars, winning 14-3. Both teams will play their second out of four games tonight at 7:00. You can listen to the game live at WRCR 1300 AM or online at wrcr.com.
The New York State Comptroller’s office released a lengthy audit of Rockland County’s Department of Social Services from January 1, 2013 to August 12, 2014. According to the audit, the Comptroller found faults with contract agencies within the department, some of which did not submit records regarding performance and budgets. Share, a low-income family meal service; the Rockland Community Development Council in Monsey; Bikur Cholim, a health service provider; and RODA, a child care service received $525,755 without reports being submitted to the county. The audit also states that county officials failed to seek competitive bids for outside agencies. County Executive Ed Day stated, “In some ways the audit recognizes what we are already doing, we’ve completely revamped the model for 2016.” Day admits that while the procurement model for 2015 was faulted, action is being taken to change the procedure for 2016. His office has sent documentation to the Legislature seeking a legal way to transition though 2015 into the new model for that will ensure money is being spent where it should.
United Water crews are responding to a water main break in the New City area. According to officials with the company as a result of the break water in the area may come out of the faucet with a brown coloring. Bill Madden informed WRCR this morning that the water is not harmful to drink but residents who experience the change in color are recommended to turn on cold water in a bath tub to let it run through. Officials are unsure of how long the break will take to fix, but will keep residents informed.
Law enforcement officials from the county and state met with the public at a forum on Thursday night, held at Rockland Community College to open discussion between police and minority groups in the county. Nearly a hundred residents filled the audience to express their concern and frustration that the black community has to fear police presence, rather than rely on them. The panel included speakers from the NAACP, the Rockland Commission on Human Rights, the Rockland District Attorney’s Office, and the Rockland Police Chiefs Association. It was set up in the wake of much national tension between police and minority communities such as the case of Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in New York City; and countless other incidents of use of violence or deadly force. District Attorney Thomas Zugibe spoke to the attendees about the need of communication and relationships between residents and police officers to help community feel safe. Also on the panel were NAACP Mid-Hudson and Westchester Regional Director Wilbur Aldridge and the Assistant Director of the FBI Field Office in New York City Diego Rodriguez, who both agreed with the need of communication and trust on both sides and that African American residents should not have to feel fearful of law enforcement.
Former Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret is set to be sentenced this afternoon for his part in the real estate scam from 2013 which focused on nabbing former Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin. In January of 2014, Desmaret plead guilty to mail fraud and extortion after damning evidence captured from an FBI informant exposed his acceptance of a bribe valued at over $10,000. He faces a maximum of 7 to 9 years in prison and made attempts to lessen the sentence by offering information to officials, though prosecutors and the FBI felt, “he was not able to aid the government in any real way”, according to a letter sent by his lawyers to Judge Kenneth Karas, appealing for less prison time. Desmaret was due in court at 2 p.m. at the District Court in White Plains.
The Rockland County Legislature passed a law during Wednesday evening’s session which will limit drone operation for the safety of those within community. Individual drone use is limited to one’s one private property or on private or public property with the permission of the owner. Drones will not be allowed to enter the space of county and official buildings, schools, or houses of worship. Emergency, fire, and law enforcement services are exempt from the law in accordance with federal and state guidelines regulating the use of drones to aid in crime, fire, and traffic incidences. The law was introduced by Vice Chairman Jay Hood Jr. who also serves as chairman of the Public Safety Committee. According to today’s press release, it was Sheriff Louis Falco’s concern about possible illicit uses of the drones near jails and other county property that Hood felt a law would be necessary to keep up with these new and popular devices. A public forum was held this past April to hear concerns felt by the community which was reflected in the parameters of the law. Sheriff Falco commended Legislator Hood in his efforts to pass an all-encompassing law, especially the restrictions on drone operation near correctional facilities.
As they continue searching for the driver of a vehicle that struck a construction worker last week before fleeing the scene, Clarkstown Police have released a video of the SUV to the public. On their YouTube page police released the footage of the gold colored SUV that may have been a GMC or Chevy Trailblazer that is believed to ghave struck 49-year old Arthur Babcock of Washingtonville, on June 9 around 5:30 PM, putting him in Nyack Hospital for serious injuries to his leg and pelvis. In the video it can be seen that the car has a black spot on the rear driver’s side and a grill on the bumper. The driver was described as a Hispanic man with curly black hair weighing about 180 pounds. According to reports he ignored the flagman and hit Babcock before driving away. As police continue to investigate they ask anyone with information call 845-639-5800.