Today is the day Ramapo Town Voters head to the polls to vote yes or no on changing to a ward system that would allow them to choose future representatives based on the area they live and on a second referendum that would increase the town board members from four to six. Opponents of the ward system have stated that the increase in officials will also increase taxes, while proponents state the higher number will allow each resident in every area of town to have better representation. According to Town Clerk Christian Sampson state law requires that absentee ballots for today’s vote can only be counted if it gets to the clerk’s office before 5:00 PM today, though in other elections ballots postmarked by the day of the vote can be counted. Sampson stated that this could cause some confusion and his office will be continue working on a plan to count votes. Last week a state Supreme Court Justice ruled that poll watchers were not required for the vote, and town officials have decided not to use them, against much opposition from activists and state officials. The polling stations are open 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM and voters can go to their general election sites.
A Haverstraw man was arrested by Spring Valley Police during a patrol being completed by officers as a part of a state funded crime reduction plan. Police stated that 32-year old Jimmy Bousiquot was sitting in a parked Mercedes-Benz on Ewing Ave around 12:30 Sunday morning when officers found a loaded glock in the car and charged him with second-degree criminal possession of weapon, a felony, and unlawful possession of marijuana. A 24-year old passenger was also charged with possession of marijuana and was released. Boursiquot was taken to county jail and is being held on $10,000 bail.
Police responded to an accident in Stony Point on Friday night after receiving calls that a car had crashed into a utility pole, leading to a power outage in several areas of town. Stony Point resident 17-year old Sean Delgado was arrested and charged with driving while impaired, a misdemeanor and assault in the second and third degrees, both felonies after his car went off the road. In the accident a 17-year old passenger was thrown from the car and suffered critical injuries, responders took him to Nyack Hospital before he was transferred to Westchester Medical. Two other passengers were taken to Nyack Hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
State officials released statements on Sunday, urging the town of Ramapo to use poll watchers for the ward votes on Tuesday. Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, and Senator David Carlucci all voiced their agreement that poll watchers will help the vote go smoothly. Zebrowski stated in an email that Ramapo should allow both sides of the referendums to have representation at the polling stations, with Senator Carlucci agreeing, stating that the avoidance of using poll watchers is unfair and goes against the spirit of democracy. Jaffee stated that poll watchers keep the voting process transparent and benefits everyone. Last week a state Supreme Court Justice ordered that poll watchers are only required for candidate elections and are assigned by the party, so there is no need for them in the ward vote, which will be two yes or no votes the first on whether or not residents can choose their representative based on where they live, and the second will increase the number of town board members from four to six. Town Attorney Michael Klein stated that the town is following the law.
On Sunday afternoon police responded to an accident on Route 17 in Ramapo. According to Executive Director of Rockland Paramedics Ray Florida, a 62-year old man and his 60-year old wife were traveling by motorcycle when their vehicle rolled off the road around 1:45 in the afternoon. The names of the couple have not been released, officials stated that the man received traumatic internal injuries, and his wife suffered severe head injuries. Both were flown to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson NJ. This follows an unrelated fatal motorcycle accident on Saturday night. Around 7:30 PM Vincent P. Russell of Chestnut Ridge collided with a car head on, and officials stated the 49-year old man was declared dead at the scene by first responders. The driver of the car was not injured in the crash and has not been issued any charges. An accident investigation team is looking into the cause.
County officials are announcing plans for the water problems faced by Rockland. The Chairman of the Legislature Alden Wolfe and County Executive Ed Day, will be speaking at a meeting open to the public tonight from 5:30 to 7:30 at Rosary Hall in Dominican College 500 Western Highway in Blauvelt. The meeting will open discussion with the new nineteen member task force chaired by Democratic Legislator Harriet Cornell. Earlier in the year the Public Service Commission declared that the need for water wouldn’t be urgent until the year 2020, and United Water New York should not pursue building plans for their proposed water treatment plant on the Hudson River until the need was present. This allowed opponents, such as the Rockland Water Coalition, time to create conservation platforms that will involve protecting wetlands and groundwater, and other solutions. The task force includes county officials, local business owners, school officials, and United Water officials who will be presenting their thoughts on solutions at tonight’s meeting, as well as hiring a new coordinator after the 30 minute public participation session.
According to Susan Sherwood, the county’s Commissioner of Social Services, the Department of Social Services’ Medicaid Unit floor in Building L at the Dr. Robert L. Yaeger Health Center in Ramapo was found to have furniture that was infested with bed bugs. On September 16 the Legislature authorized the use of $53,000 to replace 135 chairs that could not be saved after extermination. Sherwood stated that the emergency was addressed quickly because the office has 250 employees with 289 visitors daily. According to the County Health department bedbugs can be transferred by clothing, feed on humans, but do not spread disease, though the bites can be irritating. Officials stated that they will most likely be reimbursed by the Medicaid Program, and will be covered by state and federal aid.
Hillcrest, Spring Valley, and Monsey fire departments responded to a call on Thursday morning at 263 North Main Street in Hillcrest. Around 1:00 in the morning on Thursday firefighters arrived at a medical office building that was in flames and used force to enter the locked building. Police stated that the building was empty at the time and the fire was deemed not suspicious and most likely started from an electrical problem in the roof, leaving firefighters to tear down the walls and ceiling to get to it. Police also reported that one firefighter suffered an injured ankle and was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern for treatment.
New York State Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli released his evaluation on New York communities’ fiscal statuses for 2013. According to his reports Rockland was ranked as the most fiscally stressed municipality in the state for the second year in a row. Dinapoli stated that the review is meant as a warning and to promote discussions between the residents and government officials to find solutions to the issues. County Executive Ed Day stated that the reports are not surprising, people elected him to fix the economic problems Rockland faces and with Moody’s recent promotion to a positive outlook the county can continue making making steps toward an “A” rating. The Comptroller’s report was compiled based on 23 financial and environmental factors and involved !,043 New York communities, with a total of 35 described as stressed. The County Executive is set to release his budget proposal for 2015 next month.
According to police two people were hit by cars in Monsey on Wednesday morning. Police responded to the first call at 8:30 AM and found that a 21-year old woman was hit while crossing the street in the crosswalk at a red light at Route 59 and Robert Pitt drive, while the car was attempting to make a right. Police stated the woman received minor injuries and was taken to Nyack Hospital and the driver was issued three summonses. The second call was at 9:00 AM on Monsey Heights Road, where a nine-year old boy was hit by the side mirror of a silver Toyota Prius described as having taxi writing on the side, while on his bicycle. The boy suffered an injury to his hand but his parents refused medical attention from first responders. Police stated that the driver didn’t stop and ask that anyone with information call 845-357-2400. Police recently started a campaign to catch drivers who fail to yield for pedestrians, placing undercover officers in crosswalks and on sidewalks in an attempt to prevent accidents similar to these.