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.

County Blames Bus Company for Problems

According to Rockland’s Public Transportation Commissioner Douglas Schuetz, Brega Transport Corp. is at fault for several complaints brought against them, such as incomplete records, lost fares, missed trips, and limited maintenance. Schuetz stated in an outline of the issues that Brega has been responsible for 833 missed trips since June, as well as putting buses that are not properly equipped on the road, as witnessed by a Department of Transportation inspector in July when the company allegedly allowed three buses with bald tires continue their routes. Schuetz stated that to solce the problem of missed trips the county could charge the company $500 for each one, which would also help with lost fares. On Tuesday the Legislature was set to vote on whether or not to override County Executive Ed Day’s veto of a decision to pay $300,000 to Brega to wash the bus fleet daily, after February bus fire led to the proposal. However, the item was removed from the itinerary before the meeting began. Schuetz stated that the company did not provide the county with a report of the incident. The state DOT recently released a review of the fire, faulting the driver and dispatcher who were in charge of the bus at the time. Burton Dorfman, Brega’s legal representation, stated that the company was not at fault and was not required by the county to issue a report, though they are willing to cooperate with county officials.

Ramapo Ward Referendum Votes Thrown Out

On Tuesday State Supreme Court Justice Margaret Garvey made a ruling on the chaotic Ramapo ward vote that was held last week. Garvey ordered that a new vote is to be held stating that Ramapo Town Clerk Christian Sampson created confusion for residents by not clearly notifying polling centers who was eligible to vote as well as creating problems with absentee ballots. In Garvey’s 14-page ruling she stated the state law requires that absentee ballots be counted as long as they are recevied by 5:00 PM on the election day, though the town released information that absentee votes will count if they were postmarked by September 28 and received up to a week after the election. The judge impounded votes after last Tuesday’s election, when activists Michael Parietti and Robert Romanowski filed a petition which brought up the possible improper actions in the polling centers. According to Parietti the town misled voters and went around Garvey’s original orders by not clearly announcing voting regulations. Judge Garvey did not order a new date for the election but stated that the votes will be preserved and the Town Board held a meeting at 8:30 this morning, voting unanimously to appeal the decision to invalidate the results.

Stony Point Crash Victim Identified

Police released the name of a motorcyclist who was killed in a crash on Sunday night in Stony Point. According to Lt. Keith Williams, 35-year old Stony Point resident Jamie Conklin was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash that occurred at 8:35 on Sunday night when his 2005 Harley-Davidson collided with the rear of Nissan Altima on Washburns Lane. Police and the Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Criminal Investigation is still looking into the cause of the crash and the Medical Examiner’s Office is completing an autopsy. Conklin lived with his grandparents on Spruce Drive and leaves a sister, 32-year old Jackie Conklin and a six-year old niece.

Super Crane Arrives on the Hudson

On Monday the new Tappan Zee Bridge project welcomed the arrival of the “Left Coast Lifter”, now named the “I Lift New York Super Crane”, one of the largest cranes in the world. The crane will be used starting this week to lift pieces of the tall towers and platforms holding them, as well as the new roadway of the bridge. Governor Andrew Cuomo was present when the crane was ferried to its temporary site just south of the current bridge, and stated, “I want you to know that I’m truly in love with this crane, any crane that saves the state of New York over a billion dollars, I love.” According to Cuomo the crane will reduce project time and labor costs, saving the state money in the long run. The crane will be moved to the north side of the site before it can begin its work, and officials stated to do so the barge will be filled with water to sink the machine low enough to get the 30-story arm under the bridge. Cuomo also announced on Monday that the toll task force will be formed in 2015 to research and decide on a cost of tolls on the new bridge.

Student Threatens Massacre at St. Thomas Aquinas Campus

According to Orangetown Police a foreign exchange student attending school at St. Thomas Aquinas College was arrested at 11:00 on Monday morning after police received reports from college security on Sunday that the 20-year old Spanish student was threatening a massacre on campus. Detective Lt. James Brown stated that Inigo Aldecoa-Tapia allegedly made the threats via a social media site and the Rockland Sheriff’s Department Comupter Crimes Task Force and Bomb Squad were brought in to assist in the investigation. Brown stated that Aldecoa-Tapia did not have any weapons in his possession, and the student was charged with a felony count of making a terroristic threat, and misdemeanor count of second-degree aggravated harassment and taken to Rockland County Jail on $10,000 bail. The college opened again at 8:00 AM on Monday, after a three-hour search of the campus by authorities.

Narcan Training

Tonight Senator David Carlucci will be hosting a training session for the Narcan medication that is used to save people who have overdosed on heroin. Become certified in use of the kit that contains Narcan.
Valley Cottage Library
110 Route 303, Valley Cottage
6:00-8:00 PM

DOT Reviewing Truck Ban on Route 17

The New York Department of Transportation is looking into a possible ban of tractor trailers on Route 17 in Rockland and Orange Counties. According to Assemblyman James Skoufis in July he requested to the DOT that they review larger trucks using local road to bypass tolls on the New York Thruway, which leads to safety hazards towards passenger cars and more money to fix the torn up roadways each year. According to Beau Duffy, spokesman for the DOT, trucks as large as 48-feet in length are allowed on the federally designated “access highways”, and federal law can de-designate them as such, allowing police to ticket large trucks that drive on Route 17. Mayor of Sloatsburg Carl Wright stated parts of Route 17 are a safety hazard for other cars and pedestrians when some of the bigger trucks speed on the narrow roads. The DOT will continue to review and stated they are likely to release a decision within the next few weeks.