Palisades Parkway to be Repaved

According to officials with the New Jersey Department of Transportation they are dispatching crews in late July or early August to begin repaving the Palisades Parkway. The Palisades Interstate Parkway Commission does not have the money to fix the roads, which haven’t seen much repair in past years, so according to Steve Schapiro, a spokesman for the New Jersey DOT, the agency will be paying the $11.2 million cost. The Parkway Commission has a budget of $7.7 million for 2014, built mostly on revenue from the New Jersey Legislature. Residents of Rockland County, as well as New Jersey, who use the Parkway to commute to New York City have long complained about the patch jobs completed over the years, and stated that they are looking forward to the repaving being done. The New York State DOT stated that they have no plans to repave the section of road in their state, which was last done in 2001. New Jersey officials stated that they will try to complete construction during the day and night hours, to avoid rush hour.

Chemical Spill in Pomona Lab

Haverstraw Police, fire departments, ambulance corps, and a Rockland hazmat team responded to a chemical spill at Barr Laboratories in Pomona on Tuesday evening. According to officials a scientist working at the labs under contract was mixing a liquid solution with powdered Potassium Cyanide when it boiled over and splashed onto another scientist’s face around 4:50 PM. By 6:45 the situation was under control and all victims were taken care of. Rockland’s Deputy Fire Coordinator Chris Kear stated that the facility’s decontamination unit was used and the man was conscious during emergency response and was transported to Nyack Hospital. Kear stated that the two other scientists exposed to the spill were treated, as well as four volunteer firefighters with the Hillcrest Department. Potassium Cyanide is a potentially lethal substance, which hinders the ability to use oxygen, but according to Denise Bradley, Vice President of Teva Pharmaceuticals, who operates the lab, the facility was cleaned and treated and was working normally Tuesday night.

Boulders Recap

The Boulders played their third and final game in their away series against the Trois Riveres Aigles last night, Jerrod Edmundson breaking the Can-Am Record with 70 career hits. During the fifth the Boulders scored two runs, with the Aigles following closely with one run in the same innning. In the eighth inning the Boulders scored three more times, with the Aigles scoring twice making the final score 5-3, giving Rockland the win. The Boulders now travel to Quebec to face the Capitales at 7:00 tonight and will return home on July 11.

United Water Ordered to Clarify Request for $56 Million

A State Administrative Law Judge ordered recently that United Water New York has until July 30 to back up their request that tax payers pay a $56 million bill for work done in attempts to build the proposed water treatment plant on the water treatment plant on the Hudson River, as well as $4 million in interest. Critics of the plant expressed concern on the company’s claims that the details of expenses are confidential and cannot be released to the public. George Potanovic, the founder of one of the major opponents of the plant in the county, the Rockland Water Coalition, stated that the company is hiding the information that would ensure the money is being used how it should be and since they are asking for public money, the public should have access to that information. Spokeswoman for United Water Deb Rizzi stated that the company released the information to all those relative to the confidential agreement and the further release of pricing and conditions could potentially harm the situation. According to Rizzi the costs are for the development of the plant, such as, “The selection process, preliminary design, engineering, permitting, pilot plant testing, and extensive regulatory process.” The town of Ramapo hired attorney Daniel Duthie to fight the proposed surcharge, who stated that the bills are blacked out in so many places that it is impossible to tell for sure what the company is charging for.

Vandalism at Chestnut Ridge Religious Camp

According to police reports the pools recently built for a religious summer camp were vandalized over the weekend. Ryan Karben, the lawyer representing Camp Shalom based out of New Jersey, one of four pools, which are located at the CHestnut Ridge Middle School which the camp is renting for $125,000, was slashed in seven different places. Karben is asking that the police investigate the vandalism as a hate crime, especially when the camp claims harassment towards its workers and on social media sites. According to Detective Sargent John Lynch with the Ramapo Police they are questioning neighbors in search of potential witnesses and information and looking for security footage that could identify the person or persons involved. Last month the camp faced out-lash from community members when the allegedly began construction on the above ground pools without the proper permits. Last week the County Health Department stated that they would allow the camp to build and now they are just waiting to complete a full inspection of the finished pools so that campers can swim. According to Catherine Quinn, Associate Public Health Engineer for Rockland County, the department received emails with complaints of food and garbage littering the property, though when inspected nothing was found. Ramapo Police ask anyone with information on the incident call 845-357-2400.

Boulders Recap

The Boulders lost their first home game against the New Jersey Jackals on Friday, with neither team scoring for the first three innings. In the fourth inning the Jackals gained a 3-0 lead and in the fifth inning they added five more runs, and the Boulders were able to bring in three runs making the final score 8-4. On Saturday things started looking up for Rockland, in the fourth inning taking a 2-1 lead against the Trois River Aigles. Continuing the lead with a score of 5-3 in the sixth inning the Boulders ended the game winning 8-6. On Sunday the Boulders continued their away series against the Aigles, scoring six runs in the first inning alone. The Aigles got in one run in the seventh inning and the final score of 15-1 put the Boulders into first place in the Can-Am League. The two teams continue tonight at 7:05 and the Boulders will return home to Provident Bank Park on July 11.

New Hempstead Road Construction Nears Completion

According to Skip Vezzetti, the Rockland Highway Superintendent, the construction on New Hempstead Road will be finished this month, the contractor has until July 31 to finish. Officials stated that the work was supposed to be done last month, but rain and utility issues held up the date. The $42 million project began in 2011 and reconstructed two miles from Main Street in New City to the Palisades Parkway Interchange and, according to Vezzetti, is a complete rebuilding, widening, straightening, and installation of a new bridge, sidewalks, crosswalks, and landscaping that could make the road last 80 to 100 years. Once the work is completed it will be the first time in three years that the road is construction free for travelers, and the installation of turning lanes will help cut down on traffic as well. Vezzetti stated that much of the $33 million spent on construction will be reimbursed by utilities and the federal government repairs and final numbers are not yet known.

Clarkstown Highway Department Hires New Confidential Secretary

The town of Clarkstown Highway Department has hired a new full time confidential secretary for Superintendent Wayne Ballard. On Tuesday Ballard announced that Legislator Frank Sparaco was awarded the position, which pays $103,600 a year, after the former secreatary of 16 years, Nancy Willen, unexpectedly made the decision to retire. Sparaco is facing criticism for the position, many stating that Willen earned her salary over a period of time, and the Legislator should be started at a lower salary. The job offers health care as well as contributes to his pension, though Sparaco stated that he will not be joining the town’s plan because he already receives health care with the Legislature. Sparaco previously worked as consultant services representative for the Highway Department, earning $78,000 a year with no benefits. At a meeting on June 10 the board approved Republican Councilman George Hoehmann’s proposal to cut the position, stating that due to the town’s budget problems cuts are necessary. A recent projection by Comptroller Edward Duer and Deputy Comptroller Mary Maloney for 2015-2018 has shown Clarkstown is facing a $6 million shortfall, which will not be prevented by property taxes and other forms of revenue will not keep up with spending on services.

RCC Loses Part of State Aid

Rocklan Community College is going to have to rely on taxpayers and enrolled students more than ever for the 2014-15 year, since the state has cut about $1 million in aid. According to the college’s president Cliff Wood the state is meant to cover 40%, but only covers 25% of funding for the school, while the county pays about one-third. The college is expecting an enrollment of $5,921 full-time students and to spend $66.3 million, one million less than last year, the county will be paying 16.7 million and the state will be paying 15.72 million, 6% less than last year. In 2013 and 14 the state paid $2,827 for each student and this year they will be contributing $2,791, the county will be paying $2,965 per student, almost $200 more than last year. Tuition is also set to rise by $125 per student. The county will be participating in a program that will allow union workers to go to school for free to help fill seats and potentially get grants.

Lightning Strikes Home in Nyack

Firefighters responded to a call at 162 Main Street in Nyack Wednesday Wednesday evening. The bottom floor of the four story building is a bakery, the top three are residential, and according to tenants there was a massive lightning strike around 7:30 PM, which appeared to be the cause of a fire starting on the third floor. Police report that everyone made it out of the smoke filled building without injuries and by 8:30 the situation was under control. Workers from Orange and Rockland Utilities began work to restore power to a reported $3,300 homes that were out, most in the Haverstraw area. More storms are expected this afternoon and evening due to Hurricane Arthur traveling up the East Coast.