Lacey Spears Appears in Court

The Chestnut Ridge woman who is accused of killing her five-year old son by poisoning him with salt was seen in court in White Plains on Wednesday. According to Judge Robert Neary’s ruling the case is ready to move forward to trial after ordering that the evidence against Lacey Spears was obtained legally and can be used in the case. Spears became an interest to police in January, when health care workers at Westchester Medical Center reported that five-year old Garnett Spears died because of high levels of sodium in his system. According to investigators part of their evidence is a feeding bag that Lacey used to help the often sick Garnett receive nutrients through a tube. The bag was brought forward by a neighbor who stated the young mom asked her to dispose of it, and investigators found high levels of sodium inside, leading them to believe that Spears was purposely poisoning her son and may have suffered from Munchausen By Proxy causing those who suffer from it to harm their child for attention. Judge Neary ruled that the trial will begin on October 23.

Rockland Woman Dubbed ‘Worst Landlord’ of NYC

According to New York City public advocates a Rockland woman was named the worst landlord of the city, due to thousands of violations. The Daily News reported that Robin Shimoff, who allegedly lives in a $1.5 million home in Wesley Hills, is the owner of thirteen buildings which, as of August have received 3,352 violations for not following building and health codes, including faulty appliances, rats, scalding water, lead paint, and collapsing walls. According to New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and development, the number of violations was reduced to 2,490 as of last week and one of the building’s managers Jose Pena, stated to the Daily News that the landlord is working to fix all the problems. According to the Journal News, Shimoff faces $3,500 in penalties for one of the thirteen buildings.

State Officials Plan Tappan Zee Bridge Tolls

Senator David Carlucci announced a plan at a press conference in Tarrytown on Tuesday that would give residents of Rockland and Westchester Counties a discount for crossing the new Tappan Zee Bridge, stating, “If we can’t afford to cross the bridge it will be devastating to our economy.” In the past year the Senator has made clear his plans for new laws that will fight toll evaders as well. New York state loses about $30 million a year to people who do not pay for passing through tolls. According to Carlucci, he is working with lawmakers in Albany to create a plan, in which residents would receive a $250 tax credit for those who file as a single tax payer and $500 for those who file jointly. The plan will also allow residents of both counties to receive a discount on the toll, which according to speculation, could be as high as $15.

Man Dies Due to Gas in Apartment

Orangetown Police responded to a call on Monday to an apartment building in Orangeburg after receiving reports of natural gas smells around 10:00 AM. According to police, officers found an 85-year old man in the living room, who was pronounced dead on the arrival of ambulance workers, and his 84-year old wife on the floor unconscious. The woman was taken to Nyack Hospital in critical condition, her current condition and the identity of the couple has not been released yet. Orange and Rockland crews also responded to the address and evacuated residents from the building until 12:30 PM when they found no problems. Company spokesman Mike Donovan stated that the stove burner had been left on and it appears to be an accident, though the police are still investigating.

Partial Deconstruction of Tappan Zee Bridge Begins

According to spokeswoman for Tappan Zee Constructors, Carla Julian, the company has started the process of removing part of the current bridge. Julian stated that crews have begun removing 500 feet of the Westchester side of the bridge to make room for the new landing, as well as a colum and footing, and the section can be safely removed without harming the structure. According to officials the column is being removed to make room for the foundation of the new Northbound lanes and the work will be completed by crane at night. The I Lift New York super crane arrived last week and will assist in the dismantling of the current bridge, which project officials stated will mostly take place in 2017.

East Ramapo School District Protests

East Ramapo residents and school district members have been expressing concern and anger towards remarks made by School Superintendent Joel Klein last month, referring to the children of immigrants. In a video released of a September meeting Klein claims that certain students know that they will not be obtaining a degree and are attending school simply to learn the language and take advantage of lunches and programs. The residents responded to the statements by attending meetings and protests, some asking for Klein’s resignation. Klein stated that his remarks on the diploma program designed to help students who won’t be graduating were “taken out of context”, and the district also recently hired a lobby firm, Patricia Lynch and Darren Dopp, to assist in public relations. On October 8 hundreds of parents and students held a third protest, with growing numbers. Another is set to be held before the October 21 school board meeting at 7:00 PM.

Weekend Accidents; Bear Killed, Building Hit

Orangetown Police responded to a call on Sunday afternoon for an accident in Blauvelt. According to officers just after 12:00 PM a car crashed into a building at the intersection of Route 303 and Route 340. The driver was treated for minor injuries and remains unidentified and the cause has not been reported, though investigators were at the scene. An unrelated accident was also reported in Ramapo over the weekend. On Friday evening police arrived at the scene of an accident in Wesley Hills to find a young black bear had been hit and killed by a car. Police stated the 200 pound bear was crossing Route 202 when it was hit and survived the crash, but died before police responded. Both the driver and passenger in the car were uninjured and the car sustained minor damage.

Road Closed for Spill Cleanup

Clarkstown Police and the Rockland Hazardous Materials unit responded to a call on Thursday where three vehicles were involved in an accident. According to police a truck was involved in the accident around 11:00 AM, spilling about thirty gallons of diesel on Route 303 at the intersection for Palisades Center Drive in West Nyack. Police stated an SUV and garbage truck collided with the tractor trailer when the driver ran a red light. Five people were taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries and the road remained closed for cleanup until 1:00 PM.

Tappan Zee Constructors Fined for Violations

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, Tappan Zee Constructors, the company building the $3.9 billion new bridge across the Hudson, has been fined for permit violations. According to state reports the constructors began working on building large portions of the bridge at a site north of the project, where they are leasing land and will later ferry the pieces South to the actual construction site. Officials for the group Riverkeeper stated in August they observed the company improperly dredging areas of the Hudson near the Albany site and alerted the DEC of possible violations. Director or Riverkeeper’s Hudson River Program Phillip Musegaas stated that dredging should be continuous movements between the river and barge where materials are dumped, so water and sediment doesn’t drain from the river, but dredging cranes allegedly paused in the process, harming the environment. The company was fined $10,000 for violations and must pay $55,000 to a project for the environment. TZC officials stated that work will continue on schedule, despite the fines.

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.