Suffern building inspectors responded to an apartment building on Orange Avenue on Monday after reports of flooding due to leaking pipes most likely caused by the freezing temperatures the county is facing this week. Late Tuesday night officials continued to investigate the building which holds 7 small apartments and uncovered various violations including electrical issues and reports that at least six people were living in a small space that was not designed to house that amount. Officials stated that the tenants in these situations are not to blame but the landlords who enforcers claim are putting residents’ lives at risk by violating building standards. Recently the State Division of Building Standards and Codes sent out a letter to the Town of Ramapo and the Village of Spring Valley stating that they will step in if necessary when it comes to illegal housing issues that are becoming an epidemic in the county. According to officials, Orange Avenue, LLC., the landlord of the building, will face violations and receive a court date.
New testimony by a Nyack Hospital Pediatrician who treated Garnett Spears, claims that there was no medical explanation for the spike in his sodium levels and that Lacey Spears smiled when he told her of her son’s condition. Today marked the 8th day of Spears’ murder trial in the fatal poisoning of her son. Spears was charged with 2nd degree murder and 1st degree manslaughter and faces up to 25 years in prison for each charge.
Senator David Carlucci together with The Senior Advisory Council gathered Tuesday afternoon to push forward Senior Affordability in Rockland County. This event comes on the heals of the passage of bills addressing issues faced by Seniors brought by a group of New York State Senators. Among the proposals are a $40 million grant for senior housing for the State and separate funds allotted for modifications within the home. Carlucci emphasized support for New York to join the 40 other States across the nation to establish a Utility Consumer Advocate as part of the Public Service commission in which the Senior Utility Circuit Breaker could work to combat rates which are among the highest in the nation. Seniors raised concerns that the overhead for utility fees is more costly than the service itself. According to U.S. Census data, up to 15% of the county’s residents are seniors. Next month will mark the 3rd year of the Senior Advisory Council’s establishment which has covered issues including healthcare services and pharmaceutical coverage.
Senator David Carlucci will be hosting a Senior Advisory Council meeting today at the Nanuet Library. The meeting is the senator’s first for 2015 and will take place from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM and all seniors are welcome to attend.
According to Suffern Treasurer Michael Genito who spoke at a recent village board meeting, the deficit is larger than originally stated by the Comptroller’s Office last year. Genito was appointed in July of 2014 and has since been investigating the reasons behind the village’s shortfalls, reporting at the meeting that the deficit is now closer to $2.5 million rather than the Comptroller’s calculated $1.3 million and much of the problems have been presnt since 2010 when Suffern officials borrowed money on a revenue anticipation note, and the new treasurer blames his predecessor Thomas Zordan’s monthly reports and accounting. The village has yet to find a solution, with the board voting no on Mayor Patricia Abato’s proposal to borrow $1.5 million in short term notes, and Abato shutting down Trustee’s proposals to receive help from the state Financial Restructuring Board. Genito stated that recently approved bank notes will be used only for necessary spending and taxes will most likely go up next year while the village restructures their financial patterns.
Firefighters from the South Spring Valley, Pearl River, Orangeburg, Tallman, Monsey, and Hillcrest departments responded to a call Monday morning to find a house engulfed in flames. Officials reported that just before 8:00 AM reports came in that the refrigerator in the Chestnut Ridge home on Manis Avenue had caught fire and the flames quickly spread to the rest of the house, breaking through the roof of the building. All those in the home were able to get out without injury, though the home was lost to the damage. Firefighters spent a long time battling the flames, due to the freezing temperatures throughout the morning, which often cause problems with hydrants. Investigators are continuing to look into the officials cause of the fire.
New Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie who made history as the first African-American Speaker in state history, outlined his, “Higher Education Road to Success” initiatives at the Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators conference in Albany this past Saturday.
Heastie used funding for the DREAM Act as the platform for various measures aimed at programs for lower and middle-income New Yorkers who have trouble with the soaring cost of college.
Also outlined in the State Assembly’s plan is an income tax reduction of student loan interest, summer programs for incoming college freshmen, and the creation of more childcare facilities on CUNY and SUNY school campuses.
The deadline to complete enrollment for health insurance through the New York State of Health website has been extended two weeks to February 28th. The cut-off date to have begun the process was Sunday, February 15th and all applications and enrollments completed by the 28th will begin coverage by April 1st. Over 2 million New Yorkers have enrolled for insurance through the state’s exchange from this year including those who re-enrolled. A computer glitch with the income verification portion over the weekend as well as weather related hindrances prompted some users to encounter difficulties completing the enrollment on time. Last week President Obama released a video which appeared on various social media platforms to increase exposure to healthcare.gov.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo arrived at the Pascack Ridge Community Center in Rockland County on Friday to discuss his state of the state address for 2015. Cuomo began by praising the momentum of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, and a proposed tax credit for households making below $250,000 a year. In response to a question regarding the report submitted by fiscal monitor of the East Ramapo School District Hank Greenburg, Cuomo stated that legislation is expected between the budget deadline of April 1 and the end of the Legislature’s session in June. The proposed bill would increase oversight on the decisions made by the school board, and would be largely based off of Greenburg’s report, which stated that the board acted recklessly when it came to fiscal decisions.
Firefighters responded to a fire at a restaurant in Nanuet on Saturday night. Around 7:00 PM Nanuet, Pearl River, West Nyack, and Spring Valley departments responded to the chinese restaurant Fortune Garden on Route 59, and were forced to evacuate the patrons and employees as they attempted to put out the flames that began in the kitchen area. Officials stated that the fire appeared to begin as a grease fire and quickly spread into a vent duct in the ceiling. No one was reported injured, though the restaurant was temporarily shut down due to the damage.