Landlord Maria Hrynenko of the Palisades, owner of the two New York City buildings that were destroyed in a gas explosion that killed two men, may face manslaughter charges. Authorities are assessing Hrynenko’s culpability in the incident however her lawyer, Thomas Curtis places blame on Con Edison, the utility company that supplied gas to the buildings. Investigators are working off of previous claims of illegal gas line tapping from last summer where Con Edison workers found a restaurant gas line routed up to tenant apartments. Curtis maintains Hrynenko’s innocence, pointing out that her own son was injured in the explosion after she sent him and a contractor to answer a call about a possible gas leak.
A four-alarm fire broke out at Mid-State Lumber on Kings Highway in Warwick Thursday evening which took firefighters from 20 departments, all night and into Friday morning to extinguish. Stacks of wood and buildings fed the flames where crews had to rely on water tanks since there were no hydrants in the area. Orange & Rockland also responded to the scene to cut the gas line that was entering the lumber yard. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries but are expected to fully recover.
New York State officials have approved regulations for the medical marijuana program that is set to take affect next year. The law was signed last July and allows qualified patients access to liquid and oil forms of the drug, which can be added to edibles as well. According to regulations there will be only five businesses in New York that can apply with a $10,000 review fee and $200,000 registration fee that is good for two years. The business will be allowed to grow, process, and sell the drug legally, with four dispensaries each statewide. Recently patients who have been diagnosed with qualifying illnesses have expressed concern of cost and access to the treatment, though regulations state that while the prices are set for the product, the identification card fee can be waived if they qualify financially.
According to New York State Police, they worked with Clarkstown Police and various other departments to arrest two men in connection to robberies in Westchester, Rockland, and Connecticut. Police stated that 24-year old Nicholas Fiore of Yonkers was arrested on Monday for his role in the robbery of a Cortlandt gas station on March 24 when he was stopped for a traffic violation. On Thursday police began a search for and arrested 35-year old Yonkers resident Michael Caccavale in Washington Heights, New York for the same charges. Both men were held in Westchester County Jail, Caccavale with no bail, and Fiore on $50,000 bail, both on felony charges of second-degree robbery.
At a press conference on Thursday Rockland County Legislator Aaron Weider discussed a controversial video that was released online in late March. Rumors on the internet and throughout the county spread that Weider was the narrator in the video, which compares hateful and offensive comments on a social media page to the early days of Nazi Germany, though at the conference the Legislator stated that he was not involved in the production at all. When a resident asked if Weider thought the video should be taken down he said it should, stating that it would be for the best to remove the video, which contains harsh visual comparisons to Nazi propaganda released in Europe to describe the fear that the Orthodox Jewish Community feels in Rockland County. Weider stated that while he thinks the video was not done properly and it broadly describes issues in Rockland as anti-semitic, there is tensio that needs to be addressed, stating, “We must acknowledge that a major problem exists in our county and that regardless of political differences, debates about issues should never descend into hateful and destructive rhetoric aimed at any community.”
Local activists have filed petitions against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accusing them of approving the Algonquin natural gas pipeline that violates federal laws. They allege that the Clean Water Act was violated as the pipeline was approved without first receiving a water quality certificate. The pipeline would run through Ramapo up through Westchester and Putnam Counties where individuals argue that FERC has not addressed the environmental and health concerns of building close to a nuclear facility. Activists demand that a pipeline built near densely populated areas warrants a full rehearing. Groups will consider legal action if FERC rejects the requests for rehearing.
Residents in Orangetown are teaming up to save a historic property from being destroyed. According to a group of residents the 263-year old Abram Lent House, which was built during the early days of Rockland by a Dutch settler, is at risk of being torn down when RD Management, the owners and developers of the Orangeburg Commons being construction on a planned 18,000 square foot building at the site of the home. In order to prevent the destruction of the building it would need to be listed as landmark status on the historic registry for New York State. Residents and historic groups are now attempting to raise $50,000 to take apart the house and have it moved and rebuilt half a mile up from its current location on Greenbush Road. The Planning Board is reviewing the property and RD Management proposals on April 8. Both town officials and the owner of the historic home have expressed the desire to see it saved.
Funeral services for former Haverstraw Mayor Edward Zugibe were held at St. Peter’s Church on Wednesday morning, with hundreds of residents, friends, and family attending to pay their respects. The 92-year old World War II veteran passed away this past weekend. He served eight terms as Mayor from 1972 to 2007, during which he continued to run his business Zugibe’s Hardware in Haverstraw, and served as Trustee before that in 1958. Edward Zugibe was the brother of Rockland’s First Medical Examiner Fred Zugibe, whose son is Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe. Residents and officials spoke out about the impact the former Mayor had on the community and that he will be missed by all.
Valhalla resident Darlene Smith won the $3 million prize on an ‘Instant Millionaire’ scratch-off she bought at the White Plains Stop & Shop on February 15. Smith had stopped into the grocery chain to buy a birthday cake for her husband when she stopped at the lottery machine to buy tickets. This marks the third winner of multi-million dollar jackpots in the Lower Hudson Valley this year with a $7 million scratch-off ticket winner last week purchased in New City and a $5 million scratch-off winner from Yonkers in January.
Clarkstown Police responded to a drunk and disorderly Tuesday evening around 6:00pm at the 4th floor of the Palisades Center. Daniel McCormack, 31 of Haverstraw, allegedly attacked a police officer when confronted at the mall and later injured an EMT while restrained in an ambulance headed for the Nyack Hospital. McCormack was arraigned in Clarkstown Justice Court and charged with multiple felonies, misdemeanors, and violations where bail was set at $50,000.