Feds Sue Village of Airmont, Again, Accused of Discriminating Against Orthodox Jews

The village of Airmont is being brought into federal court for the third time in nearly as many decades, accused of discriminating against Orthodox Jews. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal district court, the Southern District of New York claimed Airmont violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. The suit claims Airmont imposed unreasonable zoning requirements on Orthodox Jewish residents, to the point where they couldn’t even get minor alterations approved for private homes. Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said “religious discrimination will not be tolerated” and “everyone has the right to worship freely, without undue interference.” Airmont officials could not be reached for comment.

Rockland Loses Four More to COVID, Governor Launches New Strategy to Combat Case Surge

As New York launched a new strategic plan for combating what is expected to be a rough COVID-19 winter, Rockland lost four more to the pandemic, bringing the total to 699 fatalities. In his daily press briefing yesterday, governor Andrew Cuomo said the state’s new strategic plan has five components, including adding the number of hospitalizations and hospital capacity to the microcluster strategy…

The state’s COVID Task Force, working with global public health experts, local governments and others, devised the plan that also would increase testing resources, keep schools open safely, seek to prevent viral spread from small gatherings, and establish a safe vaccination program.

Rockland Health Department and Good Samaritan Hospital Offer Free COVID Tests for School Students, Faculty and Staff

Students, faculty, and staff from schools in Rockland’s yellow zones can get free COVID tests this week thanks to a partnership between the County Department of Health and Good Samaritan Hospital. Starting today, schools in the yellow zone are required to test 20% of students, faculty, and staff in order to stay open for in-person instruction. If the district’s positivity rate is lower than the yellow zone’s current 7-day positivity rate, testing at that school will no longer be required to continue in-person instruction. Testing will take place from 11:00 am – 2:00pm today at Palisades Center Mall Garage Entrance West near Best Buy, tomorrow at Suffern High School, Wednesday at Spring Valley High School, Thursday at Rockland BOCES in West Nyack, and Friday at Palisades Center again. You’ll need to complete a registration form before you go, you can download it here: https://bit.ly/39kFWUt.

Rockland schools, meanwhile, have altered their schedules somewhat as they expect post-Thanksgiving COVID spikes. Clarkstown and Suffern are doing some virtual learning during the winter, while South Orangetown, Nanuet and Rockland BOCES have short all-virtual buffers this week. North Rockland started its “holiday pause” last week, and it runs through January 19th.

COVID-19 by the numbers now, here in Rockland, we’ve got four in the hospital being examined, another 65 have been confirmed with coronavirus, and a total of 1,478 active cases. The state says since the crisis began, we’ve had a total of 21,258 reported cases, 316 more than Friday, and the number of deaths in the county since the pandemic began remains at 695.

New City Man Pleads Guilty to Murder of Haverstraw Funeral Home General Manager

A New City man has pleaded guilty to the murder of a North Rockland funeral home general manager. Rockland D-A Tom Walsh says 61 year-old Gerard O’Sullivan faces sentencing in February after admitting to killing 42 year-old Noah Hamer, the general manager of the T.J. McGowan Sons Funeral Home in Haverstraw earlier this year, just hours after he was fired. O’Sullivan faces life in prison, with a minimum of 15 to 25 years before he becomes eligible for parole.

South Nyack Man Charged with Murder of Nyack Man After Sunday Night Shooting

A South Nyack man has been charged with second-degree murder after a fatal shooting in Nyack Sunday night. 35 year-old Gregory Dubuisson of Nyack was found on the sidewalk on Franklin Street just after 7pm Sunday night. Attempts at first aid failed and he was pronounced dead at Nyack Hospital. Orangetown Police say 26-year-old Wendy Jean was arraigned Monday in Nyack village court and sent to the Rockland County Jail. He is due back in court December 3rd. Police did not release a motive for the shooting. Anyone with information should call them at 845-359-3700.

Nyack Shooting Under Investigation by Orangetown Police

Details are scant at this time, but Orangetown Police are investigating a shooting incident from last night in Nyack. Police say the shooting occurred around 7:15 Sunday on Franklin Street. They say they’ve found parties of interest and there’s no threat to the public. Anyone who has additional information should call the Orangetown Police Department at 845-359-3700.

Rockland Areas Moved Into COVID “Yellow Zone”

Several Rockland areas have been newly-designated as COVID yellow-zone micro-clusters by the state. The state’s COVID map shows Suffern, Stony Point, Pearl River, New City and West Haverstraw now face new restrictions. They include a 25-person maximum on non-essential mass gatherings, if you’re dining out, there’s a four-person limit per table, though bars and restaurants could be subject to curfews, schools can stay open if state testing requirements are met, and houses of worship are restricted to 50% capacity. Changes go into effect Friday, schools would be affected Monday.

The North Rockland school district, meanwhile, had already decided to shut down and go all-remote starting Monday through January 19th. Stony Point supervisor Jim Monaghan says he understands the position the school is in…

None of Rockland’s other school districts has made a similar move to all -remote learning for the winter.

Rockland Sends More Staff to Work from Home due to COVID Increases, County Records Another Fatality, Pearl River’s Pfizer Vaccine Closer to Approval

Increasing COVID-19 numbers in Rockland is sending some county employees to work from home. Staff from designated departments will, starting tomorrow, join their colleagues who were already working remotely to ensure the continuation of critical government services, though in-person meetings will be limited. And speaking of in-person meetings….

New York’s governor is predicting a huge spike in COVID cases after Thanksgiving. Andrew Cuomo says it’s just a matter of human behavior…

Several groups have filed emergency applications asking the U.S. Supreme Court to remove New York’s COVID-19 limits on attendance at houses of worship. The Times Herald-Record reports Agudath Israel of America, a national group representing Orthodox Jewish congregations, and two Orthodox congregations from New York City filed an emergency application on Monday. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brooklyn filed its application on Thursday. Both claim Cuomo’s executive order restricting attendance for houses of worship is unconstitutional. New York State Attorney General Letitia James has until Friday to respond.

Pfizer announced yesterday that new test results show its coronavirus vaccine to be 95% effective, up from the estimated 90% effective rate announced last week. Pfizer and its co-development partner said the vaccine is safe and protects older people who are most at risk of dying. They will formally ask U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of the vaccine. Globally, the companies expect to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses this year. Pfizer has research and development facilities in Pearl River.

COVID-19 by the numbers now, here in Rockland, we’ve lost another to COVID, the death toll now at 691. We’ve got one in the hospital being examined, another 51 are hospitalized confirmed with coronavirus, and a total of 1,524 active cases. The state says since the crisis began, we’ve had a total of 20,176 reported cases, 132 more than Wednesday.

Rockland County Department of Health Warns of Possible COVID-19 Exposure at Clarkstown Church

The County Department of Health is warning Rocklanders of a possible coronavirus exposure at a Clarkstown Church. A staff member at St. Francis of Assisi in West Nyack tested positive for COVID-19 and was at two masses during the infectious period. That was Sunday, November 8th, at 10:15 am and noon. If you attended these masses, you should contact the Rockland County Department of Health at 845-364-2997 to see if you need to quarantine.

COVID-19 by the numbers now, here in Rockland, we’ve got 50 in the hospital confirmed with coronavirus, and a total of 1,370 active cases. The state says since the crisis began, we’ve eclipsed the 20,000-mark, for a total of 20,044 reported cases, 140 more than Tuesday, and the number of deaths in the county since the pandemic began remains at 690.

Rockland Records Two More COVID Deaths, Ramapo Red Zone Improves to Yellow, Rockland’s CE Blasts New NY Restrictions

What was once a red zone in Ramapo has now been changed by the state to yellow, so all 14 schools in the East Ramapo School District will be open for in-person learning starting today. The North Rockland Central School District announced Friday they are considering a “Holiday Pause” of in-person instruction, and instead going fully-remote, possibly starting next Monday and running through Tuesday, January 19th. A decision is expected this week.

Rockland’s county executive is blasting the governor’s micro-management of the COVID crisis. Late last week, governor Andrew Cuomo issued new restrictions on restaurants and bars, gyms, and anyone with a state liquor license, along with indoor and outdoor gatherings at private homes. On Friday, Ed Day told “The Morning Show” limiting restaurants and other businesses’ services after 10pm doesn’t make sense…

Governor Cuomo meanwhile is taking aim at the president who threatened to withhold vaccines from New Yorkers after Cuomo called for an independent review of the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness before its release…

Cuomo said the state is considering legal action if the federal roll out of the vaccine is deemed to be unfair.

COVID-19 by the numbers now, here in Rockland, we’ve added two more deaths to the total over the weekend since the pandemic began, we’re now at 689. We’ve got 39 in the hospital with confirmed cases of coronavirus, and a total of 1,216 active cases. The state says since the crisis began, we’ve had a total of 19,567 reported cases, 153 more than Friday.

Snow Closings Updated Regularly

Please click on the image below to view all snow closings for Rockland County.