Timelines: July 26, 2012


Fines Raised for False Fire Alarms in Nyack
A resolution was passed in Nyack on Thursday, July 19 increasing the fines for false alarms to the local fire department. Anyone who places a false call to the Nyack fire department more than twice a year will be penalized with a $300 fine.

And the fines keep going up. For more than 15 false alarms the fine reaches $15,000. To be clear, the new law defines a false fire alarm as “sounding of the alarm and the dispatching of the fire department to a condition which is unnecessary (i.e. no fire, no smoke condition, not a good intent call, etc.).”

A good intent call is when someone really thought there was a fire but in fact there was none. This new law will go into effect as soon as it is filed and signed by the secretary of state.

Whooping Cough Rises in N.Y.
State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah is urging New Yorkers to get vaccinated against pertussis, also known as whooping cough, as there has been a rise in the number of cases this year in New York.

“Pertussis is a highly contagious, but very preventable disease,” said Shah. “I encourage New Yorkers to make sure that you and your family members are up-to-date on pertussis vaccinations in order to prevent infection.”

So far in 2012 there have been 970 cases. This is compared to 931 cases in 2011 and 722 cases in 2010. In 2009 there were only 265 cases. In 2011 three infants died from complicated due to the disease.

Pertussis is a bacterial infection in the respiratory tract. It spreads easily through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Starting symptoms are typically cold-like: sneezing, runny nose, low fever, and mild cough. The symptoms get worse, specifically the cough, as the disease takes hold. The cough may last for a couple of months and is worse at night.

County Received $2.4 Million For Busing
The Rockland County Department of Public Transportation was awarded a $2.4 million federal grant to fund Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) projects for Transport of Rockland and Tappan ZeeExpress bus services.

“The funds will enable Rockland County to provide advanced technologies and equipment onboard our buses, which will improve and modernize service for our residents,” said County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef.

New equipment will benefit the 3.5 million annual riders with faster boarding, fare collection and payment options. The first priority will be to install fare boxes on all buses. This will help with the handling of fare revenue.

The county plans to move forward on these improvements in the next few weeks. Future improvements include providing internet-based, real-time information to passengers, electronic signs at major bus stops with the route number and expected time of arrival. Other advancements include scheduling software, communication equipment and automatic passenger counters.

Teen Wears Dark Knight Rises Costume in Mall
Police were called to the Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J. when a 16-year-old boy was spotted dressed as “Bane,” a character from the movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” He was actually just wearing a cheap, plastic costume and enthusiastically headed to the film’s premier on July 20.

Police told him to take off the plastic silver mask and vest because he was alarming some people. He did as he was told. This was just hours before a shooting rampage at a theater screening the same movie in Aurora, Colo.

A man, suspected to be James Eagan Holmes, entered Century 16 cinema showing the “Dark Knight Rises” premier and shot 12 people dead, injuring 58 more. Ever since the tragic event, police have increased security at movie theaters all over the nation.

Nanuet Shooter Claims Rooftop Deer Hunting
Shashi Ramsaroop, 21, was arrested Saturday morning after he fired five gunshots from his roof in Nanuet. He claims he was trying to shoot the deer in his backyard. It is illegal to shoot a firearm within Clarkstown’s town borders.

Extra officers were on patrol that night because of the new Batman movie, “Dark Knight Rises,” and the tragedy that occurred in Aurora, Colo. Added officers were posted at the mall as a precaution. When reports of gunfire were made, nine police officers rushed to the scene.

Ramsaroop said he climbed to his roof at 31 Cottage Place when he saw deer gathered in his backyard. He planned on killing them. Police charged him with misdemeanor counts of second-degree reckless endangerment, prohibited use of a weapon, prohibited use and possession of a firearm an illegal hunting and violating Clarkstown code. Ramsaroop is being held at county jail in lieu of $2,000.

New City Residents Ask About Library Attorney
At the New City Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, July 19, residents and members of the Friends of the New City Library were concerned. A new attorney was hired last month, Scott Albrecht. But no one seemed to know anything about him. There was no discussion as to where he came from, who he was, whether he had any real expertise in library law or his fee.

In response, Joseph Reiter, the library’s board president, said Albrecht was selected out of several they were considering. The Personnel & Finance Committee was given Albrecht’s resume but had not shared it with the public. The new attorney’s hourly rate is $250, as opposed to the $300 hourly rate of the previous attorney.

According to Reiter, Albrecht is a single practitioner from Suffern. He has experience dealing with unions, labor laws and nonprofits. And he admitted that he knew Albrecht from when the two of them worked together 20 years ago.

Rockland County and Towns Fight Over Who Pays the Bills
Last week Rockland County towns announced they would begin billing Rockland County for utilities for street lights, traffic lights and fire hydrants on county roads. This is a cost the towns have traditionally covered until now.

Things changed after the county announced it would no longer be covering specific services to the towns, including the board of elections, tuition reimbursement for community college, narcotic task force and police intelligence unit.

Ever since the county’s announcement and the response from the five Rockland towns, there has been a growing unease between the two. The towns claim that not receiving these services from the county will cost them anywhere from a half million to more than $2 million.

County Legislature Ilan Schoenberger said that county roads were designated as such to help the towns by reducing maintenance expenses but if the towns were going to become confrontational they would return the roads to the towns. He claims that the result will end up being a cost-savings for the county.

Olympics Refuse Minute of Silence for Murdered Israelis
The head of the International Olympics Committee rejected a minute of silence at the opening ceremony to honor the 11 Israeli Olympians killed during the Munich Games in 1972. Jacques Rogge, the president of the committee, claimed the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games were not the right time to remember a tragedy like that one.

More than 100,000 people have signed the online petition which asks for a moment of silence in memory of these 11 athletes and coaches. They were killed by a Palestinian terrorist group called Black September during the games 40 years ago.

Even President Barack Obama signed onto the campaign for recognition. Rogge agreed to a ceremony, one at the site where they were killed in Germany. But the family members of those killed want something more public, a clear statement that what happened was not acceptable and will never happen again.

Stony Point Church Sets Prayer Vigil for Colorado Victims
In the aftermath of the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., a group from the Stony Point Presbyterian Church have planned a candlelight prayer vigil at the church on Thursday evening. After the shooting in Tuscan, Ariz. in January 2011, a group in Stony Point was formed to discuss gun violence.

This group has been studying the documentary “Gun Violence, Gospel Values: Mobilizing in Response to God’s Call.” The group has grown since it started and now includes 14 congregants and several occasional guests.

This news about the shooting in Colorado touched this group strongly and they’ve planned a vigil and hope other churches will join in with them.

First Woman in Space, Died at 61
Sally K. Ride, the first American woman in space, died Monday, July 23 after battling pancreatic cancer. She was 61. As the first American woman to travel into space, she was a powerful role model for generations of young girls. She also fought for more focus on science and math in the schools. She also investigated the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters.

The first woman in space was Valentina Tereshkova from Russia in 1963. The U.S. program at the time took primarily military test pilots and therefore the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs were all male. With the space shuttle, NASA created a new kind of astronaut, called “mission specialist,” and this opened the opportunity to others.

Ride served as a mission control capsule communicator for two missions and then on June 18, 1983 became the first American woman in space as she took off on the Challenger for mission STS-7. Ride was immediately famous and a role model for women and girls. In 1984, She set off into space again. This time she used the Challenger’s robot arm to launch an Earth observation satellite. She was set to go on a third flight but then the Challenger crash on January 28, 1986 ended those plans.

Ride was selected to serve on the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, a panel that analyzed why the shuttle crashed. She was well known for her grilling of NASA engineers. She could not understand why NASA managers approved the shuttle for flight despite known defects.

Cyclist Found Unconcious
Scott Sammutt of Spring Valley was found unconscious with his bike along Scotland Hill Road in Chestnut Ridge on Saturday, July 21. The 53-year-old cyclist was taken to Nyack Hospital. He remained in critical condition and the circumstances of his injuries are unknown. Officers found no indication that a car was involved, according to police.

N.Y. Supports Film/Television Industry
A new law designed to attract the film and television industry to New York State was signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday, July 24. Since the state began offering tax credits to support the film and television industry in 2004, producers have spent more than $7 billion in New York. This new law is designed to expand state support by focusing on attracting post-production work.

Post production includes all the editing after filming in complete and visual effects, color correction, sound editing and mixing, along with thousands of other jobs that include engineers and messengers, support staff and creative. According to Cuomo, so far it’s “been a tremendous success.” But “there is potential for this industry to make new investments in communities across the state and in doing so, help make New York the television and film capital of the world.”

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