County Legislature Expresses Support for Bohovesky Family
During its April 3 meeting, the Rockland County Legislature passed a resolution expressing support for the family of Paula Bohovesky and urging the New York State Parole Board to deny parole to her killers. Bohovsky, 16 of Pearl River, was killed in 1980 by Richard LaBarbera and Robert McCain, who both received 25-to-life sentences and have come up for parole every two years since 2005 in a bi-annual ritual which Legislator John Murphy described as torturous to the family. Their last parole hearing was in 2013 and will likely be opposed by a similar resolution in Orangetown’s Town Board. Since the murder, the larger Pearl River community has expressed overwhelming support for her family with concerts, events, and community honors while joining the family in strong opposition to LaBarbera and McCain’s release.
Bomb Threat Prompts Ramapo High School Evacuation
Police were called to Ramapo High School after a bomb threat was made on April 4, prompting a search but no confirmed danger to students or faculty. The threat was phoned in by an unknown person at 11 a.m. Town police arrived four minutes later, followed by the county’s bomb squad, who scoured the school for suspicious packages but discovered no threats. After the inspection of the grounds, students and teachers were allowed to return to class. An investigation by the Ramapo Police Detective Division is ongoing.
Aide to Bronx Senator Convicted of Embezzlement
A personal aide to Bronx state senator Ruben Diaz will serve time for embezzling thousands of dollars from two charitable groups he was charged with overseeing for his former employer. Gardner pled guilty to the charge of felony grand larceny in the second degree after the city’s Department of Investigation discovered Clement Gardner, 64, had diverted a total of $560,000 from Christian Community Benevolent Association and Christian Community in Action. Gardner served as fiscal officer for the organizations and stole the funds over a period of six years. After the guilty plea, Gardner was sentenced to a two-to-six year prison term on April 4. He will also be required to pay the victimized organizations restitution totaling the embezzled amount of $560,000.
Woman Arrested for Calling in False Shooting Threat at Bergen College
Stephanie Ballinger, 23, was arrested on April 5 for reporting a nonexistent shooting event at Bergen College’s Lyndhurst branch which placed the school on lockdown for an hour. During a phone call to her estranged husband in Florida, Ballinger explained to him that a man shot himself in his car at Bergen College. The husband called local police, who tracked down Ballinger and questioned her about the event. Though police found a car matching Ballinger’s description, they found no evidence of gunshots. Eventually, she admitted she had not seen a man shoot himself and that the call was a hoax. Ballinger was charged with creating a false public alarm and lying to police. After her arrest, she was released without bail pending a court hearing.
Suspects Arrested after Stolen Car Crash on Palisades Interstate Parkway
Lawrence Ferdinand, 18, Christopher Duval, 21, and Jesus Hernandez, 18 were arrested on April 5 after crashing a stolen car on the Palisades Interstate Parkway and attempting to escape by foot. Police received calls from other drivers reporting a black Honda missing one of its tires as it drove along the Parkway. They discovered the car just north of Exit 4 in Alpine and learned the car had been stolen out of West Harlem’s 30th Precinct. After a passing officer reported three men fleeing the scene on foot, state and local police combed the area for the suspects. They found the first two shortly after the crash and located the third after a forty minute search. The three were charged with receiving stolen property and eluding police, held on $70,000 bail at the Bergen County Jail and are due in court on Thursday.
Long Island Father’s Pistol License Suspended over Son’s Threat
A father in Suffolk County had his pistol license revoked by local police early in March after his 10 year old son’s school informed them of an alleged threat made by the boy. John Mayer of Commack, New York explained to TheBlaze that the revocation stemmed from an incident on March 1 when a teacher at Pines Elementary School overheard Mayer’s son mentioning that he would bring a water gun, “paint gun”, and BB gun to another student’s house. The alleged threat came after an argument and mild physical altercation involving him and three other students. The incident was confirmed by the Hauppage School District Superintendent Pat Kriss, who defended the school’s reporting policy as being according to standard procedure. In addition, the confiscation was confirmed by a Suffolk County Police representative, who went on to explain the case was being investigated by the Suffolk County Police Pistol License Bureau and no final determination had been made on the final status of the license. If the revocation remains active, Mayer might not be able to legally own a firearm until his son moves out of the house, a wait would take least eight years.
Feminists Protest Against Islamism with Topless Demonstrations
Feminist protesters converged on cities across Europe on Friday to protest human rights abuses against women in Islamic countries by painting their topless bodies with slogans and demonstrating in front of mosques. The protesters demonstrated in cities which included Paris, Kiev and Berlin, displaying slogans such as “F*ck your morals” and “Free Amina.” At least one widely-circulated photo featured a bare-chested protester wearing a hijab (Muslim head-covering for women) being kicked by a Muslim man as she protested outside a place of worship. The demonstration was inspired by a Tunisian activist dubbed “Amina Tyler” who posted similarly topless, body-painted pictures of herself during protest with slogans. Tunisia, which has become increasingly radicalized since the Arab Spring revolts, may pursue charges against Tyler.
Obama Ramps up Efforts for Gun Control Reforms
President Obama, Vice Presdient Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama have renewed their push for new gun control measures in conjunction with the end of the Senate’s two week recess. As a comprehensive gun control package is prepared for a vote in April, Obama has attempted to appeal directly to voters with a roster of public events intended to push stricter limits on firearm purchases and ownership. He has already spoken in Denver Colorado, not far from the Aurora where James Holmes fired upon moviegoers, and is set to speak at the University of Hartford, which is 50 miles north of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Meanwhile, Biden is scheduled to host a law enforcement roundtable in the White House on Tuesday and Michelle Obama will host a talk on violence reduction in Chicago. Though their efforts have ramped up in recent weeks, it is unclear if it will affect a threatened filibuster by Senate Republicans including Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz.
New City Brush Fire Stopped Before Causing Significant Damage
A brush fire in a field at the intersection of Buena Vista and Concklin Roads in New City swept through the undeveloped two acre area, coming close to two single-family homes but causing no significant damage. Thirty to 50 firefighters from New City, Hillcrest, Nanuet, and Congers were called to the scene after the fire was reported at 9:51 a.m. on Saturday morning. Though strong winds moved the fire under high-tension power lines and caused it to rapidly approach two homes on Buena Vista Road, firefighters were able to keep the flames under control and extinguish them by late morning. The cause of the fire has not yet been established.
Member of Bloomberg’s Anti-Gun Cadre Arrested for Drunken, Gun-Wielding Frenzy
James Schiliro, mayor of Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania and member of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors against Illegal Guns political action group, was arrested on multiple charges incurred after a gun-related incident at his home. The bizarre incident occurred when James Schiliro had a police officer pick up a 20 year old friend and drop him off at Schiliro’s home. Schiliro, who was already drunk, served the minor alcohol and sexually propositioned to him. When the man refused, Schiliro fired one of his three pistols into the floor, declared the man to be a hostage, and held a gun to his own head while declaring that he did not want to live anymore. Since the incident, Schiliro’s name vanished from Mayors against Illegal Guns’ roster. Schiliro is one of several members of Mayors against Illegal Guns who has been accused of serious crimes, including Spring Valley mayor Noramie Jasmin, who was arrested last week for accepting bribes from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for supporting a particular developer’s real estate project.
Pennsylvania Abortion Doctor on Trial for Murder of Patients, Newborns
Philadelphia doctor Dr. Kermit Gossell, who stands accused of several crimes linked to operations at his abortion facility, faced testimony on April 8 from former assistant Sherry West, who described conditions at his clinic as being akin to a “house of horrors.” West, who pled guilty to third-degree murder and delivering drugs resulting in death in 2011, recounted an unsanitary clinic littered with cat feces, the unsterilized equipment which transmitted STDs between patients, employment of unqualified and poorly-trained staff, and abortions of fetuses older than the state’s 24-week limit. West was particularly disturbed by the death of an 18-to-24 inch baby which had been delivered premature by Gossell but was reportedly developed enough to utter screams, an event which drove her from the operating room. Gossell stands accused of the murder of 41-year-old immigrant Karnamaya Mongar, who allegedly received a lethal dose of an anesthetic by West at Gossell’s direction. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
Legislator Ed Day Requests Bill to Penalize Elected Officials for Felonies
County Legislator Ed Day announced that he will sponsor two resolutions aimed at punishing elected officials convicted of felony offenses by stripping them of benefits they received in office. One resolution in the county legislature will aim to create a local law applying to elected county officials, punishing them for offenses committed in office by taking away any retirement and pension benefits earned during their terms. The county resolution is currently in committee review. Day is also pushing a memorializing resolution requesting the state legislature’s passage and Cuomo’s approval of Senate Bill S.3048 and Assembly Bill A.6263, which will carry a similar statewide function of retracting benefits received while in office. Day explained he supported both measures, but acted to “initiate immediate action here in Rockland that will hold any elected official strictly accountable for crimes committed in office” due to the long process Albany might take to enact change on a state level.
Rockland Sees Bond Market Rebound, According to Executive
The Rockland County Executive joined his Department of Finance to announce signs of the county’s bond market, linking improvements to definite financial steps taken by the county. Commissioner of Finance Stephen DeGroat explained tax anticipation notes (TANs), bond anticipation notes (BANs) and revenue anticipation notes (RANs) saw increased attention from financial firms due to lowered rates of 1.15%, attracting demand which far outstripped note issues and demonstrating growing private sector faith in Rockland’s economy. County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef explained the improvements could be tracked to “tough decisions” involving the sale of public property, favorable labor agreements and cuts in spending. He also celebrated ramped up efforts to draw job-makers to Rockland such as the Tappan Zee rebuild.
Before Arrest, Desmaret had Prior “Corrupt Agreement”
The federal complaint against former Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret shed light on not only the current bribery scandal but also a smaller, previously unknown illicit agreement. Though it is known Desmaret was paid $1,000, the complaint alleged “the agreement that gave rise to the $1,000 payment is unrelated to the charge [therein.]” Investigators declined speak on what Desmaret received in exchange for the payment. The additional accusations bring more attention to shady dealings in Spring Valley involving Desmaret and mayor Noramie Jasmin. Both face charges of mail fraud for allegedly receiving payments in exchange for giving their support to a catering hall and community center on Route 45 and in Jasmin’s case, a 5 percent ownership share in the center.
Motor Vehicle Accident with Injuries
Ramapo Police responded to North Airmont Road on April 3, 2013, to investigate a motor vehicle accident involving an SUV into a utility pole. Arriving officers observed a white 1999 Ford Explorer, which had come to rest on top of a rock wall on the north side of North Airmont Road. The SUV had struck a utility pole, severing the pole in half, and then continuing off the roadway and up onto the rock wall between Par Road and Champion Road. The driver of the vehicle, Daniel C. Hlavac, age 21, of Pearl River, NY, was observed near the vehicle exhibiting signs of intoxication. Mr. Hlavac was also observed to have some minor injuries that were sustained in the accident. He was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital where he was treated and released. He was arrested for driving while intoxicated and driving while abilityi by drugs. The accident caused the power to go out in the area, and it remained out while Orange and Rockland Utility replaced the telephone pole.
Sudden Fire Rips Through Nanuet Bungalow
On April 10 at 2:49 a.m. a fire erupted at the Russian Orthodox Convent, located at 100 Smith St. in Nanuet. Two people were inside and were taken to Nyack Hospital for evaluation. They had no signs of clear injury. Clarkstown Police are still investigating what caused the blaze.
Rockland Continues to Pursue State Legislature to Create Rockland/Bergen Bi-State River Commission
The Rockland County Legislature passed a resolution, sponsored by vice chairman of the Legislature Alden H. Wolfe, to call upon the NYS Legislature to pass two bills (A.1297 and S.1995) to enact the “Rockland Bergen Bi-State Watershed Flood Prevention and Protection Act” and create a Rockland Bergen Bi-State River Commission to address the issues of potential and existing flood hazards along the various waterways that cross state borders, such as the Hackensack, Ramapo/Mahwah and Saddle Rivers and the Sparkill Creek. The resolution received unanimous approval at the April 3, 2013 meeting of the County Legislature. Vice Chairman Wolfe, who is the chair of the Legislature’s Environmental Committee, sponsored requests to the State Legislature in 2009 and 2012 in support of similar state legislation, which ultimately did not make it out of state committees. The legislation was re-introduced in the Assembly in January of this year by Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, and was co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Ellen Jaffee, Annie Rabbit and James Skoufis. Senator David Carlucci re-introduced a bill in the Senate, which was co-sponsored by Senator William Larkin. New Jersey Governor Christie signed legislation in January of 2012 to approve the creation of the bi-state commission in New Jersey, noted Wolfe.