Rockland gets $100,000 each year from compost sales

The Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority has been pulling in revenue for the county with a process which turns solid waste into compost.

According to Operations Manager John Klos, the Authority sells $100,000 worth of treated solid waste sludge per year. The sludge goes through a mixing and curing process for 50 days before being trucked out to buyers, a more cost effective alternative to burying the sludge in landfills.

About 500 tons of solid waste is produced each day in the county, allowing the processing of 25,000 cubic yard of compost.

Mayor of New Hempstead retires after 24 years of service

Larry Dessau, an 88 year old Bronx native, is set to retire from his post as New Hempstead’s mayor on Monday after 24 years in office.

Dessau reflected fondly on his time as mayor in an interview with the Journal News, explaining his experiences had been “very rewarding” in spite of frequent challenges posed by zoning conflicts. He also spoke proudly of his work at slashing village taxes.

Dessau, formerly a radio and TV repair expert, entered politics in the 1980s as a village trustee amid discussion of the incorporation of the Village before winning the mayoral race in 1990. Since then, he has been at the helm, guiding the village through controversies such as a plan for a poultry slaughterhouse which was eventually abandoned and the establishment of illegal religious schools.

The former mayor will be succeeded by viillage Deputy Mayor Fred Brinn, who stated he intends to follow a similar route as Dessau in maintaining the village as it is and keeping a careful eye on zoning issues.

Mozilla CEO steps down due to liberal backlash

Brendan Eich, a well-known figure in tech circles for his co-founding of Mozilla, resigned from his post as CEO of the company last week after a public backlash against his support for California’s Prop 8.

Eich donated $1,000 in support of the California ballot petition to keep gay marriage illegal in the state. The noted programmer, who created the JavaScript programming language, initially said he intended to separate his leadership role from his personal beliefs, but reversed his position.

The company issued a public apology for failing to engage with the public enough to respond to the outrage. According to Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker, the company could not continue with Eich, explaining he “cannot lead in this setting.”

Opposition to Eich’s role with Mozilla emerged in tech circles as well. Mozilla staffers have also expressed anger over the decision and the online dating site OKCupid went so far as to demand a boycott against Mozilla’s popular web browser Firefox.

Cuomo won’t use public money for prison degree program

A controversial proposal championed by Governor Andrew Cuomo which would have paid for college degrees to New York prisoners has been scrapped.

Cuomo stated at a meeting of black and Latino lawmakers that if the program proceeded, it would not use public tax dollars. He acknowledged criticisms from fellow state representatives who blasted the plan for ignoring the needs of law-abiding families who struggle to afford college, though he disagreed about their perception of the program as unfair.

The program would have pumped $1 million into the prison system for degree programs at 10 correctional facilities. New York currently offers degree programs at 12 different facilities.

Suspected car thief arrested in Rockland

A suspected car thief who was spotted in New Jersey was chased by police back over the state line before being apprehended in Rockland.

An Elmwood officer on Route 46 spotted the stolen Honda Pilot when a license plate reader showed the car to have been stolen from a location in Haverstraw. The officer chased the suspect until traffic in Fort Lee forced him to stop. State police then chased the man on the Palisades Interstate Parkway and into Orangetown.

The car was stopped at an Orangeburg exit. It is not yet known when the car was stolen.

News outlet publishes details of Al Sharpton’s work as a mob informant

The Smoking Gun, a news site which specializes in publication of public records and government documents, recently revealed details of Rev. Al Sharpton’s past as a mob informant for the FBI.

The documents reveal Sharpton had 10 face-to-face meetings with Joseph Bonanno of the Bonanno crime family in 1988. The content of the talks, which was recorded with a camera hidden inside a briefcase, was later used to secure wiretaps of two clubs owned by the Genovese crime family.

Sharpton, who hosts a talk show on MSNBC and remains a major Democratic figure, fired back at the Smoking Gun by insisting he was being threatened by mobsters and assisted the FBI for his own protection.

However, Smoking Gun editor William Bastone explained Sharpton had significant mob connections prior to his work and was unlikely to have turned informant unless he was under pressure from law enforcement.

Rockland County Jail to receive new phones capable of taping calls

New phones with the ability to tape calls will be introduced to the Rockland County Jail this fall in a deal which Sheriff Louis Falco hopes will raise additional revenue for jail programs.

The phones will assist investigators and prosecutors by recording conversations for evidence of illegal activity. In addition, a new contract with the Virginia-based Global Tel*Link Corp will pay at least $151,000 to the county each year plus monthly commission checks if revenues exceed that amount.

The current contract with Global Tel*Link brings in $103,000 annually. Falco reported the revenues would be used for prisoner rehabilitation services such as mental health programs and job training.

Friedman disputes appointment of Spring Valley employee as Ramapo consultant

Town of Ramapo Councilman Daniel Friedman is once again raising concerns the appointment of Spring Valley Parks and Recreation Director Bernard Charles Jr. as a consultant for the town is imprudent.

Friedman challenged Charles, arguing he could not possibly make time for both his full-time position with the Village and his part-time position as a consultant. According to the councilman, Charles had to work at least 30 hours per week to legally justify his position as a full-time employee.

Charles defended his appointment, arguing he works weekends with the town aside from his 35 hour workweek with the town. Documents obtained by the Journal News seem to corroborate his claims, showing he registers 35 hours per week with the town.

Judge: Jewish congregation cannot operate matzoh oven

A town judge ordered a Jewish congregation on Ramapo to shut down an illegal matzoh oven it had been operating in an illegal school, arguing continued safety violations jeopardized the safety of students at the location.

Congregation Ateres Yisroel was told by Justice Alan Simon they had to clear their Forshay Avenue property of students and cease operation of the temporary oven, which was set up for the passover season. The congregation’s director Chaim Rosenberg was in court to answer for two fire safety violations discovered at the locations related to the oven.

The congregation has been brought to court for safety violations and improper land use in the past. They had been previously cited in 2009 and 2012 for operating an illegal school at the location, but failed to appear in court until warrants were issued demanding an appearance.

Investigators: Fort Hood shooter instigated by denial of leave request, not PTSD

Authorities investigating last week’s deadly shooting at Fort Hood in Texas reported shooter Ivan Lopez snapped following an argument over a leave of absence he was denied by superiors.

Lopez, who had served in Iraq for four months, was initially suspected to have been unstable due to post-traumatic stress disorder after he used a .45 caliber handgun to kill three fellow soldiers and wound 16 more. However, interviews with service members who had interacted with Lopez reveal an argument occurred shortly before his shooting regarding a request for a leave of absence.

Lopez had been treated for depression, but investigators have been skeptical of the role of PTSD in the shooting given the shooter had only spent a brief amount of time in Iraq at a time when violence was relatively low.

The shooting is the second such incident at Fort Hood, the first being the 2009 shooting perpetrated by Nidal Hassan. Hassan, a military psychologist who embraced radical Islam, killed 13 soldiers and wounded 30, actions for which he was sentenced to death.

Kiryas Joel to stop de-segregation at children’s park

The exclusively Orthodox Jewish Village of Kiryas Joel has agreed not to endorse the sex segregation of a public children’s park.

An article from a Haredi news outlet profiled the park, which the town’s municipal treasurer Rabbi Gedalia Segdin stated would be sex-segregated and off-limits to non-Jews. Segdin also announced the park would be overseen by the village’s Modesty Committee to ensure compliance with the village’s regulations.

In response, the New York Civil Liberties Union requested records on the park and filed suit to block the segregation. Kiryas Joel initially denied the park existed within the city limits, but was eventually forced to compromise. The NYCLU reported that in exchange for the removal of signs demanding sex segregation, the civil liberties group would settle the suit.

The NYCLY also stated it would monitor the park over the next three summers to ensure there was no official endorsement or enforcement of sex segregation.

Woman arrested for driving drunk in New City

Lisa Camera, 48 of New City, was arrested on Friday for charges related to a drunk driving incident in New City.

Clarkstown Police reported Camera was stopped after she was observed driving erratically on Little Tor Road by New Hempstead Road. A sobriety test revealed she was driving with a .018 blood-alcohol content, which is more than twice the legal .08 limit. Police also reported Camera was resistant and refused to obey the officer’s orders.

Camera was arrested and charged with felony first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and misdemeanor DWI, aggravated DWI, obstruction of governmental operation and resisting arrest. She was released without bail and is due in court on April 28.

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