TIMELINES 10/16/14

Spring Valley woman arrested for attempted robbery with a gun

A woman in Spring Valley was arrested October 8 after she menaced a man with a gun during a dispute over money she claimed he owed. Police arrested Kenesha Kerr at about 12:15 p.m. at 864 Chestnut Ridge for the incident, where she threatened the man, who was in his twenties. Nobody was injured in the dispute.

The exact nature of the monetary dispute has not yet been determined. An unspecified quantity of cocaine was found with Kerr, but it is not known if the conflict was drug-related.

Kerr was charged with felony first-degree armed robbery, felony second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and misdemeanor second-degree menacing. In addition, she faces felony third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor second-degree use of drug paraphernalia for the cocaine.


Red Bull settles major lawsuit, owes consumers in cash or drinks

A false advertising lawsuit settled by energy drink manufacturer Red Bull has opened the way for consumers to claim owed damages of either $10 or $15 worth of Red Bull products.

The company was sued for its slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings,” which critics alleged inaccurately portrayed the drink as a performance-enhancer. Specifically, claims that Red Bull enhanced performance, reaction speed and concentration were deemed false.

Consequently, anybody who drank a Red Bull between 2002 and October 3, 2014 is eligible for a settlement. The settlement will be distributed within 150 days of the May 1 finalization of the settlement.

Anybody who wishes to file a claim can visit http://energydrinksettlement.com/claim or call 877-495-1568. No proof of purchase is required to file a claim.

Following rape accusation, Rubenstein drops out of Eric Garner case

Prominent attorney and former Rockland County Legislator Sheldon Rubenstein will no longer represent the family of Eric Garner, who was killed in a widely-publicized incident involving an NYPD choke hold.

Rubenstein, a high-profile lawyer who has worked several police brutality cases, was recently accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his apartment after Al Sharpton’s 60th birthday party. Hispartner and replacement Scott Rynecki announced Rubenstein would step down so the woman’s claim does not distract from the Garner case.

Garner’s family is seeking $75 million in damages from the city for the July 17 death, which was caught on camera. Footage of the incident shows an unarmed Garner confronted and subdued by NYPD officers for selling loose cigarettes before one of them places him in a choke hold. Garner reported during the incident that he could not breathe and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Though police searches have been conducted on Rubenstein’s apartment, no charges have been filed and Rubenstein denies the allegations.


Tappan Zee Constructors must pay $65,000 for environmental infractions

Tappan Zee Constructors, the construction group responsible for building the new Tappan Zee Bridge, must pay a combined total of $65,000 in fines and charitable contributions for beginning construction at an upstate staging area before obtaining environmental approvals.

TZC must pay $10,000 in fines and $55,000 in contributions to an environmental benefits project for dredging activity at a staging area at the Port of Coeymans south of Albany. The area is being leased by TZC for the assembly of 1,400 ton girders before those assembled portions of the bridge are floated to the bridge by barge and set in place.

In August, Riverkeeper alerted the Department of Environmental Conservation to unauthorized work at the area. The DEC instructed TZC to halt all work until the necessary permits were acquired.

According to TZC spokeswoman Carla Julian, DEC and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits have now been obtained for the Port of Coeymans work.

Motorist strikes bear in Ramapo

A black bear was killed in Wesley Hills on Friday evening when it was struck and killed by a car, according to local police.

The bear, which reportedly weighed somewhere between 200 and 250 pounds, was hit as it attempted to cross Route 202 near Lime Kiln Road. The bear was reportedly wounded by the accident an survived for some time after but died before police reached the scene.

Though two people were inside the car when it happened, no injuries were reported. Minor damage was sustained by the front end of the car.

Black bear sitings have become more common in New York, which the Department of Environmental Conservation now contains 6,000 to 8,000 of the animals. A record 636 bears were hunted in Southeastern New York, with the highest concentrations seen in Sullivan, Ulster and Delaware Counties.


Water main to be replaced in Sloatsburg

United Water recently announced a two-month long project to replace old pipes along Route 17, a change which will improve flow to residents and volunteer firefighters.

The company will replace 1.25 miles of 8 inch pipe between Post Road in Sloatsburg and the Tuxedo Manor Apartments in Tuxedo. The line provides drinking water to Sloatsburg residents and emergency access to firefighters.

Though United Water is making improvements, fire personnel have argued the new pipe is not suitable for their needs. Local fire personnel have feuded with United Water over water pressure in the village, which they feel is not adequate for the town’s needs.

In spite of tensions between United Water and both county and village fire authorities, improvements have been made to pump sites, water lines and hydrants.


Furor over East Ramapo superintendent’s immigration comments remains strong

Outrage over East Ramapo School District Superintendent Joel Klein’s comments about immigrant graduation rates in August continue to go strong, with activists reporting that the long dormant immigrant community has now joined the fray over school quality.

School board meetings have been the site of an unusually high degree of protests since Klein commented that Latino students were dragging graduation rates down by taking advantage of school for food and language services with no intention to graduate. Klein was defending the “alternate transitional” program, a controversial proposal which would teach language and career skills but provide no degree.

The comments, which seemed targeted toward Latino and Haitian migrants, stoked anger in the already frustrated communities. Parents and students protested on the first week of school, but intend to return on October 21 to call for Klein’s resignation and an apology. Activists have gone so far as to consult the NYCLU, which is now considering legal action against the board.

The East Ramapo Central School District has about 9,000 students, most of whom are black and Latino. Graduation rates have plummeted in recent years as the school district implemented severe spending cuts.


Monsey resident voted worst slumlord in NYC

A Monsey woman has been named New York City’s worst slumlord, boasting a mini-empire of squalid apartment buildings with thousands of violations.

According to Public Advocate Letitia James, who compiled the list, Robin Shimoff, who lives in a $1.2 million brick mansion in Rockland, owns 13 apartment buildings with a combined total of 3,352 violations. Tenants of the buildings reported deteriorating walls and paint, rat infestations, water damage and structural deterioration.

Of those violations, 2,500 remain open. One property at 940 Grand Concourse in the Bronx raked in 660 violations. Another on Dectaur Avenue in the Bronx gathered 275 open code violations.


Health officials monitor 76 people for ebola in Texas, second case confirmed

Following the death of a Liberian man of ebola in Texas and the subsequent infection of one of the nurses who cared for him, 76 people are now being monitored for signs of the illness in Texas.

The people, including critical care nurse and ebola patient Nina Pham, 26, and a second unnamed healthcare worker who contracted the disease, were all deemed to have had contact with patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of the infection at a Dallas hospital last week. The two healthcare workers are the first people known to have contracted the virus in the United States.

Almost all of the people under watch were healthcare workers at Texas Health Presbyterian, where they handled Duncan and medical samples containing the virus. According to CDC Director Tom Frieden, Pham’s condition was stable. Pham had also reportedly received a plasma transfusion from Kent Brantly, a Texas physician who beat the disease.

Pham’s case is not the only one which involves a U.S. quarantine of people exposed to the disease. NBC medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman landed in hot water on Monday when she ordered takeout at a New Jersey restaurant while in a 21-day voluntary isolation. Snyderman’s cameraman Ashsoka Mukpo contracted the disease while filming in Africa but has shown signs of improvement.

Snyderman has since issued an apology.

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