Timelines 7/7/16

Air Quality Advisory for Thursday

The New York State Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation have issued an air quality health advisory for the Metropolitan New York City region, including Rockland County, for Thursday July 7, 2016.

These advisories are issued when levels of outdoor pollution, which consists of ozone or fine particulate matter, are expected to exceed national air quality standards. The advisory for Thursday is concerned with ozone.

The Rockland Department of Health understands increased ozone levels may affect individuals differently. The department recommends limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity in the afternoon and early evening.

Increased ozone levels may affect children, the elderly and people with pre-existing lung or heart disease or high blood pressure more than others. The county DOH recommends remaining in an air-conditioned location.

The most common symptoms of elevated ozone levels are eye, nose and throat irritation. Others might also experience chest pain, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Residents can call the New York State Department of Environmental Air Quality Hotline at 1-800-535-1345 to remain updated on current conditions.


Clarkstown Audit

For the first time the Town of Clarkstown released their findings from the annual audit to the public.

The audit was discussed in an open town board workshop on June 28 at the Clarkstown Town Hall.

Kathleen Huber, a certified public accountant, completed the 110-page audit.  Huber is a partner at Korn Rosenbaum LLP.  The firm has been doing the audits for Clarkstown for over 20 years.  The audit showed no anomalies or areas of concern.  The town had a surplus of $1.9 million dollars in the general fund but that was the result of the sale of a cell tower for $1.7 million.

Town Comptroller Thomas Morr also gave a presentation on his multi year fiscal plan for the town.

Morr’s projections were all in line with set contractual price changes for the town.  The price increases range from 2.5 to 5 percent per budget category.

There were 15-20 town residents at the workshop.


Nyack Restaurant

The former location of the River Club, the beautiful restaurant with incredible waterfront views, in Nyack, is for sale.

The village is taking offers for a new tenant to fill the spot of the legendary restaurant.  The River Club’s location was 11 Burd St. and closed in October after more than 30 years of operation.

Mayor Jen Laird White said she expected many proposals for the property. Mayor White said the board wouldn’t just hand the lease over to the highest bidder.  They are looking for the “most Nyack-seeming project.”

The lease will run for five years and will begin on Sept. 1. The bid for proposals started June 20 and will continue through Aug. 12, 2016.  The village board will decide who gets the location but they will listen to the opinion of residents.


East Ramapo

East Ramapo officials are starting their process of filling a seat left open on the school board after a resignation in May.

Yakov Engel of Monsey stepped down more than halfway through his first term, citing an inability to balance the school board responsibilities as well as his work and personal life.

Applications to fulfill the remainder of the term for the vacant seat are due by July 11, 2016.  The term expires in May 2017.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law into effect last week that would provide more state oversight for the district.

Under the terms of the deal the school board must submit its budget for approval by the state education commissioner.  The district will also receive $3 million to help bring back programs that have been cut over the last several years.


TZ Bridge 

The state Thruway Authority used the new Tappan Zee Bridge construction project to help cover up the amount of money it said it pays to minority and women owned businesses, according to a report from state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Minority-and women-owned enterprise (MWBEs) received “at best” 18 percent of the agencey’s eligible contract expenditure between January 2014 and December 2014 according to the report. That is roughly 10 percent less than the state target of 28.92 percent that is set by law.  The 18 percent spending is also less than the 20 percent goal of the Thruway Authority and much less than the 42 percent the authority reported to the state Department of Economic Development.

The discrepancy comes from the Thruway Authority reporting just a portion of eligible contracts to the state and counting other expenditures twice.

Thruway Authority Executive Director Robert Megna said the comptroller’s work was “fundamentally flawed” because of “repeatedly misinterpreting the law and regulations governing the MWBE program.”

In total the new Tappan Zee Bridge project reported $137.1 million in contract expenditure for MWBEs out of $324 million spent overall.


Spring Valley Camp

The board of trustees authorized spending of $160,000 on two programs that will serve roughly 130 children.

The Martin Luther King Multipurpose Center will receive $80,000 that will allow accommodations for 50-60 children for a five-week camp starting a week from Monday. It took weeks but the Spring Valley Village board of trustees finally agreed on funding camps in the village.

Transportation will be provided for children attending Camp Scuffy. Another $80,000 will send about 70 Spring Valley residents to Town of Ramapo’s Camp Scuffy, according to Trustee Vilair Fonvil.


Elie Wiesel

Nobel Peace Prize winner, author and holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel passed away at the age of 87.

Wiesel earned fame and notoriety for his memoir about his time in the Auschwitz concentration camp Night.  Wiesel went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

Wiesel became the world’s foremost spokesperson on the atrocities of World War II for the ease and grace he could tell such horrific tales

President Obama, when visiting the site of the Buchenwald concentration camp with Wiesel in 2009, referred to him as a “living memorial.”

“He raised his voice, not just against anti-Semitism, but against hated, bigotry and intolerance in all its forms,” President Obama said after hearing of Wiesel’s passing.

Wiesel was the chairman of the commission that lead to the creation of the United States Memorial Museum in Washington.

Wiesel was a major advocate for the state of Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to Wiesel as a “master of words.”

Wiesel is the face of love and tolerance and he will surly but missed.  He is survived by his wife, son, stepdaughter and two grandchildren.


Rattlesnake in Ramapo

The Ramapo police department received an interesting call on July 4, 2016.

It wasn’t a call about rowdy neighbors or fireworks.  A Ramapo resident opened their front door to see a timber rattlesnake in the walkway of their property on Haverstraw Road.

If you see a rattlesnake, do not try and catch it, just call the police and let authorities handle the issue.

The timber rattlesnake is the largest venomous snake in New York, with venom that could be deadly in humans if not cared for rapidly according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The snakes do not pursue people unless provoked and are active from late April through mid-October.


Trump Supporter tossed from Mexican Restaurant in Goshen

An Orange County resident claims she was refused service from a Mexican restaurant for being a Donald Trump supporter.

Esther Levy, 61, from Warwick, said a waitress of the Cancun Inn, a restaurant in Sugar Loaf, told her to leave for wearing a “Make American Great Again” hat.  Retired local judge Alvin Goldstein was also asked to leave.

Levy said a man who claimed to be a co-owner lauded Levy and Goldstein for supporting Trump.  They were told to “never come back,” according to Levy.

Levy called the police but was told they couldn’t help because it was a matter of a private business.

The restaurant’s Facebook page was attacked by people who had heard of the incident but the company said they did nothing wrong on the page and kicked the patrons out for “being rude to the staff and rowdy.”


Fireworks Accident

Fireworks malfunctions lead to a New City man being seriously injured on this years July 4 holiday.

Clarkstown police received a call around 9:30 p.m. to Hall Avenue, New City where they found the 38-year-old “with severe injuries to his arms and face.”

Police said in a press release that Rockland Paramedics and New City Volunteer Ambulance responded to the scene and the man had to be brought to Westchester Medical Center due to the severity of the injuries.

Police have not released the man’s identity.


Spring Valley Teen Died from Robbery Injuries 

A Spring Valley teenager that was severely injured in an apparent robbery last month died Saturday at Westchester Medical Center, according to police Detective Robert Bookstein.

The victim, identified as 18-year-old Ruben Suchite Torres, was a Spring Valley High School student.  Torres, originally from Guatemala, still has family living there.

Jiwan Coleman, 16, also of Spring Valley, remains in custody and is being held on $3.5 million bail on charges of second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault.

Torres was found unconscious around 11:55 p.m. June 26 near N. Myrtle Ave., with severe head and facial injuries.

Dany Marroquin, a friend and former co-worker of Torres at the Nanuet Hotel & Restaurant has started a gofundme campaign and has already raised more than $7,500 for the funeral.  Marroquin said the plan is to send the body to Torres’ family in Guatemala but is unsure how much that will cost.

Anyone with information pertaining to the case can call Spring Valley detectives at 845-721-9560.


Start-Up New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration released a highly anticipated report on one of the governors most highly praised jobs programs at 4:30 p.m. the Friday preceding the long holiday weekend.

Many reporters and critics questioned the timing of the report’s release on social media.  The report was released three months after it was legally due and at a time when most people aren’t checking the news.

The report showed the program created mere 408 jobs in two years after spending $50 million on an advertising campaign.  Start-Up NY allows new and preexisting businesses to operate state and local tax free for up to 10 years if located in specified zones, like SUNY campuses.

Leslie Whatley, the head of the program said the report was released three months late because many new companies came into the program this year and a lot of the data received by the state was either late or inaccurate.


Rockland Police Step Up July 4 DWI Prevention 

Police in Rockland planned to step up their efforts to catch drunk drivers during the July 4th holiday weekend.

In a press conference Thursday afternoon at the county sheriff’s office Senator David Carlucci said we are in the “100 deadliest days” for drinking and driving.  These 100 days are from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, Independence Day weekend is the deadliest weekend of the year with 40 percent of all fatal traffic accidents from the past five years happening during this time.

“We need to convince everyone to think before they drink and drive,” Sen. Carlucci said.

To help catch drunk drivers the sheriff’s office in conjunction with state and local police set up numerous sobriety checkpoints throughout the county as well as more visible police patrols.

According to the sheriff there are on average 900 DWI arrests a year in Rockland between all the police departments in the county.

County Sheriff Louis Falco reminded the public this does not only apply to drinking and driving but boating and driving as well.

“We want everybody to have a good weekend, we’re just asking everyone to be responsible about what they’re doing, what they’re drinking and what they’re taking,” Falco said.  “Drinking and driving is not part of this weekend as far as being responsible.”

Sally Borgman, of Rockland County MAAD was also at the press conference and urged people to be safe.  Borgman reminded everyone i it is a felony to be drunk driving with someone under the age of 16 in the car.

Borgman also mentioned that in 2014, 164 people were caught drunk driving on July 4, a 50 percent increase over the average day.

Sen. Carlucci is currently working on passing a law that would permanently suspend the license of repeat drunk driving offenders.  “Two strikes and you’re out,” Carlucci said.

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