Rockland Man Accused of Swindling Union Funds
A Tappan man was arrested and charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Enrico Rubano, 48, was accused of swindling a union’s health and retirement funds of $3.4 million by through phony invoices in a kickback scheme. Rubano was arrested on Jan. 19 along with Shivanand Maharaj, 36, of Cresskill, New Jersey. Rubano was co-head of IT at AFTRA Retirement Fund which provides investments and benefits for actors, broadcasters and voice professionals. Rubano and Maharaj allegedly owned companies submitting invoices to IT services that weren’t performed or done by other vendors.

Rockland Students Compete in Regional SkillsUSA Competition
Rockland students went up against those from Orange-Ulster, Sullivan, Dutchess and other counties in the Area IV Regional SkillsUSA Competition at Rockland Community College. There were two dozen contests ranging from cosmetology to residential wiring to automotive tech. Winners of the regional competition will advance to a statewide competition hosted in Syracuse this April. SkillsUSA is a national technical educational organization focused on making high school students career ready. Companies watch out for winners of regional, state and national competitions, and top students at times receive job offers later on according to New York State SkillsUSA Director Bruce Porter.

Saudi King Agrees to Support Safe Zones in Syria and Yemen
King Salman of Saudi Arabia announced Saudi Arabia will support and finance “safe zones” in Syria and Yemen. One of King Salman’s advisors is Egyptian President Fattah Abdel el-Sisi. El-Sisi has a productive relationship with President Trump. King Salman spoke with Trump and agreed to strengthen joint efforts in taking down Islamic State militants. A Reuters article claimed Saudi Arabia will enhance its participation in the U.S.-led coalition fighting to remove Islamic State from Iraq and Syria.

Politicians and Health Advocates Push for Tobacco 21 Legislation
After Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus signed into effect a county-wide law changing the legal purchase age for tobacco from 18 to 21, other state leaders are pushing to make the change state-wide. Ulster County Executive Mike Hein announced he plans to add this proposal to his countywide health plan and Sullivan County leaders also made similar announcements. Leaders from the American Heart Association and other health groups held a press conference in Albany on Jan. 31 pushing for statewide Tobacco 21 legislation. A press release from the conference explained New York State received a “D” on its State of Tobacco Control Report Card because it failed to pass a statewide Tobacco 21 law. “More than 1 in 4 high school students in the state of New York currently use tobacco products,” President and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast, Jeff Seyler, said.

Trump Makes Supreme Court Nomination
Trump announced Judge Neil Gorsuch as his pick for replacing Justice Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. Gorsuch, 49, is a federal appeals court in Denver who would add to the conservative hold on the court if approved by Congress. But Democrats have promised a showdown over Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation following Trump’s aggressive presidential moves and the Republican’s year-long refusal to consider President Barak Obama’s nominee. Gorsuch is the youngest nominee in the past 25 years is known for his opinions that are normally, but not exclusively, conservative. He holds a doctorate from Oxford University and served as a Supreme Court law clerk to Justice Byron R. White and Kennedy. He voted in favor of employers and criticized liberals for using the courts, not legislators, to achieve policy goals.

Funding for Rockland’s homeless
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated $60,177 million to New York State to house the homeless, with $1.1 million earmarked for Rockland at the end of December 2016. The Salvation Army’s various homeless and supportive housing programs received $1.1 million, while Rockland County’s Continuum of Care programs received a total of $335,276.

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