STATE COMPTROLLER SAYS OVER $27 BILLION NEEDED TO FIX LOCAL BRIDGES
A report released by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli found that 20.7% of bridges in New York are functionally obsolete and 12.8% are structurally deficient. According to Comptroller DiNapoli, the cost to repair all of these bridges is $27.4 billion dollars. The report found that local bridges – which include 8,834 of 17,462 bridges across New York State – are more likely to be structurally deficient than state-owned bridges. However, due to programs such as BRIDGE NY, the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and other programs, the overall percentage of structurally deficient local bridges declined from 16.7 percent to 12.8 percent from 2002 to 2016, according to the report. NYSDOT estimates 974 local bridges will become deficient within five years if needed work is not performed on them in a timely manner.
Rapping Nyack Brothers
Norvin and Darian Van Dunk – two Nyack-based hip-hop artists known as TRØN & DVD – are debuting their new album “Afraid of the Dark” on Friday, October 20. The debut will be followed three days later on October 23 by a listening party in Nyack as well as a live performance at Manhattan’s Mercury Lounge. The brothers formed TRØN & DVD in 2009 and have since landed spots in the Bamboozle, Vans Warp, and CMJ music festivals and have supported acts such as Pusha T, K.Flay, and Twenty One Pilots.
DiNapoli, New York Sending More Tax Dollars to Federal Government Than it Gets Back
New York State received 84 cents for every dollar it sent in taxes to the federal government in 2016, a wider gap than three years before, according to a report released by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. New York sent about $40.9 billion more in tax payments to Washington in 2016 than it received back in federal spending. While New York received 16 cents less per dollar contributed, most states received more than they paid. The average return for all states was $1.18 cents per tax dollar sent to Washington. New York’s per capita contribution to the federal treasury in 2016 was $12,914, which was 36 percent more than the national average of $9,476. New York received $10,844 in per capita federal spending, slightly below the national average of $11,183. The federal government spent just over $445 billion in FFY 2016 to purchase services and goods in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. New York ranked 45th among the states in this category.
Vanderwaal does fundraiser
Local singer Grace VanderWaal will be holding The Hope for Change Concert on October 25 at the Lafayette Theater in Suffern. The concert will raise money for the New Direction for Ramapo slate made up of Bill Weber (Republican), Shani Bechhofer (independent), and Grant Valentine (Democrat) running for Ramapo Town Council in the November 7 election. Last week VanderWaal was at The Austin City Limits Musical Festival, where she performed “Moonlight,” an early single from her new album “Just The Beginning” – which comes out November 3 – as well as and favorites from her 2016 EP. She will preview a new release at the Rockland concert. The 13-year-old released her first single, “I Don’t Know My Name,” in 2016 after winning Season 11 of “America’s Got Talent.” Doors to the concert open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $18 to $50 for the event.
Lauren’s Law Permanent
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Monday removing the 2020 expiration date for Lauren’s Law, a measure named after a Rockland County girl who received a heart transplant at age 8 in 2009.
The law requires that driver’s-license applicants must check a box saying they would or would not like to register as an organ donor. Previously, New Yorkers could simply skip the question and still have their license processed. In New York state, there are roughly 10,000 people waiting to receive a transplant, according to the federal Organ Procedure and Transplant Network. Only 28 percent of eligible New Yorkers are enrolled to be an organ donor. Last year, about 84,000 donors were added to the state’s registry, according to Cuomo’s office.
Prayer Prevails in the U.S. House
Daniel Barker – co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation – has publicly proclaimed his atheism but maintains ministerial credentials. Barker applied to the House of Representatives to deliver a secular invocation in lieu of a prayer, but his application was rejected. Barker sued, claiming that the Supreme Court’s decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway, which had ruled permitting ministers to pray before legislative gatherings, requires his inclusion as a guest chaplain. The D.C. District Court recently dismissed the lawsuit brought by Barker. The legislative prayer practice of the House of Representatives is consistent with the decisions of the Supreme Court and the D.C Circuit, as well as the Rules of the House.
Boy Scouts unanimously vote to welcome girls
The Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously voted to welcome girls into its Cub Scout program, stating that the values of being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent are important for both young men and women. Starting in the 2018 program year, families can choose to sign up their sons and daughters for Cub Scouts. Existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack, according to the Boy Scots. Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls. Using the same curriculum as the Boy Scouts program, the organization will also deliver a program for older girls, which will be announced in 2018 and projected to be available in 2019, that will enable them to earn the Eagle Scout rank, according to the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts have offered co-ed programs since 1971 through Exploring and the Venturing program. The STEM Scout pilot program is also available for both boys and girls.
New City church accused of claiming false tax exemption
Deputy Town Attorney Leslie Kahn was investigating illegal apartments in New City when 66 W. Burda Place caught her attention. Kahn found that the CSI Congregation of Hudson Valley Inc. had been getting a religious exemption from town, county and school property taxes but getting rents from tenants. The church’s pastor had moved to Westchester County in April 2016, nullifying the tax exemption and the church began profiting with rentals starting in July 2016, according to Kahn. The Clarkstown Board of Assessment Review revoked the exemption on Wednesday based upon the work of Kahn and Clarkstown Tax Assessor James Molinaro. The church owes $15,540 in taxes. Supervisor George Hoehmann said the town will ask the church to repay the taxes. He said he also spoke with Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe about referring the case for potential criminal charges. He said Zugibe told him to send the documentation for review.
Update on Catalonia
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will impose direct rule in Catalonia unless the region’s leader, Carles Puigdemont, retracts by 4 a.m. ET an ambiguous declaration of independence he made last week. Puigdemont told members of his Catalan Democratic Party on Wednesday night that he would not back down and would press ahead with a more formal declaration of independence if Rajoy suspends Catalonia’s political autonomy. If Rajoy invokes Article 155 of the 1978 constitution, which allows him to take control of a region if it breaks the law, it would not be fully effective until at least early next week as it needs upper house approval. Article 155 has never been used during Spain’s four decades of democracy. Even though it is not clear what direct rule will look like, the prospect has raised fears that social unrest could add to the turbulence.
Latest update Las Vegas Shooting
The father of a Huntington Beach woman – 28-year-old Andrea Castilla – who was fatally wounded during a the Las Vegas shooting filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the operator of the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. The lawsuit filed by Castilla’s father, Gus, in Los Angeles County Superior Court names MGM Resorts International, which operates Mandalay Bay, concert promoter Live Nation and Slide Fire Solutions, a manufacturer of a gun accessory called a “bump stock” that allows semiautomatic weapons to mimic the fire of a machine gun.
The estate of Paddock, 64, who killed himself after the shooting, also is named in the filing.
The suit seeks more than $50,000 in general damages and more than $50,000 in economic damages as well as an unspecified amount for medical and funeral expenses, emotional distress and other damages. The lawsuit alleges that Mandalay Bay employees were negligent in not noticing that Paddock had taken 17 guns and ammunition into his hotel room and set up security cameras to monitor the hallway outside his room.