Lost Dog in Haverstraw Found One Year Later
When Haverstraw Police Department animal control officer Claudia Terry responded to a call about a stray dog last Thursday, she thought she recognized the small white pup from year-old missing dog posters. Terry called the missing dog by the name Julie, which was on the old posters, and got no response. She decided to call Julie’s owners, Mercedes and Luis Alvarado, and their daughter, to see if they could recognize the dog. What followed was affirmation: “Being around the people when they came in and seeing the dog’s reaction was just overwhelming,” Terry said. “I was just so grateful. She was so excited.” Terry said that such a reaction after a year apart is rare. “I wish I could hear where she’s been,” Mercedes said. “I’m wondering where she was. Maybe when I wasn’t looking, I was close to her and I didn’t know.” The Alvarados say they plan to take Julie to a groomer and a veterinarian to make sure she’s OK, and to have her tagged so that this doesn’t happen again.

Rockland’s New Tobacco 21 Law is in Effect
On July 17, a new law went in to effect that raised the age Rockland County residents can legally buy tobacco from 18 to 21. County Executive Ed Day supported the move and said in a prepared statement, “After 20 plus years of smoking, I was amazed at how much better I felt after I quit, and I’m convinced that my health would not be what it is today had I not done so.”

Congers Woman Spared Jail Time in Fatal Hit-and-Run Case
Jodi Sarf, 48, pleaded guilty on July 5 before Clarkstown Town Justice Howard Gerber to leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death without reporting it, a misdemeanor, according to court records. Sarf will be sentenced on Oct. 12 and is expected to receive one year of probation, a $500 fine and a six-month license suspension, according to Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe. This comes after an investigation by Clarkstown Police that determined Sarf was not intoxicated or driving at an excessive speed and was not responsible for the Dec. 19, 2017 accident that killed Ecuadoran native Manuel “Manny” Aguaiza. Phil Henderson, a coworker of Aguaiza’s at Hendo Contracting, said, “In the end, there was no justice for Manny, and that is incredibly sad.”

Rockland Education Advocacy Group Sues the State
An amendment passed as part of state budget negotiations in April, and signed into law by Governor Cuomo, has been the target of criticism from Rockland-based education advocacy group Young Advocates for Fair Education (YAFFED). The amendment exempts certain schools in New York, including ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools, from meeting state guidelines requiring a curriculum “substantially equivalent” to that of a public school. In response to the lax change, YAFFED is suing the state on the grounds that the amendment is unconstitutional. In the federal lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, YAFFED claimed that the change violates the Establishment Clause of the first amendment by giving special treatment to yeshivas. Most of the 273 Orthodox Jewish yeshivas in New York provide a full secular curriculum, but YAFFED estimates that about 83 in New York City and 38 in other places, including Monsey, do not.

White Plains Walmart Closes
The store, which first opened in 2006, is due to close on August 10. Located at 275 Main Street in downtown White Plains, this Walmart location employs nearly 400 people, and they aren’t the only locals to be affected. Some White Plains business owners lament the loss, citing the popular chain store as the source of increased foot traffic for nearby shops and services in the last few years.

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