Timelines 6/30/16

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New Square Fire

A fire erupted in an apartment building in New Square Monday leaving one of the units completely destroyed.

According to the fire department the fire started in a large closet in the finished attic, which also had two bedrooms and a bathroom.

Hillcrest firefighter Chris Kear said the fire was under control within 15 to 20 minutes of the department arriving on the scene.

The building is located in the older part of the village.  The houses in this area were built in the 1950s before fire and safety regulations were enforced.

The owner of the building has been in court for not having a certificate of occupancy and other violations according to Rockland Fire and Emergency Services Coordinator Gordon Wren Jr.

The cause of the fire is still unknown as of Tuesday afternoon.

Suez

Rockland County has decided to sue water provider Suez New York to keep their customers from paying for a failed desalination plant on the Hudson River in Haverstraw.

The suit claims the state Department of Public Service didn’t verify all of Suez’s costs related to the nearly $40 million the company claims it spent trying to install the plant.

Suez is seeking to reclaim $54 million they spent on the plant.  This would account for half of the more than $8 a month increase the company plans to impose.  Rates would rise form roughly $62 a month to $70.

Abortion Law

In a 5-3 Supreme Court vote, the highest court in the land overturned a Texas abortion access law.

The 5-3 margin is the largest for an abortion related vote for the Supreme Court in 20 years.

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the majority opinion that this law “provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions and constitutes ‘undue burden’ on their constitutional right to do so.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shared the opinion of Breyer and in her written opinion said that in states limiting a woman’s access to a “safe and legal procedure” women in desperate circumstances will run to “unlicensed rogue practitioners at great risk to their health and safety.”

President Obama and democratic presidential nominee Hilary Clinton both said they were pleased with the decision whereas Speaker of the House Paul Ryan tweeted that he was “disappointed in the court’s decision.”

Clarkstown keeps it transparent

In a move intended to back up Supervisor George Hoehmann’s campaign theme of transparency in government, the Town of Clarkstown released their findings from an annual audit to an open town board workshop for the first time.
On June 28, Kathleen Huber, a certified public accountant, explained the audit to the public.  Huber is a partner at Korn Rosenbaum LLP.  The audit showed no anomalies or areas of concern.  The town had a surplus of $1.9 million dollars in the general fund as 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 of Clarkstown. Morr’s projections were all in line with set contractual price changes for the town. There were 15-20 town residents at the workshop.

 

Brexit

Last Thursday, in one of the most important votes in years, the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union.

Many political and economic ramifications in just the week following the referendum have followed this decision. The value of the Sterling British Pound has dropped to its lowest point in nearly 30 years and Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation the day after the vote, effective in September.

The Leave Campaign narrowly edged out the Stay Campaign with 51.63% of the vote from the 46.5 million registered voters, the most registered in the history of the U.K.

The two sides have up to two years to hammer out divorce proceedings so don’t expect the United Kingdom to be formally independent until 2018.

 Benghazi

The House Benghazi report was released Tuesday, placing most of the blame for the failure to respond to the initial attacks on the Obama administration and not then-Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hilary Clinton.

The report claims that information was withheld to help President Obama win his second term in the Oval Office. The report also says that the military was not deployed until 13 hours after the attack started, although President Obama gave orders to deploy earlier.

It was revealed that the security force that helped evacuate U.S. personnel from the “annex” “likely saving over two dozen lives” was a unit of former Libyan military officers under the Qaddafi regime.

The Benghazi attacks left four Americans dead back in 2012 after the story has varied from administration over the last three and a half years.

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