Bratton Resigns as NYPD Commissioner
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2016 he is stepping down and being replaced by Chief of Department James O’Neill in September. Mayor Bill de Blasio praised Bratton’s contributions and time as commissioner. During Bratton’s time, the city made plans to build trust and relationships between neighborhoods and the police. “I don’t think anyone could’ve imagined a more productive 31 months. We will never forget or fail to honor the achievements of Bill Bratton,” de Blasio said. Bratton will transition to a new position at Teneo, a global consulting firm, in September, as the senior managing director and executive chairman of a newly formed risk management division.
New NY Broadband Program a Success
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday Aug. 3, 2016 in Potsdam that the New NY Broadband Program has made major progress toward achieving its broadband for everyone goal by 2018. “High-speed Internet is essential to society, not just to business,” he said. According to a press release the program “is designed to ensure that New York’s most remote communities receive the high-speed Internet they need and deserve.” Cuomo announced the first round of awards, which will connect more than 30,000 homes to high-speed Internet for the first time. “These actions are a major step forward in creating the most robust broadband infrastructure network in the nation, and ensuring that reliable, high-speed Internet is available to all New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. He said the state government has not been responsive to the economic downturn in Upstate New York. “The truth is I want to compensate for the abandonment by the state government over these past decades,” he said.
Rockland Receives $100,000 From NYS for Heroin/Opioid Recovery
State Senator David Carlucci announced on Wednesday Aug. 3, 2016 a legislative funding award of $100,000 to the Rockland Council on Alcoholism and other Drug Dependence, Inc. It is to be used for a services program meant for assisting recovering heroin and opioid addicts for up to nine months. According to a press release, “the wraparound services will be based on a case management model which will provide individuals who complete treatment, a plan to continue their journey to maintain their road to recovery.” Carlucci has continued to work on combating the opioid epidemic in Rockland through legislation, trainings and funding.
Local Man Died from Fatal Stab Wounds; Charges Upgraded
Last month a Yonkers resident allegedly stabbed a 50-year-old local man in Nanuet, New York. The victim, Eric Leopold, died July 25 after Clarkstown police say he was stabbed multiple times near his home nine days prior. The suspect, Frank Keogh, 48, of Yonkers, New York was originally charged with attempted murder and other charges but following Leopold’s death the charge was upgraded to second-degree murder. This is the third homicide in Rockland this year. The motives of the attack are still under investigation and Keogh is in the county jail on $50,000 bail. “At this time, I would say there are no words to describe the injustice and the loss my family and I, as well as Eric’s many friends, feel,” Jason Leopold, of California, and the younger brother of the victim, wrote in an email.
Rockland Man Survives Crash Landing in Dubai
A former Spring Valley, New York resident and his family are in Dubai after their Emirates airline flight from India crash landed at Dubai’s main airport on Wednesday. According to USA Today one firefighter responding to the accident died and all 300 people on board survived. “The landing went very wrong,” Jerin George, 22, said. “It was terrifying. It was nothing like we expected, and it was very surprising and shocking.” George graduated from Rockland Community College and currently attends Stony Brook University on Long Island was returning from India with his mother, father and sister. He grew up in India and moved to Rockland six years ago. George said the flight was going smoothly until it was time to land in Dubai. “We knew something was not right,” he said. Following the crash landing George and his family stayed at a hotel in the airport, trying to get home as soon as possible.
Cuomo Announces Smart Schools
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced 30 Smart School Investments Plans totaling $39 million, an initiative aimed at “reimagining teaching and learning for the 21st century.”
The plans are part of the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act. The act was first proposed by Cuomo and approved by voters in 2014. The legislation supports investments in education technology that will help students with necessary skills to excel in the global economy.
The 30 approved plans will provide $9.3 million for classroom technology purchases, $21.4 million for school connectivity projects and $7.9 million for high-tech security projects.
“Through the Smart Schools Bond Act, we are ensuring that all New York students have access to high-speed internet and new technology, regardless of their zip code,” Gov. Cuomo said.
Jawonio Looking to Invest $18M in Expansion
Jawonio is looking to do an $18 million expansion to their property and services.
Jawonio is a facility that provides aid to those with developmental disabilities. They are hoping to do serious repairs at their North Little Tor Road location after just getting by with “band aid” fixes.
Plans include the demolition of several buildings, relocating three wooden cabins, adding 379 parking spots, constructing a two-story building and a 4,000 square-foot cabin.
The plans need approval by the Clarkstown Planning Board.
Jawonio wanted to renovate the campus 20 years ago but those plans were delayed when there was a drastic increase to enrollment and the facility’s board “wanted to put resources into programming,” according to Jill Warner, chief executive officer of Jawanio.
New York Challenging North Carolina Law
Last Week, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State is leading a coalition of ten states and Washington in challenging North Carolina’s “bathroom bill.”
North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which was enacted in March, mandates local boards of education and public agencies require single-sex, multiple-occupancy bathrooms be designated for use by- and used only by- persons based on their “biological sex.”
Gov. Cuomo has already banned non-essential state travel to North Carolina and Schneiderman also banned non-essential travel by Attorney General staff. Washington, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont are part of the coalition speaking out against North Carolina.
Sandy Fraud Indictment Announced
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a 50-count indictment charging Matthew Pappalardo and his former employer, HiRise Engineering, P.C.
The charges brought against Pappalardo and the company are for allegedly altering engineering reports prepared in connection with the assessment of structural damage of residential properties in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The charges specifically are 25 counts of forgery in the second degree, a class D felony. Additionally, Pappalardo is charged with 25 counts of unauthorized practice of engineering, a class E felony.
Attorney General Schneiderman also announced a report “identifying several fundamental flaws” in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
According to prosecutors, employees of HiRise, under the direction of project manager Pappalardo, allegedly altered the original reports of the damage. Those that altered the reports didn’t personally inspect the damaged buildings and weren’t licensed to practice engineering in New York State.
Pfizer Continues Planned Layoffs
Pfizer is laying off 151 workers by the fall as it moves into the last stages of vaccine production at its Pearl River facility.
Only 50 workers will remain in the vaccine unit by the end of the year, according to Pfizer spokesperson Susan Rutledge. The layoffs will occur between Aug. 20 and Oct.20. 103 non-union and 48 union employees will be affected according to a notice filed with the state.
The layoffs are part of cost cutting measures that have been in place since 2010 when the company announced they would phase out vaccine production in Pearl River.
Last November Pfizer sold roughly 200 acres of its property, keeping 25 acres.
The company will continue to have about 700 employees in its oncology production and research and development operations in Pearl River.