Private School Parents Don’t Like Transportation Changes
Private school parents are very upset with the transportation cuts in Ramapo Central School District. In the past, the district provided multiple morning and afternoon bus routes for students but as of this year it only provides one arrival and one dismissal bus route for each non-public school.
The district also stopped providing bus routes on days public schools have off. Children at yeshiva get dismissed at different times depending on their age so these changes often require parents to drive their children to and from school. Parents believe this is not an effort to save money but an effort to get private school children to move to public schools or to generally annoy the religious communities in Ramapo.
As of now, $8.2 million is budgeted for Ramapo’s transportation needs, 6 percent of the school district’s overall budget.
Uber Introduces Autonomous Cars to Pittsburgh
After working with researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Uber introduced self-driving cars to Pittsburgh users. Some press outlets were given a sneak peak on Tuesday Sept. 13 of 14 Ford Fusions “equipped with radar, cameras and other sensing equipment pulled up to Uber’s Advanced Technologies Campus (ATC) northeast of downtown Pittsburgh.” Uber isn’t looking to create a mass fleet of self-driving cars, instead the company is doing research on how the cars interact with others and passengers on the road. A writer from Tech Crunch tried out the car and explained the car has an autonomous mode enabling drivers to sit back and let the car stop behind a bus and respond to its surroundings. “Uber’s cars can predict the likelihood that a pedestrian is about to cross the road, but reading actual social cues is still just a goal,” he wrote.
Governor Cuomo Expands State Alcohol Sale Laws
On Sept. 7, 2016 Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to bring New York’s alcoholic beverage control law into the 21st century. This new legislation will allow alcohol sales earlier than noon on Sundays and reduce fees for wineries, distilleries, breweries and cideries across the state. “New York’s burgeoning craft beverage industry has served as an economic generator for communities across the state and with this legislation, we are building on that progress,” Cuomo said in a press release. The new legislation will expand the already existing ABC Law to include: expanded Sunday sale hours at restaurants and bars beginning at 10 a.m., and beginning at 8 a.m. outside of New York City; combined craft manufacturing licenses into one application; wine can be sold in growlers and other things.
Cuomo Announces Almost $30 Million for Rail and Port Services
On Sept. 14, 2016 Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $27.9 million in state funds is available to enhance rail and port services across New York. The funds include the $21.1 billion five-year State Transportation Plan under Cuomo’s Passenger and Freight Rail Assistance Program to enhance safety, alleviate congestion, increasing operating capacity and increase competitiveness of the state’s rails and ports. “This program will improve rail safety, increase freight capacity and support job creation” New York State Department of Transportation Commission Matthew J. Driscoll said in a press release. A competitive solicitation process will determine which projects are funded. Applications are due to the NYS Department of Transportation by Nov. 4, 2016.
Spring Valley Mayor Accused of Harassing Village Prosecutor
Spring Valley Mayor Demeza Delhomme is accused of harassing village prosecutor Lawrence Weissmann after an alleged confrontation occurred Tuesday. Weissmann alleged on a police complaint that Delhomme shoved him out of a chair in the Village Hall council room, threw Weissmann’s phone and village documents to the ground. He claims Delhomme pushed him out of the room and locked the door, separating Weissmann from the documents he needed for court. “The man assaulted me,” Weissmann said. He believes the Mayor is angry with him over Weissmann’s law partner who represented three people trying to oust the mayor. Delhomme denies the physical altercation and argued Weissmann has been over billing the village. “He comes into Village Hall, sits on the couch and charges the village,” Delhomme said. “I told him ‘No, you can’t do that no more.”
Peekskill Cop’s Work Applauded after Fatal Accident
On Wednesday Sept. 7, 2016 off-duty Peekskill Police Office Jonathan Mosquera was involved in a fatal crash in Ramapo, New York. The 24-year-old officer from Suffern was driving on Route 202 when police believe he tried to pass a driver that was slowing in front of him. He struck the car and sent his vehicle into Marcos Tawil, 17, and David Maldanado, 19, who stood waiting in their school’s driveway. The crash killed Tawil and Maldanado is in serious condition. Since the accident Mosquera’s on-duty work has been applauded. Last year he used naloxone to save a woman from a drug overdose in Newburgh, New York. The Peekskill police praised him in June after one of his traffic stops on the Bear Mountain Parkway led to felony weapon charges. The crash is still being investigated and it is unclear of Mosquera will face any discipline from the Peekskill Police Department.
Andrew Barrett Sentenced for Fraud
57-year-old New City resident and New York pharmacist, Andrew Barrett, was sentenced for $5 million in health and tax fraud for billing Medicare and Medicaid for prescriptions he never filled. Barrett ran a pharmacy in the Bronx, Queens and Rockland has been sentenced to 43 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release. He must also forfeit $2.7 million in criminal proceeds, pay restitution to Medicare and Medicaid in the amount of $2.7 million and restitution in the amount of $736,000 to the IRS.
County Legislators Fixated on Sullivan Hearings; Pass Resolution 10-5
A 10-5 majority of the Rockland County Legislature has officially announced their support of suspended Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan and demanded that his charges be dismissed. A resolution to that effect was supported by nine of 10 Democrats and one of seven Republicans and thus touted as “bipartisan” by the Democratic majority. Douglas Jobson, Jr. was the renegade Republican who lined up with Democrats, surely drawing the ire of the county Republican leaders. Democrat Jay Hood, Jr. and Republican Vince Tyer were absent at the meeting.
The County Legislature’s resolution has no legal weight, but a copy of the text will be sent to Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoehmann, the Clarkstown Town Board, Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and police associations.