TIMELINES 6/14/18

Stadium Gets New Consultant
After failing civil service exams and losing his job with the Town of Ramapo’s Department of Recreation, Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Bernard Charles was hired by the town to promote the baseball stadium instead. This new consultant position will pay him about $5,00 a month without benefits. Charles was hired in the new role on a three-month trial basis.
During the spring and summer months, the Rockland Boulders play in Pomona. Charles was hired by the Rec. Dept. in 2014 but lost his role as a Ramapo assistant recreation activities coordinator after failing to take the civil service exam. He was then rehired in 2017, but failed the exam in April 2018.

New City Elementary + Columbia Encourage Student Imagination
New City Elementary teachers inspired the third-grade classes to re-imagine fairytales. A short five-week unit resulted in the first “Fairy Tale Extravaganza.” The school partnered with the Columbia University Teachers College Reading & Writing Project to help students author their own stories. “If we can go over the top and have fun with something, we do it,” third-grade teacher Rachel Megdal said. Some students were the protagonists of their own fairytales and were encouraged to use their imagination. According to the school’s principal, this partnership and project was a dream come true for the students.

Former Pfizer Property Changes Name, Welcome New Tenants
The former Pfizer campus on North Middletown Road in Pearl River is now home to new tenants and a new name. The newly-minted “New York Center for Innovation” is now home to Profectus BioSciences. The 207-acre section is being redeveloped by Industrial Realty Group (IRG). Other tenants include Sanofi, formerly called Protient Sciences, Urban Electric Power and NuBiyota. Pfizer still owns and operates just over 20 acres with buildings, and another 300 undeveloped acres.

Cashless Tolls Nightmare Continues for Many
After months of struggling with the New York Thruway Authority about a cashless toll nightmare, orange envelops began arriving again for Delores Ritchie. The Thruway Authority said she now owed $525 for not paying multiple tolls, and owed another $420 to a collection agency. She was transferred back and forth and spoke with phone reps who didn’t want to help. Ritchie felt like she was in the same horrible cycle she encountered with the cashless tolling. After countless phone calls of being transferred back and forth and repeating herself, one representative was able to give her some clarification. The representative was able to help her wipe away fees resulting in a $23.75 total fine for crossing the bridge, far less than the original $525.

Suffern Teacher Posts Offensive FB Comment
A Suffern Middle School teacher who posted slurs on Facebook claims his comments were just that, commentary. The teacher, Aaron Minsky, wrote women can be called vulgar slur words but blacks cannot be referred to as animals, in a new deleted Facebook post. The school’s deputy superintendent is addressing the comment, which although was made outside of the work environment, proves to be “an extremely offensive comment.” Minsky has since acknowledged that his commented offended some and believes the post was taken out of context.

Trump Meets with Dictator of North Korea
President Donald Trump did something this week that no American president has since the Korean War; have a face-to-face meeting with North Korea’s current leader. Trump met with Kim Jong-Un in Singapore on June 12. It is the first summit between the nations since Korea was divided in 1953 at the 39th parallel.

A hopeful sign that the two Koreas and the United States might be easing tensions occurred when North Korea attended the 2018 South Korea Olympics. In Singapore this week, Trump and Kim signed a joint communiqué following the summit. Additionally, Trump said the US would discontinue military exercises in the vicinity of the Korean peninsula and Kim reiterated his commitment to denuclearization.

While precious few details of what the leaders discussed were made public, Trump said it was a “great, productive meeting” and signaled the U.S.’s desire to continue talks to denuclearize both North and South Korea as well as to change the “armistice” treaty reached after the so-called Korean Conflict to a “peace” treaty. Both Trump’s and Kim’s cordial closing of the historic summit keeps hopes alive that an agreement can be accomplished—and adhered to by both sides.

Supreme Court Upholds Baker’s Right not to Create “Gay” Cake
It all started in 2012, when Colorado baker Jack Phillips refused to make one of his signature cakes for a same-sex couple, offering to sell other baked goods in his store for the men’s upcoming wedding but telling them he could not create a cake for a same-sex union. “I don’t discriminate against anybody — I serve everybody that comes in my shop,” Phillips said, but added, “I don’t create cakes for every message that people ask me to create– a wedding cake is an inherently religious event and the cake is definitely a specific message, one on religious grounds I could not make in keeping with my faith.”

The Supreme Court agreed in a 7-2 vote, although many media outlets called it a “narrow victory” for the baker even though it does not bar anyone for refusing to provide services for anyone who is of Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Gay, Transgender, Queer (LBGTQ) leaning. The Court found his wedding cakes to be special creations and his religious views forbid him to create a signature cake for a gay couple. Though the LBGTQ community clearly expressed its unhappiness with the decision, it does uphold the rights of those who are not of that culture.

This case took six years to reach the Supreme Court, and there’s no doubt there will be more on the calendar as “LBGTQs” and “straights” try to protect their own backyards.

“X” Marks the Spot
The traditional notion of gender and biological sex continues to be challenged by certain groups and public officials. New York City has proposed allowing parents to put an “X” in place of a newborn’s gender, giving parents the right to let the child choose the gender identity it would like to become. New York State is also considering the same law, which begs the question of not who you are, but what you are. Although a handful of states allow the mother to choose an “X” for the baby’s gender, it makes it difficult to raise an “X” whose genitalia is male or female. What would Dr. Spock say?

Stewart to become “major international gateway,” Port Authority chief says
TOWN OF WALLKILL – The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, operator of Stewart International Airport, has big plans for the Newburgh area airport.
Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton told the Orange County Partnership’s Most Valuable Partner breakfast on Wednesday with passenger and cargo growth, the facility is destined to become a major player, especially when the federal inspection station at the terminal is constructed in the not-too-distant future.
“The customs and immigration facility is really an event for us and we are committed in terms of having Stewart become a truly major international gateway, not just to the Hudson Valley – although that is going to be an enormous driver – but to be a gateway to the entire metropolitan area,” he said.
The Port Authority, which also operates the big three New York metro airports, was named the 2018 Partnership’s MVP.
Originally published by MidHudson News

MTA using phone app to alert drivers of railroad crossing safety issues
NEW YORK – The New York MTA is partnering with Waze to improve safety at railroad crossings on the Metro-North Railroad lines.
Using the Waze app, motorists will be alerted that they are approaching a grade crossing.
In 2017, there were 26 incidents reported of vehicles on tracks. This year through May 29, there were seven. In 2017, Metro-North recorded two grade crossing accidents. Through May 29 this year, two grade crossing accidents were recorded.
“Metro-North’s plans to partner with Waze is one component of the railroad’s ongoing effort to enhance safety,” said railroad President Catherine Rinaldi. “In addition to finding new ways to employ state-of-the-art safety technology, events like International Level Crossing Awareness Day (Thursday) give us a personal, boots-on-the-ground approach to educating our customers about sail safety.” She said TRACKS, a free community outreach rail safety education program for students, pedestrians, drivers and train riders throughout Metro-North, has reached more than 191,000 people since 2016.
Originally published by MidHudson News

Nine injured in day camp fire, Town of Monroe
TOWN OF MONROE – An early morning explosion and fire at 60 Cromwell Road in the Town of Monroe injured nine people, three seriously. They were flown to Westchester Medical Center.
The fire, at Quaker Hill Bungalow Colony, a Hasidic camp for teenage boys, broke out around 12:30 this morning. The explosion occurred in bungalows 41 and 42, in the same building.
Neighbors said the boys, from Brooklyn, returned to the camp to the smell of gas. One of them opened a window and an explosion and fire broke out immediately.
Eight fire departments fought the blaze for some two hours. The cause is under investigation.
Originally published by MidHudson News

Latest Sullivan drug sweep nabs more than two dozen
MONTICELLO – A coordinated series of raids in Sullivan County last Friday night resulted in 27 arrests. Dubbed “Operation Checkmate,” the sweep was a joint operation involving State Police, the district attorney and sheriff offices and local police in Monticello, Liberty, and Fallsburg.
State Police Captain Brian Shortall said this is part of an ongoing effort to halt drugs, some of which finds its way from Sullivan to the Rockland County area.
“The effort was to take these people off the street so they would stop selling their narcotics in Sullivan County and those efforts will continue; this is not a one-shot deal,” Shortall said.
“This is going to put a big dent in that chain,” said District Attorney James Farrell, referring to the pipeline extending from New York City and northern New Jersey to Sullivan County.
“We want to stop the flow of narcotics onto the streets and we also want to stop the flow of violence that surely follows with respect to this type of behavior,” Farrell said.
Police seized 400 grams of powder cocaine, 100 grams of crack cocaine, 120 bags of heroin, $35,000 in cash, as well as prescription drugs and a shotgun.
At the top of the chain were Raynaldo Moises Sanchez AKA “Moses” and “Twin” and Edward Drayton AKA “Rook,” both identified as operating as a major drug trafficker under New York State Law.
Among the others arrested was Tyler Solomon, son of former Monticello Mayor Douglas Solomon, who is presently Newburgh city police chief. He is charged with conspiracy to distribute pills.
Originally published by MidHudson News

Future Rockland Pride Center gets state money
NYACK – The future Rockland County LGBTQ Pride Center, slated for construction in downtown Nyack, now has the financial support of the state with a $200,000 grant secured by State Senator David Carlucci (D, Nanuet). Pride Center Executive Director Brooke Malloy said the funds will greatly help in advancing the project.
“Having the support of our elected officials and our greater communities is critical when we are trying to change the culture of Rockland County and all the places that we live,” Malloy said.
Carlucci said it is important for the community to join with the effort.
“It is so important that we support the good work being done here in our community with the actual pride center to be a visible beacon for hope and for future prosperity for everyone in our community and to make sure that our community that our community is saying loud and clear that we will not accept bias and discrimination anywhere,” the senator said.
On the northern side of the Hudson Valley, in Kingston, the LGBTQ Center has been operating for several years.
Originally published by MidHudson News