TIMELINE — 3/15

Ramapo man faces charges for setting New Square dissident Rottenerg’s car fire

Aron Fromowitz, 22, surrendered on Tuesday to face charges that he set a car on fire while he was drunk for a Purim celebration. The car belonged to a New Square resident. Fromowitz pleaded not guilty through his attorney to charges of third-degree arson and second-degree criminal mischief, both felonies. He is accused of setting fire to a car owned by Aron Rottenberg. Ironically, Rottenberg was set on fire last year by a young follower of New Square’s grand rebbe for refusing to pray in the Hasidic Jewish village. Fromowitz was on trial before Ramapo Town Justice Alan Simon ; his attorney is Gerard Damiani. Following his court appearance, Fromowitz had fingerprints and photographs taken. He was accompanied by his father, and posted bail for $5,000 which was set in place by Simon. The judge also signed orders of protection, forbidding the 22-year-old from going near Rottenberg’s home on Truman Avenue or the home of Rottenberg’s mother. Fromowitz is due in New Square Village Court on March 26, where the case will continue pending a grand jury indictment or a negotiated plea with the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office. The case was reportedly moved to New Square because the arson occurred in the village and because Simon, as a town justice, does not have jurisdiction over village crimes beyond arraignment. If Fromowitz is convicted, the top arson count carries of sentence ranging from probation to 15 years in prison. Fromowitz works for the grand rebbe’s kitchen, has been accused of setting fire to the rear bumper of Rottenberg’s 2003 Mazda Protégé last Thursday evening.

 

Clarkstown Schools investigating students boozing on party bus after junior ball

The Clarkstown school district is investigating reports that students from Clarkstown High School South boarded “party buses” after the junior ball over the weekend, and celebrated the night away with alcohol in Manhattan. Reports of the consumption, which allegedly took place on Saturday evening, came from South Principal James Vitale. He passed the news along to Superintendent of Schools Margaret Keller-Cogan. Keller-Cogan said, “Mr. Vitale believes there was inappropriate behavior. He believes there were reported instances of alcohol. There might have been drinking before students boarded the bus.” This investigation comes about just five months after a similar situation at Clarkstown High School North. In that particular instance, according to police, between 200 and 300 North students rode private buses into Manhattan and took a midnight cruise on the Hudson. Students vomited on the buses, and some in fact got so sick that they had to be taken to hospitals. Reportedly, North’s athletic teams were involved in the incident. No parental supervision was on the buses. Some adults would have been involved because hiring the buses would require a large sum of money for a down payment, something that high school kids would not easily be able to come up with on their own. Last year, police conducted investigations into alleged drinking, but nothing came out of these investigations because parents did not come forward with any reports of wrongdoing. The Clarkstown school district launched its own investigation, but never made the results public. Police did, however, monitor students who attended Clarkstown South’s private event after its homecoming dance. According to Keller-Cogan, the district is concerned about the inappropriate behavior of the students, but can do very little to conduct investigations outside school premises.

Two health clinics open in Spring Valley, both federally funded

Two new health clinics have opened in the County and will offer medical and dental care to residents who cannot afford it. Both are federally funded. One of the health centers is on Perlman Drive, and opened several weeks ago, and the other is on Twin Avenue. The clinics are open to everyone, and are supported mainly by tax payers’ dollars. The clinic on Perlman Drive is operated by Hudson River Healthcare, which has another clinic in Haverstraw. The clinic on Twin Avenue, which is near the Monsey border, is run by Refuah, a New Square-based health service that partners with Hudson River Healthcare. Those in the community who believe that there should be better access to care for people who do not have insurance are excited about these new clinics. The Perlman Drive center has been utilized by many residents already, while the Twin Avenue facility has not started treating patients yet. Prior to the opening of these new clinics, many Spring Valley residents had to travel to Haverstraw for healthcare. Refuah’s facility has 11 medical exam rooms, six dental rooms, and six behavioral health rooms. It is expected to be able to treat 12,000 patients every year and will offer care for adults and children, women’s health care, and dental care. Both clinics are required to serve anyone, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or ability to pay.

NYSERDA to launch $3.5 million household appliance program

Beginning on Monday, the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) will be offering a $3.5 million household high-efficiency appliance program which has been titled, “Buy Green, Save Green.” This incentive program will encourage homeowners to purchase green appliances, and in many cases pay them for it. This is intended to be a means for families to save money on new purchases and reduce future electricity bills. The rebate on refrigerators will be $350, and for washing machines, $250. Homeowners can visit www.cee1.org for a list of high-efficiency appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines. The program will reportedly continue until funding runs out. The rebates will be given to homeowners on a first-come, first-serve basis. Everyone applying must complete applications as www.NYSApplianceRebates.com or can call 1-877-SMART. If your purchase was before March 19, when the program begins, it will not be eligible for a rebate.

 

Encyclopedia Britannica ends printed edition

Two hundred and forty-four years after the first Encyclopedia Britannica was printed, the last set of bound books has been printed. The publisher of Britannica has announced that it will no longer be publishing the print version, and will cease selling it as soon as the current stock runs out. It will, however, continue to publish the digital version. This can be accessed on the company’s website and through its iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch applications. The digital option is significantly less, and costs $70 a year, while the last printed version was $1,400. Britannica, which has printed a new version of the reference books every two years, says that the 2010 set, 32 volumes, will be the final printed edition. Jorge Cauz, president of Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., said, “This is a decision we have been contemplating for a few years. We decided to break the news now as it was time to release a new printed version.” Since 1768, over 7 million sets of the bound books have been sold. Although 12,000 copies of the 2010 set were printed, at least 4,000 still remain in inventory. Those are expected to sell quickly. According to Cauz, 85 percent of revenue for the company comes from non-encyclopedia content, mostly from instructional and e-learning solutions.

 

Clarkstown police chase ends with suspect falling into hole

Michael Fallat, who was fleeing from a police officer on Monday, fell into a four-foot-deep hole that was filled with water. The fall made it much easier to arrest him. Fallat had abandoned his car and was fleeing on foot, after police approached him after a call about an erratic driver. After he left his car, the chase did not last long. According to police, he tripped and fell into a hole that was approximately four feet deep, allowing the officer to catch up with him and take him into custody. Fallat was not injured, according to police. He was charged with refusing to take a chemical blood test and the misdemeanor of driving while intoxicated. Because he refused to take the test, he will likely have a year-long suspension of driving privileges after a hearing before an administrative officer for the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Fallat, who is from Auburn upstate, was arraigned and released on an appearance ticket. He was due back in court yesterday.

 

Iraq war vet gets senator’s support for adopting military dog

Marine Cpl. Megan Leavey, who served in Iraq, wants to adopt her former canine friend who served with her, now that he can no longer serve in the military. On Tuesday, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), launched a nationwide online petition which urged Air Force approval for a request that Leavey made to adopt the German shepherd, named Sgt. Rex. Leavey and the pooch survived a blast of an improvised explosive device that was detonated by insurgents just outside Ramadi, Iraq, in September of 2006. Both were badly injured and had to spend months in rehab. They consequently formed a priceless bond. Leavey, who lives in Valley Cottage, was discharged from the military in December 2007, has been campaigning to adopt the dog, who is now 10 years old. Her initial requests were turned down because Rex was still important for his work in the military, he was recently diagnosed with facial palsy, a nerve paralysis, and he is unable to serve. Schumer said, “The story of Marine Corporal Leavey and Sergeant Rex is inspiring a nation, and it’s vital that the United States Air Force moves as quickly as possible to reunite Sgt. Rex with his former partner.” If Rex is permitted to be adopted by Leavey, he will have a loving home in Valley Cottage, with a fenced-in yard, a swimming pool, and two other furry friends. The petition that Schumer launched can be found and signed at http://schumer.senate.gov/Contract/sgtrex.cfm.