Mild winter may lead to dangerous mosquito breed
The Asian tiger mosquito was identified in Rockland for the first time last summer. Putnam health experts believe that the disease-carrying insect will likely be in the Lower Hudson Valley this summer when the weather warms up. Breeding sites have reportedly been identified in southern Westchester and Orangetown, in the southern part of Rockland. Mosquito eggs that would normally die during the winter when temperatures are freezing, may have survived this unusually warm winter. They will only add to the population expected to hatch in the summer. The Asian tiger mosquito is different than other breeds because it bites humans during the day, rather than just at dusk and in the evening, like other typical breeds. It is also a disease-carrying insect.
Indian Point to pay $1.2M fines for oil spill
Indian Point has been ordered to pay a $1.2 million fine for what are being sited as “significant violations” of the Clean Water Act. The violations were mainly during a transformer fire that occurred at the nuclear plant in 2010, and caused more than 10,000 gallons of oil to spill into canals that empty into the Hudson River. The State Department of Environmental Conservation officials, who announced the plant’s agreement to pay for its violations, also reported that the investigation of the plant revealed further violations of bulk storage regulations for chemicals. Entergy Nuclear, who owns the plant, reportedly also agreed to upgrade the containments systems, which protect the Hudson River from accidental spills and unpermitted releases.
County to sell Spring Valley building
At least one building in Spring Valley will be sold this year in order to help raise needed cash for the county. County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef proposed the sales and is hoping that it will contribute approximately $5 million to the county budget deficit, which was reportedly $52 million in December of 2010. According to the State Comptroller’s office, the deficit is expected to rise to at least $80 million in the next several weeks once the county closes out its 2011 financial books Vanderhoef said that although the county’s intent is to use the proceeds of the sale for deficit reduction, the money may, if deemed necessary, be utilized to pay operating bills. Rockland is hoping to increase its portion of the county sales tax by 0.375 percent to raise about $14 million to fund operations this year. This additional revenue would keep over 550 county workers on the payroll, fund Rockland’s Narcotics Task Force and the county Intelligence Center, and also keep Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center operating. If the county does not get the sales tax increase, funding raised from the sale of various structures sold in the county, will likely be used for operating bills. The building to be sold is 185 Main Street in Spring Valley. It has been owned by the county since 1977, and has been housing the Rockland Community College Spring Valley satellite campus. The college stopped scheduling classes in the building after the fall semester when the sale was first proposed.
Clarkstown teacher sues trustee on the Board of Education
A teacher in Clarkstown is suing a trustee on the Board of Education. The trustee is accused of using her influence to harass the teacher on a professional level and then have her moved out of the school when she complained about it. Cathleen Malgieri has made allegations in the past against Donna Ehrenberg, vice president of the school board. Malgieri is married to Joe Malgieri, a school board trustee who is openly politically opposed to Ehrenberg. When the allegations were investigated earlier this year, the private law firm hired by the school board presented a report which the board voted to seal. Testimonies of witnesses were consequently kept from the public and themselves. Among other things, the lawsuit states that Malgieri complained to the district administration about Ehrenberg harassing her, and when this occurred, she was moved to another school. She claims that by trying to sue, she is seeking accountability, rather than revenge.
Armed Pomona man arrested after standoff
On Monday, Patryk Molczan, 31, was arrested after a brief standoff with police in the parking lot of the Spring Hill Ambulance Corps Inc. headquarters. Police are still investigating the incident, which occurred on Brick Church Road. No serious injuries were reported. The standoff, which was reportedly only a few minutes long, resulted in the arrest of Molczan, who was pulled from his car by Ramapo police officers. Police began searching for Molczan at about 3:50 p.m. after they received a report that he was distraught and armed with a Glock Model 22, .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol. The officers found the man’s 2011 Honda Accord parked in the Spring Hill parking lot. When they approached him, they could see his pistol sitting on his lap. When Molczan was ordered to raise his hands in the air, he refused to do so. And when he finally did comply, officers found that the car doors were locked. Police then shattered the Honda’s rear, side windows. During this time, an officer suffered minor cuts from the broken glass. Molczan was arrested and taken by the Spring Hill Ambulance to Good Samaritan Hospital for an evaluation to determine what caused him to become so distraught, and why he ended up in the parking lot. During the brief standoff, ambulance officials were ordered to remain inside the building with all the doors locked.
NAACP president to be honored
Hazel Dukes, the president of New York’s chapter of the NAACP, is going to be honored at a fundraiser next month. Dukes, who is also on the board of directors of the NAACP, will be recognized for her lifelong commitment to civil rights at the Nyack NAACP’s 53rd Annual Freedom Fund. Branch president Frances Pratt said that Dukes is “a staunch warrior for civil rights.” The Freedom Fund dinner is the Nyack NAACP’s only fundraiser for the year and all of its proceeds will be used to pay for the branch’s operation and cover the costs for delegates when they attend state meetings and conventions. Last year more than 500 people attended the dinner. The dinner will be held at the Pearl River Hilton. The chapter has 500 active members, 90 Youth Council members, and 70 life members.
Pomona’s former mayor dies
Melvin Klingher, former mayor of the village of Pomona, died on Sunday at the age of 87. Klingher, who was a longtime contributor to land use and planning in the county, passed away at Good Samaritan Hospital after what family says was a brief illness caused by complications from kidney failure. The Suffern resident, known as “Mel,” was mayor of Pomona from 1986 to 1998 and served for more than 20 years as chairman of the Ramapo Planning Board. He was influential, helping for instance, to create the Rockland Municipal Planning Federation in 1989 to help train and certify local planning and zoning board members. During his years as mayor, Klingher helped to obtain federal funds to rehabilitate several historic structures in the village, among them, Village Hall. Also under his leadership, Pomona acquired the building known as “The Pig Knoll School,” today’s Pomona Cultural Center. Klingher is survived by his wife of 60 years, Elinor; two sons, Richard and Mitchell; his brother Leon; and his grandson, Scott.
Clothing tax in New York to be cut
A sales-tax exemption on clothing purchases under $110 will go into effect beginning on April 1. The exemption was previously in effect, but was lifted in October 2010. The restored tax exemption will apply to clothing and shoes that are less than $110. New York State levied a full sales tax of four percent from October 2010 to March 2011 in order to raise revenue. This consequently raised $330 million for the state during this timeframe. Because most local counties add their own four percent tax to purchases, the sales tax in New York is typically about eight percent total. The exemptions are expected to help ease some of the tax burden on state residents.
Former Spring Valley police chief dies
Clifford Tallman, the former chief of Spring Valley Police Department, died in his home in Nanuet on Friday. Tallman, who also led the Rockland County Narcotics Task Force, was 69 years old. During his 28-year career in law enforcement, Tallman was considered to be one of Rockland’s top police detectives. He served as Spring Valley’s chief of police for three years until 1990, when he was appointed director of the Narcotics Task Force. After he retired in 1994, Tallman started competitively weightlifting as a coach for the Clarkstown North varsity football team. He broke several state records for his weight and age category, and won seven U.S. national titles as well as three world championships. Tallman is survived by a son, Brian Tallman; a daughter, Christiane Buhlman of Nanuet; and four grandchildren.
Car ignites in garage in Congers
A car parked inside a garage attached to a home on Holbrooke Avenue in Congers caught fire earlier this week. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire soon after it was reported. When they arrived at the house, flames were shooting from the car, which was parked inside the garage. It took approximately 10 minutes to put the fire out, according to firefighters. The garage was damaged, but the fire did not spread to the rest of the house. Firefighters from Congers and New City were at the scene. No injuries were reported.
Spring Valley landlord denies blind tenant use of a bathroom
Marie Gladys Zizi, owner of 80 Twin Avenue in Spring Valley, is being fined $1,450 for housing violations, including a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector, heating problems, no doorknob and other safety issues in a room in which a tenant lived. In addition to the fine, Rockland’s Board of Health has decided to tack on a additional $500 fine because the tenant, who was blind, was not given full access to a bathroom. According to the board, Zizi instructed the tenant to use a bucket for waste at night and keep the bucket in a small refrigerator until morning. The tenant was relocated with the help of the Spring Valley Housing Authority, and the room has been posted as uninhabitable.
Rockland’s Board of Health fines restaurants and individuals
Latin Star Restaurant, 39 Broadway in Haverstraw, was fined $2,800 for numerous sanitary violations including food stored at potentially hazardous temperatures. The restaurant has been fined for violations at least 10 other times before. Julian Kaufman, owner of a property in Central Nyack, was fined $2,000 for running a rooming house without a permit and other safety violations, including lack of a smoke detector and rooms without secondary means of escape. Edith Marseille St. Hilaire, owner of a property in Spring Valley, was fined $1,950 for numerous housing violations, including lack of hot water, lack of carbon monoxide detectors and having a basement room occupied. Owner of Sloatsburg Public Works was fined $1,650 for violating regulations concerning the storage of petroleum.
Troopers charge motorists with drunk and drugged driving
Troopers charged five motorists with drunken or drugged driving after recent traffic stops in Westchester counties. In Rockland, one resident was charged. Rafael Cabral, 41, of Nanuet was charged with the misdemeanor of driving while intoxicated at about 5:30 a.m. on Sunday on the Palisades Interstate Parkway in Orangetown.
Shoplifter at Palisades Mall prevented from stealing $660
An accused shoplifter from Queens, Lesly Castaneda, used a “booster bag” which was lined with tinfoil in an effort to steal $660 worth of merchandise from stores in the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack. Clarkstown police said that the 22-year-old was stopped by security at the Abercrombie and Fitch store around 5:15 p.m. on Friday. Castaneda is accused of putting items from the store’s displays into the lined bag and attempting to leave the store without paying for her items. These bags, which have been nicknamed “booster bags,” are used to defeat retail store security devices, interfering with the signal that would cause alarms to sound when security devices go through the store’s door. Castaneda was taken to the Clarkstown police headquarters in New City and arraigned in Town Court. She is being held in the Rockland County Correctional Facility in New City on $500 bail pending a hearing on charges of petty larceny, a fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, and possession of anti-security device.
Congressman to pay $23k fine for misusing rent law
Congressman Charles Rangel and his campaign will pay $23,000 stemming from his misuse of a rent-stabilized apartment in New York City, which served as his campaign office. According to the New York Times, the Federal Election Commission found that the Democrat from Harlem accepted campaign contributions beyond the legal limit when he leased the apartment for less than the market rate price. Both city and state guidelines require that rent-stabilized apartments be solely used as a primary residence, so utilizing it for an office was not legal. Shortly after his leasing arrangement was leaked to the public, Rangel moved his campaign office out of the apartment. The agreement to pay the civil fine, however, was not an admission of guilt, according to a spokeswoman for Rangal. The congressman, who is 81 years old, announced recently that he will be running for a 22nd term. In 2010, he was convicted on House ethics charges.