Timelines — 5/3

Monsey fire endangers child

A Monsey father was arrested on Monday for leaving his 4-year-old son home alone Friday, April 27 in order to run errands. Upon returning home 15 minutes later, he found his house in flames.

Nobody was injured in the fire, including his child, Alexander Lliguichusca. However, the father, Manuel, is being charged with a misdemeanor of endangering the welfare of a child, said Ramapo Detective Sgt. Brian Corbett.

Child Protective Services is holding the child until they complete their 60-day investigation determining whether or not neglect, maltreatment or abuse occurred, according to Carol Barbash, director of legal services at the Department of Social Services.

As of Monday, the cause of the fire is still unknown, officials said. However, the house was illegally constructed for multiple-families, authorities said. Owner Sam Ehrenthal was issued a summons on Monday for doing construction on the house without a permit.

 

Young Valley Cottage biker killed, identified

The 25-year-old Garnerville motorcyclist that was killed on Saturday after rear-ending a Volvo car on Route 303 was identified on Monday.

Nathaniel Lopez died in the emergency room of Nyack Hospital after suffering multiple fracters and then going into cardiac arrest, according to the executive director of Rockland Paramedics, Ray Florida. The passengers in the Volvo were uninjured.

The Volvo was pulling out of the Valley Cottage Library parking lot into the northbound lane when Lopez, driving north on Route 303 hit the back of the car, just south of Lake Road.

Clarkstown accident investigation team officers are still looking into the cause of the fatal crash, according to Sgt. Harry Baumann.


False fire alarms get Nyack down

Nearly half of fire calls in Nyack are false, said village fire department officials, creating problems of low morale among the volunteers. This is higher than the countywide average.

Keith Taylor, chairman of the Nyack Joint Fire District, notices less volunteers rushing to take calls due to the high level of false calls and is worried that one day there won’t be someone to respond when there’s a real fire.

Fire officials are asking lawmakers to penalize repeat offenders. Currently, a resident making a false fire call receives two warnings before being issued a summons and taken to court.

They are asking lawmakers to give callers no more than one warning before handing out fines, which would start at $250 and go as high as $1,000.

Discussions are in the works for a possible change in the law. In addition to low morale amongst the volunteers, other problems include a higher risk of accidents as fire trucks speed to non-existent fires and unneccesary use of expensive equipment.

 

Valley Cottage shooting goes to trial

A pre-trial hearing began Monday for the case of Eric Goods, who is being charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting his Valley Cottage neighbor, Edward Kern, last August.

Goods pled not guilty to felony charges of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree criminal use of a firearm and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. However, Goods was found in the woods about five hours after his neighbor was shot and, according to the police, made comments that could be incriminating.

Kern, a New York City schoolteacher, was walking his dog on Aug. 23 at Mountainview Condominiums in Valley Cottage when he was shot five times with what was believed to be a .38-caliber handgun.

According to Goods’ lawyer, the DNA on the handgun didn’t sufficiently match his own.

State Supreme Court Justice William A. Kelly is deciding whether Goods’ comments can be shared with a jury. Arthur Ferraro, lead prosecutor, said the jury selection ought to begin in June and the case will probably last three to four weeks.

 

Spring Valley shed sprouts flames

About 60 firefighters responded to a shed burning on Sunday afternoon at Prospect Street.

The Spring Valley backyard housed a wooden structure, which was engulfed in flames, taking four hose lines 15 to 20 minutes to put out, according to Spring Valley Fire Chief Larry Bolson. The firefighters spent another half-hour chopping through the ruins to make sure the fire was properly squelched.

Spring Valley resident Dwayne Pitt, 23, was walking by the house, spotted the flames and alerted authorities. The cause of the fire is still unknown, according to Bolson.

No one was seriously injured.

 

Up from the ashes for W. Haverstraw townhouse

The townhouse in West Haverstraw that was gutted by an explosion in January is being rebuilt now. On Sunday a team of workers leveled the remains of the house to begin the process of building.

The house, located at the Village Fairgrounds-Two development, was demolished was a Verizon subcontractor hit an underground natural-gas line. In addition to the complete destruction of the house, a neighboring house was damaged, two West Haverstraw firefighters and two Orange & Rockland employees were injured. All have recovered.  

 

County jail adds positions

The Rockland County jail is about to add 14 more correction officers and two supervisors to its staff.

Although the additional positions will result in a $1.2 million cost to taxpayers, according to County Sheriff Louis Falco, the reduction in overtime pay to the current staff will greatly offset this number.

Over the last five years, taxpayers have given nearly $15 million towards overtime pay at the jail. Falco hopes that these additional positions will bring overtime costs down by as much as $1 million. The sheriff’s office is also investigating other cost-cutting solutions.

Beyond money, the other issues at play include the well being of inmates, officers and the public. More than 3,100 inmates populate the jail each year, about 200 per day, according to Falco.

 

Ban on smoking in N.Y. parks challenged

The ban on smoking within state parks passed by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation on April 9 may be deemed unconstitutional, according to New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment.

New York State legislature has declined passing this law for the past decade; at least 19 bills have been rejected. Therefore, it appears that the parks office went against the legislature’s decision and created the ban themselves, said C.L.A.S.H., as the organization is known.

“You don’t have to be a proponent of anything to do with smoking or tobacco in order to agree it’s contemptible when the bedrock of our system is being tossed away,” wrote C.L.A.S.H.

 

Rockland left out of sales tax revenue increases 

First quarter of the year sales-tax revenue continues to grow for most Hudson Valley counties, but fell slightly in the state government and Rockland. Local governments saw an increase of four percent, but state government dropped 0.5 percent.

Westchester and Putnam counties were at the top of the increase, with Westchester at 8.6 percent increase and Putnam at 8.5 percent. However, not all local sale-tax revenues increased. Rockland County went down one percent and Dutchess County declined 0.5 percent.

Sales-tax revenue is viewed as a measure of the local economy. For example, Broome County saw its largest sales-tax increase, 20 percent, between January and March, which can be attributed to post-flood purchases.

 

Strange but true, Poland edition!: Dentist removes ex’s teeth

In Poland, dentist Anna Mackowiak, 34, is facing possible jail time after pulling all of her ex-boyfriend’s teeth out while he was sedated.

Marek Olszewski, complaining of a toothache, visited the dentist, who was also his ex-girlfriend, Mackowiak. Once he was under, she changed her mind about focusing on the one bad tooth and decided to get revenge on him for leaving her for another woman.

To make matters worth for the toothless man, the new girlfriend has since broken up with Olszewski due to the incident.

Mackowiak is being investigated for medical malpractice and abusing the trust of a patient. She could face three years in jail and loss of her license.

 

United Water pays for pesticides mistake

United Water New York settled on a civil penalty of $40,000 for improper use of pesticides in the Lake DeForest Reservoir on Tuesday. The reservoir provides millions of residents in Rockland County with drinking water.

United Water failed to follow the Department of Environmental Conservation’s laws in regard to proper use of copper sulfates in effectively treating algae in the reservoir.

The company agreed to pay $23,250 of the penalty, with the remaining $16,750 dependent on compliance of the requirements from here on.

“DEC is working with United Water to ensure the company stays in compliance with pesticide regulations to protect the health and safety of the public and to safeguard the environment,” said Willie Janeway, the DEC’s regional director.

 

Cuomo gathers committee for education reform

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo established the New N.Y. Education Reform Commission on Tuesday, which will bring education, community and business leaders together for the purpose of improving the state’s education system.

The Commission is to examine all aspects of the current education system and identify problems and solutions. Everything will be scrutinized, from the teachers to the students, to parent engagement and funding.

New York State spends more money per student than any other state, but ranks 38th in high school graduation rates. Only 73 percent of N.Y.’s high school students graduate and just 37 percent are ready for college.

“It is essential that we give New York students the knowledge and the tools to compete and to thrive in this highly competitive global economy,” Cuomo said. “…The future of our state depends directly on how well we teach our kids today and I look forward to working together with the Commission to make our public schools the best in the nation.”

 

Carlucci proposes new internet privacy bill

Senator David Carlucci introduced a bill on Friday, April 27 at the Clarkstown Police Department that would close a loophole in New York State law and further protect people’s privacy over the Internet.

Along with the Rockland County District Attorney, local law enforcement and advocacy organizations, Carlucci announced this legislation, which will protect victims from being viewed, broadcast or recorded in an “inappropriate manner” on Internet.

This bill comes after an incident where a woman discovered pictures of herself engaged in sexual acts posted on the Internet.

With the current N.Y. laws, police did not have the authority to pursue the suspect. This new bill aims to change that.