Timelines: June 7, 2012

Pomona Driver Dies After Hitting O&R Truck
Joseph Thompson was identified after his body was pulled from a crash on the Palisades Interstate Parkway on Friday, June 1.

The 38-year-old Pomona man rear-ended an Orange and Rockland Utilities truck near Ext 11 in New City with his 2007 Ford Freestar.

According to investigations, Thompson was driving at an unsafe speed in the right lane. He either dozed off or was not paying attention to the road. It seems he swerved at the last minute to try to avoid the truck in front of him, but was too late.

“To cause so much damage and hit someone from behind, you have to be going pretty fast,” said State Police Sgt. Paul Rubenstein. “Those O&R trucks are made of solid steel. The whole passenger side was sheared off.”

Thompson was pronounced dead at the scene. The O&R driver and passenger were not injured.

Five-Year-Old with Severe Tumor Saved
Gabrielle DiCarlo, 5, of Stony Point, came out of an 11-hour surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, free of the massive tumor that was in her abdomen.

When she went in, doctor’s said, she had no more than a day left to live. “The tumor was blocking blood flow that goes from the liver and kidney to the heart,” said Dr. Tomoaki Kato from New York-Presbyterian’s Morgan Stanley-Komansky Children’s Hospital in Washington Heights.

DiCarlo was at Disney World with her family in December when she woke up one night in a fever. Her parents, Nicole and Dominic, raced her to the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with a cold virus. When they returned home to Tomkins Cove, alarming symptoms began and eventually an MRI revealed the tumor taking over. From Westchester Medical Center they went to New York-Presbyterian where two teams of doctors worked to clear the cancer from her liver, heart and a large vein.

California Tries to Raise Cigarette Tax After 14 Years
After 14 years, health and anticancer groups in California are rallying for a new cigarette tax. Proposition 29, as it is called, would add $1 to every pack of cigarettes sold. The money would go to aid research for cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.

This move has prompted $47 million of advertising, mostly from the tobacco industry.

California has some of the strictest antismoking laws in the country; in some areas it is illegal to smoke in your own home or apartment. However, a pack of cigarettes there is only an average of $5.71 a pack. And the Legislature has voted down more than 30 attempts in 30 years to raise cigarette taxes.

New City Smoker Gets Violent With Cops
Gary Gauntlett was arrested after he hit a police detective in the face on Wednesday, May 30.

Gauntlett, 52, was smoking a cigar inside the New City A-Plus Mini Mart, was told he needed to put it out by the store clerk and then by a detective, who was there buying a beverage. Gauntlett hit the detective several times in the face, causing a black eye, split lip and bruises, and then fled the store.

The detective and a Clarkstown police officer caught and arrested him.
Gauntlett was charged with second-degree assault, a felony; obstructing government administration and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors; and second-degree harassment and smoking inside a public building, both violations.

He is being held on $15,000 bail.

Strange But True: Man Turns Cat into Helicopter
An artist in Europe turned his dead cat “Orville” into a remote control helicopter, and he is on display now at the Kunstrai art festival in Amsterdam.

Orville was named after Orville Wright, one of the co-inventors of the airplane. So when he was run over by a car and killed, his owner Bart Jansen, the Dutch artist, decided keep his spirit alive in a unique way. He first stuffed the dead cat, and then had his friend, Arjen Beltman, build a specially designed flying mechanism to attach to the cat, creating a remote-controlled helicopter cat.

Jensen dubbed his cat art “The Orvillecopter.”

Governor Cuomo to Invest in Health Care Transformation
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday, June 4 that New York State will request a waiver from the federal government in order to allow an investment of up to $10 billion in savings generated by the Medicaid Redesign Team, or MRT, reforms to implement an action plan to transform the state’s health care system.

This waiver will enable New York to implement the MRT plan, reinvest in the state’s health care infrastructure and lower costs over the long term.

“We have already taken the first steps to transform our state’s health care system, including cutting costs to taxpayers and improving the quality of care,” said Cuomo. “The Medicaid Redesign Team has led the charge, and this waiver will allow New York State to fully implement the groundbreaking MRT action plan to permanently restructure our health care system and make New York a national model.”

The MRT proposals adopted by Legislature last year have led to significant savings and are projected to save$34.3 billion over the next five years, divided between state and federal government.

Rockland Boulders Seek to Raise Funds
On June 15, The Children of Promise Stable will be at the Rockland Boulders for the Active International-Boulders Charity Challenge where the Boulders will play the Worcester Tornadoes.

Proceeds from tickets purchased through COPS will go towards its capital campaign fund to build an indoor arena in Nanuet. The arena will offer therapeutic care and lessons for children with special needs. It will be named in honor of Thomas J. Foley, a firefighter who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

Tickets are $14, raffle tickets are $10.

For tickets or more information, call 845-548-9837 or visit www.childrenofpromise.org.

Woman Extricated from Crash
A black Ford Explorer and a pickup truck collided on South Mountain Road, about a half-mile from the intersection with Route 45.

A woman in her mid-30s was extricated from the Ford and taken to Nyack Hospital. She suffered neck and back injuries but are not believed to be life-threatening, according to Hillcrest Fire Chief Llyod Hovelmann. The truck’s driver was not injured.

The two vehicles where traveling in opposite directions and sideswiped each other. The Ford Explorer spun into the ravine. Hovelmann said one or both of the vehicles crossed the double yellow line, but it’s not clear exactly what happened.

“This is a bad stretch of the road. It gets real narrow in there with turns,” Hovelmann said.

Haverstraw Library Budget Passes
The Haverstraw King’s Daughter Public Library’s budget of $5.2 million passed. Under this new budget, property owners in this library’s district will pay between $6 and $10 more each year in taxes.

The new budget will require $4.9 million in taxes, up $90,486 from the previous budget.

“We are really trying to keep things under control,” said Claudia Depkin, the library’s director since January.

In addition, Richard Freeman and Bonnie Koop were re-elected as library trustees and will serve for another five-years.

Nyack Man Charged with Rape
Oseas Antonio Ramirez-Palma was arrested on Wednesday, May 30 and charged with raping a girl under the age of 16.

According to Sgt. Jo Anne Fratianni of the Clarkstown police, Ramirez-Palma, 25, is accused of forcing sex on a girl earlier this month. After investigations, he was arrested.

Ramirez-Palma is charged with first-degree rape by forcible compulsion and second-degree criminal sexual act, both felonies; and third-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, both misdemeanors. He is being held in the county jail with $250,000 bail.

Smoking Ban Comes to Palisades Mall
On June 1st, the Palisades Center became a “tobacco free property.” The smoking ban includes the entire mall’s premises, parking lots, exits and loading areas.

The Pyramid Management Group, LLC, which owns the mall, is responsible for the new policy. “We strongly believe this new policy will not only support our employees and guests who are sensitive to secondhand smoke or are trying to quit smoking, but it also will provide a more enjoyable and healthier shopping experience to the millions of visitors who come through our doors each year,” said James L. Soos, the director of asset management at the Pyramid Management Group.

To begin, only warnings will be given to transgressors. But no-smoking signs will be posted throughout the mall. Mall employees are given the opportunity to receive counseling to help with quitting smoking.

The two stores that currently already sell tobacco products in the mall will be allowed to continue, but no new stores entering the mall will be permitted to do so.

New York to Fight Prescription Drug Abuse
Governor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced on Tuesday, June 5 a prescription drug reform package in New York to curb prescription drug abuse in New York.

Illicit use of prescription medicine has become one of the nation’s fastest-growing drug problems. According to the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 15,000 people die every year of overdoses due to prescription painkillers.

The new law will include electronic tracking systems, new safeguards, public awareness and education programs and safe disposal systems.

“This landmark agreement will help put a stop to the growing number of fatalities resulting from overdoses on prescription drugs,” Cuomo said. “We have seen too many untimely deaths as a result of prescription drug abuse, and today New York State is taking the lead in saying enough is enough.”

Richard Dawson, Host of ‘Family Feud,’ Dies at 79
Richard Dawson, the host of the game show “Family Feud,” died on Saturday, June 2 in Los Angeles at the age of 79. The cause was esophageal cancer, according to his son Gary.

The British-born actor and comedian came from a poor, post-World War II upbringing. His aspirations were to become a dockworker. Yet, he managed to become one of the most well known television personalities in the 1970’s and 80’s. He won a daytime Emmy in 1978.

He became popular for his tendency to kiss female contestants on the show. And television executives even tried to get Dawson to stop the kissing, especially after some viewers complained that he kissed the cheeks of women of different races. But, he said in a 2010 interview, “It’s very important to me that on ‘Family Feud’ I could kiss all people. I kissed black women daily and nightly on ‘Family Feud’ for 11 years, and the world didn’t come to an end, did it?”

Dawson is survived by his wife, Gretchen; their daughter, Shannon Nicole; two sons from his first marriage with Diana Dors, Gary and Mark; and four grandchildren.

Nanuet Teacher’s Aide Jumps Out Window
A teacher’s aide at the George Miller Elementary School jumped out a first-floor window on Monday, June 4.

The BOCES employee’s odd behavior prompted a brief lockdown of the school building, until the man was located. Clarkstown police found him near the building, upset and they took him to Nyack Hospital for observation.

He was not injured and was not charged, according to the police.

New York Sets Limits on Herring
New rules are being proposed in New York to address the drop in the number of river herring and allow time for them to repopulate.

Currently, the fishing season is open and anglers can take as many herring as they can catch. But the new state regulations will limit when anglers can fish in the Hudson River and how many herring they can take. The proposal limits fishing for herring to 10 per day or 50 per day for a group fishing from a boat, whichever is lower. Commercial fishermen will also be regulated. Also fishing for herring in the Delaware River and its tributaries, streams in the Bronx, Kings, Manhattan, Nassau, Richmond, Suffolk and Queens counties, and Westchester County streams, would be prohibited.

“River herring are part of New York’s native fauna and need to be more intensively managed to provide long-term, sustainable populations,” said Joe Martens, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner. “These unique fish are important to New York’s waters.”

The season runs from March 15 to June 15.

Clarkstown Teachers Union President Steps Down
Gregory Montague served as president of the Clarkstown Teachers Association for eight years and announced that he will be stepping down.

Montague, who works as a teacher at Felix Festa Middle School, pointed to issues with last month’s Board of Education election as part of his reason. Incumbents Phillip DeGaetano and Donna Ehrenberg were defeated in this past election. And the union has endorsed DeGaetano.

“It is with great sadness that I am announcing my resignation as the President of the CTA,” Montague wrote. “It has been a pleasure serving as the CTA President for the past eight years. Unfortunately, the past two years have been extremely difficult, especially for my family.”