Timelines: July 19, 2012

Towns Band Together to Bill the County
In an act of revenge against the county for passing on new costs to towns, Rockland’s five towns are going to now send the county all bills for maintenance and utilities on county roads. They are exploring legal options as well in case the county refuses to pick up the cost.

This decision is just months after the county began asking the towns to pay for services that historically the county had taken care of, including election costs, tuition reimbursement for community college and the Sheriff’s Intelligence Unit.

Now, Clarkstown, Ramapo and Haverstraw have all decided to bill the county for street lights, traffic signals and fire hydrants on all county roads. And Stony Point and Orangetown said they plan on passing similar resolutions at their next board meetings. Clarkstown spends about $460,479 a year maintaining county roads, they said.  The towns are not planning on taking legal action yet, but they will if there is not an agreement.

Girl Hit By Truck While Fleeing From Dog
A 13-year-old girl was hit by a truck on Memorial Park Drive, Spring Valley on Tuesday, July 17 after she jumped into the road scared by a pit bull terrier running towards her. She was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital and so far none of her injuries are life-threatening. She was bruised but conscious and alert when the ambulance came.

She was with three other girls and they were walking to the local pool. They crossed the street and the dog began running down a driveway towards them. The dog was contained to its property with an electric fence but the girls did not know that. As the dog came towards them she jumped into the street unaware of the truck. The truck driver was tested for substances and nothing was found. No charges have been filed against the driver.

NYC Cabs Go Up in Price 17 Percent
The Taxi and Limousine Commission voted on Thursday, July 12 to raise taxi fares by an average of 17 percent beginning in September. The base fare of $2.50 will not be increasing, but the mileage charge will.

Fares have not been increased since 2005 and taxi wages have been lagging behind inflation. The commission also approved a small adjustment in the amount taxi owners can charge to rent their vehicles for a shift. But the majority of the higher fares will go directly to higher wages for the cabbies.

FBI Reports Show No Evidence of Racism by George Zimmerman
FBI investigation reports show there was no evidence of racism or racial profiling on the part of George Zimmerman when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin in February 2012.

Zimmerman, 28, is a multi-racial Hispanic American and was working as the neighborhood watch coordinator for the Retreat at Twin Lakes, a gated community in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman was in his car when he saw a 17-year-old African American teenager, Trayvon Martin, walk into the community. Martin and his father were visiting with his father’s fiancée who lived there.

Zimmerman called the police and reported that a man was walking around, not doing anything illegal but he thought it was suspicious. Shortly after the phone call, Zimmerman left his car and the two had a fight which ended in Zimmerman shooting and killing Martin. Zimmerman claims it was in self-defense and that Martin had attacked him. Martin was not carrying a gun on him. But there is no proof that Zimmerman is lying. And there is no proof of racist motives.

Unlicensed Masseuse Arrested for Prostitution in Bardonia
A Queens woman was arrested on Wednesday for prostitution and giving massages without a state or town license at Green Spa, 159 Route 304 in Bardonia. Hai Cui, 41, was arrested after an undercover investigation where she is accused of offering to perform sex acts while giving a massage.

She is charged with unauthorized practice of a profession, a felony; prostitution, a misdemeanor; and failure to apply for a massage therapist license under the town code, a violation. Police began investigating Green Spa when they received reports and complaints from local residents.

Police Hope Dogs Can Stop Drugs in Jail
Shadow, the Rockland County Police’s K-9 dog, will be brought into the Rockland County jail to sniff for illegal drugs and contraband. The German shepherd will sniff the jail, visitors, cells and deliveries with its handler Officer Chris Ford.

According to Sherrif Louis Falco, correction officers have been vigilant about searching and seizing drugs in the jail. Although he does not think drugs are a major problem there, it is difficult to tell how much slips past security.

The jail can hold up to 300 inmates and it’s a constant challenge to keep drugs out. The plan is to have no drugs at all in the jail. Ford and Shadow will sweep the cells and common areas regularly. They will also randomly target seven to 10 cells during a shift. The plan is for inmates to not be able to predict when the dog will be searching their areas.

Large Spring Valley Fire Leaves 55 Homeless
A fast-moving fire in Spring Valley destroyed 15 apartments on East Funston Avenue and left 55 people homeless on Wednesday, July 11. No one was seriously injured by the fire. Several options are being investigated as the cause of the fire.

One resident told the Spring Valley building inspector, Walter Brooker, that a candle fell over and he attempted to extinguish the flames unsuccessfully. An air conditioner that was sparking is also being looked into. The apartment complex also had some smoke detectors that were not working properly.

After this tragic event, Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin said the Board of Trustees would draft a resolution requiring supervisors of multi-family dwellings to check all the units on a quarterly basis, instead of annual, to ensure that smoke detectors and alarms are installed and working properly. Meanwhile, Red Cross, Rockland County Department of Social Services and the village are all pitching in to help the 55 people who are now homeless and have lost all their belongings.

Northern Manor Multicare Center Returns to Building
Northern Manor Multicare Center, a nursing home in Nanuet, is returning to its unfinished building started five years ago. The facility was working on building an extra wing, but that stopped when they went through financial problems. They are coming back with a new proposal and outline to the Clarkstown Building Department.

In the meantime, until the structure is complete, Northern Services Group, the facility’s parent company, has agreed to build a fence around the area so that neighbors and passers-by do not have to see it. Years ago, the plan was to build a three-story structure containing 297 nursing beds with suites for occupational and physical therapy, and possibly a place to provide day care for 97 older adults. They were also considering a 54-bed affordable assisted-living facility where the current building is. But after bring the information to the Planning Board, the company never pursued the issue.

Nearby residents have complained ever since that the facility with it’s mid-construction wing is an eyesore.

Spring Valley Landlord Faces Jail Threat
Joseph Klein of Spring Valley owes $20,000 in fines and is now facing threats of jail if he does not clean up the homes and apartments he owns and rents out. According to the village, this landlord is the “number one violator.”

He has been given a deadline of the end of July to complete the work required. Klein owns homes and buildings in Ramapo, Tomkins Cove, West Haverstraw, Airmont and Clarkstown. He has been cited for code violations and unsafe conditions at many of his properties.

In 2009 the county formed a task force focused on unsafe buildings and firefighters have been increasingly on top of court hearings making sure landlords are being penalized when they do not follow zoning codes or allow unsafe conditions to remain.

This movement began after numerous firefighters were stuck in burning homes and buildings that had not been constructed according to code, creating an extra dangerous structure. Klein has begun paying the $20,000 fine and will continue with $1,000 payments every month until it’s all paid.

New City Library May End Hiring Freeze
Lifting the hiring freeze at New City Library is in discussion now. This comes as yet another library administrator prepares to leave. Ellen Ellis, library business and facilities manager, plans to retire July 31. She has been working there for 26 years and has decided to retire early and move closer to her family.

According to Ellis, there is no one else working in her department. An accounts clerk left because of illness. Due to the hiring freeze, which was put in place by Trustee Tom Ninan, the position could not be filled. Ninan recommended not hiring anyone until the library could find a new executive director.

The board has approved Marianne Silver as interim library director. But the New Director Search Committee, formed in June, will present the board with some prospects soon.

Clarkstown Bicyclist Hit by Truck
A 49-year-old woman from Clarkstown was hit by a delivery truck while she rode her bicycle along Piermont Avenue on Tuesday, July 17. She was treated at the scene and taken to Nyack Hospital. Her injuries were not life-threatening, but she sustained at least a broken bone and was initially knocked unconscious. The truck was turning left off Ferdon Avenue onto Piermont Avenue when it hit the bike. The bicyclist was headed south.

Rockland Residents Saved $750,000 Through ProAct
After just one year of the ProAct Prescription Discount Card Program, Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef announced that the program has saved Rockland residents more than $750,000. This program helps lower the cost of prescription drugs for uninsured residents. “The Discount Card program is a great way to ensure that every resident has access to affordable medications without the county or the card user incurring any costs,” said Vanderhoef.

The card saves residents on average 10-20 percent off brand name medications and 20-70 percent off generic medications. To obtain a card, visit the Department of Social Services, Health Department, Department of Aging or a local pharmacy. It is also possible to print out a card on the ProAct website atwww.NYRxDiscountCard.com or call 877-776-2285.

Hungarians Charge Man With War Crimes from 1944
Laszio Csatary, 97, is being held under house arrest and his passport confiscated. He is being charged with war crimes and is suspected of taking part in the deportation of Jews in 1944. Csatary was a police officer in the Slovakian city of Kosice when Jews were deported to Auschwitz and other death camps. He was there when the trains were loaded and sent to the camps. According to prosecutors, considering Csatary’s age, he is in very good physical and mental health.

President’s Birth Certificate Fraudulent, America’s Toughest Sheriff Says
According to investigators in Arizona, President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is definitely fraudulent.

In April 2011, members of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s posse believed that the birth certificate was computer-generated. Now, they are positive. Mike Zullo, the chief investigator in the group, said that some numeric codes in parts of the certificate were not filled out.

Zullo interviewed a former state worker who claimed to have signed the president’s birth certificate. The Arizona Democratic Party said Arpaio’s investigations are just intended to draw attention away from the problems within his own department, including cases that were not properly investigated.

Hawaii officials have confirmed Obama’s citizenship and Obama released a copy of his long-form birth certificate in an attempt to quell the questioning.

Anthony Melé Wins U.N. Contract
Local political activist and guest Rockland County Times columnist Anthony Melé, announced this week that his business AMI GLOBAL SECURITY, LLC, a security consulting firm located in Chestnut Ridge, was awarded a contract by the United Nations Assistance Missions to Afghanistan. “We were tasked with supplying security and safety equipment for training the Afghan Police and Military as part of the international effort to upgrade their proficiency,” said Melé, president of AMI GLOBAL SECURITY.

Melé added, “We are doing our part to train the Afghan Military and Police so we can diminish the boot-print of our Soldiers from the region.”

Melé describes AMI GLOBAL SECURITY, LLC as an “authorized United Nations vendor and arms broker, licensed by U.S. Department of State Defense Trade Controls, in accordance with international trade in arms regulations.” He says AMI supplies sniper rifles, ammunition and unmanned airborne vehicles, also known as drones.

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