Timelines 12/5/13

Irene-damaged homes to be demolished

A group of four homes in the Squire’s Gate neighborhood on Lonergan Drive in Suffern have been approved for demolition years after Hurricane Irene left them unfixable.

Residents have complained about the long process by which the Village would be reimbursed for their demolition by FEMA, but according to former Mayor Dagan LaCorte, who presided as mayor during and after the storm, the houses should be down by the end of December.

The homes, which have been standing vacant since August 2011, are currently being stripped of asbestos and otherwise prepared for demolition. Once the deal is complete, contractors will be cleared to begin disassembling the building.

The two duplexes were deemed to be uninhabitable after sustaining damage from Mahwah River flooding. The next year, the buildings were purchased by the Village of Suffern as part of a FEMA buyout, which will award the owners 75 percent of the buildings’ pre-storm market value.

Thiells-Mt. Ivy Road improvements might be in capital budget

Updates to a dangerous stretch of Thiells-Mt. Ivy Road which claimed the life of a teenager early this year have been added to the county’s five-year capital projects budget as a $2.5 million project, a move sure to please activists who have called for improvements.

The addition, which was confirmed by Legislator Ilan Schoenberger, came on the heels of a recent study from the county’s Highway Department which concluded that though no major safety concerns were present, improvements could make the road safer for travelers.

Acting proactively, the Highway Department has already begun minor work on the road such as resurfacing, striping and tree trimming in preparation for further, more significant changes such as drainage improvements.

The Highway Department is likely to pursue funding from the Federal government. If that fails, they plan to request the $2.5 million from the legislature, a more difficult move considering tightening county finances.

East Ramapo locked in legal battle over Colton Elementary building

Two private Jewish schools are suing the East Ramapo Central School District over an alleged failure to give credit for rent paid on a district-owned school building in New Hempstead which has been leased out since 2009.

Congregation Bais Malka and the Hebrew Academy for Special Children argue the School District have not provided a promised $1.3 million in credit from 2011 and 2013 for rent paid on Colton Elementary School, a Grandview Avenue property closed by the school district in 2009 and rented by the two private schools.

The School District countered in court that the two schools had breached their contract by failing to provide complete payments and owed $551,286 in back rent. If the school is successful, the court will throw out the entire contract, hence ending all obligations to Bais Malka and the HASC.

Colton was initially closed in response to forecasted drops in enrollment. If sold, the school is expected to net $5 million in revenue, but an end to the contract could delay or end the planned sale.

Pakistan outs CIA Station Chief over drone strikes

Representing his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, former cricket star Imran Khan announced on November 27 the identity of a man he claimed to be the CIA’s Station Chief in Pakistan.

A recent letter to Pakistani police from Khan’s press secretary Shireen Mazari named a man outed as the CIA Chief in the Pakistani city of Islamabad and accused him of war crimes for the use of predator drone strikes.

He also requested that police prevent the man from leaving the country, arguing the station chief does not have diplomatic immunity. Though the request might gain Khan political commendation in Pakistan, given the strong history of cooperation between the American and Pakistani governments, it is unlikely the chief will be brought in.

Khan has been using drone strikes as a way to gather popular support for his political ambitions in the country’s Punjab province. Prior to the outing, he had announced plans to rally followers to block NATO supply lines in response to the November drone strike which killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan.

Man arrested for staking teenage girl

Michael Sanchez, a 48 year old Rockland Psychiatric Center resident, was arrested on November 9 for stalking a 15 year old girl at the Orangetown Shopping Center.

Sanchez attempted to get the girl’s attention by approaching her and offering to buy her a donut at the Dunkin Donuts in the shopping center. When she attempted to avoid Sanchez, he followed her into another store.

Sanchez left after police were called but was later identified by video footage. Police approached him at Rockland Psych and arrested him on stalking charges.

According to Police Chief Kevin Nulty, Sanchez was thought to be stable enough to be allowed a pass to go off-grounds, but the pass was revoked following the incident.

Paramedic honored for breaking up violent fight

For his quick response to a violent domestic disturbance in which a police officer almost lost control of his gun, Paramedic and Monroe resident Jeff Payton, 29, was awarded a professional service award by Ramapo Police Captain Thomas Cokeley.

Payton was dispatched to a reported heart attack death in Hillcrest on the afternoon of July 8. They arrived to find Blanca Estella-Tobias-Tobias dead in an upstairs room, with her family on scene. When her ex-boyfriend Jose Armando-Zecana-Vanegas arrived, a fight broke out between him and three of Tobias’ brothers.

During the brawl, one brother was subdued with a taser, but two others attempted to pull the gun from Officer Robert Navarro’s holster.

In response, Payton restrained one of the brothers, allowing police time to call for backup at the scene. The three brothers were charged with second-degree assault.

Man arrested for leaving child in car alone

A local man was arrested in Nanuet on Sunday after leaving a child in a car for about ten minutes.

Haverstraw man Ramiro Siguencia, 28, was arrested at the Rockland Plaza shopping center for leaving an 11 month old boy in his car while he was at the Plaza. Witnesses reported the child was left in the car from around 6:11 p.m. until Siguencia returned at 6:21 p.m, meaning  the boy spent at least ten minutes unattended.

Siguencia was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and is expected in court on January 8.

Police car collides with SUV in Orangetown

A car collision on Route 303 in Orangetown on Tuesday afternoon resulted in injuries to a police officer which were severe enough to require hospital treatment.

The accident occurred when the SUV was turning out of the parking lot of the American Dreams Diner on the west side of Route 303. As it was, it collided with the police car, wrecking the front-end of the cruiser and caused it to spin around to face northbound traffic.

While they investigated the incident, police blocked off traffic between Mountainview Avenue and Spruce Street, which lies just north of the diner. Traffic was redirected from Route 303 to a Greenbush Road detour.