Timelines April 30, 2015

Long-time Nyack nightlife fixture O’Donoghue’s closes

O’Donoghue’s Tavern, one of Nyack’s oldest and best-known local institutions, closed up shop on Thursday night after decades of operation under the O’Donoghue family name.

The restaurant and bar hosted one last night of bittersweet celebration last week, bringing in patrons and musicians to honor the storied Nyack tavern with one last Happy Hour before it went up for sale. The celebration extended well into the night as patrons crowded into the tiny bar, which has long served as a hub of social activity in the close-knit Nyack community.

The tavern, which was built in 1909, had been owned and operated by the O’Donoghues since 1960, when then-bartender Paul O’Donogue purchased the deed from his previous employers. Except for a brief period from 2011 to 2014 when the title to the bar was in the hands of Robert Lewis, the bar has remained under the family’s stewardship since the early ’60s.

Spring Valley men accused of sexual misconduct

Two Spring Valley men were arrested last week after they were accused of sex offenses against a 19-year-old woman.

Following an investigation by Orangetown Police, Andy Beaubrun, 24 and Pelege Brevil, 22, were charged with sexual misconduct. According to the victim, Beaubrun forced her to perform an unspecified sexual act without her consent. The victim added that Brevil engaged in intercourse without her consent.

Both suspects are due to appear in Orangetown Justice Court on May 6.


Bears’ location unknown after siting in Monsey park

A family of bears which had been spotted several times over the past week has now disappeared, prompting authorities to keep a vigilant eye out for the animals while warning residents of a continued safety risk.

The one mother bear and her three cubs were last seen in Weldler Park in Monsey early Monday morning, but have since ventured out of the area. Before this last siting, they had been seen roaming in the vicinity of Montebello and Rockland Community College.

Ramapo Police had been working with a state Department of Environmental Conservation biologist to tranquilize the animals and return them to the wild, but argued the onset of darkness which occurred when authorities caught up with the animals made their recovery a potentially hazardous undertaking.

Police are not sure where the bears have gone, but are hoping they will eventually return to the woods. Until then, they have advised residents that the animals are likely foraging for food and that sources such as garbage cans and bird-feeders should be sealed tight and kept inside. Residents have also been strongly encouraged to avoid contact with the bears.


Ramapo votes to pay legal fees for officials under federal investigation

Ramapo’s Town Board voted on April 16 to foot the legal bill for local officials under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The board resolution, which passed 4-1, allow the town to budget the civil legal expenditures for unspecified subjects of an SEC probe into the town’s finances. The SEC is legally-permitted to open civil proceedings against municipalities, while state law allows municipalities to pay employee court costs when the employees’ positions are directly tied to a civil proceeding.

No spending cap was included with the bill, so the exact amount of expenditures is not yet known. Owing to this fact, Town Board Member Daniel Friedman cast the sole dissenting vote against the resolution.

The Rockland County Times broke the news of an SEC probe which occurred in May of last year when the Commission issued subpoenas to the Town, its LDC, its auditor, its financial advisor and Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence. Though boxes of printed and digital town records were seized during a joint raid on Ramapo’s Town Hall by the Rockland District Attorney’s Office and the FBI, no criminal charges have been leveled yet.

Clarkstown roads to see repaving after taxing winter

Work has been announced for two Clarkstown roads which are in serious need of maintenance after a particularly damaging winter left them crumbling and pocked with potholes.

Repaving for Congers Road in New City and Lake Road in Congers began this week as stretches of the roads, which total to about five miles, are temporarily closed for work crews. Though traffic will be directed to minimize impact, delays are to be expected.

Work is expected to begin between Brewery and Ridge Roads on Congers Road and between Kings Highway and Route 9W on Lake Road. The roads, separated by a causeway over Lake DeForest, serve to connect major arteries on both sides of the reservoir.

The project is expected to be finished in mid-May.


Comcast drops planned purchase Time Warner Cable

Telecom giant Comcast announced on April 24 that they would no longer pursue the purchase of Time Warner Cable, a deal which worried regulators and the general public over the perceived possibility of an anti-competitive monopoly on cable services.

The deal would have united two of the biggest industry leaders in cable and broadband services, a move toward greater consolidation at a time when such services have taken serious hits from subscribers opting to “cut their cords” by relying exclusively on internet streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. Comcast argued the merger would not affect competition because its assets were geographically distinct from those of Time Warner.

However, with Comcast taking highly-public and extremely negative press over poor customer service and allegedly predatory pricing practices, strong public outcry casts a pall over the deal. In addition to an examination by the deal by the Federal Communications Commission and an antitrust probe by the Department of Justice, more than 100,000 public comments were sent to the FCC regarding the merger.


Prosecutors: Aurora shooter is mentally fit for trial

James Holmes, the suspect the a fatal July 2012 mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, was found sane by two psychiatric experts, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors, who have been attempting to strike down an insanity defense, called for the second evaluation after Judge Carlos Samour concluded the first one was biased. However, the results of the second evaluation did not differ significantly from the first, which is a partial win for the state.

Similarly, prosecutors have argued Holmes’ preparation for the attack constituted premeditation, which could nullify an insanity defense. Holmes’ counsel has aggressively attempted to keep the case from a potential death sentence, which prosecutors have indicated they would like to pursue.

Rockland K9 unit takes first place in national competition

A K9 unit working with the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office was honored earlier in April after winning a national competition for police drug-detection dogs.

Deputy Shadow, a six-year-old German Shepherd who works with Officer Christopher Ford on the Department’s Elite Dog Unit, came first among 20 other K9 units in the U.S. Police Canine Association’s Narcotics Detector Competition. Shadow beat other dogs’ times in two drug search challenges which involved searches of a car and a house for heroin, cocaine and marijuana.

According to Ford, his partner was able to complete the challenges in only two minutes. Along with drug-detection, Shadow’s other responsibilities include searches for missing persons.


New regulations introduced to fight kickbacks and improper expenses in title insurance industry

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that new regulations would be enacted to fight against kickbacks and frivolous expenditures in the title insurance industry.

Prior to the new laws, the title insurance industry had been plagued by loose spending practices which included inappropriately large expenditures for food, entertainment and gifts to professionals representing clients in the market for title insurance. These expenses are included to sweeten deals and induce businesses at the expense of consumers who pay higher premiums as a result.

The new regulations would require title insurance corporations to eliminate such expenses from insurance rate calculations and cap ancillary charges, which are also used to hide improper expenditures. It is expected that title insurance costs will be cut 20 to 60 percent as a result of the new regulations.