Timelines July 23, 2015

Streit’s Matzo moving production to Rockland

After much speculation as to their new location, Streit’s Matzo seems to have settled on Rockland County as the site for a new commercial bakery.

The company, based in the Lower East Side, was initally rumored to be planning a move to Tarrytown. Instead, both Streit’s Matzo co-owner Aaron Gross and Rockland County Executive Ed Day confirmed the county has been working with the company to establish operations in Orangetown. Though nothing official has been announced yet, Streit’s is reportedly in contract for a new property, having sold their old one for $30.5 million in April.

Gross explained the location would likely be on a stretch of Route 303 near Kings Highway. They have been seeking to expand outward from their prior Rivington Street location, which lacked loading docks and parking for delivery trucks. Streit’s told the Rockland County Times they are 95 percent certain of their decision to move to Rockland and hope to have an official announcement soon.

Black Confederate flag supporter dies in car crash

A black supporter of the Confederate flag was killed in a car crash in Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday, reportedly after being forced off the road by a group of young men.

Anthony Hervey, an outspoken supporter of the flag’s continued use, was driving home from a rally in support of a Confederate monment at Linn Park in Birmingham when, according to his passenger Arlene Barnum, four or five black youths pulled alongside them in another vehicle and began shouting.

Barnum, another black supporter of the flag, said Hervey yelled something back before he lost control, flipped the car and became pinned underneath. Barnum was hospitalized but was later released. The Mississippi Highway Patrol is currently investigating the incident.

Zebrowski critcizes state fire inspectors for lack of enforcement

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski took aim at state fire inspectors last week, arguing they have been neglecting the Town of Ramapo and other problem areas where unsafe housing conditions have gone ignored.

In a letter submitted to Secretary of State Cesar Perales, Zebrowski mentioned that in spite of site visits and informal inspections by the state, there has been little follow through on the enforcement of safety regulations in Ramapo’s residential properties. In another letter, he requested State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia enforce fire safety reporting requirements for private schools, many of which operate unlicensed and with similar safety issues.

The Town of Ramapo and the Village of Spring Valley had been found by the State’s Division of Building Standards and Codes to be lax in its enforcement of building codes, with many apartment complexes, converted schools and houses of worship operating with potentially lethal safety violations. Though the agency’s report had alluded to a possible takeover of fire safety duties by the state, no action has been taken yet.

In spite of slow progress on the state level, county government has sought to address the issue as well. A Rockland Health Department initiative put into effect this year allows for sanitary code inspections and public reporting of repeat offenders on the county’s website.

Hundreds of Chinese human rights lawyers arrested in crackdown

China detained over 120 human rights lawyers along with family members and associates, a total of 200 arrests made over the past two weeks in the communist nation’s latest crackdown on reform-minded activists.

The lawyers are part of a small but increasingly vocal minority of legal experts who have taken high-profile cases, challenging a largely unopposed system where ordinary Chinese are almost helpless to defend themselves. In response, the Chinese government launched the crackdown, accusing the attorneys of fraud and attempts to undermine party control.

Chinese legal institutions were largely swept away during Mao Zedong’s hardline leadership, but began to return as China opened up more to the international community. Chinese President Xi Jinping, however, has stalled such progress, imprisoning and pressuring human rights lawyers to abandon their campaign while state media outlets paint the attorneys as con artists and deviants.

Though extralegal activism helps to bolster Chinese human rights campaigns, the recent sweep hit the tiny movement particularly hard. Of China’s 270,000 lawyers, only 300 are open defenders of human rights.

Charleston shooting suspect indicted on hate crime charges

Dylann Roof, who was arrested for the shooting of nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, was indicted on Wednesday on state murder charges and federal hate crime charges.

Though federal hate crimes were considered appropriate for the case, prosecutors might decline to pursue the case until the state murder trial, which could end with Roof receiving the death penalty, plays out. Federal hate crime charges alone do not allow a death sentence.

The case earned national attention for Roof’s status as a lone wolf domestic terrorist who was radicalized over the internet. However, most debate has centered on his holding of the Confederate flag in several pictures, generating calls for its removal from state buildings and retailers’ shelves.

Stony Point hiker recovering after cliff fall

A noted restaurant-owner is recovering well after falling from a ledge in Hudson Highlands State Park and a subsequent helicopter rescue.

Thomas Javenes, the 46-year-old owner of the Fireside Steakhouse and Pub, was hiking the area on July 7 when he fell from the peak of Anthony’s Nose, tumbling 30 feet and injuring his back and leg. After another passing hiker found him trapped, he was rescued by a Westchester County Police, who were able to lift him onto a long board but could not extract him except by air.

According to friends and family members, Javenes is recovering at Westchester Medical Center and will return home soon.