“Councilman Samuel Tress was arrested Thursday afternoon for voting to back a zoning change on a housing development he held a financial stake in — even though he had signed an affidavit stating he wouldn’t profit from his decisions as a Zoning Board of Appeals member. Tress, 71, who has a previous felony conviction, faces a felony charge of first-degree offering a false instrument and a misdemeanor count of official misconduct, according to the Rockland District Attorney’s Office.Tress faces up to four years in prison if convicted of the top count. [Read more…]
Want to know why Monsey and Spring Valley are so rapidly becoming urbanized with all the congestion and problems that follow compacting density in village-size spaces? Just go to a board meeting at Town Hall where all the shoe-horning gets approved. There you will get the answer to another question, as well: Why are the members of the Ramapo Planning and Zoning Boards not listed on the Town’s website? Clarkstown, Orangetown, and Stony Point list all those serving on their boards, and Haverstraw lists the chairpersons and secretaries. [Read more…]
Firefighters in Rockland County are sounding the alarm about a life-threatening danger: illegally converted homes and out-of-control construction. The hot zones are in the village of Spring Valley and the neighboring town of Ramapo. View the story here.
“Eight public school in East Ramapo have been identified as troubled, up from five last year, according to a report issued Friday by the state Department of Education. All districts in Rockland were found to be in overall good standing except East Ramapo, which was given a focus designation for the second consecutive year. Chestnut Ridge Middle School was given the lowest designation â€” priority. It received the highest designation the year before. Other East Ramapo schools identified by the state as in need of more accountability include Ramapo High School, which was in good standing last year, and Spring Valley High School, which is a focus school for a second year.Read the full text of the Journal News report here.
“The Board of Trustees this week approved a plan to spend $6.4 million in bond funds to begin bringing aging Fire Department equipment and infrastructure up to date. The 5-0 vote, a rare display of unanimity from the fractured board, came Tuesday night during an otherwise chaotic meeting. The 80- to 90-member department has been asking for new equipment for years. They say their vehicles and gear are dangerously out of date.” Read the complete Journal News story here.
“When former students of the Happy Valley School gather for their annual reunion next month, there’ll be more than a little sadness mixed with their nostalgia. The remnants of what was once a residence for children from broken homes lay on the grounds of the Minisceongo Golf Course, which was recently sold. Alumni are uncertain whether they’ll be able to get together for a yearly visit to the school building and grounds where they learned to live together and gained the values that would carry them through their adult lives. Or whether the last vestiges of their childhood could be bulldozed into history. There are no clues yet for what the Monsey-based owner plans to do with the nearly 300-acre parcel off Pomona Road. Ramapo Town Attorney Michael Klein said there have been no applications from the owner. The property is zoned for single-family development on two-acre parcels, Klein said.” Read the complete Journal News story here.
“Volunteer firefighter Aaron Lerer points to his protective jacket with large, brown scorch spots staining the shoulder of the fire-resistant material. He holds up a helmet with a melted face shield and burn marks, and displays one of the radios needed by firefighters inside burning buildings that has an antenna held together by tape. The department’s main tanker truck is 24 years old, more than a decade past its shelf life, and has broken down at fire scenes. Those are just some of the issues Spring Valley firefighters say they are coping with as they respond to emergencies without proper equipment and dependable trucks. They blame a divided village Board of Trustees, which has refused to allocate money to aid the beleaguered volunteers. [Read more…]
State education commissioner’s visit highlights improvements in troubled district, underscores need for oversight
“Elia’s day-long visit (and the fact that all three state-appointed monitors were at her side during the three-school tour) sent a clear message that deep concerns remain in East Ramapo and that the state Education Department is committed to long-term involvement. During a subsequent interview with the Editorial Board, Elia doubled down on her support for state legislation that would install a monitor, with strong oversight abilities, in the uniquely troubled district. Asked what she would do if the state Legislature will not install such a monitor, she said that the Education Department will continue to monitor the district to the extent that it can.” Read the full text of the editorial here.
Published Online on the Rockland Voice
By Julie D. Globus Child of Cultural Yiddishkeit, an Attorney, an Advocate and a Mother
This letter addresses comments made by Legislator Wieder in a speech made to the Rockland County Legislature, as well as comments that followed a letter written by Assemblyman Hikind to the Attorney General. This letter seeks to establish a format whereby one can criticize the activities of a community without being labeled an anti-Semite, a self-hating Jew or defamatory. This letter hopes to give people currently silenced by the shield of being labeled an anti-Semite, a voice. [Read more…]
They Deserve Better
Article in the New York Daily News
By Naftuli Moster
Each year, approximately 32,000 boys in New York City are not being taught science, history and geography among other subjects. If they’re lucky to be under the age of 13, they get 90 minutes of English and math, taught by untrained and unlicensed teachers.
Alarmingly, when these boys turn 14, most of them spend 14 hours a day in school, from around 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., yet learn no general subjects at all. An estimated 17,500 additional boys attending schools in Rockland and Orange Counties are subjected to the same. [Read more…]