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Salon hosts blow-dry event to raise money for camp serving kids with cancer

Robert Brum

Salon O in Greenwich, Conn., will host a “blow-dry” fundraising event from 10 a.m.  to 3 p.m. on Jan. 27  with all the proceeds to benefit Sunrise Day Camp at Pearl River.

Sunrise Day Camp is a summer day camp dedicated to children with cancer and their siblings.  Attendance at the camp is fee of charge. Located on 95 acres in the Henry Kaufman Campgrounds in Pearl River, Sunrise Day Camp and its partner camp, Sunrise Day Camp Long Island, located in Wheatley Heights, are the only full summer camps in the country dedicated to children with cancer, according to a press release from the JCC of Northern Westchester.

“Love your hair, Show you care” captures the sentiments of the staff and owners of Salon O, according to salon general manager, Courtney Doros.  Ten of Salon O’s hair stylists have dedicated their day off in order to ensure the success of this event.  Crush Wine Bar will be providing hor d’oeuvres and beverages.  The salon is located at 239 Mill Street in Greenwich.

“One of our customers told us about Sunrise Day Camp and we were so humbled hearing about it,” said Omar Roth, one of the salon’s owners. “We wanted to do something to lend our support and raise the money needed to send children with cancer in our area to this camp. ”

Campers at Camp Sunrise.

Campers at Camp Sunrise.

All of the proceeds will be donated to Sunrise Day Camp at Pearl River.

For more information about this event and to make an appointment contact Salon O at (203) 531-3000 or www.salono.net. Space is limited. Blow-dry appointments are $100 and only cash or checks will be accepted.

Sunrise Day Camp at Pearl River is a program of the Rosenthal JCC in collaboration with the Barry and Florence Friedberg JCC.   For more information about or to make a donation to Sunrise Day Camp at Pearl River, visit www.rosenthaljcc.org/sunrise or www.sunrisedaycamp.org.  Contact Alison Rubin at arubin@rosenthaljcc.org, 914-741-0333 extension 23 or Bonnie Gould at bgould@friedbergjcc.org or 516-634-4143.


Posted by Robert Brum on Monday, January 13th, 2014 at 6:47 pm |
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Deadline arrives for Rockland County, East Ramapo relief bills; Carlucci, Jaffee, Zebrowski hold rally to encourage Cuomo’s support

Laura Incalcaterra

Wednesday is the deadline for two state bills that would bring significant financial relief to Rockland County and the East Ramapo school district – if Gov. Andrew Cuomo approves them before midnight.

The Rockland County Financing Act would authorize the county to borrow $96 million and use the money to pay down a significant portion of its $128 million deficit.

Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef’s proposed 2014 county budget presumes the county will get the home-rule authority necessary to borrow the $96 million.

His proposal calls for a 9.9 percent county property tax increase, but Vanderhoef said that could climb to nearly 20 percent without the ability to borrow the $96 million.

The county is legally obligated to pay down its deficit by at least $10 million each year starting with the 2014 budget, money that is not currently set aside in the budget.

Another bill on Cuomo’s desk would advance East Ramapo $3.5 million in lottery funding to help the beleaguered district through the 2013-14 school year.

East Ramapo would have gotten the money in September 2014, but the district sought receipt of the aid in June 2014. The money would be deducted from future lottery allocations over a 30-year period.

The bill, commonly referred to as a “spin-up,” contains a unique stipulation that the money be used to restore salaries for teachers, security guards, nurses and the like, and for intramural and co-curricular activities.

State Senator David Carlucci, D-New City, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, D-Suffern, and Assemblymen Ken Zebrowski, D-New City, led a rally at the Martin Luther King Multi-purpose Center in Spring Valley Tuesday to encourage Cuomo to sign the bill.

Participants included King Center Executive Director Nathan Mungin, King Center Board President Winsome Downie-Raiford, Spring Valley NAACP President Willie Trotman and East Ramapo elementary school students.


Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester), Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Rockland) and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-Rockland) stood with local community leaders Nathan Mungin and Winsome Downie-Raiford from the Martin Luther King Center as well as Willie Trotman, President of the NAACP Spring Valley Chapter to call on Governor Cuomo to sign the East Ramapo School District Lottery Spin-up bill.

“Passing this piece of legislation was one of my top priorities in Albany,” said Senator Carlucci. “I am pleased that with this bill we will help restore vital services for the students of the East Ramapo Central School District while creating strict oversight and guidelines as to how the funds will be spent.”

Over the past two years the East Ramapo Central School District has reduced its staff by some 400 individuals including, social workers, elementary assistant principals, staff developers in technology and clerical and support services totaling approximately 25% of its workforce. In addition, a significant number of education programs have been reduced or eliminated including full-day kindergarten, sports and clubs, cultural arts, instrumental music, summer programs and extra help programs.

This legislation allows for $3.5 million dollars in accelerated lottery aid to go directly to the East Ramapo Central School District which would be deducted from future lottery allocations over a thirty year period. During this time the district will have to follow strict regulations and will need to report their spending on a regular basis to the New York State Department of Education through an appointed  advisory team.

The advisory team  will consist of the superintendent of schools of the East Ramapo central school district or his or her designee, a member of the school board, a teacher  employed  in  the school, an administrator employed at the school and a parent of a student.

Assemblywoman Jaffee said, “I look forward to Governor Cuomo signing this bill, so that the students in the East Ramapo School central school district don’t have to suffer any more cuts  to essential programs that are part of a basic public school education. I am confident the oversight provisions in this bill will ensure the restoration of some of those cuts that the public school students have been forced to endure.”

The advisory team will need to develop a comprehensive expenditure plan and deliver the plan in voucher form to the Commissioner of Education. Funding can only be used for  instructional  services, including  teacher salaries; guidance services, including guidance counselor salaries; health  services,  including  nurse  salaries;  security services, including security guard salaries; board of cooperative education  services  expenses;  co-curricular  activities, including instructional  salaries  and  contractual  services;  intra-mural   activities, including instructional salaries; and interscholastic athletics, including instructional salaries, contractual expenses, security and transportation.

“This is a big first step to making sure our children are getting the best possible education at the East Ramapo Central School District.” said NAACP President Willie Trotman, “I am very pleased this legislation comes with a mandatory reporting requirement that will make the School District report directly to the State Education Department concerning their spending of this accelerated aid. We need to continue to make sure our schools have adequate funding to educate our students. I applaud the work of Senator Carlucci, Assemblywoman Jaffee and Assemblyman Zebrowski who have made the East Ramapo Central School District a major priority in Albany. The Governor needs to stand with the Rockland Community and make sure our children don’t lose out on their education.”

Assemblyman Zebrowski said, “This legislation will protect the programs and services that the East Ramapo students deserve and provide the necessary oversight to ensure that the additional funding is appropriately spent.”




Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
Category: Uncategorized
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Trick or Treating for youngsters at Boulders Stadium in Ramapo

Steve Lieberman

The creatures of the night – and maybe some batters and pitchers – are welcomed to celebrate Halloween on Ramapo’s field of dreams.

The Rockland Boulders baseball team and ownership is holding a community event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday for families with trick-or-treaters 12 years old and younger.

The festivities will feature music, costume contests, haunted train rides, a maze, and trick-or treating around the ballpark, known as Provident Bank Park.

The park is located off of Route 45 by Old Pomona Road and Firemen’s Memorial Drive, a quick trip off PIP exit 12.

The hosts promise lots of free candy and prizes – as well as ghouls and scary sounds of Halloween. The cookies and cupcakes will come from Rockland Bakery, with Shop-Rite supplying the candy.

The event is a designated Halloween trick-or treat Safe Place for families in conjunction with the Ramapo Police Department.

The sponsors include the Journal News, Shop-Rite, Rockland Bakery, Rockland Boulders.

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
Category: RAMAPO, Uncategorized
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UPDATE: Rockland officials making plans for sex trafficking, domestic violence, Super Bowl

Steve Lieberman

Gearing up for the Super Bowl in February, Rockland law enforcement officials and advocates for women will put human sex trafficking first and 10 on their game plan.

During a news conference at 2:30 p.m. (today) Monday, they (will) outlined their plans prior to the National Football League’s showcase game at MetLife Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands – the home of the Jets and the Giants.2013 STOP FEAR Press Conference 020

A main issue for law enforcement is that major sporting events like the Super Bowl have attracted the sex trade industries. The majority of domestic minor sex trafficking victims are 12 to 15-year-olds who are runaways or who have been abducted and are often forced into compliance with violence, threats and drugs, they said.

In effort to prepare law enforcement and educate the public, Rockland advocates will host a special training session on Oct. 30 for first-responders, hotel and motel staff and the general public called, “Human Trafficking and the Super Bowl: What We Need to Know in Rockland.”

The session will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Good Samaritan Hospital by the Polaris Project, which is involved with combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

The STOP F.E.A.R. Coalition, established on 1986 to respond to domestic violence, already has laid the groundwork for the training on human sex trafficking during a meeting on Sept. 25.

“As a county we have done an excellent job creating a coordinated response to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Kiera Pollock, deputy executive director of programs and services at Center for Safety & Change, and co-chair of the Human Trafficking Sub-Committee of the STOP F.E.A.R. Coalition.

“Now we must put our efforts into addressing the multitude of needs that survivors—both minors and adults—of human trafficking may need in Rockland especially in light of the upcoming Super Bowl,” she said.

District Attorney Thomas Zugibe and Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan said law enforcement is gearing up to ensure children are not exploited and take an aggressive approach in Rockland, where local hotels and motels expect to get business from people attending the marquee event in New Jersey.

The 16th Annual STOP F.E.A.R. conference on Nov. 1 will focus on human trafficking and the Super Bowl.

Continuing the theme of Human Trafficking and the Super Bowl, the training, “Preparing for National Security Events: A Perspective on Human Trafficking for Investigators and Front Line Officers,” is geared towards criminal justice professionals. The featured speakers will be Chris Bray from the Phoenix Police Department, an expert on child trafficking, and Eric Pauley from the FBI”s “Innocence Lost Project”, an expert on investigating all matters involving sexual exploitation of children as keynote speakers.

The news conference today at the county office building on New Hempstead Road in New City will include District Attorney Thomas Zugibe, County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell, and officials of the Rockland Center for Safety & Change, the former Rockland Family Shelter.

The advocates also will promote October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month – which has been celebrated nationwide for 32 years.

Additional Domestic Violence Awareness Month Events include:

– Oct. 24: Walk with me, a silent student-led procession at 12 p.m. at Rockland Community College, room 3214

– Nov. 10: 34th Annual Harvest Auction, 5:00 p.m. New York Country Club, New Hempstead; $90 per person, Silent Auction with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres; life auction with dinner and dessert, RSVP for the Auction or to complete a journal ad visit www.centerforsafetyandchange.org.

The Center for Safety & Change is a non-profit. grass-roots organization serving survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and all crime victims. The center is located at 9 Johnsons Lane, New City. The 24-hour hotline number is 845-634-3344.

PHOTO: Carolyn Fish, the longtime leader of Rockland Center for Safety & Change, formerly Rockland Family Shelter, accepts proclamation from Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Monday, October 7th, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
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Haverstraw home owner got 19% school tax hike

Akiko Matsuda

After reading the Sept.20 Tax Watch story, Anne Elton of Haverstraw had a good look at her own school tax bill and realized that she’s got a 19 percent tax hike.

The Sept. 20 article spelled out what happened to Edmund Lynch, a Garnerville homeowner who thought his 2013-14 school tax went up by 23 percent, or $919.

In Lynch’s bill, his home’s assessment for 2013 was the same with the year before, while many of other Haverstraw town homeowners got a 7 to 10 percent reduction. Haverstraw town assessor has been tweaking the town’s assessment roll because Haverstraw’s 2006 revaluation was done at the height of the housing boom.

After contacted by The Journal News, the town admitted that Lynch’s assessment should’ve been reduced like everybody else’s and corrected the mistake. Lynch’s actual tax increase was $59.

Unfortunately, Elton was not that lucky, and here’s why.

Elton, 53, successfully fought her 2012 assessment of her Haverstraw townhouse and got a $22,000 reduction. Although she had to pay about 50 percent of tax refund to the firm she hired, she was satisfied with the firm’s service that time, she said.

Like Lynch, Elton’s 2013-14 school tax bill showed that she didn’t get any assessment reduction for 2013, but in her case, it was not a mistake.

After a successful assessment grievance, state law requires municipalities not to change the assessment in the following year. The law is meant to protect property owners who successfully fought their assessment, but it worked against her because Haverstraw town reduced assessments for many homes.

Elton said she had to pay $4,111.99 to the North Rockland school district, up $656.96, or by 19 percent, from last year.

Elton, a physical therapist, moved to her townhouse to downsize from her four-bedroom house in Garnerville. Because her property taxes on her townhouse is rising so fast, it’s affecting her retirement plan, she said.

Posted by Akiko Matsuda on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
Category: EDUCATION, Education costs, Haverstraw, North Rockland High School, Property Taxes, Rockland County, STONY POINT, tax refunds, taxes
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Friends of Karen seeks support for back-to-school program

Robert Brum


Volunteers Max Frumkes and Jon Leventhal help sort boxes of school supplies for sick children and their siblings.

Volunteers Max Frumkes and Jon Leventhal help sort boxes of school supplies for sick children and their siblings.


Friends of Karen, which provides support – at no cost – to families caring for a child with a life-threatening illness, has a Gifts For Children program that includes back-to-school help. Over the summer Friends of Karen collects donations of school supplies, book bags and clothing gift cards to make sure each of their sick children and their well siblings starts school in September with the right supplies and a new outfit.

“Imagine going into a store and seeing happy, healthy children choosing school supplies and clothing while your own child is in the hospital, or having to decide whether to buy a backpack and new school shoes for your ‘well’ child or paying for medicine for your sick child,”  Judith Factor, Friends of Karen’s executive director, said in a press release.  “We step in to help in this very tangible way so that parents don’t have to make these impossible choices.”

Friends of Karen needs donations of new backpacks and school supplies, including new 3-ring binders, 2-pocket folders, pencils, pencil sharpeners, pink erasers, glue sticks, colored pencils, washable markers, and construction paper. Gift cards to Target, Gap, Macy’s and Old Navy are greatly needed.  If you can donate any of these back-to-school supplies or gift cards, or if you prefer to help with a cash donation, contact Denise Tredwell at DeniseTredwell@friendsofkaren.org or 914-617-4052.

Friends of Karen is a registered IRS 501(c)(3) charity, and the only organization in the New York tri-state area that provides a wide range of programs to families of a child with cancer or another life-threatening illness to help free them of everyday needs and concerns, so they have more time to love.

Headquartered in North Salem with additional offices on Long Island and in Manhattan, Friends of Karen is recognized for its operational efficiency, with 82 cents of every dollar collected going directly to support families. Charity Navigator, an independent organization that evaluates the financial efficiency and responsibility of thousands of U.S. charities, has consistently awarded Friends of Karen a 4-star rating – their highest award.

To find out more about Friends of Karen, visit www.friendsofkaren.org

Posted by Robert Brum on Thursday, August 1st, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
Category: North Salem, Putnam, Putnam County, Westchester County
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Ramapo court on housing violations makes little progress

Steve Lieberman

Ramapo Justice Court’s session on town violation cases – mostly housing cases – lasted about seven minutes Tuesday, with Justice Rhoda Schoenberger and Assistant Town Attorney Anita G. Conklin handling 10 cases.

Only two of the 10 names listed on the calendar showed up for court. The lack of defendants led to a smooth session after judge took the bench at 1:37 p.m., though court had been scheduled to start at 1 p.m.

Schoenberger told one man the violation he faced for allowing a dog run free would be dropped if it doesn’t happened again within the next six months. He walked out happy – and didn’t even have to pay a fine.

A representative of Binyan Torah Inc. in Monsey appeared for violation charges that were brought in 2006, according to the court calendar The congregation, at the time, lacked a certificate of occupancy, no site plan, and did construction without a permit.

Schoenberger adjourned the 6-year-old case until May 21. The representative told her the congregation is before a town board that reviews site plans. There was no mention whether the judge would fine Binyan Torah.

Binyan Torah likely represents the typical of housing violation case in Ramapo.

People or groups often open schools or houses of worship without permits from the town or required safety and fire equipment. When they are caught, administrators then spend the money installing the proper equipment and then file site plans.

In other cases, houses are subdivided illegally into small apartments to accommodate more people and added rents for landlords.

Firefighters have started demanding faster actions from inspectors and tougher penalties from judges in local courts across the county. They are monitoring cases.

Aside from those two cases, Schoenberger and Conklin agreed on sending letter warrants to the congregations and people who failed to attend court.

Most of the cases involved construction without permits. A few also involved refuse and debris, and one involved soil erosion.

One case – Divora Ben-Shimon – dated to 2010 for construction without a permit, while the others were from 2011 and 2012.

It was not clear what stages of the planning and zoning process the cases were or when the court or town would remedy the violations.

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
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John Layne pleads guilty to official misconduct

Steve Lieberman

Former Airmont Mayor John Layne has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct involving his former job as Sloatsburg village building inspector.

Layne, who did inspections for Wesley Hills and private work, was sentenced to a year’s conditional discharge and must repay one of his victim’s $350 during a court hearing Wednesday in Sloatsburg Justice Court.

The misdemeanor charge concerned his work as a private electrician while also working as building inspector.

Read more at lohud.com

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Monday, April 1st, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
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Sentencing Tuesday in Rene Charles’ 1994 killing in Spring Valley

Steve Lieberman

Daniel Jean-Baptiste, 69, of Spring Valley faces 12 years in prison Tuesday when he’s sentenced for orchestrating the killing of Rene Charles in 1994 in the driveway of his Spring Valley house.

Jean-Baptiste pleaded guilty in January to first-degree manslaughter. He admitted convincing another man to shoot Charles, who apparently was having an affair with Jean-Baptiste’s wife. The manslaughter count carries a sentence of five to 25 years.

During his January guilty plea, Jean-Baptiste identified the shooter as Mouchy Toussaint, as did prosecutor Stephen Moore. Toussaint, who lives in Haiti, has not been charged and has twice denied any role in the killing when questioned by the Spring Valley.

Jean-Baptiste will be sentenced by County Court Judge William Nelson. Charles’ son, Yanel, is expected to speak for his family, including his three sisters and mother.

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Monday, April 1st, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
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Monsey man gets probation for sex abuse, makes lawyer’s job harder

Steve Lieberman

Moishe Turner of Monsey got sentenced to 10 years probation Tuesday morning for sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy on seven occassions in July 2011.

He didn’t get state prison time – facing a maximum of seven years – because the boy’s family didn’t want the child to testify, tying the hands of the Rockland District Attorney’s Office.

But the 59-year-old unemployed father of five children didn’t make life easy for his lawyer, Kenneth Gribetz, the former Rockland County prosecutor. He lives off of food stamps and gets Section 8 rental subsidies.

First off, Turner’s pre-sentence report by Rockland County probation officer recommended six months in jail.

Justice William Kelly said the report stated Turner was seemingly trying to blame the 14-year-old, calling the youngster sexually aggressive and a wild child.

Kelly allowed Gribetz a recess so he could talk to turned. Gribetz could be heard telling Turner it’s time to stop the nonsense (cleaned up version).

At some point, when Kelly was talking, Turner’s cell phone went off, leading to a rebuke from Gribetz.

After Kelly classified Turner as a Level 2 sex offender, Turner asked Gribetz why not the lowest designation – Level 1.

Gribetz essentially told Turner the judge was talking about the highest classification – Level 3 – so he should take Level 2 and leave.

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
Category: Police & Fire, RAMAPO
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Mother-in-law faces prison in January for assaulting daughter-in-law

Steve Lieberman

Parveen Jagota’s resentencing for assaulting her daughter-in-law and treating her as a slave was rescheduled Tuesday for Jan. 29 by Rockland County Court Judge William K. Nelson.

Nelson already has sentenced Jagota’s daughter Rajani, 31, to prison for 1 to 3 years on the same charges of assault  and labor trafficking.

Parveen’s Jagota had been sentenced to the same prison term as her daughter but Nelson decided to reconsider after her lawyer, Daniel Bertolino, raised questions about the assault portion of the sentence.

The sentencing has been delayed for a variety of reasons. Tuesday’s sentencing was adjourned because the interpreter had traveled to India.

Nelson asked about the status of Rajani Jagota on Tuesday. Prosecutor Arthur Ferraro told still has time left to serve on her sentence and would still be in prison when her mother was sentenced in January.

Following a non-jury trial, Nelson found that the mother once burned the young woman with an iron as punishment for poor work.

The victim came to the United States in 2008 following her marriage to Vishal Jagota, which was arranged by her relatives in the United States and India. Her identity has been withheld by the Journal News/LoHud.com based on her father-in-law being accused of sexually abusing her. He was found not guilty of the charges.

The victim’s husband was sentenced in May to three years’ probation and 220 hours of community service for third-degree assault, a misdemeanor carrying a maximum sentence of a year in jail.

“She was selected as a servant, not as a bride,” Nelson told the defendants in June. “It was his mission to find a young Indian woman from India, not one raised in the United States, … For three years, (the victim) lived a life of involuntary servitude, waiting hand and foot for you and your family.”




Posted by Steve Lieberman on Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
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Hillcrest firefighers’ Christmas Party for kids set for Sunday

Steve Lieberman

The Hillcrest Fire Co. will hold its annual children’s Christmas party on Sunday at the Mount Ivy Firehouse, 16 Thiells-Mount Ivy Road, Pomona.

The volunteers’ party starts at 3 p.m.

Aside from gifts, food, drink and entertainment, the hightlight of the party is Santa Claus visting the firehouse in his firetruck and talking to the children.

Read more about the Hillcrest Fire Department.

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Monday, December 10th, 2012 at 10:02 am |
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Rockland JCC continues advocacy for a minute of silence for slain Israeli Olympians in London

Steve Lieberman

Rockland Jewish Community Center members and widows of two slain Israeli Olympians continued to pressure the  International Olympic Committee to approve a minute of silence in honor of the 11 Israelis murdered by terrorists at the 1972 Munich games.

A JCC contingent and the widows held a news conference in London seeking to ratchet up the pressure on  IOC President Jacque Rogge, who has rejected the latest calls for a special observance at the opening ceremonies on Friday.

Rogge acknowledged the 1972 murders on the 40th anniversary with an impromptu tribute on Monday during an event in the Olympic Village.

Advocates were not satisfied.

The JCC members were joined by two leading advocates –  Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, widows of two of the slain Israelis. The two women have been seeking a tribute at the Olympics for close to 40 years. The JCC contingent in London includes the movement president Steve  Gold, JCC-CEO David Kirschtel, and members Micki Leader and Joe Allen.

The JCC members, Spitzer and Romano also were armed with a petition carrying more than 107,000 signatures seeking a minute of silence on Friday, as well as support from President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Rockland Congress members –  Reps. Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey – also added their voices again.  Their resolution has passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee and awaits the Republican Majority placing it on the agenda for a full House vote.

Engel and Lowey released the following statement:

“With the Olympic Games beginning this week, the IOC has a chance to honor the memories of their fallen heroes and mark the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches.  This is not a political issue, but a matter of human decency.  The Munich 11 were part of the Olympic family, and IOC’s rejection thus far of a minute of silence is unacceptable.  The list of those who agree that a minute of silence is the right thing to do continues to grow – President Barack Obama added his voice to the chorus of world leaders who have supported this cause. Even the voice of the Olympic coverage, Bob Costas, has called for the IOC to change their mindsWhile the IOC held a moment of silence at a private speech in front of 30-40 people this week, we believe that this message must be delivered before billions, not dozens. 

“We applaud the efforts of JCC Rockland who have traveled to London and joined with the Israeli Ambassador to Great Britain and the families of the victims to personally urge the IOC to change their mind.  The Olympics provide a unique opportunity to send a message that reaches billions of people from every corner of the globe. The clock is ticking on the IOC to do the right thing, and we remain hopeful that they will.”

Back in 1972, the murders and live telecast of the standoff at the airport shocked the world.  The Palestinian terrorist group “Black September” – tied to PLO chief Yasser Arafat – took nine hostages after killing two Israelis in the initial attack at the Olympic village.

All but three of the Palestinians were killed with their Israeli hostages during the German attack on the airplane. Three PLO survivors were released by the West German government on October 29, 1972, in exchange for a hijacked Lufthansa jet. Two of the three were later hunted down and assassinated by Israel’s Mossad.

The International Olympic Committee hardly slowed down the 1972 games, even as Israelis buried their dead Olympians back home. Avery Brundage, then the International Olympic Committee president, declared that “the games must go on,” 24 hours afters after a memorial ceremony in Olympic stadium.

The families of the Munich 11 have been asking the IOC to commemorate the deaths of their loved ones since the attack nearly 40 years ago, first seeking recognition at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

The IOC and its president have  claimed holding a minute if silence would bring politics into the Olympic games. Gold said the IOC fears the Arab nations would boycott the Olympics if the Israelis were honored.

Politics has been a stable of the Olympics.

During the 1936 Berlin Olympics, American Jewish Olympians were told not to participate because it might offend the Nazi government and Chancellor Adolf Hitler. Brundage led the U.S Olympic Committee in 1936.

The 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles were boycotted by the Soviet Union and 13 communist-supported nations. The protest came four years after the United States boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Gold said the JCC would continue its advocacy for a minute of silence at the 2016 games in Brazil.







Posted by Steve Lieberman on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
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Ex-DA Bongiorno returning as defense lawyer

Steve Lieberman

Former Rockland District Attorney Michael Bongiorno is making a come-back.

He’s returning to the courtroom, announcing in an e-mail to friends and supporters that he’s starting a private law practice – the Law Office of Michael E. Bongiorno.

Bongiorno, a Republican,  served as district attorney from 1995 until November 2007, when he lost  close race to Democrat Thomas Zugibe.

Bongiorno, a career prosecutor working in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, tried one case during his tenure – the prosecution of an illegal immigrant who murdered a New City mother of two young children. He worked with his chief assistant at the time, Louis Valvo.

Bongiorno, who is married with two sons, had been appointed Rockland’s top prosecutor by then-Republican Gov. George Pataki upon the resignation of Kenneth Gribetz  following his two federal convictions. Bongiorno targeted violent criminals, repeat felons, and drug dealers as prosecutor, as Rockland’s reported crime rate decreased.

After losing to Zugibe, Bongiorno spent several years working for the state Attorney’s General’s Office Organized Crime Task Force in White Plains. Andrew Cuomo, now governor, was attorney general at the time.

As a defense attorney, Bongiorno can pick and choose his cases, unless he’s appointed to represent a defendant by a judge.

One potential irony that could develop: He and Gribetz could have co-defendents and go to trial together. Two former district attorneys for the defense.

Below is Bongiorno’s announcement sent out Monday.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Over the past decade I have appreciated your help and friendship.  It has now become a time for change in my life.  It may be hard to believe, but after 30 years of public service I am opening a private law practice, the Law Office of Michael E. Bongiorno.  The attached announcement contains additional information.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you think I can be of assistance.

I wish everyone a safe and happy summer.


Law Office of Michael E. Bongiorno
455 Route 304
Bardonia, NY 10954

Office:  (845) 521-3104

Fax:  (845) 215-9587


UPPER RIGHT: Michael Bongiorno

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
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Spring Valley gets $135G for crime-fighting

Steve Lieberman

The good news is Spring Valley will get $135,500 in state funds toward crime-fighting.

The bad news is Spring Valley is one of 17 jurisdictions across the state that qualifies for Operation IMPACT money based upon a level of drug dealing and violent crime.

The program,created in 2004, is a partnership among the primary police department and the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department in each county, as well as state and federal agencies, including Parole, the New York State Police, and the United States Marshals.

And making matters worse is Spring Valley’s share has decreased abouty $20,000 annually for the past five years, Police Chief Paul Modica said.

Modica said the village’s reported crime rate can’t compete with the large cities also seeking a cut of the $13 million in state funding. Spring Valley is about 2-square-miles

“We’re competing with bigger jurisdictions like Syracuse and Buffalo,”  Modica said. “We get 50 robberies  but that doesn’t compare to 450 robberies the larger cities are getting. We don’t stack up to them. We’ve been getting less money, though ours needs are just as high.”

Overall, Rockland got $185,900 in funding, with the largest secondary shares going to the Rockland District Attorney’s Office with $45,000 and Probation Department with $9,000.

The grants, which are administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, fund personnel and technology that allow the IMPACT partners to fight, reduce and prevent crime through the analysis of data and trends, development and sharing of intelligence and targeted enforcement efforts.

The state has awarded $13 million to 17 jurisdictions that report 80 percent of the crime outside New York City. State and local officials claim Operation IMPACT has lower the crime rates 3.8 percent in those areas. Funding has been decreasing over the the years.

Below is the news releases on Operation IMPACT funding


17 counties receive funding through Operation IMPACT to target violent and gun crime, and domestic violence

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that nearly $13 million has been awarded under Operation IMPACT to 17 counties to target violent and gun crime and domestic violence. The IMPACT jurisdictions receiving funding today report 80 percent of the crime in the state outside of New York City.

Operation IMPACT consists of a partnership among the primary police department and the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department in each county, as well as state and federal agencies, including Parole, the New York State Police, and the United States Marshals. The grants, which are administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), fund personnel and technology that allow the IMPACT partners to fight, reduce and prevent crime through the analysis of data and trends, development and sharing of intelligence and targeted enforcement efforts.

“We must do all we can to ensure that New York State is a safe place to live, raise a family and do business,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding through Operation IMPACT will provide much-needed resources so that local law enforcement partners can develop community-specific strategies designed to prevent and reduce crime. By working together and encouraging collaboration across all levels of government, we will be able to make communities across New York a safer place for all.”

New York’s Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Elizabeth Glazer said, “Local governments must constantly do more with less. Funding available through Operation IMPACT provides agencies in the state’s urban centers – some of which have been hit harder by the financial crisis – with additional resources to fight violent crime that destroys families and communities.”

DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green said, “As a former District Attorney, I know first-hand the importance of Operation IMPACT. The program is effective because partners work together, using intelligence-driven policing, data and technology to address persistent and emerging crime through strategies designed to both prevent crime and hold those who commit crimes accountable.”

The following jurisdictions and counties received funding through the program:

  • ·Albany Police Department/Albany County: $873,400
    · Binghamton Police Department/ Broome County: $377,700
    · Jamestown Police Department/Chautauqua County: $226,100
    · Poughkeepsie Police Department/Dutchess County: $339,375
    · Buffalo Police Department/Erie County: $1,494,500
    · Rochester Police Department/Monroe County: $1,723,300
    · Nassau County Police Department/Nassau County: $971,400
    · Niagara Falls Police Department/Niagara County: $611,900
    · Utica Police Department/Oneida County: $436,300
    · Syracuse Police Department/Onondaga County: $1,093,300
    · City of Newburgh Police Department/Orange County: $676,850
    · Troy Police Department/Rensselaer County: $488,700
    · Spring Valley Police Department/ Rockland County: $185,900
    · Schenectady Police Department/Schenectady County: $721,900
    · Suffolk County Police Department/Suffolk County: $1,170,580
    · Kingston Police Department/Ulster County: $249,300
    · Yonkers Police Department/Westchester County: $1,347,450

Three counties have a secondary police department involved in the initiative, which also receive funding: Hempstead Police in Nassau County, Middletown Police in Orange County and Mount Vernon Police in Westchester County.

The grants are awarded competitively, with priority given to those jurisdictions with the highest volume of crime. Nine counties received an increase in funding over last year’s awards: Erie, Monroe, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Ulster and Westchester. The total amount available for the program this year was about 1 percent less than last year’s figure of $13.06 million.

In 2011, the total number of index crimes reported by the 17 primary police departments that participate in Operation IMPACT – 109,233 – was at its lowest in 10 years. Seven index crimes are used by the state and FBI to monitor overall crime trends and give law enforcement a tool to gauge their effectiveness and drive decision-making about staffing and day-to-day agency operations. Four index crimes are classified as violent: murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault, and three are classified as property: burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft. The percentage of firearm-related violent crime peaked in 2006, at 26.2 percent; last year, 23.6 percent of violent crimes involved a firearm.

Last year, IMPACT jurisdictions experienced a 3.8 percent reduction in crime, with decreases reported in every crime category except burglary, when compared to 2010. Violent crime was down 6 percent, and property crime down 4 percent.

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data; operation of the DNA databank and criminal fingerprint files; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry and a toll-free telephone number (1-800-262-3257) that allows anyone to research the status of an offender.


Posted by Steve Lieberman on Monday, July 16th, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
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Carlucci proposes bill to enhance Internet privacy

Steve Lieberman

A Rockland woman who found an Internet photo of herself having sex with a former boyfriend has spurred a proposed law banning such postings without the consent of the adults involved.

State Sen. David Carlucci, D-Rockland, says he will be joined by Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe, local law enforcement officials and advocacy organization representatives at 11 a.m today in Clarkstown police headquarters  to announce legislation that will close a loophole in New York State law and further protect people’s privacy.

In a news release, Carlucci said the bill stems from an incident that occurred involving a woman who approached the Clarkstown police after discovering a picture of her engaged in a sexual act on the Internet — without her consent. The image posted online showed her and the sexual parts of the other individual, but since the victim’s own sexual parts were not exposed, police lacked the legal authority to pursue the suspect.

With the rapid advancement of new technology and mobile devices, Carlucci said the bill will update New York’s surveillance laws to protect future victims from having themselves viewed, broadcast, or recorded in an inappropriate manner.

Scheduled to attend the news conference with Carlucci and Zugibe are Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan, Phyllis B. Frank, assistant executive director of Volunteer Counseling Services, and Carolyn Fish, executive director of the Rockland Family Shelter.

At upper right, Sen. David Carlucci

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Friday, April 27th, 2012 at 8:46 am |
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Piperato is new president of state clerks’ association

Laura Incalcaterra

Rockland County Clerk Paul Piperato is the new president of the New York state Association of County Clerks.

The ceremony took place Monday night during the organization’s annual legislative conference in Albany.

Piperato was elected to the post by his colleagues, his deputy clerk, Debbie Vobroucek, said Tuesday. There are 62 county clerks in New York state.

The 53-year-old Piperato, a Democrat from Thiells, was elected county clerk in 2005 and re-elected in 2009. He previously served as a deputy county clerk for 16 years.

The Rockland County Clerk’s Office serves as clerk to the County and Supreme courts, and is the custodian of all county records, including the filing, recording and storing of millions of court and real property documents.

The office administers several services, including U.S. passports, U.S. Department of Homeland Security naturalization ceremonies, New York state notary publics, business certificates, pistol licenses and an archives building.

Piperato told The Journal News that to assist customers with accessing records, navigating filing requirements and fees, and understanding application procedures, the office has developed a comprehensive web site, www.rocklandcountyclerk.com.

The site contains instructions, downloadable forms, and links to other sites, as well as free access to view and print records.

In 2008, Piperato launched the FAVOR program to provide discounts for services and purchases to veterans. It has since been adopted by 31 other counties.

In 2009, with other local organizations, Piperato began promoting a series of ongoing workshops for people interested in starting their own small business, offering tips on registering a business, creating a business plan and obtaining financial support. The action was in response to public inquiries for such information, he said.

In 2011, Piperato embraced the electronic filing of records as Rockland became a test site for such filings.

He continues to stress support for e-filing, as he did during remarks to his colleagues Monday.

“We are now clearly at an important turning point in how we conduct business,” Piperato said. “Technology will drive our future and we must be ahead of the curve. So together let us share ideas and look at ways to continue to excel given the current economic conditions.”

His list of priorities for the year include expanding the electronic filing of court records, launching the electronic filing of land records, hosting additional business seminars, increasing organ donor network efforts and developing a FAVOR program in every New York county.










Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
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Thiells student hold blood drive in honor of ailing boy

Steve Lieberman

Students and staff at Thiells Elementary School held a blood drive in honor of fourth-grader Sean DePatto who has leukemia.

The event provide the Hudson Valley Blood Services with 99 pints of blood from 113 donors during the drive on Jan. 13 at the North Rockland School District school, Assistant Principal Angela Sullivan said.

The North Rockland community, including the little league and other organizations have rallied around Sean DePatto since he was diagnosed with the cancer.

To prepare for the blood drive the fourth-grade classes participated in the “Little Doctors Program,” presented by the Hudson Valley Blood Services, the nonprofit agency provides blood for area hospitals, Sullivan said.

The students helped recruit parents, neighbors and other community residents to attend the blood drive. and the school’s student government helped out.

The “Little Doctors Program” provided a unique blend of classroom instruction and the opportunity for students to learn leadership skills, Sullivan said.

The blood drive honoring DePatto marked the fourth year that donations and Little Doctors Program were held at Thiells Elementary, through the efforts of school nurse Margaret Variuer, in conjunction with Hudson Valley Blood Services.

Photo: Students, staff and parents of Thiells Elementary School at blood drive

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Thursday, January 19th, 2012 at 11:51 am |
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Falco, O’Neill anouncing for Rockland sheriff

Steve Lieberman

The first political clash of 2011 is taking shape in the race to success James Kralik as Rockland County sheriff.

Two long-time Rockland police officers —Sheriff’s Chief Louis Falco and Clarkstown Detective Sgt. Tim O’Neill — will be declaring their intentions of running for sheriff.

Falco, 52 of Blauvelt, will kick off the 2011 election season with his announcement at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Casa Mia Manor House, 557 Route 303, Blauvelt.

O’Neill’s official announcement comes at 5:30 p.m. April 14 at La Terrazza, 291 S. Main St., New City.

Now, O’Neil, 56. of Stony Point,l could — and probably will — argue he announced first, that being the night he lost to Kralik four years ago come November.

Both O’Neill and Falco seeking to succeed Kralik, a member of the Sheriff’s Department for 46 and the sheriff since 1991. Kralik announced four years ago he would not seek another term.

Kralik defeated O’Neill after a tough fight in which O’Neill won four of the county’s five towns but lost Ramapo by enough to allow Kralik to squeeze through. The Orthodox Jewish and Hasidic bloc vote proved to be the difference for Kralik. O’Neill was highly critical of the religious community and Kralik and it remains to be seen what his strategy will be this time.

O’Neill and Falco will likely be going head-to-head for the Democratic line during a September primary in advance of the November election.
Rockland Republicans have not chosen a candidate. Kralik, a Republican not pleased with O’Neill, has endorsed Falco, a longtime adi to the sheriff who has become the face of the Sheriff’s Department during the past few years as Kralik has taken a back seat.

Most people in politics expect Kralik will use his influence among the Republicans to try and get Falco the GOP nomination and ballot line in November.

There’s been no word on a any challenger — Republican or Democrat — to Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe, who will be seeking his second, four-year term in November.

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
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Jail officers no longer watching comatose man

Steve Lieberman

Saving the county $3,000 a day, Rockland officials got a comatose inmate released from custody on drug charges without bail. The decision allowed jail officials to remove correction officers from watching the inmate at Nyack Hospital after just one day and stopped the cost at $3,000.

Nathan G. Patnode of Vermont remains comatose today after trying to hang himself in his jail cell on Tuesday night, Sheriff James Kralik said.

The jail is required by law to watch any inmate in the hospital, Jail Chief William Clark said. The $3,000 daily cost pays for overtime for six officers across 24 hours. Kralik said the county paid for one day before getting a judge to release the man without bail.

Patnode was found with a bedsheet around his neck hanging from the bunk bed in his cell on Tuesday. A?correction officer found him and with the help of other officers cut him down. Patnode had been in jail since Sunday on felony drugs charges. He and another Vermont man were arrested Saturday by state troopers on the New York State Thruway in Clarkstown.

Who pays for Patnode’s hospital costs is another question. In the past, the bills went to the patient’s insurance company, family or the hospital.

In 1998, David Haylis remained hospitalized for more than eight months after trying to hang himself in the jail, with the county only paying for eight days when he was under the jails care.

In 2002, another inmate spent six months in the hospital after a suicide attempt, with the jail officers guarding him for a week.

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Thursday, February 24th, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
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Holocaust Center showing film on murder of civil rights workers

Steve Lieberman

The Rockland Holocaust Museum and Study Center celebrates Black History Month at 3 p.m. Sunday with a film about the Mississippi community where three civil rights workers were murdered in April 1964.

The film NESHOBA tells the story of two Jews from New York and an African-American from Mississippi who went to Philadelphia, a small Mississippi town in Neshoba County, to register black voters and investigate a church burning.

The Klu Klux Klan members and local police killed Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney and buried them in a earthen dam. Their bodies were found after 44 days and extensive search by the FBI and national guard. The tragedy became one the major events of the civil rights movement, drawing attention to the racism and violence against blacks and advocates in Mississippi and the south

The film looks at the community from 1964 until 2005.

The presentation is free, though donations to the center will be accepted.

For more information on the murders go to The Mississippi Burning Trial.

For more information on the film, call the center at 845-356-2700 or see Holocaust Museum and Study Center.

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Thursday, February 24th, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
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Fraternity plans blood drive in Nyack Friday

Steve Lieberman

A college faternity in Rockland is holding a blood drive from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday  in Pilgrim Baptist Church at 80 N. Franklin Ave. in Nyack.

The blood drive marks the 100-year birthday of the Omega Psi Phi Inc. Xi Lambda Lambda Chapter.

The fraternity’s blood drives also honor Dr. Charles R. Drew, a fraternity brother who is the inventor of the blood bank, said Richard Clarke, the chairman of the blood drive committee for the fraternity.

He said the fraternity’s goal is to reach 100 pints of blood for the New York Blood Center.

The fraternity is  active in Rockland working with young men and women through mentoring programs, job opportunities and helping children.

For more information on the blood drive,  call Clarke at 917-882-7241 or go to Rockland Ques

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Thursday, February 24th, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
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Rockland PBAs Raising Money

Steve Lieberman

Rockland police unions are in fund-raising modes.

• The Clarkstown PBA is holding 3.1-mile walk and/or run for  Oct. 2 in memory of Jami Erlich, a Ramapo Central School District elementary school gym teacher murdered inside her Valley Cottage apartment in November 2009. The man accused of killing her is being held in the county jail awaiting trial. The run will be held at Rockland Lake State Park on Route 9W, where Erhlich often ran. Proceeds from the run will go to the Jami Erlich  Sunshine Memorial Fund.  The fee is $30. For more information call 845-639-5829 or send an email to jamierlich5k@yahoo.com.

• The Rockland PBA is raising money Oct. 16 on behalf of the children of Ramapo Central School District special education teacher Sue Coyle, who died of cancer on July 24. Her husband is South Nyack-Grand View Police Detective James Coyle. The fund-raiser for the children and family medical bills will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Haverstraw Elks Lodge, 877 Elks Drive, Haverstraw. The event will cost $40 per person and featuyre music by Joe D’Urso and Stone Caravan Band.?For more information call either PBA officials Cyrill Kerr, 914-262-3618; Brent Newbury, 845-304-7392 or James Sullivan, 845-548-2040.

• The Ramapo PBA and its officers were raising money among their own for Officer Richard Dube, who suffered from heat stroke and needed a liver transplant. Dube, a weight-lifter and basketball player who stands at 6-feet-6-inches, 26o pounds, became ill while taking the physical tests for the Rockland emergency response team.

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
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O’Neill Honored by Irish Echo Newspaper

Steve Lieberman

Clarkstown Detective Sgt. Tim O’Neill has been honored for his work on Irish causes by the Irish Echo newspaper. O’Neill was selected with 35 others in law enforcement across the United States.

The newspaper cited O’Neill’s trips to Northern Ireland on missions for peace and rconcilliation and his involvement with local issues of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Others selected include New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes. and New York-New Jersey Port Authority Lt. Sean Horan.

And you can bet this honor will somehow pop up during the next campaign for Rockland County sheriff.

O’Neill, who oversees the school resource and DARE officers, is a candidate for sheriff on the Democratic line, having lost a close contest two years ago to Sheriff James Kralik. O’Neill won four of the county’s five towns – losing Ramapo bigtime, mostly through the Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish bloc vote. Of course, O’Neill accused Kralik of overly catering to the community. Kralik denied the charges.

Sheriff’s Department acting Chief Louis Falco also is running for sheriff’ with Kralik’s support.

Posted by Steve Lieberman on Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
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Inside Rockland is moving

Robert Brum

Dear readers,

The Inside Rockland blog has now become the Rockland Express blog, which can be found at http://rockland.lohudblogs.com/ as part of our efforts to enhance our news coverage and conversation about Rockland County.

Please bookmark the address and visit us often, and let us know your thoughts.

Posted by Robert Brum on Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
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