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East Ramapo: Proposal fails to get into state budget

April 1, 2016 "Rockland lawmakers pushing for a bill to get revenue and oversight for the troubled East Ramapo school
district said Friday that the measure failed to get into the state budget. "You live to fight another day," said Assemblyman
Ken Zebrowiski, D-New City, who was advocating for the measure along with Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, D-Suffern, and
state Sen. David Carlucci, D-New City. Zebrowski said the lawmakers will try to get a standalone measure approved that would
bring both money and oversight to East Ramapo. "We are certainly disappointed," he said. "But we are hopeful that post-budget
there is still an opportunity." Complete Journal coverage here.

Century-old law may derail bi-state Pilgrim pipeline, groups say

March 30, 2016 "Environmentalists are relying on a century-old state law to derail the construction of a new petroleum
pipeline proposed to run through the Lower Hudson Valley. A coalition of conservation groups want to use the
New York Transportation Corporation Law, first passed in 1909, to stop Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings LLC’s proposal to build
two parallel running pipelines 178 miles between Albany and Linden, New Jersey. Kate Hudson, director of cross watershed
initiatives for Riverkeeper, said the law gives villages and cities “veto power” over anyone who seeks to build pipelines on
their lands."Corporations have to come to the cities and villages, and ask permission to build a pipeline through their borders,"
Hudson said. "That’s the specific language of the law." The transportation law states in Section 87 that, “No pipe line shall be
constructed into or through any incorporated village or city … unless authorized by a resolution” passed by each of their
legislative bodies by a two-thirds vote.Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings LLC proposed to construct parallel running pipelines about
two years ago, which would carry refined oil products — including gasoline, diesel, and home heating oil — and Bakken
crude oil southward." Read the complete Journal article here.

Rockland legislator wants Judge Eisenpress' donations probed

March 28, 2016 "A Rockland County lawmaker is calling for federal and/or local authorities to investigate the sources
of tens of thousands of dollars in contributions to Family Court Judge Sherri Eisenpress's 2011 campaign. Legislator Charles
Falciglia said he is requesting the probe because Eisenpress's campaign received near maximum contributions from more
than 20 individuals and companies during a four-day period. The majority of those donors never previously donated to a
candidate. Her campaign, Falciglia noted, also received $20,000 from Joseph and Esther Markowitz and companies linked
to their Monsey address. The Markowitzes' names were on checks an undercover FBI agent used in a 2012 sting operation to
make illegal campaign contributions to then-New York City Councilman Dan Halloran's congressional campaign." Read the
complete Journal News story here.

Hotel Pomona? Ramapo eyes Hilton across from ballpark

March 25, 2016 "The Town Board on Thursday unanimously approved transferring 25 wooded acres at 301 Pomona Road to
its Local Development Corporation for commercial and/or mixed use. The land is located in the Village of New Hempstead,
which would have to grant all zoning, environmental and building approvals. Town Board member Pat Withers said the RLDC
has had informal discussions with New Hempstead and with potential private developers who expressed interest in the site,
including Hilton.
Withers said the town would not be guaranteeing any financing or contributing financially other than through
the transfer of the land.
Withers added: "I know people were upset about how the ballpark got here but quite frankly it’s here
and we have to find a source of economic revenue to support the stability of the ballpark." The RLDC is paying off a 25-year
bond that financed the stadium, even though voters rejected a financing plan during an earlier referendum. Robert Rhodes,
chairman of Preserve Ramapo, which sued unsuccessfully to block the stadium, said St. Lawrence was using the same tactics
of going behind the backs of the taxpayers to push the latest plan through. He criticized the town for holding the public hearing
on Holy Thursday. "At the very least Ramapo should have been required to get an appraisal of this land, and a careful legal explanation
of the right of the town to transfer a valuable piece of property to the supposedly independent RLDC." Complete Journal coverage here.

Patrick Farm developer pays $385,000 delinquent tax bill

March 25, 2016 "Just a day after being threatened by Rockland County with foreclosure, owners of the controversial
Patrick Farm properties forked over more than $385,000 in back taxes.
On Wednesday afternoon, a title insurance company
representative for Scenic Development LLC dropped off two checks covering $385,426.57 in delinquent taxes, which stretch
back to at least 2013. This represents money owed on three parcels along Route 306 in Ramapo near the Pomona border.
The Monsey developer owns a host of other parcels on the same site." Read the complete story on Journal News here.

County Exec Day moves to foreclose on Patrick Farm, other parcels

March 22, 2016 "Rockland County has taken the first step toward foreclosing on dozens of properties — among
them Patrick Farm, which officials called the largest tax-delinquent non-residential parcel in the county, owing
more than $350,000 in back taxes. The pastoral 208-acre parcel just outside Pomona is the flashiest target in an
offensive to recover about $3.3 million in back taxes owned on 125 properties across Rockland's five towns. Scenic's 
tax delinquency on about 180 acres dates back to at least 2013, county officials said. The developer agreed to pay
back the money in installments but payments stopped in October, County Attorney Thomas Humbach said. The
amount it owes is expected to swell to about $500,000 when tax records are updated in the next few weeks.
said the county had decided to initiate foreclosure proceedings against non-residential property owners after two years,
as is allowable under state law." Read the complete Journal News coverage here.

Journal News Editorial: Room for all in Ramapo?

March 20, 2016 "Last week brought another FBI raid in town, with another round of accusations that federal monies
had been misappropriated by those affiliated with the Orthodox Jewish community. Ongoing tension over zoning
regulations, or lack thereof, builds. The distrust continues in the East Ramapo school district, where years of
mismanagement by an Orthodox-dominated board have brought efforts to install a state monitor to provide oversight.
Tensions have run high in town for a while now, and it's only getting worse. Some leaders in the Orthodox community
cite East Ramapo critics as spewing anti-Semitism; some town residents find instances of probes, like Wednesday's raids,
as proof of rampant corruption among all people of a certain group. Neither passes the smell test.

Federal agents execute a search warrant at the office

Ultimately, diverse communities must learn to live together, because they have been co-existing 
for generations now. The Orthodox community must not blame every criticism and concern on
anti-Semitism. The general community must not blame all Orthodox for incidents of corruption.
But members of the Orthodox community must demonstrate zero tolerance for bad actors.
And everyone must figure out how communities with such disparate needs can manage a future
in a town with shrinking resources."
Read the full text of the editorial here.



(Photo: John Meore/The Journal News)

FBI probe raises questions about yeshiva funding

March 20, 2016 "Chutzpah comes with power,” said Samuel Heilman. “When it comes to fraud and crime, the people
who do it think they’re smarter than everyone.” The FBI raids this week on Ramapo-area yeshivas have given new
ammunition to critics who question both the quality of secular education in that slice of the Jewish educational system,
and how those private religious schools spend public money. Authorities raided 22 yeshivas and businesses across Ramapo
as part of a probe into how they used money from the federal E-Rate program meant to help schools buy computers,
Internet access and educational technology. “E-Rate is a symptom of a much larger problem of how these yeshivas use
this (public) money,” said Naftuli Moster, head of Yaffed, an organization that advocates for improved secular education
in yeshivas. “The underlying issue is the lack of oversight, which is what leads to all of this.” Read the complete Journal
News article here.

Fighting For East Ramapo

Posted March 17th, 2016

By Rockland County Executive Ed Day

I sent a letter today to New York State Senator John Flanagan. In it, I expressed
my extreme disappointment with his recent comments regarding the East Ramapo
Central School District. Both Senator Flanagan and his colleague, Senator Carl Marcellino,
have publicly opposed a monitor with veto power for the deeply troubled school system. (More)

1990s Judaic studies scandal also rocked Orthodox community

March 17, 2016 "Decades before Wednesday's raids struck yeshivas throughout Ramapo, another educational
institution was rocked by a scandal connected with Rockland's ultra-Orthodox community. A federal investigation 
into the theft of tens of millions of dollars by New Square officials and residents started in 1993 with a $11.6 million 
scam to steal college assistance involving a mentoring program through Rockland Community College. The probe
resulted in the 1999 convictions of three New Square men and a Brooklyn man for conspiring with other Hasidic
Jewish community leaders to steal millions of dollars from federal government anti-poverty programs since the 1970s.
Federal prosecutors said the four men and others submitted phony documents with phantom names to federal agencies
to get millions of dollars from programs for education, housing and small businesses." Full story here.

Ramapo raid targets area with more yeshivas planned

March 17, 2016 "Planning Board considers three more school in the Highview Road-Spook Rock Road area, even
as one unapproved school is raided by FBI in technology fraud case.
Talmud Torah OHR Yochanan went into business
one morning in October 2009 when several busloads of children were dropped off at 97 Highview Road, a single-family
house with a narrow one-car driveway. The school has yet to get final approval from the Ramapo Planning Board, yet it 
receives tuition and state assistance for more than 200 students as it operates under a temporary certificate of occupancy. 
The school added 93 and 97 Highview Road to its campus, plus two classroom trailers and converted the second floor into 
classrooms. Wednesday afternoon, the school was among the 22 places raided by FBI agents and Rockland District Attorney's
Office detectives armed with search warrants demanding vendors and yeshivas account for computer-related equipment 
allegedly bought by religious schools with millions in federal subsidized education technology dollars. No one has been 
arrested and no criminal charges have been filed." Read the complete Journal story here. 

  Watch the ABC coverage here.

FBI raids in Ramapo target yeshivas, tech businesses

March 16, 2016 "FBI agents and Rockland district attorney's office investigators 
fanned out across Ramapo on Wednesday with search warrants demanding that vendors
and yeshivas provide records and account for equipment allegedly bought by religious
schools with millions in federal education technology dollars. Agents descended around
1:30 p.m. on vendors at 21 and 29 Robert Pitt Drive, Monsey; 161 Route 59, Monsey; and
386 Route 59, Airmont to seize records. The raids began to spread in the late afternoon to
yeshivas in the Monsey area. A group of FBI agents were seen outside a yeshiva at 93, 95 and 97 Highview Avenue, all
converted single-family homes. They would not comment. At the Yeshiva High School of Monsey on College Road on
Wednesday afternoon, two investigators standing inside a garage that had been converted into a classroom were looking
through an opened safe as they took notes. A reporter was asked to leave the grounds. Students in the backyard tossed a
football around as investigators did their work. FBI and district attorney's office detectives also were at a yeshiva at 72
Route 306, a dark brick building with a small circular driveway. The FBI-led raids are part of an investigation into whether 
Rockland yeshivas properly spent money obtained through the federal government's E-Rate program, which came into
existence in 1998 and today allocates more than $4 billion annually for computer and Internet access across the nation.
Some of the raids were also carried out in the ultra-Orthodox community of Kiryas Joel in Orange County." Read the full
Journal News coverage here.

Rockland elections: O'Blenis wins in Hillburn;
challengers dominate in New Hempstead

March 15, 2016 "RAMAPO — Challengers grabbed control of the New Hempstead village board in Tuesday
night's elections. New Hempstead's election revolved around concerns about development, with residents
fiercely protective of their village's semi-rural character. Longtime Trustees Solomon Fuerst and Paul Mundt, 
who received 284 and 279 votes, respectively, fell to challengers Adam Reich and Avroham Sicker, who
received 360 and 365 votes, respectively, according to unofficial results. The two seats were for four-year terms.
Incumbent David Weiss also lost his seat to Shalom Mintz to fill an unexpired, two-year term. Weiss received 
290 votes, while Shalom Mintz received 352, according to unofficial results. In Hillburn, Trustee Bonnie O'Blenis
held onto her seat. O'Blenis received 65 votes, which was enough to beat out challenger Thomas Scott, who
received 45. There was a single write-in ballot. Scott who joined the board in 2010 when O'Blenis resigned, won
a seat outright in 2011 but lost in 2013 to Eleanor DeGraw.
O'Blenis returned to the board in an uncontested trustee
race in 2014 and was seeking her second term." Complete Journal News reporting here.

Ellen Jaffee Announces Re-election Bid

March 14, 2016 Yesterday at the Crowne Plaza in Suffern,
Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee announced the opening of her
Campaign 2016 for New York State Assembly seat from the 97th
District. Attending the announcement were supporters including
Ken Zebrowski, Harriet Cornell, Nancy Low-Hogan, Nita Lowey,
Aney Paul and many others from her home district. Ellen first
assumed office on January 1, 2007. To view her record,
volunteer or contribute to the campaign, visit www.ellenjaffee.com

'Blockbusting' pressures Rockland homeowners

March 13, 2016 "Yoav Liberman says the solicitations can be relentless.Real
estate agents come up to him at his home of two years in Chestnut Ridge. 
Their question is always the same: Is he interested in selling his house? Liberman, 49,
who was raised in Israel, says that, even after he makes it clear he's not interested,
they linger, telling him they have cash buyers ready to snap up the property.
“They are
just very aggressive. That’s what it comes down to. People are very concerned.”
Mayor Philip Gigante.
"I felt like this was an infringement of our privacy, so I asked them, in Hebrew,
'What are you trying to achieve by knocking on people’s doors?' And you don’t get an answer," Liberman said. “I told them,
'This is not something my neighbors are happy with, or this neighborhood is accustomed to. We do not want this aggressive
campaign of changing the demographic of the neighborhood.'” Read the complete story here.

Appeals court overrules Ramapo on Kaser tax exemption
The battle over the nearly $20,000 tax exemption was sent back to Supreme Court Justice Margaret Garvey for trial.

March 13, 2016 "The disagreement returns to Supreme Court Justice Margaret Garvey and could go to trial, Ramapo Town
Attorney Michael Klein said Thursday. He said the town's denial stands until Garvey hears the case."We will now litigate the
factual issues," Klein said. "The panel ruled the property being in violation is not good enough. The building inspector or zoning
officer has to file charges against the property owner." Garvey had sided with the Ramapo tax assessor's decision to deny an 
exemption to the property in 2012 because the four-family house at 37 Kaser Terrace is zoned two family, even though the Kaser
building inspector had not cited the operators for violating village ordinances. The village also never sought a court order to close
down the house, the judicial panel noted." Read the complete Journal story here.

Channel 12 News Update

March 10, 2016 Channel 12 News offered some revisions today regarding a story broadcast yesterday in which they predicted
50 federal indictments to be unsealed next week. The timing and number of targets was changed to "dozens could be indicted
soon." And in today's story they quoted the District Attorney who declared Thomas Vanderbeek was never the object of a probe.
And Frank Sparaco explained that he was not an informer and has not seen a grand jury in two years. 

Spook Rock development proposals draw protest

Yeshivas, dorms proposed for 294-296 Spook Rock Road and 86 Highview Road

March 9, 2016 "A controversial pair of proposals to construct a yeshiva and dormitory in the residential neighborhood
off Highview Road was met with a rally from residents. Dozens on Tuesday night crowded into the parking lot behind
Town Hall off Route 59. Many spoke against the pair of proposals for 294-296 Spook Rock Road and 86 Highview Road,
saying the religious schools with hundreds of students was too much for the community.
"It's got to stop," said Giuseppe 
Colucci, 46, who owns a construction company. "We've had enough." Read the complete Journal coverage here.

After Ramapo councilman's arrest, speculation turns to federal probe

March 5, 2015 "Ramapo Councilman Samuel Tress' arrest has added to the speculation about probes by the FBI and
federal prosecutors, nearly three years after boxes of documents and computer hard-drives were seized by investigators
from Ramapo Town Hall offices. The federal corruption investigation that became public in May 2013 with a daytime raid
by Rockland District Attorney's Office detectives and the FBI remains on the minds of some elected officials and residents.
In court papers, federal prosecutors wrote they've wrapped up most of the investigation.
While Tress' arrest is not directly
connected to the federal investigation, the action remains part of the Rockland District Attorney's Office's anti-corruption
task force efforts with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office and the FBI." Read the complete Journal News article here."

Ramapo Councilman Samuel Tress arrested;
zoning vote on house at issue

March 3, 2016 "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. District Attorney's Office detectives had been scrutinizing Tress's
vote on May 4, 2015, to approve multiple variances for what was then a single-family 
house at 142 Blauvelt Road, District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said. Tress cast the deciding vote to
grant eight zoning variances for 142 Blauvelt Road in Monsey, prosecutors said, while failing to disclose to his financial
interest in the property.
Tress on May 14, 2015  had filed a disclosure affirmation with the town asserting that he had not
and would not engage in any activity that would provide a personal or pecuniary gain to himself in relation to his duties as
a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, prosecutors contend.St. Lawrence declined to comment Thursday on his running
mate and political ally, referring questions to Town Attorney Michael Klein. The grassroots political party Preserve Ramapo
provided Zugibe's office with more than 100 pages of documents on Tress during a meeting last month." Read the complete
Journal News coverage here.

Monsey still Calling the Shots on Development and Zoning in Ramapo

March 2, 2016 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. (More)

Channel 4 I-Team: Rockland Firefighters Sound the Alarm on the Dangers of
Illegal Conversions in Ramapo and Spring Valley

March 2, 2016 By Sarah Wallace 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 sotry here.

State Ed: More East Ramapo schools are troubled

February 26, 2016 "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 — 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.

Spring Valley passes $6.4M bond for Fire Dept., roads

February 25, 2016 "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.

Ramapo's Happy Valley alums worry history will be lost

February 19, 2016 "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.

Spring Valley Board of Trustees considering $1.5 million

Spring Valley firefighters: Politics leave gear dangerously outdated

Vilair Fonvil, Asher Grossman and Sherry McGill refuse to approve funding—leave volunteers at risk

February 13, 2016 "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. The issue flared up again this past week when, at a raucous board meeting on Tuesday night, Mayor
Demeza Delhomme and Deputy Mayor Emilia White supported a $1.5 million bond for the Fire Department. The board majority — Trustees Vilair Fonvil,
Asher Grossman and Sherry McGill — abstained, killing the financing. Firefighters are angry about what they see as the trustees' laissez-faire attitude toward 
their lives and the safety of residents. The department is the county's busiest, with four firehouses answering more than a 1,000 calls per year. That
includes entering buildings with illegal rooms or apartments that have not been inspected in years." Read the complete story here.

JN Editorial: East Ramapo needs long-term support

State education commissioner's visit highlights improvements in troubled district, underscores need for oversight

February 13, 2016 "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. 

Anti-Semitism: A Label Too Often Used as a Shield To Fight Off Scrutiny

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. (More)

Thousands of ill-educated yeshiva boys--They Deserve Better

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Sunday, February 7, 2016 "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. (More)

Ramapo: Officials close to signing new contract with police

Ramapo’s police paid an average of $173,361 in 2015 - the highest in NYS

February 8, 2016 "Ramapo officials on Monday said they are close to signing a new contract with the police union that
will try to curb salaries that are, on average, the highest in New York state.
In 2015, the Empire Center for New York
State Policy ranked Ramapo police pay as the highest in New York state. Officers earned an average of $173,361 in total
compensation, including overtime. Chief Peter Brower retired in September after 45 years with a final payout of $369,088
He was the highest-paid local government employee in the state." Read the complete Journal story here.

News Briefs: Mayor Noramie Jasmine and the Minisceongo Golf Course Sale

February 4, 2016 Ex-Spring Valley Mayor, Noramie Jasmine, was granted a delay for the date when she would enter
federal prison. The reason was scheduled surgery, and there was a second extension when the date of the procedure
was changed. Now, with the surgery accomplished, she has been ordered to report to prison Monday, February 29,
where she will serve a four-year sentence.

The size of the property in the Minisceongo Golf Club sale has been reported and rumored to be anywhere from 60 up
to 200 acres. A check of the Rockland County records lists the following information for the deed: Date of Sale January
14, 2016; Full Sale Price $32,000,000.; Deed Property Size is 129.57 acres; the owner is Mt. Ivy LLC with a home address at
Congregation Ribnitz, Inc, Binyan Torah, PO Box 657, Monsey, NY.

Emergency state funds to fix E. Ramapo school roof

February 3, 2016 "A leaking roof at Ramapo High School can be replaced using $1 million in emergency state funds,
but critics of the troubled East Ramapo school district say the fix is a short-term solution to a bigger problem.Parents and
students have been complaining for years about the deteriorating condition of district buildings. The district has not allocated
funds for preventive maintenance and the Board of Education has been criticized for spending reserve funds so there is no
money available to pay for repairs.
Pictures were shared on social media last week of water leaking into classrooms and hallways
at Ramapo High, one of the district's two high schools. The photos were accompanied by reports that the leaking roof was
accompanied by mold and foul odors. Parent David Curry, whose daughter took pictures a year ago of water leaking into classrooms
at the high school, said he will be happy to see the roof fixed. But the issue is bigger than one roof at one school, he said. "It's fixing
the symptom, not the problem," he said. He criticized the school board for eliminating maintenance funds."When you don't fix small problems,
they turn into larger problems," he said. Read the complete Journal News story here.

Ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva Controversy

January 29, 2016 "Are private yeshivas run by Hasidic Jewish sects providing students with an education equal to that
of public schools? New York filmmaker Menachem Daum reports on accusations that ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools are
failing to teach secular subjects that would help prepare students for jobs. A lawsuit alleges that some of these religious
schools are not complying with New York state law by not teaching English, math, and science." To view the PBS news
story click here.

Groundhog Day at the Patrick Farm Hearing

January 27, 2016 They had all been there before, the planning board, the residents, the lawyers, and the Ramapo police
at the back of the hall. It was the third time the developer Yechiel Lebovits was bringing the application to the Ramapo
Planning Board. The meeting room was packed at 7:30 as Rice and Rocks, attorney and engineer for the developer, labored
through their presentation asking for approval for the massive, high-density transplant of about 500 homes on the property
once owned by John Patrick. (More)


Spring Valley building inspector charged with fraud
Walter Booker was released without bail. The homeowner, Rabbi Jacob Goldman, is also facing charges.

January 21,2016 "Spring Valley's chief building inspector and a businessman
were arrested Thursday in a corruption investigation that alleges the inspector
gave the man false certificates of occupancy for the man's Zeissner Lane home.
That false certificate allowed the businessman to get sizeable tax exemptions
and otherwise profit from day-care centers run from the property, prosecutors
charge. Rockland County District Attorney's Office detectives and Spring Valley
police arrested the longtime inspector, Walter Booker, as he prepared to drive
to work at Village Hall. The homeowner and businessman, Rabbi Jacob Goldman,
surrendered to detectives in the afternoon.
The phony paperwork allowed Goldman
to get $33,093 in property-tax exemptions in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and operate
two day-care centers at 9 Zeissner Lane, according to prosecutors. Goldman also operates
a synagogue and school at the house, according to his attorneys, Kenneth Gribetz and Deborah Loewenberg."
Read the complete Journal News story here. (Google street view of 9 Zeissner Lane, Spring Valley)


Steven Jaffee, assemblywoman's husband, dies at 73

January 21, 2016 "Steven Jaffee, husband of Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee and a longtime Suffern resident, died Tuesday at
age 73.The Jaffees moved in 1978 from Brooklyn to Suffern, where they raised their children, Marc and Allison. They were
married for 51 years and have three grandchildren. Steven Jaffee was a longtime Democratic Committee member, former
chair of the Suffern Democratic Committee and coached youth baseball." (More)

Monsey company behind $32 million Minisceongo purchase
Majority owner is an LLC that shares address with Monsey congregation

January 21, 2016 "A Monsey-based company is the new owner of the Minisceongo Golf Club, but what it plans to do with
the property still isn't clear. Earlier this month, Mount Ivy LLC bought a majority stake in the 60-acre course for $32 million 
from principal owner Eric Bergstol, a well-known  Rockland County developer. The limited liability company owns a 78 percent
stake while another company, Lindifrim Pomona Limited Partnership, owns a 21 percent stake, according to property records.Mount
Ivy LLC was created on Jan. 5, according to its filing with New York's Department of State. Its address is listed at 55 Old Nyack Turnpike
in Monsey. That's the same address as Congregation Ribnitz Binyan Torah, a local religious organization. The property, complete with
concrete pallets and backhoes, is under construction with a massive, three-story building rising on the street.
Lindifrim is listed at an
address in Lakewood, New Jersey." Complete Journal News story here.

East Ramapo Parents File Suit to Remedy School Board’s Fiscal Mismanagement

Seek Court Order for State Intervention and Corrective Action

January 19, 2016 On January 14, parents of public school children in East Ramapo Central School District filed a petition in
State Supreme Court in Albany, asking the court to direct the New York State Board of Regents and the State Education
Department (SED) to take concrete remedial action to safeguard their children’s right to a sound basic education as guaranteed
by the New York State Constitution. (More)


Ramapo's Minisceongo Golf Club sold after 20 years