This week in the Villages: Local politicians are looking to revive a years-long effort to return the name Tappan Zee to the bridge connecting Westchester and Rockland counties and, at the same time, score some hits against the state’s former Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo. In other news, the Albany Times-Union looks at the long-term effects of rising water levels on the Hudson River, Spring Valley is dealing with the fallout from multiple recent fires, local school districts debate potential book bans, and a local-ish college basketball program becomes the latest Cinderella of March Madness. Plus, all your local meetings and updates.
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A Return of the Tappan Zee?
On Friday afternoon, Republican politicians wearing suits took advantage of the lovely weather and scenic backdrop at Memorial Park in Nyack to lob insults at our former Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo (who is apparently not ruling out a return to politics despite resigning last year with multiple scandal storm clouds swirling over his head), and discuss a name change for his namesake bridge.
With the Mario Cuomo Bridge in the background and his son feeling a little too frisky, Assemblyman Mike Lawler, who represents Nyack, County Executive Ed Day, and Westchester’s Rob Astorino (who is running for governor), renewed a push to have the bridge’s name changed back the Tappan Zee, which was the name of the old bridge that was replaced three years ago. Critics say Andrew Cuomo covertly squeezed the name change into a late-night, end-of-session omnibus bill back in 2017.
Despite what appears to be cheap political gamesmanship, this is actually an idea with widespread bipartisan support.
More than 260,000 people have signed a change.org petition to have the name changed back. Along with Lawler, a Republican, at least two Democrats are co-sponsoring the bill in the assembly. And exactly zero people this Nyack resident has ever spoken with have claimed to like the name Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
As the LoHud explains, and Lawler pointed out on Friday, the name Tappan Zee honors the region’s indigenous (the Tappan people lived on his land for generations before settlers eventually pushed them out) and Dutch roots (“Zee” is the Dutch word for sea).
On the other hand, Mario M. Cuomo was arguably an effective and competent three-term governor of New York state who did not develop any historically or morally significant ties to this part of the Hudson River valley. (But his son, Andrew, was arguably the biggest political driver in the development of the new bridge, which appears to be sturdy and looks cool when lit up at night for special occasions.)
While we’re not interested in litigating Andrew Cuomo’s transgressions over a bridge named after his dad, the plan to restore the “Tappan Zee” remains worthy of re-consideration in Albany. Free Tappan Zee!
In other news . . .
How will the Hudson River be impact by the rising water levels associated with climate change? [Times Union]
Investigators found more than 100 safety violations at a Spring Valley building where a fire nearly killed a 2-year-old boy a couple of weeks ago. Despite revealing the safety issues, investigators have yet to discover the actual cause of the fire. [LoHud] Here’s the press release from Rockland County.
Meanwhile, also in Spring Valley-fire-related news, prosecutors “resolved” charges against two employees at Evergreen Court Home, an elderly care facility, where a fire killed two people, including a resident and a firefighter. Two rabbis — a father and son — have pleaded not guilty for causing the fire and the deaths. [LoHud]
St. Patrick’s Day parades returned this past week. [New 12]
LoHud does a deep dive into how local school districts are dealing with potential bans on books related to race and LGBTQ+ issues.
Saint Peter’s College, a semi-local commuter school just 45 minutes south of us in Jersey City, is the toast of March Madness — a Cinderella for the Sopranos set — after knocking off two higher-seeded, higher-profile team. On Thursday, the plucky Peacocks took down blue blooded Kentucky in what will probably go down as one of the great upsets of all time, and then followed that up by taking down dark horse darling (a reputation boosted by its 20-game win streak and alumnus Ja Morant’s recent ascension into NBA superstardom) Murray St. on Saturday night. If you haven’t seen them yet, enjoy the highlights and pride of Nutley New Jersey Doug Edert’s moustache.
Nyack Area COVID Update (through March 18)
Through March 18, local Covid rates have risen slightly, but remain relatively low.
The “early warning” detector for Rockland is showing that percentage of positive tests per day is now 1.8% (up from 0.7% last week) and hospital capacity is not threatened. However, only 6 people in the entire county are hospitalized for Covid related issues, and only 3 of them are symptomatic.
To find out what case and hospitalization trends look like in your town, click here.
To get free at-home Covid test sent to your home, visit Covidtest.gov. Every home gets four, takes about a week to arrive.
To schedule an appointment for a 1st dose, 3rd dose (for immunocompromised), or booster COVID-19 vaccine from any Rockland County Department of Health Clinic visit rocklandgov.com/departments/health/. To search for additional COVID-19 vaccination opportunities nearby visit vaccines.gov.
If you need information on where to find a COVID-19 testing site near you, visit coronavirus.health.ny.gov. Individuals who have questions regarding eligibility or access for testing should call the New York State COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or visit the NYSDOH website covid19screening.health.ny.gov.
A state operated COVID-19 testing site is open at the Patriot Hills Golf Club, 19 Club House Lane, Stony Point. Regular operating hours will be Mon – Sat from 8a – 6p and testing is BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Appointments may be made at appointments.bioreference.com.
Rockland Community College (RCC), 145 College Rd, Suffern, is open as a New York State COVID-19 testing site. New York State has partnered with Quadrant Biosciences to operate the site which will provide oral, saliva-based PCR COVID-19 tests. Regular operating hours will be Mon – Fri from 8:30a – 4p. Appointments may be made at app.acuityscheduling.com.
The Board of Trustees meets Thursday, March 24, at 7:30 pm. Join on Zoom.
The Nyack Business Council meets Monday, March 28, at 4 pm.
Nyack is looking for a new Chief Operator and Supervisor for its water department.
Here’s the list of all upcoming meetings posted for the Village of Nyack.
Military Tribute Banners
It’s time to order your Military Tribute Banners for 2022. These banners make a beautiful tribute to honor your veterans, active-duty, reserve, and National Guard members. Banners will be displayed from Memorial Day to Veterans Day in the village downtown area. For more information, contact Ann Marie Tisty at 845-358-0548 ext. 283 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a public hearing at noon, Friday, March 25, to discuss a new 4-way blinking red light at the corner of South Broadway and Clinton.
The Village of South Nyack will officially dissolve on March 31. All municipal services will be provided by the Town of Orangetown after that date. Police and DPW services transitioned to Orangetown on January 1, 2022. For more info on dissolution plans, visit here.
Village of Upper Nyack Election Offices Filled
In an outcome everyone predicted because they ran unopposed, the Village of Upper Nyack elected Jeffrey Epstein and Kennon Rothchild III to new 2-year trustee terms.
The planning board meets Wednesday, March 23, at 7:30 pm.
Masks are currently optional for all students and staff in all Nyack district schools.
However, they posted this notice on circumstances where masking would be required:
3-4-22 UPDATE: NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) released its “New Masking Guidance Update” for schools. The update reaffirms the removal of the statewide universal masking mandate in schools and on school buses. However, the guidance also notes that masking is required in the following cases. All present mitigating procedures in our schools will remain in place.
For individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 (Isolation):
- Individuals, regardless of vaccination status, may return to school and extra curriculars, must wear a well-fitted mask, after isolating for 5 days and if they are asymptomatic at the end of 5 days (on day 6) or if symptoms are improving. Individuals must be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications before returning to school; and
- Individuals, regardless of vaccination status, must mask on return from isolation during days 6 through 10 after COVID-19 infection, in schools and public indoor spaces and on school buses. Parents must ensure that their child is properly masked on days 6 through 10.
For individuals exposed to COVID-19 (Quarantine):
- Individuals, regardless of vaccination status, may remain in school following an exposure, as long as they are asymptomatic, must wear a mask in schools and public
indoor spaces and on school buses for 10 days after exposure.
- Individuals who have been exposed are encouraged to test immediately upon learning of the exposure and 5 days after exposure. COVID-19 home test kits will be available for pick up from our schools on school days starting Monday, March 7.
More than ever, personal and parental responsibility will have a critical impact on keeping our students and staff healthy. If your child is sick and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please keep them home and consult your medical provider.
The district also posted a listing of resources for parents:
Find out what else is going on in Villages-area school at Home Page – Nyack Public Schools (nyackschools.org)
Help limit greenhouse gasses and curb pollution by joining this new food scraps recycling program.
Check out video of the special town board meeting two weeks ago, which included renderings of a new town hall.
Children’s Playground at Veteran’s Memorial Park To Close Temporarily
The children’s playground at Orangetown’s Veteran’s Memorial Park will be out of service. The old playground will be removed and a new, all-inclusive playground will be installed. The grand re-opening is expected to be held in the spring.
The town board meets on Tuesday, March 22, at 7 pm, in the town hall’s auditorium.
Ambulance Corp Volunteers Needed
There is currently a nationwide shortage of EMTs and Ambulance volunteers. Within Clarkstown, there are five ambulance corps serving the community that are in dire need of volunteers. If you are interested, or know someone who may be please consider contacting and volunteering with one of these great organizations: Nyack, Congers/Valley Cottage, Nanuet, New City, or Spring Hill.
Rockland Youth Bureau’s 2022 Youth Employment Program
The Rockland County Youth Bureau is now accepting applications for the 2022 Youth Employment Program. The program helps people ages 14 to 24-years-old develop attitudes, skills, and behaviors to help them thrive in the workforce.
Employers from the private sector, local government, and not-for-profit agencies hire these individuals through the program to give them the experience they need for a successful future. For more information about the Youth Employment Program, please contact RCYB@co.rockland.ny.us or call 845-364-2929.
Conservation Corp. Looking for Applicants
Here’s what you’ll be doing: “Rockland Conservation Corps members perform a variety of outdoor, environmental community service projects throughout the Rockland region. Responsibilities include educating the public about water stewardship, ecological conservation and environmental health issues, fieldwork and data collection, building and maintaining nature trails, teaching environmental education, planting gardens, patrolling streams, connecting young adults to their local environment, facilitating clean ups, and implementing food recovery programs, among others. Corps Members will take an active role in beautifying, protecting, and preserving Rockland’s parks, open spaces, and valued resources.”
Key Details: “To be considered, students must be at least 18. Members are required to serve 350 hours between May 23rd and mid to late August at local sites that may include the Rockland County Division of Environmental Resources, the Clarkstown Planning Department, the Town of Ramapo, the Rockland County Drainage Agency, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Cornell Cooperative Extension, among others.”
Compensation: “Members are paid a $2,300 living stipend for the summer. After successful completion of 350 hours, Corps Members earn an additional $1,342.86 educational award provided by AmeriCorps and The Corps Network.”
Apply: “Applications are due Friday, April 8, 2022. The program begins on May 23, 2022, with most of the service taking place late May through August. Candidates can request an application by phone (845) 364-2937/2932 or by e-mail email@example.com. Candidates are encouraged to apply as early as possible.”
Reviving Rockland Restaurants Grant Program
The Reviving Rockland Restaurants Grant Program will reimburse businesses between $5,000 and $25,000 for past expenses or fund future expenses for eligible outdoor dining COVID-19 mitigation equipment. Eligible entities include restaurants, food stands, food trucks, bars, saloons, lounges, taverns, bakeries, delis, cafes, breweries, wineries, and other similar places of business.
Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Heat Lamps or other electric heating equipment
- Additional tables and chairs for outdoor dining
- Market Umbrellas
- Plexiglass Shields
- Patio Fencing
For more information and to download an application visit rocklandgov.com
Flu Vaccine Clinic
The Rockland County Health Department is holding flu vaccine clinics for the 2021-2022 flu season on various dates and locations. This clinic is for everyone 6 months and older.
Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome at all clinics. There is a $20 fee for those 6 months through 64 years old: cash or check accepted. For those with private health insurance, we will provide you with a receipt to submit to your health insurance for possible reimbursement. To make the process quicker, please print and bring the completed 2021-2022 FLU VACCINE FORM with you.
The vaccine is free of charge if you:
- are 65 years and older (please bring identification with proof of age)
- have Medicare or Medicaid (please bring your card)
- are uninsured or underinsured
The Health Department is giving the quadrivalent flu vaccine, which does not contain preservatives, including thimerosal. For more information about the flu and the flu vaccine clinics visit rocklandgov.com or call 845-364-2534.
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