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The Villages: South Nyack’s Drama, Rockland’s New Political Leader, and The Return of St. Patrick’s Day

South Nyack Village Hall is set to be sold for $615,000 and turned into a bike shop and cafe. Officals want to use the money to pay off village debt, but Orangetown won’t commit to it. Photo Credit: Kenyatta Jones-Arietta via Instagram

This week in the Villages: With dissolution looming and Orangetown set to take control on March 31, we take a deep dive into the drama as South Nyack scrambles to pay of its debts by the rapidly approaching deadline. Plus, Rockland Democrats elect a new progressive leader, setting off partisan fighting words, Upper Nyack votes to fill trustee positions, Ramapo rezones, prepping for the first local St. Patrick’s Day (week?) celebrations since the pandemic rudely wiped them out two years age, all your local meetings, Covid rates shrink again and much more!

Editor’s Note: Send us all your feedback, ideas, news tips, meeting details and event announcements at info@nyacknewsandviews.com.

Dissecting South Nyack’s Dissolution Drama [LoHud]

We’ll start with the tumultuous ending to South Nyack’s autonomy. With the village, which originated in 1878, set to dissolve into the arms of Orangetown on March 31, there is drama. It’s a little wonky, so let me attempt to explain with the help of LoHud’s ace Rockland reporter, Steve Lieberman.

In order to cover the rest of its remaining $1.2 million debt, the soon-to-be-extinct village of South Nyack is in the process of selling its village hall ($615,000) and DPW site ($1.66 million). The sales of both properties would more than pay off the debt and other coming expenses South Nyack is on the hook for. Sounds good, right?

The problem, according to South Nyack’s last mayor Bonnie Christian, is that the sales won’t go through until after April 1, which would leave Orangetown in control of the proceeds and South Nyackers possibly still on the hook, exacerbating the debt issue. If the sales went through before the end of March, South Nyack could use the money as it saw fit. But after March 31, the village’s debt becomes a part of Orangetown known as a Legacy District. Orangetown not only takes on the legacy district, but also South Nyack’s assets, including the village hall and DPW site.

Along with that debt and asset control comes discretion. Orangetown could decide to pay off the debt and South Nyack’s money problems would go away. Or it could decide to spend the money some other way, which Christian says would cause South Nyack’s debt to balloon another $2.1 million and cause their already hefty taxes to skyrocket.

South Nyack’s last mayor, Bonnie Christian

Orangetown Supervisor Teresa Kenny claims she supports using the real estate proceeds toward the legacy district but was ultimately noncommittal, saying costs could pop up and they would have to wait and see how it plays out. Christian, of course, wants a commitment she doesn’t appear poised to receive as Kenny basically laid the blame for the situation on Christian and her disbanding government.

“Although I continue to hold that position, I had anticipated that the Village Board would have taken steps to sell the properties much sooner than they did,” Kenny told LoHud. “As a result, it appears the town may be left to deal with zone change and planning issues, which many residents are not happy with, as well as the potential for litigation.”

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While South Nyack residents appear fine with the Village Hall morphing into a bike shop and cafe, they are not super excited about the DPW site being turned over to a trucking company. Christian, however, is trying to tamp down the fears of residents, saying, “There will be no eighteen-wheelers coming into our neighborhoods.”

Residents will have an opportunity to weigh in about the re-zoning of the DPW site at a public meeting on Friday, March 18, at 5 pm.

Stay tuned…

In other news . . .

— There is new leadership atop Rockland County’s Democratic party. After the acting chairman, Chris Sampson, dropped out of contest following a protracted legal battle, Nyack activist John Gromada easily won election to the party’s top leadership position last week during a meeting of members in Haverstraw. [LoHud]

Progressive Democrats are hyped, saying Gromada will re-energize the party, which is locked in a tight battle for control of Rockland’s government with Republicans.

Darcy Casteleiro, an executive board member, said Gromada wants to “focus on smart government that will create safe, affordable communities where all families can prosper.” She anticipated attacks from the right, saying, “If Republicans say that agenda is too progressive, so be it.”

While Democrats have more registered voters and slim control of the county legislature, Republicans have held the executive for past 28 years, according to LoHud.

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Lawrence Garvey, the Republican chairman, immediately started talking trash, saying Gromada represented “radical” wing of the Democratic Party and that he “will soon find out that being a county party chair involves much more than his previous political activities of name-calling and metaphorical rock-throwing.”

Gromada shot back that he was “not an ideologue, but a pragmatist” who wanted to work with elected officials to “improve people’s lives.” He added that he’s looking to unite voters “against the far-right elements threatening democracy in our nation.”

— Ramapo is finalizing its rezoning plan for the town’s northeast district. The environmental impact statement will be reviewed at a meeting, Tuesday, March 15. [LoHud]

— Jeane Muchnik breaks down how to take in all the area’s vast selection of St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The return of parades means the world for some local communities:

Nyack Area COVID Update (through March 11)

Everything still looking good!

The “early warning” detector for Rockland is showing that percentage of positive tests per day is now 0.7% (down from 0.91% last week) and hospital capacity is not threatened. Only 9 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.

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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.

Village of Nyack

The architecture review board meets Wednesday, March 16, at 7 pm.

Nyack is looking for a new Chief Operator and Supervisor for its water department.

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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 annmarietisty@nyack-ny.gov.

Village of South Nyack

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

 Village of Upper Nyack Election Offices to Be Filled

Two two-year trustee offices are vacant at the end of the current official year and are to be filled at the Village election to be held on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. While the outcome may not be in doubt — there are two people running for two available seats — that doesn’t mean you should exercise your civic duty! More info here.

The Upper Nyack Board of Trustees will hold a hybrid meeting on March 17, 2022 at 7 pm.

The public can attend in person, by Zoom, or by phone.

To participate in person, come to the Old Stone Meeting House, 347 North Broadway, Upper Nyack, NY 10960

To participate virtually:

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Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82857606336
Passcode: 068855

Nyack Public Schools

As of March 2, masks are now 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:

NYSED Social Emotional Wellness
NY Project Hope
Social Emotional Learning Parent Resources (Fordham University)

Find out what else is going on in Villages-area school at Home Page – Nyack Public Schools (nyackschools.org)

Town of Orangetown

Several meetings this week for Orangetown, including a comprehensive plan meeting on Wednesday morning, March 16, 10 am.

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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.

Town of Clarkstown

There’s a technical advisory meeting on Wednesday, March 16, at 10 am in the town’s Historical Map Room.

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 County

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.

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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 rcsc@co.rockland.ny.us. 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.

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Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Tents
  • Heat Lamps or other electric heating equipment
  • Additional tables and chairs for outdoor dining
  • Market Umbrellas
  • Plexiglass Shields
  • Tarps
  • 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.

Note: Send news tips, as well as meeting and events announcements to us at info@nyacknewsandviews.com.

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