This week in the Villages: North Rockland falls in a high school hoops championship game, local reactions to the war in Ukraine, in East Ramapo, a rabbi’s nonprofit organization receives tens of millions in public funding in what critics say is a blatant conflict of interest and bleeds money from an already struggling public school system. Plus, we retire the Covid tracker, but keep the updates coming, there are a bunch of meetings coming up this and we’re on the verge of an election in Upper Nyack.
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Let’s start with a round-up of local news.
In a battle of undefeated (but unevenly matched) teams Sunday morning in Yorktown Heights, The Villages own North Rockland High School lost to perennial powerhouse Mt. Vernon in the Section 1 AA boys basketball championship, 56-33. Ouch. [LoHud]
North Rockland coach James Ryan admitted playing Mt. Vernon was eye-opening. He told reporters, “You’re going into a different level when we get here. Credit to our guys that they took us here to see what it’s all about. Sometimes it’s where you have to get there to see it, to taste it and feel it. Today we definitely felt it.”
A Haverstraw woman is collecting donations to support suffering Ukrainians [LoHud]:
Saying he was in full support of Rockland’s 1,267 Ukrainian-born residents and another 2,212 Rocklanders with Ukrainian ancestry, County Executive Ed Day said he was “outraged and disheartened” by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, condemned the “terrible atrocity” and pointed out some resources for about dealing with mental health issues as we all struggle to make sense of this madness.
We enter into the new mask-optional era of local schooling. My son, a first grader, told me his first day without a mask requirement was “weird and awkward” but otherwise, “ok.”
This is from a while ago, but apparently, the South Nyack Village Hall is set to become a bike shop. [LoHud]
LoHud with some strong investigative work by Thomas Zambito, who uncovered what appears to be a clear conflict of interest, finding that the East Ramapo school board has awarded $76 million contracts to a nonprofit organization, run by an politically-influential rabbi, that focuses on helping private school children.
The first problem here is that the “influential” rabbi, Hersh Horowitz, helped elect members to the school board that has been approving these hefty contracts, according to federal testimony. As a result of the trial where that testimony came out, a federal judge found the school board’s election practices violated the Voting Right Acts and ordered it to overhaul the system.
The second, entirely related, problem is that it appears the money goes away from the district’s public schools, which is what the school board is supposed to be tasked with improving, and into private schools.
The district has declined to comment on the findings, but according to LoHud, Horowitz pushed back on the notion that the district money was being used for private school children,
Horowitz, in a statement, said the federal funding the CEC received was “earmarked” for private school children and does not come out of a district budget funded by local taxpayer dollars.
“All contracts awarded by East Ramapo Central School District have been through a rigorous RFP process, devoid of any private lobbying efforts,” the statement said. “Our organization has been audited multiple times, by various state agencies with zero findings.”
But Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union said: “It feels like the East Ramapo school board is a private banker for somebody who has been shown to control the membership of the school board in significant ways and it raises the critical question: How on earth can a school board squander so much money and put it into the pockets of private individuals at such enormous cost to the public school kids of East Ramapo?”
Nyack Area COVID Update (through March 4)
With Covid numbers dwindling into microscopic territory, we are temporarily retiring the full local Covid tracker. (Woohoo! RIP tracker — we reserve the right to resurrect you in the near future!) Suffice to say, the numbers are all trending in the right direction.
The “early warning” detector for Rockland is showing that percentage of positive tests per day is now 0.91% and hospital capacity looks plentiful. Only four people in the entire county are hospitalized for Covid related issues.
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.
Nyack is looking for a new Chief Operator and Supervisor for its water department.
The Board of Trustees meets on Thursday, March 10, 7:30 – 10 pm (no location or agenda provided).
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.
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.
A hybrid Board of Trustees “Workshop Meeting” is happening Thursday, March 10, at 7 pm.
To participate in person, come to the Old Stone Meeting House, 357 North Broadway, Upper Nyack, NY 10960
To participate virtually:
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. More info here.
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:
Find out what else is going on in Villages-area school at Home Page – Nyack Public Schools (nyackschools.org)
Town of Orangetown
Help limit greenhouse gasses and curb pollution by joining this new food scraps recycling program.
Check out video of the special town board meeting last week, 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
The Architectural Historic Review board meets Monday night, March 7, at 7 pm.
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.
Note: Send news tips, as well as meeting and events announcements to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.