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The Villages

Summer is Here and Politics is in the Air (and Other Local Stories)

This week in the Villages we take a look at what’s a stake in tomorrow’s local primary elections and provide an update on the Sean Harris tragedy. Plus, other local news, quotes and videos of the week, a weather prediction, a Covid update, upcoming meetings and much more. Thanks for being here!

Get out to vote: your final civic cram session!

Even though early voting began almost two weeks ago, tomorrow, Tuesday, June 27, marks primary day throughout New York state, including important races right here in Nyack and Rockland County.

As always, we encourage you to do your homework and vote! (According to the Rockland County Board of elections, only 25 percent of the county’s 200,000 registered voters comes out to vote in primaries when there’s not a presidential election.)

There are a handful of interesting and impactful local races to pay attention to as we go into the final day of voting. Here’s a final look at what’s at stake and how to participate. We’ll post election results here on Tuesday night!

Nyack Village Board of Trustees — Democratic Primary

Why we’re watching: The most competitive local primary is the Democratic race to see how will take up two open spots on the Nyack Village Board of Trustees. Because there no Republicans in the race, it’s all about the Dems in this one.

Why it matters: Together with the Village’s mayor — a post that will undoubtedly soon be held by current board member and deputy mayor Joe Rand, who is running for the job unopposed — the four-member village board makes all kind of crucial decisions about policy and development in Nyack.

Who’s running: There are five candidates for two positions. Read their closing arguments by clicking on the links here or on their pictures below: Joe Carlin, Nathalie Riobe-Taylor, Taylor Mandelbaum, Roger S. Cohen, Marie Lorenzini. Rand sparked some controversy, at least on social media, by officially endorsing Taylor Mandelbaum and Nathalie Riobe-Taylor (who are running together). The Taylors, Carlin and Cohen have all been active campaigners in past several weeks. Lorenzini is an incumbent.

Other races we’ll be watching

We’ll also be keeping a close eye on some other competitive local races, including:

  • Spring Valley board of trustees, where four Democratic candidates are vying for two positions
  • Clarkstown’s town supervisor (Republican primary), where George Hoehrmann, who sued his own town unwind term limits that would have prevented him from running, is facing off against Lawrence Garvey.
  • Clarkstown town justice, where six candidates (three Conservatives and three Republicans) are running for two spots.

Here’s the list of all candidates running for every primary election in Rockland County.

From the 2017 Nyack Halloween Parade. Photo Credit: Elise Passavant

How to vote on Primary Day

Polls will be open tomorrow at your local precinct from 6 am to 9 pm.

Polling place lookup

If you need to vote absentee, click here for all relevant information.

For more voting info, vist the Rockland County Board of Elections website.

Update on the evolving Sean Harris story

Sean Harris, 19, died under suspicious circumstances after a long standoff with police that started with an argument with his mom. (Photo from Hanneman Funeral Home)

Last Friday, we wrote about the tragic and confounding story of how Sean Harris, a 19-year-old Central Nyack resident and Rockland Community College engineering student, ended up dead after a lengthy and intense standoff with Clarkstown police.

In our post, we detailed the contradictions between what police say happened to Sean Harris and the perspective offered by his mother, who was involved before police arrived and then sidelined during the standoff.

It doesn’t look like answers will be forthcoming soon. In response to our questions to the police department on Friday, which you can find summarized below, Clarkstown’s lawyers said they could not provide any information because the investigation is ongoing.

To briefly recap, a week after Harris’ death on May 30, Clarkstown police provided a statement about the incident. It painted Harris as a disturbed young man wielding a bat, threatening to kill his own mother and destroying property in his own home. (Harris’ mother, Judy Adams, denies this characterization of her son; saying he did not threaten to kill her and was not destroying their property.)

After police arrived, Harris refused to comply with police demands to drop the bat and, at some point, was shot by police with “less lethal munition.” (At this point, Harris’ mother was out of the house; she says police shot her son through the door of the glass front door.)

After being hit by the munition, police say Harris retreated into the house and, during discussions with a negotiating team, proceeded to threaten officers with the use of a gun that he did not possess. At some point, police say Harris stopped responding to negotiators. This ultimately led police officials to make a decision to enter the home using a tactical response team. Police say members of that team found Harris slumped in a bathroom with dozens of pill bottles surrounding him. (Adams says she didn’t see any evidence of the pill bottles police described or anything “messy” about the bathroom when she returned from the hospital. She says police told her it was an overdose, but Adams doesn’t believe them and police have yet to release the autopsy report from Harris’ death that could easily confirm if this indeed was the case.)

As we mentioned previously, much of this narrative doesn’t add up, especially given the limited amount of information we have.

We want to know:

  • Why were police called to the scene initially, given the discrepancy between Harris’ mother’s story and what police said they were told by social workers?
  • Why did police feel it was necessary to fire “less lethal munitions” at Harris, who was inside of his own home, posing no immediate threat to anyone, at the time police fired?
  • What effect, physically and psychologically, did getting hit with the munition have on Harris?
  • Why don’t we have a cause of death or an official report from the medical examiner’s office, almost a month after Harris’ death? (You would think police would be eager to release this information because it would corroborate their story. Unless it doesn’t.)

Read Lohud reporter Nancy Cutler’s in-depth piece on Harris and his mother’s warranted suspicions about her son’s death here.

We will continue to search for answers and follow up with the attorney general’s office and Clarkstown police.

Stay tuned and be in touch …

In other relevant news:

Tons of important and relevant information for parents and students in the final, pre-summer-edition, of Nyack school district’s newsletter:

This could be very interesting. Lawler’s attracting all kinds of attention for local and national political issues and is sitting in one of most hotly contested congressional seats in the country.

Quotes of the week:

Come on, we can do better than this!

Videos of the week:

ICYM NNV’s weekly features: Bill Batson’s latest “Nyack Sketch Log”; Mike Hays’ most recent “Nyack People & Places”; and our coverage in our last edition of “The Villages”; Our latest Nyack Schools Report. If you haven’t read it yet, please check our vision for the future of Nyack News & Views and how you can help build our coverage and capacity.

Weather prediction (through July 2)

Thunderstorms are likely Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, with things clearing up briefly on Thursday and then more possible storms coming over the weekend. A lovely start to summer! [Click here for the National Weather Service‘s latest 7-day forecast for the Nyack area. Click here for the latest Air Quality Index report for Nyack.]

Covid Update! (threat level: still “low”)

According to CDC data of recent hospitalizations and cases, Rockland’s community threat level of Covid-19 is now considered “Low” after spending 6 weeks over the holidays in the “high” range and then dropping to medium throughout January. With a low designation, the CDC recommends getting tested if you have symptoms or have contact with someone who tests positive. Otherwise, live your life. 

Village updates


  • Here’s the list of all upcoming meetings posted for the Village of Nyack.
  • If you could use help paying your water bills, click here.
  • Drop off humanitarian aid for victims of the war in Ukraine (including first aid, painkillers, blankets, baby food, diapers, non-perishable food, antibiotics and more, at Village Hall, 9 N. Broadway (or at the Orangetown town hall, 26 W. Orangeburg Rd.).

Upper Nyack

South Nyack

  • Due to reader request, we have re-added South Nyack, which dissolved as an official village earlier this year. Please send us info about what’s going on in South Nyack at



  • The Technical Advisory Committee, which “evaluates the technical adequacy of land development applications and decides their readiness for Planning Board review,” meets most Wednesdays, including this Wednesday, from 10 am to noon, in the town hall’s Historic Map Room.
  • For a calendar list of all Clarkstown meetings and events, click here.

Other Local Updates

South Nyack advocates have filed a petition with the town of Orangetown seeking to show support for a new Elizabeth Place Playground — the grassy play area and dog park just south of 87 and right off the Esposito trail. After South Nyack dissolved in March, the town found the playground equipment at Elizabeth Place was unsafe and not compliant with ADA regulations and removed it. A new ADA compliant park has been proposed and advocates want to see the proposal approved and implemented. Click here to read and/or sign the petition.

Nyack Schools

Check out our latest Nyack Schools Report, a new regular feature we will post bi-monthly.

Find out what else is going on in Nyack-area schools at Home Page – Nyack Public Schools (


A rare polio case was recently discovered in Rockland County last summer. Here’s some info on how to protect yourself:

  • New Yorkers can pre-register for a free polio vaccination appointment here or call 845-238-1956 to schedule. Walk-ins will also be accepted.
  • Vaccines are also available through local healthcare providers, including Federally Qualified Health Centers.
  • For more information on polio including symptoms and spread, visit NYSDOH’s page here.
  • New Yorkers can learn more about the polio vaccine available in the U.S. at CDC’s page here.
  • 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. For more information and to download an application visit
  • Fill out this survey to help the county provide better digital services.

Musical Outro

We’ll keep this going for one more week. Ladies and gentlemen, Ham Wagon!

Connect with Nyack News and Views

Note to readers: We want to hear from you and welcome your input! What do you think we should be covering in your Rockland County village? Let us know at Send us story ideas, issues to investigate, letters, reviews, photos, videos, feedback and news tips. And read about our vision for delivering high-quality, hyper-local journalism and how you can help us fulfill our mission going forward.

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