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In Focus: Rockland

More from the opinion-makers of The Journal News and LoHud.com, with a special look at Rockland.

Archive for the 'Schools' Category

Too big to fix: A conversation on the condition of our schools

November
15

Reporters Gary Stern and Cathey O’Donnell will lead a discussion on their special report, “Too Big to Fix,” today at noon at LoHud.com.

The analysis, which examined 456 school buildings in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, found that one in three received unsatisfactory ratings through state inspections. The cost of repairs to all 456 buildings could exceed $1 billion over the next five years.

Experts will join the conversation and readers are welcome to submit their questions and comments via our CoverItLive blogging feature.

Posted by Ed Forbes on Tuesday, November 15th, 2011 at 10:59 am |
| | 2 Comments »

Death on the Thruway

September
19

Today’s news report on the horrific New York State Thruway crash notes the fatal lore surrounding the stretch of highway dividing Rockland and Orange, observing that some drivers attribute the number of accidents there to a curse. The article, rest assured, dismisses notions of a curse, as well as any concern  that the stretch is any more dangerous than the rest of the Thruway. Doubtless, a richer target for inquiry into factors contributing to the tragedy will be the type of vehicle involved — the ubiquitous extended passenger van.

Federal highway officials have long decried the poor design of such vehicles, which typically hold up to 15 passengers, making them a favorite for church groups, college athletic teams, migrant workers, the military, and even daycare centers. The trouble is, they have a high center of gravity, making them more susceptible to rollover accidents under certain conditions, such as when a driver executes a sharp turn or otherwise “over corrects” when traveling at high speeds. Other factors in the extended van’s  well-documented history of carnage: drivers, not necessarily professional drivers, are often unaware of the hazards associated with the vehicles, or the need to be vigilant about tire maintenance; and passengers often raise the ante by not wearing  seat belts. Another finding by government researchers: the more people in an extended van, the greater the peril.

Here’s what the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report:

Fifteen-passenger vans, which make up about 0.25 percent of the passenger vehicle fleet in the United States, are frequently used to transport school sports teams, van pools, church groups, and other groups. Although they are involved in a proportionate number of fatal accidents compared to their percentage in the fleet, they are involved in a higher number of single-vehicle accidents involving rollovers than are other passenger vehicles. Various factors have been associated with 15-passenger van rollover, particularly occupancy level and vehicle speed. Because these vans are designed to carry 15 passengers, the Safety Board is particularly concerned about the relationship between occupancy level and vehicle rollover.

In Saturday’s tragedy, police said the van blew a rear tire; the driver over corrected to the right, swerving over the rumble strip; and the van rolled over several times. Passengers — a group from Joy Fellowship Christian Assemblies in the Bronx to a banquet in Schenectady — spilled from the vehicle. Seven were reported dead and several others were injured. Police said that only the driver and front passenger were wearing seat belts.

The accident was reminiscent of one last month in Westchester. One person was killed and nine were injured when an extended van transporting day laborers slid off of Interstate 287 and overturned. Police reported that all of the passengers were ejected from the van.

Obviously, there is much to learn about the facts surrounding Saturday’s tragedy. One need not look too far afield, however, to acknowledge a circumstance  that should be relevant to investigators — or anyone who sets foot inside an extended van in the future.

Posted by Herb Pinder on Sunday, September 19th, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
| | Comments Off on Death on the Thruway

Editorial Spotlight: State Education Commissioner David Steiner appears Monday

July
8

State Education Commissioner David Steiner will take part in an Editorial Spotlight interview with the Editorial Board at 11 a.m. on Monday. We’ll talk with Steiner about elementary and middle-schools students’ performance on state-wide math and language arts assessments, Regents examinations and their relation to first-year college performance and the urgency of reform for Regents testing.

To watch the session, go to www.lohud.com/editorialspotlight; to ask a question or make a comment, engage the CoverItLive blogging feature on the right side of your screen.

Posted by Ed Forbes on Thursday, July 8th, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
| | Comments Off on Editorial Spotlight: State Education Commissioner David Steiner appears Monday

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School board candidate interviews scheduled and available on-demand; candidate information sought

April
30

School board interviews
Candidates in select contested school board races are invited to discuss the issues in interviews webcast LIVE on LoHud.com. The schedule follows. Because of the vast number of races — and the impossibility of crafting a schedule that meets everyone’s family, work and campaign needs — we appreciate efforts by candidates to make their scheduled hour. Westchester candidates are asked to confirm their attendance by contacting editorial assistant Brenda Ross, 914-694-5030 or bross@lohud.com; Rockland candidates are asked to contact Rockland Opinion editor Nancy Cutler, 845-578-2403 or ncutler@lohud.com.

Candidate questionnaires
If you are running for school board in Westchester, Rockland or Putnam, we want to hear from you. Please send your full name, home address, daytime phone numbers and e-mail address to elections@lohud.com. In both the subject line and body of the e-mail, be sure to indicate your school district. The information will be used by our news and editorial staffs to contact and correspond with candidates. Additionally, the e-mail address will be used to send candidates a username and password for a questionnaire; responses will form the basis of our online election guide for voters.

How voters can participate
Watch the interviews at www.Lo­Hud.com/editorialspotlight; to ask a question during a live session, engage the “cover it live” feature. Video of completed interviews — including Eastchester, Chappaqua, Scarsdale and East Ramapo — may be found in the “on demand” menu at www.LoHud.com/editorialspotlight. Only candidates may attend interviews.

Westchester
May 3

Bedford, 1:30 p.m.
Katonah-Lewisboro, 2:30 p.m.

May 4
Lakeland, 1:30 p.m.
Port Chester, 2:30 p.m.

May 5
Ossining, 1:30 p.m.
Briarcliff Manor, 2:30 p.m.

May 6
Byram Hills, 1:30 p.m.
Hendrick Hudson, 2:30 p.m.

May 10
Peekskill, 2:30 p.m.
Harrison, 4 p.m.

May 11
New Rochelle, 2:30 p.m.
Mount Vernon, 3:30 p.m.

Rockland
May 1

Nanuet, 10 a.m.
Clarkstown, 11 a.m.

May 4
Nyack, 10 a.m.
May 5
Pearl River, 10 a.m.

Directions are available here.

Posted by Ed Forbes on Friday, April 30th, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

School-board candidate information sought, interviews planned

April
26

Alert to candidates for school board
If you are running for school board in Westchester, Rockland or Putnam, we want to hear from you. Please send your full name, home address, daytime phone numbers and e-mail address to elections@lohud.com. In both the subject line and body of the e-mail, be sure to indicate your school district.

The information will be used by our news and editorial staffs to contact and correspond with candidates. Additionally, the e-mail address will be used to send candidates a username and password for a questionnaire; responses will form the basis of our online election guide for voters.

Candidate interviews
Candidates in select contested school board races are invited to discuss the issues in live interviews webcast on LoHud.com. The schedule follows. (Interviews for city districts will be added after the April 28 filing deadline.) Because of the vast number of races — and the impossibility of crafting a schedule that meets everyone’s family, work and campaign needs — we appreciate efforts by candidates to make their scheduled interview time. Westchester candidates are asked to confirm their attendance by contacting editorial assistant Brenda Ross, 914-694-5030 or bross@lohud.com; Rockland candidates are asked to contact Rockland Opinion editor Nancy Cutler, 845-578-2403 or ncutler@lohud.com.

How voters can participate
Viewers can watch live interviews at www.LoHud.com/editorialspotlight; video of completed interviews may be found in the “on demand” menu at that site. To ask a question during a live session, engage the “cover it live” feature. Only candidates may attend interviews.

To see a list of candidates in Westchester and Putnam, click here. For Rockland candidates, click here.

Westchester
April 28
Eastchester, 1:30 p.m.
Chappaqua, 2:30 p.m.

April 29
Harrison, 1:30 p.m.
Scarsdale, 2:30 p.m.

May 3
Bedford, 1:30 p.m.
Katonah-Lewisboro, 2:30 p.m.

May 4
Lakeland, 1:30 p.m.
Port Chester, 2:30 p.m.

May 5
Ossining, 1:30 p.m.
Briarcliff Manor, 2:30 p.m.

May 6
Byram Hills, 1:30 p.m.
Hendrick Hudson, 2:30 p.m.

Rockland
April 28
East Ramapo, 10 a.m.

May 1
Nanuet, 10 a.m.
Clarkstown, 11 a.m.

May 4
Nyack, 10 a.m.

May 5
Pearl River, 10 a.m.

Posted by Ed Forbes on Monday, April 26th, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
| | 133 Comments »

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About this blog
Welcome to the community conversation/editorial page blog for Rockland. It's your place for two-way talk with the people behind the opinions on The Journal News editorial pages and LoHud.com. Look here daily to talk back to the opinion writers, find out what's on our agenda, and steer us to the hot topics in your community. Contributing to this blog are deep-rooted Rocklanders Nancy Cutler, editorial page editor in Rockland, and Bob Baird, longtime Rockland columnist and editor, along with Ed Forbes, interactivity editor, with occasional contributions from other opinion staff.

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