Orange County News Roundup, 10-14

By Yvonne Marcotte
Yvonne Marcotte
Yvonne Marcotte
October 14, 2015 Updated: October 14, 2015

ShopRite Fundraiser Raises $500,000+ for Veteran Service Organizations

ShopRite Supermarkets, Inc. concluded its 2015 Veterans campaign and recognized top fundraising stores. The success of the annual SRS Veterans Campaign relies on the collaborative efforts and generosity of ShopRite customers, store associates, and vendors. In addition to funds collected through voluntary customer donations made at check out, store associates lead a variety of fundraising efforts including car washes, hot dog sales, pancake breakfasts, food drives, and raffles. The top fundraiser was the Chester ShopRite which raised $41,774. In the top five was the Montgomery ShopRite with $29,226, and the Monroe ShopRite with 24,395.

OC Vets Take Honor Flight to DC

Veterans of WWII and the Korean War enjoyed a day visit to war memorials in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 10. The vets took off from and returned to Stewart International Airport, reported The Chronicle. Vets from Chester, Goshen, Tuxedo Park, Monroe, Highland Mills, Greenwood Lake, Warwick took the all-expense-paid jaunt. Hudson Valley Honor Flight is a nonprofit that honors veterans for service to their country by a visit to national memorials.

Frontier Gives $5,000 to Goshen Chamber in America’s Best Communities Contest

Frontier Communications, the DISH Network, Weather Channel, and CoBank are sponsoring America’s Best Communities competition worth $10 million to jumpstart innovation and growth in small towns. Frontier recently presented $5,000 to the Goshen Chamber of Commerce in recognition of its participation in the contest which will be used to publish the Goshen Welcome Guide. Goshen Village Mayor Kyle Roddey has begun to work with the Chamber in the Goshen 2020 Community Visioning campaign.

County and State Legislators Want Inclusion in MTA Projects

State and county lawmakers sent a letter to MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast asking that two Metro-North Railroad projects be part of the MTA’s next five-year capital program, reported the MidHudsonNews on Oct. 11. New York’s mayor and the governor agreed on a capital funding project with $8.3 million from the state and $2.5 billion from the city.

The day before the agreement, four state Assembly members from Orange County and six county legislators signed a letter urging Prendergast to include a midway yard along the Port Jervis line and passing sidings between the new yard and Suffern. The letter stated these projects would allow more passenger travel for Campbell Hall and stations closer to New York and allow for passing trains on the Port Jervis line.

Newburgh Council Hears Waterfront Residential and Commercial Proposal

FD Water Street Holdings LLC briefed city officials on Oct. 8 on a proposed 108-unit, market rent apartment project with space for commercial and retail businesses on Newburgh’s waterfront, reported the MidHudsonNews. The project would be developed at the site of the Regal Bag building and two adjacent parcels. Officials expressed support. “This may, in fact, be the beginning of actually what I call putting the heart  back in Newburgh, because that whole Water Street once was commercial-mixed use,” Mayor Judy Kennedy.

IDA Changes Focus of OC Accelerator

The county’s Industrial Development Agency has brought in a new management team to update the Orange County Accelerator, reported the MidHudsonNews. More than offering business space for start-ups, the new direction will focus on a production assistant, access to machinery, and workforce development, said Judy Villasuso, “as well as education and mentoring for small batch, high-mix manufacturing.” The idea is to draw manufacturers and creative business entrepreneurs to the center, now called The Accelerator Powered by the Orange County Industrial Development Agency.

Maloney Supports Upgrade to Dams in the County

Following the collapse of 14 dams in South Carolina after heavy rains, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), joined by representatives from the Association of State Dam Safety Officials and the American Society of Civil Engineers, called for passage of his legislation to fund critical dam repairs and safety upgrades. The Hudson Valley is home to over 800 dams, and nearly 100 dams known as “high hazard” whose failure would pose a serious risk to the economy and well-being of communities and families.

During Hurricane Irene, dams at the Warwick Reservoir, as well as dams in the towns of Deerpark, Blooming Grove, and Tuxedo, prompted officials to evacuate neighborhoods in the potential path of flooding. Maloney’s legislation would create a program to provide grant assistance to states to establish routine, yet critically necessary, maintenance plans for dams, and to rehabilitate dams that fail to meet minimum safety standards.

Chester FD Gets $200,000 in Federal Grant

The Chester Fire Department has been awarded nearly $200,000 in federal funding to buy new air packs and turnout gear for its firefighters, U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced on Oct. 7. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to departments that most closely address the program’s priorities and demonstrate financial need, reported the Times-Herald Record. The fire department will receive $194,715 to buy 30 new self-contained breathing apparatus packs and 10 complete sets of protective turnout gear.

Columbia Grad Students to Study Urban Development in Newburgh

Graduate students from the Columbia University School of Architecture will study urban development in Newburgh and Beason for one semester, reported the MidHudsonNews on Oct. 8. The students will conduct their study and analysis under the guidance of their professor and present their findings to city officials.

Another Bomb Threat at Middletown School

Just days after US Senator Charles Schumer came to Middletown to support increased penalties for bomb threats to schools, Middletown High School was evacuated shortly after noon on Oct. 7 when a threat was received. The MidHudsonNews reported that police converged on the scene of the third such bomb threat to the district in recent days. Following a full sweep of the high school by city and state police the all-clear was given and students returned to their classes.

The threats have come to the schools via Internet phone calls routed through several locations and Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Eastwood said Middletown city and NY state police and the FBI are on the case.  The servers are not in New York, which is causing a dilemma, said Eastwood. Eastwood believes the caller or callers are originating from within the school district.

Sickly Farm Animals Taken to Sanctuaries, Owner Charged

More than 170 sickly animals were seized from a Hamptonburgh farm on Oct. 10 and the owner faces charges of neglect and improper disposal of dead animals. Eugene Hecht of the Hudson Valley SPCA says four animal sanctuaries took in many animals, while the sickest were taken to Cornell University’s veterinary hospital in Ithaca. The animals, including goats, sheep, cattle, chickens and pigs, were seized from the farm of 47-year-old Emiliano Zapata. Zapata was charged with neglect and improper disposal, after officers found about 20 dead animals rotting in the fields.

From The Associated Press

SPCA Rescues Over 200 Animals From Montgomery Farm

Possibly one of the worst cases of animal abuse in the county, the Humane Enforcement Division of the Hudson Valley SPCA on Oct. 10 took 200 animals from a farm in the Town of Montgomery, reported the MidHudsonNews. Officials stepped in after Gene Hecht, chief enforcement officer, took a call about a dead sheep. “There were dead animals in a field rotting away,” he said. “There was no food or water” for the live animals, which Hecht said were apparently being slaughtered for food.

Mt. Hope Advises Residents to Lock Up When Leaving

 Generally safe rural communities are often casual about home security. However, a statement from the Mount Hope Police advises: “Over the past few days there have been two incidents within the village of Otisville in which houses were entered. In both cases the suspect entered through a window. Nothing was taken in one and only some juice was taken in the other. When you leave home, your windows and doors should be secured. If you come home and think your house was entered, leave immediately without touching anything and contact the Police. You should do this even if you do not believe anything was taken. Evidence recovered from your house, might be of help in another case.