Orange County News Roundup, April 20

By Yvonne Marcotte, Epoch Times
April 20, 2016 12:23 pm Last Updated: April 20, 2016 12:23 pm

High School Senior Dies in Single Car Accident

Authorities say a Minisink Valley High School senior is dead after the car he was driving flipped over and hit rocks and landscaping blocks on Route 6 in Wawayanda. State troopers say 17-year-old Mauricio Heredia was killed in the crash early on April 18. The Middletown teen was traveling on Route 6 when he lost control of his 2001 Honda Civic and it went into a ditch and overturned. Firefighters from the Slate Hill Fire Department had to remove Heredia from the car. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Troopers say Heredia was apparently on his way home from a gym when the crash happened. Preliminary investigation revealed that a vehicle travelling westbound on US Route 6 near Kourtney Lane lost control and left the roadway off of the South shoulder, entering a ditch, striking a rock and overturning before striking another rock and landscaping blocks. The crash remains under investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this brief

ALA Gives County Highest Mark for Air Quality

The American Lung Association gave Orange County an “A” in its latest tracking report for having no high ozone days. The study released on April 13 reported that the county had no high particle pollution days during 2012-14 period, according to the MidHudsonNews. Rockland and Westchester counties received an “F” for high ozone days. Dutchess and Putnam earned a “C.”  Ulster was given a “B” in the 2010-12 but could not be graded because of incomplete data. Jeffrey Seyler, president of the American Lung Association of the Northeast, told the MidHudsonNews that air quality has improved. “We are seeing less local pollution from the plants that are not there anymore and we are seeing less pollution,” Seyler said, “from the cars and trucks that are driving up and down I-87 and cross the region.”

Exxon Mobil Pays $10.75 Million to Clean Gas Stations

New York authorities have reached a $10.75 million settlement with Exxon Mobil to reimburse the state’s oil spill fund for cleaning up eight former gas station sites. In Orange County, Joe’s Country Convenience Store in Campbell Hall will be cleaned up. The fund began paying for remediation of the oldest of the spill locations in 1989. Some of the gas stations were operating as early as the 1930s. Other sites are in Putnam, Sullivan, and Albany counties. Four cleanups are ongoing.

From The Associated Press

Chester Attorney Among Ten Top Family Law Attorneys

Michael D. Meth has been honored by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys as one of ten best family law attorneys in the state, reported The Chronicle. The Chester lawyer got high marks in client satisfaction. The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys publishes the 10 Best list for every state. AIOFLA’s evaluation process selects attorneys based on positive relationships and reputation among his or her clients, have achieved success in family law without sacrificing service to the people they represent. The Chronicle reported that “selection criteria therefore focus on attorneys who demonstrate the highest standards of client satisfaction.”

Legislative Committee Approves Two County Employee Contracts

The Personnel and Compensation Committee of the County Legislature on April 18 approved two union contracts. The 11-member District Attorney’s Criminal Investigators Association was approved for its first contract since breaking away from the CSEA. The contract runs from 2012 to 2017, includes no retroactive pay increases, but will have a new schedule for 2016 and 2017. The legislative committee also approved a two-year contract with the 300-member Corrections Officers Benevolent Association employed at the county jail.  That agreement includes a roughly three percent increase each year. Both contracts must now be approved by the full county legislature.

A train passes through the intersection where an SUV was struck by a Metro-North Railroad train in Valhalla, N.Y., Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015. An investigation into what caused a fiery crash that killed a motorist and five rail riders is focusing on how a mother of three described by friends as safety conscious ended up between two crossing gates in her SUV as a commuter train barreled toward her. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A train passes through the intersection in Valhalla, N.Y. on Feb. 5, 2015. Railroad officials say ridership is growing despite lower gas prices.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Metro-North Non-Commuter Ridership Growing

Ridership on Metro-North railroad lines which pass through many towns and villages in Orange County has increased, reported the MidHudsonNews. Railroad officials said on April 18 that the increase has happened despite lower gas prices. William Wheeler, the MTA’s director of special projects and planning, appeared before the Metro-North Committee. “All of this, I think, drives home even more the fact that rail has been able to be very effective in a very competitive situation with the automobile and its use is being driven by more and more differences in the way people work,” Wheeler said, according to the MidHudsonNews. Wheeler said analysts predict the increases in ridership will continue in the foreseeable future.

Pine Bush Lays Out Use for $5 Million School Technology Bond

Technology Director John Hicks presented the plan to Pine Bush Board of Education how the district would use a five million technology bond act, the Wallkill Valley Times reported at the board meeting on March 29. Hicks said he would like to add more security cameras to all schools, create a lockdown/lockout notification system, install a “repeater” (a device that rebroadcasts transmissions from two-way radios at a higher wattage) in the high school for Motorola radios, ground-wire closet racks, and work on wiring and cabling in five buildings. The board approved Hicks’ plans and directed him to send a letter of intent to the state Education Department. Funding for the Smart Schools Bond Act was approved by voter referendum in November 2014. Hicks will create a preliminary investment plan on the school district’s website for review followed by a public hearing.

Granite Fabricator Plans Expansion to Chester

Allstate Fabrication, a Rockland County-based wholesale fabricator and manufacturer of granite, wants to buy a building in Chester and renovate for expansion, reported The Photo-News. Orange County IDA COO Laurie Villasuso said the company seeks incentives to make the move. “They currently exist in Rockland County, but are going to operate both facilities, at least for time being,” Villasuso said. “If they find the one facility here is more conducive for making most of their sales here, they may move their entire operation to Orange County.” The IDA accepted the initial resolution for the financial incentives for the project to move forward.

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