Orange County News Roundup, July 6

By Yvonne Marcotte, Epoch Times
July 6, 2016 Last Updated: July 6, 2016

MTA Rolls Out Free App for Metro-North Commuters

Governor Cuomo announced on July 6 the accelerated rollout of MTA eTix, a free MTA app that allows Metro-North Railroad customers to purchase train tickets anytime, anywhere with their mobile devices. The app was scheduled for completion by the end of 2016 and will now be available at the end of this summer. To learn more about the app, go to http://www.mta.info/mta-eTix-promo. Customers who prefer paper tickets will be unaffected by the new app.

Goshen Finalizes Solar/Wind Zoning Law

The Town of Goshen has been working on a local law that would update its zoning code to include wind and solar installations on private and commercial property. Local law #4, introduced at the June 30 Town Board meeting, includes restrictions on the height of the energy systems, their distance from the road, power lines, and other properties; the ratio of the property size to the number of energy systems, and how much energy can be generated from those systems. The Town put a six-month moratorium on construction of any solar panels or wind turbines in the town while they updated their zoning, something municipalities around the county have been working on as solar farms or solar arrays have become more popular. There will be a public hearing on this local law on July 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall, 41 Webster Avenue in Goshen. A copy of the local law can be obtained from the Town Clerk’s office or on the town website under Public Notices.

Mayor: Middletown Fireworks Use ‘A Little Horror’

Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano bemoaned the city’s inability to ban sparkling devices this past Fourth of July at the July 5 council meeting, and said that while firework usage wasn’t as bad as last year, “it was bad.” The state Senate and Assembly both passed bills that would allow the county’s three cities to ban sparkling devices, something they cannot do under the current law, which the county adopted last year. Unfortunately for the cities, the bill did not go into effect because it had yet to be signed by the governor. Once it is, DeStefano said they would begin the process of creating a local law that would allow them to ban them for next year. He said on July 2 alone, police arrested 11 people for illegal firework usage, and that there were more arrests over the holiday weekend. “Hopefully this is the last year of the little horror we’ve had,” he said, adding that the chief of police is already working on a plan for next year.

Goshen Seeks Higher Learning Institution

Village of Goshen Mayor Kyle Roddey is working to attract a university or satellite grad school campus to the village, saying the it needs to diversify its economy and plan for the future. He is specifically looking for graduate-level STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs like nanotechnology, biomechanical, coding, 3-D printing, criminal justice, and data research. Once the Government Center is built, Roddey said, buildings will become available in the village, and he has assembled a committee of six people to work on finding a university that could move in. He is asking anyone with a connection to a graduate school to contact him by emailing kyleroddey@gmail.com or calling 845-551-0699.

Warwick and Highland Falls Get Greenway Grant

The villages of Warwick and Highland Falls will receive matching grants from the Hudson River Valley Greenway grant program to “create historical trails, improve public access, and spur community revitalization,” reported the Warwick Advertiser. Warwick’s $10,000 grant will help to update the municipality’s comprehensive Plan. Highland Falls will use its $10,000 grant “to conduct a waterfront redevelopment feasibility study that would contribute to future public access to the Hudson River,” according to the Advertiser. The grant program promotes regional planning, natural and cultural resource protection, economic development, public access, and heritage and environmental education.

 Middletown Joins Energize New York Loan Program

The City of Middletown is the latest to join Energize New York, the state’s sustainable energy loan program. The local program will make businesses and homeowners eligible for loans to upgrade their properties, said Mayor Joseph DeStefano. “It’s not grants,” he said. “They are loans that are spread out over a period of years on your taxes.” Buildings with sustainable energy drive workforce development and improve building stock, both adding to an improved economy, according to program officials.

BOCES Newburgh Adult Education Moves to SUNY Campus

The BOCES Newburgh Adult Learning Center has moved from West Street to the SUNY Orange Newburgh campus at 1 Washington Center.  The Welcome Center and Adult Education offices are located on the 4th floor of the SUNY Orange Tower Building on Colden Street. Beginning July 5, the English as a Second Language (ESL) summer classes will be held in SUNY’s Kaplan Hall. The Career and Educational Opportunities Program (formerly Second Chances) will begin classes on July 11 in the same location.

Newburgh Habitat for Humanity Gets Rockefeller Tree

A home built by Habitat for Humanity volunteers will receive lumber from the 2015 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, reported the midhudsonnews.com. For almost ten years, Rockefeller Center’s owner Tishman Speyer has donated the tree’s wood to the nonprofit. The Talamantes helped on June 28 to frame the home they will soon own. Executive Director of Habitat Newburgh, Cathy Collins, said, “The tradition of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree represents so much joy and hope. This spirit will live on in this home and in this neighborhood that we are building in partnership with the families in our homeownership program.” This is the second Habitat home in Newburgh that has benefited from the lumber donation.

West Point Cadet Buried on July 4 Birthday

Cadet Thomas Surdyke died on June 30 while trying to rescue another cadet caught in a riptide off Long Island and will be buried on July 4, which would have been his 19th birthday, reported midhudsonnews.com. Surdyke would have entered his second year at the U.S. Military Academy. He will be buried at West Point Cemetery. West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, Jr. said “Tom was an exemplary cadet and hard worker, who achieved the dean’s list both semesters of his plebe year.” Surdyke majored in Defense and Strategic Studies. A memorial will be held on July 11 in his hometown, Festus, MO. His mother said on her Facebook page of the family’s decision to lay Thomas to rest at West Point, “Thomas deserves a hero’s resting place.”

Mount Hope Fire Department Obtains $160,000 Federal Firefighter Grant

The Mount Hope Fire Company will receive $166,667 from the federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, the Mid-Husdson News reported. The grant will go toward an upgrade of the firefighters’ Scotts Air-Paks breathing devices, used when firefighters enter the scene of an emergency. “We’re very appreciative of our elected officials that have kept this type of grant system alive and well for the people that we protect and serve,” said Lou Dodd, fire department president. “We do this for the community, our families, friends and neighbors.” U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced the grant.

 Brabenec Calls for Freeze of START-UP NY Funding

Assemblyman Karl Brabenec has again called for the freeze of payments by the state to fund Gov. Cuomo’s cornerstone economic development initiative, START-Up NY, amid a gloomy report of results published on July 1. The report stated that the $95 million dollar taxpayer-funded program has created only 408 jobs in its first two years. “When the START-Up report was already a month late, I said this is clearly a mismanaged program that demonstrates a gross and irresponsible use of taxpayer money,” Brabenec said. “If START-Up NY were a business, it would have filed for bankruptcy by now and investors would have likely lost a fortune. Spending over $230,000 to create one job is unacceptable.”

To contact this reporter, email yvonne.marcotte@epochtimes.com.