Orange County News Roundup, June 15
Bonacic Recognizes Academic Achievement by PJ Students
The Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and an honored student from Port Jervis High School were honored at Sen. John Bonacic’s “Excellence in Education” event in Albany. The occasion recognizes students who excelled in school and made positive contributions to their community. “These students are some of the best and brightest New York State has to offer,” Bonacic said. “Each of these students excel because of their hard work and dedication to their studies, their peers and their community. They’re the future of our state and country.”
Nun Celebrates 98th Birthday
Sister Victoria of the Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate in Monroe celebrated her 98th birthday and was feted with a party by her caregivers of the last two years. “When we heard that Sister Victoria was celebrating such a milestone, we decided to bring the party to the convent,” said Brenda Schwartz, director of public relations at Community Home Health Care. Schwartz said Sister Victoria is the oldest member of the convent. Born Louise Agnes Capaldo in Jersey City, New Jersey, Sister Victoria was orphaned at eight months. After living with a family for a year and a half, she lived with the Sisters at the Holy Rosary Villa in Union City, New Jersey. She entered the Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate when she was 15. In 2005, after she served as teacher and principal at St. Patrick’s Academy, Sister Victoria moved to the Sisters of Catholic Apostolate convent doing maintenance jobs.
Algae Blooms Treated in Middletown’s Water Supply
Middletown is chemically treating the city’s water supply which has developed algae blooms, reported the Mid-Hudson News. Although not dangerous, the water may be discolored and have an odor. Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano said the treatment is killing off algae in the reservoir. This could have been averted if the previous administration had installed a better filtration system, according to the mayor. DeStefano told the Mid-Hudson News, “That was a decision made by a prior mayor and prior councils to throw away $5 million in design and build what they thought at the time would be a cheaper plant. This plant is not designed to handle the algae bloom in the system, so when it happens, we have to do the chemical treatment, as we did.”
Residents Alert Montgomery Board of ‘Zombie’ Properties
The Montgomery Town Board heard from residents on a cul-de-sac on Houtman Drive about “zombie” homes that have taken over their neighborhood, according to the Wallkill Valley Times. Zombie homes are left for extended periods without completing foreclosure. The Times quoted resident Julie Gregorio: “I have a rat in my yard. I thought it was a cat. I live in the town of Montgomery, not New York City.” Other residents told the board that an elderly woman was found dead in one house thought to be vacant. Other residents on the street were concerned about the safety of local children and a recent increase in police calls. The residents say that 20 percent of the homes are abandoned, which cause property values of inhabited homes to fall.
Pine Bush School District Approves Smart Schools Plan
The Pine Bush Board of Education approved the district’s Smart Schools Investment Plan, the Wallkill Valley Times reported on June 1. The state’s Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014 commits $2 billion to make technology improvements in state schools. Each district must devise their own plan on how to use the funds. The district plan allocates more than $5 million, first on surveillance cameras installed in district schools. The Times reports that a lockdown notification system will also be implemented. Wireless technology will be upgraded and new cables for the press box will be installed.
Two OC Airports Receive Funding to Improve Infrastructure
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on June 8 that $10 million has been awarded for airport capital project improvements across the state. Orange County Airport will receive $882,000 for a corporate storage hangar and Warwick Municipal Airport was awarded $23,400 for repair and resurfacing of a taxiway edge. The funding is intended to support infrastructure and economic development projects. The investment will upgrade existing airport infrastructure, construct additional hangar space, and help accommodate future passenger demands. The awards will also address airport needs beyond the resources available through the Federal Aviation Administration and local funds. An additional $8.7 million in private and local funding is being leveraged through this state initiative.
Skoufis Reintroduces Annexation Legislation
Assemblyman James Skoufis reintroduced and advanced legislation, Assembly Bill A.10210, to address inadequacies in the current annexation process between the village of Kiryas Joel and Monroe to ensure controversial bids are more thoroughly scrutinized. The legislation passed the Assembly’s Local Governments, Ways and Means, and Rules committees and now heads to the Assembly floor for a full vote. Annexations the size of the Kiryas Joel-initiated bids can impact an entire region if allowed to proceed, and counties currently have no formal role in the review process, Skoufis said. The legislation would allow county planning departments to review contentious annexation petitions pursuant to General Municipal Law 239, a process that already exists for many municipal planning and zoning actions. Following a complete review of the petition, the county would send a recommendation of approval or disapproval to municipalities. Should a municipality wish to override a negative recommendation, a supermajority, four out of five vote by each affected municipal board would be required for passage.
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