Orange County News Roundup, March 9

March 9, 2016 Updated: March 9, 2016

Bonacic Secures $50,000 for Repairs to Pocatello Firehouse

State Sen John J. Bonacic announced on March 9 that he has secured $50,000 to make much needed improvements to the Pocatello firehouse. The funding was secured through the State Municipal Grant Program and will help to design a new drive-thru equipment bay, and add a second floor, which will consist of a training room and office area for future company officers. The firehouse plans to add additional space to assist with community shelter in the event of an emergency. “This money is a real shot in the arm for our fire district, and will allow us to continue to provide lifesaving services,” said Pocatello Fire Commissioner Ronald Broas.

Adjunct Professor at SUNY Orange Honored for Teaching Excellence

Richard Guertin, an adjunct assistant professor in the SUNY Orange Business Department, is among 46 State University of New York instructors who received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching. The chancellor’s award for adjunct teaching recognizes consistently superior teaching at the graduate, undergraduate, or professional level by part-time professors. Guertin has taught several business courses including Business Law and courses in entrepreneurship. He also teaches online classes in business law. Guertin joined the SUNY Orange faculty as an adjunct instructor in 2006. Guertin is also a practicing lawyer and former city court judge, and corporation counsel for the Ccty of Middletown.

Assembly Budgets $30 Million to Combat Heroin Epidemic

State Assemblyman James Skoufis announced on March 9 the proposed budget would include $30 million to combat the heroin crisis in the state.  “Heroin has damaged too many lives and hurt too many families; we cannot let this continue.  The $30 million we designate will provide much-needed funding for improved treatment and support as individuals work to overcome this deadly addiction.”

Maybrook Considers Downtown Zoning Changes

The Maybrook village board met on Feb. 29 to consider changes in zoning the downtown, according to the Wallkill Valley Times. Noting an increase in residential construction downtown, Mayor Leahy said that residents will need services within walking distance. Proposed changes would allow mixed uses, which would open up more uses such as bowling alleys and theaters. The amendments would also allow other prohibited uses through special exception use permits, including shopping centers, veterinarian offices, hotels and taverns, the Times reported.

County Gun Permit Requirements Revised

The purchase of a handgun is no longer required before applying for a permit. Formerly, an applicant for a handgun permit was required to tentatively purchase a handgun and then wait for the pistol permit process to conclude before taking possession. Most merchants required the applicants to make substantial down payments and some charged holding fees if the process was not timely for the handguns that were to be purchased, according to a press release issued by the county Sheriff Department on March 4. Some applicants, if they were denied a pistol permit, received only store credit instead of a full refund. Merchants were dealing with substantial on-hand stock being held with partial payment for extended periods of time that would otherwise be available for sale. Sheriff DuBois said, “This is a common sense approach to the gun permit process. An applicant receives approval for a gun permit and then goes to a merchant to purchase one.”

Architecture Board Considers Signage in BID

The Middletown Architectural Board of Review conducted its monthly meeting on March 3 to review two signage requests in the Business Improvement District. Chair Maria Bruni said the businesses at 202 North St., and 39 Railroad Ave., presented two signage applications that she asked the board to consider. The board’s guidelines ensure that the board maintain “the continued existence, restoration and preservation of historic downtown Middletown and its buildings, construction of business which conform to the surrounding historic styles.”

Bonacic Secures $125,000 to Expand Middletown Parking

Sen. John. Bonacic has acquired a $125,000 grant for the City of Middletown to construct a municipal parking lot. The funding was included in the 2015–2016 state budget through a state municipal grant program and announced on March 3. The project will partially demolish a vacant building that previously housed a Woolworth’s department store, creating additional parking and easier access to Middletown’s commercial corridor. “This project will save the taxpayers’ of the City of Middletown money, while also boosting the economic vitality of the city’s business district,” Bonacic said. City of Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano was glad of the senator’s support. “This project will greatly improve the quality of life for our downtown residents and visitors to the area,” DeStefano said.

County Agencies Receive Federal Money to Assist Victims of Crime

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on March 2 announced that more than 100 service providers that assist crime victims from across the state will receive an additional $1.5 million in federal grants to modernize their offices so they can better serve victims and their families. The Orange County Probation Department received $15,088 and Orange County Safe Homes Project received $9,301. The funding allows for the purchase of equipment and technology used for filing claims through the state’s Victim Service Portal, an online system that allows crime victims to more quickly obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other forms of assistance. Victim assistance programs will use the money to purchase equipment, such as scanners, computers and printers, and software to facilitate the application process through the Victim Service Portal. Programs also will be able to purchase mobile devices or tablets that will allow their staff to file claims whenever and wherever they meet with victims.

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