Orange County News Roundup, May 18
Middletown School District Tests Drinking Water for Lead
Superintendent Kenneth Eastwood sent a letter to parents on concerns of lead in the schools’ drinking water on May 13. He said the district will have the county’s BOCES office of Risk Management test about 650 drinking fountains and other water outlets for lead contamination. Results are expected in about three weeks. “The school district will continue to work with BOCES to develop any necessary intervention plans, to insure our students are provided safe drinking water,” Eastwood wrote. The Environmental Protection Agency and Center for Disease Control concur: “there is no known safe level of lead in a child’s blood.”
Fei Tian College Administrators meet with Sen. Bonacic
Sen. John J. Bonacic with administrators from Fei Tian College on May 16 to discuss current issues facing the college. Dr. Joe Zhao, SVP, and Dr. Peter Li, vice president for academic affairs, and Helena Chang discussed future projects, including the construction of several school buildings on the grounds of the Middletown Community Campus. Fei Tian College is a bilingual institution of higher learning committed to the preservation, development, and promotion of traditional arts and cultures. It now operates in Cuddebackville.
Nurses Honored during National Nurses Week
Several nurses from Community Home Healthcare were honored in recognition of National Nurses Week. A party was held at the Community’s Spring Valley location in their honor, and each nurse was presented with a certificate of recognition, an American Beauty Rose, and a gift certificate. “Our nurses play an important role in the high level of care we provide our patients. They carefully set out a plan of care and monitor the patient’s progress. In addition, they supervise our aides ensuring that our agency provides care above the rest”, commented Brenda Schwartz, Director of Public Relations. Community services Rockland, Orange, Westchester, Sullivan, Dutchess, Ulster, and Putnam Counties.
PJHS Art Classes Participate in Memory Project
Students in Ms. Horst and Ms. Maloney’s art classes at Port Jervis High School made portraits of Bolivian children as part of the “The Memory Project,” which were recently delivered to the children. A video was made of the event. The children’s expressions said it all when they saw their own portraits. Memory Project Founder and Director Ben Schumaker wrote to the art students. “The kids in Bolivia have received the portraits, and they absolutely loved them! In total my two team members delivered portraits to kids at several different locations. We were able to make a collective financial donation of $4,100 to help support the kids’ education, thanks to the participation fees you contributed.”
Neuhaus Fills Backpacks as part of Orange Cares Program
Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus helped to pack 60 backpacks on May 12 at St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Middletown. The backpacks are for students at the Enlarged City School District of Middletown’s three elementary schools, Maple Hill, Presidential Park, and William A. Carter, and are funded through the County’s Orange Cares program. The Middletown Lions Club comes every week during the school year to fill the backpacks with food for the weekend. Backpacks were filled with canned goods, produce, pasta, juice, milk, and cereal. Orange County invested $375,000 into Orange Cares to jump start the program. Approximately 10.2 percent of Orange County’s population (38,230 residents) is classified as food insecure.
Middletown Given ’16 Playful City USA’ Designation
For the first time Middletown has been designated as a 2016 Playful City USA by KaBOOM, a nonprofit dedicated to the well-being of kids. The national recognition program honors 257 cities and towns across the country for making their cities more playable. The City of Middletown has been given this recognition through its desire to bring playability to all youth and families within its limits. Mayor Joseph DeStefano said in a press release on May 18, “The city supports the concept that play is a critical component of childhood well-being and achievement, community health and economic vitality and we have put our resources into offering as many programs as possible to achieve our goal of providing the best environment for children to thrive.” Communities across the country are creating innovative ways to bring back play and attract residents through family friendly activities. Interactive sidewalk art, designated play spaces on trails and the transformation of schoolyards into active play areas are just a few examples of how cities are becoming more playful.
Skoufis Introduces Legislation to Unmask ‘Shell’ LLCs
Assemblyman James Skoufis has introduced legislation to increase transparency in financial and real estate transactions by requiring clear identification of limited liability company (LLC) owners (A.9809). Current law does not require LLCs to identify their owners, members or managers, leading many companies to purposefully cloak the identity of the people benefitting from the LLC’s transactions. “Deep-pocketed individuals shouldn’t be able to hide behind the mask of an LLC,” said Skoufis. LLCs are frequently used in real estate transactions to cloak the identity of developing interests. These “shell companies” make it extremely difficult for prompt enforcement of land and building ordinances since local officials do not have a human being to pursue action against. Recently, residents of South Blooming Grove witnessed a significant increase in real estate transactions by secretive LLCs. “Our local families deserve to know the identity of the investors and developers purchasing property on their blocks,” said South Blooming Grove Mayor Rob Jeroloman.
Bonacic Secures $180,000 Grant to Improve Greenville Town Park
Sen. John J. Bonacic has secured a $180,000 grant for the Town of Greenville to improve the town park. The grant funding was secured through the State Municipal Grant Program as part of the 2015-2016 state budget. The funding will go towards several improvements including the construction of a building to house bathrooms and concession stands, the purchase of a tractor for maintenance of park grounds, the construction of a barn to house maintenance equipment, and the installation of a well and septic systems.
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