Orange County News Roundup, Nov. 11

By Yvonne Marcotte
Yvonne Marcotte
Yvonne Marcotte
November 11, 2015 Updated: November 11, 2015

House Defunds Rail Transit Funding; Schumer Fights on

The House of Representatives removed $140 million in allocations for mass transit programs that would affect the Metro-North Railroad in the Hudson Valley. New York’s Sen. Charles Schumer vowed to work for the funding, reported the MidHudsonNews on Nov. 10. In 2014, New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Long Island received a combined $71.7 million in federal funding through the MTA under the High Density States program and a smaller transit services in the region also received over $9.5 million.

KJ Approves Expansion

Residents of the Town of Monroe voted to expand the boundaries of Kiryas Joel on Nov. 9 after a state judge cleared the way for the referendum. The vote consummated the annexation that Kiryas Joel and Monroe officials approved in September. A state judge in White Plains the week before dismissed lawsuits seeking to stop the referendum. The lawsuits were filed by the nonprofit group Preserve the Hudson Valley and by a coalition of municipalities and Orange County government. The referendum involves about 85 residents of the 164-acre area of Monroe that would become part of Kiryas Joel. Leaders of the densely settled enclave of ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews say the village of 22,000 is bursting at the seams. Opponents of the annexation fear increased congestion from more apartment buildings. The MidHudsonNews reported that 40 people voted for the annexation and 12 voted against it. A recent court decision ordered that the transfer would not proceed if the vote was in the affirmative until legal challenges have been resolved.

From The Associated Press

Contractor Sues New Windsor for Nondisclosure of Asbestos

 Hudson Valley Environmental Solutions owner John Pastor Sr. said he intends to sue the Town of New Windsor for not disclosing the ten barracks he demolished had asbestos. The Times-Herald Record reported on Nov. 9 that the town never told him before or after he submitted his bid that asbestos had been removed. He also claims the town has not paid him after asbestos removal was part of the job. Pastor’s claim also includes compensation for two workers exposed to asbestos. Pastor’s bid of $262,000 did not include asbestos abatement.

Cornwall Runner Wins Marine Corps Marathon

U.S. Army 2nd Lieutenant and West Point graduate Trevor Lafontaine, 22, won the 40th Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 25. It was his very first marathon. The Orange County Legislature joined County Executive Steven Neuhaus to honor the Cornwall resident on Nov. 5 for winning the event held in Arlington, Va. And Washington, D.C. “A week before Veteran’s Day, it is particularly appropriate that we celebrate Mr. Lafontaine’s amazing win at one of the nation’s largest races,” Neuhaus said. Lafontaine finished first among 30,000 runners in a time of two hours, 24 minutes. “I never expected to win the marathon,” Lafontaine said. “I just wanted to help my team win the team championship.” Lafontaine is stationed at West Point as the cross country and assistant track and field coach and hopes to qualify for the Olympics marathon.  

 West Talk Show Returns to WALL Radio

Veteran DJ Mark West returned his talk show to radio on Nov. 9 on WALL Radio, 1340-AM, reported the Times Herald-Record. West will also appear on FM stations 94.9 FM and 94.1 FM, 105,7 FM and 101.5 HD2 during the morning commute. West will broadcast in Middletown at an office on Dolson Avenue. “It’s just a long time coming, and it will give me the chance to continue what I started four years ago,” West said. The show is called “The Mark West Morning Program, Starring Mortimer Mallard,” West’s pet duck. West has accumulated an oldies collection of 88,000 melodies. Call 342-1340 for requests.

Crane Starts to Demolish Orange County Government Center

A giant crane ripped off chunks of the second section of the Orange County Government Center in Goshen on Nov. 6, reported the MidHudsonNews. This section was torn over a few days. County Executive Steven Neuhaus is expected to award bids before the end of the year for construction at an estimated project cost of $70 million which is expected to take 18 to 24 months. After completion, county offices, including the county executive’s office, the DMV, and other departments, will be moved into the new building.

Vietnam Vets Group Now Official

Legislation which gives official status to the Vietnam Veterans of America and sponsored by Sen. Terrence Murphy (R, Yorktown) was signed into law on Nov. 6, reported the MidHudsonNews. “They will now officially have a space at the capital up in Albany that they can put their flags, their relics, and store their history there and they will also have a little office up there that would be available for them and allow them to right the wrong of 50 years,” Murphy said.

Newburgh Fire Department’s SAFER Grant Not Renewed, Lays Off 10

The City of Newburgh Fire Department will have to lay off 10 firefighters since a federal grant that has been paying their salaries is not being renewed. The money came from a federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant. Chief Michael Vatter said that the department has enough money left over from the previous two-year $2.4 million grant. The MidHudsonNews reported on Nov. 6 that some to be laid off may move to area departments.


 Orange Regional Announces Hospitalist Services

Inpatients at Orange Regional Medical Group can now receive the services of hospitalists, board-certified internists who work full time for hospitalized patients. These physicians treat patients who have been referred from their primary care doctors, emergency room doctors, or other physicians within the hospital, reported The Chronicle on Nov. 6. They work with the patient’s primary care doctor but do not see patients outside of the hospital setting. Scott Batulis, Greater Hudson Valley Health System president and CEO, said, “This gives the patient the benefit of being cared for by a physician who is entirely focused on his or her care and safety while hospitalized.” 

 West Point Science Building Evacuated

 Swollen back-up batteries at West Point’s science center led to the evacuation of the building shortly after noon Nov. 5, reported the MidHudsonNews. The academy’s fire department responded and the evacuation was conducted as a precaution, said spokeswoman Theresa Brinkerhoff.  The building was closed for the remainder of the day as a safety measure. 

 New York Military Academy Prepares to Reopen

 A private boarding school once attended by Donald Trump, Stephen Sondheim, and John Gotti is moving toward reopening. The New York Military Academy in Cornwall-on-Hudson closed on its sale to new owners on Nov. 6 and took the first steps to get back to the business of running a school on Nov. 9. Academy President Anthony Desa says they will process a handful of returning students for the 2015-16 academic year. He says he hopes to see enrollment rise to about 70 by graduation in June. He didn’t give a long-term enrollment projection. The school closed on its sale to Research Center on Natural Conservation after the nonprofit bought it at auction in September for $15.8 million.

 From The Associated Press

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