Orange County News Roundup, Oct. 2
New York Urges Drivers to Watch for Deer and Moose on Roads
State officials are reminding drivers to watch out for wildlife on the roads this fall. Deer, moose and other wild animals can be especially active in the fall. Two-thirds of all deer and vehicle collisions occur in the last three months of the year, when deer breed and travel the most. Deer and moose are most active at dawn and dusk, when visibility can be poor and commuting traffic can be heavy. More than 25,500 motor vehicle crashes in 2013 involved deer with more than 1,000 such accidents in three counties: Erie, Monroe and Orange.
From The Associated Press
Newburgh Council Gives Space to Youth Group
The Newburgh City Council has granted the Youth Empowerment Center use of the first floor of a city-owned building on Lander Street, reported the MidHudsonNews on Sept. 29. Councilman Cedric Brown was among those supporting the agreement. “I don’t care what else we do at this table we have to support our youth programs,” Brown said. We have to. If you don’t, it will get those youth at your front door saying trick or treat with a gun in their hand saying ‘we don’t want the candy’.”
More Aviation Activity at Stewart during UN General Assembly
Delegates from more than a dozen foreign nations are using the general aviation parking area at Stewart Airport while the UN General Assembly is in session, reported the MidHudsonNews on Sept. 29. This means a welcomed increase in parking revenue and landing fees for the airport. Atlantic Aviation, one of the airport’s fixed base operators, handles parking and refueling. The aircraft also mean additional landing fees for the airport. The president’s own Air Force One is parked on the more secure Air National Guard side.
Mayors Support Fixing Common Core Standards
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Sept. 28 a Common Core Task Force to perform a comprehensive review of learning standards, instructional guidance, and ways to reduce test anxiety in students. The governor’s office asked local leaders, school administrators, and teachers speak out if they support this endeavor. Port Jervis Mayor Kelly Decker and Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano expressed their support.
Decker supported the initiative. “I would like to thank the Governor for working to fix the common core system and making our children’s education a key priority.”
DeStefano said common core standards need an upgrade. “The Common Core Task Force the Governor has launched will review issues and concerns of parents, students, and teachers by utilizing a representative group of all stakeholders to address the Common Core curriculum, guidance, and tests.” DeStefano agreed with the Governor’s assessment that the state’s learning standards must be strong, sensible and fair, and parents and teachers should be able to have faith in those standards.
Columbia University Wants 11-Acre Solar Farm in Chester
Siemens and SunEdison presented a proposal to the Chester planning board for an 11-acre solar farm in a 166-acre property between Route 92 and Craigville Road. Excess power generated from the array will be sold to the Orange & Rockland grid and paid to the Palisades Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a division of Columbia University on Route 9W in Palisades. Some of the extra electricity will benefit homes in the immediate neighborhood, according to Amador LaPut of Fellenzer Engineering. The agreement will be between the farm owners and Siemens, which makes the solar panels, and Sun Edison, which is handling the financial end of the lease purchase agreements.
Solar City will install an array behind the Orange County Emergency Services Center, with credits to be shared between county offices. Solar panels are popping up all over the county, most commonly installed by Solar City, Sungevity, Direct Energy Solar, NYSSF New York State Solar Farm, and NRG. Chester currently has no zoning code to regulate expansive solar array. The planning board is considering whether to regard it as a “light industrial” use already permitted, or to include it under agricultural and markets regulations, or send it to the zoning board of appeals for an interpretation or variance. In fact, the planning board struggled to determine whether solar farm would be considered a public or private utility.
USDA Gets 20-Year Lease for Stewart Animal Import Center
The Board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has approved a new 20-year lease with the USDA to operate its animal import quarantine center at Stewart International Airport, reported the MidHudsonNews.
Port Authority Aviation Director Thomas Bosco told the board on Sept. 25 that “the site accommodates 18 buildings, 16 of which are specialized for animal quarantine. The other two are used for management purposes.” Bosco said the facility has been housed at Stewart for 40 years. “Half of the lease-hold is not suitable for development due to wetlands and steep slopes. It is, however, ideal for setback requirements for quarantine facilities of this type,” Bosco said. The current lease, which was in place when the Port Authority took over Stewart in late 2007, did not include rent. The new lease will include $4.8 million in ground lease fees. The animal import center is one of only three in the U.S. with others in Miami and LA.
Decker to PJ Residents: Tell Me How I’m Doing
Democrat Kelly Decker has no opponent on the upcoming Port Jervis mayoral election but still wants residents to come out and vote, reported the MidHudsonNews on Sept. 28. He says it’s a way to tell him “What I am asking people to do when I go out and campaign is that if you think I am doing a good job, to vote for me.” Unlike Port Jervis, the mayoral race in the City of Newburgh finds incumbent Judy Kennedy running as an Independence Party candidate against a Democrat and Republican.
OC Conservative Chairman Likes Fiorina and Kasich
Newly reelected Orange County Conservative Party Chairman John Delessio says he would like to support John Kasich or Carly Fiorina, but will endorse the Republican and Conservative parties’ candidate, even Donald Trump if nominated, reported the MidHudsonNews on Sept. 28. “He might have started out as an entertainer, but I think you have to take him seriously and if he comes out of the primaries on top, he’s got my support,” Delessio said. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Sept. 27 shows Fiorina and Marco Rubio tied in third place at 11 percent each.
West Nile Virus Pool Found in New Windsor
The Orange County Department of Health announced on Sept. 25 a mosquito pool carrying the West Nile virus was found in the Town of New Windsor. “As we have seen over the past few weeks with positive test results in various locations, the WNV is still present in the region,” said Orange County Health Commissioner, Eli N. Avila. Mosquitoes can breed in any stagnant water that lasts more than four days.
State Comptroller Wants Better Budget Rules for Orange Lake Fire District
An audit of the Orange Lake Fire District by the State Comptroller’s Office made a number of recommendations to improve its budgetary processes, reported the MidHudsonNews. The state review found several inadequacies: no written policies or procedures, insufficient data comparing the previous year, and no line item for adding operating surpluses to reserves. Auditors want the district to develop policies and procedures, a base budget, and an evaluation process to plan for future purchases. Approximately 10,650 residents of the Town of Newburgh are served by the district.
Former Wallkill Fire District Chairman Pleads Guilty to Stealing $240,000
Michael Denardo, the former of the chairman of the Wallkill Fire District’s Board of Commissioners, pled guilty on Sept. 25 to theft of about $240,000, reported the MidHudsonNews. He has agreed to pay full restitution. As a state corrections officer, Denardo tricked a board member into signing blank checks for his personal use. He will be sentenced in January, 2016.
New York Military Academy Closes After 126 Years
The New York Military Academy, once attended by Donald Trump, Stephen Sondheim, and John Gotti, has closed its doors and is up for auction. The school, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, will be auctioned off at the end of the month for a minimum bid of $9.5 million. The new buyer of the 113-acre property in Cornwall-on-Hudson isn’t required to maintain a school on the land. A deal to sell the school to a group of California-based investors fell through when a down payment of $1.3 million wasn’t delivered earlier this month.
From The Associated Press
Vandal Arrested in Port Jervis
Port Jervis resident Charles Sutton, 54, was charged on Sept. 27 with criminal mischief for vandalizing fall decorations along Front Street in Port Jervis. Port Jervis police reported that an alert citizen observed the defendant damaging fall decorations affixed to street lights provided by the Port Jervis Tourism Board in the City’s downtown business district on Front Street. The defendant was remanded to Orange County Jail in lieu of $500.00 bail pending further court appearances.