Orange County News Roundup, Sept. 23
County Legislature Joins Towns’ Lawsuit
In a vote of 11-1, the Orange County Legislature voted to joined eight municipalities in a lawsuit challenging the Town of Monroe’s annexation vote on Sept. 17. The group plans to sue over plans to allow a fast-growing Hasidic Jewish village to annex 164 acres of adjacent land. The legislature authorized $250,000 in legal fees. Leaders of the densely settled enclave of ultra-Orthodox Satmar Hasidic Jews have said Kiryas Joel needs more land to accommodate its fast-growing population. Opponents of the annexation request say they fear increased congestion from more apartment buildings in the suburban area. See story on A1.
From The Associated Press
‘American Chopper’ Star Leads Cyclists in Ride for Autism
Orange County Choppers’ star Paul Teutul, Sr. led 500 motorcyclists in the second annual Ride for Autism on September 19. The event went on a 75-mile trip through northern New Jersey and the lower Hudson Valley to raise funds for the Fill-a-Need Foundation. Sponsored by Allied Building Products, the ride left East Rutherford, NJ, at Allied Building Products and arrived at the OCC Café in Newburgh. The Orange County Choppers manufactures custom-made motorcycles. Teutul founded the company in 1999 and now employs a team of fabricators, mechanics, designers, engineers, and computer experts. According to its website, “Orange County Choppers has starred on the hit TV reality series “American Chopper” which debuted in September 2002 on the Discovery Channel. The company builds machines for a broad spectrum of motorcycle enthusiasts around the world. Teutul has appeared on Celebrity Apprentice, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Good Morning America, and Jimmy Kimmel.
The Associated Press contributed to this brief
Goshen Board President Honored
Judith Green, president of the Goshen Central School District Board of Education, received an Excellence for School Board Excellence award from the Mid-Hudson School Study Council. She and other honorees will be feted at an awards dinner on Oct. 14. The Chronicle reports Green has served for 18-years on the school board. Green took on board responsibilities after her retirement as a home economics instructor at Goshen High School. She had also served as department chair for the Unified Arts Department. “I enjoy the work and feeling like I am helping move the district forward to give the best education to our students. That’s what’s most important,” Green said.
Tunnel Linking Galleria and Orange Plaza to Open Oct. 16
A tunnel road between the Galleria at Crystal Run with the Orange Plaza will open Oct. 16, reported the MidHudsonNews. State funds paid for the new road, called Winning Way, which will reduce traffic on Rte 211 and allow quick access between the two shopping malls. The Times Herald Record reported the state approved funding in January. Work began on Feb. 1. The nearly mile-long connector road through a tunnel was constructed under Route 17 at a cost of about $9 million as part of the I-86 conversion project.
Orange County Enjoys Impressive Private Sector Job Growth
All Mid-Hudson Valley counties saw private sector job growth from August of last year to this August, reported the MidHudsonNews on Sept. 18. The largest rate of growth, at 2.3 percent, was in the Orange-Rockland-Westchester Metropolitan Division. For the 12-month period ending in August, private sector employment in the region increased by 14,100 or 1.8 percent, to 780,500. Five of nine private industry sectors gained jobs: educational and health, leisure and hospitality, other services, trade, transportation and utilities; and professional and business services. Job losses were in financial activities, manufacturing, information, and natural resources, mining and construction. Government shed 1,000 jobs over the period.
ESD Head Highlights Stewart Airport’s Potential to Grow
Howard Zemsky, president and commissioner of New York’s Empire State Development Corporation, said there is more to Stewart Airport than a cargo hub, reported the MidHudsonNews. “Cargo is an opportunity but there are a lot of opportunities so we are focused on marketing the property for aviation purposes and also the opportunity for non-aviation purposes, so we are not putting our eggs in any one basket,” Zemsky said. “Of course, with the size of the cargo market in the greater metropolitan area, we want to use all of our airport infrastructure wisely and productively and Stewart is obviously an important component of our airport infrastructure for New York,” he said. Zemsky said on Sept. 17 that the Mid-Hudson Valley is one of the “all-star” regions in the state for economic development.
StartUp NY Has Plans for Stewart Airport
The state’s StartUp NY program to attract new businesses and jobs was formally launched at Stewart Airport on Sept. 17. The airport was designated months ago as a StartUp zone. Leslie Whatley, executive vice president of the program, said any business that located at the airport would be linked to an area college, reported the MidHudsonNews. “If the companies locate here in conjunction with a university and create net new jobs—net new jobs is the key—then they operate tax-free for 10 years,” Whatley said. Whatley referred to nearby educational institutions Mt. St. Mary, Orange Community College, and SUNY-New Paltz. Stewart has about 270 acres available for business development. “We are here to do deals,” said Whatley.
Kikkerfrosch Brewery Seeks Goshen Planning Board Approval
Businessman Michael Politopoulos hopes to begin construction of the craft brewer Kikkerfrosch on Route 17 in the Village of Goshen in March. The proposed brewery is currently before the planning board, reports The Chronicle. When operating at full capacity, Kikkerfrosch will produce up to 325,000 barrels of lager, weiss, and radler. It may also produce an amber or red lager. “We’re small, but not too small,” Politopoulos told the Goshen Chamber of Commerce at a recent meeting. Politopoulos explained the beer will be made according to German Purity Law. “Raw malt will be initially imported from Macedonian Thrace Brewery’s Malting Plant in Greece, until we can entice local growers and malting facility to supply New York State,” Politopoulos said. Politopoulos and his brother Demetri, who operates the Macedonian Thrace Brewery in Greece, will be partners in the company.
CSX Trains First Responders on Train Response Tool
Hudson Valley area firefighters and other first responders were trained by CSX staff on Sept. 15 on the use of a new mobile information tool. CSX Rail Respond provides secure access to real-time information about CSX trains, to help keep the first responders and public safe during rail incidents, reported the MidHudsonNews. The web-based tool allows first responders to determine the exact contents of any rail car on a CSX train, along with emergency response information and recommendations for protective action distances. The company recently added location-specific information about nearby sensitive populations and businesses that may need special attention in the event of an incident. Approximately 100 first responders from Orange, Dutchess, and Oneida counties participated along with MTA and state officials
Chester Considers BID
Village Accountant Steven Brown asked the Chester Village Board to consider creating a business improvement district on Sept. 14. The Chronicle reported that Brown said an extra tax collected from property owners in the district could be used for signs, new sidewalks, holiday events, and farmer’s markets. Brown recommended the district include 23 business parcels and a church. The BID’s board would have business owners and board members and would have state mandated local authority which levy assessments as a line item on residents’ tax statements. Fifty-one percent of property owners must approve the new district, followed by approval by the village board.
Port Jervis Volunteer Ambulance Seeks Help
The Port Jervis Volunteer Ambulance Corp, Inc., which serves Port Jervis, Deerpark, Matamoras, and takes calls in other areas, is asking local governments for financial help. The company’s Business Manager George Ewings came before the Town of Deerpark Board on Sept. 21 to ask for help to pay for about half of the transport calls that go unpaid by town residents. Ewings said they have tried to cut costs by getting more volunteers, keeping wages low, and even looking at selling off property, but are still not able to stay afloat. They lose between $350,000-$370,000 a year from insurance claims they were not able to collect on. Ewing said the company is asking local governments to pay about $175,000 a year. He has reached out to Matamoras and Port Jervis, but has yet to hear back from them.
OC Gets Funding for Explosive Detection
Orange County was awarded $60,000 by the state to build or maintain an explosive detection canine team, the governor’s office announced on Sept. 21. Explosive Detection Canine Teams provide a visible, proactive deterrent factor in high-risk areas, such as mass gathering events and critical infrastructure sites. The county is expected to support the K-9 team which will consist of a deputy sheriff, a dog, vehicle, and equipment.
Rockland County Reports Case of West Nile Virus
Rockland County officials confirmed on Tuesday that a resident tested positive for the West Nile Virus based on symptoms and preliminary lab tests.The person was over 50 years old, the age category that is most at risk for the virus. Only about 20 percent of people show mild symptoms when infected and less than a fraction of a percent will develop severe symptoms.The virus is transmitted through mosquitos and in the worst case scenario can affect the brain (encephalitis), or the tissues covering the brain and spinal cord, (meningitis). The symptoms of the neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis.As of September 17, there have been 16 reported human cases of West Nile Virus in the state. This is the first known case in Rockland County.