News Round Up For Orange County, NY
County Gives Port Jervis $25,000 to Promote Economic Development
PORT JERVIS—Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus presented Port Jervis Mayor Kelly Decker with a $25,000 check on September 1 to help revitalize the city. Orange County Legislator Tom Faggione joined the mayor and county executive. “The City of Port Jervis is a vital part of our county,” Neuhaus said. “I stand ready to assist this city in its efforts to revitalize its economy.”
Decker said the $25,000 will be used to purchase and install safety lighting for the Delaware River Bridge and for two solar lit pedestrian crossing signals. “I want to thank the County Executive for keeping his word like a gentleman,” Decker said.
“The city will use these funds to make our streets, sidewalks, and crosswalks safer for everyone that uses them,” Faggione said.
RECAP Expands to Newburgh
The Regional Economic Community Action Program (RECAP) in western Orange County is now helping the needy in Newburgh. RECAP coordinates public and private organizations to provide basic necessities of low-income people and assist them in attaining the skills, knowledge, motivation and opportunities needed to become economically self-sufficient. One task the agency provides is assisting former prisoners to return to the community.
RECAP’s Executive Director John Czajka said the program can help in many ways. “We can help them with their housing,” Czaka said. “We can help them with job training. We can help them with light skills, just simple things that people who have been in prison for a while. They may not know how to open up a bank account. They may not know how to access all the differing services that are now available that may not have been when they were judged and put into the system.” Part of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society initiative, RECAP works to eradicate poverty in American society.
Chester Payroll Company Owner Sentenced for Stealing from Clients
Chester resident John A. Ravert, 54, was sentenced in Orange County Court to two to six years in prison for grand larceny and defrauding clients. Orange County Court Judge Robert H. Freehill ordered Ravert to pay $299,738 in restitution to his victims, and that $200,000 of that money be paid by September 3 or risk serving five to fifteen years in prison.
Investigators from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the New York State Police, and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance executed search warrants on December 23, 2014 at Ravert’s residence and his office. Ravert admitted that since 2007 he had stolen from at least 14 clients of his payroll company, known as Reliant Business Solutions, Inc., Time Plus, and Reliant Business Services.
Clients retained him to prepare their companies’ payroll and to assist them in paying payroll taxes to the state and the IRS. At Ravert’s suggestion, those clients allowed Ravert to make electronic withdrawals from their business accounts to pay state and quarterly taxes. The state told these companies that they did not pay the taxes and owed substantial interest and penalties.
“This sentence sends a message that my office will seek severe sanctions for those who victimize others by abusing positions of trust,” District Attorney Hoovler said. “Prosecuting white collar criminals who defraud the public is something that we take very seriously.”
County Bond Sale Saves Taxpayers $7.6 Million
The refinancing bond sale on Aug. 11 will save taxpayers about $7.6 million over the life of the bonds, according to County Executive Steve Neuhaus. The sale was made in the wake of China’s devaluation of the yuan and was well received by investors. The sale was made to lower debt service and brought investors back to quality investments and lower interest rates in the United States.
Neuhaus said the action was a way to lower the county’s deficit. “Refinancing the bonds is a smart way to help generate savings for taxpayers,” Neuhaus said. The county issued its tax-exempt series at a 2.11 percent cost of funds and its taxable bond series at 2.60 percent. The county worked with the bond underwriting firm of Raymond James on this transaction.
SUNY Orange President Welcomes Incoming Students on Twitter
Dr. Kristine Young greeted students on her recently-unveiled Twitter account on Aug. 31. Her tweet said Young will use her personal account @drkrisyoung “to provide her unique insights on college happenings, student and alumni success stories, connections with the greater Hudson Valley community, and the regional and national educational scene.”
Young expects to keep the campus community informed with updates and photos “about the College and celebrate faculty, staff, and alumni achievements.” Young said she has “dabbled” last summer and will now “offer my own personal and professional take on things” to supplement other college-supported social media “to connect with our students, alumni, staff, partners, community members and prospective students.”
Parking Meters Considered at Airport Park in Matamoras
Matamoras council members have been asked to consider creating revenue from cars parked at Airport Park. The revenue committee observed 75 to 100 cars coming into the park on a daily basis. Events at the park brought more visitors. The committee reported that many were out-of-state vehicles.
If approved, the borough will seek grants to install and purchase parking meters. The revenue committee reported that meters will cost $90 each; the cost of 160 meters would be $14,400. Two areas are proposed for meters: a preferred parking area of 50 spots will cost users $30 a month on a first-come, first-served basis, and the remaining 160 parking spots will have 2-hour meters. Revenue for the 2-hour meters for one month would bring in about $57,600. Preferred parking would yield $9,000 for a six-month season.
The committee estimated gross income would give the borough, after administrative fees and expenses, about $322,100 per season. Meter collection would be made on a daily basis and citations would be issued by the police department. All handicapped parking will be free. Council members will take up the proposal at the next council meeting.
My Sister’s Treasures Thrift Store Opens in Port Jervis
Port Jervis Councilmen Stanley Siegel and Frank Bell were there to celebrate the grand opening of My Sister’s Treasures thrift store with owner Christopher Jordan and retail staffer Katherine Jacke on Aug. 29. The retail outlet, located at 80 Jersey Avenue, is open Wednesday through Saturday 10am to 4pm.
Israeli Consul General Interviewed on WTBQ
County Legislator Jeffrey Berkman, who hosts a radio program on WTBQ radio in Warwick, interviewed Israeli Consul General for New York Ido Aharoni on Sept. 2. The interview focused on the Iran Nuclear agreement and its impact on Israel’s relationship with the United States, reported the MidHudson News. Aharoni has been director and consul for media and public affairs since 1991. He was senior policy advisor to Israel’s foreign minister in Jerusalem. Prior to that, he was assigned to the Consulate General in Los Angeles, serving seven southwestern states.
Subpoena of Newburgh Documents Probes Potential Corruption
Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy said on Sept. 1 the city will comply with a subpoena request by the Orange County District Attorney’s office. The Mid-Hudson News reported the mayor’s statement on the action. “I support transparency in city government. The city will comply with all requests from the district attorney’s office for information pertaining to disability claims and disability hearings.”
Documents requested of City Manager Michael Ciarvino in the subpoena include correspondence and other information related to a disability claim made by a police officer from June 1, 2014 to the present. Ciarvino began an investigation of the disability. The MidHudson News reported a city council member threatened the city manager if he continued with the probe.
Fire Damages Wallkill Furniture Store
The Huffman Koos furniture store on Route 211 was damaged by fire on Aug. 30. The Silver Lake and Middletown fire departments responded to the two-alarm fire which was called in at 1 a.m., reported the MidHudson News. The full-service furniture business serves Middletown, Scotchtown, Mt. Hope, Goshen, Ridgebury, Slate Hill, and Johnson for home and office.
Wallkill to Try For Red Light Camera Approval in New Year
Wallkill will renew its push next January to have the state legislature approve red light cameras for the Route 211 shopping center district, the region’s retail corridor. A request for the legislature to address the issue last spring was not taken up. Last April the Wallkill Town Board voted 5-0 in favor of authorizing red-light cameras at two locations on Route 211. Under the state’s vehicle and traffic law, the measure must be sent to the state Legislature for approval. The town’s resolution authorizes four cameras as a compromise within the board. If the legislature approves the measure, the town would have two cameras and could later install up to four.
Counterfeit or Stolen Facebook Pages a Scam
Identity theft on the Internet has been rampant for a while. The latest incarnation is creating fake Facebook pages or pretending to be an actual person. DA David Hoovler is looking into several recent complaints to see if a crime has been committed. The MidHudson News reported Hoovler’s advice to social media users. “Change your passwords often, check your accounts often and, if you see anything suspicious, report it to Facebook and then make a police report.” Children are specifically vulnerable on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets. One Orange County resident had her Facebook page replicated. The thieves then asked the resident’s “friends” to send money to collect a sweepstakes win.