Orange County News Roundup, January 13

By Yvonne Marcotte
Yvonne Marcotte
Yvonne Marcotte
January 13, 2016 Updated: January 13, 2016

County Jail Modifies Inmate Suicide Watch Procedure

The County Sheriff’s Office has received a go-ahead to modify and improve its inmate suicide watch at the jail in Goshen, reported the MidHudsonNews. Sheriff Carl DuBois said the state Commission on Corrections has okayed a two one-on-three arrangement. “So now, if there are three inmates, three males—we have a male side and a female side—but if there are three males, you have one corrections officer watch three males and one corrections officer watch three females.” DuBois said the jail cell conversions will reduce overtime and other personnel costs.

Denardo Sentenced for $240,000 Theft of Public Funds

Michael Denardo, 39, a former member of the Board of Fire Commissioners of the Wallkill Fire District was sentenced on Jan. 9 to two and one-third to seven years in state prison for stealing $240,000 from the district. Denardo wrote fire district checks for fraudulent invoices and expenses, reported the MidHudsonNews. He placed the ill-gotten gains in his wife’s account without her knowledge and also admitted to using the board’s credit card for questionable purchases, and lying on his tax filings for 2011 to 2013. Denardo pled guilty to one count of grand larceny and three counts of criminal tax fraud.

The state comptroller’s office said the fire district board did not adequately monitor financial processes, which resulted in the theft. The board did not perform a proper audit of claims prior to payment or ensure that adequate supporting document was attached. It was recommended that the board review questionable disbursement and seek appropriate reimbursement.

West Point Makes Progress in Ending Sexual Violence, Says DOD Annual Report

The Military Academy at West Point is making progress on eliminating sexual harassment and violence, according to a report released by the Department of Defense on Jan. 9, reported the MidHudsonNews. “We are encouraged by the steps the academies have taken to eliminate sexual assault,” said Maj. Gen. Camille Nichols, the director of the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. “These future leaders are being armed with the knowledge that military units operate best in climates of dignity and respect – where sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other inappropriate behaviors and attitudes are not tolerated.” This year’s assessment identified suggested program enhancements and action items for each academy to further prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault at the academies.

For the first time in West Point’s history, a woman takes charge as commandant of cadets. Brigadier Gen. Diana Holland assumed command as the Commandant of Cadets on Jan. 5. She most recently served as Deputy Commanding General for Support, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Fort Drum, New York.

Town of Newburgh Wal-Mart Get $200,000 Reduction in Tax Assessment

The Newburgh Town Council reduced Wal-Mart’s property tax assessment from $7.2 million to about $7 million at its town board meeting on Dec. 30, reported the Wallkill Valley News. “I think this is a fair assessment,” said town Supervisor Gil Piaquadio, after the company challenged the 2013 assessment. The school district will return $24,000 to the company, and the town and county will each give back $5,920.

County Looks to Develop Valley View Parcel

Within the next few weeks, developers will be invited to lease or buy some 60-acres of land near the Valley View nursing home in Goshen, reported the MidHudsonNews. County Executive Steven Neuhaus hopes the land will be used in ways that work with the nursing facility. “That would include maybe senior housing that would make Valley View more attractive to these patients,” Neuhaus said. “Maybe a medical care facility like a Horizon or a Crystal Run where they would be able to treat patients and also attract area patients to this facility, so there is a lot of different scenarios. That’s why an RFP [request for proposal] would let those experts come in and give us a real proposal.” The county exec says an RFP will spur interest in uses.

Newburgh Mayor Begins Second Term

Democrat Judy Kennedy has a vision for her second term as Newburgh’s mayor. “And that is that vision that has been holding me and pushing me forward because I see the greatness; I know that it’s there,” Kennedy said. Well-wishers packed Excelsior Academy to witness the inauguration, reported the MidHudsonNews. The mayor spoke of the city’s younger generation. “We, as adults and leaders have to be the example for our youth.  You can’t say ‘do as I say, not as I do.’  Nobody follows that example. Our young people now have a positive, healthy, happy future to look forward to, and many of them are staying right here Newburgh and adding to the success of that city,” Kennedy said, speaking directly to the large contingent of students. “Newburgh had become the cool place to live in this Hudson Valley.”