Swans Safe For Now, Judged Non-Threatening

By Edie Johnson

After requests by jet ski advocates to ‘remove’ a male swan in Greenwood Lake that they had deemed aggressive and dangerous, The USDA Wildlife Services, accompanied by the NJ State Police Marine Unit assessed his aggressiveness on September 16 after receiving a complaint.  Swan advocates and wildlife rehabilitators throughout Northern New Jersey and Orange County in New York retorted that he only became protective after their nest area had been nearly drowned, and one swan nearly run over by the recreation crowd, including a pontoon boat, water skiers and a group of jet skiers.  The swan advocates took video of the situation and presented it to officials and numerous area media. Soon the advocate group had expanded to letter-writers who appealed to the Lake Commission from across the US that the boaters were the aggressors and not the swan.  This family group consists of two adult birds and seven cygnets (called  a “flock” or if flying sometimes a “wedge”).  But lake fun is important to boaters and ski fans too, and support tourism, so unfortunately there are numerous instances where the swans have been”Taken Care Of” (shot). In a strange conflict of interests they are both “protected species” and “permitted to be shot if they cause problems”.

In this instance, buoys that had kept wildlife along the shore safe from recreation crowds that use the channel had been removed or damaged.  The advocates had them replaced to help keep visitors safely away from the shoreline.  After the swan family disappeared for nearly a week, causing great consternation to the advocates who thought they might have been killed, they were finally found in a cove, safe from danger. The swans, in fact, had found the peaceful solution.

When the USDA and Marine Police came to assess them they found that the swans ignored their jet ski and boat,  and exhibited absolutely no aggressive behavior. They also came up with several recommendations, including discouragement of the public feeding, and preventing nesting,

While nesting can be discouraged before eggs are laid, advocates are very unhappy about the alternative, which is “Oiling of the eggs” which prevents them from successfully hatching, in essence killing them. This requires a “Depredation Permit” from Fish and Wildlife.

For now, the swans have moved from the area that became troublesome.  The Fish and Wildlife professional declared that there is no need for removal of the male or any other of the swans at this time, and the issue is at least settled until next year.

Montefiore Recognized As Magnet Hospital

Magnet recognition is the highest national honor for nursing excellence.  Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall achieved Magnet designation on September 15, 2020.  This is a direct reflection of nursing professionalism, teamwork and collaboration in patient care. The American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program® distinguishes organizations that meet rigorous standards for nursing excellence. With this credential, Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall joins the global community of Magnet-recognized organizations. Only a small and select group of United States health care organizations have achieved Magnet recognition.

“Magnet designation provides our community with the ultimate benchmark to measure the quality of patient care,” said Joan Cusack-McGuirk, MSLC President and CEO. “Achieving Magnet recognition reinforces the culture of excellence that is a cornerstone of how we serve our community. It’s also tangible evidence of our nurses’ commitment to providing the very best care to our patients, of which we are extremely proud.  Our organization continues to advance the practice and elevate the standards.  This was accomplished under the strong leadership of our Chief Nursing Officer, Margaret Deyo-Allers. “  The Magnet Model provides a framework for nursing practice, research, and measurement of outcomes. Through this framework, ANCC evaluates applicants across a number of components and dimensions to gauge an organization’s nursing excellence.“ At MSLC, we truly embrace the Magnet standards. Our recipe for success is our culture of management, working hand and hand with clinical and non-clinical staff to develop best practices and strong workflows,” said Margaret Deyo Allers, MSLC Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Services. “Without our collective team, we could not provide the exceptional care that we are able to achieve each and every day. They are the support and backbone to this organization.”

New Book Helps Children Cope With Stress & Anxiety

Trouble looms for many children affected by anxiety just as Chicken Little was convinced the sky is falling. Just released last week, ‘ Chicken Little, Come Out, The Sky is Not Falling’ is a charming story of barnyard animals who seek to escape from the barn and take part in the outside world.  Told in simple language with illustrations the book helps children learn the words to express their fears, and learn that working together they can develop coping skills to help themselves. The book describes warning signs that children are experiencing anxiety including rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, sweating, stomachache and headache.  Calming techniques and coping skills are explained by the animals. These skills can be taught to the children by their parents and used as needed.  Resources for parents and kids is provided in the back of the book for further information.  Written before the coronavirus pandemic, very timely.

Dr. Sharen Casazza MD, founder of Washingtonville Pediatrics, met with 3 colleagues, Dr. Michele Winchester-Vega, a psychiatric social worker with a large mental health practice in New Windsor, Corinne Varnavides , a school social worker, and Katie Helpley, a family and child therapist, to brainstorm the book.  Two local young artists, Dori Skelton and Elle Svoboda were engaged to illustrate the book and created eye catching scenes. 

Chicken Little, Come Out, The Sky Is Not Falling is a helpful read for all parents of young children.  Children will be able to memorize and recite the book, even before they can read.

The Author’s goal in writing the book is to reach out to children and parents in need.  All profits from the book will be donated to Kidz4Causes, a local charity created and managed by local students who seek to make a difference.  The book can be ordered on Amazon.com. 

Story and photos by Dr. Sharen Casazza

Alfresco Music Class


On the Last Day Of Summer these students bundled up and held their Music Class outside at Round Hill Elementary School’s Amphitheater. A number of countries in Europe, and especially Sweden, had some good success evading COVID-19 by holding educational classes outdoors.With an especially cold Winter forecast by many, outdoor lessons will likely not be practical soon. But at least this class had a chance to try outdoor learning.

New Windsor Fall Concert Celebrates At Rebuilt Gazebo

Residents in New Windsor came out on the evening of September 16th for a good time at the town’s Fall Concert featuring Hi5, (five lifelong area residents who played all kinds of music, including some from the 80’s, 90’s as well as current tunes. The Town’s Building & Grounds Department put a lot of work into the Gazebo which was refurbished and has a new roof, and will be ready for a full schedule of events next Summer.

Attendees were asked to socially distance, bring their own chairs or blanks as well as their own food and drinks.  They were also required to wear masks if they left the seating area.

Newburgh Hook Elite Boxing Ministry Needs Rec Space

City of Newburgh – A group of boxers called “Hook Elite Boxing Ministry” that has a reputation for helping area youngsters stay out of trouble while learning boxing skills, no longer has a place to practice.  They have been seeking to negotiate with City officials about why they are no longer permitted to box at the rec site they were at, but as yet they have not been able to find a solution.  Manager & Coach, Leonard Lee, posted in social media that “Hook Elite Boxing Ministry” can still be in Newburgh, but not at the Rec”.

Supporters are not sure whether the problem is due to COVID concerns or if there are other plans being made for the space, and they are still hoping to schedule a meeting with City Manager, Joe Donat, to find an acceptable alternative space.  This is a trending story that we hope has contributing details both from the boxing club and City Manager by next week.

New Windsor Police Arrest City Of Newburgh Cop

New Windsor Police Arrest City of Newburgh Cop

A man Arrested for Drug Possession following a “Hit and Run Crash Investigation” was determined to be a City of Newburgh Police Officer.

Carlos Mendez, 41, of Middletown, employed by the City of Newburgh Police Department as a Police Officer, was in a crash that involved multiple parked cars in a parking lot off of Route State Route 300.  No one was injured but the vehicle’s driver fled the scene and was caught up with by New Windsor Police several miles from the scene.  The New Windsor officers found the vehicle’s operator to be in possession of several illegal drugs (a quantity of cocaine and a hallucinogenic drug known as MDMA) which he said he had in his official capacity as a City of Newburgh Police Officer , but further investigation determined that he did not legally have the substances.

Mendez was subsequently arrested and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the 4th degree Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the 7th degree (A-class misdemeanor), official misconduct (A-class misdemeanor)and leaving the scene of a property damage motor vehicle accident (traffic infraction). He was arraigned before Town Justice Noreen Calderin and released as required by state law with no bail and a mandatory appearance ticket to appear in town court on October 13, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. for further court action.

New Windsor Police Chief Robert Doss stated, “Every police officer takes an oath of office when they are appointed to their position and when that oath is violated, it falls upon other police officers to hold the line and do what is right. That is exactly what happened in this case. No one is above the law, especially police officers. I commend the New Windsor police officers that investigated this complaint to its fullest extent and I would expect nothing less from them.”Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler stated, “I thank the Town of New Windsor Police Department for their professionalism and diligence on this case.It is always disappointing when there is an allegation that a police officer has engaged in criminal conduct, and even more so when it is alleged that an officer has used his badge to attempt to hide from his crimes. No one is above the law.  Thankfully, instances of police officers committing the types crimes alleged here are rare, particularly here in Orange County, where the vast majority of our police officers behave honorably and legally in risking their lives every day to keep our residents and property safe. When allegations of criminal police misconduct are made, they must be diligently investigated and acted upon.”

Town Of Newburgh Vision Statement For Desmond Estate

The Town of Newburgh is applying to the Kaplan Foundation for a grant to purchase the Desmond Estate.  Accompanying this funding request is the following Vision Statement:

The Town of Newburgh envisions making the Desmond Campus a focal point of the Town by making it a municipal park and a center devoted to adult education, arts, creativity, physical activities, social engagement and healthy lifestyles as well as public open space in which conservation and educational enrichment is provided to all residents.  When it becomes a park, the property will be subject to New York’s Public Trust Doctrine, which restricts alienation and discontinuance of parkland.        
The Lifetime Enrichment Center will primarily serve adults, which is consistent with the wishes of Alice C. Desmond who bequeathed the property to Mount St. Mary College.  The Center will provide a wide array of courses ranging from academic classes to exercise classes, health and wellness programs, and many other activities.  Classes will be taught by qualified instructors and professionals from the art, business, and academic world.  Programs will be designed to help participants remain active, informed, and creative while pursuing life-long interests.  The programs will serve adults of all abilities – those who are physically active, those who are just becoming active, and those who have age-related limitations.  By hosting these programs, our Town will foster a stronger and healthier community for everyone.

The park’s open space will be improved by a trail system which will include signage and kiosks with educational content regarding the ecology of the park and its environs.   We will also provide strong, open air educational programs that will encourage both adults and children to accept responsibilities for conserving our natural resources for generations to come and instill the values of a healthy environment, sustainable economy, and viable communities.  Environmental and conservation educational programs will include classes on tree identification, tree planting, horticulture and plant selection, environmental stewardship, birding, and similar topics.  Other programming may include curated outdoor exhibits and community service projects and events.  The Town will pursue cooperative arrangements with conservation and environmental education organizations to provide these programs.  Examples of these organizations are Black Rock Forest Consortium, Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, and the Orange County Audubon Society.

The center and park will assist in creating a vibrant and satisfying living environment and attract both individuals and businesses; thus, improving our local economy.  As these will be public facilities, all residents regardless of their background will be provided with an equal opportunity to be exposed to new experiences and to enhance their lives.  As a community enriched by the opportunities provided by these facilities, we will create an even greater sense of pride for those who call the Town of Newburgh home.    

Gil Piaquadio, Supervisor 

Vigil Held For Justice Ruth Ginsburg In City Of Newburgh

By Edie Johnson

The measure of respect and affection shown for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg this week, after losing years of mighty battles against bouts of cancer and years of building bridges for equal rights, especially for women and minorities, was reflected in sombre ceremonies across the United States.  The assembly at the City of Newburgh’s historic Courthouse, built in 1893, is reminiscent of assemblies at the Supreme Court of the United States, where hundreds of people came to pay their respects, many leaving flowers.  She was respected and known for her oratory skills and ability to write a “Dissent Opinion” so powerfully that it moved a viewpoint forward even when she lost on a vote of importance.  Ginsburg earned her bachelor’s degree at Cornell University law degree at Harvard. She then began in academia, teaching at  Rutgers University Law School and Columbia Law School, and was only the second woman to sit on the Supreme Court.

(Much appreciation to Photographer Brian Wolfe for all of the Vigil photographs!)

Many disagreed with her views on abortion rights and same sex marriages, but still held her in high regard and great respect. Her ability to write compelling Dissent Opinions impressed on other lawyers and new Justices that a Dissent Opinion can eventually carry as much weight toward future decisions as the decision itself.  Her often scathing dissents earned her the nickname of “The Notorious RGB”.

Over her years as a Supreme Court Judge, Justice Ginsburg’s most notable decisions were about free exercise of religion, separation of Church and State, abortion, voting rights, and gender equality as well as limitations of the institutionalization of the mentally impaired.  She tackled the discrimination issue tactfully, winning small cases followed by more and more significant cases, and stating the case by helping the other judges to imagine themselves to be in a woman’s position, trying to open a bank account or buy a house if they could not get a man to co-sign. But she did not only fight for women’s rights, arguing as well for same sex marriages and the right of a single fathers to obtain child care subsidies.

A sharp eye for fashion, her work on Dissent Opinions brought her so much homage that her law clerks gave her a lace collar and Glamour gave her a Banana Republic necklace at a Glamour Women of the Year” event.  She wore them to highlight a dissent opinion.

Search On For Young Hudson River Rower

The Family of 25-year-old Tyler Neckles is seeking help, searching the Hudson River where Neckles disappeared after trying to cross the Hudson River  on Sunday evening. The family  believes he is located somewhere on or near the Hudson River. His last location was around the Newburgh Beacon Bridge.  They are asking anyone who has a boat to help look for him and are trying to rent a boat to look for him themselves and said “He might be in the water, on an island or on a shoreline. Any help we can get to search for him is appreciated. “