The Magic Battalion

Members of Washingtonville’s  JROTC went into action and organized a drive-by food drive on last week, right at the high school. With the help of over 30 community members, they collected upwards of 40 bags of food items. Donation were delivered to the local Country Kids Food Pantry to provide relief to Washingtonville neighbors.

Veterans Traveling Wall Of Honor Relocated To Cornwall Library

Assemblyman Colin Schmitt announced that the 99th Assembly District Veterans Traveling Wall of Honor has been relocated to a temporary home in the Cornwall Library.  The wall, which pays tribute to 17 local veterans who are inductees of the inaugural 99th Assembly District Veterans Hall of Fame, will be displayed there until mid-June.  Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it is requested that those interested make an appointment to view the wall. For more information, call the library at 845-534-8282.

Skoufis-Paulin Bill Passes Legislature to Expand COVID-19 Rental Assistance to Small Landlords

Senator James Skoufis announced, as we go to press, the passage of common sense legislation that will expand access to rental assistance funds for small landlords. Specifically, property owners whose tenants cannot or will not submit a rental relief application – as required by existing law – will now be able to apply for the relief themselves and receive payment for their tenants’ owed rent. This assistance may mean the difference between temporary hardship and lasting financial ruin for many struggling landlords.

“I am gratified to see state government working the way it should for the benefit of all New Yorkers,” said Skoufis. “COVID-19 created immense challenges for renters and landlords alike. For landlords who made a good faith effort to help a tenant with a rental assistance application to no avail – including instances where a tenant may have already vacated a property but still owes accrued rent – this new legislation is a game-changer and will prove a critical part of our statewide recovery.”

“We must help landlords who need to pay mortgages, insurance, property tax, and building upkeep,” said Paulin.“Without rent coming in many are struggling to get by, and I am happy to have passed legislation that will assist our many landlords who have gone above and beyond to help tenants stay afloat. This legislation will provide landlords the ability to recover, while at the same time preserving a tenant’s ability to seek and receive assistance – both of which are critical to families, businesses, and our state economic recovery.”

Under the provisions of this legislation, rental assistance will be newly available:

  1. For tenant households who would qualify for the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program (CERAP) but for the fact that their income exceeds 80% of the area median income;
  2. For landlords with rental arrears accrued by a tenant who would have qualified for assistance under CERAP or under subdivision (1) of this section if the tenant had applied for assistance while in occupancy, if the landlord has used best efforts to contact and assist the tenant in applying, without success, including instances in which the tenant has vacated while owing rent; and
  3. To supplement funding for CERAP.

Senator Skoufis and Assemblywoman Paulin remain committed to ensuring landlords and renters throughout New York have fair access to COVID-19 assistance

New York Parks Opening Local Tent Camping Services

Assemblyman Colin Schmitt joined Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, and State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid on Tuesday at Harriman State Park for the announcement of a private-public partnership between New York State and Tentrr. 

The announcement included the opening of a new camping service with 45 new sites across four of the Hudson Valley’s State Parks. Each site services residents and visitors with tents, sleeping accommodations, and necessary equipment. The visitors just need to show up and all items are pre-setup for them, ready to use, and constantly maintained.

Reservations are now being accepted online. The fee varies slightly per site, at about $135/night, with a portion returning back as a funding stream for NYS Parks.  There are 305 such park and camping sites in New York. Local sites include Harriman State Park as well as Pine Bush, Port Jervis, Montgomery and Thompson Ridge.

Assemblyman Schmitt stated, “Our Hudson Valley State Parks are a public treasure. This new innovative public-private partnership to expand camping opportunities will open new access to our parks for local families and visitors alike. This is a perfect way to give more people the opportunity to experience the outdoor lifestyle in New York and explore all that our beautiful Hudson Valley has to offer while supporting private enterprise, creating new funding streams for our park system and offering expanded tourism opportunities.”

Newburgh Rowing and Riverkeeper Make a Clean Sweep

“On May 1, over 80 volunteers came out to clean up the Hudson River at the Ward Brothers Memorial Park, home of the Newburgh Rowing club,” said Coach Ed Kennedy, president of the Newburgh Rowing Club. 

“We had a great turnout,” said Kennedy, “especially considering that we had to adhere to social distancing guidelines and everyone wore masks and gloves.  Our volunteers collected more than one ton of trash from the Hudson River, the Ward Brothers Memorial Park, and the Hudson River walking trail, as part of Riverkeeper’s 10th Annual RiverSweep.” He added, “Our volunteers pulled out tires, 43 bags of trash, 8 large logs, 800 pounds of river debris including a large wooden table, several broken plastic buckets, 300 bottles and cans, over a cubic ton of scrap metal, and many liquor bottles.” 

“Every single volunteer worked very hard,” said Juliana LoBiondo (“Mrs. Lo”), who was a Riversweep Leader, along with Kennedy, for the 10th year in a row.  “We would like to give a special thank you to the Renegades Youth Baseball Club, which brought down a large group of young people to help out.  They helped us plant dozens of trees which we grew from saplings, and converted wood debris into mulch, which we then use in our park and community garden.”  For more information about the Newburgh Rowing club visit 

NFA Announces 2021 Valedictorian & Salutatorian

NFA Announces 2021 Valedictorian & Salutatorian

Newburgh Free Academy is proud to announce Sophia Hyun and Jacob Johnston as the NFA Class of 2020 Valedictorian and Salutatorian, respectively. Both scholars attend Newburgh Free Academy Main Campus.

Valedictorian, Sophia Hyun:

Sophia Hyun has been named the Newburgh Free Academy Class of 2021 Valedictorian. Prior to attending Newburgh Free Academy Main Campus, Sophia attended Balmville Elementary School and Heritage Middle School. Sophia is the daughter of Dale Hyun and Mina Park. Her siblings Sarah Hyun and Victoria Park currently attend NFA Main and Fostertown School. 

Earlier this fall, Sophia was named a Commended Student in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program in the fall. Commended Students are recognized for the exceptional academic promise demonstrated by their outstanding performance on the qualifying test used for program entry.After graduating from Newburgh Free Academy Main Campus, Sophia plans to attend the University of Southern California to study Computer Science with a focus on Game Development. She plans to become a Video Game Developer. Currently, Sophia enjoys her STEM classes the most, especially AP Physics. Sophia also really enjoyed VisCom (Visual Communication and Design) when she took the class in freshman and sophomore year. 

Aside from her academics, Sophia is part of Science Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. She joined the NFA Anime Club her freshman year. Sophia is currently part of the Guidance Advisory Council and was a peer tutor her junior year.

Outside of school, Sophia has been virtually volunteering with the Library of Congress’s By the People and Be My Eyes, to help blind and low-vision people lead more independent lives. Sophia also manages an online print-on-demand shop where she sells her graphic designs.

Sophia credits her parents, her fourth grade teacher, Mr. Mohammed, and her 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Mordecai-Moore for teaching her valuable lessons and helping her reflect and adjust her approach to academics and life in general. When asked what advice Sophia has for younger scholars, she said, “Be honest with yourself. If you have a specific goal in mind, be serious about dedicating time and effort towards achieving it. At the same time, be realistic with your expectations and take a break when you need it. You know yourself best, and lying to yourself will only harm you in the long run.”

Salutatorian, Jacob Johnston:

Jacob Johnston has been named the Newburgh Free Academy Class of 2021 Salutatorian. Prior to entering NFA Main Campus, Jacob attended Horizons on the Hudson and Heritage Middle School. Jacob is the son of Andrew and Hannah Johnston. Earlier this fall, Jacob was a semi-finalist for the 2021 National Merit Scholarship program. After graduating from Newburgh Free Academy, Jacob plans to attend RPI to study computer science. Jacob plans to be a software developer or video editor. 

Aside from academic excellence, Jacob has played tennis since he was in 9th grade and made the Varsity team his junior year. Additionally, Jacob has played the trumpet since he was in 3rd grade. Jacob is also a member of the NFA Debate Team. Jacob thinks back fondly to his days in elementary school, remembering his favorite teacher, “My favorite teacher was my 5th grade teacher, Ms. Hoffman, who let us do lots of creative writing. I had a lot of fun in that class, making comic books and writing stories.”

Outside of school, Jacob has explored his interest in computer science in a variety of ways. He has taken online classes, independent of his high school curriculum. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacob has developed a simple mobile game called “Orbit Hit,” available on the iOS app store. Jacob is currently interested in web development and created the game for fun as a way to develop his skills. Jacob was the winner of the Hudson Valley Hackathon in 2019 and 2020, in which groups had to develop application prototypes and pitch their creations to judges. Jacob has also taken an interest in video editing, and has been making videos in his free time.

Caption 1 – NFA Valedictorian, Sophia Hyun

Caption  2  – NFA Salutatorian, Jacob Johnston

“Before” And “After” Habitat’s Work

A View of Habitat For Humanities’ Parmenter Renovations

City of Newburgh Orange County Legislator, Kevindaryan Lujan shared photos of work done by Habitat for Humanities in the City of Newburgh.  The photos shown below are of East Parmenter Street, before and after the renovations.

Blooming Grove Town Board Update

Craigville Warehouse – At their first board meeting for May, Blooming Grove councilmembers voted to have the town’s Planning Board become the lead agency for the Craigville Warehouse Project on a Special Use Permit (this does not signify any approval, only qualifications have been met to move forward on the application).  Planning Board Chair Ed Gannon emphasized that they will welcome any Town Board input as the project moves forward.  They will also have the assistance of the town’s professional planning group, Nelson, Pope & Voorhees (Bonnie Franson) and the town’s Highway Department.

Council members each emphasized the importance of voting this month, for school board members and the school budget (May 18), and Moffat Library board members (May 11).

CDBG Grants -There were no calls in from the public regarding applications for this year’s Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), but Supervisor Rob Jeroloman said that the public can still send in applications through Friday May 7.  The Town’s CDBG application includes a request for funding of a handicap ramp and automatic doors for Town Hall and an upgrade of the ramp in back to meet 2021 ADA compliance.

Senior Center – The board voted to move forward into contract with McGooey, Hauser, Edsall Engineering, on construction plans for the new Senior Center at Lasser Park which was funded by a 2015 CDBG grant but had to wait for the modular units due to COVID supply delivery delays.

Trash Code Revisions – A public hearing held regarding repeal and replacment of the town’s code regarding solid waste trash pickup, but there did not receive any input from callers into the ZOOM meeting.  The code will be more stringent in order to keep trash bins from sitting out on the street and ending up either in a ditch, in the road, or sitting at the road all week. However, the early removal requirement will allow for some exceptions, and anyone having an issue following it should call the Town Hall.

The Highway Department has been very busy filling potholes and catching up on  paving numerous roadside shoulders.  Highway Superintendent, Wayne Kirkpatrick said they have already done work on a number of roads, including: Bull Mill, Cromwell, Farmingdale, Helms Hill, Cardinal Drive and Round Hill.

Trees For Tribs Holds Annual Otterkill Streamside Planting

Salisbury Mills – Last Saturday volunteers for Trees For Tributaries, Moodna Viaduct,  and the Blooming Grove Conservation Advisory Commission spent several hours along Taylor and Otterkill roads in Salisbury Mills,  planting young saplings in fields that surround the Moodna Viaduct . They also did some general trash collection. Between the waterflow of the Moodna Creek and Otter Kill Tributary, the trees planted in the area will help prevent erosion and will direct water through the tree roots and into the aquifer.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos describes the helpful environmental program to applicants saying, “The Trees for Tribs program works to restore streamside plant communities on public and private lands. By supporting plantings along tributaries (“tribs”), small streams that feed larger rivers and lakes, the program helps create healthier, more climate-resilient communities.  Since 2008 The statewide program has planted over 57,000 trees and shrubs.”  In early Spring the New York State DEC offers free trees for this program, with the caveat that applicants mus gather their own team to plant the trees and commit to maintaining them.

A 102nd Birthday Bash for Peggy Bennett

On Sunday May 2, at the Valley Diner in Marlboro,  family and friends gathered to celebrate the Town of Newburgh’s longtime resident, Peggy Bennett at her 102nd Birthday Party. The event was planned by Kathy Yurchuk who arranged for Peggy to be picked up around 12:30 and everyone met at the diner. Peggy’s nephew Michael came up from North Carolina, along with another nephew from Long Island and granddaughter from Myrtle Beach who had not seen Peggy in years.   When she came into the diner, everyone sang Happy Birthday. Peggy sat in her chair while family and friends congratulated her. Everyone enjoyed her birthday cake, took photos and shared special memories.

Peggy was Judge Angelo Darrigo’s secretary while Angelo was Town Justice in the Town of Newburgh. Paul Ruggerio from the Town Board stopped by along with local police officers. (Photos by Bob McCormick)