Washingtonville High School Graduation June 24, Car Parade June 26th @ 10:00 am

Washingtonville High School’s Class of 2021 will graduate on June 24th @ 7pm.  On June 26th we will be honoring our graduates and their families with a Graduation Car Parade. 

The parade will begin at 10:00 am from the Toleman side of Ahern drive.  The parade will turn right on Toleman to Decker.  At the end of Decker, it will enter Rte. 94 and go through the village until we reach the HS campus.

We are asking the community to come out and cheer on our graduates along the parade route.  Let’s show our Wizards how proud we are of them and all they have accomplished.

Thank you,
Brian Connolly.
WHS Principal

UPDATE: Ed Diana Pleads Guilty on IDA Profit SCHEME Along with Laurie Villasusa and Vincent Cozzolino

By Edie Johnson

In today’s hour long press conference Orange County District Attorney, David Hoovler, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and a Special Prosecutor Stewart Rosenwasser and Chief Assistant DA Christopher Borek detailed a tangled web, Senator James Skoufis who headed State Investigative committees including this issue, they said was also instrumental in bringing this case to justice. Hoover calling it a labyrinth of deception, where the Orange County Industrial Development Agency had such poor organization and legal oversight that despite felonies and engaging in outrageous conflicts of interests, there will be no jail time for former CE Ed Diana or Laurie Villasusa or Vincent Cozzolino. (see the entire press conference at the link below). The three, however, will have to repay a total of $1.26 M monies they received due to their improprieties. Hoovler said that the New Windsor Police Department had flagged what they had heard were “conflicts of interest” going on at the Accelerator divisions, five of which were instituted at various locations around the county, and in each instance there was “double dipping” going on; for example, with both Cozzolino and Villasusa being both on the IDA board and Galileo Technologies payroll. Further, the “overbilling and therefore overpayments” to Galileo for doing technical management work resulted in $1,000,000.00 payments by the IDA which could not even be audited because the bills were so vague and unspecific. By September 10 all three will have to submit paid restitution to the court which will in turn give it back to the IDA. The newly appointed IDA, Hoovler and Rosenwasser said, will be required to have training, ethical disclosures and a structure for accountability. But for now, the former IDA members cannot be prosecuted for the incompetency of their badly organized board. And while they were incompetent, they were volunteers and received no pay.

Funnel to Accelerators, from which they were paid

Both Ed Diana and Laurie Villasusa filed false documents stating there were no conflicts of interest. Cozzalino was said to be the most culpable. In 2015 he persuaded the Ida’s Accelerator Program to greatly increase its funding to Galileo Technologies, for its Accelerator sites around Orange County receiving $579.098.25 in 2019, $475,562.50 in 2018, $374,864.75 in 2017, $335,293.75. in 2016 and $35,000 in 2015.

The labarynth of improper financial dealings

In addition to repayment of $90,000, Ed Diana will be required to assist in a report detailing the IDA’s flaws, so they can have their best chance of being corrected. He will also have to testify to the Orange County Legislature under oath if called to do so. Laurie Villasusa will be required to repay the $175,000 she was paid by Galileo. The remainder of the $1.265 M restitution apparently is required by Cozzalino, who Hoovler said was the most culpable.

Hoovler noted that there was in fact yet another company that the 2 were benefitting from, being paid board members.

Special Counsel Rosenwasser emphasized, “There is NO indication of any fraud in the PILOT agreements. They brought the money in, the Accelerators took it out.

Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus commented after the press conference,:

““Today’s guilty pleas are disturbing and in the eyes of many in the public, the punishment does not fit the crime. Clearly, State laws must be changed and Moving forward, the Legislature must, as it appoints new Board Members, put only people who are interested in public service on the IDA Board.  You cannot serve two masters – that is what led to the sloppy and criminal actions under the past Board. The current five Board members are doing a great job and the Legislature needs to continue that trend and not go back to appointing self-interested people who are trying to make money for their own industry.” Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus

District Attorney Hoovler Press Conference in entirety is at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImUaqJZ1UzA&t=127s

Photo by Bob McCormick
Charts from District Attorney Hoovler’s Offic

Editorial – Last Week the New York State Legislature Gave Away the Middle Class



The good news about end of New York Legislature’s end of Session debates in Albany last week is that the discussions were respectful and reasonable….reasonable in the sense that each lawmaker gave reasons for the laws they wanted passed.  But some of the reasons  given were outrageously unreasonable.  They funded and funded things that many in the middle class cannot afford to help pay for, and are financially foolish at a time when inflation is already taking a heavy toll on most middle class families. Talk of limits on income and property taxes ignores the elephant in the room, school taxes. And now, more foolish spending.  In the ultimate ridiculous decision, and having the legislature’s majority (democrat) votes, they chose to pass a law that will require that all commercial fuel tanks must be painted white, EVEN THE ONES BURIED UNDERGROUND.  This includes ALL gas stations, and those would have to be dug back up first.  This because someone with a commercial tank company told a lawmaker that there are more emissions that could cause environmental health risks from a dark or other colored tank, except for beige, because white will reflect rather than absorb the sunlight…Oh, if not white then they can be painted beige.  By and large this was a law proposed by the democrats in the legislature, and the republicans were against it.  One asked “What difference would it make if the tank is  buried underground anyway?”  Another said “My understanding is that it’s just at the connections where there can be any leaking. Why not just paint the connecting pieces white, or beige?”  Yet another lawmaker wanted to know “What kind of scientific studies have been done to indicate this problem.”   The answer was “None that I know of, but tankmakers seem to agree.”  Yet another cautioned “The VOC’s in painting all of these tanks will probably cause more harm in emissions that it will prevent.”   One lawmaker, beginning to lose patience,  raised his voice and said “Do you realize this is going to cost BILLIONS of dollars. Just who is going to pay for it, plus the labor costs?”  And finally, several said “IF it helps at all, wouldn’t it make sense to paint them white or beige the NEXT time they need to be painted, or when finishing new ones?” But this time the democrats had the votes, as they did on most laws being considered on the last day of the session.  Not that there aren’t instances in our recent lawmaking where republicans offer 100% votes on something that doesn’t entirely make sense.  But the reasonableness of the thing being voted on is not even the main issue, which is the fact that that just about everything these days is voted on as a “party vote”, is a sign of an increasingly faulty process. It reflects a process that does not include in depth discussion between members of different parties.  It highlights that allegiance is trumped by party these days MOST of the time. We knew that….but we see party politics continuing to grow daily, and that is frightening. Does it suggest that some members have not carefully thought the issues out, but rather take a short cut and vote with their friends?

That is wrongminded. It’s bad for our local communities, and bad for America.

Town of Newburgh Desmond Center Begins Summer Offerings

Desmond Center in the Town of Newburgh has been preparing for this for a long time.  After purchasing the Learning/Enrichment Center last year they have worked hard setting up a full set of exciting activities for both the young and old, starting with 94 listings.  Enrichment, especially for the very young during Summer months, and for seniors who have plenty of learning and life to live yet, is finally being recognized as an important priority.

Art, Yoga, Craft, Dance Mix, Take Off Pounds Sensibly, Insurance Reduction, Camp Chadwick, Young Camp Chadwick, Extended Camp Hours, Teen Chadwick, Creative French, Eye Spy – with my little eye! Films of Cary Grant, Introduction to Ukelele for Kids, Oils and Acrylics, Summer Painting with Pastels, Sherlock Holmes & The Victorian Age, Washington & Lincoln, Zumba, Knitting & Crocheting Club, Moon Hike at Chadwick Lake Park, Itsy Bitsy Summer, Kiddie Kamps 1-5, Twosies Summer Tues, Dial-a-Ride, Senior Van Transportation, Co-Ed Summer Coach Basketball Leagues, Summer Youth Basketball, Skyhawks Lacrosse Camp, Mini Hawk Camp, Sky Hawks Multi-Sports, Skyhawks – Stem & Play Soccer Camp, Skyhawks – Sports & Games Camp Skyhawks – Tennis Camp

Desmond House is located at 6 Albany Post Rd, Town of Newburgh and is part of the Town’s Parks Department.  For more information, and to sign up, go to:

https://townofnewburgh.recdesk.com/Community/Program

Annual Car & Bike Show For Law Enforcement Officers

The skies were grey but the cars and bikes shone as if the sun was high in the sky! Over 260 vehicles were entered in the Orange County Car and Bike Show this past Sunday, June 13,  to raise funds for the Orange County Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Goshen, NY.  It was held at the Orange County Fire Training Facility in New Hampton. 

The show was hosted by the Quick Insurance Agency located in the Village of Washingtonville for the 5th consecutive year.  Over $15,000 was raised to include additional names of first responders who passed away this past year due to a service related death. There was a $300 first prize, along with a 50/50 raffle. Many well deserved trophies were awarded.

(Story and photos courtesy of Johanna Kiernan)

Patriotism Front And Center

By Edie Johnson

With Independence Day just around the corner, Flag Day just behind us, and area Legion posts taking care of the respectable discharge of old flags by burning them and putting out new ones to replace them,

Caption: American Legion Post 1796-New Windsor-held their annual flag burning ceremony on Sunday June 13. Bags of old torn faded flags were burned after a brief ceremony- Commander Joe Pifer deemed the flags unfit to be displayed. Sergeant at Arms Fran Lopez gave the order to start burning the flags. With help from NFA JR ROTC,Sons of the American Legion and New Windsor FD,the flags were burned. Firefighters stood by and watched and registered heat from fire. The ceremony started around nine o’clock and by eleven thirty all flags were burned. Firefighters then stood by untill the fire cooled down. Hamburgers/hot dogs were cooked outside and refreshments were served.

One might have to think twice before deciding what all the fireworks were about the past few nights.  Not all, but probably most are a reaction to and a grand celebration of the fact that New York has reached the critical number of 70% individuals who have been vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus. 

Governor Cuomo has relaxed almost all of the Covid restrictions, as have local governments who have mostly restarted in-person meetings and reopened their municipal headquarters, though some are maintaining the newer restrictions on capacity in rooms and buildings. Couple that with the number of New Yorkers who have had the virus and have recuperated and still have immunity, that brings all of Orange County pretty close to what is being called “Herd Immunity” and a very possible goal of 75% coverage by Independence Day, July 4.  Herd immunity is when the virus can’t find enough victims to stay strong enough to infect or morph into an alternate variant.  So people have lots to celebrate, especially with only 1 municipality  in the county reporting ANY Covid cases this week, and everyone poised to celebrate area graduations, senior parties and awards. Despite a year of family and friend illnesses, scattered school classes with on and off in- classes and remote as well as limited athletic practices, often wearing masks that can interfere with full oxygenating,  Eastern Orange County students achieved 3 incredibly impressive State Sectional Athletic Championships (see page14 – Cornwall Baseball Division IXA, Newburgh Free Academy Division IXAA, and Washingtonville Swim and Dive Section IX),

Still, young children and immune compromised individuals who have not been vaccinated  should continue wearing masks when in contact with others who may not be vaccinated.  Experts say that with the latest “Delta”  variant from overseas individuals have only 30% protection if they have not had their second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. New York State  health guidelines continue to be in effect for large-scale indoor event venues, pre-K to grade 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, barber shops, and health care settings per CDC guidelines. With the removal of the state’s minimum standard for reopening, businesses are free to choose to lift all or some restrictions or continue to adhere to the state’s archived guidance,

Meanwhile, residents are laser focused on making their properties, beautiful and festive for Summer, for the celebrations of young people stepping up, and for a special American Independence Day.

Blooming Grove Is Back In Session

By Edie Johnson

For the first time since March of 2020, Blooming Grove held an in person Town Board Meeting, albeit through a remaining plexiglass partition and a limit on attendees since there is no way to tell for sure who is fully vaccinated and who is not.  The separation restriction of board members by distance and plexiglass remain  for a short while until ongoing COVID-19 court restrictions, (court being held in the same building) are officially removed by the State.  Like other communities the Town has been holding ZOOM sessions, which have enabled many more residents to attend who otherwise would not be able to.  The upstairs bathroom is now unisex and fully ADA compliant.  Future ZOOM sessions will rely on some upgrades planned for the building’s internet connectivity system, since it has been problematic for awhile.  Both board members and an audience of about 7 residents were upbeat, feeling that the government/resident connection has been missed, a scenario likely being played out in thousands of other municipalities as a sense of normalcy returns.Two attendees were masked, the others were not.  With additional residents participating online in discussions about new projects via social media, Councilman Steve Amante noted that it is easy for confusion to lead to misinformation.  He said he wants to be sure that every resident knows they can call him or any of the other councilmembers if they have questions or want more information.

Preliminary work on the Central Garage Cold Storage Building discovered some instability  of the subsurface ground where the foundation and footings will go.  The town hired Kevin Patton, a professional engineer and professional geologist to analyze and give recommendations for a new base that will be laid after the areas of mulch and instability are removed. Six runs will be used to pack each layer, which will consist of various densities of stone, up to 2-4″rock, and a layer of geofabric  which allows for drainage. He will also give recommendations for the base at the Senior Center being planned at Lasser Park. Modules have not yet been delivered for the Senior Center Building because the  company providing them is still waiting for parts. Meanwhile there are some renovations being made to the plans for the Kitchen area which because of new DOH regs will require 3 sinks. Residents have noted how grateful they are for the repaving of Tuthill Road which has been completed with the exception of striping.

Work on the Mays’ Field Dam has been completed, and bids have been sent out for upcoming work on the Washingtonville culvert.

The Town’s State of Emergency, which had to be reinstated many times over the past year because of procedural requirements was ended by Supervisor Rob Jeroloman at 7:53 pm. The Town Board Session that was set for  July 6, 2021 was rescheduled  to July 7, 2021 at 7:30 pm.