Sonic Youth Guitarist At Storm King

Lee Ranaldo at Storm King Art Center last Sunday. (photo by Daniella Giliberti)
Lee Ranaldo at Storm King Art Center last Sunday. (photo by Daniella Giliberti)

By Mark Gerlach

Renowned guitarist Lee Ranaldo of the influential New York City-based band Sonic Youth put on an avant-garde performance at Storm King Art Center in New Windsor last Sunday.

Ranaldo played a sapphire blue Fender Jazzmaster guitar with a violin bow; hung the guitar from ropes dangling from various trees, launching it in wide circles; and struck the instrument. The result was a meditation-like sound, which was carried through the wide-open green space via two Fender guitar amplifiers.

He also jingled bells and meandered through the crowd gathered on the grass, entrancing the audience. The mellifluous performance lasted approximately an hour without interruption.

Singer-songwriter Kevin Morby opened for Ranaldo, playing a handful of folkly, Bob Dylan-esque songs. Morby has played in bands including The Babies and Woods.

Demolished

An excavator turns condemned apartment houses into matchsticks. (photo provided)
An excavator turns condemned apartment houses into matchsticks. (photo provided)

Demolition of two condemned West Main Street apartment buildings began on August 10. The property is now owned by Moffat Library, which is expanding its current space. The demolition area is slated to become a library parking lot. The former parking lot will become green space. See inside for more coverage.

Four Injured In Newburgh Crash

A state police car was badly damaged during a pursuit of a speeding vehicle Saturday morning. Four people were taken to the hospital due to the crash and later released. The accident is currently under investigation. (photo by Vinnie Dominick)
A state police car was badly damaged during a pursuit of a speeding vehicle Saturday morning. Four people were taken to the hospital due to the crash and later released. The accident is currently under investigation. (photo by Vinnie Dominick)

TOWN OF NEWBURGH – An accident that occurred on Route 17K and Route 300 in the Town of Newburgh Saturday morning sent four people to the hospital, including a state trooper.

The trooper was pursuing a speeding vehicle at the time of the crash, said state police spokesperson Steven Nevel. The cause of the accident is still under investigation, Nevel said. It is unclear at this time if the suspect was apprehended.

The four victims that were taken to the hospital were treated and released, according to Nevel.

The Winona Lake Fire Department responded to the scene. The accident shut down the roads for several hours.

Dry Conditions Eased by Recent Rain

A lawn on Fountayne Court was typical of most of the grass in our area. (photo by Eugenia Moskowitz)
A lawn on Fountayne Court was typical of most of the grass in our area. (photo by Eugenia Moskowitz)

WASHINGTONVILLE – While the Hudson Valley hasn’t had any severe heat waves or temperatures over 95 degrees all summer, the recent weeks of low humidity and sunny skies have caused our soil to dry out more than average.

According to the United States Drought Monitor, while we are not suffering an actual drought, it is “abnormally dry” for this time of year. The dry air and lack of rain, coupled with temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s,has caused grasses and shrubs to go brown and brittle, and even make the leaves on fully mature trees wilt.

While the heavy rains on Tuesday were welcome, many people feel the damage to their lawns has been done.

But is this true? Landscapers agree that most lawns have just “shut down” or gone dormant and will bounce back within a week after a significant rain. However, parts of a lawn that were already weak going into the drought (for example the parts overlying poor rocky soil, or lawns that were newly laid) may need to be reseeded. Landscapers also say if your brown brittle grass shows pale green at its base and the roots are still white, it’s alive and will rebound, whereas if the whole root is brown and brittle, it’s dead and needs to be reseeded.

For the best outcome after this drought, landscapers suggest homeowners reseed their entire lawns after the peak stress of summer relaxes a little, giving the most growing time between germination and the nighttime frost/freeze. In the Hudson Valley, this means “fall reseeding” should actually take place the third or fourth weekend in August. This can be done easily with any grass seed and an inexpensive push-spreader. Tossing seed by hand works fine. Homeowners can then be assured a full recovery of their lawns next spring.

Cameron Takes Reins As Police Chief

City of Newburgh Police Chief Daniel Cameron seen here at a June police-community relations event at Newburgh Free Library. (photo by Mark Gerlach)
City of Newburgh Police Chief Daniel Cameron seen here at a June police-community relations event at Newburgh Free Library. (photo by Mark Gerlach)

CITY OF NEWBURGH – After approximately eight months as acting chief, debates over residency requirements and city council discussions, Daniel Cameron is now police chief.

City Manager Michael Ciaravino made the appointment last week.

“Chief Cameron’s institutional knowledge and management skills have earned the respect of City residents, including many former critics of the Force,” Ciaravino said in a statement. “He also has earned the respect of law enforcement leaders including the Department of Criminal Justice Services, which provides crucial funding for our police department. Most importantly, Daniel Cameron has earned the respect of our police officers.”

Cameron took over as acting chief after former chief Michael Ferrara retired in January. Cameron has been a member of the police department for about 18 years.

A large number of city residents and others turned out at a city council meeting last month to support Cameron’s appointment, speaking during a public comment portion of the meeting.

The city council, although largely in favor of Cameron as police chief, questioned overriding or changing the city residency requirement to make the appointment. Cameron does not live in the City of Newburgh.

Ciaravino touted a reduction of crime in the city at the July meeting. For the first half of 2015, Newburgh saw a 47 percent reduction in gun-related crimes, as well as a 57 percent decrease in “bullet-to-body shootings” and a 72 percent reduction of “gun-related, aggravated assaults,” according to Ciaravino.

Fire Overtakes New Windsor Home

(photo by E. Smith)
(photo by E. Smith)

A fire charred the rear of a home located at 42 Creamery Dr. in New Windsor Thursday evening. Volunteer firefighters from Vails Gate and New Windsor, as well as City of Newburgh firefighters, doused the blaze, which engulfed the top and bottom floors. The fire is under investigation. A cause had not been determined as of press time Thursday. No injuries were reported.

Boys BCANY Summer Hoops Festival Coverage

Omari Lane moves the ball up court for the Mid-Hudson team. (photo by Frank DeSantis
Omari Lane moves the ball up court for the Mid-Hudson team. (photo by Frank DeSantis

The boys and girls Mid-Hudson team took part in the BCANY Summer Hoops Festival in Johnson City from July 31 to August 2. Pick up a copy of The Sentinel and Orange County Post at your nearest newsstand for more information and photos.

Sweet Turnout At Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Alex’s Lemonade Stand was held at the Moffat Library on August 2. (photo by Eugenia Moskowitz)
Alex’s Lemonade Stand was held at the Moffat Library on August 2. (photo by Eugenia Moskowitz)

By Eugenia Moskowitz

The Alex’s Lemonade Stand held by Washingtonville sixth grader Charlotte Petersen at the Moffat Library on August 2 was very well attended, according to Charlotte’s mother Abby Peterson. “We couldn’t ask for a better community in which to do this,” Abby said. “We had so much support and donations from library staff, patrons and friends who gave not only funds but also their time and energy to this phenomenal project.” While guests milled on the front porch, Moffat’s youth librarian Anna Gordon held a lemon-oriented craft and story time in the library’s children’s room. Jewelry and other items were raffled off as people ate lemon-themed cookies and lemon sweets. “We look forward to creating an even bigger lemonade stand next summer,” Peterson said. “We’re not yet sure exactly how, but welcome anybody who wants to be a part of it as it grows.”

Bye Bye Balmville Tree

After more than 300 years in its current location, the historic Balmville Tree was cut down Wednesday. (photo by Bob Root)
After more than 300 years in its current location, the historic Balmville Tree was cut down Wednesday. (photo by Bob Root)

By Mark Gerlach

TOWN OF NEWBURGH – Since approximately 1699 a large eastern cottonwood tree has been growing in Balmville. That is until Wednesday, when the tree ended its about 316-year run.

The decision to have the historic tree cut down was made by the Department of Environmental Conservation. The tree had “a greatly expanded crack” that made it “an immediate threat to passing traffic,” a DEC statement said.

“It is with deep regret and sadness that we make the decision to remove this historic and much-beloved tree that has been a historic symbol for Newburgh and the region for generations,” said acting DEC Commissioner Marc Gerstman in the statement. “However, the damaged tree poses a significant public safety risk that makes its removal necessary.”

The tree, dubbed the Balmville Tree, was located at the intersection of River Road, Balmville Road and Commonwealth Avenue. About a 300-foot stretch of roadway was closed due to safety concerns involving the possible collapse of parts of the tree.

The area was morphed into a small park with stone walls to accommodate the tree decades ago.

The DEC consulted with a “professional arborist” who recommended the removal, according to the announcement. The Saugerties-based company J&J Tree Works took down the tree.

The future of the tree site is unclear at this time. The DEC said it’s working with town officials and adjoining landowners to decide the future of the land. Possible uses for the tree’s wood are also being explored. The wood is currently being housed at the town’s Department of Public Works facility and at the DEC, according to spokesperson Sarah Shepard.

The Balmville Tree was more than 98 inches in diameter and was considered the oldest living eastern cottonwood in the U.S., the DEC said.

The DEC has maintained the tree since 1976. In 1995 a steel mast and wire system was installed to help support the tree. The trunk and most the tree’s remaining branches were hollow, the DEC said.

Crystal Run Healthcare Opens Its Doors

The ribbon cutting ceremony at Crystal Run Healthcare in the Town of Newburgh Tuesday. (photo by Mark Gerlach)
The ribbon cutting ceremony at Crystal Run Healthcare in the Town of Newburgh Tuesday. (photo by Mark Gerlach)

By Mark Gerlach 

TOWN OF NEWBURGH – Crystal Run Healthcare, a new medical facility across the street from Wal-Mart on Route 300, celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting Tuesday. The facility is likely to bring a number of jobs into the area.

“It seems like just yesterday that we were here at the ground breaking,” said Newburgh Town Supervisor Gil Piaquadio. “The way this beautiful building was constructed to specifications and on time, without any issues whatsoever, shows business as usual at the Crystal Run organization…”

“This building will fill a great medial need, not just in the Town of Newburgh, New Windsor and the City of Newburgh, but for the entire area,” Piaquadio said.

About 44 new employees attended a monthly orientation at the organization in August, according to Crystal Run CEO Hal Teitelbaum. Last month 50 new employees attended the orientation, Teitelbaum said.

Crystal Run, which has about 28 locations in New York and one in New Jersey, has approximately 2,000 employees, according to its website.

Several politicians were on hand for the event including County Executive Steve Neuhaus and senators William Larkin and John Bonacic.

Crystal Run provides young professionals with the opportunity to obtain good jobs in their own backyard, according to Larkin. The area where the building now stands used to be a dog farm several years ago, Larkin said. “But now look what it is,” he said. “This is the mark of a vision by people who care about others.”