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.”

Police Investigating Shootings In “Quiet” Neighborhood

The crime scene on Waring Road Monday evening. (photo by Bob McCormick)
The crime scene on Waring Road Monday evening. (photo by Bob McCormick)

By Mark Gerlach

TOWN OF NEWBURGHTwo shootings in a “quiet” neighborhood off Route 52 behind the Winona Lake Fire Department are being investigated by the town police.

Multiple gunshots were reported Saturday morning at around 2:20 a.m. near a home on Innis Avenue. An 18-year-old male was seated in his car when a white S.U.V. called to him. Another car came down the street and the S.U.V. pulled away, police said.

The man began walking into his house when the S.U.V. appeared on the street again. It stopped adjacent to the car and an occupant fired numerous rounds into the driver’s side of the car, police said. The S.U.V. then fled the area. Numerous shell casings and bullet evidence were recovered by police.        

On Monday evening multiple gunshots were reported on Waring Road. Several rounds struck a home which was occupied at the time of the shooting, police said. The residents were in the living room and one round hit the living the room ceiling. No injuries were reported.

The investigation is ongoing in both incidents, which are not believed to be related, according to Town of Newburgh Police Chief Michael Clancy. Police are not releasing the names of possible suspects at the time.

Those with information are asked to call the Town of Newburgh Police Department at 845-564-1100.

Farewell to Fr. Bill, St. Mary’s

Fr. Bill said his final mass at St. Mary's last week. The longtime pastor of the church was given another assignment from the archdiocese effective this month, and St. Mary's closed its doors for regular services. (photo provided)
Fr. Bill said his final mass at St. Mary’s last week. The longtime pastor of the church was given another assignment from the archdiocese effective this month, and St. Mary’s closed its doors for regular services. (photo provided)

By Mark Gerlach

Father William Scafidi, better known as Fr. Bill, held a farewell mass Friday evening at St. Mary’s Church, located at 180 South St. in Newburgh. The church was at full capacity for the farewell mass.

Due to an assignment change from the Archdiocese of New York, Fr. Bill left St. Mary’s and is now stationed at St. Peter’s Church in Liberty. The move coincides with the archdiocese merging St. Mary’s with St. Patrick’s, located at 55 Grand St.

Both actions took effect August 1.

A message on the St. Mary’s website said: “After 140 years of continuous faith practice and service to our community, the Church of St. Mary has ceased regular operations… Even though the church is now closed, and Father Bill reassigned, his spirit will live in each of us, as we were all directly affected by his presence.”

Although St. Mary has closed for regular masses and sacraments, it will be available for “special occasions,” according to the message on the St. Mary’s website. The message went on to note that the definition of “special occasions… has not yet been defined (by the archdiocese).”

Crowd Attends Cardinal Dolan Mass

About 1,000 visitors packed into the Kaplan Recreation Center at Mount Saint Mary College for a mass celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan on July 25. The mass marked the finale of the college’s summer camp called Camp Veritas. About 600 students in grades seven through twelve from the tri-state area and beyond attended the camp, which featured activities such as soccer, volleyball, swimming and more.

Town Protecting Against Cyber Threats

By Mark Gerlach

TOWN OF NEWBURGH – The Town of Newburgh is taking precautions to protect itself against cyber criminals potentially on the hunt to steal information about its residents.

The town renewed its anti-virus contract at a work session Wednesday night. Newburgh uses Symantec for its antivirus software. The contract renewal cost about $1,015.

But it’s worth the money, according to Supervisor Gil Piaquadio.

Cyber threats are a concern for the town, Piaquadio said. The town has firewalls and is “up on the latest technology” to protect against possible threats, he said.

Cyber criminal eye municipalities for information, such as the social security numbers of residents, Piaquadio said.