On January 2, 10-year-old Asher Anaya from New Windsor completed the requirements to become a member of the Catskill 3500 Club. Asher is the so of Aaron and Manuela Anaya and is a student at the Lee Road Elementary School in Cornwall. He completed the hike along with his parents and sister, Yanisa. Asher’s formal application will be submitted to the Club and upon acceptance he will receive his member number.
Hiking is a family tradition in the Anaya family. Both Aaron and Yanisa are members of the 3500 Club. Manuela is currently aspiring to complete the challenge. Thus far he has hiked 16 of the 39 required Catskill mountain peaks. Out of respect for others, he hopes to raise awareness about the “Leave No Trace” principles including: Plan Ahead & Prepare, Travel & Camp On Durable Surfaces, Dispose Of Waste Properly, Leave What You Find, Minimize Campfire Impacts, Respect Wildlife, and be considerate of other visitors..
Upon completion of the hike, Asher said “Whenever you get to the mountain, there’s always an exciting adventure ahead of you.”
The Catskill 3500 Club was founded in 1962 to foster interest in hiking in the Catskills. Membership is open to all who have climbed one each of the 35 Catskill Peaks on foot, above 3500 ft. in elevation. In order to achieve this goal, Asher was also required to hike an additional four Catskill peaks during the Winter season. His final hike took place on Slide Mountain which is the highest peak in the Catskills. It has an elevation of about 4200 feet.
Caption: Asher is pictured with his parents Aaron and Manuela at the summit of Slide Mountain. He was presented with the Catskill 3500 Club patch from his dad.
City of Newburgh – On Friday December 31, volunteers handed out brand new jackets to children of all ages. A parent would pull up in their vehicle to a representative from the Unity Center who would take the sizes of the children in the car. Volunteers then went inside the Center and placed the jackets/coats in a bag and to give to the parents. The coat donations were given by Amazon, the City of Newburgh Police Department and private citizens in the area. By the time it was done there were smiles all around. (Photos by Bob McCormick)
New Windsor – In September of 2019, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (Congressional District 18) met with Purple Heart Hall of Honor officials and announced his plans to pass the Purple Heart Commemorative Coin Act. After two and a half years the bill has passed both the United States Senate and House. Earlier this week it was signed by President Donald J. Trump and became law.
This bill will provide the Hall of Honor with funding for veterans programs and promotions in the coming years. Beautiful commemorative coins that are minted right at West Point will be sold and the profits made available for a variety of veteran programs including the organization’s annual Purple Heart Hero awards.In addition, it will bring business to the West Point Mint.
The Purple Heart Hall of Honor recently completed a building addition that showcases the history of American heroism. The coins and new building will be an important asset for visitors, and especially the young, who will come and learn about their country’s history of valor.
In an elevation this week of the usual Orange County political rivalry, the temperature steamed as the saga went on. What Assemblyman Colin Schmitt saw as a perfectly appropriate 5-minute or so sendoff to a group of residents representing “The Right To Life” (anti-abortion), a single party system, and opposed to a new executive order from Governor Andrew Cuomo that will allow removal of a potentially dangerous/ill individual from a situation where he or she could affect the health and/or safety of others, the Assemblyman (who the same day took the oath of office for his second term) had no idea of the mire he might be stepping into.
Schmitt said he spoke to the group, after being asked by Right to Life, to come and say a word or two along with a prayer, adding “many of them were young mothers and others were seniors, some needing canes”. Little did he know that a photographer taking a photo of him in the bus with the group, (and maskless, although there appears to have been adequate distancing), would bring it where it made its way to the Times Herald Record and Orange County Democratic Chairman Brett Broge. The photo then took on a life of its own, with dems saying Schmitt was contributing to the Washington DC chaos that erupted later in the day. Broge called it behavior unbefitting of a representative, poor judgment, and asked for Schmitt’s resignation. Schmitt called Broge’s comments part a socialist smear campaign connected to the NYC Socialist crowd, and added “These are not terrorists. These are people I go to church with. We spoke for a few moments and prayed.” He demanded an apology to himself and to the group of faith-based constituents, from Broge, James Skoufis and Sean Patrick Maloney (who had joined Broge in condemning the sendoff).
The busload, Schmitt said, had nothing to do with any of the rioting that deluged the Capitol. Then, after his young staff and family received what he said were credible threats, he blasted the dems for putting them all in danger. He then reassembled the group to show how unlikely they were to be terrorists (young moms and seniors…some with canes), and that they had been only on the outskirts at the capitol and not even close to the riot, and that he himself believed there was no excuse for the DC violence. He again demanded an apology from Brett Broge and asserted it in a videoclip with the former bus participants. The video cannot be shared due to Facebook sharing security constraints, but can be seen on his Facebook page. From his website Schmitt called on his supporters to write letters to Broge asking for an apology and posted a form letter they could use.
But the controversy would not quite end there. At least one more chapter ensued as the dems showed an extremely short clip of an interview of the bus trip participants. It did not go quite as planned. One of the participants began by saying that when they arrived they saw “You know, Antifa/BLM members infiltrating”. “How did you know they were BLM members?” the interviewer asked (DC authorities have not found evidence of any significant BLM participation). Another of the trip participants said “Oh, you can tell who’s a Trump supporter.” Colin Schmitt abruptly ended the interview, saying “I think that’s enough”, with the group seeming to show more controversial views than expected. That video also cannot be shared because of Facebook’s security restrictions.
Usual politics? A bad judgment call by Schmitt by not realizing the group was quite as ‘right-leaning’ as it was, or an overreaction by Broge asking for Schmitt’s resignation over something relatively minor? The public responded in dialogues of hundreds of social media posts, some saying that despite the politics this group of likely at-risk of COVID seniors should have been staying safely at home. Others asked “Why?, they have as much a right to protest as anyone, and bottom line is they had nothing whatsoever to do with the violence.” So was it fair calls on both sides? Much ado about little or nothing? Or an overall ugly sample of the dangerous politics of our time?
Update 1/9/2021 Broge continued the political ping-pong again today (Saturday 1/9) with the following: “In my role as chair of the Orange County Democratic Committee, I believe I have a duty to call out Assemblyman Colin Schmitt and his supporters on that bus for their dishonorable acts of supporting a rally which had the implicit and ultimate purpose of carrying out the violence that we watched on Wednesday. The bulk of the blame for Wednesday’s violence I place on the actual participants and the President of the United States. However, politicians like the Assemblyman, who have failed to stand up to the President’s lies and those on the bus that have failed to question the lies, share responsibility as well. As Senator Mitt Romney stated the other day, “Republican politicians need to tell Trump voters the Truth.” In this case there was no election fraud or stolen elections. And further, this was not Antifa that did this. This is primarily aggrieved white Americans radicalized by the false narratives being fed to them by Republican politicians and the right wing media. So the Assemblyman and his supporters can continue to curse at me or call me a “Socialist”, but as long as he continues to indulge these false narratives that radicalize his misguided constituents, I am going to continue to tell him to step down.” But Schmitt has a strong group of supporters as well. Within a day and a half, a dozen Orange County officials sided with him and wrote letters of support, including Blooming Grove Deputy Supervisor, George Doering, Monroe Town Supervisor, Tony Cardone, Orange County Clerk, Annie Rabbitt, Orange County Right to Life, and the Rockland County Republican Committee as well as residents from the area who are also sending letters of support.
This story does simply not want to go away. The Orange County Post welcomes any comments sent to us as Letters to the Editor.
Orange County Executive announced late this evening “I have received this link for eligible residents to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine. We are already in Phase 1A and the State has indicated that Phase 1B will begin on Monday. I encourage Orange County residents that are part of that group (education workers, those 75 and older, first responders, including police and firefighters, public safety workers and public transit workers) to sign up for an appointment.”
After nearly 20 years of alternate proposals for the former Lake Anne/Clovewood 708-acre site on Clove Road in the Village of South Blooming Grove, and with a dozen or so different proposals that have included a Country Club, a corporate retreat, a Chinese Theme Park, an International Trade Center, a Mobile home Center , now the public’s draft review of a 600-home (with possible accessory appartments) high density cluster develepment ( that to date has primarly been pre-marketed to the hasidic community) is done. In 2004, owner Marvin Green said he hoped it would be developed for a commercial use, to limit the land use and traffic implications. But Green was murdered, and since then an investor group, Keen Equities has struggled to stay out of bankruptcy and design a workable plan that would be acceptable to the community, when their plans effectively would double its population and the builders estimate they could make over $50 M. on the project.
At the last of public hearings about the proposed project’s DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement), held via ZOOM, with about 100 residents and organizations with interest in its outcome, many again made passionate statements, to table the plan until something more realistic can be designed. Their reasons have been heard before, but now with greater urgency and backed by regional experts backing the likelihood of serious negative impacts (whereas the DEIS says it expects no significant impacts would be caused by doubling the village population and water use. Interested parties who stated their objections included the Moodna Watershed Council, Orange County Land Trust, Gonzaga Park Group Admin with the primary objection being that there simply is not water for a project of this magnitude. They are backed by a group of the world’s top aquifer experts who have said that the main aquifer serving the municipalities of the Town and Village is not recharging. Guy Jones, owner of Blooming Hill Farm which is about 2 miles downhill from the site, explained that in the many years his family has farmed the area they have grown to understand the “Mercurial Nature” of the Satterly Creek (which is proposed for sewage effluent discharge). The Satterly Creek, he said is intermittent, often dry or nearly dry in Summer, but when it rains it gushes.” It may flood areas but the water is mostly near the surface and does not generally soak into the groundwater.
Granite and shale ledges further complicate it’s flow and cause surface and beneath the surface flows that feed several farms and eventually go to the Round Hill Marsh and on to the Moodna Creek, but limit absorption into the major aquifer. Alternative plans have suggested either building an offsite sewage plant and piping the effluent to it, as well as the potential to drill through Schunnemunk Mt. to connect to water from Kiryas Joel .
But 4 of the 100 residents present at the Zoom Meeting argued for the growing need for affordable housing in the area, and claimed that roadblocks placed in front of the project were in essence bias based against the hasidic community. Two legal experts, however, have claimed the opposite, that the project breaks Fair Housing laws by not offering breaks for other societal groups and especially not offering to the black and hispanic communities.
Other significant objections include the timing of the reviews. Many residents are older individuals who do not have access to computers or know how to “Zoom” and are therefore disenfranchised from the review process.
Johanna Kiernan, who previously had detailed the Moodna Watershed Council and Conservation Advisory Committee’s objections summed up that it would be a very significant impact on quality of life, and that she wondered why, if people didn’t like the rural character of the area, then why would they want to move here.
Traffic is another main concern, with Route 208 already being the main commuter route from both New York City and other local towns. Accidents are all too frequent between Monroe, through Blooming Grove and to Washingtonville. A secondary access to the site was also objected to by locals. Traffic studies as well as many building codes have changed and many said several studies need to be redone to be congruent with current regulations.
While many of the 708 acres are dedicated to parkland, there is controversy over what of that parkland is available to anyone but its residents, and there is increasing pressure to count backyards and side yards as parkland in order to qualify for a density bonus.
Much as Timber Rattlesnakes are not usually a favorite species, they are a critically endangered species and strongly protected, and this is one of the increasingly dwindling sites for them in the whole region. There are currently 13 dens on the SE slope on and adjacent to the site that are estimated to have been prime breeding areas for 7,000 years. The dens include 120 Timber Rattlesnakes, 43 of which are on the property and 35 on adjacent land. With construction activities many, if not all, would be driven from the area.
“A Pristine View is no longer a Pristine View if it looks down on a high density development”
Michael Kileen, Admin. of the Gonzaga Park group pointed to the impacts on visual imagery. He pointed to the increasing numbers of hikers coming to Schunnemunk and their impact on tourism at this end of the county. He said “Any development must adhere to sustainable, and if it is destroyed it can never be recovered.” He pleaded “Please Save Schunnemunk”
Further, residents have asked what the plans are or what cleanup there has or has not been of the toxic landfill on the site.
Dawn Salka pointed to the cost of the huge cost burden there would be on existing residents for busing and shuttling both students and adults in addition to school expansions that would be necessary for the large increase in children.
Village of South Blooming Grove Fire Chief, John Salka detailed the already existing limits on water that is needed to fight fires. He said “All you have to do is look at the notice on the Front Door of Village Hall. It lists water restrictions. And the water right next door at the Firehouse looks like chocolate milk. It’s been like that for 30 years.”
Salka also told the group that this was the second VSBG Zoom meeting in which he has been impersonated (someone else logging in with his name). He and the Village officials plan to trace the IP address of the impersonator with the help of the Blooming Grove Police Department.
A land use attorney pointed out illegalities that she said have incurred during the process and emphasized that the decision whether to approve this project or not will lie in the hands of the Planning Board, and not the Village Board. She also submitted a 17-page report describing what she believes are the projects issues.
Blooming Grove Town Supervisor, Rob Jeroloman has stated numerous times that “Water does not know municipal boundaries” and that as Supervisor of the adjacent municipality he has serious concerns about impact on the shared aquifer. Residents on adjacent properties have contacted him and complained that impacts on their wells were not tested, yet they noticed a difference during the site water tests.
The public’s comments will now be reviewed by project and village consultants/experts and there will be a response to each item in a new FEIS (FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT).
Letters and questions from the public will be accepted for 10 days from the meeting date which was 1/5/2021.
Village Mayor George Kalaj thanked the participants of the Zoom meeting and the Village Board voted as did the Planning Board to end this series of Public Hearings that seemed to many to be endless.
CRONOMER VALLEY ACCIDENT WITH ENTRAPMENT & AIRLIFT
In a near miracle rescue on December 28, Cronomer Valley Fire Department responded to a two-vehicle Motor Vehicle Accident with a driver entrapped in one of the vehicles on Route 300 south of Jeannie Drive. One of the drivers was transported to Montefiore St Luke’s Cornwall Hospital. Firefighters used hand tools and Jaws of Life to get the second driver free from the vehicle. Town of Newburgh EMS requested a Medivac to land, so Cronomer Valley Fire Department set up a Landing Zone behind Gardnertown School. He was then transferred via Life Net and by Medivac to Westchester Medical Center. The Town of Newburgh Police are investigating the cause. Traffic was detoured during the transfers by Cronomer Valley Fire and Police departments. The driver was conscious and alert during the transfer and is expected to survive.
On December 29th 2020, New Windsor Police Officer Levy and Detective Pierri conducted a traffic stop on Route 9W of a vehicle out of Riverhead NY.
During the traffic stop it was determined that the occupants did not possess a valid license and during this process a quantity of Felony weight Cocaine was located in the vehicle.Deputy Michael Muller and K-9 Maverick from the Orange County Sheriffs Office was also called to assist and the indication from the K-9 in the vehicle led to another quantity of Felony Weight Cocaine being located.
CLAUDIO SIERRA-ESTEBANAge 32 Flanders NY
RONY BONILLA MORALES Age 28 Flanders NY
GLORIA REYES Age 24 Riverhead NY
RICARDO CRUZ Age 29 Riverhead NY
All were charged with:
Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rddegree B- Felony
Criminal Possession of Controlled Substance 4th Degree C-Felony
In accordance with NYS Bail Reform all subjects were issued an appearance ticket and released.
Some guys just don’t give up, like MarcSean Montero who got 2 big wins at the NYC Armory this month. MarcSean is a Junior at Cornwall High School, and while he’s a Dragon at heart, his option to race currently is with New Balance Track & Field of Newburgh.
Montero pulled a 2nd place in the 400-Dash and a 4th in the 200-M. The Track & Field events are continuing this week, but with masks required. They of course inhibit good breathing, but these guys are out there to do their BEST, whatever the conditions.
An investigation led to police arriving at this home on a quiet street Sunday morning. Newburgh Town and NY State Police descended on the home. Neighbors .. who would not go on camera .. said they were shocked when they woke up to all the commotion at seven o’clock in the morning. They say they witnessed investigators in hazmat protective suits coming in and out of the home. Some were hauling out large bags of evidence. A large New York State Police trailer was seen parked on the front lawn. State Police and Town Police were on the scene for about six hours, into the early afternoon. A neighbor says a man believed to be in his sixties lives alone in the house. The man apparently owns an oil company. A truck parked in the driveway reads “Affron Fuel Oil, Inc, Providing Worry Free Warmth for 70 Years.”
Stephen Affron was later arrested on Monday, for allegedly running the lab.
(Story and photos Submitted by Mark Lieb and Bob McCormick)