Little Known About Shooting of New Windsor Teen

By Mark Gerlach

Questions still surround the shooting of 18-year-old Keyshan Gayle of New Windsor more than a week after his death.

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Keyshan Gayle. (photo provided)

Police have released few details about the incident, which occurred on Aug. 30. Gayle suffered a single gunshot wound to the back in the City of Newburgh near Fullerton Avenue and Third Street. Officers received a “shot fired” call at about 11:15 p.m. Gayle, who was found laying on the ground when police arrived, was taken to St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital’s emergency room in Newburgh, where he was pronounced dead.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the City of Newburgh Police Department at 845-561-3131. 

State police and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office are helping city police with their investigation, a bulletin from the City of Newburgh Police Department said.

Gayle, born in 1998, graduated Newburgh Free Academy in June. “Keyshan’s vibrant sense of humor and his infectious smile made him the kind of person whose friendship everyone coveted,” his obituary said. “He had a naturally-respectful disposition that won over everyone he knew, and he often went out of his way to make others feel welcome and loved.”

To read the full article see the Friday, Sept. 9 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post. 

New Windsor Resident, 18, Dies in Shooting

By Mark Gerlach

A New Windsor teen, and recent Newburgh Free Academy graduate, died from a gunshot wound on Aug. 30.

Keyshan Gayle, 18, suffered a single gunshot wound to the back, police said.

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(photo provided)

“Keyshan was a great person,” Nicolette Scaglione, Keyshan’s girlfriend said. “His smile was the best thing anybody could look at. He was a happy soul.”

Keyshan and Scaglione were together for about eight months, she said. “I loved him with every piece of me,” Scaglione, 16, of New Windsor said. “Those were the best eight months I could have experienced with such a beautiful person.”

The City of Newburgh Police Department received a “shots fired” call at about 11:15 p.m. in the area of Fullerton Avenue and Third Street. Police found Gayle lying on the ground when they arrived. Gayle was taken to St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital on Dubois Street in Newburgh, where he was pronounced dead, police said. Little information about the incident had been released as of press time Thursday.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the City of Newburgh Police Department at 845-561-3131.

The City of Newburgh Police Department, as well as state police, and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office are investigating the shooting.

“He loved his friends,” Scaglione said. “He loved being with his friends and family and being surrounded by good, positive energy. His smile was so bright; he could have lit up a room with it.”

To read the full article see the Friday, Sept. 2 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post. 

 

Police, Community Continue Dialogue at Forum

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(photo by Bob Root)

Members of the community and the City of Newburgh Police Department, as well as other area offices and departments, joined forces for a forum called Strengthening Police and Community Relations. The purpose of the forum is to help foster dialogue between city police and residents. “This forum was our fifth since Jan. 2015 and was, once again, very positive,” Police Lt. Richard Carrion said. “These forums allow the Police Department to discuss our many community policing initiatives, receive feedback and suggestions from our community and to continue building the partnerships necessary to mutually solve problems and keep our community safe.” The forum was held on the evening of Aug. 18 at Newburgh Free Library, located at 124 Grand St. Discussion topics included a juvenile detention alternatives initiative, group violence and crisis intervention, and national police-community relations. Police Chief Daniel Cameron is seen here during a presentation at the forum.

City Crime Stats Elevated This Summer

By Mark Gerlach

There have been a number of gun-related incidents in the City of Newburgh this summer. Crime statistics from 2015 went up in some categories.

Most recently, a 28-year-old victim, Joel Ladson of Beacon, suffered a gunshot wound on Aug. 23, according to a bulletin from the city police department. Ladson’s injuries weren’t life-threatening, police said. The shooting occurred in the area of Grand and Catherine streets.

Twenty-nine-year-old Deandric Little of the Town of Newburgh died from a gunshot wound he sustained on Aug. 1.

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call the City of Newburgh Police Department at 845-561-3131.

City crime statistics have risen overall this summer when compared to last year’s numbers, according to recent data.

“Part one crimes,” which include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, larceny, burglary, and auto theft, have risen in the city since May, when compared to 2015 figures. Crimes in this category were at 104 in May 2015, and rose to 132 in May 2016. Part one crimes were at 102 in June 2015, and have risen to 146 in June 2016, and from 117 in July 2015 to 120 in July 2016.

Violent crime remained about the same, year over year, with the exception of slight decreases in May and July. Violent crime numbers dipped from 41 in May 2015 to 31 in May 2016, and from 45 in July 2015 to 43 in July 2016. There was a small uptick in June from 35 in 2015 to 40 in 2016.

To read the full article see the Friday, Aug. 26 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post. 

DEC: Air National Guard Base A Superfund Site

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Sen. Chuck Schumer toured Washington Lake on Aug. 9 and announced legislation that would require the Air Force to conduct tests regarding groundwater contamination that polluted the lake, which was the city’s water source. The pollution is believed to have come from the Stewart Air National Guard Base. If the Air Force is responsible, his legislation would require it pay for the cleanup. Schumer is seen here with County Executive Steve Neuhaus and City Manager Michael Ciaravino. (photo by Bob Root)

By Mark Gerlach

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has identified the Stewart Air National Guard Base as a Superfund site, an area suspected of pollution and requiring remediation.

The DEC pointed a finger at the U.S. Department of Defense for potentially causing the chemical perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, or PFOS, to contaminate Washington Lake, the City of Newburgh’s public drinking supply, an announcement from the DEC said. The Department of Defense oversees the Stewart Air National Guard Base.

It has been suspected that the Air National Guard Base is the source of the contamination. Last week Sen. Chuck Schumer toured the lake, and urged accountability for the pollution.

Preliminary DEC tests have classified parts of the Stewart Air National Guard Base as a “significant source of the PFOS contamination” discovered in the lake, the DEC announcement said. Some of the highest concentrations of PFOS were detected in an outfall from the Air National Guard Base that drains into Silver Stream, a Washington Lake tributary. Groundwater samples taken from monitoring wells, as well as surface water samples from a retention pond on the base, also detected high PFOS levels.

The pollution is believed to have come from a foam used at the base to fight fires during emergencies and training exercises.

To read the full article see the Friday, Aug. 19 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post. 

Schumer Tours Washington Lake, Urges Accountability For Pollution

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Sen. Chuck Schumer toured Washington Lake on Aug. 9 and announced legislation that would require the Air Force to conduct tests regarding groundwater contamination that polluted the lake, which was the city’s water source. The pollution is believed to have come from the Stewart Air National Guard Base. If the Air Force is responsible, his legislation would require it pay for the cleanup. Schumer is seen here with County Executive Steve Neuhaus and City Manager Michael Ciaravino. (photo by Bob Root)

By Laura Giner Bair

City and county elected officials greeted Sen. Chuck Schumer on Aug. 9 at Masterson Park, as Schumer toured Washington Lake in response to high levels of contamination detected in the city’s water supply.

Schumer plans to hold the Stewart Air National Guard base accountable for the contamination, which is believed to be the source of the pollution known as perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS. New legislation proposed by Schumer would require “the Air Force to do right by the people of the City of Newburgh,” he said.

The Air National Guard is believed to have used foam retardants during drills at the Stewart Air National Guard Base, which some have pinpointed as the cause of PFOS seeping into the water system.

Schumer’s legislation would require the Air Force to “conduct tests… and if found culpable… pay for clean up,” he said. If the Air Force is found culpable, it will need to “release an expedited timeline detailing the immediate steps that will be taken to mitigate the contamination and ensure the critical water supplies residents rely upon are no longer impacted,” Schumer said.

Wayne Vradenburgh, the city’s deputy superintendent of water, said: “Our main concern is public health. State, county, and city staff are working as a team to solve this problem. Politics doesn’t have a role in how we are working together.”

In addition to health concerns resulting from residents consuming the contaminated water, many of whom are calling for free blood testing, the city faces a financial burden for switching to New York City’s Catskill Aqueduct for clean water, as well as for developing a new water filtration system.

To read the full article see the Friday, Aug. 12 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post. 

Police, Community Get Together For Fun, Food

By Laura Giner Bair

Newburgh residents and law enforcement joined forces at the city’s National Night Out on Aug. 2. Temperatures hovered in the 80s and the sky was blue during the event, which helps foster police-community relations.

The city has participated in National Night Out for almost two decades, according to Newburgh police Lt. Richard Carrion. National Night Out, which began in 1984, is conducted in several municipalities throughout the U.S.

In Newburgh, National Night Out was held in a number of locations simultaneously, including the city’s recreation department at 401 Washington St., South Lander St., Tyrone Crabb Park, and Fullerton Ave.

Residents at the event were seen dancing to music, enjoying hot dogs grilled by city police officers, tumbling in a bouncy house, making balloon animals, and drinking lemonade.

Funding Helps Save About 17 City Firefighter Jobs

The jobs of 17 City of Newburgh firefighters have been saved, an announcement from Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney on July 27 said.

Maloney secured slightly more than $2 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds that will help the city’s fire department continue to be “fully staffed,” he said. The money comes from the Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or Safer, program.

“With this grant not only have we avoided layoffs, but we now have the manning to keep our firefighters at safe levels,” City of Newburgh Fire Chief Terry Ahlers said in a statement. “We will now have the people to keep our crews large enough to help avoid injuries, get our hoselines in place quicker to keep fires smaller, and the ability to work more efficiently to get to victims in time.”

The department would have been forced to lay of 17 firefighters if the money wasn’t secured, according to Maloney. The department will now also be able to hire six new firefighters, which will raise the force of the department to approximately 70 members, he said.

“Since my first days on the job I’ve worked hand-in-glove with our local Newburgh Fire Department to ensure they have the manpower, resources, and equipment needed to do their jobs safely and protect our families,” Maloney said.

City Garden Often Unnoticed By Residents

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Tours were held at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center’s garden on July 23. The garden, located in the back of the armory, often goes unnoticed by residents. (photo by Brandon Doerrer)

By Brandon Doerrer

There’s a community garden behind the Newburgh Armory Unity Center. However, the garden often goes undetected by area residents visiting the armory.

“A lot of people come to the armory, but they never come back here,” Lisa Rittwegger, city resident and teacher at the armory’s Saturday morning enrichment programs, said.

Tours of the garden were held on July 23 to help “introduce the garden to the community,” Rittwegger said.

The tours also sought to attract potential renters, although the garden is at full capacity for the 2016 growing season. There’s currently a waiting list for a space.

The growing season runs from April 15 to Nov. 30. Fees vary on plot size. Wooden beds are $20 for a 4 foot by 10 foot space; a 4 foot by 20 foot plot costs $30. Beds made of cinder block are $25.

“(It)’s so important for all of us to know where our food is coming from, and this is the way to figure that out,” Rittwegger said. “You get to meet other people, you’re learning about gardening.”

The sentiment was shared by first-time garden visitor Lisa Timm of Cornwall. “In the city it’s hard to have gardening opportunities and this is right in your backyard,” Timm said. “I hope more people get involved and utilize it.”

To read the full article see the Friday, July 29 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post. 

Attendance Slips At City’s Aquatic Center

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Despite warm temperatures, less city residents have reportedly been using the city’s Aquatic Center this summer. (photo by Laura Giner Bair)

By Laura Giner Bair

Temperatures recently hovered in the ballpark of 90s degrees, or warmer. However, attendance at the City of Newburgh’s Delano-Hitch Aquatic Center is lower than it was in 2015.

Dante Davis, a summer recreation manager and college sophomore monitors capacity at the pool’s entrance. Full capacity at the pool is about 400 patrons, Davis said.

“The full capacity number was reached several times in the summer of 2015,” he said. “A few times we had lines of people outside waiting for someone to leave the pool before they could go in.”

So far this summer attendance numbers haven’t surpassed 300 at a given time, and have even dipped as low as between 60-80, Davis said.

The city found itself in a difficult predicament as summer approached; a possibility existed that the pool wouldn’t open at all. On May 2 a state of emergency was declared by City Manager Michael Ciaravino “due to the discovery of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in Silver Stream and Washington Lake.” The state of emergency was lifted a day later after the city switched its water source to Brown’s Pond, and put the wheels in motion to tap into the Catskill Aqueduct.

Although city water was deemed safe for human consumption following the switch, strict water conservation measures remained that prevented the use of water to fill the pool. Thanks to a 157,000-gallon gift of water from New Windsor, the pool opened just as the school year ended.

Still, worries about water linger. Several sunbathers at the pool were asked why they thought attendance was lower this year. Consistently, the answer was: “people are afraid of the water.” The fears are unfounded, however, as PFOS contamination never existed in New Windsor’s water supply, which was used to fill the pool.

To read the full article see the Friday, July 22 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post.