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Featured Articles – Daily Hudson Valley News http://www.hvinsider.com/articles Online news source for the Mid Hudson Region Fri, 01 May 2015 05:10:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.2 Representatives from Orange AHRC speak to NYS Assemblymembers http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/representatives-from-orange-ahrc-speak-to-nys-assemblymembers/ Sun, 15 Feb 2015 19:58:17 +0000 http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/?p=16803 Orange AHRC’s Director of Residential Services, Kevin Larragy, Advocate Stephen Muller, Executive Director Christopher Fortune and Assistant Executive Director Darrin Raynor visited with Assemblyman Karl Brabenec and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther recently in the New York State Assembly Chambers in Albany for Legislative Action Day to speak about issues facing organizations serving people with developmental disabilities. Orange AHRC advocated for the need for a cost of living salary increase for Direct Support Professionals, changes and expansion of the Nursing Practice Act which assists people to live independently, and funding for Direct Support Professional training.

Every day, Orange AHRC’s 750 employees provide advocacy and services for more than 2,000 people of all ages living in Orange County who have developmental disabilities. Services include developmental screening and evaluation, early intervention, preschool, daycare, education for grades K-12, adult day habilitation and life skills enhancement, community employment and volunteerism, residential and clinical services, Medicaid service coordination, family respite, recreation, transportation, and autism services. For more information please visit www.orangeahrc.org.

Orange AHRC with Karl Brabenec and Aileen Gunther



Prom gowns earn a second chance to shine for local students http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/prom-gowns-earn-a-second-chance-to-shine-for-local-students/ Sun, 15 Feb 2015 19:36:00 +0000 http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/?p=16799 Mount Saint Mary College will soon offer high school students the opportunity to find the perfect, affordable prom dress.

The college is one of several institutions participating in Prom Fest, a program that collects gently used dresses donated by the community, and redistributes them for $10 each to prom-bound high school students

To donate a gently used prom dress, drop it off at the Mount’s Hudson Hall before March 20, 2015, or visit www.msmc.edu/promfest for a complete list of drop off locations.

Dresses will be available for purchase at the Mount’s Hudson Hall Auditorium, 330 Powell Ave., Newburgh, N.Y. on Saturday, March 28, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

All proceeds from the sale go to the St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital Scholarship Fund.

For more information, call 845-569-3545 or visit www.msmc.edu


Orange County Protects Glenmere Reservoir http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/orange-county-protects-glenmere-reservoir/ Mon, 09 Feb 2015 13:21:01 +0000 http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/?p=16792 Orange County Executive Neuhaus signs law preserving 95 additional acres of water source’s property

County Executive Steve Neuhaus announced that Orange County has protected an additional 95 acres on the Glenmere Lake grounds in order to improve public water quality and preserve a delicate natural habitat. On February 5, at the county executive’s request, the legislature voted unanimously to remove the acreage from public sale and retain it for county purposes. A 2010 Orange County law authorized that delinquent tax properties could be removed from public sale after the county forecloses on the property and prior to auction if the land was determined to be of benefit to municipalities. Orange County currently owns approximately 695 acres in the Glenmere Preserve extending across the towns and village of Warwick, Chester, and Florida as well as the hamlet of Sugar Loaf. The 95 acres is located entirely within the Town of Warwick.

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, the lake is the state’s largest habitat for the endangered Northern cricket frog. The reservoir serves as the sole water supply for the Village of Florida in addition to customers in the Town of Goshen including Valley View nursing home, the county jail, the Emergency Services Center, and the Department of Social Services. Eighty-five percent of the county’s land area is only served by individual private wells.

“By acquiring these additional 95 acres, Orange County protects a critical habitat and ensures the quality of a major water supply. I applaud the legislature’s decision to act unanimously to save another piece of Glenmere Lake,” said Neuhaus.

In December Neuhaus announced an agreement with the Open Space Institute to preserve 398 acres of previously vacant land in the Town of Chester in order to safeguard an important aquifer recharge area and open up miles of new hiking trails for county residents. A map of the 95-acre parcel provided by the Orange County Real Property Tax Service is attached.

Glenmere Reservoir



Newburgh Police Make Three Arrests After Attempted Armed Robbery http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/newburgh-police-make-three-arrests-after-attempted-armed-robbery/ Mon, 09 Feb 2015 13:15:39 +0000 http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/?p=16791 The City of Newburgh Police made three arrests in connection with an armed attempted robbery that occurred on February 4,2015 at approximately 7:00 pm in the area of 335 Ann Street.

The victim, a female resident of the City of Newburgh, was walking in the area when two juvenile suspects and 17 year old suspect began to walk by her. As the suspects walked passed the victim one of the suspects struck the victim in the head from behind causing her to fall to the ground. The suspects demanded the victim’s property and kicked and punched the victim as she was on the ground. When the victim did not give up her property, one of the juvenile suspects pulled a knife and cut the victim on the head. The suspects were unable to get the victim’s property and fled the area on foot.

Responding officers observed the suspects in the area of Ann Street and South Robinson Avenue and attempted to stop the suspects. The two female suspects stopped but the male suspect fled from Police on foot. Officer William Lahar was able to apprehend the juvenile male suspect after a brief foot pursuit. The 17 year old female and juvenile female were detained by other responding officers without incident.

During the arrest processing officers learned the juvenile male had an active warrant out the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with attempted robbery in the second degree and was turned over to Orange County Sheriff’s Office for processing on the warrant. The juvenile female was charged with attempted robbery in the second degree and released into the custody of her legal guardian. The 17 year old female was charged with attempted robbery in the second degree and held pending her arraignment.

The names, addresses and photographs of the suspects are not being released, because of their ages.


Orange County Men Receive 12-Year Prison Sentences For Home Invasion Robbery http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/orange-county-men-receive-12-year-prison-sentences-for-home-invasion-robbery/ Sat, 07 Feb 2015 13:04:55 +0000 http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/?p=16781 Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that Keith Hall, 45, of Cornwall and Robert Dieckman, 37, of Newburgh, were each sentenced to 12 years in prison for a home invasion robbery they committed in the Town of Newburgh.

On November 26, 2013, Hall and Dieckman entered a home in the Town of Newburgh wearing masks and tied up a woman, who was alone in the residence, using zip-ties. The two stole money, two pistols, a videogame system and a rifle, which Dieckman used to strike the woman.  They used the pistols later that night to rob a man outside 45 Mill Street, in the City of Newburgh, before being apprehended by the City of Newburgh Police Department.

An Orange County Grand Jury indicted both defendants for crimes including Robbery in the First Degree, Burglary in the First Degree, Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, Menacing in the Second Degree, Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Firearm.  On January 6, 2015, both defendants pleaded guilty to Robbery in the First Degree in connection with the home invasion, and Attempted Robbery in the Second Degree for the incident on Mill Street.  On February 6, 2015, Judge Robert H. Freehill sentenced both defendants to twelve years in prison in connection with their guilty pleas to Robbery in the First Degree, and seven years in prison on the Attempted Robbery in the Second Degree charges. The sentences will run concurrently.

District Attorney Hoovler thanked the City of Newburgh Police Department and the Town of Newburgh Police Department for their investigation of the case and the fast apprehension of Hall and Dieckman.

“It is unconscionable that these two defendants terrorized a woman in her own home, and robbed another victim at gunpoint, for their own selfish reasons” said District Attorney Hoovler. “I am gratified that they will be off of our streets for at least decade. My Office will do everything in its power to see that those who commit violent crimes get what they deserve.”

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Kelly is assigned to the prosecution of the case.

A criminal charge is merely an allegation by the police that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


Drunk Driver Indicted For Murder in Fatal Middletown Hit and Run http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/drunk-driver-indicted-for-murder-in-fatal-middletown-hit-and-run/ Sat, 07 Feb 2015 12:58:08 +0000 http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/?p=16780 Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that Fredy Quizhpe, 24, of Middletown, has been indicted by an Orange County grand jury in connection with a fatal hit-and-run that he committed in the City of Middletown. The indictment charges Quizhpe with 38 counts, the most serious of which is Murder in the Second Degree. Quizhpe was arraigned before County Court Judge Jeffrey G. Berry, and was ordered held in Orange County Jail in lieu of $500,000 cash bail or $1.5 million dollar bond. Quizhpe is next scheduled to appear in County Court on February 27, 2015.

In the early-morning hours of December 28, 2014, Quizhpe drove his van through the parking lot near the Shortline Bus Terminal in the City of Middletown, toward four men that were walking through the lot on their way to a taxi stand. Quizhpe hit one of the men, knocking him to the ground. As the other three men tried to assist their friend, Quizhpe circled around them in his vehicle. Quizhpe then lined his car up with the injured man on the pavement, accelerated toward him, and hit him again, along with one of the other three men. Quizhpe circled around again, and hit the first man a third time, dragging him under the van. Quizhpe then drove away, onto State Route 211, leaving the first man dying and the second man with an arm broken in three places and injuries to his legs.

Quizhpe led police on a chase along the streets of Middletown and into Wallkill, before finally stopping his van in the Town of Montgomery. After he finally did stop, Quizhpe refused to unlock the door to the van and did not comply with police orders. The police were forced to smash the van’s window with a police baton in order to gain access. Quizhpe resisted arrest after he was removed from the van. An analysis of Quizhpe’s blood later revealed that he had a blood-alcohol level of .21, more than twice the legal limit.

District Attorney Hoovler thanked the City of Middletown, Town of Wallkill, Town of Montgomery Police Departments as well as the New York State Police for their assistance in the investigation of the case and the apprehension of Quizhpe.

“Driving while intoxicated by itself endangers every innocent person on the road,” said District Attorney Hoovler, “but people who do that, and on top of it intentionally injure and kill pedestrians with their vehicles, are in a special class of criminals that deserve the most-severe punishment. My office will do everything in its power to see that they get what they deserve.”

Assistant District Attorney Julie Mohl is assigned to the prosecution of the case.

A criminal charge is merely an allegation by the police that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


Man Charged with Robbery of Goshen Quick Chek and Three Attempted Robberies http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/man-charged-with-robbery-of-goshen-quick-chek-and-three-attempted-robberies/ Sat, 07 Feb 2015 12:52:05 +0000 http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/?p=16779 Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on February 6, 2015, Anthony Werner, 44, of the Village of Florida, was arraigned in Orange County Court on an indictment charging him with several crimes, including Robbery in the Second Degree, Attempted Robbery in the Second Degree, Menacing in the Second Degree, and Tampering with Physical Evidence. Werner was arraigned before County Court Judge Robert H. Freehill, and was ordered held in Orange County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail or $75,000 bond. Werner is next scheduled to appear in County Court on February 26, 2015.

The indictment alleges that on Christmas Eve, 2014, Werner forcibly stole money from an employee of the Quick Chek convenience store in the Village of Goshen, by displaying what appeared to be a handgun. In addition, the indictment alleges that on December 26, 2014, Werner attempted to rob a McDonald’s in Middletown and a Dunkin’ Donuts in the Town of Wallkill, as well as attempting to rob that same Goshen Quick Chek again on January 10, 2015.

In each of the attempted robberies, Werner is also alleged to have displayed what appeared to be a handgun, while wearing a hooded sweatshirt and covering his face with a bandana. Images were retrieved from security cameras in several of the locations. In addition, a search of Werner’s vehicle recovered bullets, a box for a handgun, and clothing worn during some of the crimes, including bandanas. Werner is also alleged to have attempted to hide clothing that he wore during the January 10 attempted robbery.

District Attorney Hoovler thanked the Village of Goshen Police Department, the City of Middletown Police Department, and the Town of Wallkill Police Department for their investigation and apprehension of Werner.

“Small business owners, their employees, and their patrons have a right to conduct business free from fear of physical violence and robbery,” said District Attorney Hoovler, “and society must deal severely with individuals who terrorize innocent victims by making them think they’ll be shot if they don’t turn over their money. My office will seek lengthy prison sentences in every case involving the use, or threatened use, of a gun during the commission of a robbery.”

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Kelly is handling the prosecution.

A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


Ulster County Horse Owner Sentenced in Animal Cruelty Case http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/ulster-county-horse-owner-sentenced-in-animal-cruelty-case/ Sat, 07 Feb 2015 12:40:03 +0000 http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/?p=16778 Connie Dirago, 59, of Plattekill, Ulster County, was sentenced in Hamptonburgh Town Court before Town Justice Richard Golden, after her guilty plea to five counts of animal cruelty arising from her neglect of more than thirty horses on a property that she had been renting. The court sentenced Darigo to three years of probation; ordered her to make approximately $14,000 in restitution to an animal rescue agency that cared for the horses during the pendency of the case; and ordered that she have no personal or professional contact with horses for the three years of her probationary term.

The charges stemmed from an investigation of the Hamptonburgh horse farm that Dirago began renting early in March, 2014. Dirago had brought more than thirty horses on to the property. Police received information that many of the horses were underfed and malnourished, and that three horses had died since Dirago had moved them there. On March 28, 2014, the five horses involved in the charges were removed and transported to a horse-rescue sanctuary after they were found to be emaciated and near death. All of the remaining horses were also removed from the property and delivered to various farms located in Orange and Ulster counties.

“Domesticated animals require and deserve care from the people that choose to keep them,” said District Attorney Hoovler, “and it’s not fair to those animals that their owners keep them, but subject them to conditions where they aren’t given adequate food, water, or veterinary care, or where they’re otherwise subjected to cruelty. I’m gratified to see that some measure of justice has been served on behalf of the horses involved in this case, and that the horses will be properly cared for in the future.”

District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Hudson Valley SPCA, and members of Equine Rescue, Inc. In addition, District Attorney Hoovler commended Executive Assistant District Attorney Andrew Kass, Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael Milza, and Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Schulz for their work in the investigation and prosecution of the case.


Maloney Introduces Rail Safety Legislation to Prevent Grade Crossing Accidents http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/maloney-introduces-rail-safety-legislation-to-prevent-grade-crossing-accidents/ Sat, 07 Feb 2015 12:35:21 +0000 http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/?p=16777 Following this weeks horrific Metro-North accident, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) introduced the Rail Crossings Safety Improvement Act, to help improve safety at grade crossings. H.R. 705 will reauthorize the Rail Line Relocation & Improvement Capital Grant Program (RLR) at $100 million a year for the next four years.

“This horrific accident hits close to home for me and my neighbors, so we must get answers for the families and communities whose lives have been upended by yet another tragedy,” said Maloney. “Safety is our first priority and unfortunately incidents at rail crossings are all too common in New York; that is why it is crucial that we invest in positive train control and improve safety at grade crossings immediately.”

In New York, there are currently 5,304 grade crossings, and from 2012-2014, there were 81 accidents, 15 deaths and 23 injuries at grade crossings according to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety. In the past, the RLR program allowed states and local governments to make lateral and vertical relocation of rail lines in order to improve the safety of grade crossings for train passengers, motorists and pedestrians. Authorization for this program expired in 2009, but even when authorized the program was minimally funded at $20 million to $35 million dollars.

“Installing positive train control systems on commuter rail systems like Metro-North is the single most important step to reduce human error and save lives. Although positive train control is designed to prevent train to train collisions, installing this critical technology would also allow us to detect grade crossing malfunctions or objects on the tracks,” said Maloney.

In addition, Maloney called for Congress to pass his legislation, the Commuter Rail Passenger Safety Act, which would allow commuter and freight rail systems to apply for loans and loan guarantees to invest in positive train control systems for existing lines through the Federal Railroad Administration’s Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program. This existing program provides access to a $35 billion loan fund to finance the development of critical railroad infrastructure. Last September, Maloney’s bipartisan legislation passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as part of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act (PRRIA).

Rep. Maloney, who represents parts of Westchester, serves as a Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.


Susan Plonski Appointed Ulster County Commissioner of Public Works http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/susan-plonski-appointed-ulster-county-commissioner-of-public-works/ Sat, 07 Feb 2015 12:32:56 +0000 http://www.hvinsider.com/articles/?p=16776 Ulster County Executive Mike Hein made an historic appointment of the first woman to lead the Ulster County Department of Public Works, Susan Plonski.  Currently, she leads the Contract Management Division within the Ulster County Attorney’s Office. Upon assuming the role of Commissioner she will oversee more than 200 departmental employees.

“We are fortunate to have an individual as qualified as Susan to lead the Department of Public Works at a time when the County is making an unprecedented $10 million investment in our infrastructure as part of the ‘Building A Better Ulster County’ program,” said County Executive Mike Hein.  “Her strong construction management background and overarching knowledge of county operations coupled with her accounting and legal experience make her the ideal choice to lead a department whose work impacts almost every resident of Ulster County on a daily basis.”

“I am thankful to the County Executive for the opportunity to lead the Department of Public Works and I am looking forward to continuing to serve the people of Ulster County in this new capacity,” said Susan Plonski.  “I will be joining a strong team of talented and dedicated employees who ensure our bridges, roadways and county facilities are safe and well-maintained, and we will continue to do it all with a deep respect for ‘completed on time and under budget.’”

Before earning her law degree from Albany Law School, Ms. Plonski obtained an Associate Degree in accounting from SUNY Ulster and a Bachelor Degree from SUNY New Paltz.  She also has over fifteen years of experience working in various management positions, including chief financial officer, for three local construction contractors.

The Ulster County Department of Public Works is tasked with maintaining over 423 miles of county roads and 158 bridges.  It is also responsible for the operation and upkeep of all county buildings.  The Acting Commissioner of Public Works, Brian Cunningham, will remain with the department and serve in the dual role of Deputy Commissioner/Director of Facilities.  The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Ulster County Legislature.