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Ulster corrections officer Steketee promoted

KINGSTON (April 16) - Ulster County Sheriff Paul VanBlarcum announces the promotion of John Steketee to the rank of Correction Lieutenant.

Steketee joined the Ulster County Sheriff's Corrections Division in 1987.  He previously held the rank of Correction Sergeant and is certified to instruct in Suicide Prevention and Legal Issues and to train peace and police officers in General Topics. 

He is also the Corrections Division coordinator for NYSPIN and E-Justice.



Barbara Sush named a New York Senate Woman of Distinction

ALBANY (April 16) - Retired teacher and long-time community volunteer Barbara Sush has been chosen to be a New York Senate Woman of Distinction.  This annual program honors women who make an exceptional contribution to their community.

The honor was announced by State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C,  Mount Hope).

Barbara Sush has been a leader in numerous organizations including vice president of the Sullivan County Literacy Volunteers, and vice president of the Professional Women of Sullivan County.  She’s been on the board of the Sullivan County Child Care Council and a member of Community Unity.  At present, Sush is a volunteer for Rape Intervention Services and Education (R.I.S.E.), and a Friend of the Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library.  A Master Gardener for Cornell Cooperative Extension, Sush has amassed nearly 300 hours of volunteer service.


NYSEG and RG&E advise contractors and customers to be safe when working and playing outdoors

ROCHESTER (April 16) – NYSEG and RG&E, subsidiaries of Iberdrola USA, remind contractors and customers who are working on or planning outdoor projects or activities to be mindful of overhead power lines and underground utilities.

“Ladders, gutters and aluminum siding can all conduct electricity,” said Mark Lynch, president and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E.  “Making contact with a power line with any of these items could be deadly. Digging into underground utilities could also have very serious consequences.”

NYSEG and RG&E offer these safety tips:

Be Cautious in Work Zones: Drivers are urged to slow down and use extreme caution in NYSEG and RG&E work zones, including those areas where NYSEG and RG&E contractors are pruning trees to help ensure safe, reliable service.  

Look Up…Look Out: NYSEG and RG&E caution contractors and individuals to carefully check work areas for potential hazards such as overhead power lines.

Call 811 Before You Dig: Contractors are required by law to call Dig Safely New York before beginning any excavation work, and NYSEG and RG&E strongly encourage do-it-yourselfers who are planning projects like putting up a fence, planting a tree or doing drainage work to call as well. Call Dig Safely New York (811 or 1.800.962.7962) or visit at least two full days but not more than 10 days before work is to begin.

This Is Not Child’s Play

  • Never fly kites near power lines. Electricity from a kite caught in power lines could travel down the string and endanger anyone who touches it. Don’t ever attempt to remove a kite tangled in a power line by climbing a utility pole or nearby tree.
  • Keep foil or metallic balloons away from power lines and utility poles. They can cause serious damage and power interruptions.
  • Never climb on an electrical tower or utility pole.
  • Don’t play on or near pad-mounted transformers and never attempt to open them.

Stay Out of Substations: Substations are dangerous. They are most often clearly marked with signs reading “DANGER, HIGH VOLTAGE WITHIN” or a similar warning. Take this warning seriously and never go near or into a substation. You could be injured or killed. If a kite, ball or flying disk should land in or near a substation or should a pet wander into a substation or climb a utility pole, call NYSEG or RG&E. We’ll gladly send a crew to get your property (or pet) – and there’s no charge.

Water and Electricity Don’t Mix: Keep power tools and extension cords away from water – rain, wet ground, swimming pools, sprinklers and garden hoses. Have a licensed electrician add weatherproof covers and GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) on outdoor electrical outlets to protect against electrical shock.

Don’t Post Notices on Utility Poles: For the safety of NYSEG and RG&E crews who may need to climb poles, do not attach notices or other materials to utility poles. Remnants of these signs from long-forgotten activities also become eyesores and create litter.

Trees and Power Lines: Leave the cutting and pruning of trees near power lines to professionals. A tree or limb that comes in contact with a power line could be deadly. Also, take into account overhead power lines when planting trees. (For more information on planting the right tree, visit or call 1.888.448.7337.)

Be Alert for Natural Gas Leaks: If natural gas leaks from pipes or appliances it can be dangerous. A natural gas leak is usually recognized by smell, sight or sound. Smell: Natural gas is naturally odorless. For your safety, a distinctive odor, similar to rotten eggs, is added. Sight: You may see a white cloud, mist, fog, bubbles in standing water or blowing dust. You may also see vegetation that appears to be dead or dying for no apparent reason. Sound: You may hear an unusual noise like roaring, hissing or whistling. To report a natural gas leak to NYSEG, call 1.800.572.1121 or 911. To report a natural gas leak to RG&E, call 1.800.743.1701 or 911.

For more information, visit or, click on “Usage and Safety” to find many valuable safety tips.


Newburgh Historical Society’s new director

NEWBURGH (April 16) – The Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands hired Matthew Colon as its new Director.

More details on our Education Page


Evening pantry opens at Kingston’s Clinton Avenue Methodist Church

KINGSTON (March 26) - Due to an increased number of working poor in the county, The Old Dutch Church and the Caring Hands Soup Kitchen have partnered to offer an evening food pantry.

The pantry will be open from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning April 8 at the Caring Hands Soup Kitchen at the Clinton Avenue Methodist Church in Kingston. The hours are designed to accommodate low-income workers who are in need of food. Currently, most area food pantries are open during daytime hours. The Old Dutch Church is providing monetary support and volunteers to run the pantry.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the working poor rate jumped from about 5 percent of the U.S. population to over 7 percent in the past five years. This rate is in addition to the 15 percent of the population who are classified as living in poverty – adults and children who are not in the workforce.

The Caring Hands Soup Kitchen is continuing to seek monetary support from the community. Every dollar raised translates to $10 worth of food from the Hudson Valley Food Bank. Tax-deductible donations can be made directly to: Caring Hands Soup Kitchen at P.O. Box 1099, Kingston, NY 12402.


O&R’S annual drive raises over $200,000 for United Way programs

PEARL RIVER (March 26) – Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. raised over $200,000 through its annual United Way fundraising drive this year.

Full details on our Business Page


Jewish Federation of Ulster County sponsors Holocaust remembrance

KINGSTON (March 21) - This year's Holocaust Remembrance (Yom HaShoah Community Memorial Service) will take place on Sunday evening, April 27th at 6:00pm at Congregation Ahavath Israel, 100 Lucas Avenue in Kingston.

More details on our Religion Page and our Community Calendar


YWCA's new home at 21 West Street

YWCA Orange County, Newburgh Day Nursery complete transfer of nursery property

NEWBURGH (March 7) - The building at 21 West Street in the City of Newburgh, home to the Newburgh Day Nursery since 1920, may have new occupants, but the commitment to the City's residents remains the same. Upon announcing nearly a year ago that the Nursery would cease operations in June 2013, the not-for-profit organization's board president Barbara Valentino said that the Nursery would transfer ownership of the property to YWCA Orange County. The transfer was completed in February when the two organizations closed on the property and the YWCA began moving into their new location at the beginning of March.

"We are delighted to be bringing YWCA back to the City of Newburgh," said Christine Sadowski, YWCA Orange County Executive Director. "That's where we began more than 125 years ago, when YWCA Orange County was first established on Grand Street in 1888. We are extremely grateful to the Newburgh Day Nursery for recognizing YWCA's commitment to the residents of Newburgh and providing us with this opportunity to return," continued Sadowski.

YWCA Orange County left the City of Newburgh in the late 1970s when it moved to New Windsor to add a pool and fitness center to its services. The fitness center was sold to a private owner in 2007 when the not-for-profit organization reaffirmed its commitment to the core mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. It has been operating out of leased space on Route 300 in New Windsor since then.

"Transferring ownership of the Nursery building on West Street to YWCA Orange County is bittersweet for the staff, volunteers, and board members who so generously gave of their time, talent, and resources to the program," said Barbara Valentino, President of the Newburgh Day Nursery Board of Directors. "While it marks the official end of a program that served the Newburgh community for nearly 120 years, it also marks the beginning of new opportunities for an organization that shares our commitment to this wonderful City. We wish YWCA Orange County much success in their new home," added Valentino.

The building, which was used as a pre-school for nearly 90 years will require some renovation to make it better suited for the YWCA's business, programmatic, and technological needs.

In addition to its return to the City of Newburgh, plans are also under way for YWCA Orange County to open offices in the City of Middletown in 2014. The staff is currently searching for appropriate office space.

"YWCA programs are available to people from throughout Orange County, but as we work to fulfill our mission as a social justice and feminist organization, we have seen that many of our program participants reside in the cities," said Sadowski.

For more information about YWCA Orange County, visit  


Junior League of Orange County 10th annual A Night at the Races

MIDDLETOWN (February 25) – Join the Junior League of Orange County (JLOC) as they host their 10th Annual A Night at the Races on Friday, May 2nd

Full details on our Business Page


Spring Valley Rotary, O&R donate over 700 dictionaries

SPRING VALLEY (February 19) - For the sixth year, the Spring Valley Rotary Club and O&R are presenting dictionaries to over 700 third graders at the Margetts, Summit Park, Hempstead, Fleetwood and Grandview elementary schools.

More details on our Education Page


Kent Volunteer Fire Department celebrates 43rd installation of officers  

KENT (February 17) - The celebration was well attended by public officials and representatives of mutual aid departments.  Public officials in attendance were NYS Senator Terry Gipson, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith, Putnam County Legislator Lou Tartaro, and Kent Town Supervisor Maureen Flemming.

Installed firematic officers included Chief Justin Byrne, Asst. Chief James Piekarski, Captains Steven Gasparrini and Ryan Piekarksi, along with Lieutenants T.J. Porta, Nicholas Bendjack, Alexa Leo, Bernard Comiskey, Daniel Greaves, and William Leo Sr.

Installed administrative officers included President Kevin Byrne, Vice President Ryan Piekarski, Secretary Alexa Leo, Treasurer William Leo Sr, and Sgt.-At-Arms Daniel Greaves, and Board of Directors: Jonathan Galente, Kathryn Casey, and Gerry Sedlak.

Department recognition was given to the following firefighters:

  • Firefighter of the Year: Matthew Valente
  • Chief’s Award: Robert Andrews
  • EMS Award: William Leo, Sr.
  • Top Responders: Ryan Piekarski, Matthew Valente, Michael Belmonte, Joseph Gasparrini, and Steven Gasparrini.
  • President’s Award: Ronald Hendon

Jon Favreau was made a life member for his 20 years years of service, and Kathryn Casey was also recognized for her 30 years of service to the KVFD.

Additional special recognition was also given by the department to former Putnam County Medic 3 Michael “Milton” Bruce, for his outstanding years of service to the Kent Volunteer Fire Department and its residents.  In turn, Michael Bruce also recognized the KVFD with a professionally framed photo of the KVFD Fire House, inscribed "Thank you for everything. Mike "Milton Bruce".

The dinner closed with one last special presentation from KVFD Member and Chaplain, Jonathan Galente, who announced that the KVFD was awarded a grant from the Anastasi Foundation."

(contributed photo)



Mahopac 2nd grade Youth Ambassador Connor Looby

BREWSTER (February 17) – Connor Looby, of Mahopac, is the recipient of a a New York State Senate Proclamation to honor his outstanding advocacy, support, and fundraising efforts for lymphedema awareness.

Full details on our Education Page


Orange County Citizens Foundation announces new trustees

SUGAR LOAF (January 28) – The Orange County Citizens Foundation welcomes several new members to its Board of Trustees:

“This is such a dynamic group of people who I am confident will have a major impact on our efforts to improve the quality of life for Orange County residents,” said Nancy Proyect, president of the OCCF. “It’s an honor that they are all willing to enthusiastically contribute their time and talent.”

New members include:

  • Dominic Cordisco is a partner with the New Windsor law firm of Drake, Loeb, Heller, Kennedy, Gogerty, Gaba& Rodd, PLLC. His practice includes land use and environmental law for both municipal and private clients. Previously he served as an attorney for Region Three of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Mr. Cordisco is vice-chair of the Orange County Partnership, co-chair of the Alliance for Balanced Growth, and co-chair of the New York State Bar Association - Environmental Law Section’s committee on wetland regulation. He lives with his wife and son in Cornwall-on-Hudson.
  • Edward G. Diana recently retired as the county executive in December 2013. Prior to his election, he served for 12 years as a county legislator and held the position of county majority leader for six of those years. Mr. Diana also served as councilman and deputy supervisor in the Town of Wallkill. Before becoming county executive, Mr. Diana, who has been a member of numerous civic organizations, worked for over 30 years as an educator, athletic instructor, and small business owner. Born and raised in Middletown, Mr. Diana now lives in the Town of Goshen with his wife. They have two daughters.
  • Jean Campbell Galli is a writer and advertising executive. She began Campbell Galli Communications in 2011 after spending over 25 years as an advertising creative director at agencies and on the corporate side working on leading health and beauty products. She now advises businesses in the Hudson Valley on their marketing, advertising, public relations, and social media needs. Jean is an advocate for local causes ranging from campaigning for church preservation in Newburgh to co-founding a grassroots parents’ organization in her school district. Jean is a graduate of the 2013 Pattern for Progress Fellows Program. She resides in Blooming Grove with her husband Alec. They have two children.
  • Jo Ann Hamburg is comptroller at Orange County Community College. Her strong belief in the value of education improving one's quality of life has guided her both personally and professionally. As comptroller, Jo Ann manages a staff of 18 who organized into departments that administer the business functions of the college with significant interfaces with Orange County and New York State. She has served as treasurer of the Staff and Chairman's Association, a United Way chairperson, a member of the Executive Committee of Governance, Faculty Staff Development Committee, and the College-Wide Assessment Committee. Outside of the college environment, she serves as a Neighborhood Watch block captain. She and her husband Geoffrey reside in Middletown and are the parents of four daughters and three grandchildren.
  • Maria Ingrassia serves as a constituent advocate for US Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney. Previously she worked for Orange County AHRC as development director and for SEIU International as a community/political organizer and for Congressman John J. Hall. Ms. Ingrassia has been involved in many community activities and served on a number of non-profit boards. Currently she is serving as the president of the Women's University Club of Middletown. She has been involved in Tribute to Women of Achievement, the Mental Health Association of Orange County, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and many other organizations. Ms. Ingrassia has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognized by many groups for her dedication and service to the region. She lives in Middletown where she was born and raised.
  • Jason Rashford is the director of Building Healthy Communities for Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis. Jason works with residents, non-profit organizations, business owners, government agencies, and elected officials to identify and address priorities to improve overall health and quality of life. Prior to joining Bon Secours in 2011, Jason served as chief of staff to the late New York State Senator Thomas P. Morahan. After initially joining Senator Morahan in 2001, Jason left from 2004 through 2006 to serve as projects director for Congresswoman Sue Kelly. Jason lives in Warwick with his wife and son.

The Orange County Citizens Foundation is a membership-based non-governmental organization that improves quality of life for Orange County residents through public policy and advocacy in land use and transportation planning, water conservation, waste management, cultural affairs, education, agriculture, recreation, and healthcare. The Citizens Foundation is housed on 50 acres of bucolic farmland, formally the home of Surrealist artist Kurt Seligmann. On these Sugar Loaf grounds, known as the Seligmann Center at the Citizens Foundation, the organization brings people together to create and share new ideas, artistic performances, and thought-provoking programming. For more information, visit


Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA receives grant for spay/neuter clinic

HUDSON (January 28) - The Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA has received a grant from the Athens Community Foundation in the amount of $5,853.80 to use toward offsetting town residents’ use of the shelter’s current spay/neuter clinic and future veterinary clinic, slated to be functional by late March.

Town of Athens residents may qualify to have reduced rates when having basic veterinary care at the new facility once open, and surgeries at the clinics hosted by CGHS/SPCA because of the grant.

“This is community involvement at its finest,” stated CGHS/SPCA President Ron Perez. “The local community in Athens is aware of the problems facing their residents when it comes to companion animal health and population control. They’ve answered that call by encouraging those citizens to utilize the reliable and affordable services we offer at CGHS/SPCA with an assistance grant. We commend and thank the Athens Community Foundation for their desire to make assistance available, and stand beside them in encouraging residents to utilize our programs to make solving these companion animal issues a priority.”

Athens residents should mention the grant when registering for veterinary services at CGHS/SPCA. For any questions, please contact Ron Perez at (518) 828-6044 ext. 108 or


Ulster County 4-H to offer tractor safety certification course for teens
STONE RIDGE (January 28) - Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County’s 4-H Youth Development Program is once again offering a tractor safety certification program for youth.

More details on our Educaton Page


Walden Savings Bank’s Corporate Receptionist Rachel Millspaugh and
Vice President of Marketing Joann Menendez present check to
Director of Development for Food Bank Antonetta Gutter,

Food Bank of the Hudson Valley receives donation from Walden Savings Bank

MONTGOMERY (January 13) – Walden Savings Bank continues its support of local nonprofit organizations with this year’s Ornament Campaign donation of $3,750 to Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.

Each year, Walden Savings Bank employees and customers participate in the Food Bank’s annual Ornament Campaign, where paper ornaments are purchased at each of Walden Savings Bank’s 11 branch locations for $1 from Thanksgiving until the New Year. Walden Savings Bank matches each donation, which helps to provide thousands of meals to local families.

In addition, Walden Savings Bank raised funds for the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley by hosting an Ugly Sweater Contest, asking each of its participating staff members to donate to the Food Bank.

“Food Bank of the Hudson Valley is instrumental in assisting the families in our community that need our help the most,” said Derrik R. Wynkoop, President and CEO of Walden Savings Bank. “The Holiday season is an important time to give back to the community, and we are happy to be able to continue to help this important cause in any way we can.”

The Food Bank of the Hudson Valley is dedicated to alleviating hunger while preventing the waste of wholesome food. Working in partnership with the food industry, the Food Bank collects large donations of unmarketable but still edible food and distributes it to charitable agencies feeding hungry people in a six county region. In 2008, the Food Bank provided more than 8 million pounds of food to over 360 member agencies in Orange, Ulster, Dutchess, Rockland, Sullivan, and Putnam counties.

Walden Savings Bank, established in 1872, is a federal chartered mutual savings bank headquartered in Montgomery, New York. With a total of 11 full-service branches serving Orange and Ulster Counties,


Catskill Hudson Area Health Education Center celebrates 10 years of service

HIGHLAND (January 13) - As a small, non-profit organization overseeing an 11-county region, Catskill Hudson Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is proud to celebrate its 10th year anniversary, having successfully fulfilled its mission to address regional healthcare workforce shortages through education and cooperative community relationships to assist students, healthcare career seekers, and health professionals

More details on our Education Page


Poughkeepsie School District employees donate $5,000 to the United Way Campaign

POUGHKEEPSIE (January 6) - The United Way Campaign has officially ended with a total of $5,000 donated by the generous employees of the Poughkeepsie City School District.

All funds will help Dutchess County residents – including many of our students’ families – with a variety of services. 

Congratulations to Heather Faircloth who was selected in a random drawing of all donors to win a  free one-year membership to the Bardavon Opera House and Ulster Performing Arts Center. This generous prize was donated by our long-time arts-in-education partner.

Many others received small tokens of appreciation from the United Way including pens, hand sanitizer and t-shirts.  Thank you to all of those who have participated for their support of the United Way and its member agencies.


Zott Construction donating $1 to the Chamber Foundation for every Facebook like they receive in January

POUGHKEEPSIE (January 6) - Zott Construction, a leader in the insurance restoration industry and proud member of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, is donating $1 to The Chamber Foundation Campaign for every Facebook page “like” they receive in January 2014.

Full details on our Business Page


Community links (Each link opens in a new window)

Not-for-profit community service organizations are invited to submit links to their websites. Organizations must not preach hate or intolerance in any form or advocate public discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin or sexual orientation.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County

Faith and Community ACTION - Dutchess County

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh

Hilltowns Community Board
News of Southern Albany, Greene & Schoharie Counties

Hopewell Junction Citizens for Clean Water

Mid-Hudson Horse Trails Association

National Association of Retired Federal Employees (NARFE)

Orange County Citizens Foundation-

Orange County Land Trust

Salvation Army of Newburgh

Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 537 Hudson Highlands



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