MIDDLETOWN — Middletown became one of about 25 U.S. municipalities to adopt a residential ID program on Monday night.

The city is one of three in New York to start an ID program, following the adoption of New York City’s in 2014 and Poughkeepsie’s in July.

“With this card, we can create some kind of civic identity and pride for the people in Middletown,” Pastor Charles Ryu, of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, said outside Monday’s Common Council meeting.

Mayor Joe DeStefano took a few minutes during Monday’s meeting to note what the card will not do:

It will not be a reference to anyone’s immigration status. The IDs cannot be used as a driver’s license or to schedule airline flights. It does not authorize a person to work and cannot be used to register to vote.

Many advocates for the program have said the IDs can help undocumented immigrants, or other residents who have trouble obtaining a government-issued photo ID, with everyday tasks, such as picking up their kids from school, scheduling medical appointments and filling prescriptions.

The cards should be available by Feb. 1 and will cost $15 for adults and $7 for children, veterans, the disabled and seniors over 62. The IDs will be valid for four years.

Lana Bellamy


The Wallkill Question arises again

TOWN OF NEWBURGH — Is this Newburgh or is this Wallkill?

If you’re in certain parts of the Town of Newburgh, you can, technically speaking, also be in Wallkill, and you might have a Wallkill mailing address and ZIP code.

The Wallkill in question here is not the Town of Wallkill, which is farther west in Orange County, but the Hamlet of Wallkill, which officially is in the Town of Shawangunk in Ulster County.

But that Hamlet of Wallkill ZIP code tends to extend itself over county borders into parts of the Town of Newburgh.

The question arose again this past week when Rockefeller Center announced it had found its 2018 Christmas tree on Route 32 in Wallkill, N.Y.

Many New York City media outlets who, understandably, might not know the difference dutifully reported that the tree was in Wallkill.

Rockefeller Center was going by the ZIP code for the address of the home of the tree’s donors, Shirley Figueroa and Lissette Gutierrez.

But make no mistake about it, their house is definitely in the Town of Newburgh. One of the few officials we saw when the tree was cut on Thursday was Gil Piaquadio, the town’s supervisor.

When a reporter for radio station WINS 1010 was doing a remote broadcast from the tree-cutting site and said he was reporting from Wallkill, some nearby residents couldn’t resist correcting him.

“It’s the Town of Newburgh,” one resident called out.

“They said it was Wallkill,” the reporter said in his defense.

“Well, they’re wrong,” the resident shot back. “We live here. We should know.”

Michael Randall


Monroe church shows off its solar power

Monroe Presbyterian Church is inviting the public to visit one Sunday this month to view and learn about its new solar-power system, which it says will cover 82 percent of its electricity bills and save about $535 per month.

The "Solar Celebration" will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 in the church's New Fellowship Hall at 142 Stage Road.

New York State Solar Farm installed 84 SunPower panels on the church last week. They are expected to generate 37,844 kilowatt hours of electricity in the first year and have an estimated life span of 40 years. The installation was part of a the church's "greening project," which also entails promoting recycling, composting, energy efficiency and other sustainable practices.

"For the church, and for individuals, it is part of the stewardship of creation," Pastor Robert "Bronc" Radak said. "We give thanks to God for the gift of the world, and help create a better future for everyone."

The Monroe church is part of the Hudson River Presbytery, which launched its Solarize Our Congregation program earlier this year.

Chris McKenna