CHEERS: To Julia Vargas, an 18-year-old Warwick Valley High School senior, who for the past six years has been helping the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce by coordinating Operation Clean Sweep, a townwide cleanup that has been going on for 29 years. She’ll be off to college in Albany in the fall with lots of praise and good memories. “I just like the whole community-service aspect of it, being strong in your community and getting involved,” said Vargas, who said the chamber people never looked down on her because of her age. Vargas starts cleanup days at 6 a.m., picking up donations from Warwick-area grocery stores and then monitoring activities. Vargas, an Ambassador Girl Scout, the Girl Scouts’ highest rank, helps plan the event, including organizing supplies and entertainment, and taking on what she found is the toughest job in the whole operation: getting people to participate.
CHEERS: To members of the Cronomer Valley Fire Department, animal control specialists and even some from the state Department of Transportation who combined to perform an unusual rescue, saving Apollo the chihuahua who had fallen into a storm drain at the Plattekill Travel Plaza rest stop. They eventually were able to convince the dog to move to safety, a lesson for the owner and any others who might consider letting animals wander in unfamiliar territory off the leash.
CHEERS: To the Village of Goshen for giving the owner of Goshen Plaza a deadline to repair the embarrassing and, at least for vehicles, dangerous parking lot. Fix it by May 16 or the village will go to court and collect a fine that could be $1,000 a day. There really is no excuse, although the various owners of the lot have had a lot of them. A manager for the latest owner says that they have hired contractors and promises this time that it will be completed. That will be a welcome change for people in Goshen who have struggled to navigate the cratered landscape ever since the Grand Union store left in 2001.
CHEERS: To Middletown High School junior Christina Wilson, the second student in school history to place at the national Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
She earned a Silver Key, the second-highest award in the competition, for her digital artwork titled, “Lady of the Light.” Wilson, a nursing student in BOCES, won two Gold Key awards at the regional level for “Lady of the Light” and a piece called “Tasty” in which she meshed together faces of a woman and vampire using digital painting methods.