CHEERS: To the City of Middletown for holding its second annual “Cops and Kids Field Day” at Fancher-Davidge Park, a chance for youngsters to meet the police who they might see on the streets or in their schools. “We want to work together with them as they grow up and become adults, to show that they can trust us and bond with us,” said Officer Kristen Beebe, a 16-year veteran of the Middletown force. “We don’t want them to fear us. We want them to wave to us when we drive by.” The event was a joint project involving the Middletown Police Department and the city’s Recreation and Parks Department. The Orange County Youth Bureau provided a picnic lunch. It was all free. “We want our young people to feel comfortable talking with both city officials and police officers,” said Nicole Psarakis, the Parks Department’s program coordinator. “This breaks the ice.” When the kids go back to school in the fall, Psarakis said, they’ll find some of the police officers they met at Saturday’s event working as school resource officers.
CHEERS: To the Town of Highlands and Village of Highland Falls for persevering in a difficult discussion of consolidating services. The Village Board voted to move ahead but needs to hear more from the consultant hired to guide the process and to update figures. Much of the study to date has focused on police services. One board member said it is time to open the discussion again, look at the benefits and drawbacks of consolidation, answer residents’ questions, “and get moving on it.”
CHEERS: To Marcus Dairy Inc., a Connecticut milk broker, which plans to continue buying milk produced by several Sullivan County dairy farms until the fall. After that, no one knows if there will be a market for the milk produced by several farms. The farms are experiencing the effects of an industry-wide problem. Too much supply and falling demand have forced brokers to let farmers go, which has a ripple effect on the other industries that make dairy farming possible.
JEERS: To Legoland which is not being the good neighbor it promised to be. Three times in recent months Legoland has been cited for contaminating a waterway with runoff from construction. As a story reported, recent rainstorms have sent silt from the construction site into the Otter Kill, turning it the color of chocolate milk and endangering the many local waterways it flows into. Local officials say that Legoland has “proposed additional remediation measures” which are under review but that does not answer many larger questions. If there are better ways to protect local waterways, a concern ever since Legoland first announced it wanted to come to town, why are they not being put in place? In fact, why were they not put in place before? The best Legoland can do is blame “challenging” weather. And what if those challenges continue, as they seem likely to? When will the Town of Goshen conclude that Legoland is not up to keeping the promises it made and halt construction until adequate measures are put in place?