CHEERS: To Leonard Lee, who is taking the young fighters he coaches at the City of Newburgh’s Hook Elite Boxing Club to compete in Ireland with funding help from the Kaplan Family Foundation. “I’m hoping that they understand it’s not just about Newburgh or the United States; it’s about the world,” he said. Boxers from Ireland visited Newburgh twice and the return trip is tentatively set for November. Getting their first passport and leaving the country for the first time to interact with people from another country will be a lifelong memory, said Bill Kaplan. “The experience they’re going to get in life, and what’s it’s going to mean to them in the future, is mind boggling,” Kaplan said. A fundraiser for the trip will be held at the Armory on Oct. 28.
CHEERS: To Sullivan County for getting creative to fill a local need. The county Legislature voted unanimously to work with the University at Buffalo to help the county attract future social-work employees. Students going for their master’s of social work would intern in the county’s Department of Community Services. As Joseph Todora, commissioner of the Sullivan County Division of Health and Family Services, explained, “Our hope is not to just give them a great field experience in community mental health, but also that when they get their degree they might come to Sullivan County and be one of the social workers that we so desperately need.”
CHEERS: To Newburgh officials for working to get the city included in a nationwide federal study of exposure to the toxic chemicals that have polluted water supplies in the city and other municipalities around the country. “We want to make sure that we participate in the study,” Mayor Torrance Harvey said. “Hopefully, this will bring a greater awareness to the nation and the world about contamination in water sources, because Newburgh is not the only community affected by this.”
JEERS: To Legoland. Again. For the sixth time since it started construction on its theme park in Goshen, the subsidiary of U.K. firm Merlin Entertainments has received a citation for contaminating a local waterway with construction runoff. As a recent story revealed, the Otter Kill has turned into a chocolate colored stream lately and mud traced back to the construction has shown up miles away in steams and swamps. Each new revelation beings yet another assurance from local officials, from Legoland officials, from state officials that they are aware of the problem, are working on it, are coming up with new plans and new agreements to deal with it. By now, it is safe to assume that instead of actually protecting local waterways, all of those involved are more interested in this public relations campaign. So there is only one possible conclusion. Legoland will continue to operate by its own rules with the wholehearted cooperation of local officials and state officials who did all they could in public and behind the scenes to give Legoland tens of millions of public dollars toward this project and are still working for the developers, not the people they are supposed to be serving.