CHEERS: To Cindi Parise, a teacher at Middletown High School who has been chosen as the 2018 Teacher of the Year by the state’s Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Before coming to Middletown five years ago, she had a career as a performer, starting in Nashville at Opryland and the Tennessee Repertory Theatre before moving to New York City to perform on Broadway. Now, Parise shares her experience in performing arts and fitness with her students as a dance and physical education teacher. She also coaches the school’s diving team.

CHEERS: To the Town of Newburgh for supplying the 2018 Rockefeller Christmas Tree. The Newburgh native near the corner of Route 32 and Fostertown Road will be cut down Nov. 8 and arrive at Rockefeller Center two days later to be decorated with more than 50,000 multi-colored, energy-efficient LED lights and topped with a brand-new star. In previous years, the famous trees have been turned into lumber and some has been used to build Habitat for Humanity houses in Newburgh. Will this tree come home again?

CHEERS: To the City of Kingston which could teach Newburgh something about how to work together and find a way to develop unused space. Kingston is welcoming a $52 million mixed-use development in the historic Stockade District. The Kingstonian development would be built on 2.5 acres of city-owned land at the corner of Fair and North Front streets. JM Development Group, a limited liability corporation, would partner with Herzog Supply Co. and the city to build the project. The preliminary plan includes one or two restaurants, retail space, possibly a bank, 129 market-rate apartments and a 32-room hotel.

CHEERS: To students in the Chester Academy art department for their community outreach art projects. “Putting art out publicly is a way for us to support the community and give back, and to also showcase the great work we do inside the school,” said art teacher Marie Kriner. For a couple of years, the art department has been decorating downtown Chester businesses during the holidays by painting their store windows. Now, students have responded to a request from Barry Adelman of the Outdoors store in Historic Chester to paint a mural based on a much loved image of the Gullfoss Falls in Iceland, a site he had visited as a young man many decades ago. “It’s a nice memory for me,” said Adelman. “They did a fantastic job.” Kriner is looking forward to working on more art projects in the future.

CHEERS: To the often-criticized Port Authority, which recently announced that travelers at local airports will now have what they’ve asked for: unlimited access to high-speed Wi-Fi at no charge. The improved service, with speeds of 20 to 50 megabits per second, is available now at all four airports – Stewart, JFK, LaGuardia and Newark. Signs are posted throughout terminals explaining how to access Wi-Fi in unlimited four-hour increments. Many of Norwegian Air’s international passengers who came and went at New York Stewart International Airport last year complained about the limits being out of sync with what other airports offered.