CHEERS: To the state of New York for giving the Bear Mountain Bridge a new name that people can be proud of. It now will be known as The Purple Heart Veterans Memorial Bear Mountain Bridge pursuant to a new bipartisan law sponsored by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, D-Ossining, and by the man most responsible for making this region the center of Purple Heart activity, retiring Sen. Bill Larkin, R-Cornwall-on-Hudson. At the ceremony making the name change official, William Nazario, state commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, praised the two lawmakers for “reaching across the aisle to do something for veterans.”
CHEERS: And to the state again for funding a $10 million expansion of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor. The expansion will include a new wing with interactive galleries and exhibits. The entrance will be redesigned, a public gathering space will be added and walking space will be improved throughout the hall. The site also will be made more accessible, with improvements to parking and the site’s walkways. Final designs are to be completed next year, and construction will begin in 2020.
CHEERS: To Fritha, a 46-year-old elephant, who decided to take a walk down William Lain Road in Westtown one Sunday night. Fritha, an Asian elephant, has lived at the Sanctuary for Animals for most of her life along with horses, camels, a serval, zebras, gibbons, macques, lemurs and peacocks. She was returned home after getting some exercise and giving the rest of us a thrill.
JEERS: To the Department of Defense for finding still more ways to delay the crucial work of cleaning up the contamination that has affected the water for the City of Newburgh. Long after state tests have tracked the source of the pollution to toxic chemicals used at the Stewart Air National Guard Base, the DoD finally sent officials to meet with residents. Local people asked politely why the DoD has not yet taken any action to prevent further pollution. The answer was absurd and insulting. They can’t do anything, said John Henderson, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy, because the work has to be done on property owned by the state Department of Transportation. You would think that a guy with a title that long would be smart enough to have thought of that long ago, to have made sure that he was going to face some people poisoned on his watch with more than such flimsy excuses.
JEERS: To Laura Ebert, an economics professor at SUNY New Paltz, who has been charged with stealing political signs during the days before the recent midterm elections. The college has condemned the actions in general but not done anything specific, saying that such an approach is “consistent with our standard practice of not commenting on personnel matters.” But if the college really believes in our democratic process and one of its faculty members is accused of such a petty attack on these values, it needs to do more or risk sending the message to students that it really does not care that much.