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  • Why weren’t the roads clean?




  • Former Monroe Supervisor Harley Doles dies




  • Emily Convers retires as United Monroe chair




  • Monroe-Woodbury to ask voters to support $8.3 million in capital improvements




  • Former Monroe priest accused of inappropriate behavior with minor




  • M-W football coach accused of ‘sexting’ minors




  • M-W High School announces plan for first ever M-W CARES Day




Former Monroe Supervisor Harley Doles dies, 4,161 views

Former Monroe Town Supervisor Harley E. Doles III died on Friday, July 6. He was 63. Doles, 63, leaves behind his wife, Supreme Court Justice Maria Vasquez-Doles, and triplet teenage daughters. Doles served as supervisor for four years with his term ending in 2017. He did not run for re-election. His tumultuous time in the position included the approved 164-acre annexation of Kiryas Joel and his support for the town-owned movie theater. “Harley would always personalize the political and politicize the personal,” said Douglas Feiden, a senior reporter with Straus News in Manhattan who worked at The Photo News in 2017. “But don’t get me wrong: I consider that a testament to his passion.” A former City Hall Bureau Chief at the New York Daily News, Feiden has known a lot of politicians, but he views Doles as a “unique centrifugal force in politics” who could impact, “for better or worse, everyone in his orbit, pushing and pulling and pestering and pressing their buttons.” Some constituents found it endearing. Others thought it enraging. But at its core, Feiden argues, was Doles’ unbridled love for the Town of Monroe, which he’d invariably express in the possessive. “It was his mantra, the same two words – ‘My Town,’” he said.

Read the story: Former Monroe Supervisor Harley Doles dies




Why weren’t the roads clean?, 2,334 views

The Nov. 15 Nor’easter seemingly arose out of nowhere and left motorists fuming over massive traffic delays caused by historical November storm. Snowfall totals, as reported to the National Weather Service, included 9 inches in Monroe; 9.2 inches in Middletown; 10.2 inches in Highland Mills; and 10.2 inches in Goshen. Social media posters told tales of sitting for hours and hours and hours in traffic. Posted videos and photos showed stalled and stuck cars, trucks and buses. • A ride home from the Port Authority Terminal in Manhattan to Monroe took six hours. • A ride from Pearl River to Monroe, via the Palisades Parkway, took seven hours. • A normal commute from Goshen to Monroe on Route 17 took five hours. • And motorists, who were so close to home, reported being stuck on the top of Route 6 in Harriman for five hours before traffic started moving about 10 p.m. State Senator-elect James Skoufis said he would be investigating what caused the issue with road conditions which caused the massive travel delays.

Read the story: Why weren’t the roads clean?




M-W High School announces plan for first ever M-W CARES Day, 2,316 views

In February, Monroe-Woodbury High School officials announced a fall event called “M-W CARES Day,” which will feature assemblies and workshops presented by more than 100 individuals and organizations who have positively affected others in what’s possibly being considered the first-of-its-kind student conference day in a New York State high school, It’s an ambitious undertaking designed to promote and reinforce compassion, acceptance, respect, empowerment and success - or CARES - throughout the Monroe-Woodbury community, according to committee members who have spent months putting a plan together, which will included nationally recognized speakers. “The high school strives to create a learning experience where all students can reach their full potential,” said Principal John Kaste. “Traditionally, this has been measured by academic success. Education is changing. With growing evidence to support social and emotional learning as ‘the missing piece’ to overall success, we feel that CARES Day will show our commitment to fully support our students’ needs by introducing speakers and topics that delve into aspects of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making.” The day-long program was held on Oct. 28 and was, by most accounts, a profound experience for students.

Read the story: M-W High School announces plan for first ever M-W CARES Day




Former Monroe priest accused of inappropriate behavior with minor , 2,085 views

In October came the news that the Rev. Thomas Kreiser, a priest in Bronxville who served at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Monroe for several years, had been accused of inappropriate behavior with a 10-year-old girl. According to the Archdiocese of New York, the case was immediately referred to the Westchester District Attorney, which is conducting the investigation. Kreiser was serving at the Church of St. Joseph in Bronxville and had only been there for three months. Since being ordained in 1994, he served in several other churches, including the Church of the Sacred Heart in Monroe, from 1994 to 1998 and then again in 2017 when he served the parish as parochial vicar, according to online bulletins. According to published reports, in 2011, Kreiser pleaded guilty to stealing $25,600 from St. Gregory Barbarigo Church in Rockland County and was sentenced to five years’ probation. He spent 14 months in a Pennsylvania rehabilitation clinic for internet gambling addiction before joining the Church of St. Joseph last July. Kreiser was arraigned in December on a felony charge of first-degree sexual abuse.

Read the story: Former Monroe priest accused of inappropriate behavior with minor




Monroe-Woodbury to ask voters to support $8.3 million in capital improvements, 2,005 views

In August, the Monroe-Woodbury School District asked taxpayers to support a proposed $8,391,000 capital project that would replace the air conditioning system at the high school, replace grass athletic fields with artificial turf that could accommodate soccer, football and lacrosse and replace the existing six-lane track with one that would feature eight lanes, among other changes. School officials said the proposed changes to the athletic facilities would allow the district to more fully respond to the increased demand for athletic venues for the community and the school’s own sports program for modified to varsity teams; and position the district to host regional and statewide competitions that could benefit the district and the local economy. School officials said there would be no tax impact. The district would used $3.2 million in reserves, $1.5 million from the state in exchange for taking by eminent domain a total of 1.9 acres for its Exit 131 improvements, $925,000 from the state Legislature via Assemblyman James Skoufis and a $4 million bond to be repaid over 15 years. On Oct. 23, Monroe-Woodbury residents approved the capital improvement project with 1,732 votes in favor. 888 voters were opposed.

Read the story: Monroe-Woodbury to ask voters to support $8.3 million in capital improvements




M-W football coach accused of ‘sexting’ minors, 1,986 views

In September an assistant coach for the Monroe-Woodbury Junior Varsity football team was accused of sending sexually explicit text messages, also known as “sexting,” to a minor. Justin D. Kaffenberger, 23, of Monroe, was charged with two counts of first-degree disseminating indecent material to minors, a felony, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. The victim was a 15-year-old girl, according to police.

Read the story: M-W football coach accused of ‘sexting’ minors




The clash of cultures and property rights taking place in Highland Mills community, 1,912 views

In August, The Photo News report how neighbors were suing neighbors in Highland Lakes Estates, a community of 168 homes off Ridge Road in Highland Mills. This community in the Town of Woodbury began in 1995 and is governed by a homeowners association, which require anyone who wants to buy a home within the community to become a member, adhere to its bylaws, covenants and restrictions and to pay a monthly maintenance fee of $110. Like a number of other communities and developments in southern Orange County, Highland Lakes Estates has seen an influx of Hasidic families as the population of the Village of Kiryas Joel has grown and grown. Since 2016, about 15 Hasidic families have bought homes within the community, according to the lawsuit brought by members of these families against the Highland Lakes Homeowners Association. The lawsuit claims the homeowners association has discriminated against them because they are Hasidic Jews. The plaintiffs seek $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Meanwhile, the homeowners association, the property manager and members of the board of trustees for the homeowners association have filed a countersuit, asking the court to dismiss all claims. The group also seeks $25 million in compensation. The claims remain in the hands of courts.

Read the story: The clash of cultures and property rights taking place in Highland Mills community




Emily Convers retires as United Monroe chair, 1,721 views

In late January and after five years serving as chair of United Monroe, founder Emily Convers announced her retirement from the organization earlier this week, saying she will now focus her attention on the non-profit Preserve Hudson Valley group. United Monroe’s germination began when an organic, grass roots group was formed using Facebook as its primary way of spreading information and gaining support against the Town of Monroe’s purchase of the former Monroe Movie Theater. That movement snowballed as two controversial land annexation requests by the Village of Kiryas Joel became public, creating a local public affairs/community relations nightmare as community members’ involvement grew exponentially while they relentlessly rallied against the town government. Convers would later announce she was relocating to Switzerland with her family.

Read the story: Emily Convers retires as United Monroe chair




A group of residents petitions the Town Board for the creation of the Village of Seven Springs, 1,678 views

In August, a group of Monroe residents - representing no more than 600 men, women and children - petitioned the Town Board to create their own village, to be called Seven Springs. The municipality would be part of the Town of Monroe, like the Village of Monroe and the Village of Harriman as well as the Village of Kiryas Joel (until it is absorbed into the Town of Palm Tree in January 2019). This means its residents would pay town taxes as well as taxes to the Monroe-Woodbury School District, contribute revenue through mortgage taxes and perhaps eventually assert political influence in local elections akin to the KJ bloc vote. Monroe Town Supervisor Tony Cardone said nothing will advance on the petition until litigation is settled on the annexation of land from the unincorporated portion of the Town of Monroe into the Village of Kiryas Joel. That includes the 164 acres that both the Town of Monroe and the Village of Kiryas Joel agreed to, and which was subsequently included in the agreement that led to the creation of the Town of Palm. The other is the 507 acres bid made by Kiryas Joel but which the Monroe Town Board rejected. Orange County and a consortium of towns and villages surrounding Kiryas Joel pooled their resources to oppose in court the annexation bids.

Read the story: A group of residents petitions the Town Board for the creation of the Village of Seven Springs




Taking care of business, 1,668 views

An otherwise routine Monroe Town Board meeting in mid-January didn’t generate any 90-point headlines. But the meeting was remarkable because Supervisor Anthony Cardone and Town Board members Mary Bingham, Rick Colon and Mike McGinn move through the meeting’s itinerary to approve a contract with highway workers, schedule public hearings, listen to the public - and then respond without rancor. The meeting began at 7:30; the board adjourned by 10:30 p.m. to go into executive session. What a difference a month made in the politics of Monroe.

Read the story: Taking care of business



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