Awards for Good Sam’s cardiovascular institute Suffern HealthGrades, a leading health care ratings company, has ranked the Active International Cardiovascular Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern the best cardiac program in the New York-White Plains, N.Y./Wayne, N.J. region for the second year. HealthGrades also ranked Good Sam’s program second in New York State, according to hospital officials, and among the top five percent of all hospitals nationwide for cardiac surgery. HealthGrades identified Good Samaritan’s analysis “region” - the New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. Metropolitan Division - as a metropolitan statistical area defined by the federal government’s Office of Management and Budget. The cardiac program also earned a five star rating, meaning “actual performance is statistically significantly better than expected,” according to officials, and is the third year the program earned HealthGrades’ Cardiac Surgery Excellence Award. HealthGrades also gave Good Sam’s program a five star rating for coronary bypass surgery for the third year; and a five star rating for valve replacement surgery for the second year. The recognitions are based on HealthGrades’ 13th annual Hospital Quality in America study, which analyzes patient outcomes at virtually all of the nation’s hospitals. The institute opened in January 2007. Cash incentives available for new green homes Albany With consumer interest in environmentally sustainable homes remaining strong despite the economic downturn, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has created a program to spur the building and certification of more green homes across the state. The Green Residential Building Program offers incentives to owners of certain new or substantially renovated residential or residential mixed-use buildings that incorporate practices and technologies that lower energy costs, reduce waste and water use, and improve indoor air quality. Incentives will be paid to owners who demonstrate that their building will use at least 30 percent less energy than conventionally built homes and has utilized certain green principles. Incentives start at $5,125 for a single-family home and increase to $13,375 for an 11-unit building. Completion Date: To be eligible, buildings must receive their Certificate of Occupancy or Certificate of Completion by Oct. 31, 2013. Performance Requirements: Eligible buildings must be certified at the Silver level or higher using either the National Green Building Standard, LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Homes or LEED® for New Construction, and meet other program energy efficiency requirements. For more information visit www.nyserda.org. Realtor news Monroe Lorraine Pisciotta, Jamie Branigan and the Monroe office were individually recognized by Weichert Realtors’ Monroe office for outstanding performance in November. Both Pisciotta and the Monroe sales team led the region for new home dollar volume while Branigan and the Monroe sales team also led for resale listings. Hospice plans spring gala Newburgh Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties is looking towards spring as it plans for its annual Spring Gala Tulips and Tuxedos to be held on Saturday, March 26, 2011, at Anthony’s Pier. This year’s honorees will be the Honorable Anthony and Nancy Kane of Forestburgh and David Anthony Recine, Flowers by David Anthony of Monroe. For sponsorship opportunities or any more information, call Gloria Alisandrella at 561-5362, ext. 366. Free healthy eating program for kids and adolescents Middletown Crystal Run Healthcare is launching Healthy Eating, a comprehensive nutrition program designed for children and adolescents at its Crystal Run Road location. The program is intended to teach parents about healthy eating habits and proper nutrition for both children and adolescents, as well as guide young people in making healthy food choices. Tips will be offered for reading food labels and maintaining adequate weight, as well as discuss the dangers of childhood obesity. The program will look at the recent success of a child who successfully battled obesity with the use of a customized meal plan given to him under the direction of his Crystal Run pediatrician. Open to the public, the program will be held monthly and alternate its focus between children and adolescents. Attendees are encouraged to bring their questions. To register, call 703-3561. Walk-ins are welcome and encouraged. SUNY Orange offers Mandarin Chinese classes MIDDLETOWN SUNY Orange’s Continuing and Professional Education Department is offering two Mandarin Chinese language classes, one each designed for beginning and intermediate learners, at its Middletown campus this spring. The non-credit courses, which meet once a week for 10 weeks, will focus on spoken Chinese with discussions and multimedia presentations on culture and history, as well as an introduction to written Chinese. The goal of both courses is to introduce the Chinese language as career enrichment, for travel, or as a possible foreign language option for high school and college students. The introductory course “Learn to Speak Mandarin Chinese” begins on Jan. 26, 2011 and will meet Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. through April 6. No prior knowledge of Chinese is required. “Intermediate Mandarin Chinese” will start on Jan. 24, 2011 and will meet from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. each Monday through April 4. This course requires completion of the beginner’s course or an understanding of the basics of the Chinese language. Enrollment cost is $125 per student. For more information, call 341-4890 or visit www.sunyorange.edu/ce. United Way blog forum now online Montgomery Orange County United Way has launched a blog as a forum for the community to discuss issues of interest in Orange County. In addition to keeping friends and neighbors informed of Orange County United Way news and initiatives, there will be tips and community highlights. Visit www.uwoc.org for more information. Human Rights Commission awards honorees sought Goshen The Orange County Human Rights Commission is now seeking nominations for the 2011 Human Rights Commission awards. Now in its 16th year, the Human Rights awards program honors those who have made a significant contribution to advance human rights and eliminate discrimination in the county. Since the award’s inception in 1995, 97 individuals, organizations, or businesses from Orange County have been recognized. Recipients of the 2010 award were: Christine Brinckerhoff, Kiki Hayden, Imam Salahuddin Muhammad, Graham Skea, and Sadie Tallie. Officials said to be considered for the award, eligible candidates will have: Enriched the quality of life in Orange County by building better relationships among people and encouraging all to participate in community life on an equal basis; sought to foster mutual respect and understanding among individuals of different races or national origin; sought to relieve tension and conflict between racial, religious, or nationality groups; and made significant contributions to advance human rights and eliminate discrimination in the county. Nominees must either live or work in Orange County and may be from any field, including, but not limited to, education, law enforcement, public service, human services, industry, small and large business, and not-for-profit agencies. Completed nomination forms are due to the Human Rights office by Friday, Jan. 21. Nomination forms are available at www.orangecountygov.com, or by calling at 615-3680.