As the start of another year begins, The Newburgh News reflects on 2022. The year brought many great happenings to the communities, but it also brought some controversy.
The Newburgh News, LLC is issuing cheers and jeers to local individuals, groups, and businesses to commemorate the end of 2022.
- Fallen Paramedic Lisa Sillins
Sillins was killed just days before Christmas. Sillins had finished up her shift at Ambulnz in the City of Newburgh and was walking to her car to head home when she was mowed down by an accused drunk driver in a pickup truck.
During her shift that day, Sillins undoubtedly helped many of patients who were sick or injured. As her patients were benefiting from her efforts to help them, they had no idea she would never make it home that night.
Throughout her 20 years practicing emergency medicine, it is almost certain that she saved the lives of dozens, if not hundreds, of her fellow citizens. We posthumously commend Sillins for all the times she likely went above and beyond to unselfishly help a complete stranger when they were at their worst.
- Jeff Cowan, owner of Cowan’s Jewelers in New Windsor
Earlier this year, Cowan’s Jewelers was inducted into the exclusive New York State Historic Business Preservation Registry (story here). This was one of just over 100 businesses to ever earn this distinguishment.
Cowan is the third generation of his family to own and operate this jewelry store. Cowan is well known and well respected throughout the community. Negative comments are almost never spoken about him or his business. After The Newburgh News published a story about the store’s induction, our social media accounts were bombarded with kind words about Cowan and his business.
Under his leadership, the business has survived the ups and downs of the economy over several decades. We commend Cowan for running an honest business and always being kind to his customers.
- New Windsor Town Supervisor George Meyers
We commend Meyers for his ongoing leadership skills. He is no stranger to taking charge of large groups of employees. He is a retired Major with the New York State Police.
In 1992, he made national news when he commanded a demonstration in which over 200 Native Americans blocked off the Thruway, lit fires and attacked state troopers. After retiring from the State Police, he has spent a majority of his time running New Windsor.
Known for his no-nonsense approach, Meyers runs a tight ship. Residents enjoy living in New Windsor and town employees continue delivering top-notch services. The roads are always in pristine condition, constantly paved and quickly plowed. The town parks are flourishing, especially after Meyers introduced the concept of the Mount Airy Park decades ago. Unlike some municipalities, New Windsor offers weekly garbage collection from residences and the Sanitation Department never misses a beat. The town is safe thanks to its Police Department continuously patrolling while walking a fine line as to not over-police the residents. The New Windsor Ambulance Corp is bigger and better than ever following a once controversial move by Meyers which turned out for the best. We commend Meyers and believe he is an asset to his town.
- Town of Newburgh Deputy Supervisor Scott Manley
We recognize Manley’s positive approach and for taking such pride in the town. Manley is a retired Town of Newburgh Police sergeant.
During his police tenure, Manley was known to be fair, but did not allow his kindness to be taken as a weakness. Decades ago, he made local headlines when he was on patrol on a cold night and found a man sleeping in his car in the Newburgh Mall parking lot. Manley spoke with the man and discovered that he was a military veteran who did not have much money. Manley offered to find a shelter, but the veteran was too proud and declined. Manley left and went to a nearby restaurant. He purchased a large portion of food, which he paid for with his personal money, and brought it to the homeless veteran.
After retiring, Manley was elected as a Town of Newburgh councilman. Manley is the perfect example of the type of person an elected official should be. Always a gentleman, Manley behaves more like a good neighbor who is a community supporter as opposed to a stereotypical politician. He previously stated that it is his job to act as a cheerleader for the community.
In 2018, Manley ran a clean campaign against Jonathan Jacobson for a seat on the New York State Assembly. In a rare move by someone running for office, Manley did not make comments about his political opponent. He campaigned in favor of himself rather than campaigning against Jacobson. Even though Manley lost, he was recently seen standing next to Jacobson during a Menorah lighting in the City of Newburgh. The two got along and were all smiles together – exactly how it should be. This type of clean politics and community pride are becoming rare in the political world.
- New York State Senator James Skoufis
Skoufis has frequently been commended by Republicans and Democrats for his bipartisan politics. It is not common for an elected official to receive endorsements from both sides of the aisle, especially in a state as divisive as New York. He has managed to earn the respect of both political parties due to his fairness and doing what is right for his community.
Self-serving politicians discussed calling an emergency session just days before Christmas to give themselves a self-serving. Skoufis warned that if a vote was called, he would oppose the raise. Lo and behold, the group of maniacs called a special session to give themselves huge pay raises. Skoufis kept his promise and voted against it. Surely the money-hungry politicians who voted in favor of this did not think their constituents were in favor of making them the highest paid in the United States, but the raise passed despite Skoufis’ opposition.
Skoufis is also an advocate and public voice for the residents he serves. Earlier this year, residents became outraged after claiming to be victimized by Central Hudson. The monopoly was charging many residents absurd fees, with some small households being forced to pay thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars in “estimated” fees. After receiving countless complaints, Skoufis immediately held a press conference in New Windsor and began fighting the good fight. Central Hudson management refused to budge. Instead, Central Hudson’s misleadership arrogantly blamed elected officials for daring to question their authority. They claimed elected officials were lashing out because of the upcoming election. The election is over and Skoufis is still going nose-to-nose against Central Hudson. Thanks to Skoufis, several investigations are underway and have made significant progress in favor of the victimized customers.
- All of our local police departments
Our local police departments are generally very fair to the residents. This is one of the worst times in American history to be a police officer. A handful of dirty cops have been spotlighted in the media which has unfairly given the entire profession a bad name.
Bad cops are the worst enemy of good cops. Mostly everyone agrees that the murder of George Floyd was unjust. There have been many other similar incidents across the nation that were also just as heinous. However, every bunch has a few bad apples. There are crooked doctors, lawyers, soldiers, religious leaders, and the list goes on. An entire profession cannot be painted with a broad brush.
Local police also have their hands tied by sadistic politicians who are doing everything possible to promote crime. The laws have made it so police can only write tickets for serious crimes. It must be disheartening for someone trying to fight crime to be forced to release a burglar so s/he can finish the heist.
Our local police have been successful at walking a very fine line. Nobody wants to live in a police state where police are repeatedly stopping residents for every petty problem. In contrast, nobody wants to live in a crime-ridden municipality where the police do nothing. It must be difficult for police to keep a balance and be fair. The local departments seem to have mastered this science. They have demonstrated their abilities to keep the communities as safe as the pro-crime laws allow while refraining from cracking down a little too much on the residents.
- The entire medical profession
Whether it is doctors, nurses, emergency medical services, or any other professionals in the medical field, how quickly we forget their importance.
Before COVID, medical professionals were appreciated but seldomly saw an outpouring of community support. During the height of COVID, they were all labeled as heroes. Crowds of people stood outside of medical facilities cheering, waiving the American flag, holding signs, and hooting their car horns to show their appreciation. Now that COVID has slowed down, so too has the public support of the medical profession.
We commend the entire medical profession for all that they do. Some have old tricks that they use which were passed down from previous generations. Some are forced to think outside of the box to figure out how to handle a problem that is not described in the textbooks. Many of them go above and beyond to keep their patients alive and healthy. They often do not receive enough thanks.
Next time you are treated by a medical professional, remember to thank them for their help.
- The Central Hudson management
Central Hudson’s administration has endlessly victimized their customers, according to State reports recently released. Their billing problems have been going on for well over a year.
The administration is putting lots of effort into arrogantly deflecting their blame. If they put half the effort into fixing the problem, it would have been resolved already. Many customers have questioned if Central Hudson’s management really wants to fix their billing problems. This allegedly mysterious computer problem has turned into a goldmine for Central Hudson as their customers are paying thousands of dollars based on how much Central Hudson “estimates” they might owe. If a customer were to reverse the roles and “estimate” how much is owed to Central Hudson, they almost certainly would not allow it. Central Hudson continues to blame a computer glitch, among many other excuses.
If Central Hudson’s entire management team cannot coordinate finding someone to fix a computer glitch after a full year, they clearly are no good at their jobs and should be excused from their posts. Otherwise, another utility company must come in and replace Central Hudson.
- New York State Governor Kathy Hochul
Hochul is continuously forcing her pro-crime advocacy agenda onto residents who do not want it. Hochul has already followed in the footsteps of disgraced ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo, but there is one big difference. Cuomo was arrogant and loud-mouthed. Hochul smiles and giggles as she stabs her constituents in the back.
Hochul has repeatedly refused to fix the Bail Reform Act, which allows dangerous criminals to walk off into the sunset while their victims remain hospitalized or dead. Her own Department of Criminal Justice Services reported violent crimes are soaring across the crime-ridden state, but Hochul continues smiling and telling residents that crime is down.
The Newburgh News has recently reported on several sketchy actions that Hochul waited until after her election to make. She shot down a bipartisan bill approved by the Senate and Assembly which would have helped combat the deadly fentanyl crisis plaguing New York. Then she approved a bill making it illegal for cops to pull over drivers who are breaking certain laws. Both of these bills were approved by the Senate and Assembly early in 2022, but Hochul waited until after her election to make her pro-crime decisions.
Then, Hochul had the audacity to approve a raise making the State Assembly and Senate the highest paid in the nation. The legislators voted to approve their self-serving raise, but Hochul should have realized how ridiculous this was. Instead, she sold out her taxpayers so her peers can enjoy sickening 29% raises. Hochul needs to shape up before meeting the same fate as Cuomo: Constituents demanding a resignation.