Abilities First opens first school in Orange County

Adrienne Miller converses with a student by trying to get him to open up about how he’s feeling. Abilities First School opened a temporary location in Cornwall-on-Hudson. A new facility will open in New Windsor next year.

Adrienne Miller converses with a student by trying to get him to open up about how he’s feeling. Abilities First School is using a temporary location in Cornwall-on-Hudson. A new facility will open in New Windsor next year.

On Sept. 6, Abilities First School opened its doors in Cornwall-on-Hudson. The school, which provides programs and services for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, will temporarily occupy the former St. Thomas of Canterbury School while a more permanent facility is constructed in the old Devitt’s Medical Arts Building on Windsor Highway in New Windsor.

With locations in LaGrange and Red Hook, this will be the school’s first in Orange County. The impact is already being felt as some parents have moved their child to the new facility to keep them closer to home.

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Two critical in Route 32 accident

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New Windsor Ambulance Corps Chief Michael Bigg, Town of Cornwall Police Chief Todd Hazard, and Cornwall Fire Department Chief Pat Hines confer following a two-car accident on Route 32. Details are not available, but it appeared two patients were in critical condition and required transportation by helicopter. A third patient appeared to be conscious.

Churches welcome their new pastor

Rev. Martha Carlson was hired to serve as pastor of both First Presbyterian Church in Washingtonville and Bethlehem Presbyterian Church in New Windsor. An installation ceremony is scheduled for Sunday.

Rev. Martha Carlson was hired to serve as pastor of both First Presbyterian Church in Washingtonville and Bethlehem Presbyterian Church in New Windsor. An installation ceremony is scheduled for Sunday.

Sunday will be a busy day for Rev. Martha Carlson.

Her first stop will be in Washingtonville where she’ll preside over a joint service between First Presbyterian Church and Bethlehem Presbyterian Church in New Windsor.

During the service, Rev. Carlson will bless backpacks belonging to kids and teachers. Afterwards, she’ll attend  a homecoming celebration with a carnival theme.

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Young authors display work at library

Jasper Haase, J.T. Geraci, and Nicholas Conti peruse the books written and illustrated by their peers.

Jasper Haase, J.T. Geraci, and Nicholas Conti peruse the books written and illustrated by their peers.

The Art of the Story is a new display in the Cornwall Public Library Community Room. Over the course of four to six weeks, 25 kids wrote and illustrated short stories during a series of workshops led by Alaina Enslen.

An opening reception was held this month and samples of the children’s work were put on display until the end of August.

The spring workshop was open to students in kindergarten through fourth grade.

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Boys State intimidating but worthwhile

Photo contributed Boys State participants learned how to eat quickly. Meals were limited to 15 minutes.

Photo contributed
Boys State participants learned how to eat quickly. Meals were limited to 15 minutes.

Cornwall American Legion Post 353 sent eight teens to this year’s Boys State, an educational program designed to teach participants discipline and how the government operates. This year’s attendees were Adam Johnson, Eliot Perez, Patrick Vilda, Justin Gagnon, Lucas Arora, Sam Delacruz, Zachary Denning, and Erik Fosstveit. The program was held June 25 to July 1 at SUNY Morrisville.

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‘Beauty and the Beast, Jr.’ on Friday

Quinn Andrews, Patty Pettus, Leah Boucher, Ariel Yarmus, Alex Raposo rehearse a scene in “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.”

Quinn Andrews, Patty Pettus, Leah Boucher, Ariel Yarmus, Alex Raposo rehearse a scene in “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.”

With “Beauty and the Beast’s” success on Broadway and the cinematic release earlier this year, it only made sense for Riverlight Theatre Arts  to choose the fairy tale for its summer performance. It also helped to have the guidance of musical director Sean Pallatroni, who worked on the original Broadway show.

There will be two performances of the play on Friday, at 5:30 and 7 p.m. in the Cornwall Middle School auditorium.

The program, which caters to students ages 6 to 16, is funded by the Cornwall Middle School PTO. This summer’s show will see 35 performers grace the stage, a larger number than in years past.

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Olivia Perez’s anti-hate essay wins top prize

Olivia Perez

Olivia Perez

Students in grades 10 to 12, throughout Orange County, were eligible to enter the third annual Stop Hate essay contest, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County, the Newburgh Ministry, Inc., and the Orange County Human Rights Commission. Of all the participants, Cornwall High School sophomore Olivia Perez was declared the winner.

“Winning the contest is very overwhelming because I was one essay out of so many in all of Orange County,” Perez said. “The fact I won really showed me if I put my heart to it, I can do it. I felt proud to be from Cornwall and be able to do that.”

The purpose of the contest is to promote tolerance and understanding through education. This year’s topic focused on the issue of refugees, by comparing the plight of Syrian refugees with that of Jews just before the Holocaust of World War II.

English teacher Kelly Robinson-Finn told her students about the essay contest at the end of March. Perez was one of Robinson-Finn’s advanced students who opted to enter.

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Rice reprises role in ‘Into the Woods’

Julia Samuelson and Sophia Cappa (Cinderella’s narrators and Maggie Kelly (Cinderella), rehearse a scene from “Into the Woods.” The performance is this Friday and Saturday.

Julia Samuelson and Sophia Cappa (Cinderella’s narrators and Maggie Kelly (Cinderella), rehearse a scene from “Into the Woods.” The performance is this Friday and Saturday.

A veteran cast will take the stage, this weekend, for Step it up Summer Stage’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s  “Into the Woods.” The musical also stars a young woman reprising a role she played 10 years ago.

Auditions were held on June 11, and the camp started with two weeks of rehearsals which began last Monday. The cast includes 30 local middle school through college-aged students. Only five members of the cast are newcomers.

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