Timelines – Week of June 7, 2018

Rockland firm to revamp 99-year-old racetrack in Orange County

The oldest continually operating dirt track in the U.S. recently kicked off its 99th year. Orange County Fair Speedway began operations in 1919 and will now undergo new renovations. A Nanuet-based development and promotion company, Orange Motorsport & Entertaining LLC, is taking on the project. The company signed a five-year lease to run the grounds and started restoring buildings on the property. The speedway is hosting many upcoming events. More information can be found on their website and by calling 845-342-2573.


Former North Rockland Teacher on Masterchef

Daniela Savone quit her North Rockland teaching job last fall to pursue her cooking dreams when she made it into the top 15 chefs on “Masterchef.” She will appear on the upcoming season which premiered on June 6 and will compete for the title and $250,000. Savone taught Italian cooking through the adult continuing education program. Her father operated Italian Food Center deli on Route 9W in West Haverstraw for more than 40 years. She wrote two cookbooks which she sells to raise money for a scholarship fund.


Penguin Rep Co-Founder Dies at 98

Susan Brancato, of Thiells, and co-founder of Penguin Rep Theatre, died at the age of 98. She was dedicated to the theatre and ensuring artists had a home in the Lower Hudson Valley. According to Executive Director Andrew M. Horn she, “ran the box office, kept the books, housed and fed actors, was the kindly and helpful voice on the phone and so much more…before retiring at the age of 92.” She died on Sunday June 3 and is survived by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Visitation was on Wednesday June 6 and a graveside service is being held on Thursday June 7 at St. Anthony’s Cemetery in Nanuet.


Health Insurance to Hike 24 percent on Average

Health insurance providers who are members of New York’s Affordable Care Act exchange have asked the state to approve on average 24 percent rate hikes for 2019 enrollment. Insurers are claiming this hike in rates stems from the president and Congress. Trump and the Republican-led Congress removed the individual mandate aspect of the ACA, which helped with market stability. State Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo said, “the single biggest justification offered by insurers for the requested increase is the Trump administration’s repeal of the individual mandate penalty.” The New York Health Plan Association released a statement claiming rising healthcare costs, rising prescription drug prices and hospital charges also fueled the rate hike. The individual market rate hike requests can be found online.


Cuomo to Take Away Firearms from Dangerous Students

Governor Andrew Cuomo will be introducing new legislation to the state government that allows teachers to ask judges to remove firearms from the homes of students deemed potentially dangerous. This would allow teachers and school administrators to petition courts to remove firearms from the homes of students who are considered a threat to themselves or others. Teacher unions want to increase school safety and believe this is a better way to prevent school shootings. Cuomo acknowledges he will face Republican opposition and also wants to raise the minimum age for firearms purchases to 21.


Trump Pardons Dinesh D’Souza

Last week President Trump pardoned Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative author and filmmaker who please guilty to violating federal campaign finance laws in 2014. Trump, who had never spoken or met with D’Souza before last week made the announcement at the end of May. An official White House statement said, in the President’s opinion, he was “the victim of selective prosecution for violations of campaign finance laws.” It went on to read that D’Souza, “accepted responsibility of his actions, and also completed community service by teaching English to citizens and immigrants seeking citizenship.”


Molinaro Claims Cuomo Kept $300k in Donations

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro is getting ready for the gubernatorial race and sent an email to supporters and the media on June 5 tying Gov. Andrew Cuomo to campaign contributions to major developers. The Republican candidate is quoted saying Cuomo kept hundreds of thousands in donations from developers connected to the failed $15 million state-financed film studio in Central New York which was supposed to boost the economy. This center produced 3 of the 350 promised jobs by Cuomo. The state is now selling the land back to the Onondaga County government.


Orange County High Schooler Arrested for Threatening School

18-year-old Brendan Vaughan, of Washingtonville in Orange County, was arrested earlier this week after local police, the FBI, state police and Middletown police searched his home. Vaughan was planning a possible public safety threat according to police who found evidence in his home and obtained a statement from Vaughan. He has been charged with making a terroristic threat and two counts of falsely reporting an incident. Washingtonville High School Principal Brian Connolly posted on Facebook that the police have determined there is no additional threat to the school “at this time.”

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