Special Recognition in Clarkstown

BY MARIA BROWNSELL

There were four different special presentations on Tuesday, June 4th’s Clarkstown Town Board meeting. Sergent LaFasciano presented his Clarkstown Youth Academy Graduates. The program has graduated over 100 students in the years it has been around, with many of the students later entering the law enforcement field. The students were called up one by one, receiving a certificate, and shaking the hands of the town board members and the police officers.

“This is one of my personal favorites. I’ve watch you over the years and you really are a great bunch. I have to thank your parents for raising such great kids,” said Councilwoman Shirley Lasker.

“”There’s nothing like experience. Exposing you to police work and the police force like this is invaluable and hopefully some of you will choose this path,” said Councilman George Hoehmann.

“You’ve had some valluable lesons and learned from the best with Clarkstown’s police officers,” added Supervisor Alexander Gromack.

The next special presentation was awarded to Clarkstown’s Senior Citizen of the Year, James Finn. Finn was now recognized by Rockland County as the county’s Senior Citizen of the Year also. He is the president of many senior citizen clubs and is responsible for many different activites that have been available to seniors throughout the years. He has been an active resident of the town and devoted much time to help others.

Two different principals in the Clarkstown schools were recognized for their upcoming retirements. James Vitale, the prical at Clarkstown South High School has been the principal since 2005. Diane Basso, the campus princal at Felix Festa Middle School has been working in the teaching field since the 70’s.

“You have both been very important in the lives of thousands of chldren. You’ ve made our commmunity a better place. Thank you,” said Hoehmann.

“I’ve been in education for 29 years. It’s been a pleasure working in the Clarkstown School District. It was the highlight of my career. It’s a wonderful school district and something I will miss,” said Vitale.

“This is a very special honor. I was 22 when I started as a young math teacher. My husband and I raised four daughters through the system. We know the children through the years. I’ve been fortunate to see it grown as a middle school. The children of Clarkstown hold a spcial place in my heart,” said Basso.

The last program recognized was STAR Kids, Inc. Many children showed up to recieve their award and eagerly shook hands with all the board members as they proudly displayed their certificates. The STAR kids program is a recreation program for kids at risk. It is to keep kids off the street and engaged in safte activites.

“It was crafted to be a child centered family activity. It’s too keep the kids having fun and off drugs and their couches. It’s a skating program created in alliance with Parks and Recreation. We plan to double the size of the group for next year,” said Steve Fox, who is a coordinator of the program.

“The program that we just ran really works. If I see a kid that is smiling and sweating, I’m happy. The more kids we can get out exercising and having fun, the better,” said ‘Boomer’ Barbara who coaches the kids in ice hockey.

After all the special presentations were done, there were three public hearings. The first public hearing was for the approval of a final map of boundary lines of the Valley Cottage Fire District. No members of the public had any comment on this and the board passed it quickly.

The next hearing was about a proposed local law entitled, “A local law amending chapter 290-3(definitions) of the town code of the Town of Clarkstown.” Town Attorney, Amy Mele, explained that the law is revising the definiton of building coverage amd lot coverage to include all impervious surfaces. Congers resident, Steven Levine, expressed concern about the lack of definition for the word “parcel” and “green roof” that appears in the proposed law. He said that without clearly defining these words, lawyers and builders can corrupt the meanings to mean what they want. After much deliberation, the board agreed to continue the public hearing at the next meeting on July 2nd to add definitions of the language.

The final public hearing was for proposed local law entitled, “A local law ameding chapter 290 (zoning) of the local laws of the Town of Clarkstown with respect to senior housing, senior citizen congregate housing and asisted care living quarters.” Mele explained that this law is to ammend the definitions for the different types of senior housing and 55 and over communities.

“The object is to create a continuom of care so they don’t have to move outside their community for different levels of care,” said Joe Simoes of the Planning Board.

Levine expressed concern about this law and the idea that the Planning Board was granted the ability to give out special permits without the approval of the Town Board. He suggested to the board to address and clarify unclear issues and to table the law until that is done. Other residents expressed similar concern, but the public hearing was closed and the law was adopted.