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“Our Natural Beauty” By Rockland County Executive Ed Day

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Rockland County is a beautiful place. From the shore of the Hudson River in the east to the peaks of the Ramapo Mountains in the west, this county has a little bit of everything. Last week I had the pleasure of presenting the 24th annual Rockland County Outstanding Environmental Volunteer Award.

The County Executive’s Outstanding Environmental Volunteer Award recognizes exceptional volunteers who care for our parks, champion our watershed programs, encourage recycling and work every day to enhance the natural beauty of our county’s open spaces.

While we have faced many challenges this past year, one of the unexpected benefits of our situation is that many more residents are exploring our county parks and other natural environments that they may not have taken the time to visit in the past.

But our parks and natural environment do not always stay pristine by themselves; they need our help. Thankfully Rockland has a powerful advocate looking out for it; Gale Pisha. She has adapted to this last challenging year by hosting “virtual hikes” and “campfires.”

These events have seen dozens of participants join together online after a day of safe and socially distant hikes to share experiences, tips on places to explore and foster a deeper connection to each other and to nature. And while the s’more’s at the virtual campfire may not be as good as at an in-person event, this demonstrates how Gale has worked to overcome whatever obstacles are placed in her path.

Gale’s leadership was instrumental in defeating the proposed desalinization plant in Haverstraw that would have taken drinking water from the Hudson River. More recently she has served as Co-Chair of the Legislative Committee of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter where she focuses on reviewing new legislation and helps to set statewide priorities for the 54,000-member group.

And while Gale is deeply involved in statewide issues, she takes that experience and knowledge and applies it here at home. She is a core member of the Rockland Water Coalition and does not hesitate to get involved in the grunt work of advocacy. Gale will hand out flyers, lick envelopes and knock-on doors just as willingly as she would write a position paper or organize a response to new legislation.

She is known for her patience and willingness to listen to every viewpoint, even with the most complicated and murky situations. Rockland and all of New York State are extremely lucky to have a leader and advocate like Gale Pisha watching out for our natural environment.

For all of her efforts, we named Gale Pisha the 2021 Rockland County Outstanding Environmental Volunteer. A serviceberry tree was planted in Kennedy Dells County Park in New City in her honor. I encourage you all to take the time to visit the park and experience our natural beauty for yourselves.

*This is a weekly column by Rockland County Executive Ed Day.

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Government

Senator Skoufis Touts $352K in Emergency Response Grants for Rockland County

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HAVERSTRAW, NY – Senator James Skoufis touted a $351,925 grant to Rockland County to support its emergency response operations and make critical improvements to 9-1-1 dispatch functions. The funding, announced Friday, will be administered by the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

“Rockland County is more than deserving of this critical funding,” said Senator Skoufis. “Our emergency service providers are on the front lines every day, responding to what may ultimately be life-and-death situations, in often unpredictable circumstances. Improving our communications infrastructure will save more lives while making the work of our dispatchers and first responders faster and more effective.”

“These funds help recipients make important upgrades such as text-to-9-1-1 and implement other next-generation 9-1-1 technology so they’re ready to handle calls for help and to dispatch first responders immediately,” said Patrick A. Murphy, Commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. “Since 2014, the state has distributed approximately $60 million to help our local partners improve their public safety answering point capabilities.”

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Entertainment

Stony Point Resident Celebrates 100 Birthday

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STONY POINT, NY – A big Happy (belated) Birthday to Florence Barbasso of Stony Point who turned 100 yesterday!

Florence was presented with a certification from Stony Point Supervisor Jim Monaghan. 🎂

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