2017: The Year in Review

By Michael Turton

January

5  Beacon school officials inform the state athletic association of an ineligible player due to an administrative mix-up that leads to the high school forfeiting four football and seven basketball victories. In February the district tells Athletic Director Martin Nemecek that he will be fired but he is allowed to retire.

9  State officials announce that the Indian Point nuclear power station will cease operations in 2021.

12  The five members of the first elected Garrison Fire District Commission are sworn in.

Katy Hope in a pussyhat (photo provided)

21  Hundreds of Highlands residents converge on New York City and Washington, D.C., many wearing pink “pussyhats,” to march for women’s rights.

25  Barney Molloy, chairman of the Putnam County Visitors Bureau, pleads not guilty to charges he stole four copies of The New York Times from outside a Cold Spring coffee shop. After multiple hearings, the case is dropped.

26  Matt Landahl becomes the Beacon school district’s 10th superintendent in as many years.

27  The Hudson Highlands Land Trust buys 385 acres on Granite Mountain in Putnam Valley for close to $1 million to preserve as parkland.

February

3  A last-minute legal dispute scuttles a Scenic Hudson plan to preserve a 1,168-acre parcel located on the Putnam-Dutchess border at Lake Valhalla.

10  A report shows serious crime in Beacon has fallen to its lowest level in five years.

A rendering of 22 Edgewater Place

15  The Beacon Planning Board begins its review of a 307-unit development that would be the largest-ever in the city.

24  Entrepreneurs announce plans to reopen the Beacon Theater at 445 Main St.

March

14-15  Winter storm Stella dumps 22 inches of snow on the Highlands.

Main Street, Cold Spring (Photo by Ross Corsair)

15  A week before the mayoral election, Paul Guillaro sues the Village of Cold Spring in federal court, alleging Mayor Dave Merandy and other officials attempted to sabotage his Butterfield redevelopment project. (The lawsuit was dropped in October.)

21  Marie Early and Fran Murphy are re-elected to the Cold Spring Village Board.

21  Hussein “Jimmy” Abdelhady says he plans to create a five-room boutique hotel over his Silver Spoon Café in Cold Spring.

21  Nelsonville citizens vote to expand the board of trustees from three to five members and elect Bill O’Neill as the new mayor and Alan Potts as trustee.

28  After a count of absentee ballots, Dave Merandy is re-elected Cold Spring mayor by 23 votes over challenger Allison Anthoine.

31  After nine months on the job, Haldane High School Principal Peter Carucci resigns, citing family reasons. He is succeeded by Julia Sniffen, who had been the middle school principal.

April

Following weeks of debate, the Beacon City Council adopts a resolution that avoids the term sanctuary city but declares Beacon a “safe and welcoming place.”

The Philipstown Town Board adopts a resolution, 3-2, that forbids town employees from participating in arrests by federal immigration agents. It too avoids the term sanctuary city.

Councilor Nancy Montgomery makes a point during the April 6 meeting. (Photo by Ross Corsair)

15  After $850,000 in renovations, the sloop Clearwater returns.

17  Roger Ailes, 77, the former head of Fox News, who purchased The Putnam County News and Recorder in Cold Spring with his wife, Elizabeth, dies after a fall at his home in Florida.

18  Larry Burke is appointed officer-in-charge of the Cold Spring Police.

May

After protests, a wall extending into the sidewalk at 344 Main St. in Beacon is realigned with the neighboring building.

10  Beacon officials cite the owner of Ella’s Bellas for refusing to remove from the side of his building what the city says is an illegal sign and what he says is art.

The Imagine painting at 418 Main St. (Photo by Jeff Simms)

15  Beacon City Council tables a vote on building a new central fire station at the dog run at Memorial Park and turns its attention to a county building at 223 Main.

22  A federal judge refuses to dismiss a $45 million lawsuit against Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith alleging malicious prosecution.

24  Cold Spring and Philipstown agree to merge their building departments.

31 A tornado touches down in Wappingers Falls.

June

7  The Town Board votes to make Philipstown a Climate Smart Community.

9 The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference reports a 22 percent increase in the number of hikers at Breakneck Ridge over 2016, including as many as 1,700 people on its busiest weekend days.

10  Despite protests from environmental groups and the state, the EPA allows General Electric to end its years-long dredging to remove PCBs from the Hudson.

12  Residents object to a cell phone tower proposed in Philipstown; several weeks later, residents also protest a cell phone tower proposed in Nelsonville.

Adam Levy and Don Smith

13  As part of a court settlement, Putnam Sheriff Don Smith apologizes to former county D.A. Adam Levy for making false statements and agrees to pay $25,000 of the $150,000 settlement. The county picks up the rest.

22  The grassroots Beacon People’s Committee on Development holds it first meeting.

25  Four Haldane graduates are among the players at the biennial Women’s Softball European Championships. The Lisikatos sisters play for the Greeks and the Monteleones for the Irish.

A visitor at the June 28 opening of Magazzino (Photo by Ross Corsair)

28  Magazzino Italian Art holds its grand opening in Philipstown.

29  Under a new state law, the ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft are allowed to operate outside New York City.

30  Gov. Andrew Cuomo allocates $17.5 million for Metro-North projects that include upgrades to the Beacon, Cold Spring and Garrison stations.

A guardrail overlooking the reservoir  (Photo by M. Turton)

30  Cold Spring officials protest Putnam County’s use of herbicides near a brook that supplies the village with drinking water. (Tests later show no trace of toxins.)

30  The U.S. Coast Guard puts the brakes on a proposal to create 10 anchorage sites on the Hudson, including between Beacon and Newburgh.

July

13  A 48-year-old Brooklyn man dies after falling off a cliff at Breakneck Ridge.

24  Angelika Graswald pleads guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the 2015 drowning death of her fiancé while they kayaked near Bannerman’s Island. She is released Dec. 21 with time served.

August

8  After winning a retrial on appeal, Anthony Grigoroff is convicted a second time in the 2008 murder of Garrison resident John Marcinak.

8  Using a rotary saw, burglars cut a square from the glass door of Joseph’s Jewelers in Cold Spring in an overnight burglary.

Photo by Ross Corsair

21  The nation looks skyward as the shadow of a total solar eclipse sweeps from Oregon to South Carolina. Although it is only a partial eclipse here, residents are no less captivated.

31  Amidst an epidemic of opioid abuse, people struggling with addiction and their families and supporters gather at the Cold Spring bandstand to call for more resources to fight the expanding problem. On Sept. 22, The Current begins a four-part series on the crisis.

September

5  State Assemblyman Frank Skartados informs the Beacon City Council he has secured $500,000 toward restoring the historic Tioronda Bridge.

Philipstown Supervisor Richard Shea announces that the state will close access to congested Breakneck Ridge on Jan. 1 to survey conditions, undertake repairs and begin construction of the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail.

18  After months of discussion, Beacon City Council adopts a six-month moratorium on nearly all new construction.

A view from Craig House (Photo by Kathy Steinberg)

18  The historic Tioronda Estate on the outskirts of Beacon, which includes the former Craig House psychiatric center, is sold to a group of investors.

October

Diana Bowers, superintendent of the Haldane Central School District, announces she will retire at the end of the school year.

14  The Beacon Historical Society welcomes visitors to its new home at 17 South Ave. after years of crammed quarters at the Howland Cultural Center.

18  The board of Building Bridges Building Boats votes to shut down the organization which for 20 years taught Philipstown teenagers to row, paddle and sail.

An altered Greco campaign sign

24  The Rev. Tim Greco, a candidate for Philipstown Town Board, gets into a scrap with TIME magazine over the resemblance of his campaign logo to its trademarked name; he revises his materials.

November

2  The Philipstown Town Board creates the position of drug-abuse resource coordinator.

2  The Desmond-Fish Library in Garrison announces that Hamilton Fish, the chair of its board, will take a leave of absence after allegations of sexual misconduct at The New Republic, where he was president and publisher.

Langley

Democrat Robert Langley edges incumbent Smith in the race for Putnam County sheriff. Democrats also sweep the Beacon City Council, Beacon-area Dutchess County Legislature and Philipstown Town Board elections.

17  Organizers of the Philipstown Community Congress announce that the priorities identified by 755 voters are improving hiking and biking paths, ensuring clean water, establishing a teen center, consolidating school districts and implementing Climate Smart Community strategies.

20  After an earlier suggestion that a village-owned parcel on Secor Street might be a good spot for a cell phone tower, the Nelsonville Village Board withdraws the offer.

21  The Putnam County Legislature votes to sue drug companies that it claims contributed to the opioid crisis through “fraudulent and negligent” marketing and careless distribution of pain pills.

December

5  Beacon school district voters approve a $9 million capital improvement plan.

A view of the dam

6  An engineering firm estimates it will cost about $4 million to repair Cold Spring’s upper dam.

22  Beacon Police Chief Doug Solomon leaves to take the same position in Newburgh.

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