School Board — Estrada Returns

A letter, from Mr. Estrada to the board, dated July 8th, was read to the board in which Mr. Estrada withdrew his resignation from July 2nd.

A member of the public asked about the civil rights lawsuit against the state. Dr. Eastwood clarified that the school district and other districts, notably Schenectady, were looking into the possibility of convincing the federal government that discrimination was occuring. The federal government could then pressure the state to act or risk losing federal funds. So it is the possibility of a civil rights action, not a lawsuit.

Board President Linda Knapp got her nurse on and reminded us of the importance of staying hydrated in this heat.

A public hearing on Contract For Excellence funding was held and David Shaw, the district's labor relations attorney, did an initial presentation on the Affordable Care Act. I strongly recommend that you go to the school district's website and watch this meeting, or at least the Affordable Care Act portion. Just remember your color copies. You'll understand when you see it.


Common Council

Bare bones council, No Aldermen Sierra or Luccketti and Alderman Masi stood in for Council President Rodrigues.

Pat Foti got up to speak about flouride in the water and what he was reading, on the internet, about how bad flouride is. Later, Alderman Sabnis responded that he had talked to a number of dentists on the issue and they all agreed that it had an important positive effect on dental health. A representative from the Cornell Cooperative Extension handed out packets to the council members regarding stormwater management and what the extension has to offer in that regard. Jerry Kleiner hoped the graffiti mitigation resolution would allow 7 days to fix the problem. Commissioner Tawil said that work on Monhagen would be delayed while O&R replaces a gas line. The city would work on the other roads instead. On the matter of leaving trash out in bags instead of garbage cans (this isn't referring to the BID trash removal — Editor) the Mayor wants to do an educational campaign first before fining people. The council approved a subdivision at the old psych center that provides the city with 10.4 acres for parkland. A resolution was passed to remove the no overnight parking restriction from certain lots.


Middletown Cares

The police, with assistance from volunteers from the BOCES criminal justice program, checked 24 locations for sales to minors and only made 3 arrests. Sgt. Khalil said this was an improvement.

Orange Literacy at 70 Fulton Street is providing legal clinics for immigration issues and deferred action on the second Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Briefly discussed the Middletown Cares table at the North Congregational Children's Festival on Sunday, July 28, 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


Neighborhood Watch

Plans were briefly discussed for the Night Out Against Crime to be held on Tues., August 6th, from 5 - 9 pm at Thrall Park. Many local businesses and groups have signed on. There will be the usual K-9 demonstrations and face painting. Child safety seat checking and ID for Kids are planned but not finalized yet.

There has been a recent increase in car break-ins, residents are reminded to lock their cars and not leave valuables in plain sight. Thieves are reminded to learn a little respect for their fellow human beings.


School Board — Estrada Resigns

New Board member Pastor John Williams was sworn in with his wife and children by his side. Linda Knapp and Edwin Estrada were nominated for Board President.  Ms. Knapp was re-elected by a 5-4 vote with Board members Blumenau, Estrada, Tobiassen and Williams voting no.  Mr. Estrada left the board and his resignation was read to the Board later in the evening. In it, he cited a failure by certain board members to support him this year, as they promised if he stepped aside last year, and his desire to not be a source of division or part of a divisive Board. He also hoped the Board would appoint a member of the Hispanic community to replace him.

Mr. Howard Miller gave a brief presentation on open meetings law and Board policy # 1730, covering the limited reasons a board might conduct an executive session; and that no one board member can decide, on their own, to reveal information from an executive session.

The regular meeting began at 7:15.  Mr. Perrino mentioned that the Thrall Library has excellent summer programs for kids and interested parents should contact the Children's Room at 341-5470. He also suggested placing a yearbook in the time capsule that the city is planning. Congratulations all around on the graduation.  Dr. Eastwood spoke at length about the loss of the summer and after school programs. He stressed the loss of meals for children from deep poverty. He reiterated the belief that the current distribution of aid was discriminatory against districts with higher minority populations and the administration would try to take action on that basis and make a civil rights complaint.


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