Orange County News

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Tobacco 21 Law

Orange County’s Tobacco 21 Law went into effect on Thursday, June 1st. Orange is first the county in the Hudson Valley to enact the law.

Legislation was signed in January to enact a law that would increase the minimum age for purchase of cigarettes and other tobacco products in Orange County from 18 to 21. The Orange County Legislature unanimously approved the proposal in December 2016. Under the Tobacco 21 law, retailers who sell tobacco to someone under 21 could be fined $300 to $1,000 for a first offense and between $500 and $1,500 for further violations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if smoking continues at the current rate among youth in this country, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die early from a smoking-related illness. Approximately nine out of 10 cigarette smokers first tried smoking by age 18. Each day in the United States, more than 3,200 children aged 18 years or younger smoke their first cigarette, and an additional 2,100 children and young adults become daily cigarette smokers. Information about the Tobacco 21 law can be found on the Healthy Orange website at healthyorange.com/tobacco-free-lifestyle.

SUNY Orange in Port Jervis

Last week, Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus met with SUNY Orange President Dr. Kristine M. Young, County Legislator Tom Faggione, City of Port Jervis Mayor Kelly Decker and Port Jervis City Schools Superintendent Thomas M. Bongiovi to discuss plans for a satellite campus in Port Jervis.

A variety of topics were discussed, including what types of educational courses are most needed by Port Jervis and what educational opportunities would be most popular with residents. They also addressed the barriers Port Jervis residents can face when it comes to student access, retention and success in college, and how to reduce them. The SUNY Orange classrooms are scheduled to be constructed at 150 Pike Street in Port Jervis by July with classes starting in September.

SUNY Orange was founded in 1950 as the first county-sponsored community college in the State University of New York system and was the first two-year college in the nation to offer the associate degree nursing program and studies in electron microscopy. More than 420,000 people have enrolled in a wide range of credit and non-credit classes at the Middletown campus, the Newburgh Campus and satellite locations across Orange County.

New York Forms United States Climate Alliance

Despite President Trump announcing that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York, along with California and Washington, agreed to form the United States Climate Alliance — a coalition of states pledged to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. New York has committed to reducing emissions 26-28% from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan, with the goal of having half of the New York’s electricity generated by renewable sources instead of fossil fuels by 2030.

New York State officials also announced last week to multiply renewable energy sources in New York by soliciting proposals from companies to build solar farms, windmills and other projects with enough combined power to provide electricity to about 350,000 homes, such as the solar farm recently established on Orange County-owned property where solar panels are spread across 10 acres between the county jail and the Emergency Services Center. The New York Power Authority and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will solicit bids from energy developers in an effort to create 40-60 large-scale projects with a combined power generation of 2.5 million megawatt-hours per year. No state funding is involved in the $1.5 billion initiative as developers would make the investment and recover costs from customers on electric bills over time. Officials predict the expansion of green energy sources will create 40,000 jobs by 2020.

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