Albany, NY – The warm weather is finally here. It is prime time for boating, swimming and fishing. However, the increasing frequency and duration of harmful algal blooms (HAB)s in our lakes is threatening their recreational use to the point that beaches essential to local tourism may be forced to close. Senator Terrence Murphy has announced that three local lakes, Lake Carmel, Palmer Lake and Putnam Lake, have been identified as top priority locations for statewide action plans to combat HABs.

Senator Murphy said, “These lakes are popular locations for residents and visitors that have been identified as being vulnerable to harmful algal blooms. Having action plans to eradicate algal blooms are essential to the economic health of these lakeside communities that count on tourism to stay afloat. The plans will not only allow us to address the present issue of HABs but will also provide measures to keep our waterways from safe from any future threats from invasive species.”

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne said, “It’s been a pleasure to work with Senator Murphy at the state level to clean up and protect our local water bodies. Senator Murphy has been on the forefront of this issue. Harmful algal blooms are a serious problem in New York. It’s great news that our local lakes have been identified by the state for action plans to eradicate HABS from our great natural resources.”

“We are thankful that Senator Murphy helped make funding available for three lakes in Putnam County to address the harmful algal blooms issue that has affected lakes throughout the region. Having a concise set of plans to minimize algal growth can enhance quality of life now and in the future,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Now the county can further explore building a water treatment plant in Kent that would eliminate the old failing septic systems, reduce the algae blooms and improve the overall water quality of Lake Carmel.”

Patterson Town Supervisor Richard Williams said, “Harmful algal blooms are a critical issue facing Putnam Lake. This year, Putnam Lake has already experienced 2 weeks of beach closures due to HABS. The action plans are a great first step towards addressing harmful algal blooms and their causes. I would like to thank the Governor for so aggressively supporting this first step, and Senator Murphy for the continued support he has shown towards addressing the needs of improving Putnam Lake.”

The three lakes are part of a group of 12 waterbodies statewide selected for action plans that can reduce the threat of HABs. These plans are a central component of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $65 million, four-point initiative unveiled in the 2018 State of the State to aggressively combat HABs and protect drinking water quality and the upstate economy.

Four regional HABs summits were convened in February and March to bring together nation-leading experts with steering committees of local stakeholders to identify factors fueling HABs and to develop tailored strategies to reduce the frequency of these blooms.

The action plans derived from these summits describe the current conditions of twelve waterbodies, summarize research conducted and data produced, identify potential causal factors contributing to algal blooms, and provide specific recommendations to minimize the frequency, intensity, and duration of HABs to protect public health and the environment.

The action plans will drive implementation of projects and programs on these waterbodies that are tailored to address the key factors likely fueling the blooms. Priority actions identified in the plans range from wastewater treatment upgrades, sewer expansions, and septic system upgrades and replacements, to streambank erosion prevention, stormwater best management practices, agricultural nutrient reduction measures, and open space buffer preservation projects.

Since has made protecting our natural resources a priority since taking office in 2014. Recently, to help protect lakes and ponds throughout the Hudson Valley, Senator Murphy created and sponsored S7752, which creates a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) program that provides for the control and mitigation of harmful algal blooms in both marine and fresh water. The bill also authorizes the development of rural resources to study the effectiveness of pond and lake management programs; provides for emergency response to water contaminations by algal bloom or hypoxia, and requires a study to be reviewed Governor Cuomo, the legislature, state agencies and the harmful algal bloom and hypoxia commission.

Growing concern over the intrusive algae and pollution affecting our local lakes prompted Senator Murphy to sponsor S4243A, a measure that would designate Little Whaley Lake, Nuclear Lake, Sunset Lake, Sylvan Lake, Whaley Lake and Willow Lake as inland waterways. Through this designation, the municipalities and organizations along their banks of these lakes are now eligible for Department of State and Environmental Protection Fund waterfront revitalization grants. Local communities will be able to pursue improved water quality, preservation of wildlife habitats, and promotion of tourism and economic development opportunities, as well as methods to combat threats to the waterways, including pollution, stormwater run-off, and invasive species.

Bi-Partisan Legislation Exempts BOCES Capital Expenditures from School District Tax Levy Limits

Albany, NY – The New York State legislature created Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in 1948 to provide shared educational programs and services to school districts within the state. Since then, BOCES has been providing career and technical programs for high school students, services for students with disabilities, and literacy programs and employment training for adults. As schools continue to face economic challenges, the need for BOCES’ services and the efficiency that they provide is more evident than ever. Yet BOCES has been unable to benefit from tax cap legislation that has provided financial assistance to school districts. This issue has jeopardized BOCES’ ability to upgrade their aging facilities.

Recognizing the need to put BOCES on an even keel with other schools, Senator Terrence Murphy sponsored S7730, a bill exempting BOCES capital expenditures from school district tax levy limits. The Senate passed the bill unanimously on June 13 by a vote of 60-0.

“BOCES has been providing programs and services for school districts for more than half a century,” said Senator Murphy. “Their innovative, all-inclusive brand of high-quality education deserves our continued support. This bill will help level the playing field financially for BOCES, providing them with the same capital expenditure exemptions as local school districts.”

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef sponsored A9825, the corresponding legislation in the Assembly. The bill passed the Assembly on June 19. “This is an important day for the over 100,000 students who attend educational programs in one New York State’s 37 BOCES. Ensuring the safety of our students must be our top priority – this legislation achieves this goal”, said Assemblywoman Sandy Galef. “By allowing these essential capital expenditures to be outside the tax cap, upon approval of the voters, we are rectifying this serious problem.”

“We are extremely grateful to Senator Murphy and Assemblywoman Galef for sponsoring this well deserved and important legislation,” stated Dr. George Stone, Superintendent for the Lakeland Central School District. “BOCES is really a composite and extension of our component districts. We could not survive or thrive without this critical shared service model that supports all the work we do. The BOCES campus and facilities are expansive and require repairs and enhancements just as our local buildings do, and our taxpayers foot the bill for those improvements. It is only fair and just that they receive the same consideration and exemptions related to the tax cap as any other local district educational facility, and on behalf of our taxpayers, Thank You!”

Anthony DiCarlo, Superintendent for Mahopac Central School District added, “This is very exciting news. We are one of the largest subscribers to BOCES’ services. It is important that students interested in improving their technical skills have educational resources available to succeed. Now BOCES has the opportunity to expand and upgrade their services.”

When the New York State Legislature adopted the tax cap legislation in 2011, it allowed school districts to exclude bonding for capital projects from the cap. The tax cap legislation did not include an exemption for BOCES capital projects. BOCES own and operate over 600 buildings throughout the state. Many of these buildings are old, outdated, and in critical need of capital upgrades. Under current law, BOCES capital expenditures must be approved by each of their component school districts. Each component district includes these costs in their district budget that is presented to the voters of each district. This legislation corrects this oversight.

The bill now awaits the Governor’s approval.

New Police Dog Joins Police Force
Yorktown, NY – No, the Yorktown Police Department has not gone to the dogs. If anything, the addition of K9 Spar, a new German Shepard police dog, will help curtail crime in the area. Senator Terrence Murphy, who secured the $10,000 grant for K9 Spar, was on hand as the town’s new officer was introduced to the community by Yorktown Police Chief Robert Noble, Yorktown Supervisor Illan Gilbert, Town Board members Tom Diana, Ed Lachterman, Alice Roker, and Vishnu Patel and members or the Yorktown Police Department were also on hand to greet Yorktown’s latest canine cop.
K9 Spar joins with K9 Dallas to form the Yorktown Canine Unit. K9 Spar’s duties will include drug detection and patrol; K9 Dallas, a Labrador, is trained primarily for the task of drug detection.
“I’ve been in Yorktown all of my life. I remember as a six-year-old seeing a Yorktown police officer with a dog and that it made me feel safe,” said Senator Murphy. “Getting K9 Spar is money well spent. The presence of a canine enhances the job that the police can do to protect the residents of our town. Anyone breaking the law who wants to challenge K9 Spar or K9 Dallas will indeed find out ‘who let the dogs out.'”
Yorktown Police Chief Robert Noble stated, “On behalf of the Town of Yorktown Police Department, we once again need to thank Senator Murphy for helping us to better protect our community. The grant funding secured by Senator Murphy allowed the Town of Yorktown Police Department to fully staff our K9 program. We share the Senator’s desire to rid our communities of opioids, and other illegal narcotics. Yorktown Police Department K9 Spar and his partner, Officer Campion, will join Yorktown Police Officer Thomas Beyrer, and his partner K9 Dallas on the front lines, protecting the lives and property of those in our community. Keep fighting the fight Senator. We are grateful for your support.”
“I appreciate all that’s being done to fight against crime and the raging heroin and opioid epidemic,” said Yorktown Town Supervisor Ilan Gilbert. “Receiving the second canine with the help of Senator Murphy is another tool in the toolbox we can use to keep our residents safe and reduce the incidence of crime.”
Councilman Tom Diana, a former officer with the Yorktown Police Department, was also their canine handler. “I was happy to be able to start the Drug Detention Canine Program with K9 Dallas. It is equally pleasing to see that program growing with the addition of K9 Spar, who is a dual-purpose officer that will handle drug detention and patrol. I wish K9 Spar the best of luck in apprehending the bad guys. If we can stop criminal activity before it gets into town, then we’re doing our jobs.”
“I would like to welcome K9 Spar to Yorktown. Woof. Woof. Woof,” said Councilman Ed Lachterman. “In all seriousness, I’m very proud to be part of a team that puts the safety and standard of living of the citizens of Yorktown front and center. I’m equally pleased to know we have Senator Murphy leading the charge and helping support our town in making the employment of K9 Spar a reality.”

ewisboro, NY – Many of our lakes are directly linked to tourism and the economic prosperity of our communities. However, maintaining their natural beauty and keeping them free of pollution is an expensive proposition. To help ease that burden, Senator Murphy has sponsored S8252A, a bill designating six lakes in the Lewisboro area as inland waterways. The designation makes Lake Waccabuc, Lake Oscaleta, Lake Rippowam, Lake Kitchawan in Lewisboro as well as Lake Truesdale in South Salem and Lake Katonah in Golden’s Bridge eligible for state funding for waterfront revitalization projects.

“Maintaining clean and accessible waterways is a priority for all of our communities. With the passage of this legislation we now have the opportunity to maintain and beautify six more local lakes,” said Senator Murphy. “Lewisboro residents have a tremendous environmental conscious which is reflected in the continued preservation of the town’s natural beauty.  By adding these lakes to the list of inland waterways, we have empowered our local communities by giving them an opportunity receive a funding stream that will improve our environment, infrastructure, and economy.”

Assemblyman David Buchwald sponsored A10443, the companion bill in the Assembly. He said, “By adding these lakes to New York State’s list of inland waterways, municipalities can develop a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, to pursue the goals of improved water quality, preservation of open space and wildlife habitat and promotion of tourism and economic development. This designation makes these communities eligible to pursue public and private funding for needed waterfront revitalization projects.”

Lewisboro Town Supervisor Peter Parsons added, “Our lakes are a centerpiece of our towns and contribute greatly to their beauty and attraction for our residents.”

Lakes Waccabuc, Oscaleta, and Rippowam, known as the Three Lakes, along with Lakes Kitchawan, Katonah, and Truesdale, are home to pastoral lakefront communities that supply New York City’s drinking water. However, each of the lakes face unique challenges and have at times been classified as impaired on the State’s waterbody inventory.

Today the New York State Senate announced that final passage has been given to legislation that increases transparency and fairness for consumers buying tickets to entertainment in the state. The bill S8501B, sponsored by Senator Terrence Murphy (R-C-I, Yorktown), cracks down on ticket resellers who have distorted the market with misinformation and gouged consumers with excessive prices and fees.

Senator Murphy said, “New York is home to some of the world’s premier artists, performers, and sports teams. Fans deserve every opportunity to see them.  This package is a major step forward for consumers and will help them navigate the often complicated process of ticket purchasing.”

In 2016, the Senate also spearheaded a law to prevent automated ticketing software –  known as “bots” – from buying up concert and event tickets before consumers get a chance to purchase them (S8123). Senator Andrew Lanza (R-C-I, Staten Island) said, “This bill expands the bots law that I sponsored two years ago by protecting consumers of tickets from unscrupulous resellers. I commend Senator Murphy for sponsoring this measure to create transparency and level the playing field for consumers so they can enjoy concerts, shows, and sporting events.”

The legislation passed today includes crucial reforms to the system and creates a fairer and more transparent marketplace that allows New Yorkers better access to event tickets by:

  • Requiring operators or their agents and ticket resellers to disclose in a clear and conspicuous manner all fees and surcharges associated with the purchase of tickets;
  • Prohibiting the use of a name in a website or a URL that is intended to confuse the public into thinking they are buying a ticket directly from an operator or operator’s agent when in fact they are on a secondary market website with a confusingly similar name;
  • Requiring that consumers expressly confirm that they understand what they are purchasing before a transaction can occur, and that resellers provide refunds to consumers who have not yet received a ticket or received a different ticket than was advertised;
  • Providing that any ticket reseller who knowingly uses bots or other ticket purchasing software, or owns or controls ticket purchasing software may lose their license and be barred from licensure as a ticket reseller for up to three years;
  • Requiring online ticket resale marketplaces to post a clear and conspicuous notice on their website stating that it is being used for the secondary sale of tickets;
  • Requiring ticket resellers to provide their license number on any online ticket purchasing platform on which they sell tickets;
  • Requiring operators to provide a clear and conspicuous disclosure to purchasers if such purchasers are transferred to a ticket seller in the secondary market;
  • Authorizing professional sports organizations to offer membership passes to a specific number of events in a specified period of time at discounted prices; and
  • Extending provisions of the current law addressing tickets to places of entertainment for three years.

The bill has also passed the Assembly and will be sent to the Governor for final approval.

Elmsford, NY – Teamsters Local 456, a leader within the Westchester County building trades council, have announced their endorsement of Terrence Murphy for a third term as New York State Senator for the 40th Senate District. The backbone of communities throughout the Hudson Valley and beyond, Teamsters 456 represents public workers, building trades workers, concrete drivers, paving workers and building material workers.

“The hardworking, dedicated members of Local 456 are the men and women who helped build New York. They are the foundation of the Hudson Valley’s middle class,” said Senator Murphy. “I am honored to have earned the support of an organization with such an accomplished history that which prides itself on being proficient and diverse. I look forward to continuing to work with Local 456 to bring more jobs and prosperity to families living and working in the 40th Senate District.”

Teamsters Local 456 President Louis Picani said, “I am proud to announce that Teamsters Local 456 has once again endorsed and fully supports Senator Terrence Murphy in his upcoming election. Senator Murphy has a proven record of standing with Labor. Senator Murphy is a man of honor and integrity and I am proud to endorse Senator Murphy and pledge 456 will help carry him to victory on Election Day.”

Senator Murphy has strong blue-collar ties to the teamsters and the community. His blue-collar roots were planted by his father, Jack, a Navy veteran who spent 52 years as a member of Utility Workers of America Local 1-2, including 26 as its business agent.

The Teamsters Union was a force long before the invention of the trucks that the union is associated with today. Prior to the automobile, a “teamster” drove a horse-drawn wagon, transporting and delivering goods to businesses and households. New York Teamsters have also used their power to support other progressive causes and social movements. Teamsters sent trucks, supplies, money, and boots-on-the-ground to support civil rights organizing in the South. In recent years, Teamsters in New York have built strong alliances with community and environmental justice organizations to raise labor standards and address other injustices.

Teamsters Local 456 is the first major endorsement for Senator Murphy’s reelection bid.

Albany, NY – Westchester County, Long Island and New York City may all be in the same state, but as the old saying goes, comparing the cost of living in each area is like comparing apples to oranges. Unfortunately, when it comes to school aid, Westchester County is thrown in the same bushel as areas where the cost of living is lower. In order to level the playing field, Senator Terrence Murphy has sponsored S6310A, a bill that directs the State Education Department to study, review and report on the appropriateness of keeping of Westchester County in the Hudson Valley region’s Regional Cost Index (RCI) for purposes of calculating foundation aid. The education department is tasked with reporting its findings to Governor Cuomo and the legislature by April 1, 2019.

Although data that is more relevant exists, the RCI is based on information compiled in 2006. The RCI was created to provide a boost to property owners living in counties where the cost of living is higher. Westchester, however, has been grouped in a seven-county region with the more rural, and less costly, counties, including Ulster, Sullivan, Dutchess and Orange. Currently, the seven-county group has an RCI of 1.314, a lower rate than Long Island and New York City, which have RCI’s of 1.425. In 2016, the State of New York enacted a minimum wage policy that recognized the higher cost of living in Westchester County and included the county in with Long Island for accelerated wage growth with the rest of the Hudson Valley’s wage growth equal to the rest of the state. This set a new labor market precedent that must be considered for school aid purposes.

“A region’s cost of living is an important factor in determining state funding levels. Although Westchester’s cost of living is similar to that of New York City and Long Island, which was reinforced when we enacted the minimum wage increase, this is not reflected in our state aid funding formula,” said Senator Murphy. “The outdated education-aid formula puts our region at a disadvantage. This legislation is all about leveling the playing field, making sure schools in our region get the share of funding they deserve.”

Mary Fox Alter, Superintendent of Schools for the Pleasantville School District said, “We thank Senator Murphy for listening to our concerns regarding the Regional Cost Index. We are hopeful this study will result in changes that reflect the true cost of living for this region.”

Lisa Davis, Executive Director of the Westchester-Putnam School Board Association stated, “Our district has been recognized for the quality of its programs as well as for our student’s achievements. While we are proud of our programs, students and staff, we continue to struggle to marshal the resources to help our students succeed. We’ve been strong advocates for changing the RCI. There’s no logic to the current system. If you break down by counties, Westchester should have a higher rate than Suffolk County. Now that we have recognized the problem, we need to take the next step; providing an equitable solution for Westchester and Putnam schools.”

In a June 7, 2006 report to the board of regents subcommittee on state aid, State Education Department staff noted in the combination of the city of New York and Long Island that there was “evidence that these two areas actually function as a single labor market region. With professionals, especially those in the education professions, moving to jobs across the lines between New York City and Long Island, it is necessary to consider this entire region as a single area, with similar wage costs”. At this same time, the State Education Department decided to keep the county of Westchester within the Hudson Valley for the regional cost index calculation.

The legislation passed unanimously in the Senate 61-0 and has been sent to the Assembly for consideration.

Pace University Turns Wilcox Hall Into State-of-the-Art Learning Environment

Pleasantville, NY – Notebooks and laptops have replaced sneakers and basketballs at Pace University’s Willcox Hall. Thanks to a $200,000 grant from Senator Murphy, Willcox Hall, which once served as a gym, has been transformed into a lecture hall and multi-purpose room. The renovation produced a much-needed academic classroom that promotes a collaborative active learning environment.

“Education is the key to success, particularly in this day and age in which technology plays such a vital role. Providing the funds to refurbish Willcox Hall to turn it into a state-of-the-art facility is an investment that will ultimately benefit both students and the community,” said Senator Murphy. “The renovation of Willcox Hall will help Pace’s ability to attract students who will contribute to the Hudson Valley’s economic development by living and working in the area.”

“We are very grateful to Senator Murphy for his ongoing support of Pace and his efforts to secure funding for this worthwhile endeavor,” stated Vanessa J. Herman, Assistant Vice President for Government & Community Relations at Pace University. “The space is extremely popular with our faculty, students, and staff and we are delighted to be able to host community events in the newly refurbished space.”

“The renovations to Willcox Hall have provided Pace with another way to connect with our community and have helped transform our campus,” said Bill Colona, Director of Government and Community Relations at Pace University. “Thanks to funding from the State and Municipal Facilities Program and Senator Murphy, our newly-renovated spaces provide the community with opportunities to come to Pace for meetings, hearings, ceremonies, and conferences that are open to the public, and for Pace students, faculty, and staff to gather for special lectures, workshops, and programs.”

The Willcox Gym was the primary facility for Pace’s Athletics Department. In 2002, the Athletics Department relocated to the Goldstein Health Fitness and Recreation Center, with the Willcox Gym still used for sports and events during the winter months. A new facility to house the entire Athletics Department was built in 2015, providing an opportunity to repurpose Willcox Hall.

As Westchester County’s largest university, Pace is committed to providing a world-class higher education while also ensuring that the University’s graduates obtain skillsets that meet the demands of the regional economy. Pace hosts hundreds of events each year, many of which are open to local communities.

Pleasantville, NY – A Westchester County Legislator, a Minister, and scores of selfless volunteers were among the fourteen women honored by Senator Terrence Murphy at his 2018 Women of Distinction ceremony. Hosted by Pace University, the June 7th event celebrated the accomplishments of women throughout the Hudson Valley who have made their communities better places to live through their achievements in business, charitable works, and education.

“I look forward to this ceremony every year. Our honorees were nominated by their peers and community leaders, and it is always a pleasure to recognize their accomplishments,” said Senator Murphy. “Too often, selfless acts of service go unnoticed. The annual Women of Distinction Ceremony is a tradition that recognizes the positive impact made by women throughout the 40th Senate District. Our honorees come from diverse backgrounds with a wide variety of valuable talents. Because of their work, our communities have continued to grow and prosper.”

Caroline Murphy, a registered nurse, educator, and the wife of Senator Murphy, served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. “Our Women of Distinction honorees have turned their dreams into successful business ventures, volunteered to give back to their communities, and taken leadership roles in education and government,” said Mrs. Murphy. “Tonight is our opportunity to recognize their accomplishments and say thank you for all that they’ve done.”

Vanessa Herman, Assistant Vice President, Government and Community Relations for Pace University, welcomed the honorees and guests on behalf of the college. She also recognized the successful partnership between Pace and Senator Murphy. “We’re here tonight to honor some very special women. I’d also like to honor a very special man, Senator Murphy. From the very beginning, he’s understood our mission and has sought to help our students. When our students wrote the Elephant Bill, it was a two-year process to get it passed into law, which was spearheaded by Senator Murphy. That’s a perfect example of the perseverance and tenacity of your State Senator. Another is the very room we’re in. It used to be an old gym that was in need of repair. With a grant secured by Senator Murphy, we turned this room into a state-of-the-art meeting area that’s in use virtually every night.”

Deb Milone of Peekskill, Executive Director for the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, was hailed by Senator Murphy as the 2018 Statewide Woman of Distinction honoree. Many elected officials were on hand to support the nominees, including Westchester County Legislator John Testa, Peekskill Mayor Andre Rainey, Mount Kisco Mayor Gina Picinich, Mount Pleasant Town Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi, Patterson Town Supervisor Richard Williams, New Castle Town Supervisor Robert Greenstein, Village of Pawling Mayor Robert Lifflander, Yorktown Town Councilman Tom Diana and Mt. Pleasant Councilman Anthony Amino.

The 2018 Women of Distinction Award recipients are:
Marianne Burdick (Patterson) – Marianne has worked for the Putnam County Department of Health (DOH) for 30 years, has served on the Town of Patterson Zoning Board of Appeals for 27 years, and is a member of the Patterson Master Plan Committee. She helped develop a number of DOH initiatives, including the Putnam County Smoking in Public Places Law, and also founded the Putnam County Feral Cat Task Force.
Hon. Margaret Cunzio (Mt. Pleasant) – Margaret is currently serving her second term on the Westchester Board of Legislators. A New York State Certified teacher and administrator, she teaches at Iona College and Western Connecticut State University and is also a fitness professional at Equinox in Armonk. She previously served on the Mount Pleasant Architectural Review Board and is involved with the Mount Pleasant Recreation Center senior program.
Suzanne Grant (Mt. Kisco) – Suzanne is devoted to volunteering, helping to expand educational opportunities for students in the Bedford Central School District (BCSD). She served two terms on BCSD’s Board of Education and serves on the Student Achievement Committee. She has also served on the Mt. Kisco Conservation Advisory Committee, the Mt. Kisco Elementary School Association, and is a founding member of Citizens for Byram Lake Reservoir.
Tuesday Paige McDonald (Peekskill) – Tuesday is a licensed Minister of Worship at Mount Olivet Church, where she serves as Director of Music, Youth Sunday School Facilitator, and Director of the Youth Ministry. She is also Director of Community and Youth Development for Hudson River Health Care. She has served as NAACP Freedom Fund Chairperson and was honored with a Tuesday Paige McDonald Day by the City of Peekskill in 2015.
Barbara Reitz (Carmel) – As the Coordinator for the Putnam Youth Court Program for the past 30 years (which is run by her husband Judge James Reitz), Barbara has worked with over 1,700 youth court members and families, and has given back nearly 500,000 service hours to her community. A board member for Cornell Cooperative Extension, she has also volunteered for the American Heart Society, March of Dimes, Salvation Army, MS Walk, Make a Wish and the Hartford Children’s Hospital Cancer Unit.
Bonnie Schwartz (Pound Ridge) – A former Councilwoman for the Town of Pound Ridge, Bonnie has served as President for the Pound Ridge Lions, Vice President of the Fox Lane Association, and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the town library and the Pound Ridge Conservancy. Her volunteer work extends to Pound Ridge Drug and Alcohol Prevention, the Pound Ridge Office of Emergency Management, the Jewish Family Congregation Class, Pound Ridge Boy and Girls, and the Pound Ridge Organ Donor Drive.
Carol Shanesy (Croton-on-Hudson) – Carol has been Treasurer of the Croton Housing Network for over a decade and serves as Treasurer of the Jane Lytle Memorial Arboretum. She is coordinator and scheduler for the Croton Community Blood Drive, was a member of the Croton Caring Committee, and is a long-time Election Inspector at Westchester County polling locations.
Rita Ann Sharples (Cortlandt) – Rita is a member and past board member of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce. As President of the Rotary Club of Cortlandt Manor, she and the Club assist in the annual Oscar Party at the Muriel H. Morabito Community Senior Center, host an annual holiday breakfast, co-sponsor the annual summer movie series and plan the annual tree lighting ceremony.
Marie Stewart (Village of Pawling) – The owner of the Yarn and Craft Box for 28 years, Marie is past President and Vice President of the Pawling Chamber of Commerce, and currently serves as their Secretary. She is also a member of the Pawling Record Newspaper Newspaper Committee and the Guidebook Committee. For the past 15 years, she has collected items for the victims of abuse and impoverished children, distributing them throughout Dutchess County.
Bobbe Stultz (Lewisboro) – Bobbe is a founding member of the Lewisboro Land Trust, serving on its Board of Directors. She was instrumental in establishing the Meditation Garden at the Old Field Preserve; the Native Plant Garden at the Leon Levy Preserve; and renovating the Brownell Preserve, St. Paul’s and Old Goldens Bridge Rail Trails. She continues to be a strong advocate for affordable housing, particularly the Lewisboro Commons development.
Barbara Taberer (Somers) – Barbara has been the Director of Senior Services and Programs for the Town of Somers for over 16 years. She is an advocate for seniors and has been an Elder Voices Partner for the Westchester County Office of the County Executive, and served on the Advisory Committee of the At Home in Somers, on the Board of Director for ALOFT, and the Westchester Transportation Advisory Committee. She also volunteers for the Somers Meals on Wheels program.
Gloria Tobias (Yorktown) – Gloria worked in the attendance office at Lakeland High School from 1965 to 1992. She was recognized in 1988 for establishing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the school. She was on the committee to rebuild the Shrub Oak Memorial at the John C. Hart Library and is still actively involved in organizing the Annual Memorial Day Ceremony.
Betsy Towl (New Castle) – Betsy was the Executive Director of the New Castle Historical Society for 22 years. She led the Greeley House Campaign to purchase and restore the historic home, secured grants from the Greater Hudson Heritage Network Conservation and Museum Association of New York and received a Lower Hudson Conference of Historical Agencies & Museums Historical Services Award. She has also been Community Director for the Girl Scouts.
Olenna Truskett (Southeast) – Olenna serves as Vice President for the Town of Southeast Cultural Arts Coalition, which she helped establish in 2010. She spearheaded the effort to restore the historic Southeast Old Town Hall and has volunteered her time and talent to help the Putnam Arts Council, St. Mary’s Parent Association, Prelude Ballet Ensemble, 4H Club, Tri-County Science Fair, and Dancers at Union Hall.

Senator’s Bill Increases the Penalty for Animal Abuse

Albany, NY – Animal abuse is a people problem. Research has shown that over 1 million animals are abused each year. A startling number of offenders charged with crimes against animals move on to commit other violent offenses against humans. To help curb cruelty to animals, hold abusers accountable, and break the link between animal abuse and violence directed at human beings, Senator Terrence Murphy has sponsored S299, which increases the penalty for multiple convictions of torturing, killing or failing to provide sustenance to an animal to an E felony. The measure applies to abusers who have been convicted of an act of cruelty within the past five years.

“Raising the penalty to a felony for subsequent acts of cruelty that occur within five years of a conviction will help law enforcement curb animal abuse and allow for lengthier periods of court supervision or imprisonment,” said Senator Murphy. “Cruelty toward animals has been linked to future violence toward human victims, particularly vulnerable people such as domestic partners and children. Treating repeat offenses of animal cruelty as felonies will ultimately prove to be an effective deterrent.”

Shannon Laukuf, Executive Director for the SPCA of Westchester stated, “The SPCA of Westchester is very grateful to Senator Murphy for the recent passage of Animal Cruelty Bill S299. Raising the penalty so that repeat offenders can now be charged with a felony will help to prevent further abuse of innocent animals who have no voice. We applaud Senator Murphy for his dedication to making our community a safer, more compassionate place for animals and humans.”

“This bill proposed by Senator Murphy finally addresses the repeat offender of cruelty to animals,” said Chief Ken Ross of the Putnam County SPCA. “Recidivism exists and is a major problem that we encounter enforcing the animal cruelty statutes. Senator Murphy’s bill is a much-needed addition to the existing law and will aid in our ability to prevent and address the repeat offender. The Putnam County SPCA fully supports this bill and Senator Murphy’s commitment to stopping animal cruelty.”

The New York State Senate recently passed a package of measures in recognition of Animal Advocacy Day that strengthen protections from harm and abuse for animals and their owners. The bills eliminate the predatory practice of pet leasing, strengthen Buster’s Law, crack down on animal fighting, and toughen penalties for theft of companion animals, among other measures. Senator Murphy’s bill was included in the package, passing 60-1, and has been sent to the Assembly.