Author Archives: Leonard Sparks

Leonard Sparks

Leonard Sparks covers the City of Newburgh as a reporter for the Times Herald-Record newspaper.

Big hearts meet big needs at Church of St. Mary

Need started arriving with the dawn, more than two hours before a volunteer would push open the metal door and invite the first people inside. On foot they came. Pushing shopping carts and baby carriages they came. One woman bought a baby in a stroller covered with layers of blankets. “Some of these people are [...]

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Safe Harbors announces winners of Newburgh youth talent show

Newburgh’s got talent. Dozens of people got a firsthand look at some of the city’s most talented youth on Sunday during Safe Harbors for the Hudson’s sixth annual Ritz Kidz Talent Show. The competition drew Newburgh Enlarged School District students ranging in age from 5 to 17. Vocalist Jada Oglesby took home the top prize [...]

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Gay Lee to join incumbent Judy Kennedy in race for mayor

Councilwoman Gay Lee is planning to run for mayor next year, a step that was expected after her lopsided loss to reigning state Sen. Bill Larkin Jr. Lee said she is “absolutely going to run” in a race that will include incumbent Mayor Judy Kennedy. “I think that I am a very good leader,” she [...]

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Council weighs residency requirement for municipal officers, department heads

Newburgh’s City Council is weighing a local law requiring that all newly hired city officers and department heads live in the city at the time of hire or relocate their residence to the city within a certain time period. At their Thursday work session, members of the Council discussed a proposed local law drafted by [...]

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Councilwoman denies role in demonstration that never happened

The rumor was strong: A contingent of sign-carrying people would storm Monday’s City Council meeting to call for the ouster of City Manager Michael Ciaravino, who fired James Slaughter, Newburgh’s former business and industrial development director and one-time interim city manager. Not such protest took place on Monday, and Councilwoman Gay Lee used part of [...]

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NFA tennis coach seeks to raise $220k to renovate Delano Hitch courts

Desolation describes what used to be the tennis courts at Delano Hitch Park. Chain-link fencing is rusted and warped. Water pools in places along the cracked blacktop surface. In all but a few places, the outlines of the individual courts have faded and sneakers hang from power lines. Enter Dennis Maher III. The Newburgh Free [...]

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Columbia University urban design students host public events in Newburgh

About 49 students in Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation are spending their fall semester researching the City of Newburgh and coming up with ideas for remaking the city for an urban design class. Those students make their second appearance in Newburgh on Saturday, when they will split into 12 groups and [...]

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Newburgh fires development director

James Slaughter was fired as the City of Newburgh’s director of business and industrial development on Thursday, ending a relatively short tenure in which he was passed over for the permanent city manager position after nearly a year as interim. Mayor Judy Kennedy and several members of the City Council confirmed the firing on Friday. [...]

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Newburgh to help cover shortfall for Hudson Valley Lighting project

Newburgh is going to commit $375,000 in general funds over the next two years to Hudson Valley Lighting’s new building on Scobie Drive. Owner David Littman has told city officials that the company has a $750,000 shortfall in funding for the $16 million project. Under a proposal discussed Thursday at the City Council’s work session, [...]

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Newburgh fire chief thinks banks may retreat from owning ‘zombie’ properties

There have only been a couple of cases, but Newburgh fire Chief Mike Vatter thinks the decision by some banks to end efforts to foreclose on properties in the city may be a sign that lenders will start retreating en masse from the headaches of owning so-called “zombie” houses. Newburgh has been a one of [...]

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