Story by Lourice Angie
Before the start of the Greenwood Lake Board meeting on Mon., May 21, Village of Greenwood Lake Police Chief John Hansen gave a special presentation honoring Police Officer Michael Dunlop and his K9 partner, Vaughn. After five years of loyal and dedicated service with the G.L. Police Department, K9 Vaughn was respectfully retired.
Vaughn has been a huge asset in assisting the force with detecting narcotics. G.L Mayor Jesse Dwyer commended their work and thanked the officers for helping keep the Village safe and healthy. A police dog or K9 is a dog trained to aid the police in tracking criminals or detecting controlled substances. Their duties include searching for drugs and explosives, locating missing people, finding crime scene evidence, and attacking people targeted by the police. Police dogs must remember several verbal cues and hand gestures.
Chief Hansen gave a special presentation honoring Vaughn and his handler, Officer Michael Dunlop. They were presented with a certificate of recognition and special bars for their shields. Chief Hansen commended Officer Dunlop for the countless hours and for the dedicated commitment that he demonstrated with Vaughn, both on and off duty. Now that Vaughn is retired, Officer Dunlop will continue to care for him like he’s always done.
Mayor Dwyer also presented the inseparable pair with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the Village Board.
“Thank you for all your work in keeping our community drug free and healthy,” said Dwyer.
For his entire career the Labrador retriever has worked beside Dunlop, his human partner, best friend, and handler. Vaughn has provided the community with unparalleled protection and did an exceptional job sniffing out narcotics and assisting in safety education for children and adults. Vaughn has been an ambassador for the “Go Orange Campaign” for the Warwick Valley Humane Society and has warmed the hearts of many people throughout the community and the Police Department.
“K9 Officer Vaughn and Police Officer Dunlop, it is my pleasure to honor Michael today. It is well deserved. He did a great job for about five years with Vaughn. Unfortunately, like all good things that come to end, Vaughn is getting on in years and we had to retire him. During the course of the five years he did an excellent job. Not only did he make a lot of drug arrests throughout the years, but he also deterred a lot. We had so many reports and information that drug dealers would actually avoid our Village because they knew that we had our narcotics officer and K9 unit. Mike wanted this so bad that he actually went out and did fundraising, research, and grant work on his own to get it. He did a tremendous job before, during and after. Hopefully, in the future we can get some grants and maybe bring the unit back. I took great pleasure working with this proactive young man. Unfortunately, we have to retire Vaughn,” said Chief Hansen.
New Municipal Well
Mayor Dwyer said that Water Operator Phil Landru reported that the new well, located between the G.L. Bark Park and the basketball courts, is coming along great, is easily accessible and ideal. The production site is anticipated to last much longer and will prove to be a worthwhile investment. The Village is very optimistic as to what the new well will produce and construction is expected in late July or early August.
Dwyer said the two wells currently being used are sufficient enough to provide water throughout the Village.
Windermere Ave. Sidewalks
Mayor Dwyer announced that the sidewalk project has been completed and that it went very quickly.
“We didn’t experience the same hurdle as we did last year. A couple of weeks were all we needed to complete the section of the sidewalks. We’ll start again next year and continue the project down Windermere Ave.,” said Dwyer.
A stamped concrete border was added to visually accent the sidewalks and each section has conduit running through them so that electric can be installed if needed.
Solar at Continental Rd.
A few months ago, the Board discussed an interesting new concept regarding solar energy and the potential use of an old lot on Village property, located on Continental Rd. The lot measures about 34 acres. The Board considers it a creative way to generate revenue and offset the costs of doing business in the municipality.
Mayor Dwyer announced that unfortunately he received guidance from the State that said they were holding off on these types of projects until certain clarifications were made. The Board will continue to discuss and do research to identify the best way to install solar panels at that location.
Trustee Chad Sellier had brought up an idea of a community share program, whereby residents would be allowed to creatively buy into and support the project. Dwyer says he will keep the idea in mind and research effective ways to move further.
HUD Grant – Village Hall, Senior Center, Elks
The Village Board applied for a HUD Grant for an ADA-compliant doorway and bathroom. Mayor Dwyer said that he met with representatives from the CDBG and a tour was conducted of the site. The decision is being waited on and Dwyer anticipates receiving correspondence on the decision within the next few weeks. The Senior Center and the Elks projects will go out for bid within the next couple of weeks. Once the specifications are designed, Dwyer says will have the projects ready for pick up by local contractors. The project is anticipated to commence in late June or July.
Short Term Rental
The law on short term rentals will be effective beginning Fri., Jun. 1. Mayor Dwyer said that letters were sent out to notify every property owner in the Village of Greenwood Lake whether they live in the Village or not.
“There’s no excuse for anyone to be operating a short term residential rental without the proper permits,” said Dwyer.
Several registrations have already been submitted and it seems to be going well. Dwyer warns residents that anyone who is found illegally operating a short term rental will face a fine of up to $1,000 per day. The Mayor plans to report any fines or penalties to the Board and the public next month.
DOT Sidewalk Grant/HUD Sidewalk Grant
Mayor Dwyer reported that the Village received a letter stated that they were awarded a $50,000 grant from the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). The grant will be used to fund the installation of a sidewalk on Mountain Lakes Ln., which would connect the new firehouse property to the Black Bear Wine & Spirits. Dwyer says his goal is to apply to HUD for an additional $50,000 that would continue and connect the sidewalk from the Wine & Spirits to the Cablevision property.
“We received the grant from the DOT so we’re hoping for the additional HUD grant to continue sidewalks downtown,” said Dwyer.
G.L. Skatepark Grant
Every year the Board receives a letter from the NYS Senators office informing all municipalities within the district of grant opportunities of up to $100,000. Fortunately, the Village has been the recipient of grants from State Senator John Bonacic’s office for four consecutive years. This year the Board thought it would be a good idea to allow the non-profit Skatepark Committee the opportunity to apply for the grant and the Village would serve as their sponsor.
The Mayor reported that after preliminary conversations with the State Senator, it was considered a worthy project and Dwyer feels the Village will get his full support. The Village Board passed a resolution for the Skatepark Committee to move forward with the application for the grant funding.
Hazardous Pool to be Disassembled
There is a vacant home located at 6 Ursa Ave. in the Village that has been deemed a hazardous emergency because of an above ground pool connected to a deck that provides access to the pool. The Board is concerned with the safety of this property and the hazards it can present to the members of the community and to animals.
Attorney John Buckheit says the unsafe and unsecured four-and-a-half by five ft. pool constitutes an immediate danger to the life and safety of people within the Village of Greenwood Lake and so it constitutes an emergency case.
“I strongly ask that the Village Board pass a resolution for the immediate remedy,” said the Buckheit.
The Board move forward and passed a resolution to have the pool disassembled on the vacant property.
Armed Security in the Schools
Trustee Katheleen Holder asked about the status of armed security in the schools. Mayor Dwyer responded that the Board has presented the School District with the costs of providing their staffed and trained Police Officers to provide security at the Elementary School.
“That’s as far as we’ve gotten. We’ve provided them with numbers and the School District will then determine if they’d like to proceed hiring, along with us, part time police officers to staff the building located in the Village of Greenwood Lake,” said Dwyer.
Next Board Meeting
The next Board meeting will be held on Mon., Jun. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Village Courthouse, located at 47 Waterstone Rd. in Greenwood Lake. The meeting will be preceded by a public workshop at 6:30 p.m.