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Villages: School Boards Set, Racism on the Agenda

First graders at Upper Nyack Elementary School performed in front of a live audience for the first time since 2019 last week. (Photo by Alex Kratz)

This week in the Villages:  First off, we have election results from last week’s increasingly competitive and contentious local school board races. Meanwhile, speaking of race and schools, Pearl River is once again in the spotlight after one of its students used the n-word to degrade a Nyack runner during a recent track meet. With the incidents piling up, advocates and officials wonder what’s being done to address the problem systemically. Plus, more news, your local weather forecast, Covid updates, upcoming meetings and much more!

Editor’s Note: Send us all your feedback, ideas, news tips, meeting details and event announcements at

School Board Results Are In!

Over the past couple of weeks, we zoomed in on what were fast becoming a slate of competitive local school board races. Here’s how those races shook out in the areas closest to Villages headquarters in Nyack.

Editor’s Note: All results are taken from district websites and remain unofficial until certified by the Board of Elections. Click on the links to school district pages for more detailed results.

Nyack School District

  • Budget passes 1955-508 (80%)
  • Two Trustees Elected:
    • Michael Marks (2063)**
      Matthew Watson (2041)**
      Antonia Sambevski (567)

South Orangetown Central School District

  • Budget passes (67%)
  • Two Trustees Elected:
    • Trustee 1: Steven Finn: 1,423*, Daniel Lamadrid: 1,395
    • Trustee 2: Dave Sansone: 1,439*, Cara Stepanian: 1,408

Clarkstown Central School District

  • Budget passes (73%)
  • Two trustees elected:
    • Montes (2156)*
    • Maltbie (2492)*
    • Bass (1859)
    • Rao (1782)
    • DeGaetano (1373)
    • Cazes (382)

Suffern Central School District

  • Budget passes (78%)
  • Trustees Reelected (unopposed):
    • Matt Kern*
    • Chris Nicpon*

Pearl River School District

  • Budget passes (76%)
  • Two Trustees Elected:
    • Denise Caunitz – 1449 votes*
      Terrence Cortelli – 868 votes*
      Robert Wells – 371 votes
      Kristen Sweeney – 521 votes
      Dan Robins – 349 votes
      Nicole Lehoczky – 193 votes

We’ll have more on what these results mean in the near future. Stay tuned…

In other local news . . .

Racist taunts from Pearl River students marred yet another local sporting event, according to LoHud’s Nancy Cutler. After a Pearl River team member directed the n-word at a Nyack runner during a track meet on May 17, Nyack coaches promptly pulled their athletes out of the competition.

Nyack school officials and anti-racism advocates quickly denounced the language as racist and abusive and called for more urgent action by Pearl River administrators, who have been under scrutiny during a steady stream of discriminatory incidents this school year. While Pearl River officials say the incidents are being addressed on the individual level, it’s unclear what, if anything, is being done to combat bigotry systemically in schools.

In a letter, Pearl River Superintendent Marco Pochintesta said the district had “zero tolerance for such hateful thinking.” He also added, “I know this behavior in no way reflects the true character of our school community.”

Wilbur Aldridge, the Mid-Hudson and Westchester regional director of the NAACP, did not hold back in laying blame, telling LoHud, “Racists are grown. Just like a weed grows in the yard.”

Aldridge says he wants to see more than words. “Everybody talks about how egregious it is, how we’re not going to tolerate it,” said Aldridge. “But they do.”[LoHud]

Rockland is now home to its first university, as Dominican College will become Dominican University New York, a change in status and name recently approved by the New York Board of Regents. [Rockland Biz Journal]

The New York Boulders, (formerly known as the Rockland Boulders) returned to action in May. Read about how this diverse group of veteran players stay motivated and keep their big league dreams alive. [LoHud]

A 2-year-old boy died in Nanuet after drowning in a pool during this weekend’s heat wave. [News 12]

ICYMI (in-depth):  More school board coverage, including a wider look at local races outside of Nyack, with LoHud’s Gary Stern and Nancy Cutler combining forces for a deep dive into Hudson Valley’s increasingly electric and political school board races. [LoHud] our warning about the politicization of our local school boards and this story about how a man running for the school board in Carmel dropped out of a hotly-contested race after Facebook post surfaced revealing a long history of racist online comments. [LoHud]

ICYM our stuff last week: Bill Batson’s latest “Nyack Sketch Log”, Mike Hays’ most recent “Nyack People & Places” on our coverage in last week’s “The Villages”.

Weather Forecast

Following a blistering weekend, the climate calms down this week in Rockland county, with high temps hovering around the 70s and intermittent sun versus cloud battles. The extended Memorial Day weekend forecast looks similarly moderate, with highs in the mid-70s and only a small chance for showers. [National Weather Service]

COVID Update 

Through May 13, Covid rates and severe cases in the greater Nyack area dropped slightly last week, but hospitalization are up a little. The CDC now classifies Rockland county at a “medium” Covid level after classifying it as “low” since the end of February.

  • The “early warning” detector for Rockland is showing that the percentage of positive tests per day is now up to 9.62% (down from 9.7% last weeks ago), with 45.09 new cases per 100,000 people, down from about 62 cases per 100K.
  • Still, the severity remains low with 1.84 gross hospitalization per 100,000 people (up from 1.53 last week).
  • Hospital capacity is not threatened.
  • A total of 29 people (up from 25 last week) in Rockland county were hospitalized for Covid related issues; 18 out of 29 of those patients were symptomatic.
  • With five new deaths added last week, Rockland’s Covid-related death total is now up 1,178.

To find out what case and hospitalization trends look like in your town, click here.

Here’s the CDC’s data on Rockland.

Covid Testing and Vaccine Info

Get free at-home Covid tests sent to your home, visit Or pick them up at Village Hall in Nyack, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

More than 80.8% of eligible people in Rockland County are vaccinated with at least one dose. To schedule an appointment for a 1st dose, 3rd dose (for immunocompromised), or booster COVID-19 vaccine from any Rockland County Department of Health Clinic visit To search for additional COVID-19 vaccination opportunities nearby visit

Find a COVID-19 testing site near you, by visiting Individuals who have questions regarding eligibility or access for testing should call the New York State COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or visit the NYSDOH website

Village of Nyack Updates

The Board of Trustees meets Thursday, May 26, from 7:30 to 10 pm. Click here for the Zoom link and agenda.

The budget workshops are all wrapped up. If you haven’t seen it, take a look at the second draft of Nyack’s Appropriations budget (what they plan to spend). And the second draft of their Revenue budget (how they make their money). Not clear how or if it all those numbers have changed, but we’ll keep you updated. As of now, the budget is $6,055,600.91 coming in and going out 2022-2023.

Drop off humanitarian aid for victims of the war in Ukraine (, including first aid, painkillers, blankets, baby food, diapers, non-perishable food, antibiotics and more, at Village Hall, 9 N. Broadway (or at the Orangetown town hall, 26 W. Orangeburg Rd.).

Here’s the list of all upcoming meetings posted for the Village of Nyack.

Order Military Tribute Banners (Last Chance!)

It’s time to order your Military Tribute Banners for 2022. These banners make a beautiful tribute to honor your veterans, active-duty, reserve, and National Guard members. Banners will be displayed from Memorial Day to Veterans Day in the village downtown area. For more information, contact Ann Marie Tisty at 845-358-0548 ext. 283 or at

Village of Upper Nyack Updates

Click here for updates from the Village of Upper Nyack.

Nyack Public Schools Updates

Let your voice be heard about Nyack public schools by filling out this “Community Pulse” survey.

Applications are now being accepted for universal pre-K and full-day kindergarten.

Masks are currently optional for all students and staff in all Nyack district schools.

However, they posted this notice on circumstances where masking would be required, including close contacts and other scenarios.

The district also posted a listing of resources for parents:

NYSED Social Emotional Wellness
NY Project Hope
Social Emotional Learning Parent Resources (Fordham University)

Find out what else is going on in Nyack-area schools at Home Page – Nyack Public Schools (

Town of Orangetown Updates

There are several meetings this week in Orangetown, click here to find out what, when and where.

Check out the draft chapters of Orangetown’s new 2022 Comprehensive Plan.

ICYMI: Here’s the official resolution Orangetown enacted with regards to the sale of two South Nyack properties, which appears to say the proceeds will go toward wiping out South Nyack’s debt, which is what South Nyack officials were lobbying for as the dissolution date approached.

Help limit greenhouse gasses and curb pollution by joining this new food scraps recycling program.

Check out the Orangetown YouTube channel, and this video of a recent special town board meeting, which included renderings of a new town hall.

Town of Clarkstown Updates

Tuesday, May 24, is “Grievance Day” for those who want to fight their tax assessment in Clarkstown. Here’s a link to Clarkstown’s page with helpful hints and applications for filing your grievance.

The Town Board meets on Tuesday, May 24, from 7 to 8 pm. Click here for details.

The Technical Advisory Committee, which “evaluates the technical adequacy of land development applications and decides their readiness for Planning Board review,” meets most Wednesdays, including Wednesday May 25, from 10 am to noon, in the town hall’s Historic Map Room.

Ambulance Corp Volunteers Needed

There is currently a nationwide shortage of EMTs and Ambulance volunteers. Within Clarkstown, there are five ambulance corps serving the community that are in dire need of volunteers. If you are interested, or know someone who may be please consider contacting and volunteering with one of these great organizations: Nyack, Congers/Valley Cottage, Nanuet, New City, or Spring Hill.

Rockland County Updates

Reviving Rockland Restaurants Grant Program

The Reviving Rockland Restaurants Grant Program will reimburse businesses between $5,000 and $25,000 for past expenses or fund future expenses for eligible outdoor dining COVID-19 mitigation equipment. Eligible entities include restaurants, food stands, food trucks, bars, saloons, lounges, taverns, bakeries, delis, cafes, breweries, wineries, and other similar places of business.

Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Tents
  • Heat Lamps or other electric heating equipment
  • Additional tables and chairs for outdoor dining
  • Market Umbrellas
  • Plexiglass Shields
  • Tarps
  • Patio Fencing

For more information and to download an application visit

(The Dissolved) Village of South Nyack Updates

Alas, the Village of South Nyack officially dissolved on Thursday, March 31. All municipal services are now provided by the Town of Orangetown after that date. Police and DPW services transitioned to Orangetown on January 1, 2022. For more info on dissolution plans, visit here or here. No word yet on any movement to revive South Nyack’s villagehood. Please email us if you hear anything:

Editor’s Note: We want to hear from you! Send thoughts, ideas, news tips, as well as meeting and events announcements to us at

Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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