Hecklers, including actor James Cromwell, booted from event at Anthony’s Pier 9
- ALLYSE PULLIAM/For the Times Herald-Record |
re-posted from Times Herald-Record
NEW WINDSOR – The Orange County Partnership’s Annual Event drew a crowd of more than 600 people celebrating a banner year of new business attraction and expansion.
But the event’s usual rah, rah atmosphere was disrupted briefly Tuesday night when a pair of hecklers spoke out during an award presentation to the company building a power plant in Wawayanda.
Pramilla Malick of Minisink and actor James Cromwell of Warwick protested the natural gas-fired CPV Valley Energy Center as a dangerous polluter threatening the agricultural environment and the people living there.
“The last thing CPV should be doing is getting an award for polluting our Hudson Valley,” Malick said after being escorted from the Anthony’s Pier 9 banquet hall and into a drizzly night outside.
Partnership CEO Maureen Halahan said Wednesday the incident consumed merely a few moments of a four-hour event of good cheer, congratulations for a successful year, and the promise of more to come.
“I thought it was laughable,” Halahan said. “I thought it was funny and had nothing to do with the event.”
One of the presenters of the Golden Shovel award to CPV executive Steve Remillard was John Lavelle of the Partnership’s Alliance for Balanced Growth. “CPV, CPV, CPV,” Lavelle chanted into a microphone as the protesters were led away.
Few members of the audience joined the chant. Some looked on curiously. Others seemed stunned. Halahan surmised many in the cavernous banquet room had no idea what was happening.
“It was a little hiccup,” she said. “I don’t think anyone cared … Nobody booed CPV. There were 650 business people who support programs that turn on the lights in their homes, and the people who crashed the party probably have lights in their homes as well.”
Construction on the upswing
The night’s focus was on a year that brought projects carrying with them about 1,500 jobs, and nearly 2 million square feet of building construction. In all, 2015 saw three dozen companies either site or expand operations in Orange County.
“This is the year we’ve been preparing for,” Halahan told the audience largely of business people and politicians. “You just have to drive around the county to see all the construction.”
Projects ranged from a Walden cidery by Angry Orchard, to a cancer center and medical office building by the Orange Regional Medical Center in the Town of Wallkill, to a pair of Hamptonburgh projects: a distribution center by pharmaceutical giant Mckesson Corp., and a medical marijuana growing operation by PharmaCannis.
PharmaCannis co-CEO John Leja was presented with the Partnership’s Spirit of Innovation award. The company is investing $15 million in its Orange County site.
“This is the place to be,” Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus told the crowd. “I don’t know of any place in the state that does it like this.”
Halahan said projects’ capital investments total $1.2 billion when counting CPV’s anticipated $900 million.
“Thank you, CPV,” Halahan said to applause and hoots from the crowd.
The evening started with cocktails. The Elmira Distributing Co. donated wines. Italian dishes and salads drew diners to buffet tables. Some new treats included pan-seared fresh tuna, baked grouper and scallops.
Halahan didn’t get a taste. “I’ve never eaten a thing at any of our events,” she said. “It’s such a packed agenda, and we’re just so focused on the program.”
That program ended with John Foley, former lead solo pilot with the Navy’s Blue Angels. He now runs a business offering leadership training programs.
He said trust, teamwork and honesty were among the ingredients needed for success. Those at the top must recognize the importance of all employees. The Blue Angels, he said, value maintenance workers just as much as pilots.
“That’s what a partnership, a community, stands for,” Foley said, “standing for something together.”
video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhIq3xsGawA