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Election Season Begins

Election Season Begins

April 2015 Town Meeting

It was cool for April on Monday the 28th as Council Members arrived under the grey skies of an overcast mid-spring evening. The newly repaired entranceway was now open and the members were mostly present for the opening gavel at around 6:45PM. It was the Council’s first gathering of the 2015 year and there was an air of anxious anticipation as the group seemed more than ready to get down to business.

The April Town Meeting was held at the Coleman/Gromack Auditorium of the Venture Center on Rt. 340 in Sparkill, New York.  Approximately 80 voting members of the Council were counted as present though it is not a practice of the Council to call the roll.

The call to order from the President came at 6:50PM and after greeting everyone, Jen offed a brief opening statement. She asked the group to remember their dear friend and esteemed Council Member, Patrick D. and also Joe, a former staff who had both passed away.

There was a brief moment of silence and then Jen continued:  “Let’s all welcome Amanda, our newest member,”she said.

Jen then opened the regular session of the Town Meeting and turned the floor over to Dan Lukens who had asked to make a couple of opening announcements.

Lukens also welcomed Amanda and then announced that 2015 was an election year. “If you intend to run for President, please make a formal announcement by our next meeting. The election will be at the November meeting following a primary vote that will take place at the residences that will narrow the field to two candidates. The President serves for two years, “ Lukens explained. Lukens also said that the group’s bylaws made no provision for term limits and suggested that that might be something that the group should consider.

At the conclusion of Lukens’ statement, the floor was returned to the President who opened the regular session of the Town Meeting.

Officials present for the April meeting were Jen, the President, Meagen, the Vice President and cabinet members, Lee and Ryan. Terry Freson acted as the group’s facilitator and agency Executive Director, Dan Lukens, took notes.

Lisa W. was the first speaker. “ I am in a new program called WOW and I really like it,” Lisa said. We do a lot of the same things we did in Day Habilitation but we are out more. I really like it and I really like the staff. It is called With-Out-Walls.

On a sadder note, Lisa said she missed her parents who had both died. “When I see people with their parents it makes me sad because I remember my mom and dad and how much I loved them.”

David L. told the group that his brother Danny was going to take him out in his truck.

Theresa P, used her time to tell the group of her intention to run for President.

Tom B. thank everyone for their expressions of concern and well wishes for his recovery from his surgery. He talked about his job and Macy’s and expressed some concern about getting back to work after being out.

Amanda came forward and introduced herself. She greeted everyone and then spoke briefly about here family. “I would also like to run for President,” she announced.

The room applauded warmly for Amanda.

Kevin, after asking Julie Langdon about taking him to a Yankee game, got down on one knee and, in dramatic fashion, proposed to Sandy. Sandy seemed unimpressed but Kevin certainly got the attention of the room.

Patrick M. offered a spirited treatise on the recent events at Thomas House. And, though, the specifics of his oratory were not completely clear, by his passion, Patrick asserted his command of the room’s attention.

A spirited ovation followed Patrick’s statement.

“Hi everybody!” Jeff said in a resounding voice. “I work very hard at the workshop and at my job at Toys R’ Us. I have great staff and I like what I am doing,” he said firmly.

“How are you guys doing today.” Michael S. said more as an introduction than a question. Michael talked about his cousin whom he said was in the Army. “I miss him.” He also mentioned that the Yankees had won the day before.

Ayal said that he had made some money on his own collecting recyclables. “I like making money,” he said. He also said that he liked helping out at his house.

Randy said that she liked her staff Danielle And Stephanie.

Susie S, speaking in a child-like voice mentioned Patrick. She also said that she missed her father.

Pradeep said that he was living independently and indicated that he liked his apartment. “I like bowling but I also think that we should have Yoga.”

“Go Yankees! Michael C. said and the group joined him in applause. “Friday I went to the Mall and Saturday was bowling,” he said recounting his weekend events. “I saw my family and we went shopping. On May 7, we’re going to a Yankee game.”

Peter C. reviewed his bowling scored through the course of the season’s most recent tournament. “I am a champion,” he said and the room responded in applause.

John F. introduced himself as a resident of Venture East. John acknowledged the Council officials on the dais in turn and then moved on to the Yankees. “Yankees won 6 to 4. Go Yankees!”

“Ladies and gentlemen on June 26, I am going on vacation on a dude ranch,” Roger explained. “We’ll ride horses and it should be a great time.”

Bernadette introduced herself and explained that she worked at the workshop but also had a job at Target.
“I got a strike on Saturday in bowling and I am bowling pretty well, she said.

Bernie also said that she was helping out at her house and talked about a planned trip to Atlantic City.

Dieter stepped to the microphone to the applause of the room. Apparently pleased that this quiet but much beloved member of the group was going to offer a few words. In a brief statement, Dieter talked about his family and his friends at Rogers house.

Judy said that she was happy to see her boyfriend .

Susie T. said that the group should have a new President and suggested that Lee run. She also said that she liked her staff.

Eileen stepped forward and pause for a moment to show off her clothes and jewelery. She asked Julie to take a picture which. She did. Eileen indicated that she was pleased to see her boyfriend too and that they were getting married soon.

“I had a visit from my brother today,” Kathleen told the group. “He came with family to take me to lunch. I was so happy to see them,” she said.

Kathleen also said that she was doing well and was getting along well with everyone at her house. She talked about going to mass the day before and said she offered a prayer for all the sick people.

Angel stepped forward and greeted her friends with a high five along the way. And, after offering a few kind works for Dan Lukens, addressed the group. “Saturday we went bowling, we went to the library and we went to mini golf. We ate a Burger King and had a great time,” she said. Monday I am going to cook dinner with staff. “I love my house.”

An apparently very smitten Richard, told the group that he had called Marie on the phone.

“Good evening,” Robert said greeting the group. “I got the stitches out of my toe and I am feeling better,” he said.

Robert also announce that he would be performing in the upcoming production of “Out of the Woods” and asked the group to save the date and to come out to the show and support them.

Zac offered a few kind words for Cassie.

Jeff, not to be outdone by Kevin, used his time to profess his love for Faith. He got down on one knee and made a show of it. Faith seemed less than impressed but the group was, nonetheless, amused.

Quinton said that he had worked all day at ARC on cable boxes and said that he was tired. “I want to tell you guys something,” he said in a tone that suggested a more serious line of conversation. “ It is very nice to live at Lauber House and at Camp Venture. I love all you guys.”

There was a warm applause for Quinton”

At the conclusion of Quinton’s statement, the President, closed the regular session of the Town meeting and the floor was turned over to the President and the members of her cabinet.

“I am running again for reelection,” Jen said.  Jen then moved on to a more personal statement.

“My dad is turning 72,” she announced. “To all of you who have lost your parents, my deepest sympathy,” she said.

Jen also offered a few words about her job at Toys R’ Us and about a planned family vacation to Myrtle beach.

She also, again, welcomed Amanda.

The Vice President, Meagen R. spoke next. “I also plan of running for President,” she said.

Meagen also said that there was a new director at her house, Wendy Gelb.

Lee said that he had had a crazy year so far and said that concerns about mother were always with him. “We are doing a play,” he said. He also spoke to some concerns about the program since some of the staff had left.

Ryan offered a few kind words for Anthony, the House Director at the Nanuet House.

Ryan indicated that he too was running for President. He spoke warmly about Dan Lukens and about Sarah, his recreation staff.

The floor was opened briefly before the close of the meeting to Barbara who offered a few kind words to the group. And, Ayal asked at the close of the meeting, that the record show that he too would like to see Yoga added to the program.

Jen closed the April Town meeting at around 8:10 PM

With the close of the meeting, the officially announced candidates for the next Presidential election were: Amanda, Meagen, Jen, Theresa and Ryan. Though any candidate can still enter the race up and until the next Town meeting. As was announced, that meeting will, in part, be dedicated to the candidates.

The group departed the hall with a renewed enthusiasm. It had been since December when they had last met and the business of the group had resumed. An election was coming and with it new opportunities and that was, indeed, something to look forward to.







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2008 Rockland County Autism Symposium Venture Foundation Address
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