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The Beacon Free Press has been Beacon’s primary center of news and entertainment coverage for over 25 years. Coverage includes local city and school news and features, Dutchess County Legislature, county legal notices, obituaries, plus coverage of arts and entertainment, hospitals and health, education, libraries and local businesses and organizations.

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10/15/14 Highlights of this week's edition...

Square dedicated in honor of firefighter

By Kristine Coulter

(Continued from cover) Cramer held different posts in the organization. He was financial secretary, captain and president of the Lewis Tompkins Hose Company. Almost 60 years later, this dedication ceremony was held for Cramer. The Beacon City Council unanimously agreed to have the request made by Lewis Tompkins Hose Co. that the intersection of Main and Cross Streets be named Firefighter J. Robert Cramer Square, where the old firehouse, now Hudson Beach Glass, stood.

“Cramer family, it’s an honor for me to be here today. He paid the ultimate price for our city,” said Beacon Mayor Randy Casale. Casale added the honor was long overdue.

The mayor thanked the owners of Hudson Beach Glass where the plaque was placed.

The plaque reads: “In Memoriam J. Robert Cramer President of Tompkins Hose Co. Who Served the City of Beacon Faithfully and Capably for Sixteen Years and Who Lost His Life in the 146 Main Street Fire January 29, 1935. Erected by Lewis Tompkins Hose Co. Greater Love Hath No Man Than This, That A Man Lay Down His Life For His Friends.”

“He was the only firefighter, career or volunteer, to lose his life fighting a fire in Beacon,” said emcee of the ceremony Past Chief Steve Van Buren.

Van Buren talked of how Wassi remembers helping her father deliver medications, he was a pharmacist, when though she was only 4 years old when he died.

Cramer, said Van Buren, joined the fire company in 1939.

Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Rob Rolison said, “It’s an honor to be here in City of Beacon” and thanked Cramer family for sharing their loved one with the community.

“Tompkins Hose has never forgotten my father and they’ve never forgotten the Cramer family,” said Wassi.

The City of Newburgh Fire Department Bagpipers and Drummers played during the ceremony.

Mary Forsell, a resident of Beacon, watched her two daughters, Anna and Elizabeth Cenicola, sing the National Anthem.
“I hope that every time they pass this spot they will remember the firefighter who lost his life while on duty, which is the ultimate sacrifice,” said Forsell.

Cramer was posthumously named the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York Firefighter of the Year in 1955.

50 years of teaching fire safety at Glenham Elementary School

Glenham Elementary School Principal Dawn Condello, right, stands with Glenham Fire Department Volunteer Firefighter, and former Glenham student, Clarissa Virtuoso.

By Kristine Coulter

For five decades Glenham Elementary School staff and administration, along with Glenham Fire Department, have taught fire safety to the thousands of students that have walked its halls.

“I’m so glad we could do this in conjunction with Glenham Fire Department and staff to have this big event,” said Glenham Elementary School Principal Dawn Condello. Condello led the fire trucks in a 1921 fire rig.

There was an afternoon fire drill. Each teacher stood with her or his class as local fire department trucks came racing to the school, with lights and sirens blaring. Younger kids stood and watched in awe, some wearing their plastic firefighter hats.

Second grader Tayler Finley, 7, said seeing all the fire trucks was her favorite part of the day.

“If you catch on fire don’t run around screaming – stop, drop and roll,” Tayler said is what she learned.

Seven-year-old Heidi Weidenbenner said the fire trucks were also the highlight of her day.

Fourth grader Lily Magurno, 9, said she enjoyed the fire trucks.
“When they came in because they came in with sirens and everyone was cheering,” said Lily.

Dave Dross, Glenham Fire Department Fire Chief, said, “I think it’s a great opportunity to teach kids safety and educate them.” He said the school is such a big component as to why the partnership with the fire department has lasted 50 years.

Dross, who once attended Glenham Elementary School, said, “It’s just as exciting as it was when I was this age.”

Another former student of Glenham and now Glenham Fire Department volunteer is Clarissa Virtuoso. Virtuoso, whose father is also a volunteer firefighter, is a Criminal Justice major at Dutchess Community College.

“I remember when I was here and the excitement about this day,” said Virtuoso.

Firefighter Joseph Steele, with the Glenham Fire Department, said, It kind of brings back the memories from when I was at Glenham.”

Rich Jones, firefighter with Glenham Fire Department, said he enjoys helping the community and his children attend Glenham.
Earlier in the day, students in kindergarten, first and second grades got to experience the smoke house trailer and saw firefighters dressed in their full protective suits and gear. There were special guests in the cafeteria that day as students as students had “Lunch with a Firefighter.”

Those in third through fifth grades saw the skills and training of a K-9 dog. The younger students also got to watch the K-9 later that day.
Ethan Kibe, who is in Donna McGinley and Jaime Rivieccio’s fifth grade class, said he enjoyed watching “how the dog trained to sense the smell of fire and show where it is,” about Libby the arson K-9 from the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office.
Emma Sanderson, fifth grader, said she also enjoyed watching Libby demonstrate her skills.

“I didn’t know that dogs find the cause of fires,” said Emma.
Smokey Bear and Sparky the Fire Dog were on hand to help teach about fire safety.

The Life Net Helicopter landed on the large plot of grass in the back of the school. Some of the students were able to go in and walk through the helicopter.

Fourth grade teacher Marion Chrisville said she hopes the students took away “a sense of community.”

The following departments or agencies assisted Glenham Fire Department during the event: Chelsea Fire Department, City of Beacon Fire Department, Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, Dutchess Junction Fire Department, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Rombout Fire Company and Village of Fishkill Fire Department.

Read the full story in this week’s print edition.

Also in the Oct 15-21, 2014 issue:

  • Pies, entertainment and, of course, pumpkins at festival.

Chris Kocher sits among the pumpkins for sale at the Beacon festival.


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