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Rohr banishes plaque from town hall
Supervisor returns Canale award to Republican committee
BY JIM LANGAN • ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 10/19/16
Hyde Park has a long history of strong political feelings. People forget that even legendary Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never carried his hometown while winning four national elections. The give and take locally has also been fairly ferocious over the years as well, with Democrats and Republicans jousting regularly.
But last week’s news that Hyde Park Supervisor Aileen Rohr has taken it upon herself to take down a plaque that has hung in town hall for 31 years took even veteran political observers by surprise.
The plaque in question is the Angelo Canale award given annually by the Hyde Park Republican Party to a Republican considered to embody an outstanding commitment to Hyde Park. Previous winners include Hal Mangold, Yancy McArthur, Noreen Reilly, Kelley Redl-Hardisty, Walt Doyle and Sue Serino among others. The annual Canale dinner has always been a convivial gathering of local residents of both political parties.
The award was instituted not long after the death of Angelo Canale in 1984. Canale was considered a role model by many and the award has always been a coveted one. Hyde Park Republican Committee Chair Justin Varuzzo told Hudson Valley News he was stunned when informed by Aileen Rohr that the plaque had been taken down during routine painting in town hall and was being returned to the town Republican committee. He was further informed that other plaques would be meeting a similar fate with the exception of the plaque honoring past supervisors.
Varuzzo issued a statement saying, “I find it disgraceful that after 31 years hanging in town hall, that Supervisor Aileen Rohr would disrespect those who were honored as leaders in their community by removing these plaques that memorialized those who have dedicated themselves to Hyde Park.”
Varuzzo added that this year’s Canale award will honor Luigi and Lisa Coppola for their charitable contributions to Hyde Park.
A number of observers said they believed Rohr and her Democratic allies are feeling the heat from the town’s precipitous decline under her watch and increasing criticism from Republicans for her lack of transparency on municipal matters. “This kind of thing just makes Rohr look smaller and smaller,” said one former town official.