Briefly noted across the region (11/3/21)

Mary Ritayik (second from right) amongst her colleagues at her swearing-in ceremony to serve as police chief at SUNY New Paltz in 2019.

Mary Ritayik sworn in as SUNY’s first woman police commissioner

Last week, State University of New York chancellor Jim Malatras provided the oath of office to Mary Ritayik at the H. Carl McCall SUNY Building in Albany, as the first woman to serve as New York State University Police commissioner in SUNY history.


Ritayik’s appointment to chief of police at SUNY New Paltz in 2019 was also a milestone. She was the first woman ever to hold the position in the University Police Department’s 50-year history at SUNY New Paltz.

“Commissioner Ritayik has broken the ceiling for women in the university police, but she is also the right person for the job,” said Chancellor Malatras. “She will build up community policing, which is what we need across SUNY for our students, and Commissioner Ritayik will continue to be an innovator in that area. It is with great pride that we join together to celebrate her achievement, and this historic moment at SUNY.”

Commissioner Ritayik said, “This is one of the most challenging times in law enforcement history, and right now we need to rebuild that police and community trust. We need to do better. It is through these positive interactions, community policing initiatives and coming to the table to actively listen to what our communities expect of their Police Department that will help to foster this trust. I want to ensure that the strategies of our agency meet the needs of the communities we serve. I believe in the work that we do and that it does make a difference.”

The ceremony was attended by former university police commissioners; SUNY leadership; a representative from governor Kathy Hochul’s office; campus police chiefs; representatives from SUNY New Paltz, where Commissioner Ritayik rose up through the ranks, including president Don Christian and vice president of Student Affairs Stephanie Blaisdell; and her family.

(Photo by Jim Rice)

The Falcon in Marlboro announces passing of Tony Falco

Anthony Falco of Marlboro died on October 28, 2021, after a six-month battle with complications from COVID-19. Known to all as Tony, he was born on September 12, 1956 to Ferdinand and Margaret Falco in Staten Island, where he was raised along with his six siblings.

A man with many passions and skills, a loving husband and father and an engaged community leader, Tony is perhaps best-known as the owner of The Falcon, the innovative music venue he founded in the early 2000s in Marlboro. The Falcon became a mecca for jazz musicians and one of the Hudson Valley’s most prominent and diverse music clubs, as well as its most beautiful. Tony imagined the Falcon as a community-focused, multi-art and musician-centric institution. At its pre-pandemic peak, the Falcon featured music on two stages nightly, rotating art exhibits, the Avalon Archives Museum, two restaurants and a network of trails and decks overlooking Marlboro Falls.

In 1979, Tony attended SUNY New Paltz, where he met the love of his life: his wife of 37 years, Julie Farrell. They were married in 1984 and had four children: Adrianne, Svetlana, Lee and Julian. In 1983, Tony graduated from New Paltz with a degree in Environmental Science. Over his scientific career, he operated and designed several wastewater treatment facilities throughout the Hudson Valley and owned Environmental Labworks, a water-testing laboratory located in the same building as The Falcon.

Tony was a renaissance man: artist, entrepreneur, scientist, engineer, architect, builder, pilot, teacher and environmental conservationist. He was generous and adventurous, and he loved to travel the world. In 2020, during the pandemic, he designed and built the Marlboro Nature Trail. He recently took up horseback riding and owned two horses, Houdini and Cinch.

Tony is survived by his wife and kids; his mother; his six siblings (Gennaro, Julia Ruffo, Eddie, Tommy, Freddy and Christopher); his lifelong best friend, Cliff “Sonny” Benson; his adopted children, Suong Huynh and Javier Osorio; his children’s partners, Conor Shea, Alex Neckles, Jessica Brush and Kaitlyn VanOrman; and his extended family of Falcon friends.

Public celebrations of his life will be held the weekend of November 6. More details will be determined and posted at In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Amnesty International.


In the story about the October 4 meeting of the New Paltz Town Planning Board, a reference made to 13,000 truckloads of fill was incorrect; the correct number was 1,600 truckloads of fill. The reporter regrets the error.

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