Today’s local headlines

If unmuffled, Lynn Sloneker’s reporting on the Hudson school system, isn’t the best blog in Columbia County, I do not know what is. Sloneker relentlessly reports the raw data about what is going on in Hudson’s troubled schools like no other reporter in the area. Like last Tuesday the Hudson Board of Education approved vacation day buy backs for district administrators, going back to the 2006-07 school year: Daniel Barrett (district Business Manager) – $5,401.50; Thomas Baumgartner (principal) – $8,840.86; Mark Brenneman (assoc. principal) – $4,769.98; Barbara Boyce (Director of Student Services) – $2,461.28; William Clark (admin, technology) – $2,995.92; Thomas Gavin (principal) – $5,680.20; Ryan Groat (principal) – $15,622.44; Terry Harcleroad (admin, technology) – $4,130.70; John Howe (superintendent) – $2,812.50; Derek Reardon (assoc. principal) – $3,799.40; Steven Spicer (principal) – $4,961.88; Maria Suttmeier – $4,807.24. She also reports that New York State Education Department has awarded the Hudson City School District Afterschool Program $3.5 million in 21st Century Community Learning Centers Round 5 grant funds (one of 60 winners out of 387 applicants), and that the Hudson school board is moving its meetings back to the second and fourth Mondays this year. Best is her reporting of last Tuesdays board meeting, where Emil Meister was elected BoE president, Jeff Otty was voted vice-president, Maria J. Suttmeier was appointed Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Derek Reardon was promoted to fill the newly created junior high school principal job, and the board considered creating a curriculum committee:

Meyer then put forward a separate resolution to establish curriculum as the fifth board committee. A vigorous conversation took place, during which Superintendent Jack Howe, Fout, Daly and Abitabile all opined that the time was not right for the board to get involved with district curriculum.

“I think it’s best to wait,” said Howe. “We can revisit this after the [district] reorganization.”

“This is too important to put off,” Meyer said. “It’s the perfect time to do it. It will send a message to the district that the board is serious about curriculum.”

In the end the vote to establish the curriculum committee was 4 to 3, with Fout casting what appeared to be a tentative — and decisive — “yes” vote. (Meister, Otty, Meyer and Fout voted in the affirmative.)

Read the rest of her post to see all the appointments, and other news…. CCScoop says the new Wal-Mart in Greenport is scheduled to open on September 7, and the 103,000-square-foot Lowe’s, both in the Widewaters development, is scheduled to open on September 28 or 29. This reporter heard that Hudson’s long-delayed Club Helsinki has bookings in early October, so should be ready by then…. The Columbia Paper reports that about $15 million in stimulus money is reaching Columbia County…. ccScoop also reports that the Village of Valatie saw a 9.4 percent increase in residents, up to 1,882 residents, between 2000 and 2008. Philmont recorded an 8.1 percent decrease, down to 1,366 residents, while Hudson reported a 7.7 percent decline, down to an estimated 6,925 residents. The Village of Chatham lost 4.2 percent of its population, with 1,682 people residing in the village.

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