School election results

Cairo-Durham school election results: School Budget Passed 551-527; Library Appropriation Failed 477-581; Biomass heating system Failed 433-625. Board Member results: Greg Koerner-Fox – 584; Thomas Plank – 564; Beatrice Clappin – 537; Pat Ublacker – 512; Nicole Maggio – 472; Dean Pectal – 456; Sam Mozzillo – 338. The Daily Mail reports Catskill results:

Catskill Central School District’s $36.6 million budget package for 2010-11 was approved by district voters Tuesday night in a 2-1 margin of 712-375. The Catskill Public Library budget was also passed with an approximate 2-1 margin, 701-368. Elected to the Board of Education for three-year terms were incumbent Michael Bulich, who was returned to the board for his second term with 579 votes, and first-timers Christopher Van Loan and Tracy Powell, who drew 439 and 408 votes, respectively. Elected to a two-year term — the unserved balance of an existing seat from a former BOE member — was first-timer Matthew Leipman, who received 402 votes.

The Daily Mail also has Coxsackie-Athens results:

The 2010-2011 budget for the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District was adopted by voters by a margin of 738 votes to 521. Three Board of Education seats were also up for grabs in the vote held yesterday – incumbents Mark Gerrain, Russell Nadler and Beth Tailleur were all up for re-election. Gerrain and Tailleur had easy victories, but Nadler was unseated by opponent Stephen Oliveira, who won 575 votes to Nadler’s 404.

In Hudson, Register-Star reports:

The Hudson City School District budget for 2010-2011 squeaked by Tuesday by a margin of a little more than 100 votes. District voters also reelected Mary Daly (663 votes) to the School Board and brought aboard Peter Merante Sr. (717), Justin Cukerstein, 593 votes. He may still may get a board seat. Patricia Abitabile, currently in the second year of her second five-year term, is resigning from the board as of June 30. There has yet to be a resolution on how Abitabile will be replaced, but a discussion at a recent BOE meeting seemed to indicate the candidate with the third highest number of votes could garner her seat. Carrie Haddad received 422 votes and Peter Rice Jr., garnered 263.

In Taconic Hills, Register-Star reports:

The 2010-2011 budget for the Taconic Hills Central School District passed Tuesday after polls closed, with 604 yes and 377 no votes….Joseph Costa (552), a Claverack automotive business owner who said he would encourage attendance at board meetings, and Kevin Maisenbacher (511), a branch manager at Key Corp/N.A. Licensed Investment, who hopes to involve the community more deeply in board decisions, won the district’s two open school board seats, replacing incumbent board members Scott Decker and Tom Bailey.

The story does not report the other vote totals. Also: Chatham Central School District voters passed the 2010-11 budget of $26,614,687 Tuesday by a margin of 441 for and 260 against. Incumbent candidate Melony Spock, 473 votes, Gail Day, 463, elected. A $13.6 million Germantown Central School District Budget passed easily Tuesday with 274 votes for the budget and 171 against. Eric Mortenson, 327; Theresa Repko, 320; Cynthia Smith, 304.

19th Annual Antique & Classic Bicycle Auction and Swap Meet

The Fallons have a long and respected reputation with the annual antique & classic bicycling auction Friday, April 16, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. at Copake Auction House, 266 Cty Rt 7A, Chatham. A recent addition is a day long Swap Meet before the auction. Browse their online catalog at

Click on WGXC or WGXC Newsroom for more information. Send news, tips, etc. to

Copake Green for sale: $1.2M

Diane Valden in The Columbia Paper reports:

The 122-acre cornfield between the hamlet and the Copake town hall–the proposed site of a controversial 138-unit senior and mixed-income housing development called Copake Green–is now up for sale [from Housing Resources of Columbia County]. The asking price is $1.2 million. And unless someone ready, willing and able to invest in the housing project shows up before the property is sold, Copake Green will be nothing more than a not-so-fond memory for many in town who never thought it was a good idea.

Murphy posts appropriation requests online

U.S. Representative Scott Murphy (D, NY20), who represents Greene and Columbia counties, has posted his appropriations requests online. The projects from Greene and Columbia, and nearby, include:

Preservation of Manufacturing Jobs through Renewable Energy and Creation of a Center for Sustainable Manufacturing, Hudson, New York
Amount: $1,000,000
On behalf of the Columbia Economic Development Corporation, I requested that the FY 2011 Energy and Water Appropriations bill contain $1,000,000 to establish an investment fund for environmental sustainability projects focused on alternative energy. This project would also provide technical assistance to manufacturers increasing their facility energy efficiencies. This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because this investment will increase the use of alternative energy sources among manufacturing companies and small businesses, spurring job growth and technology innovation.
Recipient: Columbia Economic Development Corporation
4303 Route 9
Hudson, NY 12534

New York State Solar Electric Incentive Programs, Copake, New York
Amount: $35,100
On behalf of the Town of Copake, I requested that the FY 2011 Energy and Water Appropriations bill contain $35,100 to procure and install solar panels on the roof of the Copake Town Hall, adding rows of photovoltaic modules equating to a total rated power of 24.0kw (240v). This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because this investment grows the solar industry, an important sustainable energy source, and stimulates our economy by creating jobs in solar manufacturing and installation.
Recipient: Town of Copake
230 Mountain View Road
Copake, NY 12516

Generator for Emergency Shelter, Livingston, New York
Amount: $19,000
On behalf of the Town of Livingston, Columbia County, I requested that the FY 2011 Homeland Security Appropriations bill contain $19,000 to procure equipment needed to provide electricity and heat to the Livingston Town Emergency Shelter during emergency conditions. This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because this investment assures public safety and shelter to citizens during times of emergency.
Recipient: Town of Livingston
119 County Route 19
Livingston, NY 12541

The Village of Red Hook Water Project, Red Hook, New York
Amount: $1,000,000
On behalf of the Town of Red Hook, I requested that the FY 2011 Interior & Environment appropriations bill contain $1,000,000 for the installation of an alternative well field and controls. This is the first step in a plan to rehabilitate the Village’s water infrastructure and provide the Village of Red Hook with a reliable source of drinking water. This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because it will ensure that the people of Red Hook have access to reliable and safe drinking water.
Recipient: The Village of Red Hook
7467 South Broadway
Red Hook, NY 128571

Remediation of Vanderburgh Cove Wastewater Project, Rhinebeck, New York
Amount: $233,750
On behalf of the Town of Rhinebeck, I requested that the FY 2011 Interior & Environment appropriations bill contain $233,750 for the engineering and replacement of two Bioclere units at the existing water treatment facility. The project will ensure that residents can continue to enjoy affordable, environmentally safe wastewater collection and treatment services. Failure of the system threatens the Hudson River Estuary, as well as several local drinking water systems. This is a valuable use of tax payer funds because the project will ensure continued wastewater treatment services and will ensure the safety of the area’s drinking water.
Recipient: Town of Rhinebeck
80 E. Market St.
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Camphill Ghent Elder Care Initiative, Copake, New York
Amount: $250,000
On behalf of Camphill Village, I requested that the FY 2011 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill contain $250,000 for initial construction of building an elder care community in Ghent to provide care for seniors of all levels of income and ability. This is an appropriate use of taxpayer funds because community care best addresses the needs of seniors who require specialized care at dramatically less cost to the individual and the healthcare system.
Recipient: Camphill Village USA
84 Camphill Road
Copake, NY 12516

Ambulance Replacement, Copake, New York
Amount: $123,895
On behalf of the Clausson-Raught Community Rescue Squad, I requested that the FY 2011 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill contain $123,895 to purchase a new ambulance to replace the current outdated unit that is no longer functional. This is an appropriate use of taxpayer funds because it will provide critical and prompt emergency medical service to the more than 15,000 people served in the community where those services are currently unavailable.
Recipient: Clausson-Raught Community Rescue Squad
283 Mountain View Road
PO Box 327
Copake, NY 12516

Columbia Memorial Hospital Technology Advancement and Electronic Health Record Program, Hudson, New York
Amount: $1,000,000
On behalf of Columbia Memorial Hospital, I requested that the FY 2011 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill contain $1,000,000 to help develop the hospital’s electronic health record system. This is an appropriate use of taxpayer funds because electronic medical records improve patient access to critical health information, reduce medical errors, and drive higher-quality and lower-cost care through the health care system.
Recipient: Columbia Memorial Hospital
71 Prospect Street
Hudson, NY 12534

Northern Dutchess Hospital: Master Facility Plan, Rhinebeck, New York
Amount: $1,000,000
On behalf of Northern Dutchess Hospital, I requested that the FY 2011 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill contain $1,000,000 for construction of a medical and surgical addition as well as renovation of the oldest in-patient area in the hospital. This is an appropriate use of taxpayer funds because it will ensure continued safe access to health care for the surrounding rural communities.
Recipient: Northern Dutchess Hospital
6511 Springbrook Avenue
Rhinebeck, NY 12572

New Cairo Library Construction Project, Cairo, New York
Amount: $400,000
On behalf of the Cairo Public Library, I requested that the FY 2011 T-HUD Appropriations bill contain $400,000 for the planning, design, and construction of a new library in Cairo, New York. The current library facility serves as a central location for library resources, community programming, tax forms, internet, etc. However, the facility is inadequate to meet the growing demand. This is a valuable use of taxpayer dollars because the library serves as an important resource for this rural community and will increase quality of life in Cairo.
Recipient: Cairo Library
512 Main St.
Cairo, NY 12413

The Claverack Free Library and Reading Room Project, Claverack, New York
Amount: $200,000
On behalf of the Claverack Free Library and Reading Room, I requested the FY 2011 T-HUD bill contain $200,000 to remodel the existing Claverack Firehouse into the Claverack Free Library and Reading Room. Funds would be used for design, engineering, hazardous material remediation, and construction. This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because the new facility will allow for the expansion of traditional library services, including internet access, to the local community, as well as serve as an anchor public facility within the town’s commercial core.
Recipient: Claverack Free Library
629 State Route 23
Claverack, NY 12513

Columbia Economic Development Corporation Broadband Consortium Project, Hudson, New York
Amount: $100,000
On behalf of the Columbia Economic Development Corporation, I requested that the FY 2011 T-HUD Appropriations bill contain $100,000 to develop a Broadband Improvement Plan in order to attract new businesses to Columbia County. This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because the development of broadband infrastructure is critical the economic development of the entire region.
Recipient: Columbia Economic Development Corporation
4303 Route 9
Hudson, NY 12534

Washington Hose Fire Company Renovation Project, Hudson, New York
Amount: $500,000
On behalf of the City of Hudson, I requested that the FY 2011 T-HUD Appropriations bill contain $500,000 for the planning, design, and renovation of a 150 year-old vacant firehouse. The renovated building would be used as a tourism center and house offices for the Chamber of Commerce and local economic development organizations. This is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because it will rehabilitate a vacant, historically significant building while attracting new economic development in downtown Hudson.
Recipient: City of Hudson
520 Warren Street
Hudson, NY 12534

The Mellenville Grange Hall Restoration Project, Mellenville, New York
Amount: $83,160
On behalf of the Mellenville Grange, I requested that the FY 2011 T-HUD Appropriations bill contain $83,160 to restore and repair the leaking slate roof of the historic Grange Hall building. This project is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because it will allow the Grange to preserve its historic structure, as well as continue its community service work in this rural community.
Recipient: Mellenville Grange #1255
803 Gahbauer Rd.
Mellenville, NY 12544

See the complete list of requested appropriations here.

Official comment?

One of the best results from the recent redesign of the web sites of The Daily Mail and The Register-Star has been the increase in reader participation through online comments. Lately, the politicians and officials at the heart of many stories on the paper’s web sites are writing their own comments. Or are being carefully impersonated in the largely unregulated world of online comments. First, Hudson Mayor Rick Scalera, or someone posing as the mayor, responded to a Feb. 11 Register-Star “My View” opinion column by Taghkanic-based activist Sam Pratt. Three days later, State Assemblyman Marc Molinaro, or an online simulacrum, commented on a Register-Star article about his recent vote against making it easier to cast an absentee ballot. Bob Sacks, or someone claiming the identity of the Copake Town Councilman, also commented on that article. And if The Daily Mail mentions the Cairo Planning Board, you can bet board Chairman Dan Benoit will comment. In a Feb. 11 “My View” column by Leeds-based businessman Bob Nappa, Benoit pipes in once the chatter in the comments section gets around to Cairo. In each case, officials leave e-mail addresses and phone numbers for constituents to get in touch about whatever issue getting is being discussed. Bravo!

Pay raises for Columbia County employees

The Register-Star reports that the Columbia County Board of Supervisors voted for a two percent pay raise for county employees Wednesday night. Supervisors voting “yes” on the pay raise were: Chairman Roy Brown, R-Germantown; Jeffrey Braley, R-Austerlitz; Reggie Crowley, R-Copake; Deputy Chairman Larry Andrews, R-Ghent; Art Baer, R-Hillsdale; Ed Cross, D-Hudson2; William Hallenbeck Jr., R-Hudson3; Deputy Chairman Bart Delaney, R-Hudson5; Pat Grattan, R-Kinderhook; Kevin McDonald, R-Livingston; Leo Pulcher, R-Stockport; and Valerie Bertram, R-Stuyvesant. Voting against: Art Bassin, D-Ancram; Robin Andrews, D-Claverack; Ray Staats, D-Clermont; Minority Leader Jesse DeGroodt, D-Chatham; Lynda Scheer, R-Gallatin; Ed Nabozny, I-Greenport; John Musall, D-Hudson1; William Hughes, D-Hudson4; and Margaret Robertson, D-New Lebanon.

Ghent planning board to unveil plans for Price Chopper store

The public can view the plans for a proposed Price Chopper store on Rt. 66 in the Town of Ghent at the Ghent Planning Board’s next regular meeting on February 3 at 7 p.m., according to an article in ccScoop by Mike McCagg. The 43,000 square-foot store, on land adjoining the existing Price Chopper Plaza, would be adjacent but separate from the existing plaza. The plans include many trees blocking the view of the store from the road, according to the story. The store would be next to a proposed extension of the Harlem Valley Trail from its current northern end in Copake to Chatham.

From the ccScoop story:

“[Planning Board Chair Jonathan] Walters said town planners are generally pleased with the proposal as it stands…the project still has some major hurdles to clear. Among them, developing a plan to deal with the wetlands in the area to satisfy the State Department of Environmental Conservation, traffic entrances and exists that meet with the Department of Transportation’s guidelines, and the extension of water and sewer lines from the Village of Chatham. The latter has been the subject of great debate among village leaders, some of whom are supportive of extending the lines for a fee and others who question the ability of the current system to handle a new demand.”

Greene and Columbia County candidate forums

Tune in live candidate forums this week

THURSDAY: Claverack and Athens
SATURDAY: Catskill
SUNDAY: Copake and Greene County
MONDAY: Chatham
TUESDAY: Kinderhook

WGXC will have live web streams of each candidate forum for everyone to listen to. In addition, WGXC will post archived recordings of these candidate forums as soon as possible at

More details below.


Columbia and Greene County candidate forums

The League of Women Voters of Greene County and Columbia County are sponsoring seven “Meet the Candidates” forums for politicians running for various offices this fall. Invitations to the events have been mailed to all candidates.

In cooperation with the League, and as a service to all local media and voters, WGXC will air all forums live on an internet web stream at if internet access is available, and is coordinating members of the local media to cover the event. Recordings of all events will be posted as quickly as possible at and archived for future reference.

To listen live:
Either go to and click on the links for each candidate forum, which will open a web stream in your computer’s media player (iTunes, etc.) or will also play on your cell phone (iPhone, etc.)
Paste this link into “open url” on your computer’s media player:
For Columbia County forums:
For Greene County forums:

Where and when are the candidate forums?

Thursday, October 22, both at 7-9 p.m.
Town of Claverack candidates’ forum at A.B. Shaw firehouse on Route 9H in Claverack. Listen at:

Athens forum, for candidates for Town Council, Town Justice, and Athens Legislature representation will be at the Athens Community Center, 2 First Street, Athens.

Saturday, October 24, 10 a.m.-noon
The Catskill session for candidates for Town Council, Town Justice, Catskill Legislature representation will be at the Catskill Community Center, 344 Main Street, Catskill.

Sunday, October 25 1-3 p.m.
Town of Copake candidates’ forum at Copake Grange Hall, downtown Copake.

Sunday, October 25, 4-6 p.m.
The forum for all Greene County Legislative candidates will be at Union Mills Lofts, 361 Main Street, Catskill.

Monday, October 26, 7-9 p.m.
Town of Chatham candidates’ forum at Chatham Town Hall.

Tuesday, October 27 7-9 p.m.
Town of Kinderhook candidates’ forum at Ichabod Crane Middle School.

Journalists confirmed attending:
Melanie Lekocevic, Greene County Local Courier (Athens and Catskill forums)
Colin Devries, The Daily Mail (Athens forum)
WGXC reporters: Tom Morini, Debra Kamecke, Kaya Weidman, Tom Roe

WGXC will post recordings of each candidate forum as soon as possible at

For more information:

Fawn Potash/League of Women Voters
518- 929-5764


Paul Smart/

Basic Political Debate/Meet the Candidates Event Format

Event should be no more than 90 minutes long.
Candidates need to arrive 15 minutes before start of event.
Substitute speakers are not permitted.
No campaign literature or materials will be allowed inside the room.
Lots will be drawn in advance to determine the order of speakers for opening remarks.
Moderator will be introduced by the sponsoring organization’s spokesperson
Moderator will introduce panel members and go over the rules.
Each candidate will have a 3-minute opening statement.
Audience members will be asked to silence all electronic devices.
The audience will be provided with index cards/writing implements with which to write questions.
1. No statements
2. No personal remarks
3. All questions must be legible
4. The moderator will choose questions and paraphrase for clarity/appropriateness.
The candidates will have one minute to answer. The moderator will call on candidates in succeeding order to answer. The moderator has the right to rule on all questions. No one else will be permitted to see the questions before, during or after the event. [Candidates should be reminded that they may take notes and cover issues/comments they missed during the Q&A as part of their closing statement.]

Depending on time available, questions may be permitted from the floor. Questions will be limited to one minute and will be answered as above. The same rules apply as with written questions.

Each candidate may have a 2 or 3-minute closing statement.

The moderator will close the event and invite members of the audience to remain in order to have personal conversations with the candidates (must be agreed upon in advance by candidates).


Candidates are encouraged to bring campaign literature. A table should be set up outside the room for the purpose of distributing the literature. Each candidate will be permitted to display a packet of flyers, position papers, and letters of endorsement or other campaign material. However, each candidate will be allowed only ONE stack of information on the table unless the organizer permits more.

Officials stressing One City Centre purchase

Check out that headline in The Register-Star by the usually smarter writer Francesca Olsen. If you read deep down in her story you see why the officials are stressing a future building purchase: they don’t want you to think about the tax increase they just passed. Five paragraphs in Olsen mentions “Local laws renewing an additional half-percent of mortgage tax and an additional $2 per $1,000 of additional transfer tax on real property were also enacted.” Finally, seven paragraphs in, Olsen quotes Rick Rielly, president of the Columbia-Greene Board of Realtors, saying, “These are taxes, any way you look at it.” Olsen doesn’t even dare to say who voted for the tax, only that, “The renewal of taxes passed, with Supervisor John Musall, D-Hudson 1, abstaining, Supervisor William Hughes, D-Hudson 4, voting no on the additional transfer tax, and Supervisor Ed Cross, D-Hudson 2, voting no on the renewal.” Cross voted no on both taxes.

Here is who voted for the mortgage tax:
Ancram’s Thomas Dias; Canaan’s Richard Keaveney; Chatham’s Jesse DeGroodt; Claverack’s James Keegan; Clermont’s Raymond Staats; Copake’s Reginald Crowley; Gallatin’s Lynda Scheer; Germantown’s Roy Brown; Ghent’s Lawrence Andrews; Greenport’s John Rutkey Sr.; Hillsdale’s Arthur Baer; Hudson’s 4th Ward-William Hughes, 5th Ward -Bart Delaney; Kinderhook’s Douglas McGivney; Livingston’s Philip Williams; New Lebanon’s Margaret Robertson; Stockport’s Leo Pulcher; Stuyvesant’s Valerie Bertram; Taghkanic’s Elizabeth Young. The same group voted for the transfer tax, except for Hudson’s William Hughes, who voted against.

Today’s local headlines

Brown replaces Scheer as deputy on county board
From Parry Teasdale in The Columbia Paper

HUDSON — Chairman of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors Art Baer (R-Hillsdale) shuffled the leadership of the board, with Germantown Supervisor Roy Brown (R) replacing Gallatin Supervisor Lynda Scheer, as a deputy chairman of the board. Baer’s announcement of the move Friday said that Ms. Scheer resigned from the post “for personal reasons.” Brown stood with Baer on his controversial plan to buy the Ockawamick School building on Route 217 in Claverack and, initially, move much of the Department of Social Services there from Hudson. The change takes effect September 1.

Copake board finds ways to agree except on the deficit
From Diana Valden in The Columbia Paper

COPAKE – This is the sort of amazing story about local town meetings that is almost never written ’round these parts. Instead of deciding one of the night’s actions constituted a story and the rest did not, Valden bullet points 10 items that the usually contentious-across-party-lines town board agreed on last week. Then she writes how Councilman Bob Sacks, who has advocated cutting the town’s police force to cover the recently discovered large deficit, reported he was told by the Sheriff’s Office that patrols from that office cover Copake and all of Columbia County 24/7. Sacks also quoted the supervisors of other towns saying they could not afford their own police force and had no need for one because of coverage by the Sheriff’s Office and State Police. Copake Town Police Commissioner Jeff Nayer, then shouted, “Other towns don’t set what we do!” Mr. Nayer said that the Police Department had offered to cut 17 percent of its budget to help the town deal with the deficit, while other departments offered nothing.

New parties make ballot for November
From Jim Planck in The Daily Mail

Have A Voice candidates Karen Deyo, Keith Valentine, Linda Overbaugh, and Joseph Izzo will appear on the November ballot, as will Grassroots of Durham candidate Les Armstrong. The Have a Voice folks are Republicans, joining fellow GOPer Overbaugh in this bid to stay on the ballot for the four Catskill Greene County Legislature seats, after errors in her previous petitions kept her off the Republican line. Likewise with Armstrong, a Republican attempting to primary against Elsie Allan but now facing Allan and Democrat Sean Frey for the Durham seat on the legislature. Overbaugh and Armstrong’s third-party bids went unchallenged by opponents.

State parks in Columbia County fare better than most
From Mike McCagg in ccScoop

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation shows attendance at parks in the Taconic Region of the state park system, which includes Columbia County, is down 3.7 percent in the period from July 2008 through July 2009. Across New York, park attendance is down 4.5 percent, to 27.2 million visitors. Attendance dropped at the Clermont State Historic Site 18.5 percent to 43,456 visitors, at the Clermont State Historic Site 4.1 percent to 61,896 visitors, at the Olana State Historic Site 14.1 to 61,896 visitors, and at Lake Taghkanic State Park, 5.2 percent, to 95,862. At Taconic State Park in Copake attendance was up 12.9 percent to 13,313, and in Copake Falls attendance rose 5 percent to 73,066 visitors.

Farmland Protection on the way
From Francesca Olsen in The Register-Star

Last Tuesday the Planning and Economic Development Committee passed a resolution to apply for state grant funding for developing a Farmland Protection Plan, with matching funds to be provided by the Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC), as Columbia County is one of the few in the state without such a plan. The Columbia County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board submitted drafts of a plan to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, but was not approved.

Mario’s moves forward with new warehouse
From Paul Crossman in The Register-Star

VALATIE — Mario’s True Value Home Center is planning a new 20,000-square-foot lumber supply warehouse, and hopes to have closed on the new location by sometime in early September, with winter construction.

Today’s local headlines

Signs of the times

McBride’s Resale Shop at 465 Main St. in Cairo was shut down this week. Read all about it in these two images. A sign on the building still calls it Main St. Cafe, though that business has been closed awhile.

Over two thousand without power in Columbia County
National Grid reports over 2300 homes without power in Columbia at 10:30 p.m., with power not expected to be restored until 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Sam Pratt’s Facebook status reports that 23B, 9H & Rt. 23 into Hudson are closed, and power lines are down on 29. He also says it seemed dark in Taghkanic, Claverack and Greenport.

Attorney General’s new web site not very up-to-date
The attorney general’s office showed off its new open-government web site Thursday with workshops in Valatie and Cairo. Perhaps Mr. Cuomo will update the site before his gubernatorial campaign starts — right now the site’s Greene County listings do not include any Cairo officials, and report John Bull is still mayor of Coxsackie.

Town trapped in shallower hole
From Jamie Larson in The Register-Star

COPAKE – Through a combination of adjusted revenue statements and reduced spending, the Copake Town Board cut the town’s newly-discovered deficit down from an estimated $180,000 to $80,000. On party lines, the board then voted to borrow $100,000 from The Salisbury Bank and Trust Company to cover the revenue shortfall and tax the town based on assessed value in a one-time tax. The loan will be paid back in 2010. Republican supervisor Reggie Crowley, and board members Daniel Tompkins and Walt Kiernan voted to take out the loan, while Democrats Bob Sacks and Linda Gabaccia voted no.

Someone’s watching
From Linda L. Fenoff in The Greenville Press (no web site)

CATSKILL – Democrat Robin DePuy of Palenville may have joined the never-dull election for the four Catskill seats on the Greene County Legislature, by forming the “Common Sense” party. Earlier, Linda Overbaugh was ruled not eligible to run on the Republican line because of petition errors, and started the “Have a Voice” party to get on the ballot. Now Overbaugh may be knocked off that line too, as witnesses witnessed two of the “Have a Voice” candidates collecting signatures without witnesses. Can I get a witness?

Team Dudley deflates political football
From Pat Bone Cominos in The Greenville Press (no web site)

Retiring Greene County Legislator Ken Dudley (R-Greenville) withdrew his $80,000 Quantum Fund loan application for his business Tip Top Furniture in Greenville. Minority leader Sean Frey (D-Durham) said he thought the loan was, “not illegal, but unethical for the county to make a Quantum loan to a business owner who is also on the Greene County Legislature.”

Cairo board appointments
From Susan Campriello’s blog for The Daily Mail

CAIRO – Cairo Town Supervisor John Coyne says individuals involved in lawsuits against the town can be appointed to positions on Cairo boards. Several Cairo officials wanted to institute such a ban during a discussion about the ethics board. In a May 5 letter to Supervisor John Coyne, Cairo Town Attorney Tal Rappleyea, and the Town Board, Melanie Trimble, of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the board should not reject a party interested in serving on a board based upon their involvement in such litigation. “Such blanket exclusion must be viewed as retaliation against people for exercising their rights,” the letter said.

September auditions for radio theater
From The Mountain Eagle

COBLESKILL – The Theater Project of Schoharie County will hold auditions for an evening of radio theater. Two plays: “His Honor, the Mayor” and “The War of the Worlds” plus commercials and musical interludes. Auditions: Sept. 10 6 – 9 p.m. and Sept. 13 2 – 5 p.m. at Teen Town, 45 North Grand St, Cobleskill.

Today’s local headlines

Mistaken identity muddles Catskill candidacy
The Greenville Press (no web site)

CATSKILL – Linda Fenoff scoops everyone with the story of Linda Overbaugh’s now potentially failed candidacy for Greene County Legislator. It seems there are two Linda Overbaughs in Catskill, and local Republicans claim a Board of Elections official put the wrong Overbaugh on the petitions to add her to the ballot. Overbaugh, who most political observers deemed a favorite in the race, now may not be on the ballot at all, since all the signatures she received were for someone else, and incumbent Democrat Forest Cotten, who challenged the petition, has a much better chance. (Overbaugh is executive director of Heart of Catskill Association, and full disclosure, was on the WGXC Radio Council for a few months before she said she was too busy and withdrew.) In the story, local GOP officials hilariously seem to say they wouldn’t have challenged a Democrat if they would have made a similar mistake. No one believes that. But if a Board of Elections official made the error, perhaps a State Supreme Court judge will rule in her favor on the petitions, as the GOP is petitioning to get her on the ballot. Otherwise, if enough voters write in her name exactly on Sept. 15’s primary, she can get back on the ballot.

Greene County OKs new tax on mortgages
From The Daily Freeman

CATSKILL – The Greene County Legislature voted to raise taxes Thursday on new home buyers in Greene County. Voting to raise taxes were Catskill’s Karen Deyo (R), Dorothy Prest (R), Keith Valentine (R); Coxsackie’s Charles A. Martinez (R) and Wayne Speenburgh (R); Greenville’s Kenneth E. Dudley (R); Prattsville, Ashland, Windham, and Jewett’s James Hitchcock (R), and Halcott, Lexington, and Hunter’s Larry Gardner (D). Legislators Forest Cotten, D-Catskill, and Sean Frey, D-Durham, voted against the tax, while William Lawrence, R-Cairo; Harry Lennon, D-Cairo; James Van Slyke, D-New Baltimore; and Ray Brooks, R-Athens, were absent. Beginning Oct. 1, home buyers in Greene County will be required to pay an additional 50 cents per $100 on new mortgages. This new tax will be on top of the current 75-cents-per-$100 surcharge assessed on all new mortgages, of which 25 cents is paid to the state by the mortgage lender and 50 cents is paid by the borrower to the municipality where the property is located. The total mortgage recording tax will increase to $1.25 per $100, with 50 cents per $100 being paid to the county.

New accountant faces old budget deficit
From The Register-Star

COPAKE – The Town Board fired accountant Brian Fitzgerald Wednesday night after he told them last month they are facing a $175,000 budget deficit at the end of the year. The Town Board did not believe his numbers and fired him for mishandling funds, acting disrespectfully at public meetings to Board members and residents, and sending internal town business e-mails to the Register-Star. They hired accountant Michael Torchia, who told them the deficit was about the same, just slighty more.

Columbia and Greene pork
From The Albany Times-Union
The Times-Union is tracking the pork projects approved by New York legislators for Columbia and Greene counties:
Columbia County:
Columbia-Greene Community College $50,000 Saland Hudson
R.I.D.E. Program $9,000 Saland Hudson
West Ghent Volunteer Fire Company $7,500 Saland Ghent
North Chatham Free Library $5,000 Saland North Chatham
Greenport Pumper Co. No. 1, Inc. $3,600 Saland Hudson
Greene County:
Greene County Industrial Development Agency $18,500 Seward Coxsackie
Greene County Pop Warner Football Association, Inc. $5,000 Seward South Cairo

Today’s local headlines

Proposal leaves DSS in Hudson
From The Register-Star

HUDSON – Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Art Baer (R-Hillsdale) and Hudson Mayor Rick Scalera stood together at a press conference Tuesday and announced a new proposal that would keep the Department of Social Services in Hudson. The county would buy the One City Centre building on the corner of State and Green streets in Hudson; departments currently in the County Office Buildings at 401 and 610 State Street would move to City Centre. The total square footage of 401 and 610 State Street is 36,000 square feet, 24,000 at 401 and 12,000 at 610 State Street. DSS would stay in its current building on Railroad Avenue for the duration of its lease, which ends in 2011; and then move to One City Centre. Baer called the proposal “a great solution for a difficult problem” and said “I’m looking forward to implementing it.” “The logistics of the planning — there’s a lot to discuss,” said Scalera. “The commitment to keep DSS in the city of Hudson is what we’ve been working for.” Baer previously opposed such a plan, but switched positions because of falling real estate values. The Register-Star says One City Centre was going for $5 million last year, but now is selling for $2 million. “This is not a done deal,” Baer said. “We are only in discussion with the bank. There are still many pieces that have to be put together in the puzzle.”

Copake Green project set to sprout again
From CCScoop

COPAKE – Large developers bring big projects to small towns in this area, and often get special treatment. Like in Copake last week, where Housing Resources Executive Director Kevin O’Neill got to re-introduce his 139-unit Copake Green project to a Copake Planning Board meeting even though he was not on the agenda. From the CCscoop story:

“Although O’Neill did not request to be put on the agenda ten days in advance of the meeting — the Planning Board requirement — [Planning Board Chairman Marcia] Becker explained that, because there was a light agenda in July and because Housing Resources owns land in the town, she believed allowing O’Neill to make his twenty-minute presentation was the right thing to do.’It caused an uproar that we let him speak. . . . So from now on we are adhering to the ten-day rule,’ Becker said.”

Medical center, bank storage get green light
From The Daily Mail

CATSKILL – The Catskill Planning Board approved site plans for the 3,000 square-foot Urgent Care facility proposed for Grandview Avenue and for a Bank of Greene County storage facility on Windsor Street after hearing brief presentations on each proposal. The medical facility used Architect Josh Pulver, a relative of planning board member Michelle Pulver. She recused herself when it came to the vote, but as an anonymous reader commented on the story, “Nothing assures the approval of a project better than hiring the relative of a judge and town planner as your architect, and paying him astronomical fees.”

Copake opts for outside budget review
From The Columbia Paper

COPAKE–The Copake Town Board hired a second accountant to make sure the first accountant’s figures of a estimated $175,000 budget shortfall are correct. “We all agree that our first course of action should be an independent audit to verify the numbers or find out if they are not correct. We have to know where we are,” Town Supervisor Reggie Crowley told the audience at the Town Board’s regular monthly meeting July 9.

Court Sides With GOP On Ravitch, Paterson Vows To Appeal
From The Daily News’ The Daily Politics

ALBANY – State Supreme Court Justice William R. LaMarca granted the Republican Party’s motion for a preliminary injunction that prevents just-appointed Lt. Govenor Richard Ravitch from “exercising any of the powers” of the LG’s office, pending a final judgment, noting there is no provision in the Constitution that allows the governor to appoint a replacement LG when a vacancy occurs in that office.

Today’s local headlines

City wants to charge for parking at Amtrak
From The Register-Star

HUDSON – Jamie Larson writes that the Hudson Common Council will consider a new tax on mass transit use, charging for parking at the city’s Hudson train station to bring in $197,000 to the city. He only reports the interests of the city, though, and fails to mention which of the two parking lots will feature the up-to-$3-a-day charges, and how the city will deal with folks who stop by for a few minutes to pick someone up and will now, I am guessing, be waiting in the street causing a bit of a traffic mess.

Copake accountant now puts everything in writing
From The Register-Star

COPAKE – Jamie Larson writes that Copake Town Accountant Brian Fitzgerald is now only reporting town budget issues in writing after mysterious town officials who are never indentified in the story blamed him for the town’s estimated $175,000 2009 shortfall. These mystery officials, Larson reports, say Fitzgerald never warned them of the impending deficit. Fitzgerald says they were warned and spent too much money. Why no one else is quoted in this story is the real mystery.

PCBs (not) in the Hudson River
From CCScoop

The Environmental Protection Agency’s current clean-up of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the north Hudson River has not polluted the river downstream, CCScoop reports. “There hasn’t been any significant change in the concentrations in the lower river,” said Patrick Palmer of the New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Water Supply Protection. The EPA is monitoring the river’s PCB levels at Green Island, Poughkeepsie, Port Ewen, and Rhinebeck. Those municipalities were selected for monitoring every two weeks because they rely on the river for their water supplies.