Greene County’s new news

The Greenville Mountain View Pioneer debuted this week, and the Greene County Local Courier morphed into the Greene County News, after its recent purchase by Hudson-Catskill Newspaper Corp, and it is great to read more local newsprint. Both papers are fighting for territory best covered by The Greenville Press which closed early this year, and neither has a website. With the Pioneer focusing on Greenville and the News citing Greenville, Coxsackie, and Athens as target markets, the debut and remake make for a side-by-side comparison. The Pioneer wins the first count, as this week’s issue includes results of Tuesday’s school board elections, while the News does not (both papers have Thursday street dates). Both have little news — the Pioneer reveals a new Greenville bakery, while the News covers NY State Senator James Seward‘s appearance at the opening of Coxsackie beverage distributor Empire Merchants North. The Pioneer has a much cleaner layout, though the News improves from its Courier days, and now looks more like its HCNC sister papers The Daily Mail and Register-Star. Both publications include lots of unnecessary filler with the News even printing a verbatim press release from WGXC about a radio station event with the Agroforestry Center twice, on pages 20 and 23 (extra thanks!). But the Pioneer has much larger problems. Thirteen by-lines include the name “Macko” (the publisher and former Daily Mail writer Andrea Macko authors most), while only six others contribute articles. Of those six, the owner of the new Greenville bakery writes about his own store, and another is a campaign donation in the form of an article by Greenville County Legislator Kevin Lewis. While the News makes a similar donation to the campaign of Seward with his “column,” the Pioneer gives away advertorial disguised as editorial more often. Publisher Macko also gives a free campaign ad/column to Greenville Town Supervisor Paul Macko (she is his niece). The first issue ever also has two letters to the editor about how Peter Margoulius would make a swell County Court Judge, and on the next page there is a larger press release about how one local group endorsed his campaign. Virtually no local Democrats are mentioned anywhere in the Pioneer. Both papers print an awful lot of verbatim press releases, and the Pioneer seems one-sided so far. And the Pioneer’s debut editorial makes odd boasts, saying that seeing names and pictures in a publication and an accompanying feeling of being a, “part of something bigger” is something “that you won’t find on any website.” That’s pretty funny!

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.

Vote Tuesday in school board races

Voting for school board members and issues takes place Tuesday in both counties. From The Daily Freeman:

Greene County

Cairo-Durham
(Polls are open noon to 9 p.m.)
Cairo-Durham Middle School cafeteria.

Catskill
(Polls are open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
Catskill High School gymnasium.

Coxsackie-Athens
(Polls are open 1 to 9 p.m.)
District elementary schools.

Hunter-Tannersville
(Polls are open 1 to 9 p.m.)
Hunter Elementary School.

Columbia County

Germantown
(Polls are open noon to 9 p.m.)
Germantown Central School office lobby on Main Street.

Nearly all local school districts planning job cuts

Kyle Wind in The Daily Freeman:

More than 250 jobs will be eliminated in the region if voters approve school district budgets as proposed Tuesday. All the districts in the area with except Hunter-Tannersville, in Greene County, plan to cut faculty and staff members in response to projected reductions in state aid, and, in some districts, declining enrollment.

GREENE COUNTY

Cairo-Durham school officials are planning to cut 7.2 teaching positions — half at the elementary level and half at middle and high schools — along with a psychologist and a teaching assistant. Catskill school officials are planning to cut three teachers — an art teacher, a librarian and a foreign language teacher — as well as a secondary school administrator, an assistant principal at the elementary school and 1.4 support staff positions. The district plans to reduce the assistant director of special education from a 12-month to 10-month position. In Coxsackie-Athens, planned cuts include a kindergarten class, a teacher’s aide, a high school teacher’s aide, a part-time high school Spanish teacher, an elementary special education teacher, high school academic intervention teaching assistants in science, English and the computer lab, a middle school enrichment teacher, an elementary school librarian, a middle school reading teacher, a high school special education teacher, a part-time high school math teacher, a fifth-grade section and a sixth-grade section. Hunter-Tannersville is the only district in the region not planning to cut any positions.

COLUMBIA COUNTY

In Germantown, the district is planning to cut 1.5 high school teachers, an elementary teacher, a teaching assistant, a custodian and a part-time Spanish teacher. Read the entire story in The Daily Freeman.

Seward in Coxsackie Friday

New York State Senator James Seward will join the Greene Business Alliance, members of the business community, and local elected officials at an Empire Merchants North open house at 11 a.m. Friday, May 14 at Empire Merchants North, 16 Houghtaling Rd., West Coxsackie, NY.

Scott Murphy speaks to constituents in Palenville

Scott Murphy photo from April 1 at Coxsackie's Senior Center.

Congressman Scott Murphy held a town meeting in Palenville Monday, April 19, at 1:30 p.m. at the Palenville Fire Department, 717 Rte. 32A, Palenville. Murphy is running for re-election against Republican Chris Gibson. Listen to an audio mp3 recording of Murphy answering questions from constituents (recorded by WGXC’s Debra Kamecke) by clicking here or by pasting the following link into your computer’s media player:
http://archive.free103point9.org/2010/04/
ScottMurphy_Palenville_WGXC_041910.mp3

Greene County Arts Council funds cultural institutions

Greene County Council on the Arts awarded 11 County Initiative Program awards: Bronck Museum of the Greene County Historical Society was awarded $2,200 to continue, expand and promote cultural, educational, and arts programming, including Music of History series, Heritage Craft Fair and Chilly Willy Tours; Catskill Mountain Foundation, Inc. was awarded $2,650 toward artist fees and related costs for year-round performing arts series, which includes dance, theater, classical music, pop music and family performances; free103point9 was awarded $1,200 for support of the online portion of WGXC (at the time of the application known as Greene/Columbia community radio station project); Greene Room Players was awarded $1,800 in support for 2010 community theater productions plus the Reel Teens film program; Horton by the Stream in Elka Park was awarded $1,000 toward artist fees for production of the 2010 season of free summer professional staged readings of plays, primarily by Horton Foote; Irish American Heritage Museum was awarded $500 for year two of the exhibit “The Irish in Battle” at the museum in East Durham; Music & Art Centre of Greene County was awarded $2,500 toward the 2010 season of summer concerts, Classical music series and Ukrainian folk arts workshops at the Grazhda in Jewett Center; Planet Arts was awarded $1,500 toward support for the 2010 Jazzone2one Series to be held at the Athens Cultural Center in Athens; Thomas Cole National Historic Site – Cedar Grove in Catskill was awarded $2,650 in support for the 2010 exhibition: “Remember the Ladies;” Windham Chamber Music Festival was awarded $2,500 in support of its 2010 concert series in Windham; Zadock Pratt Museum was awarded $2,000 in support for its 2010 season of programs and projects.