Let the long weekend begin

This weekend:

THU-SAT
Upstate II at Nicole Fiacco Gallery. Melora Kuhn, Catherine Mosley, Erik Schoonebeek, and Allyson Strafella. Tue-Sat, noon-6 p.m.

Dots, Lines and Figures at Carrie Haddad Gallery. Michael McLaighlin, Ben Shecter, Donise English, and Jeff Briggs.

Maii:” The Wonder of Water by Diata Diata International Folkloric Theatre with the Hudson Opera House, an original play by Pamela Badila at 7 p.m. at Hudson Intermediate School.

FRIDAY
Cairo Open Mic sponsored by WGXC and Cairo Library. 7-9 p.m., with jam until 9:30 p.m. at Gallagher’s, 513 Main St. in Cairo.

FODfest jam honoring Daniel Pearl at 8 p.m. Club Helsinki, Hudson.

SAT-SUN
33rd Annual East Durham Irish Festival includes the Elders from Kansas City; Black 47 and Shillelagh Law from New York City; Barleyjuice from Philadelphia; and Hair of the Dog from Albany, N.Y.; Contemporary Irish Music featuring The Andy Cooney Band; the New York Showband with Tommy Flynn and Jameson’s Revenge from New York City; Searson from Ontario, Canada and the Kitty Kelly Band from Albany, N.Y. are just a few of the bands that will be performing. Pipe Bands and Irish Step Dancing Schools are an added feature each day.

SATURDAY
Tannersville Rubber Duck Race, Crazy Boat Race & Festival 11 a.m.- 4 p.m., Gooseberry Creek in the Village of Tannersville ending by the Rip Van Winkle Lake. Free admission.

Pine Smoke Lodge/Cruudeuces/Fossils From the Sun/Jefferson Pitcher at Upstate Artists Guild, Albany.

Just Wear White Memorial Day party from Trixie with DJ Gio at Red Dot, Hudson. 10 p.m. – 2 a.m., $10 includes free drink.

SUNDAY
Memorial Day Parade, 2 p.m., Main St., Catskill.

Music From China, a New York-based ensemble that specializes in both traditional and contemporary Chinese music. 2 p.m. at Hudson Opera House. $7 per person or $20 for the entire family!

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus at 8 p.m. at Club Helsinki, Hudson.

Bella’s Bartok performs at Blue Plate Restaurant in Chatham at 9:30 p.m., $5.

MONDAY
Cairo Memorial Day Observance
Sponsored by American Legion Post #983, Town of Cairo, and WGXC.
9 a.m.: WWI Monument Wreath-Laying, Main St. Fountain.
9:15 a.m.: WWII Monument Wreath-Laying on Library Lawn.
9:30 a.m.: Doughnuts and coffee at Cairo Fire House.
11 a.m.: Parade steps off near Great American.
Noon: Memorial Service in Angelo Canna Park.
12:30: Refreshments and music at Pavillion.
WGXC will provide sound system.

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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.

Hunter officials ask to keep park open

Devil's TombstoneFrom Colin DeVries in Windham Journal:

In an effort to save a key piece of the Mountaintop’s economic puzzle, county and local officials are rallying to keep the Devil’s Tombstone Campground open through 2010. A county resolution was unanimously approved Wednesday requesting that New York State reconsider closing the Devil’s Tombstone Campground in Hunter….The campground, located amidst Route 214’s Stony Clove, has been slated for closure along with six others throughout the state due to a massive $8 billion state budget deficit. “The North-South Lake and Devil’s Tombstone campgrounds bring people here from outside of region and the state,” said Michael McCrary, president of the Town of Hunter Chamber of Commerce. “If they close the campground we can’t put it in any of our promotions.” Officials are now rallying to come up with solutions to keep the campground open… Another alternative posed was the use of national service groups to maintain the campground and keep it operating, particularly the federal Corporation of National and Community Service’s AmeriCorps program. Read the entire story at Windham Journal.

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.

Board of Education candidates file petitions

From The Daily Freeman:

Candidates for Board of Education seats in Ulster, Columbia, Dutchess and Greene counties filed petitions [by] Monday to secure a spot on the May 18 school district election ballots…. The candidates, listed by school district, are as follows:

Columbia County
In Germantown, incumbent Teresa Repko, of Germantown, and Eric Mortension, of Gallatin, were the only candidates to file petitions early Monday. The names of the two will appear on the ballot for election to a four-year term and a one year unexpired term left by the resignation of Suzanne Pelletier.

Greene County
In the Cairo-Durham school district, eight candidates are running for four seats on the board, with three seats carrying a three-year term and the fourth seat with a one-year unexpired term. The three-year seats are currently held by board Vice President Thomas Plank and trustees Greg Koerner-Fox and Fred Zimmerman. Debra Armstrong resigned from the fourth seat. Besides incumbents Plank of Mountain Avenue, Purling, and Koerner-Fox of Indian Ridge Road, Earlton, incumbent Trustee Beatrice Clappin of Enchanted Valley Drive, Cornwallville, also filed a petition. Clappin was appointed to fill Armstrong’s seat until the May 18 election. Also running are Nicole Maggio of Halfmoon Drive, Cairo; Samuel Mozzillo of county Route 31, Purling; Dean Pectal of Gibson Road, Greenville; Patricia Ublacker of Orchard Drive, Leeds; and Jennifer Sabine of state Route 20, Durham.

In Catskill, 10 individuals will vie for three seats, each carrying a three-year term, as well as a fourth seat to fill a vacancy, which carries a two-year term. The three seats are currently held by board President Randall Griffin of Mahican Way, Catskill, and trustees Michael Bulich of Greenpoint Road, Catskill, and Lisa Warner of Bogardus Avenue, Catskill. The vacancy was created by the resignation of former Trustee Beverly Cotten. Besides the three incumbents, candidates are former board member Carol Schilansky of Elting Road, Catskill; Carthette Burnett of Main Street, Catskill; Francesca Daisernia of Leeds; Ronald Frascello of Gary Lane, Palenville; Matthew Leitman of Pleasant Drive, Catskill; Tracy Powell of Bogart Road, Palenville; and Christopher VanLoan of Rams Horn Drive, Catskill.

In the Coxsackie-Athens school district, three seats, each carrying a three-year term, are up for election, though only two incumbents are being challenged. Incumbents Mark Gerrain, of Hamilton Street, Coxsackie; Russell Nadler, of Flats Road Extension, Athens; and Beth Tailleur, of state Route 81, Climax, each filed petitions for re-election. Tailleur is being challenged for her seat by Kim VanAusdle, of Sunset Boulevard, Coxsackie, while Nadler is being challenged for his seat by Stephen Oliveira, of Schoharie Turnpike, Athens. Gerrain, the current board vice-president, is unopposed for re-election.

In the Hunter-Tannersville school district, incumbent Trustee Marc Czermerys of June Lodge Drive, Tannersville, is being challenged by Penelope Fromer, address unavailable, for a five-year term. Read the entire article here.

Stream management program funds awarded

Michael Ryan in the Windham Journal writes:

Thousands of dollars were handed out when the Schoharie Watershed Advisory Council awarded its second round of Stream Management Program funds, last week, during a meeting at the Windham Country Club. SWAC members awarded $77,627 to seven entities in Greene and Delaware counties for projects aimed at preserving water quality in the New York City reservoir system and increasing awareness of watershed related issues. All of the funds are provided by the Department of Environmental Protection, which has set aside $2 million to be distributed over a 5-year period, with two years having passed on the contract, administered by the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District. [Greene County] Funds were allocated in round two as follows:

—EDUCATION AND OUTREACH: The Mountaintop Arboretum in Tannersville, $6,810, with a $750 In-kind contribution to create landscape design plans for a Wooded Walk outdoor classroom, accommodating approximately 45 people. The natural amphitheater will offer year-round outdoor programming on ecological and natural history topics relating to the watershed such as wetland plants, insect and wildlife along riparian areas, birding, stream health and leaf pack workshops to learn about geology.

—EDUCATION AND OUTREACH: Greene County Cornell Cooperative Extension, $1,884 with a $498 In-kind contribution to set up a rain barrel workshop that will be held at the Sugar Maples Arts Center in Maplecrest. The hands-on workshop will take place during Schoharie Watershed Week, May 17-23, 2010, providing materials and instruction for approximately ten families, teaching them to construct a rain barrel for home use. While the rain barrels will be fun to build, they will also be functional. The workshop will also introduce participants to methods of stormwater control, non-point pollution prevention and conservation of water resources in a residential setting.

—EDUCATION AND OUTREACH: the SWAC Education and Outreach Committee, $5,100 with an In-kind contribution of $4,125 to conduct a series of events, activities and workshops for people of all ages during Schoharie Watershed Week, taking place throughout the region. On tap will be a watershed-related film series (at the Hunter Theater in the town of Hunter), fly-fishing demonstrations, downspout disconnect programs, an Adopt-A-Stream clean up, a watershed scavenger hunt and kayak and canoe demonstrations.

—RECREATION/HABITAT IMPROVEMENTS: the Town of Windham, $15,000 with an In-kind contribution of $6,536 (and a potential to raise more in community contributions) to be used toward the creation of a multi-use, non-motorized trail on the Batavia Kill. The 1.1 mile loop trail will be built on a 68-acre parcel owned by the town at the former Police Anchor Camp, along Route 23, on the eastern outskirts of the hamlet district, allowing for improved access to the popular fishing stream. Bridge and boardwalk materials are needed to cross over a wetland and a tributary. A trail committee of local residents and business owners is planning the Windham Path with assistance from the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District.

–PLANNING & ASSESSMENT: the Town of Hunter, $35,000 with an In-kind contribution of $5,000 to conduct a detailed review of current land use regulations with an intent to adopt revisions and write new regulations and/or guidelines promoting low impact design, climate smart and smart growth principles. In the absence of zoning, the town is seeking to investigate, and adopt as appropriate, innovative land use practices which will be an incentive to achieve desirable future growth related to private housing, development and commercial enterprises.

–PLANNING & ASSESSMENT: the towns of Ashland, Jewett, Lexington and Windham and the villages of Hunter and Tannersville, $12,000 with an In-kind contribution of $21,500 from the Catskill Watershed Corporation to hold “Mountaintop-wide Better Site Design Plan Workshops.” The workshops will guide each community through a comparison of the local codes against model development principles using a consensus building approach. Model principles will then be compiled into a General Guide for Mountaintop Communities, facilitating specific recommendations for each community.

SWAC has thus far awarded a total of $518,957.50 in the first two rounds of programming, leaving $1.481,042.50 for future projects. The application deadline for round three is August 2, 2010, with approvals formally taking place on October 27, 2010. Projects awarded funding in round one included improving stream access along the Schoharie Creek in the town of Prattsville by constructing a parking area and installing floodplain drains under Vista Ridge Road in the Town of Jewett, reducing backwater conditions causing channel aggradation. Stormwater retrofits were approved at the Mountaintop Library in the village of Tannersville and Town of Hunter, reducing the quantity of, and improving the conveyance of, stormwater runoff, vastly improving water quality.