Cairo Nature Center called ‘political football’

What sort of town does not want volunteers to create a park? Cairo, apparently. Susan Campriello in The Daily Mail reports on last Thursday’s Cairo Town workshop meeting, where the Cairo Nature Center Committee met with the Town Board. The Nature Center opened two years ago, and then the town closed it for a year to argue about what sort of permit process should be instituted, eventually closing the park off to everyone except Cairo town residents who pay a $15 fee. Earlier this summer a bridge railing in the Nature Center was broken and someone left some trash in the facility, which features hiking and biking trails, picnic areas and fishing spots in a reservoir. The small bit of vandalism caused Town Board members Ray Suttmeier and Rich Lorenz to complain that Nature Center was a gigantic headache for the town. At the meeting Thursday, Cairo Nature Center Committee members Michael Esslie, Jim Little, and committee Chairman Neil Schoenfeld disagreed. “Since this place has been open it has been nothing but a political football,” he said. Some of the Nature Center volunteers have also been working to rehab the St. Edmund’s Chapel as a town facility, and Cairo Town Supervisor John Coyne used the town meeting to complain about the tone of a letter from that group, a letter bemoaning how the town government also was trying to stop that project. Suttmeier, at previous town board meetings, said he illegally visited the Nature Center without getting the proper permit. Schoenfeld, who is also working to turn former railroad tracks in the town into a nature trail, is just about ready to give up all his work to benefit the Town of Cairo, just as the Town Board seemingly wants. This Sunday he will help host an Eco-Faire in the town park.

UPDATE: The Greenville Press (no web site to link to) weighs in on the issue with the best headline ever for Cairo politics: “Another project, another roadblock.” Linda L. Fenoff quotes Town Board members Rich Lorenz and Ray Suttmeier complaining after the park has been created that the location along the county’s main highway, Rt. 23, is too remote.

Today’s local headlines

Town meetings to air on public access channel
CAIRO – The Cairo Town Board extended Mid-Hudson Cable’s contract at their regular board meeting last night. At the public hearing about renewing the company’s franchise agreement before the board meeting, Cairo Supervisor John M. Coyne and council member Janet Schwarzenegger both advocated recording town meetings for Mid-Hudson’s public access channel. Schwarzenegger said Mid-Hudson recently gave the town a camera to record any meetings, and Coyne said, “We would like to have somebody volunteer to run that camera so that these meetings can be videotaped and can be played on their public-access channel” and a man in the audience volunteered.

Columbia County Conservative Party backs candidates

County-wide — Sheriff, David W. Harrison Jr.; Coroner, Angelo M. Nero.
Ancram — Supervisor, Thomas R. Dias.
Austerlitz — Supervisor, Jeffrey Braley Sr.; Town Council, Matthew Verenazi and Carol Pinto; Clerk, Sue Haag; Highway Superintendent, Robert Meehan, Jr.
Canaan — Supervisor, Richard Keaveny; Town Council, David Patzwahl; Clerk/Tax Collector, Charlotte L. Cowan; Highway Superintendent, Bernhard Meyer.
Town of Chatham — Highway Superintendent, Joseph M. Rickert.
Claverack — Supervisor, James Keegan; Town Council, James S. Folz and Michael S. Johnston; Clerk/Tax Collector, Mary J. Hoose.
Clermont — Highway Superintendent, James Potts Jr.’ Clerk, Mary Helen Shannon.
Gallatin — Supervisor, Peter Arnone
Ghent — Supervisor, Larry Andrews; Town Council, Larry Van Brunt and Linda Schlegel-Hess; Clerk, Rose Elliot; Highway Superintendent, Michael E. Losa; Town Justice, David W. Harrison Sr.
Germantown — Highway Superintendent, Richard Jennings.
Greenport — Supervisor, Edward Nabozny; Town Council, Glen Graziano; Town Justice, Robert Brenzel; Highway Superintendent, Richard Otty; Clerk, Sharon Zempko.
Town of Kinderhook — Supervisor, Patrick Grattan; Town Council, Patrice Leader; Town Justice, Lisa Mills.
Hudson — Mayor, Richard Scalera; Supervisor (1st Ward), John Musall; Supervisor (2nd Ward), Tracy Decker; Supervisor (3rd Ward), William Hallenbeck Jr.; Supervisor (4th Ward), Samuel Santiago; Supervisor (5th Ward), Bart F. Delaney Jr.; Alderman (1st Ward), Geeta Cheddie; Alderman (5th Ward), Richard Goetz
Livingston — Supervisor, David Fingar; Town Council, James Guzzi and Joseph Leto; Town Justice, Robert Moore; Highway Superintendent, David Lyons.
Stockport — Town Council, Joseph Salvatore.
Stuyvesant — Supervisor, Valerie Bertram; Town Council, Brian Chittenden and Edward Scott; Clerk, Melissa Naegeli; Town Justice, Joseph Bruno; Town Justice, Carrie O’Hare; Highway Superintendent, Bernie Kowalski.
Taghkanic — Supervisor, Elizabeth Young; Clerk, Cheryl Rogers; Highway Superintendent, Edward Waldron.

Regional Economics Better Than Most

A new study released today by the Brookings Institution says this region is faring better than most of the nation’s metropolitan areas during the downturn. Foreclosures? We barely have them. The Brookings report says the Capital Region has the second-lowest percentage (0.58 percent) of homes owned by banks. Only Syracuse is better, among the nation’s 100 largest metros. Dramatic job cuts? Not here. Brookings says the Capital Region lost 0.5 percent of its employment base during the first three months of 2009. That doesn’t sound great, but it’s 14th best. (Detroit, by contrast, lost 3 percent of its jobs, the worst rate.)