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

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:
STUYVESANT FIRE DISTRICT ONE $10,000 GORDON-T STUYVESANT
VALATIE FIRE DEPARTMENT $6,000 GORDON-T VALATIE
NORTH CHATHAM FREE LIBRARY $5,000 GORDON-T NORTH CHATHAM
KINDERHOOK MEMORIAL LIBRARY $4,000 GORDON-T KINDERHOOK
TOWN OF NEW LEBANON $3,000 GORDON-T NEW LEBANON
AIDS COUNCIL OF NORTHEASTERN NEW YORK, INC. FAIRVIEW PLAZA – $2,500 GORDON-T HUDSON
LEBANON VALLEY BUSINESS ASSOCIATION $2,500 GORDON-T NEW LEBANON
COLUMBIA GREENE COMMUNITY COLLEGE $10,000 MOLINARO HUDSON
WEST GHENT FIRE COMPANY $7,500 MOLINARO GHENT
PHILMONT FIRE COMPANY $5,500 MOLINARO PHILMONT
GREENPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT $4,800 MOLINARO HUDSON
HUDSON VALLEY AGRI-BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CORP. $4,000 MOLINARO HUDSON
GREENPORT PUMPER COMPANY NO. 1 $3,600 MOLINARO HUDSON
CITY OF HUDSON $3,500 MOLINARO HUDSON
CITY OF HUDSON YOUTH DEPARTMENT $3,000 MOLINARO HUDSON
COLUMBIA COUNTY RIDE PROGRAM $3,000 MOLINARO HUDSON
HUDSON VALLEY AGRI-BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CORP. $3,000 MOLINARO HUDSON
HUDSON CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT $2,500 MOLINARO HUDSON
VFW POST 1314-HUDSON $2,500 MOLINARO HUDSON
HUDSON POLICE DEPARTMENT $2,000 MOLINARO HUDSON
THE OLANA PARTNERSHIP $1,300 MOLINARO HUDSON
CHATHAM HIGH SCHOOL NEWSPAPER $500 MOLINARO CHATHAM
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:
TOWN OF NEW BALTIMORE TOWN HALL – $7,500 GORDON-T HANNACROIX
VEDDER RESEARCH LIBRARY $5,000 GORDON-T COXSACKIE
HEERMANCE MEMORIAL LIBRARY $2,500 GORDON-T COXSACKIE
Greene County Industrial Development Agency $18,500 Seward Coxsackie
Greene County Pop Warner Football Association, Inc. $5,000 Seward South Cairo