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Friday headlines

May 13, 2011 1:06 am
BOS votes to take over office project
John Mason in the Register-Star reports that the Columbia County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday, May 11 to take over the plan to turn the abandoned Walmart building into a county office building from the Columbia County Capital Resource Corporation. Mason explains, "Up until now, the assumption has been that the CRC would buy the former Walmart building, send out requests for proposals, have the building designed and renovated, and lease it to the county." Now Board Chairman Roy Brown, R-Germantown, thinks the county will spend less money if they buy it themselves for somewhere between $8 and $16 million. Sixteen supervisors voted to spend that money, three opposed the proposal, and four abstained. Pat Grattan, R-Kinderhook, William Hughes Jr., D-Hudson4, and Edward Cross, D-Hudson2, voted against the measure, and Supervisors Reginald Crowley, R-Copake, William Hallenbeck Jr., R-Hudson3, Kevin McDonald, R-Livingston, and Margaret Robertson, D-New Lebanon, abstained. Read the entire story in the Register-Star.

Lexington votes to move forward with wastewater system
Michael Ryan writes in the Windham Journal the Town Board in Lexington voted 4-1 May 3 to move forward with the pre-construction phase of a multi-million dollar wastewater treatment system. The Catskill Watershed Corporation, administrators of a $9.1 million block grant being provided by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection for the project, had previously given the town a May 6 deadline on the project. Councilman John Berger cast the lone dissent, saying “They spent $125,000 [on the Study Phase] incorrectly as far as the town of Lexington is concerned. They should correct their work then ask for more money.” Read the whole story in the Windham Journal.

Columbia County libraries win state grants too
WGXC reported yesterday that New York State Senator James Seward announced library construction grants for Cairo, Catskill, and Haines Falls in Greene County, and now Senator Steve Saland (R, I, C - Poughkeepsie) reports on $361,332 in public library construction grant funds coming to Columbia County. Grant recipients in Columbia County include:
• $75,000 - Claverack Free Library and Reading Room Association: For new space creation in previously acquired building and new mechanical and electrical system.
• $31,673 – Hudson Area Association Library: To create a handicapped access entry, new gas supply, and improve mechanicals.
• $22,000 – New Lebanon Library: For structural restoration of basement and steel supports, elevated concrete footings, new wiring and controls for HVAC system tie in with geo-thermal system, removal of old system, restoration to ceiling and floor, and the creation of new workspace in attic.
• $97,459 – Roeliff Jansen Community Library: New space creation for improved service to children and educational activities. Green projects include energy conservation through daylight sensors, new solar photocells, and daylight harvesting.
“New York’s public libraries are in urgent need of renovation and upgrading. Many of New York’s local public libraries are unable to accommodate users with disabilities, are energy inefficient, cannot provide Internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring, and do not have sufficient space,” Senator Saland said in a press release. “The funds will enable our libraries to finance the construction of additions to existing buildings and renovate existing space, providing improved space for all residents in our communities.”

PJ Keeler Announces Candidacy for Columbia County Treasurer
Claverack resident and local businessman Paul (PJ) Keeler Jr. announced he will run for Columbia County Treasurer, after the May 5 announcement that longtime treasurer Kenneth Wilber won't run for another term. Keeler seeks the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party lines that Wilber formerly held for 16 years. Keeler is President and Owner of KD Cards, Inc, with Hallmark stores in Greenport and Catskill since 1972. He has served the Greenport Rescue Squad since 1980, a member of the Columbia County Ambulance Association/EMS Advisory Board since 1999, and the A.B. Shaw Fire Company since 1976. He also serves as the Columbia County EMS Coordinator, a position he has held since 2000. Keller has been on the Boards of several community organizations, including the Columbia County Healthcare Consortium, the Claverack Library Building Committee, the Claverack Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners, the Philmont Rotary Club and the Hudson Jaycees. “My business experience, my familiarity with county government, my relationship with the business community, and my years of public service working with emergency services and the County Board of Supervisors in improving the quality of life for all of our residents uniquely positions me to be County Treasurer,” Keeler said in a press release. “I am committed to working with the Board of Supervisors, the business community, and most importantly, the residents of Columbia County to enhance revenues, control expenses, and minimize the impact of these difficult economic times on our communities."
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