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Weekend in review

Jun 26, 2017 12:05 am

Some of the stories that made the news, Fri., Jun. 23 through Sun., Jun. 25:

Emily Masters reported in the Times Union the New York State Police is offering a $5,000 reward for information concerning a suspected hate crime in Elizaville that occurred sometime between late Sat., Jun. 10 and early Mon., Jun. 12. During that time a home under construction on Taghkanic Road was vandalized with racial slurs spray-painted on all four walls of the structure. Neighbors with surveillance cameras are being asked to share their footage with investigators. And anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area that weekend is asked to call the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Livingston at (845) 677-7300. To earn the $5,000 reward, a tipster must provide information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case.

Daniel Zuckerman reported in The Daily Mail a house fire in New Baltimore Sat., Jun. 24, left a couple and their cat displaced but uninjured, fire officials said. Representatives from the American Red Cross were on the scene and provided assistance to the couple. A call went out and units were dispatched to 228 Scheller Park Road at 9 p.m. The fire was reported by a member of the Medway-Grapeville Fire Company who lives in the area, First Assistant Chief Matt Marlow said. It is was not immediately known if the home was salvageable or not, due to significant smoke and water damage. Burning candles left unattended in the home were determined to be the cause of the fire, Marlow said.

Richard Moody reported for Columbia-Greene Media Catskill High School alumnus Steven Beare has been reported missing during a solo hike up Mount Elbrus in Russia. Beare's wife Olivia, also a Catskill High graduate, has hired a private search party to find the Littleton, Colorado police officer and military veteran. Beare began his ascent on June 14 and was expected to check in with an official and his wife on June 16. He did not show up at the checkpoint. Russian Search and Rescue began the search for Beare on June 18, but the search was called off because of a blizzard. Noel Clay, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said officials are monitoring the situation. “We are aware of reports of a U.S. citizen reported missing in Russia. The U.S. Department of State has no higher priority than the safety of U.S. citizens overseas,” Clay said.

Sara Ashley O'Brien reported for CNN Money the peer-to-peer e-commerce website Etsy announced last week it is cutting an additional 140 jobs, or 15 percent of his current workforce. Etsy headquarters are located in DUMBO, Brooklyn, but it has an office in Hudson. The company previously let go 90 people in May. Etsy reported $421,000 in losses during the first quarter of 2017, down more than $1 million from the same quarter the year before. Its CEO Chad Dickerson, who took the company public in 2015, resigned in May. Josh Silverman, a board director, took over Dickerson's duties as CEO, while investor Fred Wilson took over as chair of the board. CNN reported this recent round of cuts will mostly hit Etsy's Brooklyn headquarters.

Chris Bragg reported at Capitol Confidential there was little reform in Albany this session, but there were lots of fundraisers. At least 183 fundraisers were held by state lawmakers or conference leadership committees during the 2017 legislative session, according to the New York Public Interest Research Group, a government reform organization. That included more than 170 held in Albany, with 64 of them held at the Fort Orange Club on Washington Avenue. Coinciding events at the same venue, such as those held at the Fort Orange Club, allows lobbyists to more efficiently ply their trade. On June 19, Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan held a non-Albany event at the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor in Westchester. A ticket for that event, which included dinner and golf, cost $3,000. The data from the NYPIRG report, released Fri., Jun. 23, relied on information from lobbyists, and not all the events were confirmed by the group.

Diane Walden reported in The Columbia Paper the town of Copake has adopted real estate property tax exemptions for those military veterans who own property in that municipality. At its June 8 meeting, the Town Board passed Local Law #3, which increases veterans’ tax exemptions and establishes a Gold Star Parent exemption. Gold Star Parents are defined as parents of a child who died in the line of duty while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces during a time of war. No residents spoke about the law at a public hearing prior to the meeting. Copake, along with Canaan, Chatham, Germantown, New Lebanon and Stockport now have Alternate Veterans’ Exemptions at rates that equal those adopted by the Columbia County Board of Supervisors in March. The increased exemptions are effective with the 2018 assessment rolls and will impact the 2019 town and county tax bills.

The Times Union reported the New York State Police issued more than 21,000 tickets during the so-called Speed Week enforcement campaign aimed at deterring aggressive driving. Extra patrols kept watch over state highways June 7 through 13 to deter speeding, drunk driving and other vehicle and traffic violations during the annual event. More than 9,400 drivers were ticketed for speeding, 268 were arrested for intoxicated driving and more than 300 personal injury accidents were investigated over the seven-day period. The dragnet this year included a significant increase in the number of tickets for violating the state's Move Over Law. That law requires drivers to slow down and shift lanes when passing a stopped emergency vehicle.

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