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Weekend in review

Jun 03, 2013 6:55 am
Some of the stories that made the news, May 31 through June 3:

The Associated Press reported the state Public Service Commission will conduct a public hearing on New York State Electric & Gas plan to install an 11-mile high-voltage overhead powerline near or through the towns of Chatham, Ghent and Stockport, June 14. The Commission will provide an information session beginning at 4 p.m.; statements from the public will begin at 5 p.m. The hearing will be held before Administrative Judge Eleanor Stein at the West Ghent Fire Company, located at 74 Bender Blvd, Gerald Simons Commerce Park, just off Route 9H. The proposal has been criticized by residents and public officials alike, including U.S. Representative Chris Gibson and state Assembly member Didi Barrett.

The major political parties in Columbia and Greene counties held events this weekend. The Columbia County Democrats met Saturday, June 1, at Club Helsinki in Hudson for its annual Martin Van Buren Testimonial Dinner to honor members for their service. Among the honorees:  Philanthropist Judith Grunberg, Brenda Adams, executive director of Columbia County Habitat for Humanity and the West Ghent Fire Department and Chief Jim Cesternino for their efforts in fighting the TCI fire in August. Assembly member Didi Barrett was the keynote speaker. Barrett lauded the areas potential, and said she intends to continue to work on issues such as education and ongoing efforts to create a “real sustainable economy.” In Greenville, the Greene County Republican Committee boosted enthusiasm for upcoming elections at its annual picnic, Sun., June 2. U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson spoke to the crowd at the Sunny Hill Resort and Golf Course, calling the list of scandals, including the Justice Department seizure of Associated Press reporters' phone records and the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups, “long and very disturbing.” Gibson and other speakers also called attention to New York’s own controversies, including the Secure Ammunitions and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act and a variety of pending corruption charges against some high-level state Democrats. Also at the picnic, the committee announced its endorsement of Attorney Carol Stevens for a seat on the New York State Supreme Court, Third Judicial District, which covers Albany, Rensselaer, Columbia, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties. Stevens has more than 30 years of experience in private and municipal practice. Read these stories in the Register Star and The Daily Mail.

Joseph Spector reported in Politics on the Hudson beginning Sat., June 1, infractions for texting while driving increased from three points to five points on a person’s license. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the state "needs to further crack down on texting-while-driving offenses as more drivers, particularly young people, are distracted when they drive because they are using mobile devices,” according to Spector. In 2011, texting while driving was boosted from a two-point penalty, to three, and was changed to a primary offense. Read the full story in Politics on the Hudson.

The newly formed Art School of Columbia County announced in a statement released Sun., June 2, it will open this summer. Classes and workshops will be held at the Old Schoolhouse in Harlemville, beginning in July. The pilot program will offer weekly classes for children and weekend workshops for adults. Nicole Furnee and Thomas Chulak are the founders of the school. In explaining the origin of the idea, Chulak said, “With Columbia County becoming a center for the arts, it is time for the creation of an art school that not only serves our residents, but also attracts people to the area."