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Weekend in review

Mar 28, 2016 5:55 am
Some of the stories that made the news from Fri., Mar. 25 through Sun., Mar. 27

John Mason reported in The Daily Mail that U.S. Representative Chris Gibson thinks the U.S. Senate should act on President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court. Gibson said the Senate should consider the president’s nominee, even though the Republican Senate leadership has said they would not vote on any Obama nomination. “The Senate has every right not to confirm, but they ought to go through the process,” Gibson said. “This is a Senate vote, not a House vote. I don’t get a vote in the House. I put a strong emphasis on the Constitution. It was designed to bring us together and allow for evolutionary change that reflects the will of the people.”

The Daily Freeman reported Greene County Senior Citizen Day will be held Fri., May 20 at Historic Catskill Point. This will be the sixth annual event to honor the county's elders sponsored by the Greene County Department of Human Services. Representatives from the department will be on hand with information on services available for residents over the age 60. Local organizations and businesses will also be present with informational displays of services relevant for older citizens as well. The event will recognize the 2016 Senior Citizen of the Year, Doris Jenkins, and Outstanding Contribution by a Senior. Anyone wishing to attend the celebration can sign up at their local senior center or call ((518) 719-3555.

Jeanette Wolfberg reported in the Columbia Paper Columbia County officials have proposed the addition of a new position of public services coordinator. The coordinator would serve detained people and their families. The coordinator would work to assure that people detained gain access to needed services and programs from the time of arrest through release. Michelle Ublacker, deputy commissioner of social services, and Captain Thomas Lanphear of the county Sheriff’s Office presented the proposal to the County Board of Supervisors Human Services and Public Safety committees earlier this month. It is hoped that the public services coordinator would help reduce both recidivism and the rate of homelessness among those who have been released from jail. The coordinator would at arrest, make certain that an individual's household is provided for and the detained person's employer notified; and, arrange family visits and seek ways for individuals to continue their education and resume employment. Upon release, the coordinator would help people obtain housing, food and an income, usually through re-entry programs. The job would be a civil service position filled by a senior case worker. Columbia County is one of a few counties statewide that does not currently have a public services coordinator position, or the equivalent.

Melanie Lekocevic reported in The Daily Mail the Athens Community Foundation has announced its 2015 awards. Thirty-two different groups located in and around Athens will benefit from the latest round of grants. Athens Community Foundation Trustee Gene Hatton said that despite fiscal challenges, the foundation continues to have a bright future. “2015 wasn’t the best for our investment portfolio, but nowhere near the disastrous year of 2008,” Hatton said. A total of more than $200,000 was awarded to 32 nonprofit groups this year. The two largest individual grants were made to the Athens Performing Arts Committee, and to the Athens Recreation Association, which operates the Athens pool. Dozens of other awards, ranging from $500 to the Athens Sportsman Club, to a $20,000 grant for the Athens Cultural Center, and a $10,000 grant for the Athens Street Festival Committee were made, as well. Organizations from outside Athens were also awarded funds, including Columbia Memorial Hospital for its traveling dental program, and the Greene County Aging Services Foundation. The Athens Community Foundation has distributed more than $2 million in grant money during the 13 years it has been in existence.

John Mason reported in the Register-Star Kinderhook Supervisor Pat Grattan is the recipient of the Columbia County Young Republicans’ 55th Annual Lincoln Award. Grattan, the former chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, now serves as its majority leader. He was born in England and immigrated with his family to Kinderhook when he was eight years old, graduating from Ichabod Crane High School in 1972. He eventually went on to graduate from college and law school. Kinderhook attorney Bill Better was one of the people who talked Grattan into running for his first elected office, Kinderhook town councilman, in 1985. As mayor, Grattan was responsible for removing the utility lines from Main Street, for the construction of Valatie Woods, the town's first senior citizens residence, and for the consolidation of the Kinderhook and Valatie highway departments. As board chairman, Grattan was responsible for keeping the county Department of Social Services in Hudson, privatizing the Pine Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and the restoration of the county courthouse. Grattan told the crowd assembled at Kozel's Restaurant in Ghent on Thu., Mar. 24, “I’ve been very privileged to live here. My task is to make America better, regardless of our fears for the future. Every one of us can make America better....I hope I never disappointed anybody.”

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