Weekend in review
Some of the stories that made the news from Fri., Jan. 20 through Sun., Jan. 22:
Millions across the globe turned out for nearly 700 protests held Sat., Jan. 21, to voice opposition to Donald Trump, following his inauguration as the 45th President of the United States. The New York Times reported that crowd scientists say the Women's March in Washington drew three times as many people as the swearing-in ceremony, Friday. Crowd scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University in Britain analyzed photographs and video taken of the National Mall and vicinity and estimated there were approximately 160,000 people in those areas in the hour leading up to Trump’s inaugural address; they estimated at least 470,000 people were for the women’s march, Saturday. Bethany Bump reported in the Times Union a crowd of 7,000 marched in Albany. "It made me feel optimistic and inspired and motivated and proud of all the work that we did to make sure this event happened," said Jamaica Miles, the Capital District organizer for Citizen Action of New York, which organized the event. The march itself stretched several city blocks along Washington Avenue from Lark and Swan streets, before ending at the West Capitol Park for a speakout and rally. Parry Teasdale reported in The Columbia Paper hundreds marched Saturday afternoon from 7th Street Park to Waterfront Park in Hudson. Speakers urged citizen action to prevent the loss of rights for women, and offered a strong repudiation of the Trump administration's plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and end critically important healthcare for women. Attendees were urged to contact first-term U.S. Rep. John Faso, who has already voted to repeal the health insurance coverage law. The Kinderhook Republican said during a broadcast on radio station WAMC last week that he was working with other members of the House to craft a new law that provides healthcare to all U.S. citizens. There were other local rallies in Poughkeepsie, Woodstock, and Delhi. Speakers at the Hudson rally included Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton, former city Democratic chairman Victor Mendolia, Second Ward Alderwoman Tiffany Garriga, First Ward Supervisor Sarah Sterling and Cyndi Hall, the former chair of the Columbia County Democratic Committee. [NOTE: Mendolia is an active WGXC community programmer.]
Roger Hannigan Wilson reported in the Register-Star Columbia-Greene Community College announced Thu., Jan. 19, an agreement with the College of St. Rose to allow education students to transfer from the two-year college to the four-year institution. The agreement will allow Columbia-Greene students who earn their associate degree in childhood education to transfer all credits to St. Rose’s special education or childhood education programs, and enter St. Rose as juniors. Students who transfer would be eligible for scholarships. “The nice thing about this is it’s a formally articulated agreement … if a student goes to St. Rose, which has an outstanding education program, there’s a 100 percent guaranteed transfer,” Columbia-Greene Office of Counseling Chairman William Mathews said. St. Rose already has 10 articulation agreements with Columbia-Greene, allowing students in computer science, criminal justice, business administration and other programs to transfer to St. Rose as juniors.
Emilia Teasdale reported in The Columbia Paper the Chatham Police Department program that assists people with additions find treatment has helped 57 people, to date, according to a report submitted to the Chatham Village Board. Chief Peter Volkmann reported the Chatham Cares 4U program has received donations totaling $2,300, as well as snacks, candy and a coffee pot. Volkmann also announced the department will hold a training session for program volunteers in February.
Rick Karlin reported at Capitol Confidential on the same day as the Women's March on Washington, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced additional regulations regarding what health insurance carriers in New York are required to cover when it comes to contraception and abortions. The rules ensure that contraceptive drugs and devices are covered by commercial health insurance policies without co-pays or deductibles, regardless of what happens with the Affordable Care Act. , The rules are carried out through the state Department of Financial Services. Additionally, the new requirement mandates that medically necessary abortion services are covered by commercial health insurance policies without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles as well.
Daniel Zuckerman reported for Columbia-Greene Media more than 50 people met Sat., Jan. 21, for the first public event of the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement group. One of the group’s goals is to make Hudson a sanctuary city. A sanctuary city is a city that has adopted a policy of protecting undocumented people by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws in the country in which they are living illegally. The group is urging the Hudson Common Council to pass a resolution that would call upon the Hudson Police Department not to racially profile residents or ask for immigration status if they are pulled over. “The cultural effects of a resolution would hopefully quell some of the fears of the people that are living, working and thriving in our community for centuries, but may not have the ‘proper’ immigration paperwork,” event organizer Bryan MacCormack said. The resolution will be discussed at the Common Council Police Committee meeting Mon., Jan. 23.
Chris McKenna reported at The Fray Two longtime GOP state senators from the Mid-Hudson region last week voiced strong misgivings about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan for free college tuition for qualifying students at New York’s public colleges. Mount Hope Republican Sen. John Bonacic dismissed the proposal as an ill-conceived “press release” meant purely for political gain, noting that Cuomo announced the idea with Bernie Sanders standing beside him. “It’s not a well thought-out plan. ... I want to do more to help middle-class families, and we will, the Senate Republican conference. But I don’t think this is the way to go,” Bonacic said. Cuomo has proposed waiving tuition at all two-year and four-year public colleges and universities for New York resident students whose families earn less than $125,000 a year. Sen. James Seward, whose district includes part of Ulster County, argued that waiving tuition only at public schools is unfair to private colleges and the families whose students attend them. “I am pleased the governor is concentrating on college affordability,” Seward said in a statement this week. “However, his free tuition plan for SUNY schools is fraught with challenges and censors student choice. ... I believe we can come to an agreement on a better plan to lower college costs and help students graduate without a mountain of debt.”
Emilia Teasdale reported in The Columbia Paper building permit fees are going up in the village of Chatham. The Village Board approved the new rates that will double the amount of money generated by the village building department. At the same time, Village Clerk and Treasurer Barbara Henry said, the increases would not completely cover the costs of the building inspector and the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. Henry said the board will revise zoning fines as well, but not until the Town Board adopts a local law to revise the fine schedule. The wording for the local law may be reviewed by the village attorney and be ready for the board vote at a special meeting later this month. The board will also discuss water and sewer rates at the special workshop meeting scheduled for 7 p.m, January 26.