Weekend in review
Some of the stories that made the news from Fri., Aug. 18, through Sun., Aug. 20:>
Bill Williams reported for WCTW-FM, "The CAT," a hiker fell from Kaaterskill Falls in Hunter, just before 1:30 p.m., Sun., Aug. 20. The caller to Greene County 911 said the victim was located at the base of the falls. Arriving units reported the person was semi-conscious. Police, Rangers and the tactical rescue team all responded to the scene. Five people have fallen to their deaths at Kaaterskill Falls since 2014. UPDATE: Williams reported the hiker is expected to be okay. According to police, the unidentified woman fell only a few feet, striking her head. She was transported to the hospital late Sunday.
The Daily Freeman reported the state Department of Environmental Conservation has completed $48,000 in improvements to the Hunter Mountain fire tower. In honor of the of the tower’s centennial over the weekend, a celebration was held at the tower atop Hunter Mountain, and a plaque to commemorate the anniversary was unveiled. At 4,040 feet, the tower is the highest elevation fire tower in New York state. The original tower was constructed of logs in 1909, the first of three built in the Catskills that year. It was replaced with the existing steel structure in 1917.
Rick Karlin reported at Capitol Confidential a federal appeals court Fri., Aug. 18, upheld New York’s denial of water permits for the proposed Constitution Pipeline. The pipeline would run through central New York to Schoharie County. “It would be unacceptable for a pipeline -- or any project -- to pollute our waters and undermine New Yorkers’ health and water resources. Today’s decision marks a major win for New Yorkers, and for the state’s right to take the actions necessary to protect the public and our environment," said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The proposed Constitution Pipeline would include construction of 100 miles of new natural gas pipeline across undeveloped lands in central New York, impacting and crossing more than 250 streams and more than 80 acres of wetlands.
Amanda Purcell reported for Columbia-Greene Media the Durham Town Board is considering whether to limit the role of peace officers serving alongside town police. The Durham Police Department employs both, but peace officers complete fewer hours of training than the police. A proposed local law was drafted by Deputy Supervisor Shawn Marriott, who is concerned about potential liability if peace officers are given the same duties as police. Under the law drafted by Marriott, peace officers would wear a separate, distinct uniform without police insignias, be prohibited from operating a police vehicle unless accompanied by a police officer and be used for limited tasks, such as crowd control at parades and festivals like Grey Fox. Town Supervisor William Carr Jr., who is a peace officer in the town of Cairo and serves as Durham police commissioner, said he is very happy with the current system. "We select peace officers very, very carefully,” he said. Carr said there have been no complaints or litigation brought against Durham peace officers. The term peace officer is used to describe anyone with law enforcement power under state law. A police officer, deputy sheriff, state trooper and constable are all considered peace officers, but not all peace officers are considered police because of the training requirements. Currently, peace officers are permitted to perform many of the same functions that police perform in Durham, Carr said. The next regular meeting of the Durham Town Board is 7:30 p.m., Tue., Sep. 19.
The Daily Freeman reported the voter registration deadline for the September 12 primary elections is quickly approaching. Mail-in voter registration forms must be received by a board of elections no later than Wed., Aug. 23. A voter registration form may be downloaded from www.elections.ny.gov. Anyone with a New York state drivers license, permit, or non-driver identification card, can submit their registration information online at www.dmv.ny.gov. Residents who have moved to a new county within the state must re-register from their new address. Those who have moved to a new address within the same county should notify their county board of elections in writing no later than Aug. 23. Further information is available from the state Board of Elections at (518) 474-1953.
William J. Kemble reported in the Daily Freeman the Dutchess County Fair begins Tue., Aug. 22, and runs for six days. The 172nd annual event will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at the 144-acre Dutchess County Fairgrounds on U.S. Route 9 in Rhinebeck. Among the additions to the fair this year will be two intended to provide an appreciation of agriculture. AgVenture Tent will use life-sized models of animals to learn about the significance of farming. Agri-Puppets has much of the same intent, but on a smaller scale and for a younger audience. Other new features are the Saints of Swing, Pirates of the Columbian Caribbean and the Brigade Extreme Sports shows. Grandstand concerts will feature performances by Third Eye Blind, Paramalee Old Dominion, the Eagles tribute band Hotel California and Chase Rice.
Diane Walden reported in The Columbia Paper on the latest court appearance by serial scofflaw Salvatore Cascino [kah-SHEE-no]. Cascino, of Larchmont, Westchester County, is a 77-year-old convicted felon. He owns a 300-acre property along the east side of Route 22 in Copake he calls Copake Valley Farm, and has been in trouble concistently for illegal dumping, building, and excavating at that location for nearly 20 years. Cascino was back in Columbia County Court before Columbia County Acting Supreme Court Judge Jonathan Nichols last week for a review of the case, hoping to convince the court he had removed the illegally dumped solid waste from his property. As of August 17, Cascino has been in the county jail for 356 consecutive days due to his failure to obey Nichols' order directing that he remove 9,650 cubic yards of illegally dumped solid waste. Despite attorney Greg Lubow's best efforts, Nichols was not convinced Cascino had complied with the order and saw no proof the material had been removed. Nichols also denied Cascino's bail request, sending him back to the county lock-up.
Daniel Zuckerman reported for Columbia-Greene Media the plan to establish 1.5 miles of 5-foot-wide bicycle lanes along Route 12 in Windham, between Route 296 and the entrance to Windham Mountain, have been advanced by the Greene County Legislature. On Wed., Aug. 16, lawmakers approved a resolution establishing the county Highway Department as lead agency for the project. Route 12 must be widened, have a sub-base installed and paved to build the lanes. The lanes will be able to accommodate bicyclists and some occasional pedestrians. The design process is expected to be completed by September.