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Weekend in review

May 23, 2016 5:05 am
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., May 20, through Sun., May 22:

The Chatham Courier reported two write-in candidates have now been confirmed to fill the remaining seats on the New Lebanon school board following the election, Tue., May 17. Raymona Griffin received eight votes and Janet Stone received seven. Griffin will serve a three-year term, and Stone will serve for two years, filling the vacancy created by the resignation of Tim Smith. In addition to Griffin and Stone, there were 37 other write-in candidates.

The Daily Freeman reported New York state has announced it will use $500,000 in federal funds to purchase a live fire training prop to help emergency personnel learn how to respond to crude oil fires. The money will go to the New York State Academy of Fire Science, which trains more than 6,000 first responders each year. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office announced the funding decision on Fri., May 20. The administration says other efforts to address the risk of oil trains include regular inspections of rail cars and track, and joint preparedness planning by state, local and federal officials.

Greg Hudson reported in the Register-Star the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced it has ended the investigation into the death of a zebra that escaped from Bailiwick Ranch and Discovery Zoo in Palenville last week. DEC officials confirmed Fri., May 20, the zebra, a 5-month-old female, fell from a ledge to its death in Kaaterskill Clove. Since the zebra was legally purchased by its owner authorities said, no further investigation will be required. “From the DEC standpoint, the zebra was a pet,” Environmental Conservation Officer Anthony Glorioso said. “It’s no different from a person owning a dog.”

Brendan Cheney reported at Politico New York a majority of the New York Republican congressional delegation supported a House amendment to protect LGBT rights Thu., May 19. The amendment would have prevented federal funds from going to federal contractors that fail to comply with President Barack Obama’s executive order protecting LGBT employees from workplace discrimination. Seven New York Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, were among the 29 Republican votes cast in favor of the amendment. Republicans Pete King of Long Island and Chris Collins of Western New York were alone among their New York colleagues to vote against the measure. The amendment failed by one vote, 212 to 213. It was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney from the Hudson Valley.

Michael Ryan reported in the Windham Journal Windham Fire Commissioner Leslie Leman announced at a fire commissioner meeting last week that cancer is striking fire volunteers and professionals at an unsettling rate. According to statistics, one in every three firefighters is at risk of being exposed to occupational hazards that may lead to increased mortality due to cancer or lung or heart disease. Without offering specifics about the local impact, Leman told the Windham board firefighters not only breath in the toxic fumes at fire sites, they carry toxic materials home on their closing and turnout gear. Firefighters are routinely exposed to household chemicals and plastics, as well as diesel exhaust in station houses, running truck engines for maintenance. Leman said turnout gear should be cleaned thoroughly, rather than being hosed off and hung to dry. He recommended the purchase of a commercial washer, large enough to accommodate turnout gear. Leman said the large washing machine will likely be mandated sometime in the future, and offered to do the research and get cost estimates. The board unanimously agreed. Brian McQueen, a cancer survivor and director of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, will speak about the cancer issue Mon., May 23, at in the arts building at Columbia-Greene Community College, beginning at 6 p.m.

The Mid-Hudson News Network reported a study of 132 Hudson Valley municipalities found that many lack the ability to implement successful, long-term, infrastructure planning. The findings of the study were released Fri., May 20, at a Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress conference on infrastructure. Pattern President Jonathan Drapkin said it is difficult for smaller governments to do long-term planning. He said, “It’s not their fault. It’s not their decision not to do it,...they don’t have the capacity to do it. And they don’t have the money...for what a five-year plan requires." New York municipalities have until July 24 to apply for a piece of the $175 million in state Empire State Development Corp. funding through the latest round of Consolidated Funding Applications. An additional $10 million has also been set aside by the state for a downtown revitalization initiative. Communities have until Fri., May 27, to apply for that program.

Emilia Teasdale reported in The Columbia Paper the Chatham Village Board authorized the formation of the new Chatham Police Bicycle Unit at its monthly meeting, May 12. The village police department will purchase two new bikes and also have an old bike refurbished. Patrols are slated to begin in July. “I’m looking forward to it,” Chief of Police Peter Volkmann told the board. “I think it gets people talking to officers.”