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Weekend in review

Jun 22, 2015 12:06 am
Some of the stories that made the headlines Fri., Jun. 19 through Sun., Jun. 21

Michael Ryan reported in The Daily Mail Windham Town Supervisor Stacy Post has failed to gain support for re-election from the Windham Republicans. At a caucus Fri., Jun. 19, Windham Town Council member Robert Pelham was tapped for the endorsement on a vote of 121-58. Two candidates aligned with Post, Laura Chase and Debra Sherman, also fell short in their efforts to secure the GOP line. Instead, the caucus endorsed incumbent town clerk Bonnie Poehmel and incumbent town council members Karl Gonzalez and Donald Murray. Town Justice Maureen McCarthy and Tax Collector Dawn Hitchcock were unopposed at the caucus, and no one is expected to challenge them in November. Post ran on the Independence Party line in 2013, and has once again asked for the party's backing. Post is charged with 30 felony counts of eavesdropping, official misconduct and possession of eavesdropping devices. State police allege Post placed audio and video recording devices in Windham Town Hall to monitor the conversations of town employees and visitors. Post served as the town’s police chief for five years before she was elected supervisor in November 2013.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="254"] Southern pine beetle
(From dec.ny.gov)[/caption]

Frank Eltman reported for the Associated Press the Southern pine beetle is making its way into the Northeast, destroying thousands of trees in New York, New Jersey and elsewhere. The insect has for generations attacked forests throughout the southeastern United States and is viewed as a threat to all pine species. The beetle, which resembles a chocolate sprinkle, was first discovered in New York last October, approximately a decade after it appeared in New Jersey. It has also been found in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The reasons for the beetle's northward migration have not been determined, but some say a rich supply of pine trees amid rising temperatures is one possibility.

Melanie Lekocevic is reporting in The Daily Mail the Coxsackie Village Board has submitted a letter to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation expressing interest in taking over the site formerly occupied by American Valve. The property was abandoned by the company years ago. It was later declared a contaminated brownfield, but has since undergone state cleanup efforts. Mayor Mark Evans stressed there has been no commitment on the part of the village. The letter was merely an indication of interest, he said. Concerns still exist around the condition of the parcel, and the potential liability that comes with it. Residents have urged village officials to designate the land as an open space for community use. It is still unclear how much remediation is still needed at the site.

Jessica Bakeman reported at Capital New York the state Legislature Thu., Jun. 18, approved a bill requiring an increase in aid to public colleges, a financial commitment key lawmakers say must be made before they consider allowing further tuition increases. The Senate passed a bill that would require the state to cover “all mandatory costs” at SUNY and CUNY, including union-negotiated salary and benefit increases for employees. The Assembly approved the same measure earlier this month. The Legislature’s higher education committee chairs won’t ask students to pay higher tuition unless the state holds up its end of the bargain, according to recent interviews. The bill, which would impact next year’s state budget, is now headed to the governor’s desk. It is unclear if Cuomo will sign it.