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Weekend in review

Dec 21, 2015 12:02 am

Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Dec. 18 through Sun., Dec. 20

Emilia Teasdale reported in the Columbia Paper the state Board for Historic Preservation recommended earlier this month the addition of the African American Cemetery in Kinderhook to the state and national registers of historic places. According to information released by the state, the African American Cemetery was established around 1816 exclusively for the use of the black population, and it "illuminates an important and underrepresented aspect of the early Dutch-settled village’s history.” According to Kinderhook village historian Ruth Piwonka (Pih-WONKA), the plot with 15 gravestones in Rothermel Park was established when Kinderhook resident John Rogers left the land in his will to be used as a cemetery for “the people of color of Kinderhook.” Once sites are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places they are also eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. If, following a review, the nominations are approved, the sites are entered on the National Register.

Melanie Lekocevic reported in the Greene County News Athens and Coxsackie are the most recent municipalities to oppose the state Thruway Authority being named as lead agency for the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline project. The two towns join governments throughout the Hudson Valley, including those in Albany, Catskill, Coeymans, Kingston, Newburgh, and Greene, Albany, Ulster, and Rockland counties. Opponents argue the Thruway Authority is unqualified to conduct an assessment of the plan's environmental impact, not to mention the financial interest the Authority has in the proposal, as well. In Greene County, the pipeline would veer east of Route 9W west of Sleepy Hollow Lake in Athens, and then back near the interstate around Leeds-Athens Road. After Catskill, the pipeline would move west of the interstate briefly around Cauterskill Road.

John Mason reported in the Register-Star Patrick Grattan is stepping down as Chairman of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors. After four years at the helm, the Kinderhook Republican has decided not to put his name forward for the position when the new board convenes next month. Stockport Supervisor Matt Murell, the board’s current majority leader, has been nominated by the Republican caucus as Grattan's successor. The full board will officially decide on who will fill the county's top spot at its January meeting. Grattan made the announcement at the Republicans’ annual caucus dinner Fri., Dec. 18. According to a statement released by the GOP, Grattan said he “has accomplished what he wanted to accomplish, and that it was time for a fresh face.” He said there have been significant changes during his tenure and that the board has "come very far" during his leadership. Murell was just re-elected to a second term as Stockport supervisor. In addition to serving as majority leader, he is also deputy chairman. Murell retired from the state Department of Children and Family Services in 2010.

Scott Waldman reported at Politico New York the Nassau Town Board voted last week to acquire 100 percent of the town's electrical power from renewables by the year 2020. The Rensselaer County town intends to disconnect from the electrical grid and gain energy independence in just four years. If all goes as planned, all six of the town buildings will be disconnected from the grid, Nassau supervisor Dave Fleming said. He said, “It’s not the be-all to end-all for what we should be doing as a state and a nation, but it’s a good first step.” The town will use the rooftops of town buildings and a nearby capped landfill to house solar panels. The town is able to use methane from the landfill, as well. It is also in a wind corridor that will provide productive turbines, Fleming said. Nassau has just 5,000 residents living in a 50-square-mile region, making the town's energy objective arguably the most aggressive renewable plan in New York.

Matthew Hamilton reported at Capitol Confidential state Senate Democrats have put together a slate of economic proposals for upstate that includes new legislation and older offerings aimed at boosting infrastructure investment, support to small and micro business and expanding markets for the state's agricultural industry, among other things. The are proposing the state help municipalities with funding to change out streetlights for the more energy-efficient LEDs and in the expansion of youth training programs like New York YouthBuild and Summer Youth Employment. The proposals were included in a new report, which specifically highlights the decline of the manufacturing industry outside of New York City over the past two decades.

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