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Weekend in review

Mar 23, 2015 12:02 am
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Mar. 20 through Mon., Mar. 23:

Jimmy Vielkind is reporting at Capital New York a new poll finds a majority of voters believe Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo should separate his proposed changes to the state's ethics and education plans from the $141.6 billion spending plan currently under negotiation with lawmakers. The Siena Research Institute found 56 percent of the 800 voters surveyed wanted to see the education plans dropped. And 54 percent wanted to see ethics addressed as a separate bill. Cuomo has said he won't approve a budget that isn't linked to a five-point ethics plan. He's also connected a proposed $1.1 billion increase in school aid to changes in the teacher evaluation and tenure laws, an increased number of charter schools statewide, the extension of tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants and a tax credit on donations to private and parochial school scholarship funds as well as public schools.

Katie Kocijanski reported in the Register Star on the response from residents of the Germantown school district following the failed capital project proposal. Opinions offered at the board of education meeting meeting Wed., Mar. 18, ranged from support for the failed vote to disapproval of moving forward with a second referendum. The $11.3 million proposition was defeated March 10. The project had been a point of contention within the community at large for some time. The board will hold a special meeting 6 p.m. Tue., Mar. 24, to discuss the next steps for the project. The public will have another opportunity to express its opinion at that time.

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Arthur Cusano reported in the Register Star a settlement between five New York counties and the state over the handling of public defender services has been finalized. Under the agreement, the state will adopt major reforms in Ontario, Onondaga, Schuyler, Suffolk and Washington counties. The case addressed the state’s failure to create and support a public defense system that ensured indigent criminal defendants would receive meaningful and effective assistance of counsel. The settlement of Hurrell-Harring vs. [versus] New York, requires the counties to hire a sufficient number of lawyers, investigators and support staff to ensure that criminal defendants who cannot afford attorneys receive legal representation. It also mandates that every qualifying criminal defendant be guaranteed a lawyer at the first court appearance. It is hoped the provisions of the settlement will eventually be applied to all New York counties, according to a spokesman for the plaintiffs in the case.

In a statement released late last week, the Dyson Foundation reported its leadership will change in June. After leading day-to-day operations of the private, grant-making foundation for nearly a quarter century, Diana M. Gurieva will step down. Andrea L. Reynolds will succeed her. Gurieva will continue to serve as an adviser to the foundation. Reynolds has been president and chief executive officer of the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley since 2005. The Millbrook-based Dyson Foundation has a major funding program in the Mid-Hudson Valley.
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