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Weekend in review

Feb 09, 2015 6:46 am
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Feb. 6 through Mon., Feb. 9

Arthur Cusano reported in the Register Star the Columbia County Board of Supervisors announced it will hold a public hearing on bids to purchase Pine Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 6:30 p.m., Mon., Feb. 23 at 401 State St. in Hudson. The hearing was rescheduled from Feb. 2, due to inclement weather. Long Island-based Premier Healthcare Management and Centers Health Care, a company based in the Bronx, are vying to purchase the 120-bed county-owned nursing facility located in Philmont. At the hearing, each company will make a half-hour presentation, followed by a 15-minute question and answer period with the public.

Eric Anderson reported in the Times Union at least 109,000 people in the Capital Region may be affected by a data breach. Locals who have medical coverage with Anthem/Empire Blue Cross, the state’s Empire Plan, or the NYSHIP Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield HMO may have had personal information stolen from the parent company Anthem. Anthem said Feb. 4 its database with 80 million current and past members, and employees names, birthdays, Social Security numbers, street addresses, email addresses and employment information was breached. The attack was discovered Jan. 29.

Brian Hubert reported in the Daily Freeman on the controversy surrounding the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline. If built, the pipeline would closely follow the New York State Thruway right-of-way and carry Bakken crude oil from a terminal in Albany to refineries in Linden, New Jersey. Refined products would be returned north via the same route. Riverkeeper attorney Kate Hudson said she has grave concerns about the proposed 178-mile pipeline. She said unlike barges and railcars, pipelines are not loaded with a finite amount of product. Pipeline construction would create turbidity in streams and rivers the project crosses, and a leak and explosion in one pipe could compromise the other line, causing it to explode, Hudson said. And when spills do occur in a waterway, cleanups fail to remove a majority of the spill. Recovering 25 percent of a spill is considered a successful cleanup, she said. Pilgrim Pipeline spokesman Paul Nathanson said concerns about the $1 billion project are overblown. He said opponents of the project are providing inaccurate information. Pipelines are safer than trains or barges and the recent spills all happened on older pipelines, Nathanson said. The proposed line would be monitored 24 hours a day, and the flow could be shut down remotely if a pressure change is detected, he said. If approved, Nathanson estimated the project would create 2,000 construction jobs and about 50 permanent jobs.

Katie Kocijanski reported in the Register Star the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will take the lead on the town of Clermont’s brownfield cleanup project. The site is located along Route 9, just north of the town hall and highway department. The town originally acquired the 20.5 acre site in 2003. Seven acres are contaminated by pesticides from the former Hettling Farm apple orchards. Overuse of pesticides and fertilizers on the orchards, row crops and vineyards contaminated the soil. The town hopes to use the rehabilitated land for recreational purposes in the future.
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