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Weekend in review

May 19, 2014 6:12 am
Some of the stories that made the news, Fri., May 16 to Mon., May 19:

New Yorkers statewide head to the polls Tues., May 20, to vote on local public school budgets. Rick Karlin reported in the Times Union most of the state's 669 school districts have budget plans that appear to have been crafted with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's tax freeze plan in mind. This year a "yes" budget vote will carry a tax rebate check for many residential property owners in districts where the tax levy increase falls below the state mandated cap. According to preliminary data submitted to the state, only 15 school districts statewide have reported they are going to try to override the cap. None of those 15 districts are located in Columbia or Greene counties. The increases sought locally range from no increase at all (in three Columbia County districts) to a high of 3.41 percent (in Coxsackie-Athens). To find a breakdown of local school board election and budget vote details, go to newsroom [dot] wgxc [dot] org.

Joe Gentile reported in the Register Star Columbia-Greene Community College held its 42nd annual commencement ceremony over the weekend. The school awarded associate degrees and certificates to 350 graduates. Greene County legislator Eugene Hatton, chair of the County Resources Committee, reminded the graduates there are no superheroes in life, only family. Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Pat Grattan encouraged the matriculating students to use their strength, and know who they are.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="166"] Howie Hawkins, Green Party gubernatorial candidate.[/caption]

Dennis Yusko reported in the Times Union Howie Hawkins, a Teamster employee who unloads UPS trucks in Syracuse, won the Green Party's nomination for governor at its convention in the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, Sat., May 17. Party members also selected New York City educator Brian Jones for lieutenant governor, Bronx attorney Ramon Jimenez for attorney general and Theresa Portelli for state comptroller. The Green Party platform calls for a $15 minimum wage, public jobs for the unemployed, single-payer health care and fully funded public education. It sets a goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2030. On Fri., May 16, Republican Rob Astorino accepted his party's nod to challenge Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in November, at the state GOP convention in Rye Brook. Jordan Carleo-Evangelist reported the two-term Westchester County Executive called the economic decline of New York a crime of historic magnitude. In a 25-minute speech, Astorino vowed to roll back the Common Core education standards and replace them with even more demanding local control, to repeal the SAFE Act and to create a tax credit that would encourage people to invest in public and private schools.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="140"] Dick May[/caption]

Word came last week of the passing of Dick May, history professor, blogger and Greene County resident. Thomas Pletcher reported at BlueInGreene.org May founded the SeeingGreene blog and wrote on a wide range of issues for nearly a decade. "Dick's clear-eyed, common-sense approach to life in Greene County was widely appreciated, and he will be missed," Pletcher wrote. Blogger Sam Pratt remembered May's searing wit and gentlemanly manner in an online post, Sat., May 16. He said May's observations on Greene County life will be missed, "but their author will be missed far more so."
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