Weekend in review
Some of the stories that made the news Sat., Dec. 24 through Tue., Dec. 27:
Emily Swanson and Verena Dobnik reported for The Associated Press, the AP's New Year's poll found the majority of Americans believe 2016 was difficult, but they think things will get better next year. The AP reported one-third of those responding said things for the country got worse in 2016. On a personal level, most are optimistic about 2017. Fifty-five percent said they believe things will be better for them in the coming year. The U.S. elections topped the list of 10 top news events in 2016. Three-quarters called the presidential election and Donald Trump’s victory very or extremely important. As for ringing in the New Year, about half of those surveyed plan to celebrate at home, while 25 percent do not plan to celebrate at all. The AP-Times Square Alliance Poll of 1,007 adults was conducted online Dec. 9 to 11.
The Daily Freeman reported Columbia-Greene Community College has announced a new transfer agreement with Sage College of Albany. The agreement will allow graduates of Columbia-Greene's fine arts digital-design sequence program to transfer to Sage's undergraduate Graphic and Media Design program. Students earning a bachelor of fine arts from the Sage program can expect to pursue careers in graphic design, visual and motion design and marketing. Information on the program is available by emailing info [at] My Community College [dot] com.
Debby Mayer reported in The Columbia Paper on recent changes to the Germantown Board of Education. Member Jeremy Smith resigned for health reasons and his resignation was accepted by the board, Dec. 14. After considering various options for moving forward, the board chose unanimously to appoint Faydra Geraghty to fill the seat through the budget vote and board election, May 16. Geraghty previously served on the board; she completed a four-year term last spring, but declined to run again. She is a graduate of Germantown Central School, and is employed as the director of nursing at ARC of Ulster-Greene. Geraghty also serves on the town’s Comprehensive Plan Review Committee. Contacted by phone last week, Smith wished the school board well, “in what looks to be a difficult time ahead, with a new administration in Washington, D.C., that has nominated a secretary of education who does not support public schools.”
Casey Seiler reported at Capitol Confidential Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed Mon., Dec. 26, that he will forego the standard delivery of the State of the State address next month. Instead of one address delivered to an audience of state officials in Albany, he will present six regional speeches during the week of Jan. 9. The regions will be: New York City, western New York, the Hudson Valley, Long Island, the Capital Region and central New York. Specific times and locations for these events are forthcoming. Although the governor is required by the New York Constitution to report on the condition of the state to the legislature, there is no requirement on the timing or location of the governor's message, according to a statement released by the governor's office.
Rosa Acheson is reported in The Daily Mail a 40-foot sailboat anchored off the Coxsackie Boat Launch reportedly sank one week ago, villlage officials and U.S. Coast Guard representatives said Fri., Dec. 23. The incident is under investigation, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson said. “We aren’t sure what happened, it’s still being investigated," he said. “Right now, the owner thinks that one of the bilge pumps may have failed — those are the ones removing water from the lower recesses of any vessel, which may have been a possible factor in the boat sinking.” The boat owner was notified and a private towing company was contacted to assess the boat for damage, according to Coxsackie Village Police. The boat had unresolved mechanical problems police said, and the river freezing over may have caused the boat to sink. The Coxsackie Boat Launch is owned by the state, but is managed and monitored by the village of Coxsackie. Mayor Mark Evans said he was concerned about winter weather causing damage to the boat when he first noticed it anchored in the launch last week. Evans said the docks were taken out of the water in October. “I saw the boat last week and I thought, ‘wow, whoever has got that there had better pull it out or get it down south,’” he said.
Daniel Zuckerman reported in The Daily Mail the Greene County Legislature this month adopted a measure to increase the maximum income limit for a senior citizens to qualify for an exemption to real property tax. The amendment to Local Law Number 1 of 2004 approved by lawmakers, increased that limit by $2,000 to $26,500 a year. The sum of money needed to qualify is dependent on federal standards, Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden said. “The feds give us new income levels that the county has to be abide by,” he said. “We do it every year, so it’s rather routine.” Seniors, aged 65 or older, who are on a fixed income or are disabled, must visit their local assessor to submit documentation in order to qualify, Groden said.
Daniel Zuckerman reported in The Daily Mail the Cairo Town Board voted Mon., Dec. 26, to terminate town police officer Dan Braden. Braden was arrested June 27 and charged with official misconduct by a public servant, a misdemeanor. Police alleged that Braden modified an official file to hide the fact that he was taking a prescription medication. Braden resigned his position with the sheriff’s office around the time of his arrest. He pleaded guilty to the official misconduct by a public servant charge. The Cairo board met Monday to discuss the appeal Braden filed to his suspension from the town police department. Following a 10-minute executive session, the board reconvened in public and voted to terminate Braden. Cairo Police Department Sgt. Richard Busch was ordered by the board to remove Braden from any previously scheduled shifts and to retrieve his service weapon. Earlier in December, the board voted 4 to 1 during a special meeting to suspend Braden. Town Supervisor Dan Benoit voted against the suspension. He did not attend the meeting Monday. Benoit has declined to comment on anything related to Braden. Benoit was notified, but chose not to attend the meeting Monday for unknown reasons, board member Dan Joyce said. “The indication was that the board, as a whole, was going to stand by the original resolution,” Joyce said. Benoit originally represented Braden, until another attorney took over, board member Doug Ostrander said. In addition, Benoit is a friend of Braden, board member Mary Jo Cords said. “We asked him to recuse himself,” Cords said. Braden can now file an appeal with the state Public Employment Relations Board, Joyce said. If the appeal is denied, the case can go into arbitration, if necessary, he said.