Weekend in review
Some of the stories that made the news from Fri., Jun. 9, through Sun., Jun. 11:
Anthony Fiducia reported in the Register-Star Chatham Police Chief Peter Volkmann has declared himself a candidate for Columbia County sheriff. Volkmann will run on the Democratic line, challenging Republican incumbent David Bartlett, who is seeking re-election in November. A four-year veteran of the Chatham department, Volkmann is best known countywide for the implementation of the Chatham Cares 4 U program as a response to the opioid epidemic. "We need to go towards saving lives," Volkmann said. "This issue can’t be solved with arrest. This is a public health crisis that we need to focus on. It’s greatly affecting families and communities." If elected, Volkmann said he would expand the program countywide. Bartlett is a critic of the program. Volkmann also said another priority, if elected, would be a focus on regular training for law enforcement officers. "I believe in training, it’s what makes you better." he said. Before heading up the Chatham department, Volkmann, 53, served as the officer in charge of the Stockport Police Department for five years. He is retired from the Ossining Police Department in Westchester County.
In other local political news, Amanda Purcell reported in the Register-Star Hudson Fourth Ward resident Steve Dunn has announced his candidacy for president of the city Common Council. Dunn joins fellow Democrat Thomas DePietro in the race. Dunn, an attorney, moved to Hudson three years ago with his partner, Dan, an artist, but has lived most of his life in California. If elected, Dunn said he will focus on replacing sidewalks, creating a more open and transparent city budget process and income-based affordable housing, and rewriting the city’s zoning laws. He has served on the city Zoning Board for approximately 18 months, and was also one of the chief architects of the Fair and Equal campaign, which ultimately led to the city redrawing its ward boundaries. Dunn also intends to make sure Hudson gets its fair share of sales tax revenue. "Hudson is not getting its fair share of sales tax revenue," Dunn said. "If Hudson keeps all its sales tax revenue, or three-fourths rather than just half, that’s hundreds of more money for Hudson which would help to fund some of these initiatives without raising taxes. Hudson has a very high tax rate of 3.5 percent." NOTE: DePietro is an active WGXC programmer.
The Times Union reported the Schenectady-based grocery chain Price Chopper and Market 32 has issued a voluntary recall of High Liner Foods fish sticks. According to the company, the fish sticks may contain milk but the package labels did not include milk as a possible ingredient. Customers who do not have a milk allergy face no health risk from eating the product. Customers who have an affected product may return it to their local Price Chopper/Market 32 for a full refund. Anyone with questions is urged to go online to www [dot] Price Chopper [dot] com, or call 1-800-666-7667.
The Associated Press reported the New York Legislature last week overturned a state law allowing 14-year-olds to legally wed. The action paves the way to end child marriage in the state. The Democratic-led Assembly passed a bill that would increase the age of marriage to 17, and the Republican-led Senate followed suit. New York is one of three states that allows children as young as 14 to marry with parental and judicial consent. The other two are Alaska and North Carolina. Health department data shows that between 2000 and 2010, 3,853 minors were married in New York. Eighty-four percent of those minors were girls married to adult men. The legislation now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for signature. Cuomo designated the proposal a top priority in February and praised the Senate and Assembly last week for passing legislation to end the “intolerable practice.”
Emilia Teasdale reported in The Columbia Paper local farmer Eric Suquet told the Chatham Town Board last week that someone has mailed a flier to his neighbors accusing his farm of polluting the East Chatham water supply. Suquet strongly denied the charges. “All of this is false,” Suquet told the board during a public meeting, June 1. He and his wife Martha are the owners of Graylight Farm and they raise pigs and grow vegetables. “We are happy to talk to anybody about our practices,” he said. He added he and his wife are sensitive to environmental issues and that fencing is going up on the farm to keep the pigs away from any shared water sources. In a statement about the flier on the Graylight Farm Facebook page, the Suquets said, "...The health of the land is as important to us as the health of our animals and our neighbors. We do not take any of these responsibilities lightly. We love our new home in East Chatham/Canaan and have felt very welcome until now.” The Suquets have no idea who is making the anonymous accusations. The paper reported the letter suggests that problems with pig farms, including water pollution and health hazards to humans, exist at Graylight Farms. The anonymous writer also insists that having the farm in East Chatham could lower property values.
Richard Moody reported in The Daily Mail the billion-dollar cuts to education and key programs proposed by the Trump administration are worrying local school officials. The president's current budget proposal would slash federal support to education by $9.2 billion. But representatives in Washington, including U.S. Rep. John Faso say the plan will not pass as is. "Historically, the president proposes cuts to domestic spending but what [Trump] proposes goes beyond what is wise. Most of what the president proposes to cut will not pass," Faso said. He said the reduction in funding for Title I is unlike to go through. Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides financial assistance to districts and schools with a high percentages of children from low-income families. The program is intended to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards. Districts throughout Greene and Columbia counties greatly rely on Title I funding. "I like that Trump wants to balance the budget in 10 years. That is fiscally responsible," Faso said. "But he is focusing his cuts on only 17 percent of the budget and that’s really what the issue is."
The Daily Freeman reported state police in Catskill are asking for help in locating a New Baltimore woman who was last seen on Mon., Jun. 5. Police said 66-year-old Marcia Eckl was last seen walking in the parking lot of the Tops Market supermarket on state Route 32 in Greenville. Eckl is described as a white female with short brown hair that is graying on the sides, approximately 5-foot-4 with a medium build. She was last seen wearing blue jeans and a light blue sweatshirt. Anyone with information on Eckl’s whereabouts is asked to contact state police Catskill at (518) 622-8600.