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Weekend in review

Sep 14, 2015 12:02 am
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Sept. 11 through Sun., Sept. 13.

Scott Waldman reported at Politico New York a state audit released Fri., Sept. 11, found the state's oil storage facilities are not properly reporting how much crude oil they receive. Auditors for Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found that a majority of the facilities examined did not properly classify and report the products received. And some locations underpaid the state Oil Spill Fund as a result. In response to the audit, DEC officials questioned the accuracy of the comptroller’s report, saying it contained multiple errors and relied too heavily on targeted samples that did not represent the full spectrum of the state’s oil storage facilities. Albany has become one of the busiest hubs for oil transportation in the country, under Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The DEC has given operators approval to move approximately three billion gallons of crude through Albany every year. The DEC collects fees from oil trains for the Oil Spill Fund, which is used to clean up spills and is reimbursed by those responsible.

Audrey Matott reported in The Daily Mail the town of Greenville finds itself in the throes of a disagreement over proposed changes to its zoning laws. Residents who spoke at a recent public hearing voiced their concerns. Greenville offers residents a comfortable, small-town feel, townspeople said, but with little room for commercial growth and plenty of available real estate, some fear their small town may become a ghost town. While some residents requested more restrictions on where commercial zones are located, others pointed out that without ample commercial opportunities, residents would be forced to pay higher taxes that might otherwise be offset or absorbed by commercial business. Another public hearing on the proposed revisions will be held 7 p.m., Sept. 21 at Pioneer Town Hall.

Roger Hannigan Gilson reported in the Register-Star broadband Internet access is now available to residents of Copake and Chatham. New York-based ASA Networks uses TV white spaces technology and is focused on serving rural areas. It recently completed an extensive technology trial in the Gallatin-Ancram area. Approximately 50 of the trial participants in Gallatin continue to be served by the company as paying customers. A connection has been set up at Insight Computer, located at 9 Hudson Ave. in Chatham, to demonstrate the product to the public. “Everyone is welcome to stop by and try it out here," said the store’s owner Frank Shannon. Columbia County has one of the highest rates of unserved and under-served households in the state, according to ASA. The county is working on a plan to bring high-speed Internet to rural areas with plans to lay fiber-optic cables that can be used by various Internet service providers.

Michael Ryan reported in the Windham Journal a document of mysterious origin has popped up in Prattsville, calling for a public vote on the town's decision to sell a piece of land for use in a planned senior housing project. Ryan writes that no one, including the 30 people who signed the petition, has been willing to reveal the source of the document. The petition was delivered to town officials by former town judge Robert Blain and filed on Aug. 17, according to town clerk Kathleen Sherman. The petition was later declared invalid for several technical reasons by the town attorney. The anonymous petition was similar in many ways to a letter sent to the state Department of Transportation in June about the construction of a new Route 23 bridge. That letter, from "50 Concerned Citizens," demanded the DOT revamp its plans for the bridge replacement.