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Weekend in review

Jun 15, 2015 6:00 am
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Jun. 12 through Sun., Jun. 14

Sam Pratt reported on his blog, in a letter to Supervisor Matt Murrell and the members of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors Economic Development Committee, Stockport "lawyer-turned-baker" Louise Roback reacted to news of the decision to remove Kenneth Flood as the Columbia Economic Development Corporation's part-time executive director. She wrote that to simply remove Flood was "terrible." She called on the reorganization to also include the dismissal of conflicted board members, the hiring of new counsel "who knows what conflicts of interest are," and the imposition of term limits. Roback also urged the organization be opened up to public oversight and monitoring. She wrote that if a "significant reorganization" of the agency board and its operations does not happen immediately, it is her hope the Board of Supervisors will immediately revoke all CEDC funding. In an effort to reorganize, the CEDC announced Thu., June 11, it would dismiss Flood and replace him with a full-time executive director. The announcement came approximately 24 hours after the Columbia County Board of Supervisors voted to authorize an audit of the agency’s loan procedures during the past five years. The decision to audit the agency came after a report by the state Authorities Budget Office found potential conflicts of interest related to the proposed Ginsberg’s development deal and other matters. According to a report by Arthur Cusano in the Register-Star, the CEDC receives approximately $437,000 a year from Columbia County to fund a wide variety of economic development projects.

John Mason reported in the Register-Star Nick Haddad has announced he will not run for mayor of Hudson, less than three months after he declared his candidacy. The announcement came after Haddad failed to secure the endorsement of the Hudson Democratic Committee. The committee instead chose to endorse Hudson school board member Tiffany Martin Hamilton. Hamilton is expected to face incumbent Republican William H. Hallenbeck Jr. in the general election. In other announcements, Tom DiPietro, a WGXC programmer and volunteer, has declared his intent to run for Common Council president, and Michael Chameides was last week selected chairman of the city committee, replacing Victor Mendolia, another WGXC programmer. Mendolia, with the Democratic nod for Common Council President, will face off against DePietro and projected Republican candidate Claudia DeStefano on November 3.

Ryan Anglim reported in The Daily Mail the Catskill Town Board decided Fri., Jun. 12, to abolish three civil service code enforcement positions and privatize its code enforcement department. Pending the successful completion of contract negotiations, the duties and responsibilities of the department will be handed over to Santo Associates, a private agency based on Main Street in Catskill. The department specializes in building department services. The town board's decision left three people unemployed. According to Anglim, the action took "everyone by surprise," with the affected employees being notified at 10 a.m. the morning of the board's action. “We couldn’t pack up our stuff fast enough,” Code Enforcement employee Edward Ferratto said. “We had a couple hours and that was it. No warning, no notice.” Michael Richardson, a municipal consultant for the town, called the decision "more or less revenue neutral."

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced this week the discovery, Tue., Jun. 2, of the death of the oldest banded bald eagle in the nation to date. According to the bald eagle’s leg band number, it was 38 years old. Records indicate the bird was a nestling originally brought from northern Minnesota as part of New York’s Bald Eagle Restoration Program, one of only five young eagles raised and released at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in the second year of the program. The eagle was banded at a few months of age in Seneca Falls, Seneca County, in August of 1977. Once it reached breeding age in 1981, it began nesting at Hemlock Lake, now part of Hemlock-Canadice State Forest. It was found along the side of the road in Henrietta, Monroe County. It was believed to have been struck by a motor vehicle.
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