Weekend in review
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Mar. 17, through Sun., Mar. 19:
Amanda Purcell reported for Columbia-Greene Media approximately 100 people attended the "I Stand with Planned Parenthood" rally in Hudson's town square Sat., Mar. 18. Speakers from Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, the Columbia County Democrats and the activist group Indivisible CD 19 urged that Columbia County residents bring pressure to bear on their congressional representatives in an effort to stop a proposed bill that would defund Planned Parenthood. Stripping the reproductive health services provider of funding would bring the closure of hundreds of Planned Parenthood centers across the U.S. and result in the loss of essential women's health services. Curran Streett, vice president for development at Planned Parenthood in Albany, told the crowd that since Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood opened its doors in 1980, 25,000 patients have been served. More than half of those people live below the federal poverty line and do not receive care at any other provider, she said. Street announced the health center is expanding its hours and services in Hudson. “But make no mistake. Our organization is at risk with a Congress and [a] president determined to shut our doors. We face some difficult years ahead,” Streett said.
Diane Valden reported in The Columbia Paper the Copake Town Board has voted to authorize Town Supervisor Jeff Mayer to enter into a stipulation agreement with Salvatore Cascino [kah-SHEE-no]. For nearly two decades, Cascino has run afoul of the law, violating federal, state and town statutes for illegal dumping, building and excavating at Copake Valley Farm, a 300-acre parcel he owns located along the east side of Route 22 in Copake. The pending settlement agreement relates only to Cascino's construction of three buildings in 2013. The square, flat-roofed, concrete-block structures were built and then expanded without benefit of building permits. The agreement, which has yet to be signed by the parties and approved by a judge, requires Cascino to pay the town $25,000 in civil penalty. He must also comply with town code and comply with the permitting process for the three structures. If he fails to comply with those requirements, he would then have to pay a $10,000 civil penalty for each violation. He must also reimburse the town for $3,500 in attorney's fees. Cascino has reneged on similar agreements in the past. The State Attorney General’s Office is currently engaged in court proceedings against Cascino for violating a 2012 consent order that prohibited him from dumping at Copake Valley Farm.
The Times Union reported on the rabies vaccination clinics scheduled to take place in Columbia county this year. A total of four will be held, beginning in April and ending in November. On April 15, in the Germantown Community Building on Palatine Road, cats and ferrets will be vaccinated beginning at 10 a.m.; dogs at 11 a.m. On August 8, a clinic will be held in the New Lebanon Town Garage on Route 22 and Old Post Road. Cats and ferrets are expected at 4 p.m.; dogs at 5 p.m. On October 4, a clinic will be held in Claverack Town Park in Mellenville, with cats and ferrets at 4 p.m.; dogs at 5 p.m. And the final clinic of the year will be held November 4 at Kinderhook Town Hall. Cats and ferrets at 2 p.m.; dogs at 3 p.m. Rabies information and the clinic schedule is available online at Columbia County NY [dot] com.
Rosa Acheson reported in the Register-Star 28 local business owners last week signed a letter of support for a resolution that affirms Hudson as a welcoming and inclusive city. Signatories include: Antigo, Carrie Haddad Gallery, Casa Urbana, Golden Grain, Hudson Clothier, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, Look, Moto Coffee Machine, Musica, Oak Pizzeria, Rev Cafe, Sideshow Vintage, Taste of the Caribbean, Valley Variety, Verdigris Tea and Chocolate Bar and William Farmer and Sons Boarding and Barroom. The sanctuary city resolution was introduced at the Common Council Informal Meeting, Mon., Mar. 13, and will be voted on Tuesday. The supporting letter was released Thu., Mar. 16, by members of the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement. "This is our way of building community with not only immigrants and allies, but with businesses that call Hudson home," movement organizer Gloria Martinez said. The pending resolution prohibits Hudson police from stopping, questioning, interrogating, investigating, arresting or detaining any individual based on their actual or suspected immigration status. The resolution also prohibits Hudson police from generally engaging, assisting or supporting immigration enforcement.
Daniel Zuckerman reported in The Daily Mail the village of Coxsackie, along with state Sen. George Amedore Jr., announced last week the village has been awarded a $100,000 state grant to extend its sidewalks. The project will continue sidewalks on Washington Avenue to connect to the JCB development area, Mayor Mark Evans said. The project will be begin in late summer, Evans said. "This is a wonderful opportunity and something...that should have been done many, many years ago," Evans said. Amedore praised the work of Evans and the village board of trustees and their understanding of the difficulties of running government services and staying within budgets. Coxsackie-Athens School District School Superintendent Randall Squier said, "It’s going to provide our kids safe passes to and from school," Squier said. "This is a walking community — there’s a lot of people out walking."
Chris McKenna reported at The Fray the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced last week it would bring no criminal charges in an investigation of complaints that aides to Mayor Bill de Blasio funneled large campaign donations through upstate Democratic committees in 2014. It was alleged the money was channeled in that way to support Democratic state Senate candidates and bypass limits on how much could be given to them directly. In a letter made public Thu., Mar. 16, D.A. Cyrus Vance wrote that the “transactions appear contrary to the spirit and intent” of the contribution limits, but that they would not result in criminal charges. One beneficiary of the process was former Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, a Democrat who represented the 46th state Senate District. Prosecutors found that the Ulster Democratic Committee was given four contributions totaling $364,000 in October 2014, and that the committee gave Tkaczyk’s campaign $330,000 eight days later. The senator, in turn, paid a political consultant $320,000 after she received the money. Vance concluded what occurred created an end run around the direct campaign contribution limits. NOTE: Tkaczyk is a former WGXC programmer.
Amanda Purcell reported in The Daily Mail Crossroads Brewery will open its new Catskill location, on Water Street, in July. The owners anticipate a Fourth of July weekend opening, co-owner Ken Landin said Fri., Mar. 17. Landin said, "Construction has been moving along. It is an old building and we gutted the whole thing down to the bones and started from scratch. This week’s weather is not helping much, but we’re battling through it." Landin and co-owner Janine Bennett's Athens brew house and restaurant opened in Oct. 2009. The new Catskill location will hold 10,000 barrels and will allow Crossroads to market and sell their beers out of state, Landin said. He said brewing at the Catskill location is expected to to begin sometime between June and July. Crossroads will create 22 jobs at the Catskill site within the next two years, all in the manufacturing, production, packaging and sales departments, Landin said. NOTE: Landin is an active WGXC programmer.