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Tuesday headlines

Jul 26, 2011 12:15 am
Three charged with breaking ash tree quarantine
Brian Nearing in the Albany Times-Union reports that Jeff Meltz, vice president of Meltz Lumber Company in Hudson; Forest Mayer, president of Forest Mayer Log & Timber Co. in Bennington, Vt.; and Paul Kelly from Paul Kelly Trucking in Catskill, have been charged with violating a quarantine on ash trees, shipping the timber out of Greene County this spring. Emerald Ash Borers, a Chinese beetle, have been killing off New York's ash tree population, and have been recently found in Greene County. "The alleged violations happened at least eight times during February, March and April, when quarantined wood was shipped to Rensselaer and Columbia counties, according to DEC," Nearing reports. The three business owners face up to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which is trying to slow the bugs devastation, since they arrived in western New York in 2009. Ten percent of New York's trees are ash trees. The three men will be arraigned on Aug. 18 in Catskill Town Court. Read the full story in the Times-Union.

School officials fault lack of response from union
Debora Gilbert in The Columbia Paper reports that Superintendent Jack Howe and Board member Peter Meyer complained bitterly about the teachers union's deliberate delay tactics, at the regular Hudson school board meeting last week. Howe brought up the Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law. "The amendment allows employees to receive automatic salary increases during the bargaining, a condition that critics say removes incentives for speedy contract negotiations," Gilbert writes. The district's contract with the Hudson Teachers Association expired four months ago, and Howe says the bargaining unit did not answer the last two e-mails from the board seeking to schedule a bargaining session. "Now those discussions won't take place until October," Gilbert reports. "The union… should be taken to task -- if not to court -- for their disrespect of the law and taxpayers of this district," Board member Meyer said. :A member of the teachers' bargaining unit attended the meeting but did not comment on the status of the contract or on Meyer's statement," Gilbert writes. Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.

DCCC robos Gibson over deficit ceiling
Jimmy Vielkind in Capitol Confidential reports the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching robocalls against Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, beginning today, Tue., July 26, over his vote for the Republican budget bill last week. "The audio says Gibson and House Speaker John Boehner “would rather our country default just to protect tax breaks for big oil companies and billionaire jet owners.” It also predicts interest rates and gas prices will rise if a deal is not worked out," Vielkind writes. The Congressman's spokesperson released this statement: "Congressman Gibson supports a negotiated solution that averts the current crisis and responds to what the credit rating agencies say we need to prevent a downgrade – a credible plan to reduce our deficits." The "Rebuild the Dream" group is holding protests around the country at noon, Tue. July 26, including at Gibson's Kinderhook office. Read the full story in Capitol Confidential.
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