Weekend in review
Some of the stories that made the news from Fri., May 5, through Sat., May 7:
Robert Downen reported in the Times Union thousands of people throughout eastern New York were without power from Fri., May 5 into Sat., May 6, after high winds downed power lines throughout the region. More than 1,300 National Grid customers in Rensselaer County were left in the dark until late Saturday. Roughly 6,200 NYSEG customers in Columbia, Rensselaer and Washington counties lost power. Richard Moody reported in the Register-Star the town of Claverack was hardest hit in Columbia County, followed by Stuyvesant and Taghkanic. The weather front, which brought with it winds up to 50 m.p.h., caught even the National Weather Service by surprise.
Ariél Zangla reported in the Daily Freeman U.S. Rep. John Faso was invited to attend a health care town hall meeting Monday night in Kingston, but according to his spokesperson he will not be there. The “Save our Healthcare Town Hall” will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m., Mon., May 8, at the Senate Garage in Uptown Kingston. Faso spokesperson Courtney Weaver said the Kinderhook Republican is attending a senior forum earlier that same day in Kingston, but was already committed to another event in the evening, not the health care town hall. Rick Moody reported for Columbia-Greene Media Faso does not intend to hold any meetings with large groups of constituents during the current seven-day session break. "The congressman does not have any scheduled town halls next week. However, he will be meeting with individual and groups of constituents regarding various policy matters," Weaver said. While Faso, who represents New York's 19th Congressional District, is skipping the meeting on Monday night, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat of Cold Spring, said he would attend. Maloney represents the neighboring 18th Congressional District. In a tweet, Maloney wrote, “I’m headed to Kingston Monday night to do @RepJohnFaso’s town hall meeting. If he won’t do it, I will. Join me? #AdoptADistrict.”
Emilia Teasdale reported in The Columbia Paper the Chatham Village Board last week approved its $1.2 million budget for 2017-18. The village fiscal year runs from June 1 through May 31. “I feel it was a struggle to get to this point, but it’s a good budget,” said Mayor Tom Curran. The budget reflects reduced spending in most departments including police and public works. There was also a savings for retiree medical insurance. However, the fire department budget for next increased by 20 percent, to just over $179,000. And another increase budgeted was in the expenses associated with the upkeep and maintenance of the village hall building.
Mid-Hudson News Network reported the state Comptroller's Office has issued a report critical of the Tannersville Village Water Department. The audit found that village officials did not require staff to perform periodic reconciliations of water produced to water billed; the village’s water supply infrastructure has deteriorated, which limits the capacities of staff to adequately monitor water production and consumption; and the governing board has not created policies and procedures to ensure proper billing and collection of water rents.
The Times Union reported the bridge carrying Route 23 over the Schoharie Creek in Prattsville is being replaced, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office announced Fri., May 5. The span was damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011. The new bridge will be built downstream from the existing structure and be roughly four-and-a-half feet higher to allow for a wider opening under the bridge to prevent flooding. Cuomo's office said some work may begin this summer, with most of the work is expected to happen in 2018. The project is slated for completion in 2019. The $13 million Prattsville Bridge project also will include the replacement of the Route 23 bridge over Huntersfield Creek and the replacement of two culverts on Route 23 near Greene County Route 2.
Claire Hughes reported in the Times Union more than 3,300 New Yorkers have joined the register of medical marijuana users since late March, when the state added chronic pain to its list of conditions that qualify a person to receive the medicine. The total number of users statewide is more than 18,000, the state Health Department said Fri., May 5. There are also now 1,000 health providers registered to certify patients for the program. The Health Department has for the first time published a list of participating doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants willing to make their names public. Chronic pain is number 11 on the list of medical conditions that qualify New Yorkers to use marijuana for medical purposes.