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Weekend in review

Jan 27, 2014 6:57 am
Some of the stories that made the news Jan. 24 to Jan. 27:

Cairo-Durham Central School District Superintendent Mary Fassett addressed the public at a meeting of the full Board of Education, Thurs., Jan. 23 on the subject of the district's Facilities Usage Survey. Fassett said the focus of the survey is still in process and promised the process will be lawful and transparent. She made no reference to the possible closure of the former Durham Elementary School. Rumors have circulated in the past weeks that plans are underway to close the school after portions of a December 2013 report were posted on Facebook. During her remarks Thursday night, Fassett acknowledged the presence of Town Supervisor William A. Carr at the meeting. At a Durham Town Board meeting earlier in the week, Carr expressed concerns about the impact the school closure would have on the town. PLAY (1:48) A recording of the full Board of Education meeting is available online at wgxc.org/archives.

James Odato reported at Capitol Confidential state senators Liz Krueger and Cecilia Tkaczyk Thurs., Jan. 23, introduced legislation that would require communities to approve of a casino in their midst. The bill provides for home-rule rights of municipalities and goes beyond requirements negotiated last year between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the Legislature. The bill would require that local support for the siting of a casino in a specific municipality be demonstrated through the passage of a local law or resolution in support of the siting.

Joe Gentile reported in the Register Star the $9 million renovation of the Columbia County Courthouse is near completion. Construction on the courthouse's interior is expected to be finished by March 31. The weather has delayed exterior improvements, such as landscaping until April or May, according to Public Works Commissioner David Robinson. Hard construction costs now stand at nearly $8.2 million. Robinson said overall the projects is $50,000 under budget at present.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="229"] State Sen. John J. Flanagan, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee
(Courtesy nysenate.gov)[/caption]

Rick Karlin reported in the Times Union state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. was called before the Senate Education Committee, Thurs., Jan. 23, over the rollout of Common Core standardized tests. Committee members told King if he did not slow or delay implementation of some of the testing lawmakers may have to come up with a legislative solution. King said he will try to respond to the concerns, but said he does not want to abandon the program. He said the exams provide valuable input into how teachers and students perform, and in some cases they are federally mandated.

Kyle Adams is reporting in The Daily Mail the Heart of Catskill Association’s eighth annual “Cat’n Around Catskill” kicked off Sun., Jan. 26, with its artist and sponsor reception at the Washington Irving Senior Center in Catskill. The walls of the senior center were covered with 84 original designs for the fiberglass cat statues that will go out on the streets on Memorial Day, and eventually be sold at a fundraising auction the last weekend in September. Sponsors have until Feb. 15 to pick a cat.