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Weekend in review

Aug 08, 2016 5:00 am
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Aug. 5 through Sun., Aug. 7:

Katie Kocijanski reported in The Daily Mail West Bridge Street in Catskill will be closed westbound for construction beginning Mon., Aug. 8, and for the rest of the month, according to Village President Heather Bagshaw. The road will be closed from Division Street to the intersection of Route 9W. The road will be open for drivers traveling east, or down the hill into the village, according to the paper. "Walnut Street will have access from Division Street. When drainage work is being done at the corner of Walnut Street and West Bridge Street, the DOT will close Walnut Street until the work is finished," the paper reported. Bagshaw is encouraging motorists to use Route 9W as alternate route during the construction project.

John Mason reported in the Register-Star on the impact of detours on businesses in Columbia County. Lucas Cohen of New York Golf Park on Route 9H, just north of Bell's Pond, is having rough summer as a result of the replacement of the 9H bridge over Taghkanic Creek. The detour devised for the bridge project diverts all southbound traffic, so the road that passes in front of Cohen's business is just not being used. Cohen said business is so bad, he is having trouble sleeping. “I’m spending my credit cards to pay my bills,” he said. The fruit and vegetable stand at Bryant Farms has closed down for the year as a result of the detour. Owners Scott and Theresa DeLaurentis fought against the detour, calling on Sen. Charles Schumer, and attending public meetings, but in the end they were unable to get anywhere. During the first weekend after the detour was in place the farm stand netted $50, so DeLaurentis shut down operations and donated all the farm's flowering plants to Brookwood Secure Center. Department of Transportation spokesperson Gina DiSaro said the department tries to consider local communities. “We try to accommodate them as much as we can. But we still have to maintain our roads and bridges," she said. DeLaurentis said if he can pay his mortgage, he will be open next year. The construction is scheduled to continue until mid- to late November.

Matthew Hamilton reported at Capitol Confidential a Staten Island Assembly member wants to make it a hate crime to assault a police officer. Republican Ron Castorina last week said that he will introduce the “Blue Lives Matter” bill, which would increase penalties for assaulting any police officer statewide by adding a hate crime to the charges. The bill’s name refers to the national Blue Lives Matter movement, which is supportive of police. In May, Louisiana lawmakers extended hate-crime protections to law enforcement and first responders. Under New York state law, hate crimes are defined as acts against a person because of their race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation.

Debby Mayer reported in The Columbia Paper the Germantown Town Board created and filled a Comprehensive Plan Review Committee and a Waterfront Revitalization Committee at its meeting July 26. The Comprehensive Plan Review Committee is expected to start work after Labor Day. The town is working with the state Department of State to finalize the contract for a $15,000 matching grant, so the Local Waterfront Revitalization Committee may have its start time delayed a bit, as well. In other business, the board unanimously approved a Climate Change Resolution.

Dan Goldberg reported at Politico New York the Cuomo administration on Fri., Aug. 5, announced that health insurance rates for individual plans would increase by nearly 17 percent, and a little more than 8 percent for small group plans. The decision makes for the largest individual market hike since the Affordable Care Act began in 2014. The new rates take effect in January. Open enrollment on the state’s exchange begins Nov. 1. The approved increases are approximately 25 percent less than what insurers asked for, according to data released by the state Department of Financial Services.

Greg Hudson reported in The Daily Mail Cairo-Durham Middle School has a new principal. Michael Mitchell has been on the job now for a week, and is "...excited to be joining a team of administrators and teachers who are so passionate and enthusiastic about education.” Before joining Cairo-Durham, Mitchell was a principal with the Berkshire Union Free School District in Columbia County. Mitchell said with the support and assistance of school staff, he hopes to build a strong team to create a positive and engaging academic environment at the middle school.

Wendy Liberatore reported in the Times Union Zoom Flume Water Park in East Durham fired a casting company Fri., Aug. 5, after a planned casting call for an upcoming commercial shoot was deemed racially prejudiced. In a casting call posted on the Hudson Valley Film Commission Facebook page New Paltz-based Cocca Casting called for "two well-groomed Caucasian families" to be featured in the campaign. Denise Kerrigan, owner of the water park, said the call was cancelled as soon as she saw the Facebook post, and Cocca Casting was then fired. Kerrigan said, "I totally disavow that post. We had absolutely nothing to do with it. We did not authorize this." The posting caused outrage that led more than one person commenting that they would never return to Zoom Flume. One family asked they be refunded for their season pass.

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