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Weekend in review

Aug 17, 2015 12:02 am
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Aug. 14 through Sun., Aug. 16.

Audio version of this report: https://data.wavefarm.org/r/ey/3m/9h/WGXCNews_20150817.mp3

Several reports over the past week looked back at the search for escaped inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat, who eluded authorities for most of June after letting themselves out of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York. The Albany Business Review says the search cost $41 million in overtime at the Corrections Department, and $17.6 million for the New York State Police. The million-a-day cost was close to cost estimates announced during the search. The New York Times reported that, "For days after the June prison break, corrections officers carried out what seemed like a campaign of retribution against dozens of Clinton inmates, particularly those on the honor block.... In letters reviewed by The Times, as well as prison interviews, inmates described a strikingly similar catalog of abuses, including being beaten while handcuffed, choked, and slammed against cell bars and walls."

Locally, The Albany Times-Union reported that a state appeals court increased the financial damages Rensselaer County must pay to a former female jail sergeant, a sexual harassment victim by a group of male officers at the facility. Former sergeant Lora Abbott Seabury gets $3 million, including a lump sum of up to $1.46 million from Rensselaer County for the state pension she would have received if she had stayed on the job, plus $580,995 in lost wages. A clique of jail officers known as the "Boys Club" harassed her, and sheriff's officials at the jail engaged in "deliberate inaction" about the harassment, a court previously ruled.

In Kinderhook, the Register-Star reported on who the Republican and Democratic parties nominated for town of Kinderhook elections in November. The Kinderhook Republican caucus nominated current Kinderhook Supervisor, and Chairman of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, Patrick Grattan for a fourth term in office, plus incumbent Town Board members Deb Simonsmeier and Tim Ooms, Town Clerk Kim Pinkowski, and Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka. Democrats nominated Matthew Nelson for town supervisor, and Marcia Anderson and Jeffrey Ouilette for the Town Board. Pinkowski was nominated also nominated by the Democrats, along with Tax Collector Deidra Curtis, Town Justice David A. Dellehunt, and Ken Golden, for county district attorney. Read the full story in the Register-Star.

In Columbia County, John Mason reported in the Register-Star, officials are going to lease vehicles, rather than buying them, in hopes of saving $325,000 over 10 years. The county Board of Supervisors voted Aug. 12 to authorize a contract with Enterprise Fleet Management, leasing vehicles for no more than five years with the option to buy the remaining equity. Currently, Columbia County owns 124 cars but will get 24 new cars this year from Enterprise, which will take 24 of the county’s older cars and sell them.

Bert More in The Mountain Journal reports that the Delaware County Fair will allow vendors to sell items with the Confederate flag on them Aug. 17-22, after the New York State Fair and many other governments and private groups have pulled the Stars and Bars from circulation. The Delaware County Fair’s board said no to a ban, with one director saying in a public meeting, “the more flags the better.” President Ed Rossley told the paper, “We had signed contracts, legal contracts, with our vendors. We believe that the vendors have to honor their end of the contract and we have to honor our end. In all the years I have attended the fair, I have not seen one vendor selling the Confederate flag. Yes, there are belt buckles and tie clasps that have an image of the flag on them. I have seen those at the fair. But, we signed contracts before all of this took place. We will honor those contracts and hope that those who attend the fair realize we are not taking a stance on the Confederate flag. If there is a real problem, that problem will be addressed. We will also see how the fair goes and if we have to make a change, we will do so for next year’s fair."
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