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Tuesday headlines

Apr 26, 2011 2:33 am
Taconic Hills budget doesn't say how many jobs might go
Debora Gilbert in The Columbia Paper reports that while the Taconic Hills School Board's budget plan has a modest 2.78 percent increase in the tax levy, officials so far do not know how many jobs will be cut. "Two-thirds of the budget goes to pay salaries and benefits, but it remains to be seen whether the teachers' union, now in contract negotiations, will make any concessions like a salary freeze or larger contributions to the union's healthcare plan. One board member said collective bargaining is not going well, and the head of the support staff union said that unit could not get the superintendent to sit down and talk with union negotiators," Gilbert writes, quoting school officials but no union representatives. She does cite David Luck, a parent from Ghent who suggested at the April 13 meeting of the board that District Superintendent Mark Sposato take a 20 percent cut to his $187,000 salary. In the Albany Times-Union, Scott Waldman writes that, "200 of 700 school districts statewide have negotiated concessions, although some of those talks did not go anywhere, according to New York State United Teachers."

Greene jail population soars as US figures drop
Colin DeVries in The Daily Mail digs into data from a report released earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. The Greene County Jail in Catskill had an average daily jail inmate population in 2010 of 78 with the highest daily count being 94. That increased by 12 inmates from 2009. In 2008, the average was 62 inmates. In 2010, 914 inmates were received, up 59 from a year earlier and 106 more than in 2008. "The New York State Commissions of Corrections restricts capacity of local jails to 80 percent, according to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, meaning there couldn’t be more than 45 inmates per day housed in Greene County Jail. The average number of inmates housing in the jail per day in 2010 was 51.5," DeVries reports. "Fees to board out Greene County inmates ranges from $75 to about $125 depending on the county." Read the full story in The Daily Mail.

Docks blindside HFD
John Mason reports in the Register-Star that Hudson's expanded tour boat dock now under construction on the Hudson River abuts the city Fire Department's docks, which might have to be removed. At Monday night's Police Committee meeting, the issue came up. "The Hudson Powerboat Association owns the line of docks north of the tour boat docks," Mason wrote. "The HFD, Greenport Rescue Squad and Columbia County Sheriff’s Office all use the three HPBA docks closest to Hudson’s docks." First Assistant Fire Chief Craig Haigh said the construction makes it difficult for HFD boats to maneuver, dock, or embark and Fire Chief Robert Pulver Jr., said they will have to sit down with all involved to resolve the problem. Read the entire story in the Register-Star.

Exotic animals lost in fire
Doron Tyler Antrim reports in The Daily Mail that a fire destroyed a reptile enclosure at Bailiwick Ranch and Discovery Zoo in Catskill Monday evening, killing baby chicks, ducks, a couple of small turtles and a snake. Kiskatom Volunteer firefighters doused the fire, Antrim reports was blamed on an electrical unit for heat lamps. The riding ranch became a zoo in 2006, shortly after the closing of the nearby Catskill Game Farm. The entire story is in The Daily Mail.

Capital Region patent applications even
Hoffman Warnick LLC (HW), an intellectual property law firm based in Albany, NY, announced its Tech Valley Patent Indices for First Quarter 2011, tracking the number of patent applications from technology firms in Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga and Rensselaer counties including IBM and GE as an indicator of the area's economic health. In the first quarter, "the Tech Valley Patent Index was up again compared to last quarter, while the Capital Region numbers were down slightly" Hoffman Warnick's Spencer Warnick said. "I don't believe the slightly lower numbers are anything to worry about for the Capital Region. Most likely a mild beginning of the year slow down within the US Patent and Trademark Office."

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