Weekend in review
Some of the stories that made the news between Fri., May 26 and Mon., May 29:
Diane Valden reported in The Columbia Paper Columbia County Acting Supreme Court Judge Jonathan Nichols ruled May 18 that Salvatore Cascino remain in jail for not cleaning up his Copake property. He has been in jail for more than 270 days for his failure to obey the court's order to remove more than 9,600 cubic yards of illegally dumped solid waste from the 300-acre Copake Valley Farms property. After attorneys proved to the judge's satisfaction that the material had not been removed, Nichols ruled Cascino stay behind bars, at least until an August 9 hearing. Cascino has battled local officials for 19 years over violations of federal, state and town laws for illegal dumping, building and excavating on his property, located on Route 22 in Copake.
WNYT 13 in Albany reported authorities are investigating a possible arson in the town of Cairo. Fire officials were called to Grandview Road, off Route 23, around 3 a.m., Sun., May 28. The alarm was called in as a brush fire, but arriving firefighters found something much different. A small building was on fire, and with power lines across the roadway they were unable to get the fire trucks in. Cairo Fire Department Chief Raymond Feml said 20 minutes after they arrived a second structure went up in flames within minutes. The buildings were part of an old, vacant resort. Both structures burned to the ground. The state police are now investigating.
The Chatham Courier reported that for the fifth year in a row, the Chatham Central School District music program has been designated one of the Best Communities for Music Education nationwide by The NAMM Foundation. The designation is given to schools that demonstrate outstanding achievements in their efforts to provide access to music, and comprehensive music instruction to all students. Chatham offers band, orchestra and choral programs at all grade levels, from elementary through high school. The program enjoys a high level of student participation, as well as support from parent and community groups, including the Chatham Fine Arts Booster Club, Chatham Alumni Association, and Chatham Education Foundation.
The Associated Press reported beginning June 7, New York college students can apply for the state's free tuition plan. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation Board of Trustees approved Excelsior Scholarship regulations last week. The program covers tuition at state universities for full-time, in-state students whose families early $125,000 a year, or less. Students must pay out of pocket for room, board and other expenses.
Amanda Purcell reported in the Register-Star Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Harlemville has closed its doors. The historic church, which served as a house of worship for 147 years, held its last worship service Sat., May 27. The congregation was formed as a German-speaking parish in 1870, by a group that left St. John's German Lutheran Church in Ghent. The Rev. David Vogel, of Delmar, was the last, official pastor of the congregation until he died March 25 at the age of 91. Parishioner Carole Bergen said the congregation has decreased to five members. “The youngest member is 65 and the oldest is 95,” said Bergen, who has been a member of the church for 24 years. The future of the building is uncertain, she said.
The Daily Freeman reported the Clermont State Historic Site will celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York state with “Woman on a Wheel,” a history ride program, June 17. Guest historian Kjirsten Gustavson will visit the site that morning wearing her reproduction 1890s bicycle costume to talk about the impact of the bicycle on women’s social status in the years before the vote. In the late 1890s, bicycles changed the popular notion of what American femininity could be. The discussion will be followed by a five-mile bike trip on the site’s wooded trails.
William J. Kemble reported in the Daily Freeman U.S. Rep John Lewis on Sat., May 27, told Bard College graduates they have a lot work to do if they want to help reshape a nation where it is easier to talk with chickens on a farm than elected officials in the nation’s capital. Lewis, 77, spoke to a graduating class of 576 students and approximately 2,000 friends and family members. Speaking about the lessons learned as a young man growing up in rural Alabama, Lewis talked about preaching to chickens in preparation for becoming a minister. “...I’m convinced that some of those chickens that I preached to in the 40s and the 50s came in to listen to me much better than some of my some of my colleagues listen to me today in the Congress.” The Georgia Democrat has served in Congress for more than 30 years, has been honored with the Medal of Freedom, the Lincoln Medal from the historic Ford’s Theatre, and the National Education Association Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award. He is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and is the Ranking Member of the Oversight Sub-committee.
The Times Union reported authorities said Fri., May 27, test results show the skull found by a hiker in the wetlands along the Hudson River in February belonged to a man 20 to 50 years old, and not that of a missing 12-year-old upstate boy who disappeared 10 years ago. The skull was found in a swamp in Coxsackie. The discovery led to speculation that it belonged to Jaliek (juh-LEEK) Rainwalker, who disappeared from his home in Greenwich, Washington County, in November 2007. Police investigators will use DNA testing to determine if the remains match an open missing persons case.
Amanda Purcell reported in The Daily Mail Catskill village officials decided last week to revoke New Jersey-based NRG Home Solar's permit to promote their services in the village. Officials in the village of Coxsackie previously took similar action. The step was taken in Catskill after village trustees and Police Chief David Darling said they received complaints from residents who claim company representatives made false claims about who they represent. Darling said NRG representatives told him and others they were working for Central Hudson Gas and Electric. Village trustee Jim Chewens said some of the NRG representatives were very aggressive with residents, as well. An NRG spokesman said in an email to The Daily Mail the company is reviewing what took place "...and fully respect the town board's decision."