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Weekend in review

Mar 17, 2014 6:59 am
Some of the stories that made the news, Mar. 14 to Mar. 17:

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="239"] The Historic Blue Stores Restaurant

The Times Union reported New York State Police said they will continue to investigate the fire that destroyed the 200-year-old Historic Blue Store Restaurant in Livingston early Sat., Mar. 15. Firefighters responded to the intersection of Route 9 and county Route 31 at about 1:45 a.m. State and county agencies and 18 other fire departments also responded. Officials requested the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation's aid because of the size of the structure, the significant damage and monetary loss involved. The cause of the fire has not been determined. No one was injured in the blaze.

State Senator Kathleen Marchione's office is currently soliciting nominations for her "Women of Distinction" program. The program recognizes, celebrates and honors the accomplishments of local women, according to a statement released by Marchione, Thurs., Mar. 13. Women living in the 43rd Senate District, which includes all of Columbia County, and parts of Saratoga, Rensselaer and Washington counties, are eligible. Nominations must be submitted no later than Mon., Mar. 24. One nominee will be selected by the senator and her special advisory panel to be part of the Senate's statewide Women of Distinction program and honored during a public ceremony in May. Marchione's 2013 local honorees included Valatie resident and former Columbia Memorial CEO Jane Ehrlich, Columbia County Deputy Sheriff­ Wendy Guntert of Hillsdale, Shirley McThenia, Stuyvesant resident and retired Ichabod Crane Central School District support staff substitute, and retired Sage College School of Education professor Julia Johnson Rothenberg of Canaan. Nomination information is available at 455-2381, or Marchione [at] NYSenate [dot] gov.

The New York State Comptroller's Officer Fri., Mar. 14, released an audit of the Hudson City School District. The audit examined the district's controls over grant administration between July 2011 and May 2013. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's staff found found the district expended more than $79,000 on grant-related expenditures that either were not approved, not properly supported or not expended for legitimate grant purposes. Auditors found grant expenditures reported to the State Education Department lacked sufficient supporting documentation to substantiate employee benefits and salaries. Comptroller audits of the district in the past have uncovered a variety of fiscal issues in the district, including a failure to claim eligible special education services during the 2008-09 school year, and the gross mismanagement of a student mentoring grant, which led to a 2007 criminal investigation.

National Sunshine Week kicked off Sun., Mar. 16. Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know. The Florida Society of Newspaper Editors launched Sunshine Sunday in 2002 in response to efforts by some Florida legislators to create scores of new exemptions to the state’s public records law. Though created by journalists, Sunshine Week is about the public’s right to know what its government is doing, and why. As part of Sunshine Week, the Empire Center for Public Policy, an Albany-based conservative-leaning think tank, is offering a webinar and various public outreach activities centered on its government transparency website SeeThroughNY [dot] net.

The Daily Freeman reported the Greene County Department of Human Services will hold its Fourth Annual Senior Citizens Day at Catskill Point May 15. The event is devoted to senior citizens in Greene County and their accomplishments. Vendors will be on hand to display services and items of interest to seniors, and aging services representatives will be available with information about the services the county has available for residents over the age of 60. The event also will feature recognition of the 2014 Senior Citizen of the Year and Outstanding Contribution by a Senior Citizen award winners and fellow nominees.