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Weekend in review

Oct 31, 2016 3:45 am
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Oct. 28 through Oct. 30:

Katie Kocijanski reported in the Register-Star Hudson residents will vote on whether the city’s weighted-vote system should be eliminated, Tue., Nov. 8. The group, Fair and Equal, is spearheading the effort, which will cause the boundaries of the city's five wards to be redrawn, making them virtually equal in population. Each of Hudson's five wards is represented by two aldermen on the Hudson Common Council. At its July 19 meeting, the council rejected the revised ward boundary map. Former Common Council President and current Third Ward Supervisor Don Moore supports the change. "I firmly believe the city would be better served if each alderman on the Common Council had one, equal vote," Moore said. A similar proposition put forward in 2003 was defeated by 68 votes.

Rick Karlin reported at Capitol Confidential two Democratic lawmakers have announced their intention to offer legislation that would legalize ballot selfies. The state's existing ban has sparked a lawsuit by three Manhattan voters. Assembly member Linda Rosenthan and state Senator Brad Hoylman, both of Manhattan, believe the measure could "help combat apathy and low voter turnout." The prohibition against displaying a marked ballot was instituted decades ago in an effort to deter vote buying.

Emilia Teasdale reported in The Columbia Paper the Kinderhook Town Board is considering a request from the residents of Wildflower Road to pave the private road. The road is currently maintained by the residents. If the town board decides to have it paved at the homeowners’ expense, the town would then plow and maintain Wildflower Road. Andy Howard, the town attorney, advised the board to send the petition back to the residents so a dollar amount for the paving costs could be added. Howard said the board did not want to present the road residents with a price that was so high it would worry them, or so low that it would not meet the needs of the job.

Paul Kirby reported in the Daily Freeman Cooper Lake, Kingston’s main reservoir, is 70 percent full, a loss of five percent since Oct. 13, according to the city water department. The average for this time of year is roughly 85 percent. City Water Superintendent Judith Hansen said the reservoir currently contains about 840 million gallons of water. Its maximum capacity is 1.2 billion gallons. The information comes just two weeks after the city issued a "drought alert," which urged voluntary water conservation. Officials say water users did not heed the call to conserve. “Sadly, since declaring the drought alert ... demand in the city has increased by ... 150,000 gallons per day," Hansen said. If the lake reaches 50 percent capacity, a "drought emergency" could be put in place and involve mandatory water-use restrictions for all residents and businesses.

Roger Hannigan Gilson reported in the Register-Star the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center and Showing up for Racial Justice have announced they are working together to launch a program that will provide court advocates for youth navigating the criminal justice system. The Community Justice Advocacy program would back restorative justice over incarceration or long-term probation. Restorative justice is a policy of rehabilitating offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community. Trained advocates would monitor arrests and court records, and interview those charged or incarcerated, as well as members of the community. Brianna Pope, program coordinator for the Staley B. Keith organization, said, "We’re seen how…former advocacy has made a difference, and the benefits of growing stronger as a community are there."

Marie J. French reported at Politico New York people who once attended school in Newburgh, and non-residents who still work in the Orange County city may soon join city residents being tested for chemical contamination from drinking the city's water. Dr. Nathan Graber, director of the state Department of Health's Center for Environmental Health said city residents remain the priority, however. “We want to try to make sure we get people who have the highest degree of exposure, which in the city of Newburgh is going to be the residents,” Graber said. Prior to a public meeting Tue., Oct. 25, only 300 residents had signed up for blood testing. Graber said approximately 200 more people signed up by the end of the night and the department has received more inquiries since then. He said if the department hits capacity for the number of blood tests it can conduct, help from federal partners will be sought. Newburgh is a city of 30,000 predominantly black and Hispanic or Latino people and nearly half the residents speak a language other than English at home. The city's municipal water supply has tested at twice the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended safety level for PFOS. The chemical has been linked to liver and kidney problems, as well as immune system issues. The health department is also conducting door-to-door outreach in the parts of Kingston and the neighboring town of New Windsor where residents have private wells. Graber said 32 private wells have been tested in New Windsor to date. Of those, 12 tests detected PFOS or related compounds, but all were below federal health advisory levels.

Greg Hudson reported in The Daily Mail the Greene County Democratic Committee opened a campaign office on Main Street in Catskill this weekend. The office will provide space for congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout and state Senate candidate Sara Niccoli's campaign staff and volunteers in the final week leading up to the Nov. 8 general election. The location was one of three opened by the Democrats in Greene, Schoharie and Delaware counties, Sat., Oct. 29. “I think Greene County and Catskill are incredibly important. Our opponents may have money and television ads, but we’re here to meet face to face with voters to talk about the issues,” said Izzy Goodman, a representative of the Sierra Club working with Teachout's campaign. The office will be used as a regional base for volunteers doing door-to-door canvassing, and for phone banking.

The Daily Freeman has a rundown of Halloween curfews in local communities:

Ulster County
Esopus: 7 p.m. for all ages.
Ellenville: 8:30 p.m. on Sunday and Monday for ages 18 and under.
Hurley: 7:30 p.m. for ages 15 and under.
Kingston (city): 8 p.m. for ages 15 and under.
Kingston (town): 8 p.m. for ages 17 and under.
Saugerties (town and village): 8 p.m. for ages 17 and under.
Shandaken: 9 p.m. for ages 18 and under.

Northern Dutchess County
Red Hook (town and village): No curfew.
Rhinebeck (town): 8 p.m. for children under 10, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian; 11 p.m, for children ages 17 and under, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Rhinebeck (village): No curfew.
Tivoli: No curfew.

Greene County
Catskill (town): 9 p.m. for ages 16 and under.
Catskill (village): 8 p.m. for ages 18 and under.
Hunter (town): 6 p.m. for ages 18 and under.
Hunter (village): 8 p.m. for ages 21 and under.
Tannersville: 6 p.m. for ages 17 and under.

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