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Wednesday headlines

Mar 30, 2011 6:45 am
A calm, quiet ‘political force’
Colin DeVries of the Daily Mail writes about the death of Durham resident Elsie Allen, who lost a run for Greene County legislator in 2009 after a lifetime teaching in local schools. She had been expected by many to run again in November. Allan, 74, passed away on Sunday, March 27, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer, leaving behind a lasting legacy as a farmer, a teacher, a great grandmother, and chairwoman of the Durham Republican Committee.

Field, budget cause a stir
Budget cuts are the main educational issue of the day, but at the March 28 school board meeting in Hudson baseball teams, and which fields they played on, draw an angrier-than-usual crowd. Andrew Amelinckx reports in the Register-Star that a board decision to have its high school baseball team play on high school grounds instead of a Greenport Park was the main point of contention at a crowded, loud meeting. The team had played on the field four years ago when construction was underway at the high school, "opening a "Pandora's Box," according to Hudson School Board President Emil Meister. Talk of looming budget cuts, meanwhile, drew a large contingent of HCSD teachers, all wearing Hudson Teacher Association T-shirts, protesting the loss of at least 29 positions, if not more. There were also protests against PILOT deals made with local businesses. PILOT means Payments in Lieu of Taxes.

Zoning law final draft released; hearing in April
Doron Tyler Antrim of the Register-Star writes that the Cairo Zoning Commission has released its latest and likely final draft of the town’s proposed zoning law, which incorporates changes suggested through a public comment period that has lasted several months. The document is now available in the Town Clerk’s office and public library at 512 Main Street, as well as online at www.planningbetterplaces.com/cairo. A public hearing on the proposed law is expected by the end of April, although a date has yet to be set.

CEDC holds annual meeting
Francesca Olsen of the Register-Star reports on the Tuesday morning, March 29 breakfast meeting of the Columbia Economic Development Corporation at Kozel’s Restaurant in Ghent, where CEDC Executive Director Ken Flood highlighted some of the last year’s successes. These included CEDC’s Microbusiness program, which helped more than 20 business owners last year through education and loans to businesses, and larger projects still in limbo, such as the Greenport Commons hotel and entertainment complex now seeking permits. “All those businesses are either retaining or creating jobs,” said Flood. to a crowd of over 80.

SBA expands mortgage refinancing program
Barbara Pinckney of the Albany Business Journal reports that the U.S. Small Business Administration has expanded its temporary commercial mortgage refinancing program to businesses with loans maturing after Dec. 31, 2012. In February, the SBA opened up its 504 loan program, which typically is for businesses purchasing real estate, to those who needed to refinance commercial mortgages. SBA Administrator Karen Mills said the change, which will be published in the Federal Register by April 6, will allow more small businesses to secure stable, long-term financing and avoid potential foreclosure.

Bordick reveals possible tax hike

John Mason of the Chatham Courier reports that Ichabod Crane Central School District Superintendent Lee Bordick is recommending a tax hike of between 5.25 and 7.81 percent, along with the closing of two elementary schools. The total budget of $33,835,000 is down more than $3 million from this year’s appropriations, and was unanimously approved by the Kinderhook-based school board on Tuesday, March 29

Library house donation appears dead
Doron Tyler Antrim writes in the Daily Mail that a private proerty donation designed to cut costs for a new Cairo Library has been nixed by funding authorities at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The federal agency is providing a multi-million dollar loan and grant package to build the library and worried about the added cost of a building tear-down, which the town board also raised concerns about in a recent executive session. The problem? Possible asbestos...