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Weekend in review

Nov 02, 2015 12:02 am
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Oct. 30 to Sun., Nov. 1

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="214"] The Wayside Inn
(From the Wayside Inn Facebook page.)[/caption]

The Daily Freeman reported a nearly 200-year-old landmark building on state Route 81 in Oak Hill was lost when the Wayside Country Inn burned Fri., Oct. 30. East Durham Volunteer Chief Connie Whitbeck said a burst propane line may have caused the fire. The inn’s Facebook page says the structure, “was built in about 1821 and has been a tavern, hotel and carriage house.” It was once called Carter’s Hotel in the early 1900s and The Knotty Pine Tavern from the 1940s until 1990.

The Catskill Teachers Association reported Fri., Oct. 30, on its Facebook page that Catskill school district superintendent Kathleen Farrell was placed on administrative leave Friday. The news was greeted by five "likes," but no comments were posted. On Sat., Oct. 31 Farrell declined to comment when contacted by The Daily Mail. Board of education president Andrew Jones likewise declined comment. Holmes quotes Jones as saying, "The only person that can talk on this is me because I'm the board president. Nobody else should be called from the school board." In a follow-up story late Sunday, Kate Seckinger reported the board is expected to appoint former Catskill High School principal Annemarie Barkman to replace Farrell in the district's top spot, Mon., Nov. 2, this according to CTA president Robert Stinson. He said Barkman's appointment has the support of the teacher's union. Stinson said, "...If nothing else, she [Barkman] can give us some confident leadership while we do a thorough search for a replacement.” Stinson also said the board reached out to the union about its decision to remove Farrell last week, although he claimed to be unaware of when the board vote was taken. He said the CTA "absolutely" supports the decision. A detailed statement is expected to be released Monday.

John Mason reported in the Register-Star the Hudson Common Council Diversity Subcommittee is looking into the possibility of having halal foods served in the Hudson City School District. “Halal” refers to foods that are permitted under Islamic law. Foods that are not halal include pork and its byproducts, animals not slaughtered according to the Islamic method, carnivorous animals and more. Alderwoman Alexis Keith said at a recent meeting of the committee that some students go the whole day without food because of the lack of halal offerings. The school district’s Food Service Director Catherine Drumm said the district is trying to meet the needs of its diverse population, and is making to plans to expand its menu. The Diversity Subcommittee intends to meet with superintendent Maria Suttmeier to determine how many Muslim students are enrolled in the district before it can then estimate the cost of adding halal items to the food service offerings.

Charlie Holmes reported in The Daily Mail U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson kicked off the annual Greene County Republican Dinner Fri., Oct. 30, offering a report on his recent activities in Washington. The Kinderhook Republican talked additional resources for the military, ways to grow the economy, the country's infrastructure and shared his objections to the Common Core standards. Gibson is serving his third and final two-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He announced in January he will leave Congress at the end of 2016 and possibly run for statewide office two years later.

Jim Planck reported in the Windham Journal the members of CSEA Local 7000 said no last week to a proposed settlement contract offered by Greene County, which was approved unanimously by the union's own negotiating team. County workers voted overwhelmingly against the agreement; a total of 237 members were eligible to vote. The union has been working without a contract for three years, and the proposal would not have offset the lack of raises during that period, said county employee Christopher VanKuren. VanKuren also said the proposal included a costly health benefits change that would have created an additional financial burden for employees. VanKuren said, “This [vote] sends a strong message to the county administrator and the Greene County legislative body.” VanKuren said that while the rank and file have not received a raise since 2009, the county administrator's salary has increased an average of 6.5 percent each year, from compensation of more than $99,000 in 2007, to $132,000 in 2012. He said the sheriff and county clerk each received a $10,000 wage increase last year, and the county treasurer received a salary hike of $20,000. And, he said, county legislators are planning to give themselves a $3,000 annual raise beginning in January. Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden said Thu., Oct. 29, he is unclear why the proposal was voted down, since the union’s negotiating committee supported it. Groden said, “I’m disappointed. I don’t know how the negotiating team can unanimously approve it, and then have the membership turn it down by such a wide margin.”

Scott Waldman reported at Politico New York the state is revising its sea level projections. By the year 2100, the state Department of Environmental Conservation predicts an increase in sea level of at least 15 inches in the New York City and Lower Hudson Valley area. The model shows the sea could rise by as much as six feet. Such a rise could have a devastating affect on certain parts of the city, as well as parts of Long Island and communities along the Hudson River. The projections are based on peer-reviewed research by scientists at Columbia University, Cornell University and Hunter College.
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