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Weekend in review

Aug 29, 2016 5:59 am
Some of the stories that made the headlines Fri., Aug. 26 through Sun., Aug. 28:

Deanna Fox reported in the Times-Union Golden Harvest Farms in Valatie honored long-time employee John Henry his weekend. Henry came to the area from Jamaica in the 1970s. The farm has designated August 27 as John Henry Day, honoring his work creating cider doughnuts. "Now they call me the doughnut king," he said. "I've become widely known at Golden Harvest after all these years." Henry now also works as a liaison for migrant workers who work on the farm annually as part of the H-2A program.

Daniel Zuckerman reported in The Daily Mail after 49 years, The Bottle Shop, located on Main Street in the village of Catskill, is closing its doors on August 31. After the shop closes the building will be put up for sale. Shop owner Gabriella Varga said the cost to maintain the The Bottle Shop and the building are high, and more than what they are earning in revenue. The cost of doing business, plus an illness in the family were the major factors in the decision to close the shop and sell the building, Varga said. Varga's business is not the only one to disappear from the village. Vogel's Jewelry, which was located adjacent to the municipal parking lot on Main Street, closed in early August. Varga said, “We need to have regular businesses on Main Street. Art galleries are wonderful, but you need people who need a reason to come and shop, not just to look.” Varga thanked her regular customers and the wider community for their patronage over the years. She said it was an honor to be part of Main Street. Varga said, “I want to thank everyone who’s shopped with us. I’m going to miss everybody.”

Rick Karlin reported at Capitol Confidential Environmental Advocates Thu., Aug. 25, released its annual scorecard for lawmakers based on their voting records on environmental issues. Locally, State Senators Kathy Marchione and George Amedore both scored a 57 out of 100, up from a score of 44 last year. In the Assembly, Democrat Didi Barrett scored highest locally, with a 92, up from 87 in 2015. Republicans Pete Lopez and Steve McLaughlin both scored a 70 this year -- Lopez was up from 67, but McLaughlin dropped from 78. Statewide, the ”Oil Slick” award went to Simcha Felder, a New York City Senate Democrat who caucuses with Republicans. Felder received the auspicious commendation for his role helping to kill a bill that would have allowed a five-cent fee be charged for the plastic bags used in retail stores.

Diane Valden reported in the Columbia Paper Copake Valley Farm owner Salvatore Cascino (kah-SHEE-no) is back in the Columbia County lock-up. Appearing in county Supreme Court before the Hon. Jonathan Nichols for a scheduled evidentiary hearing, Cascino failed to provide sufficient proof that he has followed the court's various orders. The Westchester County resident was brought before the court to prove he completed the removal of 9,650 cubic yards of solid waste he illegally dumped on his 300-acre property, located along the east side of Route 22 in Copake. For the past 18 years, Cascino has violated federal, state and town laws for illegal dumping, building and excavating. In February, Nichols ordered him to spend at least 60 days in the Columbia County Jail after finding him guilty of criminal and civil contempt. At the hearing Thursday, following Cascino's failure to provide any proof of compliance, and some back-and-forth with his attorney, Nichols lifted the suspension of Cascino's incarceration and ordered him recommitted to the county jail.

The Daily Freeman is reporting a meeting for those interested in stopping the Pilgrim Pipelines project will be held Thu., Sept. 1, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills, on Sawkill Road, in the town of Ulster. The church is located on the path of the proposed pipelines. The meeting will begin at 5:45 p.m. The gathering is sponsored by the Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines-New York. The proposed 178-mile double pipeline would move Bakken crude from the Port of Albany to northern New Jersey, and then send refined crude back north to Albany, largely along the I-87 corridor.

Victoria Addison and Daniel Zuckerman are reporting in the Register-Star this year's apple crop will generally consist of smaller sized apples because of dry weather conditions. The New York Apple Association says there is no reason for consumers to be concerned, however. “For consumers they are not going to experience the impact of the drought at all. ... The quality is going to be great and the fruit will actually be sweeter because the smaller size has more concentrated sugars,” said an association spokesman. The volume of apples produced this year will not be drastically affected by the drought either, according to the association. Two local orchards concurred with that assessment. Philip Orchards in Claverack and Yonder Farms in Kinderhook confirmed they are picking smaller apples; however, Philip Orchards said their pears appear to be unaffected by the dry conditions. Henry Boehm, owner of Boehm Farm in Climax, said his apples have not been affected, but his peach crop was not so lucky. He said, “There’s no peaches, they froze in February."

The Times Union reported New York state lawmakers passed fewer bills during the 2016 session than it did last year, according to information released Fri., Aug. 26, by the New York Public Interest Research Group. This year 618 pieces of legislation passed the full Legislature; in 2015, lawmakers approved 718 bills before they adjourned in June. The number of approved measures has trended downward in recent years. According to the Times Union, one explanation is that lawmakers are now inserting policy measures into the budget, avoiding the need for additional separate legislation.