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Weekend in review

Jul 11, 2016 5:59 am
Some of the stories that made the news from Fri., Jul. 8 through Sun., Jul. 10:

Greg Hudson reported in The Daily Mail the Greenville Town Board has passed a law to amend the town's zoning code to include regulation of commercial solar farms. Because of a recent change in the state law, commercial solar providers are talking to homeowners about setting up large commercial solar arrays on their property. “We had guidelines in our zoning about residential solar, but nothing for commercial,” Supervisor Paul Macko said. “This is much larger-scale than what people are allowed to put on their roofs.... Companies want to have access to 5, 10, 15, sometimes 20 acres of land to lease for solar harvesting.” The board voted unanimously in favor of the new commercial regulations.

Mid-Hudson News Network reported the proposed Dutchess Community College 2016-17 budget includes a $168 hike in tuition, an additional $1.3 million infusion from the county and the hiring of five additional educators. All this comes as enrollment is down by approximately 1,000 students. Dutchess County Legislator Joseph Incoronato, a Republican and fiscal conservative, called the budget unsound at a legislative committee meeting last week. He said the $64 million spending plan shows revenues are down by $3.2 million and spending is up $3.4 million. Legislator Joel Tyner, a fiscal liberal, suggested the county should use some of its $57 million rainy-day fund to negate the need for a tuition increase. DCC President Pamela Edington told county lawmakers the school must plan for the long term. The full Legislature will take up the college’s proposed budget at its regular meeting this week.

Emilia Teasdale reported in the Columbia Paper the Ichabod Crane Board of Education held its annual reorganizational meeting last week. At that meeting, Anthony Welcome was elected and sworn in as board president, and John Chandler was selected and sworn as vice president. During the regular meeting that followed, the board was advised that the district's new professional review plan has been drafted and submitted to the New York State Education Department for review. Melissa Murray, the district administrator in charge of the Annual Professional Performance Review, said everything in the plan was the product of the collective bargaining process with the teachers' union. Once the plan is reviewed and approved by the Education Department, the document will be posted at Ichabod Crane [dot] org. According to Murray, Ichabod Crane is one of 190 districts, out of nearly 700 statewide, that have submitted their evaluation plan in time for the start of the new school year.

Events are planned this week in response to the recent killings of two black men by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota. On Mon., Jul. 11, Showing Up for Racial Justice Hudson will call on the Hudson Police Department at the department's headquarters on Warren Street, to demand a public condemnation of the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile; and request that police provide an outline of the steps they will take to ensure the safety of everyone within their jurisdiction. The Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center will hold a vigil in memory of Sterling and Castile beginning at 6 p.m., Tue., Jul. 12, at the Columbia County Courthouse. And Hudson Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton announced on Facebook plans for a community conversation at 5 p.m., Wed., Jul. 13, at the Hudson Senior Center with havemembers of the law enforcement community, including the Hudson Police Department, New York State Police, and Columbia County Sheriff's Department. Hamilton invited the community to attend, "...to discuss the recent spate of devastating deaths we've witnessed around the country, and the effects we're suffering individually and as a community.....Let's open up the dialogue and, together, begin to heal."

Greg Hudson reported in The Daily Mail residents and elected officials gathered Fri., Jul. 8, under rainy skies to break ground for a new 10,000 square foot firehouse and emergency shelter in Prattsville. The building that currently houses the Prattsville Hose Company on Main Street was severely damaged in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in August, 2011. “I want to thank all the members of the Prattsville Hose Company,” said former Fire Chief Tom Olsen. “I look forward to standing here with all of you in the spring of 2017 as we open the doors.” Rep. Chris Gibson, state Sen. George Amedore and Assembly member Pete Lopez all spoke, acknowledging the extraordinary progress made in the recovery effort during the past five years.

Michael Ryan reported in the Windham Journal the Windham Town Board has approved a request to form an independent Architectural Review Board, which will function separately from the local planning board. The board was created after residents raised concerns that not enough was being done by community leaders to protect the town’s fragile historic district. The district starts at the Windham Village Cemetery, passes through downtown and ends on the west side of Main Street just past the Catskill Mountain Country Store and Restaurant. Town officials will define the duties and authority of the new board in the coming weeks, including a possible minimal stipend for members.

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