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Weekend in review

Sep 28, 2015 5:30 am
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Sept. 25 through Sun., Sept. 27

Claire Hughes reported in the Times Union Columbia Memorial Hospital has asked the state Health Department to approve a plan to make Albany Medical Center its parent and co-operator. A review committee has recommended the plan be approved. The final say rests with the state Public Health and Health Planning Council, which will consider the proposal at its Oct. 8 meeting. The Hudson-based hospital argues the change would make the delivery of health services more efficient and stable in the region, while also saving costs. Columbia Memorial lost $2.2 million in 2013, more than $500,000 in 2014 and nearly $400,000 in the first half of 2015. Hospital officials are keeping mum on the proposal until after the Oct. 8 meeting.

There is roadwork on Route 23 on both sides of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge planned this week. 511NY.com reports construction in both directions at Route 23 and NY 9G beginning Oct. 2, with various lane closures. Signs are also up in Greene County along Route 23, warning that repaving projects begin again this week, with lane closures at times.

Jim Planck reported in The Daily Mail the Ulster County legislator who allegedly got into an altercation with a Hunter-Tannersville Central School art teacher last week in Kaaterskill Clove was charged by the state police, Fri., Sept. 25. Christopher Allen, 47, of Saugerties, was charged with third-degree assault and arraigned before Hunter town justice William Simon. Allen was released on his own recognizance to come before the court at a later date. The arrest stems from a Sept. 18 dispute that took place at a parking area off state Route 23A. HTC Director of Art Education Ritamary Montano-Vining had accompanied a group of students to a swimming hole parking lot to clean up the site and paint over graffiti. The incident began when Allen went to park his car in the lot, but found some supplies in his way. Montano-Vining has said Allen became belligerent when she attempted to explain that he could not park there because of the ongoing work. Allen has repeatedly denied the accusations, saying Montano-Vining wanted to discredit him and ruin his political career. Allen, a Democrat, is serving his first term as an Ulster County legislator and is seeking re-election in November. No date was announced for Allen's next court appearance.

Matthew Hamilton reported at Capitol Confidential a Siena College poll released late last week showed voters statewide back increasing the minimum wage to $15 as proposed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, 59 percent to 38 percent. The results were similar to what Quinnipiac University found in one of its statewide polls the previous week. In the Siena survey, the Common Core standards and their implementation did not garner nearly the same kind of endorsement. Only 19 percent said the implementation improved public education. Thirty-eight percent of voters called the standards too demanding; 20 percent said they are not good enough, and 23 percent said they are just right. Siena surveyed 817 voters statewide.

The Mid-Hudson News Network reported the state Public Service Commission held a hearing in Poughkeepsie, Thu., Sept. 24, as part of a series across the state to collect comment on proposed changes for assistance to low-income utility customers. The outreach is in response to the deregulation of utility companies statewide. A PSC spokesman said many people are losing their electric and heat service due to delinquency of payments. Many in attendance at the hearing shared stories of Central Hudson Gas & Electric shutting their power off in the middle of the winter. All who spoke were low income customers, some elderly and many with children. In some cases, people said they they had tried to negotiate a payment plan with their providers, but to no avail. The PSC will continue to take written public comments throughout the month.

Charlie Holmes reported in The Daily Mail the town of Athens celebrated its 200th birthday this weekend with a picnic at the firehouse. Athens became a town in 1815, and it revolved around the shipping industry. Villagers were also employed in the commercial fishing industry and as ice harvesters. Athens village historian, Bettyjean Poole said, “Leeds-Athens Road was called the 'rope walk' because they took the big ropes from the big sailing ships, walked up Leeds-Athens Road and twisted them. They were hemp." The shipping industry and icehouses, both major employers for local residents, began to die out in the 1930s and 1940s, she said. “For 200 years people have done special things, acted in special ways to make [this] a pretty special place,” town supervisor Joseph Iraci said.