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Weekend in review

Dec 14, 2015 12:03 am

Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Dec. 11 through Sun., Dec. 13

John Ferro reported in the Poughkeepsie Journal a CSX locomotive with a fuel leak caught fire in Fri., Dec. 11, in Kingston. Local firefighters put out the blaze in Port Ewen. "There are no hazardous materials on the train, and no damage to any of the freight," CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle said. A CSX environmental contractor cleaner the diesel fuel spilled from the train that was carrying three locomotives and 97 cars containing automobiles.

WHUC reported Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett announced his support of Ulster County Sheriff P.J. Van Blarcum's call for licensed firearms owners to carry their weapons wherever they go. in a Facebook post last week. Bartlett wrote he has received "many calls and inquiries" seeking his input and opinion on those comments. Bartlett denied Van Blarcum's statement was "a call for lawlessness or vigilantism." He said, "We live in a dangerous world. The threat of violence by nefarious individuals against soft targets is a growing concern...It seems only prudent that we use all appropriate means of deterring and meeting such threats and, as individuals, be prepared to defend ourselves and others...I believe that was the intent of Sheriff Van Blarcum’s message, and I support him on that."

Rick Karlin reported at Capitol Confidential the all-too-familiar process of removing the name of a convicted lawmaker from their office doorway was in evidence at the state Capitol Fri., Dec. 11, following the conviction of Dean Skelos on corruption charges. Karlin reported the name of the former Senate Republican Majority Leader was peeled off the glass entrance to his office in the Legislative Office Building earlier that day, but some picture of Skelos was still evident on the wall behind the closed door. His name was also removed from the Senate's online alphabetical listing and his contact information was erased. Skelos was found guilty on eight counts of using his office to secure lucrative employment opportunities for his son by a Manhattan jury on Friday. He served for seven years as the majority leader of the state Senate. Sentencing is set for March 3.

The Daily Freeman reported RUPCO, an affordable housing company, will move one of its Greene County offices to 408 Main St. in Catskill, effective Jan. 4. The office will move between Dec. 24 and Jan. 3. During that time, the agency will not be able to access files or answer client questions, and the phones will be offline until Dec. 31. RUPCO currently administers more than 250 Housing Choice vouchers through its rental assistance program in Greene County. The program provides rental support for families who earn at or below 50 percent of the area median income, which is roughly $30,000 a year for a family of four.

Melanie Lekocevic reported in The Daily Mail Coxsackie-Athens school district voters go to the polls Tue., Dec. 15, to decide on a proposed $17.9 million capital project. The project to be approved is intended to improve security at the schools, reconfigure classrooms, build a joint middle and high school library and revitalize the district's athletic fields. It would affect both campuses and all four district buildings. The plan is believed to be eligible for 90 percent state aid, district officials said. If approved, property taxes would increase 33 cents per $1,000 of a property's assessed value. For an average home assessed at $100,000, that would mean a $33 increase in school taxes per year. The referendum would cap project spending at $17.9 million. Polls will be open 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday at E.J. Arthur Elementary School in Athens and at Coxsackie Elementary School in Coxsackie. Absentee ballots must be received by the district no later than 5 p.m., Tuesday.