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Weekend in review

Aug 24, 2015 5:35 am
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Aug. 21 through Sun., Aug. 23

John Mason reported in the Register-Star Democrat Victor Mendolia has quit the race for Hudson Common Council President due to health concerns. In making his withdrawal, Mendolia threw his support to Third Ward resident and independent candidate Tom DePietro. DePietro, who is running on the All-Hudson Party line, will now face only Republican Claudia DiStefano in the November general election. Mendolia's name will, however, remain on the ballot. “...I believe that Tom DePietro is committed to open government and a return to civility in the Common Council, which is so desperately needed...,” Mendolia wrote in a statement released Fri., Aug. 21. DePietro has been a book reviewer, critic, writer and editor for 30 years. Originally from Yonkers, he has lived in Hudson for 10 years. “I’m sad to hear [Victor] is withdrawing,” he said. “I welcome his support.” DePietro said he wants to bring to the council a “new level of civility, openness and integrity." He said replacing the Ferry Street Bridge is the most pressing issue facing the city at this time. Disclosure: Mendolia and DePietro are WGXC programmers.

Claire Hughes reported at Capitol Confidential the governor's office announced Fri., Aug. 21, the state will expand a program for young adults with newly emerging symptoms of schizophrenia. The state Office of Mental Health will expand its two-year-old OnTrackNY program, which provides psychiatric treatment, employment, education and family support for young adult New Yorkers. OnTrackNY began with five sites downstate, which serve 160 residents. The Office of Mental Health has now expanded the program to Buffalo, Farmingville, Syracuse and additional sites in Manhattan, which will serve another 175 youth. Three OnTrackNY sites are in development for Albany, Rochester and New York City. The state estimates that 3,000 New Yorkers develop schizophrenia each year.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="256"] Delapenta Farm
(Photo from scenichudson.org)[/caption]

The Daily Freeman reported on the combined efforts of Scenic Hudson, the Columbia Land Conservancy and Equity Trust to protect the 83-acre Delapenta Farm in Taghankic. Through the acquisition of a conservation easement on the third-generation dairy farm, the groups ensured the land will now be permanently available for agricultural use. A provision of the easement will keep the land affordable for future farmers. In operation since 1913, Delapenta Farm’s Holstein operation provides milk to the Northeast Dairy Producers Association cooperative. The land consists of more than 40 acres of USDA Prime farmland or Soils of Statewide Importance and is adjacent to other land previously protected by the Columbia Land Conservancy.

Josefa Velasquez reported at Politico New York Albany County District Attorney David Soares asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week to appoint Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to oversee the investigation into the death of a mentally ill Albany man during a police interaction. Soares wants Schneiderman to oversee the investigation into the death of Donald Ivy, who died in April after being tasered and chased by police. Ivy's family described him as a paranoid schizophrenic who suffered from heart problems. He was unarmed, and it was unclear what led to the altercation, according to police officials. Days later, Soares’ office was asked to investigate whether the case should go before a grand jury. Schneiderman’s office is already handling its first case under the executive order signed by Cuomo in July, which gave the AG special prosecutorial powers to oversee cases of police-involved civilian deaths. Soares had previously said the Cuomo order puts district attorneys in "very uncomfortable" positions and usurps their power.

Michael Ryan reported in the Windham Journal Prattsville Town Board last week authorized the code enforcement officer to send letters to Main Street property owners who have not yet addressed damage sustained during the historic flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. While some restoration and repair has occurred generally, the unaddressed damage has raised concerns over public safety and the community's image. “We have to do so something about the damaged, dilapidated and abandoned buildings,” town supervisor Kory O’Hara said. It is not clear what will happen if property owners ignore the letter. If nothing is done, the town could be forced to demolish some structures at an estimated cost of $15,000 to $20,000 per building. That expense would be passed on to the property owner through their tax bill.
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