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Weekend in review

Oct 26, 2015 12:03 am
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Oct. 23 through Sun., Oct. 25

Keshia Clukey reported at Politico New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Sat., Oct. 24, the state needs to do more to reduce the testing burden placed on students. Cuomo's comments were made after the federal government took some of the responsibility for the testing system that creates "undue stress for educators and students," according to a plan laid out by the Obama administration. The plan included recommendations and proposals for cutting back on testing and easing up on the use of student test scores for teacher evaluation. In his statement, Cuomo cited a need to "reverse the overemphasis on testing that has become the norm in too many of our schools.” State education commissioner MaryEllen Elia [EH-lee-uh] announced last month that the third through eighth grade exams will be of shorter duration this year. Some of the reading and writing passages on the English Language Arts tests and multiple choice questions on the math have been removed.

Debby Mayer reported in the Columbia Paper both major parties are fielding candidates to fill the two open town board seats in Germantown. The term for all offices is four years; there is no supervisor race this year. Republicans Brittany Bohnsack-DuFresne and Ronald E. Moore II are running for town board against Democrats Joe Guida and Arthur Schiff. Justice Robert W. Beaury is running unopposed for his third term, endorsed by the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties. Voters will also decide the Library Referendum, which would approve an annual increase of $30,000 in the town’s contribution to the Germantown Library, for a total of $88,000 annually. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Nov. 3. Diane Valden reported although all town posts will appear on the ballot in the town of Ancram, only the races for two of four town board seats are contested. The three men in the running for those two positions are incumbent Hugh Clark, political newcomers David Boice and Daniel Rothvoss, Jr. Two men are competing for the job of highway superintendent: James Miller and Robert Roche. Town Supervisor Art Bassin, Town Clerk/Tax Collector Monica Cleveland, and Town Justices George Wittlinger, Sr., and Robert Wilcox are all running unopposed.

Melanie Lekocevic reported in The Daily Mail the Heermance Memorial Library budget passed 85 to 8, a "landslide" victory for the Coxsackie institution. The vote was held Tue., Oct. 13. The approved 2016 budget includes a spending hike, but because of an increase in the town’s total assessment, there will be no increase in the library tax passed down to property owners. Most of the budget increase was attributed to building maintenance and repair fees. Voters also re-elected incumbent library trustee Claudine Serazio-West, and elected board newcomers Tom Silvious and Eileen West.

John Mason reported in the Register-Star Hudson Mayor William H. Hallenbeck Jr. Fri., Oct. 23, vetoed a measure that would have asked city voters if they wish to change the Common Council's method of voting. The resolution was narrowly passed by the council early last week. Although many counties, such as Columbia County, employ the weighted vote system, Hudson is widely believed to be the only city in the U.S. that uses that method. In his veto message, Hallenbeck stated he agreed with the council that it was time to bring the matter to the voters for consideration, but he said he disagreed with the timing, just weeks before the general election. "On Jan. 1, 2016, the city of Hudson will have a new Common Council president, along with new aldermen representing the 1st Ward, 4th Ward, and 5th Ward," Hallenbeck wrote. Mason calculated that come January, between a third and more than half of the council could change. The mayor also suggested voters would be better served if they were presented with more than one alternative to the current system. A two-thirds vote of the Common Council is needed to override the mayor's veto.
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