Weekend in review
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., May 13 through Sun., May 15:
Brian Nearing reported at Capitol Confidential state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office last week asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to delay action on its December 2014 approval of the 125-mile Constitution Pipeline. Last month the state Department of Environmental Conservation denied environmental permits to the project, which would bring natural gas to Schoharie County from Pennsylvania. Schneiderman also urged FERC to consider fining the company up to $1 million a day if it turns out developers encouraged landowners along the pipeline route to cut down trees before they received state permits. The Attorney General's office conducted a two-month investigation into the pipeline project, finding evidence of tree-cutting, road-building, and heavy equipment use in state-protected streams and wetlands.
Claire Hughes reported in the Times Union, as of Sunday afternoon, volunteers, forest rangers and law enforcement officers were combing the Catskills in search of a lost zebra. The five-month old animal was spooked and broke away from its owner, Richard Myer while at the Bailiwick Animal Park and Riding Stables last week. Myer said he acquired the zebra the day before, from an older gentleman whose medical issues left him unable to take care of the animal. Myer said the zebra is the size of a large pony, with the traditional black-and-white stripes. It was last seen on state hiking trails near Palenville, a couple of miles from the ranch. Greene County Sheriff Greg Seely said he hopes someone in the search party finds the zebra before an unaware hunter does. He said, "With all the turkey hunters in the woods and stuff, hopefully we can find this thing for him."
The Daily Freeman reported the Hudson Flag Day Parade will be held June 11 and organizers are seeking individuals or groups who would be interested in participating. They say they are looking for any interested groups including community groups, churches, fire companies, youth groups, and businesses. Participants can can march, enter a vehicle, or build a float. Information is available at Hudson Flag Day Parade [dot] org.
W.T. Eckert reported for Johnson News Service a St. Lawrence County jury last week returned a verdict of guilty in the sex abuse trial of former Dutchess County Legislator Michael N. Kelsey. The former Republican state Assembly candidate was found guilty of sexual abuse and attempted sexual assault, both felonies. The incident that led to the charges occurred in August 2015, when Kelsey was leading a Boy Scout troop from Fishkill on a week-long stay at a camp located between Cranberry Lake and Piercefield. Kelsey will be held in jail without bail until his July 8 sentencing.
The Daily Freeman reported Ulster County says a test of the water in a county-owned building at 50 Center Street in Ellenville last month showed no excessive level of lead. The test was conducted by Environmental Labworks Inc., the county said. News of the Ellenville test result came just days after the county reported water in 17 county-owned or leased buildings showed lead levels in water at or above the EPA cutoff mark. Sixteen of the buildings are located in the city of Kingston; one is in the town of Ulster. The county believes the lead problems reported came from pipes in the buildings, not municipal water sources.
The Zephyr Teachout campaign announced last week she and fellow Democrat Will Yandik will hold three debates next month. None of the debates will held in the immediate area. The first will be held June 7 in Woodstock with Brian Hollander of the Woodstock Times moderating; the second, on June 8 will be held in Oneonta, and be moderated by the League of Woment Voters; and, a televised debate June 15, will be broadcast on Time Warner Cable with Liz Benjamin, editor-in-chief of Time Warner's "State of Politics," as moderator. Teachout and Yandik face off in the June 28 primary for the Democratic line in the general election. The winner will compete with the winner of the Republican primary, either John Faso or Andrew Heaney, to replace U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson in the 19th Congressional District. Yandik will be a guest on "All Together Now!" on WGXC, 6 p.m. Tue., May 17.
The Register-Star reported the American Farmland Trust has announced $110,000 in grants to the Columbia Land Conservancy and five other partner organizations in the Hudson Valley Farmlink Network. The Farmlink Network was founded in 2014, and is dedicated to connecting farmers and non-farming landowners of agricultural land. In the last two years, the network has worked in collaboration with groups like the Columbia Land Conservancy to train 600 farmers and landowners in transferring farms and farm leasing, and helped more than 75 farmers find land. The new grants will enable the conservancy and its partner organization, Dutchess Land Conservancy, to work directly with farmers and landowners to facilitate the transfer of farmland to the next generation of farmers.
Greg Hudson reported in The Daily Mail more than 300 students graduated from Columbia-Greene Community College on Sat., May 14. College president James Campion conferred, and Phyllis Carito, vice president and dean of academic affairs, presented the candidates with 95 Associate in Arts degrees, 144 Associate in Science, 56 Associate in Applied Science and four Associates in Occupational Science, as well as 28 certificates. Student speaker Briana Maisenbacher told her classmates and hundreds of family members that the diversity of their journeys united them, and that their time of discovery together was meant to prepare them for a future of accomplishment.