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Weekend in review

Aug 10, 2015 5:55 am
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Aug. 7 through Sun., Aug. 9

Patricia Doxsey reported in the Daily Freeman Ulster County has installed nine electric car-charging stations, and they can be used for free by the general public. “We have the most municipal-sponsored locations in the state of New York,” said Amanda LaValle, coordinator of the Ulster County Department of Environmental Conservation. Using state and federal grants and county labor, the county located charging installations at the Ulster County Office Building, Golden Hill, the Law Enforcement Center, and the Department of Public Works facility in Ellenville. Ulster County Executive Mike Hein said the new electric car chargers could prove to be a boost to tourism in the area, and serves as part of the county’s ongoing effort to become a leader in the use of green energy as well. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently ranked Ulster County government 23rd nationally in its use of green power. It is the only municipality in the state to gain a spot on the list. And Ulster is the first county in the state to be net-carbon neutral.

John Mason reported in the Register Star the New York State Authorities Budget Office has recommended the Hudson Industrial Development Agency be dissolved. The IDA's mission is to attract businesses to and retain existing enterprises in the city as a way to increase employment opportunities. The 40-year-old agency maintains a seven-member board of directors and employs no one. Its only active project at present is the Hudson Terrace housing development on Front St. The ABO recommended the IDA be closed down, saying the Front St. project’s purpose is to provide low-income housing and not to create jobs, and since the IDA is not actively marketing the property for economic development and "other economic development entities are serving the city of Hudson, we question whether the IDA is needed.” According to the ABO report, the IDA board considered dissolving the agency and letting the Columbia County IDA take over its duties in 2011, but the board has done nothing in this direction since.

Katie Kocijanski reported in The Daily Mail hundreds of passengers were detained at the Hudson Amtrak station late Sat., Aug. 8, following a reported bomb threat. The train had been traveling south from Albany when it was stopped around 11 p.m. The Hudson City Police Department, New York State Police, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and Amtrak police emptied the train. “We had our dogs go through all of the bags and luggage,” Hudson Police Chief Ed Moore said. “No arrests were made, it is believed to be a hoax.”

Paul Nelson reported in the Times Union the man who remained submerged under water in Hudson's Oakdale Lake for nearly half an hour last week remained hospitalized in stable condition at Albany Medical Center, as of Friday afternoon. "It's a miracle," said Hudson Police Chief Ed Moore. "He's breathing on his own, though we were not given specific information on his brain activity." Police identified the man as Manuel Chiqui [CHEE-kee], 51, of Peekskill, Westchester Co. Chiqui tried to retrieve a soccer ball kicked into a non-swimming area at the lake. Hudson resident Kejana Jackson was fishing nearby and called 911. He then tried to save the man, but had to abort his efforts because the water was too murky, police said.

Colby Hamilton reported at Capital New York the Affordable Care Act’s birth control exemption for religious groups goes far enough to relieve the burden on their religious freedom, a federal appeals court in New York ruled Fri., Aug. 7. Three Catholic institutions argued the act’s exemption for nonprofits, known as an accommodation, did not go far enough to protect their religious freedom and posed an unfair burden on their beliefs. The accommodation allows employers who object on religious grounds to providing contraception to opt out of paying for health coverage, while allowing individual employees to seek coverage from a third party. A federal court in Brooklyn agreed with the plaintiffs, but the Second Circuit reversed that ruling, finding that the exemption imposed a minor burden. The Second Circuit noted similar claims are being denied throughout the country.