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Friday headlines

Apr 01, 2011 6:43 am
April Fool’s coastal storm takes aim at the county: Eastern Greene under winter weather advisory; 3”-7” of snow possible
The Daily Mail has a front page story by Doron Tyler Antrim about "a no-joke April Fool’s snowstorm" that "swirled toward the Northeast Thursday, a cruel prank on a region that was finally seeing a reprieve from its long, white winter." The story goes on to predict up to a foot of snow in some areas. So much for making news from weather predictions. Anyone ready for that Mercury in Retrograde special on Fox tonight?

Mossman will face contempt charge
Andrew Amelinckx reports in the Register-Star that Paul Mossman, the county Department of Social Services commissioner, will be facing a criminal contempt of court hearing in Columbia County Court in Hudson on Monday, April 4. He is being charged for allowing DSS to not follow a court order given by Judge Jonathan Nichols in regard to a social services case involving two young children. Nichols issued an order in early March that the two children, six and seven years of age and in foster care, be given 24-hour supervision. On Thursday, March 31, Mossman, DSS attorney Christopher Muller and county attorney Robert Fitzsimmons appeared before Nichols as did the children’s parents and their attorneys. In early October 2010 DSS released a study written by William Moon, the DSS commissioner for Delaware County, the results of which alleged that family court trends in Columbia County may contribute to the “high number” of children in foster care. The rate of entry into foster care in Columbia County is four times higher than peer districts, according to the report. In 2008, the most recent year for which figures are provided, 171 county children were in foster care.

Building inspector unconvinced planning board has site plan review authority
Hilary Hawke of the Ravena News-Herald writes about a sticky situation in the Albany County Town of Coeymans, where Building Inspector Larry Conrad is saying the local planning board does not have the authority to do site plan reviews. Conrad even went so far as to state that he will refuse to take anyone to court over site plan issues until a thorough review is completed. He said he based his opinion on a study of town documents going back as far as 1961, when the town's zoning laws and zoning board were established, even though it wasn't until 1967 that the town set up a planning board. The town's attorney, and planning board, disagree.

The way to safe: It’s not easy for domestic violence victims to get justice, but they have allies in law enforcement
Jessie Smith of the Kingston Times has a detailed, in-depth look at the ways in which domestic violence is being battled back these days. In 2009 and 2010, police in Ulster County logged about 5,000 Domestic Incident Reports, which are mandatory whenever officers have reason to believe that a call involves violence or threats of violence between family members or intimate acquaintances, whether or not an arrest is made. Of those 5,000 DIRs, 800 resulted in arrests. “Five-thousand DIR’s in two years, that’s 200 per month, 48 each week, seven a day,” said Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright. “The numbers are staggering.” Smith goes on to look into the effectiveness of the laws, with interviews from various abuse victims. It's a haunting, important story.

Funding help for livestock farmers

The Register-Star is running a story on how livestock farmers in Albany, Columbia, Greene, Schenectady, Rensselaer, and Montgomery Counties will have an opportunity to apply for financial assistance to establish or improve grazing systems on their farms. The project is funded through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) that was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. In partnership with the Hudson Mohawk Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will offer farmers the opportunity to apply for conservation practices that will protect soil and improve water quality on grazing lands.

Threat of snow forces cancellation of past week's budget votes
The Rural Town Riser has a front page story on how the March 31 weather predictions for over a foot of snow forced a late night Red Room negotiating session in the state capitol early April 1. That gathering, they note, has resulted in a complete cancellation of this week's epochal state budget votes. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver all said that given the call for snow, they had great misgivings about ALL their predictions for the coming year and wanted to start back at square one. In the interim, they announced that the state lottery winnings set to go to a group of Albany employees would be rerouted to the state university system for restoration of Classics and foreign language classes for the 2011-2012 school year. Budget protesters who have been overnighting in the capital expressed sorrow that all their troubles had again been upended by weather forecasters.

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