Weekend in review
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Feb. 3 through Sun., Feb. 5:
Victoria Addison reported in Columbia-Greene Media members of the Hudson community turned out Fri., Feb. 3, to show support for Muslims, immigrants and refugees in light of a recent presidential order. That order banned travel from seven Muslim majority countries, suspended all refugee admission into the U.S. for 120 days and indefinifetly stopped the admission of Syrian refugees into the country. Residents assembled at the Islamic Center, located on North Third Street in Hudson, Friday evening for the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement's event. The crowd heard from a variety of speakers including state Assembly member, Democrat Didi Barrett. She said, "Thank you all for being here and thank you for being such an incredible community. We need to stand together. This is a moment in time we will all remember." In a related story, at approximately the same time that the Hudson vigil was taking place, a federal district court in Seattle ordered the ban be lifted nationwide. On Sunday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco rejected a Justice Department request that the Seattle judge's ruling be blocked until after an appeal from that order is decided. A reply from the administration is due Mon., Feb. 6.
Bill Mahoney reported at Politico New York the new highway signs encouraging travelers to download a state tourism app, criticized for being ugly, expensive and illegal, seem to be working. Last year, the state erected more than 500 signs near highway exits across the state. The signs mostly contain basic tourism messages like “I Love NY” and “Taste NY.” They don’t identify specific locations, but tell people to visit the state’s tourism website or download the app. Since the app was launch in 2015, it has been downloaded move than 103,000 times and the download rates have increased since the signs were installed. Representatives of the tourist spots listed said they hadn’t measured the impact the app has had, but that past experience has taught them that state tourism pushes can be successful.
Ariél Zangla reported in the Daily Freeman the staff at U.S. Rep. John Faso’s office in Washington, D.C., have received so many phone calls since the Kinderhook Republican was sworn in that they had to increase the number of messages that could be recorded on the office's voicemail system. The congressman's Washington and district offices have received more than 13,000 inbound calls, emails or letters on 300 distinct issues so far, said Courtney Weaver, Faso’s communications director. Weaver said the office has one of the highest inbound rates of communication for a freshman office. Weaver noted Faso’s staff has also met in person with walk-ins, and that the congressman has an active social media presence. Activists have complained that Faso does not publish his schedule online, in sharp contrast to his predecessor, fellow Republican Chris Gibson.
Melanie Lekocevic reported in The Daily Mail the Athens Republicans have nominated candidates to run for mayor and village board in the March election. The incumbent mayor, Democrat Chris Pfister, will not seek re-election, and resident Peter Alberti hopes to take Pfister's place. Alberti has served two terms as a village trustee. He is a lifelong resident of Greene County. Originally from Cairo, he moved to Athens in 1999. Alberti is employed by the Town of Athens Highway Department, and is deputy fire coordinator for Greene County Emergency Services. He is a past chief of the Athens Volunteer Fire Department. The GOP also selected incumbent Marla Butler and newcomer Shannon Spinner to fill the two vacant seats on the village board. Butler is seeking her second term. Spinner is the daughter of Tony Paluch and has been a resident of Athens since the age of 7. She is a social member of the West-Athens Lime Street Fire Company.
Mid-Hudson News [dot] com reported two toxic chemicals found in the drinking water systems of the village of Hoosick Falls and the city of Newburgh have been classified by the state Department of Environmental Conservation as hazardous substances. PFOA is used in the making of Teflon. It was found in the water in Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh, both communities located in Rensselaer County. Both PFOS and PFOA were found in Newburgh's Washington Lake reservoir. The primary source of the chemical was found to be from firefighting foam used at Stewart Airport Air National Guard Base, located nearby. PFOA and PFOS have both been linked to serious health problems, including cancer, thyroid issues and high cholesterol.
Daniel Zuckerman reported in The Daily Mail Greene County Executive Fiscal Administrator Diane Bartholomew is taking a new job in Nevada. Her resignation is effective February 25. County Treasurer Peter Markou made the announcement at the county Legislature committee meetings last week. Bartholomew is joining the Clark County School District in Las Vegas as its deputy chief financial officer. "I cannot tell you how much it actually hurts me to lose her. She is one of the most capable women that I have ever, ever worked with," Markou said. Bartholomew joined the county treasurer’s office in 2010 after serving five years as treasurer for the Cairo-Durham Central School District. Bartholomew said she will miss the people of Greene County and her adult son, who lives in Albany, but she will especially miss Markou and Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden. "They don’t want to hold me back. I appreciate the support that they’ve shown me," she said.