Weekend in review
Some of the stories that made the news from Fri., Oct. 27, through Sun., Oct. 29:
Joseph Spector reported at Politics on the Hudson four million residents of New York must re-enroll for health insurance beginning Wed., Nov. 1. The enrollment period begins amid uncertainty over the future of the federally funded program. One in five New Yorkers get their insurance through the exchange. State officials said the turmoil over health care insurance in Washington should not discourage people from signing up for coverage through the exchange. New York runs its own program and has more autonomy that most other states. "That’s what we want consumers to know: They’ve seen and read a lot, but we want them to know that the reality here in New York is we are open for business," said Donna Frescatore, the executive director of NY State of Health. The enrollment period will run from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31. For 2018, 12 insurers are on the exchange offering individuals private insurance, while two insurers, CareConnect and Affinity, have chosen not to participate this year. Residents of Greene and Columbia counties will have six plans to choose from on the exchange in 2018.
Brenda J. Lyons reported in the Times Union a private medical company and Albany County have agreed to pay nearly $1.1 million to the estate of a Troy man who died in custody at the Albany County Jail in August 2014. The death of 24-year-old Mark Cannon occurred when nurses waited more than 12 hours to call an ambulance after he suffered a stroke. Last year, an investigation ordered by the state Commission of Corrections determined the care given to Cannon was "so grossly inadequate ... it shocks the conscience." The settlement was filed recently in U.S. District Court in Albany, where Cannon's mother filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of her son's infant daughter. At the time of Cannon's death, medical care at the Albany facility was provided by Correctional Medical Care, which contracted with 13 county jails statewide at the time. Albany County earlier this year terminated its $3.7 million contract with CMC.
Daniel Zuckerman reported for Columbia-Greene Media an amendment to the peddling and soliciting law in the village of Athens was discussed at the village board meeting last week. The subject arose after some residents expressed dissatisfaction with representatives of solar companies coming through Athens and peddling their wares, Mayor Peter Alberti told the paper. Alberti said the representatives may have been from NRG Home Solar. NRG’s peddling permit was previously revoked in the village of Coxsackie, and a short time later, Catskill pulled the company's permit to do business in that village. Anyone who wants to peddle in the village, must go to village hall to apply for a permit, Alberti said. The members of the Athens Performing Arts Committee attended the meeting to argue for an update to the existing law because outside vendors have been coming to its events. “We want people to support our local businesses," APAC member Carol Bernard said.
Christopher S. Rugaber reported for the Associated Press most Americans believe their jobs are safe from automation, at least for the next decade, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll. More than half believe automation could make their work easier or more efficient in the future. The survey found that 57 percent of respondents thought it unlikely that they or someone in their household would be replaced at work by automation within the next 10 years. A similar survey by the Pew Research Center also found that 70 percent of those polled believe it unlikely they will lose their jobs to automation. A report released this month by Pearson, Oxford University and the Nesta Foundation reported just one in five workers are in occupations that will likely shrink by 2030.
Ann Friedman reported for Columbia-Greene Media Arthur Brooks of Hudson celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends Sun., Oct. 29. Asked about the secret of his long life, Brooks said, “I have a happily married life, children, I was happy in business. I never thought much about longevity, the decades passed very quickly.” The Elmira native moved to Hudson in the late 1940s to work at his father-in-law’s manufacturing firm, Textile By-Products, later known as Lorbrook Corp. at 730 State St. Brooks is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and a veteran of World War II. He met his wife Judy, now 98, following the war and in 1948 came to work in Hudson. Brooks' daughter Lori said, “It’s pretty extraordinary” to watch her father turn 100-years-old.
The New York State Department of Conservation urged the public Fri., Oct. 27, to avoid caves and mines in an effort to protect the state's bat populations. The department advised outdoor adventurers to suspend exploration of any site that could serve as a seasonal home for hibernating bats. "Human disturbances are especially harmful to the state's bat population since the arrival of the disease known as white-nose syndrome," according to a DEC press release. The disease has killed more than 90 percent of hibernating bats statewide, the department said. When bats are disturbed during hibernation it forces their body temperature to rise, thus depleting their fat reserves, the only source of energy available to the small mammals until the warm weather returns. There is currently no treatment for white-nose syndrome. Additional information can be found at www [dot] DEC [dot] NY [dot] gov.