Weekend in review
Some of the stories that made the news Fri., Jan. 1 through Sun., Jan. 3
John Mason reported in the Register-Star as one of its last act of the term, the Columbia County Board of Supervisors awarded raises to 97 non-union county employees, including 59 managers, last week. The employees will receive an annual 2.25 percent salary hike thanks to a resolution passed by the full board. The resolution covered part- and full-time, managerial and non-managerial employees from various departments. The supervisors did not include themselves in the measure. Outgoing board chairman Pat Grattan said the non-union raises would cost the county about $139,000, compared to $625,000 for the bargaining unit. The county has approximately 1,100 union employees, about 11 times the number of employees who received the year-end raises.
The Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline group announced this weekend it will hold a planning meeting Wed., Jan. 6, beginning at 7 p.m. at the First Reformed Church of Bethlehem. Community members are invited to attend and discuss the logistics and format for a January 23 public forum about the proposed Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline. The Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline group was formed in 2014, and is focused on opposing the Northeast Energy project. If constructed, the pipeline would cut through the First Reformed Church of Bethlehem's property. The 133-mile pipeline would connect gas wells in Pennsylvania to facilities in the Schoharie County town of Wright, and then traverse Massachusetts.
The public hearing on the proposed public nuisance law in Cairo will be re-opened at 7 p.m., Mon., Jan. 4. The public hearing began Dec. 7. At that time then-Town Supervisor Ted Banta said the law was designed after complaints of trash and discarded mattresses on or near Main St. were received by town officials. Enforcement of the new law would fall to local police and the town Code Enforcement Officer. The measure spells out 12 specific examples of what is considered a public nuisance. Problems mentioned during the first public hearing included a growing heroin problem, various health hazards and neglected homes.
The Daily Freeman reported the state Office of General Services is soliciting bids for work at the Hudson Correctional Facility. The work, described as "various security improvements" to Building 62, is estimated to total $6.5 million. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Dec. 22, signed an executive order directing all minors be removed from adult prisons statewide. The Hudson facility is expected to be transformed to house 16- and 17-year-olds. It will also serve as a reception and classification center for all youth entering the state prison system. New York is the only state other than North Carolina to prosecute and jail 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. Cuomo's order last month directs that teenagers be housed separately, but young people will continue to be prosecuted and sentenced as adults under state law.
The Columbia Paper reported Columbia-Greene Community College will hold instant admissions days, Thu., Jan. 7 and Tue., Jan. 12. Rachel Kappel, acting director of admissions said in a press release the school is simplifying the application process. She said, “We can eliminate the wait, and students [will] leave that day with a clear idea of whether they are accepted or not.” Participants who bring an official transcript, and who do not require a placement test or information session, can be accepted on the spot. Admissions counselors and financial aid staff will be on hand. Information is available by calling (518) 828-4181, extension 5514, or by visiting mycommunitycollege [dot] com.
Charlie Holmes reported in The Daily Mail Bridge Street Theatre celebrated the unveiilng of its new marquee Sat., Jan. 2. Theatre president John Sowle, director and vice president Steve Patterson, board members and various local officials, attended the event in the village of Catskill, which included remarks by U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, state Sen. George Amedore and Assembly member Pete Lopez. “We are incredibly thrilled that this time has come. We’ve been wanting a marquee forever and just didn’t have the funds to do it,” Sowle said. He acknowledged and thanked the Greene County Legislature, Michael Temlin and Sawyer Chevrolet for the funding that made it happen.