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Friday headlines

Jul 15, 2011 12:12 am
Village orders ash tree removal to avoid scourge
Doron Tyler Antrim in The Daily Mail reports that the village of Catskill will cut down three ash trees on Greene Street because of an infestation by the emerald ash borer, the destructive beetle killing New York’s ash trees.
Village Department of Public Works Superintendent Lewis O’Connor said (at the village meeting Monday, presumably) removing the trees is cheaper than inoculating them with a pesticide every in two years. Elizabeth D’Auria of the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) reported the group's preliminary April 18 inventory of ash trees this spring:
• Two of the 27 trees found showed a potential sign of EAB damage or general stress.
• Seventeen trees were located near an electrical wire.
• Twenty trees were deemed to be generally or very healthy.
Read the full story in The Daily Mail.

Daily Freeman's parent company sold to investment firm
Lissa Harris in the Watershed Post reports parent company of the Kingston Daily Freeman, The Journal-Register Company, was sold to investment firm Alden Global Capital. Harris quotes CEO John Paxton, who writes, "Alden has been an investor in our Company for some time and they have had a courtside seat to the Journal Register Company’s radical makeover following our Digital First strategy. They know what we do, they like what we do, and today they are putting their money behind our efforts." She also quotes The Wall Street Journal, which has a different view. "Newspaper acquisitions are a species rarer than the Yangtze River dolphin. But today, for one of the few times since 2007, a newspaper company was bought. For money. Really....We’re still scouring our databases, but it appears the only post-2007 acquisition of a significant newspaper company was the purchase of a duo of Philadelphia dailies in a 2010 bankruptcy auction." Read the full story in the Watershed Post.

Sentence reduction raises questions for DA
Jimmy Vielkind in the Albany Times-Union first broke the story, but Jamie Larson of the Register-Star does an excellent job following up on all the local angles of the story of a criminal sentence reduction of a Columbia County political insider. In 2009, Timothy McEachern, 46, of Spencertown, was arrested and charged under Leandra’s Law, which made it a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison, to drive drunk with children in the vehicle. McEachern is Columbia County District Attorney Beth Cozzolino’s brother-in-law. "McEachern’s wife, Andrea Gabel, is the sister of D.A. Cozzolino and the couple’s home was the registered campaign headquarters for Cozzolino’s 2007 run for her position," Larson writes. McEachern pleaded to a misdemeanor DWI in May 2010, with a $700 fine and a $400 court fee, and 40 hours of community service, according to state Department of Transportation records. The Times-Union report showed that was a light sentence compared to others convicted of the new law. Greene County DA Terry Wilhelm took the case after Cozzolino recused herself, and he has not returned any reporters calls on the issue. As the story broke last weekend, Cozzolino kicked off her campaign for Columbia County judge at McEachern’s house. The event was attended by numerous Republican party officials, though Larson reports, "U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-20th District, was billed at the top of the event invitation as a host of the fundraiser, but the congressman’s office said Tuesday that he did not attend, never promised to attend, and has not offered an official endorsement." Read the full story in the Register-Star.

Lopez in Greene County for hunting and boxing Saturday
Republican New York State Assemblyman Pete Lopez, who represents Greene and several other counties west of the Hudson River, makes two area appearances Saturday, first speaking at 5:30 p.m. at the Greene County Federation of Sportsmen's Annual Dinner at the Quarry Steakhouse, 100 Grapeville Road in Coxsackie. At 8 p.m. Lopez will be Guest MC at the "Rumble in the Catskills" boxing event, in the Catskill Elementary School's gymnasium.