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Friday headlines

Jul 29, 2011 12:43 am
Gillibrand bill addresses Community Supported Agriculture
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced legislation Wed., July 27, that would create a competitive grant program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). CSA members pay for a share of a farm’s produce, and throughout the season, members receive a weekly amount of vegetables. “Community Supported Agriculture can be a key component for providing our families with more locally grown produce,” said Senator Gillibrand in a press release. “Tens of thousands of families have joined CSAs over the years, bringing fresh, vitamin-rich fruits, vegetables, eggs, homemade breads, meats, and cheeses to tables all across America." Gillibrand says there are 350 CSAs in New York, and several in Columbia and Greene counties. The Community Supported Agriculture Promotion Act’s would award federal funds to non-profit organizations, extension services, and state and local government agencies to provide marketing and business assistance to new or current CSA farmers, as well as assist in the development of innovative delivery and distribution programs.

Are there rattlesnakes in Hunter?
Jim Planck in The Windham Journal investigates whether there are Timber Rattlesnakes in the Town of Hunter. He says the Silver Hollow area down toward Edgewood, may have them, but Kaaterskill Clove does not have the Threatened species. Planck says posts at www.catskillmountaineer.com tipped him off. "While existing Timber Rattlesnake populations occur on Overlook Mountain and Mount Tremper, both in northern Ulster County, the Silver Hollow one — if verified by the NYS Department of Conservation — would be Greene County’s first one, as the Department’s Timber Rattlesnake distribution map shows no populations in Greene County," Planck writes. “DEC did receive a report, with a photograph, from a hiker last fall,” DEC press officer Lori Severino told Planck, “of a Timber Rattlesnake he found last August in Greene County a few hundred feet from the Ulster County line.... It was on/near Plateau Mountain,” she said — which adjoins Silver Hollow. But the writer does not discover if there is antidote locally. "Asked if there is, in fact, a rattlesnake antidote or treatment, Severino replied, 'Yes, though the Albany area hospitals may or may not have a supply of it.'" Read the entire story in The Windham Journal.

Is the boss here?
Diane Valden in The Columbia Paper writes that the Ancram Board of Ethics found, "that Highway Superintendent James MacArthur violated the local Ethics Law by appointing his brother Robert to serve as highway boss when he took a vacation in late March of this year," Valden writes. Superintendent MacArthur, who is directly elected by town voters, explained at the town's July 21 meeting that at he never used to take a vacation at all, but started to take them after getting re-married about four years ago. He said he had his brother, who "previously worked for the Highway Department," sworn in by a town justice, so that employees would get more done in his absence. “They say I violated the ethics law for nepotism, and I suppose that is true, but deputy highway superintendent is not a paid job. I can appoint anybody my deputy,” Mr. MacArthur explained. The board said he took action, “without having fulfilled the required prior notice, permissions and clearance from the Town Board” to make the appointment or authorize his brother's payment. "Because Mr. MacArthur rescinded the appointment and his brother resigned, the 'primary legal and ethical infraction… was corrected,' said the decision, which went on to recommend that the draft of the new Highway Employee Handbook be reviewed and finalized as soon as possible, and that a clear and concise job description for highway superintendent be established," Valden wrote. Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.
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