Hank Gross

Hudson Valley Correspondent

Dutchess County legislators are going to vote Monday night on a resolution asking the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to conduct a study of the potential impacts of a crude oil spill in or near the Hudson River.

MONTICELLO – Gordon Jenkins has officially stepped down as mayor in the Village of Monticello following a state Appellate Court decision ordering his removal.

Seven people were killed Tuesday evening when a Harlem Line Metro-North train struck an SUV on tracks near White Plains, New York. Twelve people were injured. Six people on the train and the female driver of the SUV died in the crash when the vehicle caught fire, resulting in the first car of the train also burning up. Several hundred people were onboard at the time of the crash.

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MARLBORO – Several Marlboro High School students, who are or were members of the varsity football team, and their parents, have filed a federal complaint in US District Court calling for the head coach to be fired.

The lawsuit, against coach Richard Ward, School Superintendent Ray Castellani and the Marlboro Central School District, alleges Ward verbally and physically abused the boys on his football team and that Castellani and the school district knew about it and did nothing to stop it.

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WARWICK – Former Orange County Republican Party chairman John Hicks died Sunday at the age of 70.

Hicks, a well-known attorney also served on the Warwick Town Board in the past.

Current GOP Chairman Robert Krahulik said Hicks had “a passion” for politics.

“Without him, God only knows what state the party would be in today,” Krahulik said.  “A lot of people owe him a great indebtedness for getting them where they are today.”

Current Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton said Hicks was his best friend and mentor.

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WASHINGTON – The US Department of Transportation has approved a $1.6 billion loan to help finance construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River between Westchester and Rockland counties.

The funding comes from the DOT’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.

Governor Andrew Cuomo called the loan “a huge win for New York State.”

The issue of tolls to cross the new twin-span remains up in the air, the governor noted.

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WHITE PLAINS – The Westchester County Board of Legislators Monday night authorized the county to reserve 50 percent of the county’s almost $7.9 million federal funds for use by local municipalities for renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements.

Legislature Majority Leader Peter Harkham said the measure, when signed by the county executive, would allow eligible municipalities to submit spending proposals that would use Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds to implement Green Community Program projects for properties.

KINGSTON – Proposal Number One on this year’s ballot pertains to a constitutional amendment that would allow casino gambling in New York State.

State Senator John Bonacic, (R, Mount Hope) as chairman of the Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering is more intimate with the issues than most other officials.  Bonacic outlined the proposed amendment and detailed the ramifications at the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Kingston Thursday morning.

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MIDDLETOWN – An increase in workers’ compensation insurance premiums and pension costs for city employees will make it tough for Middletown to develop a 2014 budget, Mayor Joseph DeStefano said. But, he is optimistic that he will be able to bring in a spending plan under the state’s 1.66 percent tax cap.

DeStefano put much of the blame on state officials.

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POUGHKEEPSIE – Dutchess County government’s financial picture is better than last year’s, but not as good as it was prior to the recession in 2007. That word came Thursday from county Budget Director Valerie Sommerville, who briefed the Budget and Finance Committee of the county legislature.

Sommerville told lawmakers the expected economic recovery has not been as rapid as anticipated.

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