Hank Gross

Hudson Valley Correspondent

The Westchester County Public Service Department’s electronic booking information system will be made available to other counties in the region.

The Public Safety and Security Committee of the Westchester County Board of Legislators gave its approval for the program which will allow for inter-municipal agreements with municipalities in the counties of Putnam, Rockland and Dutchess to access its electronic fingerprinting and digital booking photographs.

Public Safety Chief Inspector Martin McGlynn briefed the committee that identifications can go beyond facial recognition.

The Fiscal Accountability and Strategy Team (FAST) put in place by Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro is projected to save the county hundreds of thousands of dollars. The effort is designed to work with fiscal staff in county departments to find cost savings and efficiencies in the government within the limited resources available.

Molinaro launched the FAST team as part of his effort to close a $40 million budget gap going into 2013.

It is projected that development of a whitewater park on the Delaware River at Port Jervis could begin next year provided sufficient funding is secured.

The City of Port Jervis is seeking $200,000 to $250,000 from the state to draft design plans and gain the various approvals that would be needed.  Then, the job of securing the real money to build the park – estimated at about $1.5 million – would begin and city Economic Development Director Kathleen Hendrickson said they will seek grants and private money.

The park would be a city facility.

FEMA has decided to grant Orange County over $3.6 million for hurricane damage to the county government center in Goshen. County Executive Edward Diana had originally sought about $7.5 million,
Diana and the State Office of Emergency Management have both endorsed the funding.

The award is a far cry from the $505,290 FEMA first offered the county. It upped that to $534,980, but Diana now said it is because of the perseverance of his administration to challenge the numbers that convinced FEMA to increase them dramatically. 

One of two soldiers killed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan on August 8 was a West Point resident.

The Defense Department identified the men as Maj. Thomas Kennedy, 35, of West Point and Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Griffin, 45, of Laramie, WY.

Officials said the men died in Sarkowi in Kunar province of wounds suffered when they encountered an insurgent who detonated a suicide vest.

The soldiers were assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, CO.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has voted to wait before approving new licenses for Indian Point and other nuclear plants until it addressed the question of how to deal with safety and potential environmental threats from long term on-site storage of nuclear waste.

The NRC’s decision came after a Washington, DC Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling involving the NRC’s Waste Confidence Decision update.

Doug Kerr

The financial situations in the County of Rockland and City of Newburgh are in such precarious shape that Governor Andrew Cuomo and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli are considering proposals to create a super control board to take over their finances.

Such a board would review the finances of all counties, cities and towns on the verge of bankruptcy.

Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy said while her city has made significant strides in recent months to reduce its deficit and cut spending, there is still much more to be done.

VALHALLA – The Civil Service Employees Association, which represents some 900 workers at Westchester Medical Center criticized the hospital administration for its latest round of job cuts.

The hospital maintains it must tighten its fiscal belt like all other businesses and has also outsourced some of the jobs.

Westchester CSEA President John Staino said on Tuesday, subcontracting workers for lower wages could lower the quality of healthcare.

Tuition at Westchester County Community College will increase by $130 in the new academic year as the County Board of Legislators Monday approved a $27.8 million budget.  Tuition will go up to $4,280.

The vote was unanimous, although Legislator Lyndon Williams expressed concern about the rise in tuition, saying it could place a hardship on those with limited incomes.

Doug Kerr

The Cuomo administration rolled out three former Westchester County executives to support construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge and downplay the talk of a $14 toll.

Secretary to the Governor, Lawrence Schwartz, opened the dialogue on Sunday by saying there are three options, but only one choice, and that is to tear down the current bridge and build a new one. That will mean higher tolls, but he emphasized that would not happen overnight.

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