Hank Gross

Hudson Valley Correspondent
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The City of Middletown currently accepts sewage sludge from sludge haulers for its wastewater treatment plant and in the process earns hundreds of thousands of dollars. The anaerobic microorganisms in the plant produce methane gas, which is used to produce some electricity to heat the facility.


Residents of Newburgh Friday evening gathered at the site of the city’s latest murder, its fourth this year, to call for an end to the violence in the city.

Senator Charles Schumer
WAMC Photo


On the heels of US Senator Charles Schumer’s announcement that he will push for construction of a new cross-Hudson rail tunnel from Secaucus to Penn Station, he said Wednesday that he would lobby for a “Secaucus Loop.”


The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court has ruled that the Orange County Legislature was wrong when it voted by a simple majority to create a local development corporation to sell the county’s Valley View nursing home.

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The first pool of mosquitoes to test positive this year in New York State for West Nile virus has been confirmed by the state Health Department in Rockland County.

Courtesy of Dusiznies blog

As Kiryas Joel village officials and their consultant review written comments on the draft generic environmental impact statement concerning the proposed annexation of Monroe Town land into the village, they said the vast majority support the annexation.

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Valley Agriceuticals held a groundbreaking ceremony for their new medical marijuana production facility in the Town of Wallkill on Thursday afternoon.


Over 1,000 people attended the dedication of a new War Memorial outside the Ulster County Office Building in Uptown Kingston, New York on Sunday afternoon. The Roll of Honor consists of five black polished granite slabs, etched with the names of residents who perished in every American conflict.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

POUGHKEEPSIE – Steven Rector, the acting Dutchess County Human Resources commissioner, is County Executive Marcus Molinaro’s choice to be full commissioner.  Rector has been “a trusted adviser for a long time,” the county executive said.

Rector was his legislative director for two years when Molinaro was a state assemblyman.

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ALBANY – Legislation that would prohibit smoking outdoors on the grounds of hospitals and residential healthcare facilities has been signed into law by the governor.

The legislation, sponsored by Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D, Suffern), prohibits smoking outdoors including within 15 feet of a building entrance or exit or within 15 feet of the entrance to or exit from the grounds.

At residential health care facilities, patients or guests of patients, will be allowed to smoke outdoors in a designated smoking area.


WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D, NY16) wants to know why gasoline pump prices, which appeared to have stabilized and even dropped slightly earlier this summer, have risen again.

Lowey notes that oil company profits continue to climb at a time when people holding minimum wage jobs cannot afford to drive to work.

The House member said part of a solution is to require higher gas mileage on automobiles.

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KINGSTON – As the clock keeps ticking, the likelihood of the governor calling a special session of the legislature diminishes and that means any hope of passing legislation to allow Ulster County to keep its sales tax at its current level fades.

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill said if it does not make it before lawmakers this fall, it will come up early next year. But, county officials say they need the one percent sales tax exemption ASAP or the county will lose about $5 million in revenue.


POUGHKEEPSIE – Democrat current and past staff of the Dutchess County Board of Elections have charged that the 46 felony count indictment against Democrat Elections Commissioner Frances Knapp was “politically orchestrated” by the Republican Party.

An email electronically signed by Victoria Perry, Knapp’s current deputy, and Daniel French, her former deputy, as well as Kim Ferese, Ira Margulies, Steve Gold, David Gill, Kelly Hetrick, Devon DeFiore, Alida Ransom, Debbie Tierney, Ron Tice, Laura Weinel and Beth Sweeny, was sent from Perry’s personal email account.

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ALBANY – Hudson Valley Assembly Members Frank Skartados (D, Milton) and Didi Barrett (D, Hudson) have expressed their concern over a rate hike at Metro-North train station parking lots.

The two lawmakers wrote to MTA and Metro-North officials saying the hikes are unfair to families, especially those struggling to make ends meet.

They said the rate hike and an earlier recent one, “create an unfair burden for Hudson Valley families who rely on the MTA,” said Barrett.

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KINGSTON – The HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley president and CEO since November 2008, David Lundquist, has resigned from the Kingston-based organization.

Lundquist’s resignation was in effect Tuesday, July 23.  The hospital board accepted it on Thursday.

Along with the board of directors’ announcement of his stepping down, it announced the appointment of David Scarpino as acting president and CEO.

Scarpino joined Kingston Hospital in 2006 as chief financial officer, and in 2009 was appointed chief financial officer of HealthAlliance.

Senator Charles Schumer
WAMC Photo

WASHINGTON – Camps, children’s organizations and not-for-profit groups that hire employees or use volunteers need better access to background checks for those potential workers, Senator Charles Schumer said Wednesday, so he is pushing legislation that would let employers gain access to federal criminal background checks.

In the Hudson Valley alone, there are over 1,800 registered sex offenders and roughly 100 related crimes last year.


HIGHLAND FALLS – Petra Muhammad hasn’t been seen or heard from since January 13, 2006 and Highland Falls Police are still actively investigating this cold case.

Until her disappearance, the native of Granada would talk to her husband’s aunt, Ruby Alexander, on a daily basis. That communication stopped back then and on February 2, 2006, Mrs. Alexander reported her niece missing.

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POUGHKEEPSIE – The boil water notice for Poughkeepsie water customers has been lifted.

Mayor John Tkaczyk said a second day of testing showed the absence of Coliform, the bacteria that was found in water samples late last week, prompting the boil water notice and since then, city workers have been treating the water aggressively to clear up the system.

“The two rounds that were taken, we are both clear of chloroform in the distribution system so people can now return to the potable drinking now that the city is up to the potable drinking water standards,” Tkaczyk said.

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GARDINER – New York State Solar Farm, a Gardiner-based renewable energy company, has installed what the company says is the first solar powered gas station and convenience store in the state.

Anthony Sicari Jr., the CEO of New York Solar Farm partnered with CPD Energy Group, owner of the Mobil Chestnut Mart of Gardiner to install the 12.75 kW solar system.

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TOWN OF THOMPSON – The $600 million destination resort project planned by EPR Properties and Empire Resorts Wednesday night won the unanimous approval of the Thompson Town Planning Board.

Town Supervisor Anthony Cellini said afterwards that the approval is “monumental,” given the statewide casino gaming referendum to come before the general public in November.