Hank Gross

Hudson Valley Correspondent
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WASHINGTON –  The House Agriculture Committee passed the farm bill with the support of Congressmen Christopher Gibson (R- 19) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D- 18). The bill contains a number of provisions that will benefit New York's Hudson Valley region.

The bill includes Maloney’s Crop Risk Options Plan (CROP) Act that defends the specialty agriculture economy of the region as well as an amendment to help families and communities with flooding in the black dirt region.

ALBANY – New York State, Oneida Nation of Indians, Oneida and Madison counties have signed an agreement settling several long-standing disputes.  The agreement would grant the Oneida Nation exclusive rights to casino gaming in Central New York in exchange for sharing a portion of gaming revenues with the state and local governments.

Under New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan for legalized gaming, three casinos would initially be approved, which was going to be carved into six regions.

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WASHINGTON – If nothing is done by the beginning of July, the college federal student loan rate will double and US Senator Charles Schumer has joined the battle to keep it at its current level.

The Senator said on Wednesday he is in support of the effort to retain the current rate.

“To let the loan rate to go from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent would cost the average student about $3,798 more over their retainment term,”  said Schumer.  “That’s not chump change; that’s mortgage payments, car payments, and let’s not forget that students have lots of other debt.”

ALBANY – Business leaders in the Hudson Valley, members of the governor’s Regional Economic Development Council, Wednesday mapped out their plans for the third year of program.

Co-chairman Dennis Murray, president of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, said the council plans on capitalizing on the successes of the first two years of the grant program to promote business, economic development growth and jobs.

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ALBANY – Legislation proposed by Senator Terry Gipson (D- Rhinebeck) and Assemblywoman Didi Barrett (D- Hudson) would provide Thruway toll tax credits to farmers who use their vehicles to transport their products.

The measure would allow farmers to claim a tax credit equaling 75 percent of Thruway tolls paid for the transport of goods and services during one tax year. The credit would be applicable for travel for the purpose of selling within 150 miles of a taxpayer’s farm, roughly the distance between New York City and Albany, said Barrett.

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KINGSTON – State Senator John Bonacic (R- Mt. Hope) said if the governor’s proposal for no more than one casino in a region of the state, and only three in total to begin with is approved, the proposed facility at the new Nevele Hotel would be a dead issue.

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TARRYTOWN – Nuclear Regulatory Commission regional officials say the Indian Point nuclear power plant, in Buchanan, operated safely during 2012.

That does not mean Indian Point 2 is on the fast track for renewal of its operating license, which expires in September.

Regional administrator of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission William Dean told reporters in Tarrytown Monday that the actual renewal is a long way off, but that won’t keep the plant from operating.

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MONTICELLO – The Sullivan County Senior Legislative Action Committee will take a busload of residents to Albany on May 21. That is the day seniors from all over the state will lobby lawmakers for passage of a single payer health insurance bill.

Sullivan Senior Action Chairwoman Priscilla Bassett said government cradle to grave health coverage, especially Medicare for the elderly, would be far better and less expensive than private company insurance, which she said has higher overhead.

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NEW LEBANON – State Police have arrested a Hopewell Junction man for possessing a legally possessed handgun, but with a clip containing nine bullets. The new state SAFE Act limits the amount of rounds in a clip to seven.

As a result, Gregory Dean Jr., 31, has been charged with unlawful possession of certain ammunition feeding devices and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, both of which are misdemeanors. He was also charged with a traffic infraction and issued appearance tickets.

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TARRYTOWN – As work begins on a temporary work platform to be constructed in the Hudson River just north of the current Tappan Zee Bridge, the public will be able to monitor environmental impacts online.

Tappan Zee Construction, LLC is beginning daytime pile driving work to install a temporary foundation needed to support a trestle in the river on Thruway Authority property just north of the current bridge in Tarrytown. The trestle is a work platform that will support a crane for the construction of the easternmost 1,000 feet of the new bridge.

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