Hudson Valley News

Orange County Assemblyman Eyes NY Senate Seat

Feb 24, 2016
Courtesy of Assemblyman James Skoufis

A Democratic assemblyman is exploring a run for the New York state Senate seat that has been occupied by the same Republican since 1991. Assemblyman James Skoufis believes now is the time for change and new ideas in the 39th district, where Bill Larkin serves as senator. Skoufis has set up an exploratory committee enabling him to raise funds for a potential run.

County Department Head Pleads Guilty To Stealing Funds

Feb 23, 2016

The former director of the Putnam County Department of Consumer Affairs has pleaded guilty to stealing cash from her department.

Assemblyman Explores NYS Senate Run

Feb 23, 2016
Courtesy of Assemblyman James Skoufis

A Democratic assemblyman is exploring a run for the New York state Senate seat that has been in the Republican hands of a longtime state lawmaker. Assemblyman James Skoufis believes now is the time for change in the 39th district, where Bill Larkin serves as senator.

“I’m seriously considering looking at this seat,” Skoufis says. “I’ve set up now and opened an exploratory committee so that I’m able to raise funds for a potential candidacy.”

Opinions Come Forth About Naming The New NY Bridge

Feb 23, 2016
Courtesy of the the NYS Thruway Authority

With the new Tappan Zee Bridge now about two years from completion, talk continues about what the bridge will be called. One Hudson Valley assemblyman wants to see it named in honor of veterans while others prefer it pays respect to a late governor.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rallied in Rockland County Monday for paid family leave and, in his opening remarks, he mentioned an unrelated topic.

Courtesy of the Office of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Rockland County today, rallying support for paid family leave, a proposal he unveiled in his combined State of the State/budget address. Cuomo told a roomful of supporters in West Haverstraw waving “Strong Families Strong New York” banners that his proposal would benefit especially women, minorities and low-income workers as well as strengthen families, the workforce and economy.

NY Lawmaker Pushes Bill For Rail Crossing Study

Feb 21, 2016
WAMC, Allison Dunne

An assemblyman from the Hudson Valley is pushing his bill that requires state study of rail crossings. Democratic Assemblyman Tom Abinanti is calling for the passage of his bill that would direct the New York State Department of Transportation to conduct a statewide study of level grade rail crossings. Abinanti first introduced the bill following the fatal February 2015 Metro-North crash – where a commuter train collided with an SUV at a highway railroad grade crossing in Valhalla. Abinanti’s district includes Valhalla.

Poughkeepsie Hires Seven Firefighters

Feb 20, 2016
Courtesy of City of Poughkeepsie Fire Department NY Local 596

Poughkeepsie has hired seven firefighters thanks to help from a federal grant. Officials say with the new hires, the city’s fire department will meet the National Fire Protection Association’s required minimums. .

Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and Republican Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison Friday announced the recent hirings. Earlier this year, Maloney secured an investment for more than $950,000 to hire additional firefighters through the Assistance to Firefighters Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFER, grant program. Here’s Maloney:

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney
Courtesy of the Office of Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s early status as the inevitable Democratic presidential nominee met a challenge when Senator Bernie Sanders entered the race. With Democrats set to caucus in Nevada on Saturday, one of Clinton’s superdelegates in the Hudson Valley is addressing Sanders’ rise.

Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who served as senior advisor in the Clinton White House, continues his rally cry for Clinton.

The Oscar Goes To An Orange County Foundry

Feb 19, 2016
WAMC, Allison Dunne

The Hudson Valley will take center stage during the 88th Academy Awards February 28, a few dozen times. After its statuettes had been in the hands of a Chicago trophy company for the past 33 years, the Academy wanted to return to its 1929 roots, and chose Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry, in Rock Tavern, Orange County, to exclusively create them, starting with this year’s show. Stephanie Minor works at Polich Tallix and explains how it all came to pass.

Courtesy of Special Olympics New York

The Special Olympics New York State Winter Games take place Friday and Saturday at various venues in the Hudson Valley. More than 900 athletes and coaches will be on hand to compete in the Winter Games, one of two annual state-level competitions. Lack of snow has moved cross country skiing and snowshoeing from Dutchess to Sullivan County, where the alpine skiing is scheduled, at Holiday Mountain Ski Area in Monticello. Figure skating is at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, and floor hockey at Stewart Air National Guard Base, in Newburgh.

Daryl Hall Wants To Add An Outdoor Stage To His Venue

Feb 18, 2016
Courtesy of Daryl's House

Rock n' Roll Hall of Famer Daryl Hall wants to add an outdoor stage at his music venue and restaurant in the Hudson Valley. Hall opened Daryl's House on Halloween 2014 in the Dutchess County town of Pawling. The Poughkeepsie Journal reports ( Hall plans to build a stage behind the restaurant to hold concerts on a lawn that can accommodate more than 1,000 people. The first concert is scheduled for May 27 with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Town officials say the project is under review and has not received final approvals.

Courtesy of Richard Renaldi/Bard College

Earlier this year, Bard College professor Robert Kelly was appointed Dutchess County’s first poet laureate. Kelly was invited to read his poetry at County Executive Marc Molinaro’s state of the county address last month at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief spoke with Robert Kelly about that night and what he has planned as poet laureate.

Courtesy of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress

Congressmen Chris Gibson and Sean Patrick Maloney have worked across the aisle on a number of issues. Earlier this month, Gibson, a Republican, formed a committee to explore a run for New York governor in 2018. Now Maloney, a Democrat, is weighing in on his colleague’s potential run.

Gibson decided not to seek a fourth term, instead turning his attention to the possible gubernatorial run, a move that Maloney criticizes.

Dutchess County Issues Draft Transportation Plan

Feb 17, 2016
Courtesy of Dutchess County government

The Poughkeepsie-Dutchess County Transportation Council has opened a 30-day public comment period for its draft 25-year transportation plan. Moving Dutchess 2 seeks to identify projects and plans necessary to maintain the transportation system in a state of good repair and meet travel needs through 2040. The plan tries to address varied needs within the county and divides the county into five regions: Upper and Lower Hudson; Upper and Lower Taconic; and Harlem Valley.

HV Senator Calls For Funding Full-Day Kindergarten

Feb 16, 2016
Courtesy of NYS Senator David Carlucci/IDC

A state senator from the Hudson Valley is calling for the funding of full-day kindergarten across New York, proposing the money come from the state lottery.  State Senator David Carlucci, an Independent Democrat from Rockland County, says every school district in New York should provide full-day kindergarten.

“We have to have full-day kindergarten for every child in New York state, no matter where you live, how much money your family has,” says Carlucci.

Carlucci has sponsored a bill to fund it.

CIA Lecture Features The Topic Of Food And Racism

Feb 16, 2016
Courtesy of Jonah Vitale-Wolff

New York educator, farmer, and food justice activist Leah Penniman will speak about racism and food at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park Wednesday. She previewed her lecture "Black Lives Matter: The Intersectionality of Race and the Food System” with WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne.

The New York state education commissioner visited the troubled East Ramapo School District in Rockland County earlier this week. Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says she spent Wednesday alongside the interim superintendent and school board chair.

“And I went into multiple classrooms, talks to a number of teachers,” says Elia. “And we still have issues in East Ramapo and the state Ed Department is committed to addressing those issues. And I think we need to work out how we can do that and support the students of that area.”

NYS Overtime Pay Rises

Feb 12, 2016
wikipedia commons

New York's comptroller says overtime pay at state agencies has risen again, to $716 million in 2015. According to the comptroller's office, that's up nearly $55 million from the previous year. The total number of overtime hours worked also has increased, to 16.8 million hours, continuing a trend that began in 2011 in the Cuomo administration. Most hours were at the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, and the Office of Mental Health.

Heinrich und Friedl Winter, Wikimedia Commons

One of the organizers of the original 1969 Woodstock music festival says talks are underway to stage a 50th anniversary concert. Michael Lang tells the Poughkeepsie Journal ( that discussions have started with potential partners and the idea of staging anniversary concerts at different locations in 2019 is being explored. The original Woodstock was held August 15-18, 1969, in Bethel in Sullivan County. Lang was the promoter of the seminal '60s event that drew 400,000 rock music fans to Max Yasgur's farm.

Zika Mosquito

The Hudson Valley has its fourth case of Zika virus after a confirmed case in Putnam County. In addition, a number of U.S. senators are calling for further response to the outbreak. A Putnam County resident has been confirmed positive for Zika virus and a second resident is being tested. Putnam County Department of Health officials made the announcement Thursday, saying both residents had recently travelled out of the country. Dr. Michael Nesheiwat is Putnam County interim commissioner of health.

Tampon Aisle
Rachel Hutton, Flickr

A Hudson Valley state senator and Manhattan assemblymember say it’s time to remove sales tax from feminine hygiene products.  Republican State Senator Sue Serino and Democratic Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal announced Thursday that they worked on legislation that would exempt feminine hygiene products, such as tampons, from the state sales and compensating use tax.

Calita Kabir/Flickr

A report issued by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli shows sales-tax collections for 2015 dropped in 30 of New York’s 57 counties outside New York City. While two Hudson Valley counties fit this profile, one bucked the trend well beyond its neighbors.

Ulster County had the third highest increase in sales-tax collections outside New York City last year. Brian Butry is a spokesman for the state comptroller.

There was a murder-suicide Thursday in Rockland County. Police say a husband shot his wife and then himself. Ramapo police say they received a 9-1-1 call shortly after 7 Thursday morning from a man who said he just shot his wife. Police arrived at the Village of Wesley Hills residence, where the couple lived alone, and heard two gunshots. They say 65-year-old John Lord was on the rear deck and had shot himself. They found his 63-year-old wife Irene dead in the bedroom. Police say both had gunshot wounds to the head. Police say the .38 caliber revolver used was registered to Irene Lord.

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant
Wiki Commons

Additional testing has turned up higher levels of radioactive tritium in groundwater than what was reported last week at the Indian Point nuclear power plant. Plant officials say this is to be expected and stress there is no risk to public health and safety.


State Senator David Carlucci (D, New City) has called on the state education commissioner and attorney general to investigate how culturally insensitive and historically inaccurate information was included in educational videos regarding Judaism and members of the Jewish faith.

Courtesy of New York Medical College

A Hudson Valley congresswoman Wednesday announced two grants for New York Medical College in Westchester County. Congresswoman Nita Lowey, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, announced two National Institutes of Health grants totaling more than $500,000 for New York Medical College to study Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and illness caused by strep. The first grant, from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, will allow the college to study Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in adolescents and young adults.

Courtesy Town of Hyde Park

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli Wednesday announced an agreement to convert an abandoned gas station in Dutchess County to community green space. The agreement between the New York Environmental Protection and Spill Compensation Fund, or Oil Spill Fund, Dutchess County and the Town of Hyde Park is to convert an abandoned gas station on Route 9G in the town to green space. The Oil Spill Fund, which is administered by DiNapoli, has paid $500,000 for cleanup and petroleum remediation efforts at the gas station and neighboring properties dating back to 1978.

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant
Wiki Commons

Additional testing has turned up even higher levels of radioactive tritium than what was reported last week at the Indian Point nuclear power plant. Plant officials stress there continues to be no risk to public health and safety.

Indian Point parent Entergy Wednesday released updated findings from groundwater tests at the Buchanan-based plant that confirm anticipated fluctuations in tritium levels. Jerry Nappi is spokesman for Entergy.

part sun promotion

A New York congressman has called on Amazon to ban the sale of gun-shaped phone cases. Though officials say the online giant already has such a ban in place, one of its third-party retailers was able to slip through the cracks.

Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel last week called for the retail giant to stop the sale of cell phone cases that are made to look like guns. Although Amazon itself does not sell them, Engel found that a third-party retailer was able to list this type of case on Amazon’s online marketplace.

HV Assemblywoman Hosts Aid in Dying Forum

Feb 9, 2016
WAMC, Allison Dunne

A New York assemblywoman has introduced a bill to allow Aid in Dying and recently held her first forum on the topic. Amy Paulin, a Westchester Democrat, acknowledges the sensitive and emotional nature of the issue but remains hopeful about her bill becoming law.

Paulin, from Scarsdale, says her bill is newly introduced this legislative session and in its third form, adding more protections than in previous iterations.