Hudson Valley News

Three firefighters have been suspended after it was discovered funds were missing from a fire company in Columbia County... more from WAMC's Dave Lucas



Officials say three officers with the C.H. Evans Ladder Company No. 3 are under investigation after thousands of dollars went missing from the incorporated nonprofit organization. The exact amount of missing money has NOT been disclosed:

The Dutchess County Board of Elections on Tuesday tossed the election of Maureen Natrella as chairwoman of the County Conservative Committee. She was elected in a special session of the committee, which was challenged by committeeman and former Board of Elections commissioner David Gamache.

It will now be up to the State Conservative Committee, headed by long time Chairman Michael Long, to name a new chair. Gamache said he supports former Dutchess Chairwoman Patricia Killian for her old post.

 Mayor Randy Casale has introduced an $18.1 million budget for Beacon in 2013. The city is at the two percent state tax cap, but residential property taxes will increase by 7.37 percent per thousand and non-residential will rise 5.3 percent.

Like all other communities, Beacon faces reduced revenues in sales taxes and mortgage taxes, but at the same time, employee pension costs will rise 15 percent, at $66,000.

Casale plans to defund vacant police officer positions.

gulpwater.org

Profits from Hot dogs, salty pretzels and soda pop sold at a hot dog stand became a financial engine that launched a health-oriented nonprofit - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has the story...

In 2010, Jon Salkin restored an original New York City bicycle-wheel hot dog cart... he set up his business along historic Warren Street in Hudson... as they say, the rest is history.

The issues at the several days of hearings that began on Monday may be more technical than in the past, but the arguments being bantered about are nothing new. Opponents say Indian Point is a serious threat and must be shut down. Supporters say the plant is safe and supports the local economy with jobs and at the plant and in the surrounding communities.

The hearings that began on Monday may run for weeks, but not everyone on both sides will be formally heard.

Hank Gross

Metro-North Railroad riders will be paying anywhere from 8.19 percent to 9.31 percent more for a ticket should a proposal for fare and toll hikes unveiled Monday be approved.

The actual amount of the increase will depend on the distance traveled with discounts for traveling during less busy off-peak times.

Discounted monthly or weekly unlimited-ride tickets are available, as are one-way and round-trip tickets, discounted if bought as 10-trip tickets.

All tickets are less expensive if purchased at a train station but more expensive if purchased on a train.

A collective of agencies, institutions and individuals is working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to prevent hundreds of acres of pristine land in Columbia County from falling into the hands of developers. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Officials have their fingers crossed that the federally-supported Forest Legacy Program will help a band of groups including the Columbia Land Conservancy, Darrow School and the Berkshire Farm Center and Services For Youth, permanently protect 13-hundred-ten acres located in Canaan and New Lebanon.

A technical discussion about how to predict corrosion dominated  the first day of hearings on new licenses for a nuclear plant in the New York suburbs. More from WAMC’s Dave Lucas…

Federal hearings are set to begin today on whether the Indian Point nuclear plant in Buchanan should be re-licensed for another 20-years. Environmental groups and the state of New York have assembled 10 challenges to the renewal. Riverkeeper held a briefing this morning on the Indian Point relicensing process...  Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

For the last month, 5,000 meals are prepared and served to every Poughkeepsie City School District student who wanted one. It is part of a new federal program funding breakfast and lunch for every student is that district regardless of family income.

District Food Services Director Al Muhlnickel said they are preparing a wide array of delicious meals that the kids are enjoying.

Courtesy of Pulaski Legion

 Hundreds marched dressed in red colors and the native costumes of Poland, to the monument in Poughkeepsie's Pulaski Park, to celebrate Pulaski Day, in honor of Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski, known as “father of the American cavalry.”

The event takes place on the second Sunday of each October, to remember the immigrant general whose skill and bravery on the battlefield proved decisive for several important battles in the fight for our nation's independence.

..::WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas::..

An audit and investigation by the New York State Comptroller into the financial activities of a local Fire Company has ended in an arrest ... Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports...

Researchers are following the travels of two invasive species of insects as they make their way up the Hudson Valley - they're looking for citizen scientists to help track the creatures: Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

With the days growing shorter and evenings cooler, two species of insect join many others looking to use our homes as temporaty shelters to increase their chance of survival.

A week before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board begins several weeks of hearings in Westchester County concerning the relicensing of the Indian Point nuclear power plants, a number of pro-Indian Point people urged the relicensing.

Arthur “Jerry” Kremer, chairman of New York AREA, John Kelly, a retired director of licensing at Indian Point, a Westchester business leader and a former CEO of an independent system operator, all said Indian Point is safe, provides the electricity needed for the region, and is an economic engine.

Hank Gross

Several top state and local leaders sailed aboard the Rip Van Winkle tour boat Thursday morning, as Governor Andrew Cuomo kicked off his economic development tour of the Hudson Valley with a visit to Kingston's downtown historic district.

Cuomo was joined on his Hudson River voyage by Ulster County Executive Michael Hein, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo, Lt. Governor Robert Duffy, and a host of other officials from various organizations.

A small water park would be added to a landmarked amusement park north of New York City under a newly announced proposal. WAMC’s Dave Lucas reports.

New York Senate Democrats are quietly pinning their hopes on an underdog campaign in a new legislative district drawn by Republicans specifically to protect their Senate majority. WAMC’s Dave Lucas reports.

For Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk the task is daunting against George Amedore a veteran assemblyman. He had been considered a sure thing under the Republicans' redistricting plan. The Senate's 63rd seat carefully snakes from Montgomery County to Ulster County.

Sandra Fluke, thrust into national prominence when Republicans blocked her from testifying before a House Committee, and who was subsequently attacked by talk show pundit Rush Limbaugh, was in the area giving enthusiastic support to Democrat House candidate Sean Patrick Maloney.  

Polls show Maloney is in a very close contest with incumbent Republican Nan Hayworth for the 18th District seat.

Both Fluke and Maloney found Hayworth an easy target, especially on women’s issues.

Hank Gross

 

It was anything but sunny on Wednesday morning, but a crew from Kirchhoff Green Energy in Pleasant Valley was installing solar panels on the roof of the Scenic Hudson kayak pavilion at its Long Dock Park on the Beacon city waterfront.

When completed and connected to the nearby River Center, a restored barn, the array will provide 25 percent of the electricity to power the barn, said Margery Groten, Scenic Hudson’s senior project manager.

The broken sewer main that dumped between three million and five million gallons of raw sewage into the Quassaick Creek that feeds the Hudson River late last week, could wind up costing the City of Newburgh as much as $7 million once all of the repairs and old pipes have been replaced.

The temporary fix, which was completed Friday night with a temporary pipe installed to continue the service, will cost an estimated $1 million.

Bebeto Matthews / AP

Effective next weekend, Metro-North train service on weekends and off-peak periods will get a big boost with the addition of 79 trains each week in the first round of service implementation that was announced last month.

The new trains will provide increased frequency in the most popular off-peak and weekend time periods, as well as faster travel times and improved customer comfort by adding cars on weekend trains that are usually crowded.

Another 151 new trains each will be added in April of next year.

New York State Senate

 The City of Peekskill is faced with laying off 31 full time employees in 2013 and Mayor Mary Foster and the Common Council are putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of state officials in Albany for failing get control over the skyrocketing cost of mandatory pension payments.

Those costs will total about 10 percent of the city’s $50 million spending plan for next year and Foster said Peekskill is truly between a rock and a hard place.

Researchers are trying to figure out how bad the stink bug problem is for Hudson Valley farms. WAMC's Dave Lucas has more....



Stink bugs have been in the valley since 2008, but the Poughkeepsie Journal reports that their populations have increased dramatically this year. The invasive insect feeds on fruits and vegetables and is a menace to farmers.

WAMC/Dave Lucas

Senator Charles Schumer was in Kingston Wednesday to call attention to the recent rash of scrap metal thefts in the city. He unveiled new legislation that would crackdown on thieves and provide law enforcement with tools to protect citizens and Infrastructure... Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was there and files this report.

Hank Gross

The American Planning Association has designated Wall Street in Kingston as one of 10 Great Streets for 2012 under the group’s Great Places in America program.

The Great Places program is designed to note exceptional character and highlight the role planning and planners play in adding value to communities, including fostering economic growth and jobs.

The organization singled out an eight-block stretch of Wall Street in Kingston between Franklin and North Front streets for its historic character, many well-preserved buildings, pedestrian scale, and variety of uses.

WAMC photocomposite by Dave Lucas

The Dyson Foundation and the Marist Poll have released a new study measuring the priorities of Mid-Hudson Valley residents ... Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was at Marist College for the official release and files this report

...

It's the third in a series of reports about life in the Hudson Valley - “Many Voices One Valley,” targeted a 7-county area:   Columbia, Greene, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster counties.

84 percent of residents polled said they like living in the mid-Hudson Valley.  

MassDPH

A probable case of West Nile virus has been identified in Ulster County, County Health Commissioner Dr. Carol Smith said Monday. The case is under investigation by the state Health and County Health departments and involves a person who had recently traveled out-of-state; therefore, it is uncertain exactly where the infection may have been acquired, she said.

West Nile virus is most often spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.

Hank Gross

The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion released a poll Monday regarding the region's economy after interviewing 4,443 respondents in the seven Mid-Hudson counties, and residents say it's been a tough five years since the last poll  was conducted in 2007.

The poll was conducted with residents from Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia, Greene, Ulster, Orange and Sullivan counties, and 69 percent are disappointed with the quality of their jobs, and 76 percent are pessimistic enough that if they lost their job, they doubt they'd be able to land a similar job.

The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel will conduct an evidentiary hearing starting on Monday, October 15 to address 10 technical and environmental challenges to the pending Indian Point nuclear power plant license renewal application.

The application was submitted by Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., the owner and operator of the plant in Buchanan.

The issues to be considered were raised by three intervenors – New York State, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and Riverkeeper. Several governmental bodies have also been granted status as participants in the proceeding.

A New York self-employed personal trainer has been charged with trying to solicit sex from an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl. WAMC's Dave Lucas has more...


Edward Lee III of White Plains was arraigned Wednesday on charges of attempted rape and attempted patronizing a prostitute.

The Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore says Lee allegedly had several email conversations with the alleged victim's stepfather, also an undercover investigator. He allegedly discussed various sex acts he would engage in with the girl in exchange for money.

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