Hudson Valley News

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.

Susan Kayne, a Hudson Valley equestrian who created the TV series Unbridled andhosts Ireland Unbridled, was featured in a recent New York Times investigative report that uncovered rampant drugging in horse racing and the bureaucratic red tape that stands in the way of reform. The horse owner spoke with WAMC’s Alan Chartock about her case.

Hank Gross

Orange County Executive Edward Diana is expected to not fund the Valley View nursing home when he unveils his proposed county 2013 budget later today (Friday), and that has the potential of bankrupting the county, according to County Legislator Patrick Berardinelli, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

Police and the FBI have broken a heroin distribution ring said to have been operating out of a cell-phone store in Poughkeepsie... WAMC's Dave Lucas reports


Law enforcement officers have eleven suspects in custody after what's described as a "co-ordinated takedown" was carried out Thursday morning. The Poughkeepsie Journal reports that a cellphone store on the corner of Main and Catharine streets was the target of a drug distribution-related search warrant.


New York State funding for anti-terror programs is earmarked for Greene County - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas spoke with a county official about the grant and the county's emergency preparedness.


Some ask why a small, peaceful county nestled at the upper end of the mid-Hudson Valley would need money to fight terrorism. Wouldn't it be better spent in Westchester County or New York City?

As law enforcement authorities continue to scour Harriman State Park for Eugene Palmer, the 73-year-old suspect in the killing of his daughter-in-law earlier this week, the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is advising people to refrain from hiking in backcountry of Harriman State Park this weekend.

Palmer is believed to be the one who shot Tammy Palmer to death in her backyard in Haverstraw on Monday.

Unemployment in all Hudson Valley and Catskills counties rose in August when compared to the same month last year.

State Labor Department analyst John Nelson said there continues to be an increase in the number of jobs being filled at the same time.

Hank Gross

Plans to build a new Tappan Zee Bridge took a major step forward with Tuesday’s announcement that the Federal Highway Administration has issued a record of decision approving the state’s plans for the structure. The federal approval completes the last step in the review of the project’s environmental impact, allowing the state to move forward with implementing a plan to build the new bridge.

Public officials from the federal, state and local levels as well as business and construction leaders hailed the announcement.

Prosecutors say a former suburban New York political leader has pleaded guilty in a residential mortgage fraud scheme. WAMC's Dave Lucas reports.


Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore says former North Castle GOP Republican Chairwoman Loronda Murphy pleaded guilty to the felony charges on Tuesday.
Murphy and a co-defendant operated a mortgage closing company in Armonk, N.Y. in 2009.
Prosecutors say they ran what amounted to a Ponzi scheme.

Dave Lucas / WAMC

Business and Community Leaders gathered today in Poughkeepsie to hear proposed plans for expanding economic Power of the Walkway Over the Hudson... Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was there and files this report.


 Increased awareness of the signs and treatment of Lyme disease are among the recommendations of a special task force created by the Ulster County Legislature.

The report was presented to Legislator Robert Aiello, chairman of the Health Committee.

Among the recommendations were a medical provider survey to establish baseline data for educational needs for program development and development of an education conference for medical providers for treatment and diagnosis of the disease.

Hank Gross

State Senator Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie has been declared the winner in the Republican primary election, defeating Conservative Neil DiCarlo when all of the absentee ballots were tallied. He won by 107 votes.

DiCarlo will appear on the Conservative line in the November election along with Democrat Terry Gipson.

The new 41st State Senate District includes portions of Dutchess and Putnam counties.

A man who admitted helping his girlfriend commit suicide — by jumping with her off the Tappan Zee Bridge — has been sentenced to probation. WAMC's Dave Lucas reports.


The Westchester County district attorney's office says 45-year-old Christopher Shears will be getting continued mental health treatment rather than jail time.

Shears jumped last year with 29-year-old Alfa Choice after stopping their car on the Hudson River bridge. Both were from Ithaca.

Hank Gross

A five-year capital plan has been endorsed by the Sullivan County Legislature. The bottom line tops $18 million.

County Manager David Fanslau says there is a no fat in the plan.“Reduced dramatically the amount of capital programs that would be initiated in 2013. We also have reduced the amount of capital programs that would be funded out of the operating budget in 2013 as compared to 2012,” he said.

Hank Gross

Hundreds of elected officials and supporters gathered Sunday evening at the Diamond Mills ballroom in Saugerties, to celebrate the career of Maurice Hinchey. The veteran congressman will be retiring in January because of health reasons.

The $100-per-plate annual fall dinner list of attendees comprised a Who's Who of local politics. The venue represents a departure from the traditional Kingston destination for political functions. Organizers desired a spot closer to Hinchey's hometown, and also a showcase for alternate catering destinations throughout the area.

Several inmates in a New York jail have filed a $500 million lawsuit because they're not allowed to use dental floss. More from WAMC's Dave Lucas

In a federal lawsuit first reported by The Journal News, the Westchester County inmates claim they're losing teeth and suffering pain.

They claim that the jail acknowledges the need for floss and that other jails permit flossing.

The lawsuit names the county and its corrections commissioner, among others.

MTA

At a time when Metro-North commuters are facing a possible 32 per cent fare hike, a report by the MTA's Inspector General has found Metro-North and the Long Island RailRoad are wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars each year because workers in the field are illegally idling their vehicles - WAMC's Dave Lucas reports

In New York State the maximum vehicle idling time is 5 minutes.

An audit found vehicles idled for a combined 20,000 hours each month, wasting over $800,000 a year.

molinarofordutchess.com

In his ongoing effort to reduce a projected multimillion-dollar budget deficit for 2013, Dutchess County Executive MarcMolinaro is capping the amount of sales tax revenue distributed to its municipalities at $25 million. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

Dutchess county was projected to share $29.5 million this year. But the County Executive intends to drive down the overall cost of government.

That initiative powers Marc Molinaro's 2013 budget proposal, aimed at starting a multi-year transformation of Dutchess County Government.  

Ulster legislators were not ready to vote on a resolution directing the clerk of the legislature to post information that would assist municipalities in enacting local ordinances prohibiting hydraulic fracturing.

Most lawmakers are on record opposing fracking in the county, but they could not come to agreement on whether the resolution on the agenda was quite ready for prime time.

Democrat Richard Parete said it wasn’t.

WAMC News

The cost of fracking to harvest natural gas in New York would be high in terms of both the effects on the environment and the costs to the public, according to a report issued Thursday by Environment New York.

The group’s director, David VanLuven, said New York would face the same negatives as other states have when fracking was permitted.

The hamlet of Livingston Manor is devastated again. This week’s flash flood washed out bridges and damaged over two dozen homes.

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther called the governor’s office and toured the devastation with state Transportation and Environmental Conservation officials and representatives of FEMA.  She said the residents of the hamlet can’t go on like this with repeated massive flooding.

Hank Gross

Six community colleges in the Hudson Valley are included in a consortium of 30 SUNY two-year schools that will receive $14.6 million to fund worker training and education programs that will help unemployed workers learn skills essential to securing local jobs in emerging industries.

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