Hudson Valley News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has voted to wait before approving new licenses for Indian Point and other nuclear plants until it addressed the question of how to deal with safety and potential environmental threats from long term on-site storage of nuclear waste.

The NRC’s decision came after a Washington, DC Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling involving the NRC’s Waste Confidence Decision update.

Doug Kerr

The financial situations in the County of Rockland and City of Newburgh are in such precarious shape that Governor Andrew Cuomo and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli are considering proposals to create a super control board to take over their finances.

Such a board would review the finances of all counties, cities and towns on the verge of bankruptcy.

Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy said while her city has made significant strides in recent months to reduce its deficit and cut spending, there is still much more to be done.

VALHALLA – The Civil Service Employees Association, which represents some 900 workers at Westchester Medical Center criticized the hospital administration for its latest round of job cuts.

The hospital maintains it must tighten its fiscal belt like all other businesses and has also outsourced some of the jobs.

Westchester CSEA President John Staino said on Tuesday, subcontracting workers for lower wages could lower the quality of healthcare.

Tuition at Westchester County Community College will increase by $130 in the new academic year as the County Board of Legislators Monday approved a $27.8 million budget.  Tuition will go up to $4,280.

The vote was unanimous, although Legislator Lyndon Williams expressed concern about the rise in tuition, saying it could place a hardship on those with limited incomes.

Ulster County Legislature

The dispute among Ulster County officials concerning the procedure to redistrict the county legislature may be resolved. County lawmakers and administration met in a marathon session Thursday evening.

The county legislature wanted to provide input in the process; the county charter review commission didn’t want lawmakers involved.

The tentative agreement Thursday centered on asking the state for a home rule measure that would allow the public to call for a permissive referendum on redistricting after the committee comes up with a map.

Local officials in the Town of Fishkill have asked federal representatives in Washington to seek a delay in flood insurance requirements.

Town Supervisor Robert LaColla said the issue was brought to light by local residents.

“Several constituents had come to us to ask about what can be done about their banks requiring flood plain insurance,” LaColla said. “Many of these people have never had an issue, they never put in a claim, they’ve never had water in the building, yet they were being asked to buy insurance at a cost of $300 to $3,000.”

The national aviation radar system will be converted in the future from ground based radar to a global positioning system (GPS) and the Stewart Airport Commission went on record on Tuesday asking the US Department of Transportation and the FAA to consider locating the so-called NextGen operation at the Newburgh area airport.

Commission Chairman James Wright said it would mean lots of jobs and making Stewart a central point for the new radar system.

Mid Hudson News

The Mid-Hudson Sustainability Planning Consortium unveiled its strategy to the public for a regional growth project, called the Regional Sustainability Plan, at SUNY Orange in Newburgh on Monday evening.

Funded by about $10 million from NYSERDA and part of the Cleaner, Greener Communities program put into action by Governor Cuomo last year, the consortium has until Christmas of this year to present an economic roadmap for the seven-county region that will promote job growth as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Authorities say a New Hampshire motorcyclist pulled over for speeding in suburban New York was found to be armed with a pistol. WAMC's Dave Lucas has more...

Police say Stephen Miles, of Derry, N.H., had a Ruger 9mm pistol on him.

According to the Journal News, police said he was going 128 mph in a 65-mph zone when state police pulled him over on Interstate 684 in Bedford on Friday night.

Miles was arraigned on a misdemeanor charge of criminal weapon possession and released on $10,000 bail.

He's due back in court on Thursday.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

On the occasion of the release of a report about income taxes on the wealthy by the advocacy groups Americans for Tax Fairness, Citizens for Tax Justice and the National Women's Law Center---  and marking Monday's 47th anniversary of the 1965, signing of the federal law to establish the Medicare retirement health care program by President Lyndon Johnson---  representatives of advocacy and labor groups rallied in Beacon - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was there and files this report.

WAMC News

Thousands of people from across the nation rallied in Washington on Sunday in opposition to hydro-fracturing  to mine natural gas from shale formations.

Members of the Stewart Park and Reserve Coalition, headed by Sandra Kissam of the Town of Newburgh, attended the rally and she described the scene from D.C.

“We are over here in front of the Capitol Building, about 2,000 strong or more, listening to Bill McKibben, who is one of the leading proponents of doing away with fracking and also a leading opponent to the Excel Pipeline,” Kissam said.

A new committee will begin to look at developing a sustainability agenda for the Mid-Hudson Valley.  The seven-county region – Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Sullivan, Dutchess and Ulster – will seek input from residents as to what to include in a sustainability plan.

“Green economic development” is how Orange County Planning Commissioner David Church describes it.

Dutchess County plans on getting a dose of reality – on television, that is. Two “reality” based production teams are gearing up for local shoots, according to the Dutchess Economic Development Corporation.

“Tourism has been responding to a number of calls for films, commercials and reality shows,” noted EDC member Andrea Reynolds, in a report made to the board at Thursday's quarterly meeting.

Future science education in Dutchess County will be more integrated, when Vassar College completes its flagship campus complex in 2015.  The proposed academic facility is designed by architects to function as a bridge, allowing ecological study of the stream crossing beneath its archway.

After many years of programming and needs analysis, Vassar College has decided to launch a renovation and construction project for its 12 acre neighborhood of science buildings.

With the world economy in flux and gun violence dominating the headlines, some find it hard to extend compassion to those around them, while others are moved in these turbulent times to "give all" and more...

In Poughkeepsie, a positive mindset prevails when it comes to extending a helping hand to families and individuals in need. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas joined a “Community Walk” held this week in the city…

 In his continuing effort to keep county expenses down, Ulster County Executive Michael Hein Wednesday proposed a voluntary separation program for certain county employees as a means of reducing the size of the workforce and lowering payroll and benefits expenses.

Under the program, which would require county legislature approval, the 232 eligible workers could receive a one-time $12,500 separation payment to leave county service no later than December 1.

Health and Personnel Committee Chairman Robert Aiello, a Republican, supports the plan.

As the economy continues its recovery, now is not the time for state lawmakers to vote themselves pay hikes, State Assemblyman Steven Katz (R-Westchester) said Tuesday.

Katz was highly critical of the Democrat-controlled Assembly urged fellow lawmakers to reject any increase in pay.

Congressman Eliot Engel (D-Westchester/Rockland) briefed the new chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of his concerns and opposition to the Indian Point nuclear power plants in Buchanan and their applications for license renewal.

Engel’s comments came during a joint hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittees on Energy and Power and the Environment and the Economy on Tuesday.

Wurtsboro Airport will play host to the Wurtsboro Music Festival on two Thursday evenings in August.

Top name pop music entertainment from the 70s will be performing on the lawn at the airfield providing a new music venue for the region, said music festival spokesman William Liblick.

“Everyone often complains that there’s nothing to do in Sullivan County and what we’re trying to do is to make it very affordable and give people a good night of entertainment,” Liblick said.

Courtesy NOAA

Ulster County Executive Michael Hein announced on Monday that he is applying for Community Development Block Grant funding to assist low income homeowners in need of housing improvements with priority given to homeowners needing repairs due to Tropical Storms Irene or Lee.

Rural Ulster Preservation Company will administer the program for the county.  The county and RUPCO will apply for $750,000 with applications from homeowners due on August 7. Funds are expected to be available in the spring 2013.

POUGHKEEPSIE – The Dutchess County Legislature and Criminal Justice Council continue to study the overcrowding at the county jail in Poughkeepsie and identify possible solutions.

Legislature Chairman Robert Rolison said they need to develop programs with best practices and evidence based outcomes.

Kingston Facing Critical Financial Crunch

Jul 23, 2012

KINGSTON – The City of Kingston is facing a potentially critical financial crunch in 2013 and Mayor Shayne Gallo chalks it up primarily to mandated expenses.

The mayor, who is drafting his first budget to be presented a few months from now, said he is starting out behind the eight ball since the previous administration used $1 million from the city’s reserves to balance the 2012 budget. There are other concerns as well.

A store clerk allegedly sold four cans of a popular alcohol-laden energy drink to a teenager before he drowned in a pond in suburban New York. WAMC's Dave Lucas has more...

According to Newsday Westchester, state police said Rosa Saquinaula was issued a summons for selling 24-ounce cans of Four Loko to Santiago Mendia without asking for identification.

The 18-year-old Peekskill resident was found last Saturday in a pond off Route 9A.

An autopsy confirmed he died by drowning. Toxicology tests are pending.

It took three years to get the official approval necessary to allow Indian Point to move spent nuclear fuel from one storage area to other. As Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas explains, the process in getting special permission could affect re-licensing the plant’s reactors…

21 state, county and municipal leaders have signed a letter calling on New York State to fine New York City 13-point-5 million dollars for sending turbid waters into the Lower Esopus Creek... Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

The 21 leaders sent a letter to the State Department of Environmental Conservation, which must decide whether to allow the releases of muddy water to go on...  those opposed to the releases argue they damage ecosystems in the Lower Esopus and hinder business and recreational opportunities for communities situated along the Creek.

ALBANY – The Ulster County metro area led the state in job growth year over year in June with a 5.4 percent increase.

Private sector employment in the Hudson Valley increased 11,700, or 1.6 percent, to 754,100 for the 12 month period ending in June, the state Labor Department reported Thursday.

The Putnam-Rockland-Westchester metro region saw a 2.1 percent job growth while the Dutchess-Orange metro region lost 0.3 percent.

Sullivan County gained a half-percent in job growth while Columbia County had no growth and Greene County fell by one percent.

The driver of the truck struck by the ex-wife of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been issued a summons for leaving the scene of an accident. WAMC's Dave Lucas reports

Rocco Scuiletti, of Poughkeepsie, was sideswiped last Friday by Kerry Kennedy's Lexus on Interstate 684 north of New York City.

She's pleaded not guilty to a driving while drug-impaired charge. Kennedy says doctors believe the accident was caused by a seizure stemming from an old brain injury.

Saving Shad

Jul 19, 2012

Two years have passed since the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation banned Shad fishing ... Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports on the ongoing effort to preserve and protect the fish's habitat.

WAMC

WASHINGTON – In the wake of last week’s announcement that Delta Air Lines will drop its Stewart Airport to Atlanta route effective August 31, US Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said he will ask the airline to reconsider the decision.

Schumer said on Wednesday he is disappointed with the announcement, but will press forward with his continuing efforts to attract new air service to the Newburgh airport.

POUGHKEEPSIE – A new Hudson River environmental monitoring station at Marist College in Poughkeepsie was unveiled Tuesday.

The station, built in partnership with the US Geological Survey, State Department of Environmental Conservation, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and Marist College, is funded by the US EPA.

The new station will continuously monitor water quality and automatically collect samples for the assessment of toxics, said Stuart Findlay, an aquatic ecologist at the Cary Institute.

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