Hudson Valley News

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.


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.

Ryan Delaney/WAMC

ALBANY – Some 76 percent of the current gas and oil wells in New York go uninspected by the state annually and before Albany considers approving hydrofracking to harvest natural gas from shale formations, it should increase staff and conduct more inspections. That assessment came Tuesday from environmental organization Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project.

Marist College

A new high-tech environmental monitoring station based at Marist College in Poughkeepsie was unveiled Tuesday on the banks of the Hudson River. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

The new station is part of a network of 15 sensors collectively known as the Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System, providing round-the-clock data on a range of variables— such as temperature, salinity, and pH --- Stuart Findlay, an aquatic ecologist at the Cary Institute, says the new station is unique because it can collect actual water samples.

Tiffany Hamilton/Save The Furgary

The City of Hudson today followed through on its threat to shut down the Furgary... Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has an update...

In-county students at SUNY Dutchess will pay more than $3,000 for tuition for the first time next fall under an annual budget approved 17-to-4 by the County Legislature Monday night. Hudson Valley Correspondent Hank Gross reports… 

Dutchess college students will still pay the lowest tuition of any community college in New York State. 

Some who supported the budget said their ‘yes’ was a reluctant one.  Among them was Republican Benjamin Traudt.

Officials have announced grants totaling nearly $1.2 million will be awarded through Dutchess County’s 2012 Community Development Block Grant Program to fund an array of local projects county-wide. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has more...

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded the county nearly 1-point-2 million dollars under the Community Development Block Grant Program.

Dutchess County, New York government may be starting to see some signs of financial recovery while officials still struggle with the economy. Hudson Valley Correspondent Hank Gross has more…

Recent sales tax income is down two percent, but the hotel/motel room tax is flat and with increases in employee pension and health insurance costs and other state mandated expenses, balancing the budget remains a juggling act.

County Budget Director Valerie Sommerville presented the county legislature with a 2011 year end review and a peak at 2012.

The propsed 120-mile long "Constitution Pipeline" would transport natural gas produced by hydrofracking in Northern Pennsylvania to a terminal in the town of Wright, Schoharie County, where it would then be sent on to existing lines in the area.  Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has an update on the project.

During a press conference earlier this week, Senator James Seward and Assemblyman Pete Lopez expressed support for an alternate route for the pipeline which would follow the I-88 corridor.

The New York State Nurses Association, which represents 260 registered nurses at Benedictine Hospital, says as the HealthAlliance considers closing Kingston Hospital and folding all services into Benedictine, it should consider the effect on the community. Hudson Valley Correspondent Hank Gross reports…

The Nurses Association claims HealthAlliance’s current problems are “the result of several poor management decisions,” said spokesman Mark Genovese.

When the mortgage bubble burst and the economy turned sour in 2008 - the result was an uptick in the number of vacant or otherwise abandoned homes and properties across the nation - one city is imposing a hefty fee on property owners who fail to maintain those abandoned sites - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Whether you are a bank or a private citizen: if you hold title to a piece of property in the city of Poughkeepsue and you've abandoned it or are otherwise ignoring it - you could be facing a hefty fine.

For years, Columbia County has had the highest rate of foster care placement in New York State - the numbers are finally coming down, as we hear in this report from Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas.

While Columbia County’s foster care placement rate remains higher than its closest competitors — Schenectady and Cortland counties, the numbers have softened since 2008 – when county children were placed in foster homes at a rate three times greater then any other county.

Violent crime was down substantially during the first five months of the year in Kingston, according to crime statistics kept by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. Hudson Valley Correspondent Hank Gross has more on the statistics, which show a 34 percent drop in violent crime...

To date this year, violent crime dropped 34 percent. There were no murders or rapes and robberies were down 44 percent. Burglaries were down 17 percent, although larceny arrests increased.