Hudson Valley News

Two of the nation's most influential science journalists are making a special appearance this week in the mid-Hudson area, where they will engage in dialog and debate – Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Andrew Revkin, author of The New York Times “Dot Earth” blog -and- John Horgan - who  writes the “Cross-check” blog for Scientific American, are meeting Thursday night at the Beacon Institute, where they will discuss the future of technology.

Hank Gross

A handful of New York's top education officials visited Poughkeepsie High School, during a site tour made on Tuesday afternoon.

NY State Education Commissioner John King was joined by Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Regent Harry Phillips, and Chief of External Affairs Dennis Tompkins, to meet with local school administrators.

Together, they dropped in on faculty meetings, several classes, and the school computer lab, where they chatted with students, observing how recent grant money has been allocated.

Superintendent Laval Wilson led the tour.

Flash floods raced through Livingston Manor on Tuesday washing out bridges and roads.

The downtown area was under several inches of water with reports saying the community got some six inches of rain in a two hour period. The Cattail Creek overflowed its banks sending floodwaters into residential and business areas.


County Manager David Fanslau said county roads 149, 179, 96, 123, 19, 81 and 82 in the towns of Rockland, Callicoon and Neversink were closed Tuesday night, but were open and passable to school buses Wednesday morning.

A new report says ripple effects from closing New York's Indian Point nuclear plants could cost billions of dollars a year. WAMC's Dave Lucas has more.

The report from the fiscally conservative Manhattan Institute estimates a shutdown would add at least $76 to the average New York household's annual electric bill.

It says businesses and industries would pay much more, and as many as 40,000 jobs a year could be lost.

Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner's plan to remove more trees from his riverfront property in upstate New York is raising concerns among his neighbors and drawing scrutiny from local officials. WAMC's Dave Lucas has more.

The Daily Freeman of Kingston reports that Wenner has already removed about 300 trees from the Hudson River's east bank where he owns a 69-acre estate in the northern Dutchess County town of Red Hook.

Dave Lucas / WAMC

Pattern for Progress is out with its annual housing report - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has details...

In "Housing the Hudson Valley, Unlocking the Opportunities" Pattern for Progress finds the lower Hudson region not much better off than a year ago. Westchester is the only county where the housing market is poised to be getting back on track.

Unemployment rates, foreclosures, short sales and a tightening of mortgage underwriting criteria for both buyer and builder are all slowing economic recovery in the Hudson Valley.

AP Photo

Eighteen of the former patients at St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie who came in contact with a traveling technician who infected people at other hospitals with hepatitis C came up clean from the illness at St. Francis. One of the former patients, did, however, have hepatitis C, but it was a strain other than that carried by David Kwiatkowski, who is now under arrest in Massachusetts.

Hank Gross

Folk icon Pete Seeger was the showcase performer at Clearwater's barn raising ceremony, held Saturday afternoon at Rondout Landing.

Scores of volunteers from the Timber Framers Guild toiled since sunrise to build the Kingston Home Port and Education Center, located at the Hudson River Maritime Museum on Rondout Landing.  The shared facility will shelter Clearwater's flagship and crew members during cold weather, and be used by the museum during summer months to build smaller boats, among other functions.


Ulster County is “holding its own” in terms of fighting the gang and drug problem, Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum said.

The sheriff credits the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team – URGENT – created in 2007, with helping to keep a lid on crime.

A day-long barn-raising Saturday along the Rondout Creek puts the finishing touch on a winter homeport for the sloop Clearwater - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

In January, the state announced $400,000 would be given to the Hudson River Maritime Museum to help pay for the construction of a permanent homeport for the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. The grant was to be matched by the Clearwater organization and the museum. An additional $125,000 grant was secured --- Clearwater Board President Allan Shope donated timber and architectural services


Metro-North commuters are being warned they may have to dig deeper into their pockets - a watchdog group is telling them to prepare for a fare hike of around 32 per cent - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's"Payroll Mobility Tax" or PMT - was approved by former Governor David Paterson in 2009 to avert service cuts as the MTA battled a record deficit. Last month, a judge ruled the PMT unconstitutional.

A security lieutenant at the Indian Point nuclear power complex has filed a $1.5 billion lawsuit in state Supreme Court, claiming the facility is unsecure, and that staffers regularly watch DVDs, play video games and sleep on the job. The suit also claims the plant routinely fails anti-terrorism drills. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

 In the last three days alone, gas prices in the Middletown area rose 15 cents, to well over $4.  How much more they will rise is an unknown. They are increasing at comparative levels across the Mid-Hudson and Catskills regions.

The economy may be showing signs of recovery with increased home sales, but the skyrocketing gas prices put that growth at risk, said Orange County Chamber of Commerce President John D’Ambrosio.

A mid-Hudson Valley airport gets an FAA Award that will be Used to make improvements which in turn will stimulate the regional economy. WAMC's Dave Lucas reports

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U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have announced just over $627-thousand dollars in federal funding is being awarded to Kingston-Ulster Airport to upgrade runway infrastructure. The funding is allocated through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program.

Officials from the New York State Nurses Association, the union that represents nurses at Westchester Medical Center, told the County Board of Legislators’ Community Services Committee on Tuesday that patient care is suffering as a result of hospital management’s cutbacks and reorganization of medical staff.

Nurses’ representatives told of cases where nurses are tied up in administrative and other work resulting in a loss of patient care.

Sam Caquias, a representative of the Nurses Association, said the region’s healthcare is suffering.

Hank Gross

Ulster County is bringing its emergency radio communication systems into the 21st Century.

Blue Wing Consulting, based in Minnesota, made a detailed technical presentation to the county legislature at a special meeting held Tuesday night in Kingston. The company made a similar presentation earlier Tuesday in neighboring Sullivan County.

Blue Wing was hired two years ago, tasked with polling various departments and finding an affordable solution to coverage, cost, and interoperability problems.

Army Sgt. Mark Palmateer of Wappinger was killed on June 26, 2008 during combat in Afghanistan.

To honor his memory and those of the many others from the region who have died since the attacks, the Town of Wappinger for the second year is holding a remembrance ceremony at the future site of a memorial to honor Palmateer.

Town Councilman William Beale has been coordinating the local commemoration for the past two years.

Hank Gross

Michael Cody is a Vietnam War veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart medal. His patriotism and love of country prompted him to set up a week-long exhibit of photos from the September 11 World Trade Center attacks.

Cody happened to be in Manhattan on that day at the VA hospital and when the commotion first occurred, he ran over to the site, bought a disposal camera and began taking pictures. “I didn’t know what I was taking at the time,” he told


Nancy Seliga was the manager of One World Trade Center when terrorists struck bringing down both Twin Towers. She was in the building about to start a staff meeting when the first plane hit.

Seliga, now a resident of Monroe, and her coworkers sensed it was a plane that shook the building, but thought it was an accident. They climbed down 21 flights of stairs when they were ordered out of the building and told to run, not to look back or up. A block-and-a-half away, she looked up, saw the flames and people jumping.

Teachers have a new resource to help them in the classroom. It’s called share my lesson, a new online resource bank, where teachers can collaborate and share teaching resources. Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, announced the new program today in Rockland County.

Since the beginning of the recession, times have been tough for everyone. But as Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports, there’s one organic food business in Columbia County that's thriving…

When Gunther Fishgold bought his first pallet of organic cashews to sell in 1999, he was simply trying to make some extra money to support his organic vegetable farm and bakery in the Finger Lakes region during the winter slow season.

The cost of running nursing homes, combined with the expensive capital costs needed to keep the facilities up to date, and cuts in Medicaid made in Washington, has prompted numerous counties across New York State to ponder closing - or selling - their facilities. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

Mark Levine, Deputy Director of the New York State Association of Counties, says County Leaders do not WANT to sell their Nursing Homes.

Courtesy: Associated Press

Members of the Hudson Valley delegation to the Democratic National Convention are “fired up and ready to go” following the formal selection of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as their party’s standard-bearers.

Orange County Democratic Chairman and convention delegate Jonathan Jacobson said they are ready to point out the differences between the Republican and Democratic candidates.

Hank Gross

Dutchess County legislators began the discussion into the possibility of banning the use of hydrofracking brine, the by-product of the drilling process to harvest natural gas from underground shale formations, on county roads.

The resolution, which was discussed at the Government Services Committee of the county legislature on Thursday, was sponsored by Legislator Joel Tyner.

Three Hudson Valley hospital groups are forming an alliance they say will enhance services, save money, and benefit the public... Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Bon Secours Charity Health System, St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital and St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers are joining forces under the moniker Hudson Health Partners LLC. The alliance entails bringing six facilities in three Hudson Valley counties together to pursue collaborations.  Larry Hughes is spokesman for Poughkeepsie-based St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers.

Police in Newburgh activated a state Amber Alert Wednesday evening and are investigating a possible child abduction that occurred at South Junior High School at 33 Monument Street at about 3:50 p.m. A group of children between five and 11 years of age told their parents that while they were playing, they saw a girl being forced into a black pickup truck by two men.

The parents promptly called the police.

Six men have been accused in a drug killing that could get them sentenced to death. More from WAMC’s Dave Lucas…

The U.S. attorney's office says federal, state and local agents rounded up the defendants on Wednesday after their indictment was unsealed. Three are 19 and three are in their 20s.

They're charged in the 2010 shooting death of Jeffrey Henry in Newburgh. Officials say the shooting came as the defendants were robbing drug dealers.

Hank Gross

Homeless people, joined by advocates, spoke out Tuesday at a rally in Poughkeepsie, decrying the new $10 per night fee being imposed by a local emergency homeless shelter.  Community Voices Heard organized the event, calling attention to the plight of indigent residents who are being forced to sleep on the streets this upcoming winter.

The expected housing crisis is prompted by a 120-night-per-year limit announced by Hudson River Housing, operator of the Dutchess County Coalition for Homeless shelter.

Jim Landmeyer / USGS

A study conducted by the US Geological Survey found a handful of water wells in Wawarsing contain dissolved methane gas. Nine percent of all 239 wells studied across the state found varying levels of dissolved methane.

Study author William Kappel said the Ulster County survey was centered on the New York City aqueduct under Wawarsing, but also looked at private wells.

As Ulster County officials consider what to do with surplus county property, they are looking at razing the former county jail.

County Executive Michael Hein has a plan that could save the county money in the process.

“One of the things we are looking at is having scrap metal that exists within the facility being utilized to help offset potential demolition costs so that we can bring it down to a flat pad,” Hein said.

The county would then explore its options to sell the property to a private developer.