Hudson Valley News | WAMC

Hudson Valley News

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.

Jail cell

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.


This is the season when mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant water including in storm drains and many are turning up positive with West Nile virus.

Westchester County Board of Legislators’ Chairman Kenneth Jenkins will propose that all storm water basins around the county be treated based on a formula from the previous winter’s weather pattern.  Currently storm drains are inspected and treated without any specific guidelines regarding seasonal temperatures, he said.

 Labor Day is the one day in America that the country’s workers are saluted. Many have the day off as government offices, banks and other facilities are closed. The day is a big shopping day with a great number of people working, though.

Paul Ellis-Graham, president of the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation notes it is the unions that brought workers to where they are now.

Hank Gross


Elected officials called out to the New York State Transportation Department to expedite the process of funding a partial rebuild of the Forge Hill Bridge in the Town of New Windsor on Thursday, which has been closed from storm damage since Tropical Storm Irene hit almost exactly one year ago.

The designing and rebuilding of the bridge, which includes adding abutments to the road surface, is expected to take about two years and cost roughly $2 million, which will be 80 percent funded by the Federal Highway Administration, and 20 percent by Orange County.

Hank Gross

While Republican incumbent for New York's 19th Congressional District Nan Hayworth celebrated the presidential nomination of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney on Thursday evening with a fundraiser in Newburgh, protesters against the policies and practices of the GOP formed outside bearing signs and slogans.

Hank Gross

 The city administration in Poughkeepsie must come up with $3.6 million in cuts to balance its 2013 budget. Mayor John Tkazyik announced on Wednesday that the financial problems facing all local municipalities won’t disappear overnight and may be around for at least the next five years.

With diminishing property tax collections, sales tax and mortgage taxes coupled with rising personnel costs, Tkazyik said the city will have to face some stark facts.

 The union that represents some 100 workers at Monticello Casino and Raceway in Monticello has signed two agreements with Empire Resorts, operator of Monticello Casino and Raceway in Monticello.

The New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council and Empire Resorts’ subsidiary Monticello Raceway Management, Inc. have signed a five year agreement with the existing employees at the casino and raceway, which includes annual salary increases, set wages for new hires and addresses employee contributions toward health benefits.

Hank Gross

Responding to two instances of mob violence against police officers in just the past few days, the Newburgh Police Benevolent Association came out Tuesday with a demand for answers and action from the Newburgh City Council to protect its police force.

Among the issues brought up by Teamsters Local 445 Principal Officer Adrian Huff was an insufficiently staffed department, especially at night.

Hank Gross

By the end of the year, the financially troubled Westchester Medical Center is expected to face a $60 million deficit and members of the County Board of Legislators Tuesday expressed their concern for the health of the patients, employees and the hospital.

One-third of all of the MTA’s claims resulting from flood and wind damage from last year’s Tropical Storms Irene and Lee were from crippling of the Port Jervis Line, which had sections decimated with rail beds washed out and rails torn up and left as twisted masses of steel.

MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said $65 million in losses were suffered by the entire transportation system.

Halfway through the year, Westchester County Government is facing a $29.7 million deficit.

County Budget Director Lawrence Soule chalked it up to the continued effects of the weak economy and related continued low income in sales tax, mortgage recording tax and other revenues, as well as increases in union settlements and retirements on unsettled contracts, and higher than projected healthcare costs.

The warmer weather early this year saved the county some $2 million in costs, Soule said.

Hank Gross

Orange County Executive Edward Diana has just over a month before he must present his proposed 2013 county budget to the legislature.  He has prided himself with bringing in fiscally conservative spending plans with little to no property tax hikes.

Michael Hein
Hank Gross

Roads maintained by Ulster County will not be treated with brine used from fracking wastewater.  County Executive Michael Hein signed legislation Thursday at the county highway garage in New Paltz banning the brine from being used on county roads.

The byproduct of fracking will not be used on our roadways,” said Hein. “The truth is that the environmental costs are off the charts. Their bargain is bad and the price is too high.”

County Legislator Kenneth Wishnick, a New Paltz Democrat, introduced the legislation.

Residents of Columbia County will soon have a Reverse 9-1-1 system in place... the new notification technology will be deployed as soon as possible. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

This week the Columbia County Board of Supervisors agreed to implement a new CodeRed emergency notification system. Although widely reported as "a response to the TCI chemical fire in Ghent" - Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Tom Lanphear says plans were in the works before the fire broke out.

A New York state supreme court judge has ruled that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's controversial payroll mobility tax is unconstitutional. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed back in 2010 by officials in Nassau County. Several other municipalities in the Lower Hudson Valley, Putnam and Westchester and Putnam counties among them, later joined the lawsuit to have the MTA tax overturned.  

A State Supreme Court justice in Nassau County ruled on Wednesday that the MTA payroll tax is unconstitutional. The tax has been levied on all employees in Orange, Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties as well as the five boroughs of New York City.

Businesses and not-for-profits in the entire MTA region have been screaming bloody murder since the state legislature imposed the tax to help bail the New York City transportation system out of its massive financial woes.

Hank Gross

As the HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, parent corporation to The Kingston Hospital and Benedictine hospital, both in Kingston, work up their plans to close Kingston Hospital and consolidate its healthcare services under one roof at Benedictine, a new purpose for Kingston Hospital may be emerging.

Mayor Shayne Gallo told that he is having discussions with companies about converting Kingston Hospital into a medical college.

Hank Gross

If the Orange County-owned Valley View nursing home is not sold to a private company soon, the county faces a large property tax increase and layoffs next year. That was the warning Tuesday from County Executive Edward Diana.

Diana stopped the funding for the facility as of July 1, but county legislators extended it through September. In the meantime, they have been reviewing four proposals from private companies to buy the facilities with no decision to date.

Diana told that without a sale very soon, drastic measures will have to be taken.

This week, many of the nation's leaders in STEM education are heading for Mt. Kisco-based company "It’s About Time"... Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

Rep. Chris Gibson
..:: WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas ::..

Mid-Hudson farmers brought their concerns to state and federal lawmakers at a forum at Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson Monday night.

Chief among their concerns was the lack of affordable land access for farmers, said Lindsey Shute of the National Young Farmers Coalition.

Three Democratic Hudson Valley state lawmakers applauded a new law that will provide mandate relief to BOCES systems by generating new revenue and saving taxpayers money.

“The new law will be a great opportunity for BOCES to not only share their innovative educational curricula and programs with schools, facility and students outside the state, but also less the burden on taxpayers by raising revenue from other sources beyond New York,” Assemblywoman Sandy Galef said on Monday.

Senator David Carlucci also said the relief will provide benefits for BOCES.

Governor Andrew Cuomo formalized the state's request for federal support to build a new bridge replacing the Tappan Zee on Monday by signing a letter of intent to Washington. Addressed to US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, it acts as an application for Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) funding. The bridge is projected to cost over $5 billion.

Controversy continues in the wake of the TCI chemical fire early this month in West Ghent. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has the latest...

Many residents in the vicinity of the burned out TCI facility believe the system of checks and balances failed - and they're looking to government leaders for reassurance - within a day or two after the fire questions were being raised about the way locals were notified about the inferno and the possible contamination dangers from any residue after it was extinguished.

A transportation board has approved a plan to build a new Tappan Zee Bridge. WAMC's Dave Lucas has more.

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council approved the project on Monday.

The county executives of Westchester, Rockland and Putnam said previously they would vote in favor of the project.

Their vote was crucial for the project to qualify for federal funds.

Under the current plan, the bridge will have a dedicated bus lane during rush hours.

New job numbers released by the New York State Labor Department are fueling some optimism - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports...

The figures show private-sector employment in the Hudson Valley increased by 16-thousand 500, or 2.2 percent, to 761-thousand-900 during the 12-month period ending July 2012.

The Putnam-Rockland-Westchester metro area experienced the greatest job growth at 3.1 percent. That area ranked third of the 14 New York state metro areas rated by the state Department of Labor.

Some 15 years ago, there was discussion about the possibility of extending Metro-North’s commuter service on its Hudson Line beyond its northernmost station in Poughkeepsie. The idea of going further north to Rhinecliff died.

There are currently no plans to extend the service now, but Metro-North President Howard Permut said other work is underway on that stretch of rail, which is also used by Amtrak.