Hudson Valley News | WAMC

Hudson Valley News


  Former President Bill Clinton made a brief appearance at a rally for Democratic congressional candidate Sean Patrick Maloney Sunday afternoon.  Clinton touted Maloney’s qualifications saying that he was competent in both the White House and in state governance.

“Being elected to Congress is a job,” Clinton said. “It requires a preference for evidence over ideology, for arithmetic over illusion, for shared prosperity over trickle down, for we’re-all-in-this-together over you’re-on-your-own.”

Credit Hank GrossHein, in the Ulster County emergency operations center on Sunday, said they were prepared for Irene a year ago, and are confident they can handle SandyEdit | Remove

Students, parents and teachers in an Orange County School District are embracing mobile-optimized learning technology, as we hear in this report from Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas.

  US Senator Kristen Gillibrand came to the Hudson Valley on Thursday to announce her support for the Women’s Enterprise Development Center.

The senator is working to secure a federal investment for the effort that would see creation of a satellite center on the Marist College campus in Poughkeepsie.

“I think we can ignite a very powerful economic engine by just finding these great women with business ideas and helping them get started,” said Gillibrand.

She made her comments at a stop at Oxyvita, Inc., adjacent to Stewart Airport in New Windsor.

  State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office released an audit of the City of Newburgh’s financial oversight that said officials failed to accurately track the city’s budget which led to millions of dollars in shortfalls and a higher than necessary tax hike for its residents.

The audit, released on Thursday, said that the city, after failing to account for a $1.3 million deficit, passed an unbalanced budget in 2010 that created a new $ 6 million cash deficit which was closed the following year with a 41 percent tax levy increase.

A yearlong celebration gets underway Friday in Orange County... with a visit from the Fab Four... Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

The race for New York's newly drawn 102nd Assembly district seat pits Republican Pete Lopez, seeking his fourth two-year term against Democratic challenger Jimmy Miller, who served for two decades as official spokesman for the Albany police department: Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas takes a closer look at the race.

  The New Paltz Town ReUse building was officially opened for business on Wednesday, providing a one-stop location for the municipality to collect recyclables and offer them for reuse.

Town Recycling Coordinator Laura Petit said the town has a good track record of reuse with a wide variety of items.

The Environmental Integrity Project and 16 other organizations have petitioned the US Environmental Protection Agency to require the oil and gas extraction industry, including those companies engaged in hydrofracking, to report a list of the chemicals they use to extract natural gas.

The issue has become a regional hot potato since fracking in the Marcellus shale and Utica shale areas has been placed on the table.

Authorities say an upstate New York police chief has admitted he knew about sex crimes against underage victims but didn't do anything about it. WAMC’s Dave Lucas has more…

Ulster County District Attorney D. Holley Carnright said Tuesday that town of Ulster Chief Matthew Taggard pleaded guilty to a charge of official misconduct. He was suspended in June and retired in September.

The City of Peekskill will issue a request for proposals for a new operator to run its Paramount Theatre, which was closed recently by the current non-profit organization, the Paramount Center for the Arts.

“The city is being very aggressive in protecting this vital community asset while we seek out a viable proposal to turn this theater into the economic juggernaut it really should be,” said Mayor Mary Foster.

She said whoever takes over the operation, would be required to offer a wide array of entertainment.

Candidates for the New York State Senate got a chance to meet Ulster County business leaders at a Chamber of Commerce debate held in Kingston Tuesday morning.

Little disagreement was heard from the speakers on topics including casino gambling, mandate reform, and property tax relief. Each expressed support for small businesses, and promised bipartisan cooperation in the state legislature

When the property tax bill comes next year, Ulster County residents won't be spared any pain. But under a new law, the government will be required to tell you where it hurts.

The Taxpayer Relief Insert, announced by county officials Tuesday afternoon, contains an itemized receipt of sorts – as opposed to a mere I.O.U.

The information is designed to show a breakdown of the property tax levy, particularly in terms of unfunded mandates such as Safety Net (welfare) costs, pensions, and related issues beyond local control.

Special Advisor to the Governor on the Tappan Zee Bridge Project Brian Conybeare and Civic Engineer Mark Roche provided an update on the status of a new Tappan Zee Bridge at a session in Sleepy Hollow Monday evening.

“Most people just want information,” Conybeare said.   “They want to be able to ask questions and learn about the project. We’re here to give out the latest updated information on where the project stands and hopefully make them comfortable with what is obviously a pretty big project.”

The Newburgh City Council stood out openly against City Manager Richard Herbek on Monday night, with three of five council members saying or implying that they would at the very least not renew his contract, which expires in January. Whether or not he will be terminated for being sighted in his car with an alleged drug addict and prostitute is still being discussed.

Mayor Judy Kennedy said the matter was "problematic to the city.

Four days after Newburgh City Manager Richard Herbek was stopped in his car with a woman he said was a heroin addict, he has quit.

Herbek told Mayor Judy Kennedy on Sunday that he was resigning.

After the traffic stop last Wednesday, Herbek told that he was helping her kick the drug habit and that he was offering her counseling.  The following day, Kennedy said Herbek would have decisions to make, but she did not elaborate.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has sued a Queens beauty school, claiming it convinced hundreds of students to pay course fees but failed to train them as nail specialists. WAMC's Dave Lucas has more...

The suit, filed this week, names Tinny Beauty Inc. and two of its officers, saying it used ads in Chinese-language newspapers distributed across New York State, as well as word-of-mouth advertsing to find and mislead students about obtaining nail specialty licenses. Fees charged ranged from $350 to $500.

A major construction project in Ulster County will come to a screeching halt next month - all because of a fish. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas explains.

Officials say the lengthy re-building of Kingston's Abeel Street with new sidewalks, curbing and traffic signals will encounter a seasonal delay: the multi-million dollar improvement project will be on hiatus through April.

Four weeks of campaigning and one less candidate have tightened the race in the 18th Congressional District - which includes parts of Westchester and Dutchess counties, as well as all of Putnam County and Orange County. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports on the results from the latest Siena Poll...

Jobs rose by 7,000 in the Hudson Valley for the 12 months ending in September. That’s a 0.9 percent increase. The largest gain was in the Putnam-Rockland-Westchester Metropolitan Statistical Area at 1.3 percent.

The Dutchess-Orange Metro Area grew by 0.5 percent while the Ulster County Metro Area jobs fell by 0.4 percent.

In non-metro areas, Sullivan County experienced no job growth in September while Columbia County fell by 0.6 percent and Greene County fell by one percent.

U.S. Senate

A new bakery is being hailed as economic shot-in-the-arm for the town of Ulster - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer announced this week that Bread Alone, Inc. & Largay, LLC have been jointly awarded a Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan for a total of 4-point-6 Million Dollars from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. This funding will be used to acquire a 26-thousand square foot facility at 2105 Ulster Avenue, which will be converted into a commercial bakery and retail outlet.

Three firefighters have been suspended after it was discovered funds were missing from a fire company in Columbia County... more from WAMC's Dave Lucas

Officials say three officers with the C.H. Evans Ladder Company No. 3 are under investigation after thousands of dollars went missing from the incorporated nonprofit organization. The exact amount of missing money has NOT been disclosed:

The Dutchess County Board of Elections on Tuesday tossed the election of Maureen Natrella as chairwoman of the County Conservative Committee. She was elected in a special session of the committee, which was challenged by committeeman and former Board of Elections commissioner David Gamache.

It will now be up to the State Conservative Committee, headed by long time Chairman Michael Long, to name a new chair. Gamache said he supports former Dutchess Chairwoman Patricia Killian for her old post.

 Mayor Randy Casale has introduced an $18.1 million budget for Beacon in 2013. The city is at the two percent state tax cap, but residential property taxes will increase by 7.37 percent per thousand and non-residential will rise 5.3 percent.

Like all other communities, Beacon faces reduced revenues in sales taxes and mortgage taxes, but at the same time, employee pension costs will rise 15 percent, at $66,000.

Casale plans to defund vacant police officer positions.

Profits from Hot dogs, salty pretzels and soda pop sold at a hot dog stand became a financial engine that launched a health-oriented nonprofit - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has the story...

In 2010, Jon Salkin restored an original New York City bicycle-wheel hot dog cart... he set up his business along historic Warren Street in Hudson... as they say, the rest is history.

The issues at the several days of hearings that began on Monday may be more technical than in the past, but the arguments being bantered about are nothing new. Opponents say Indian Point is a serious threat and must be shut down. Supporters say the plant is safe and supports the local economy with jobs and at the plant and in the surrounding communities.

The hearings that began on Monday may run for weeks, but not everyone on both sides will be formally heard.

Metro-North Railroad riders will be paying anywhere from 8.19 percent to 9.31 percent more for a ticket should a proposal for fare and toll hikes unveiled Monday be approved.

The actual amount of the increase will depend on the distance traveled with discounts for traveling during less busy off-peak times.

Discounted monthly or weekly unlimited-ride tickets are available, as are one-way and round-trip tickets, discounted if bought as 10-trip tickets.

All tickets are less expensive if purchased at a train station but more expensive if purchased on a train.

A collective of agencies, institutions and individuals is working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to prevent hundreds of acres of pristine land in Columbia County from falling into the hands of developers. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Officials have their fingers crossed that the federally-supported Forest Legacy Program will help a band of groups including the Columbia Land Conservancy, Darrow School and the Berkshire Farm Center and Services For Youth, permanently protect 13-hundred-ten acres located in Canaan and New Lebanon.

A technical discussion about how to predict corrosion dominated  the first day of hearings on new licenses for a nuclear plant in the New York suburbs. More from WAMC’s Dave Lucas…

Federal hearings are set to begin today on whether the Indian Point nuclear plant in Buchanan should be re-licensed for another 20-years. Environmental groups and the state of New York have assembled 10 challenges to the renewal. Riverkeeper held a briefing this morning on the Indian Point relicensing process...  Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.