Hudson Valley News | WAMC

Hudson Valley News

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.

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.

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.

Randi Weingarten - American Federation of Teachers

Sep 10, 2012

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.

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.

Michael Hein
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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

 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 / WAMC

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 / WAMC

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.

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.