Community celebrates legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Shiloh Baptist Church on Warren Street in Hudson hosted the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Day Service Sunday, January 14. The event is sponsored by the Hudson Interfaith Council. This year’s keynote speaker was Presiding Elder Melvin Wilson from Brooklyn, Bronx, Westchester District A.M.E Church (at podium, above), who gave an impassioned speech about the state of our country and the path that we are taking as a community and as a nation. “Being a community is nice, but doing community is better,” he told the audience. Standing with Elder Wilson are (l to r): Rev. Kim Singletary, Overcomers Ministries; Rev. Ronald Grant, service leader; and Rabbi Daniel Fried of Congregation Anshe Emeth. Rabbi Fried welcomed the congregation. Father Winston Bath of Holy Trinity Parish gave the invocation. The Shiloh Baptist Youth Choir performed under direction of Emanuel Folds. Deacon Vertrese Folds of Shiloh Baptist read Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. An offering was made by Rev. Eileen Weglarz of Christ Church Episcopal. Hudson Mayor Rick Rector, county Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell, and Congressman John Faso also attended. Photo by Siobhan Connally

Expert describes gruesome slaying

(This story contains graphic testimony with details of a murder and other alleged crimes that are disturbing and inappropriate for young readers.)

HUDSON—Details about the brutal and bloody death of Christina M. Agan were the subject of testimony at the trial of David T. Agan, Jr. Tuesday, January 16. Mr. Agan is accused of murder, rape, incest and other sex crimes. The trial is in Columbia County Court before County Judge Richard Koweek.

Mr. Agan, 44, is charged with stabbing to death his estranged wife, Christina, 37, of Kinderhook in the vestibule at the Valatie Arts Medical Building, 1301 River Street in the village, December 10, 2015 shortly before 2 p.m.

In addition to the first degree murder charge, a class A-1 felony, he is also being tried on 15 counts of third degree rape, 96 counts of third degree incest and 28 counts of third degree criminal sex act, all class E felonies. Read more…

Potential candidates eye open Assembly seats

Reprinted with permission from the Times Union

ALBANY – As we await special elections to fill nearly a dozen vacant state legislative seats, a number of potential candidates may already be eying two seats locally.

But who will replace former 102nd district Assemblyman Peter Lopez (R)and former 107th district Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R), assuming special elections are called, is anybody’s guess. When Capitol Confidential (a news feature in the Times Union) started reaching out to county chairs, who for special elections get to pick their preferred candidate, and potential candidates in those districts, the rumor mill flung out a number of names.

Of those in the 107th who spoke with Capitol Confidential, Republican Kandi Terry, a former Senate staffer from East Greenbush who now works as regulatory and government affairs manager for Just Energy, confirmed that she is exploring a run and has spoken with some district political leaders. The 107th covers most of Rensselaer County and parts of Washington and Columbia counties. Read more…

Hudson Council enters new era

HUDSON–Presiding at his first meeting as President of the Common Council, Tom DePietro opened the session observing that “We begin this new term of the Hudson City Council with high hopes in a time of great excitement for all of Hudson.” The new council is the first to incorporate one-person-one-vote representation Hudson voters approved in a 2015 ballot referendum. Of the 11 Council members, including the president, 10 are serving their first terms. Tiffany Garriga (D-2nd) is the returning majority leader and now in her third term on the council.

“The DRI may be a welcome infusion of money,” Mr. DePietro continued, referring to the $10-million state economic development grant, “but I fear it makes many of us think that the beneficence of the state is the solution to all our needs. I would like to see a new civic consciousness develop in tandem with the new development projects.“

Monday night’s meeting was both the annual organizing meeting and the regular informal council meeting. Mr. DePietro announced the council committees and chairs. Gone is the Arts, Entertainment and Tourism Committee. He said its functions would duplicate the new Tourism Board, created by the 2017 Lodging Tax local law. The whole council would decide the distribution of $20,000 allocated for community events. Mr. DePietro created a new Housing and Transportation Committee, chaired by Ms. Garriga. Youth and Aging acquires the new title of Youth, Education, Seniors and Recreation, led by Kamal Johnson (D-3rd). Read more…

Claverack reaches agreement with W. Ghent firefighters

PHILMONT–At its December meeting, the Claverack Town Board discussed the town’s new contract with the West Ghent Fire Company. Previous fire company leaders did not properly oversee the company’s finances and the state comptroller released the findings of an audit late last year that was critical of the fire company’s management.

The audit was launched after the fire company’s treasurer pleaded guilty to falsifying the company’s business records.

“They’ve had some issues fiscally in regards to theft of some funds,” said Councilman Brian Keeler. Read more…

K’hook residents want town action on opioids, speeding

VALATIE–The Town Board held its annual organization meeting and swearing in of newly elected and reelected town officials this week. Several residents in the audience asked the board to create committees to deal with issues in the town, including speeding on Route 203, the opioid crisis and economic development.

County Court Judge Jonathan Nichols attended the January 8 meeting to swear in newly elected Councilwoman Sally Hogan as well as reelected Town Justice Lisa Mills, Highway Superintendent John Ruchel and Supervisor Pat Grattan, who said he is serving his ninth term. Patsy Leader, who was reelected to her seat on the board, was not at the meeting.

Mr. Grattan then honored former board member Paul Voltz for his four years of service. Mr. Voltz did not run for reelection last November. And Mr. Grattan gave a plaque to Peter Haemmerlein, who is resigning as chair of the town Planning Board, for his years of service on that board. Read more…