GERMANTOWN—WGXC, the new, non-commercial FM radio station designed to cover much of Columbia and Greene counties is getting ready to begin broadcasts this Saturday, May 9. Kind of.
The volunteers putting together the community station at 90.7 on the FM dial don’t actually expect to broadcast over the airwaves until at least June 2010, but they do want to begin developing program in the meantime on the Internet, and that’s where listeners can hear four hours of live programming this weekend along with recorded work by local musicians. The website is www.wgxc.org.
The group that holds the permit from the Federal Communications Commission to build the new station is called free103point9, although its logo calls this endeavor the Greene/Columbia Community Radio Project. The site specified for the transmitter is near Cairo in central Greene County, and its first electronic emanations will originate from the Catskill Community Center.
COPAKE—Salvatore Cascino says he was “defamed, slandered and libeled” by town Councilwoman Linda Gabaccia and that he intends to “commence an action” against the town within 90 days.
The statement that rankles Mr. Cascino, the subject of a temporary restraining order sought by the town for his failure to comply with local laws, was attributed to Ms. Gabaccia by the Register-Star newspaper. But Ms. Gabaccia says she did not make the statement in question.
If he pursues this latest legal maneuver, it will become part of a long list of legal wrangling between Mr. Cascino and the Town of Copake. Over the last 12 years Mr. Cascino, a resident of Larchmont who owns a waste-hauling business in the Bronx, has a record of violating federal, state and town laws for dumping materials and constructing things without permits on his 300-acre Copake Valley Farm property along the east side of Route 22.
HUDSON—As the World Health Organization was preparing to raise the threat level a notch higher to Level 5, county health officials were stepping up their efforts to identify any suspected cases of the new swine flu virus and to prevent transmission of the illness if and when it appears here. There were reports of suspected cases midweek in the Capital District, including in Albany and Schenectady.
Columbia County has now set up a local hotline for inquiries about the H1N1 swine flu virus. The number is (518) 828-1212. Arthur Baer, Chairman of the county Board of Supervisors announced the phone number Thursday, saying it had been activated for county residents as a point of contact for all questions about the H1N1 swine flu only.
Mr. Baer and Nancy Winch, director of the county Department of Health, said in the press release announcing the hotline that there were no confirmed cases of swine flu in Columbia County as of Thursday afternoon, April 30.
But two cases of influenza type A in children were reported at Columbia Memorial Hospital earlier this week according to the hospital’s infectious diseases consultant, Dr. Amanthakrishnan Ramani. Neither was swine flu. The determination is made by a judgment call and points out the complexities of the problem presented by the fast-evolving epidemic.
CHATHAM—The Village Board will hold a public hearing on the tentative budget this Thursday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial. All board members received copies of the annual budget proposal at the Water and Sewer meeting April 22, although the spending plan has not yet been released to the public.
The board also passed a motion that acknowledged the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Charter Communications. The company, which supplies cable TV service to the village and other parts of the county, filed for protection from creditors late in March because it was unable to meet its multi-billion-dollar debt obligations. Board Clerk Carol Simmons said that the board’s motion was a formality, and Mayor Paul Boehme assured board member what cable users “are not going to lose their service.”
HUDSON—The Columbia County Department of Health said Monday that, in response to instructions from the state Department of Health, it has increased surveillance for possible cases of the new swine flu influenza A (H1N1). This is in addition to tracking cases of seasonal flu already reported in the county.
County Public Health Director Nancy Winch said in a release that her department is using a plan already in place, which includes “appropriate protocols, education and awareness about the swine flu” that are used by county health providers, schools, daycare facilities, first responders, county department heads , community services and agencies.