County looks to reduce under-age vaping

HUDSON–Juvenile vaping, nicotine cessation, Narcan in schools, spreading service providers around the County, and housing for people with special needs, received attention at the Columbia County Community Services Board meeting Wednesday, May 30.

Supervisor Sarah Sterling (D-Hudson, 1st Ward) expressed the need for enforced legislation to stop the sale of electronic cigarettes to under-age persons. Juuls, the name for a kind of nicotine vaporizers that are is easy to use discretely and come in many flavors, are popular with teenagers. “They think they aren’t smoking. But they’re getting as much nicotine as in a cigarette.”

Dan Almasi, county deputy director of Community Services, announced the start of a nicotine cessation group “for people invested in having a quit date.” Participants follow a program that includes quitting early in it. For people “considering whether to quit”, different services are available. Read more…

G’town ready to weigh Dollar General’s ‘Option G’

GERMANTOWN—After two years of process, the Planning Board may decide as early as June 28 whether or not the town will get a Dollar General retail store. Primax Properties proposes the store on the west side of Route 9G just north of the intersection with Main Street.

The Planning Board holds a Public Hearing on the Primax/Dollar General Site Plan and Subdivision Monday, June 11 at 7 p.m. Written comments will be accepted until noon on Monday, June 18.

Then, “subject to what happens in Public Hearing, we have roughly projected that the Planning Board will be ready to arrive at a decision at our next meeting [June 28], or shortly after that,” board Chairman Stephen Reynolds said Tuesday. Read more…

Police, educators, providers share some gun concerns

HUDSON–The Hudson City School District hosted a panel discussion last week on “gun laws, school safety and mental health” organized by former Hudson Supervisor Bill Hughes (4th Ward). The panel included Hudson Schools Superintendent Maria Suttmeier, Hudson student Siddique Ahmed, Certified Safety Professional Mike Needham, county Sheriff Dave Bartlett, Hudson Police Chief Edward Moore, county Mental Health Director Michael Cole, Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-106th) and Congressman John Faso (R-19th). The panel was moderated by Glen Geher, a professor at SUNY New Paltz’s Psychology Department.

As he started the discussion Dr. Geher said of gun violence, “This is not a political issue, this is a human issue.”

At the June 1 event, the moderator asked each panel member to start off with a short statement to the audience in the auditorium, which was about half full. Siddique, who helped organize the school’s Walkout for School Safety on March 14 after the shooting in Parkland, FL, said that there have been over 20 school shootings so far in 2018 and there has been “no action” to deal with gun violence. “More lives will be in danger if we don’t act today,” he said. Read more…

7 Dem House hopefuls debate

HUDSON–The maximum occupancy of the auditorium at the Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School is posted as 560, and there were few empty seats there Monday night. The occasion was a debate among the seven candidates seeking the party’s nomination to run for Congress in the 19th District, which includes all of Columbia County.

The decision on a candidate will be made by registered Democrats who participate in a June 26 primary election across the district. The winner will face first-term Republican Congressman John Faso, a Kinderhook resident, in the November general election. The district includes all or parts of 11counties.

Monday’s event, moderated by Barbara Bartoletti, former legislative director for the New York State League of Women Voters, had a collegial tone, with candidates adhering to the one-minute limit on statements and responses. Only a couple of policy differences–whether Medicare for all or a single-payer system was the best route to universal healthcare coverage and what to do about income inequality–sparked any hint of disagreement. But all the candidates won praise from Ms. Bartoletti for their passionate support of the programs they believe in. The audience gave them all a standing ovation. Read more…

Public pushback slows Amtrak’s fence plans

GERMANTOWN—In March Columbia County residents learned that Amtrak proposed to install fences and gates along its right of way at the Hudson River, between Stuyvesant and Rhinecliff.

The railroad cited safety concerns as the reason for the new barrier, but Germantown and other communities that border the river were concerned that the “fencing project” would block access for recreation, fishing, and fire protection and rescue.

A public comment period began in March and ended on May 1. Read more…