ICC board hears of hard times ahead

VALATIE–James Baldwin, the district superintendent of Questar III/BOCES, addressed the Ichabod Crane School board at a special meeting Tuesday, October 20, discussing Governor David Paterson’s proposed cuts in school aid and the likelihood that federal economic stimulus money will not be available next year. “We are facing some very difficult fiscal (times),” he said.

Last week Governor Paterson announced dramatic cuts to the state budget over the next two years to close a projected $5 billion deficit. As part of those cuts, he proposed reducing aid to school districts by $480 million for the current school year. “I don’t think the money that has been there will be there, and how do we deal with that?” said Mr. Baldwin.

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New gear aids voting

HUDSON–This fall’s election will mark the second year that Columbia County voters will have a choice of voting machines: the traditional lever machine, possibly in use for the last time, or the new Image Cast ballot marking device (BMD), which has special features that can help people with disabilities.

The BMD machines are required by the federal Help America Vote Act passed in 2002 and are now available to anyone who wants to use them in every polling site in the state.

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Local filmmakers feature firms going green

Castleton filmmakers Justin Maine (second from r) and Leanne Robinson Maine (r) are seen here on location during the production of So Right So Smart, a documentary about companies going green, which will plays at FilmColumbia Sunday, October 25. Photo by Stephen RossCASTLETON—Local filmmakers Justine Maine and Leanne Robinson Maine are getting ready to show their film “So Right So Smart” at FilmColumbia, the Chatham film Festival. Their movie, a documentary about companies that become more environmentally sustainable narrated by Daryl Hannah, will play at the Morris Memorial Sunday, October 25, at 12:30 p.m.

“So Right So Smart” was directed by the Maines, Guy Noerr and Michael Swantek, and filmed all over the country, with post-production done at MagicWig Productions, Inc. in Schenectady. In a recent interview at his home near Castleton the Rensselaer County, Mr. Maine said of the film, “Any time you see trees and nature, it’s all in our backyard.” 

The movie highlights Interface Inc. founder Ray Anderson and his company’s move toward sustainability. The filmmakers also interviewed CEOs and staff at Stonyfield Farms, Green Mountain Coffee, Herman Miller, Patagonia, Seventh Generation and Walmart about efforts to make more environmentally friendly companies. Mr. Maine said he wanted a “cross section of different businesses” to show how companies can have less negative impact on the Earth’s resources. “We went with the [premise] that companies are the ones doing the most damage so they need to do the most clean up,” he said.

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Four seek two seats on Copake Town Board

COPAKE–Money is a major 2009 campaign issue in the Land of Rural Charm.

The political battle started early this year with revelations about the town’s anticipated budget shortfall and the subsequent Town Board vote to borrow $100,000, which split along party lines–Republicans in favor, Democrats opposed.

The town’s fiscal nightmare has resulted in finger-pointing and number-spinning during the past few weeks of politically charged wrangling over the 2010 tentative budget.

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Crowd gathers to protest library director’s ouster

About 60 people gathered at the Castleton Public Library Tuesday for a candlelight vigil in support of ousted library Director Darlene Miller. Elvia Garcia (l), 10, says the library has changed. Photo by Catherine Sager.

CASTLETON–At their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, October 20, the Castleton Public Library Board of Trustees were not alone. Outside the library more than 60 people carried signs and chanted calls for the resignation of the entire board.

The demonstration was sparked by the firing of long-time library Director Darlene Miller, and the residents and library users are not finished fighting her abrupt dismissal.

The library is chartered to serve the village and much of the Town of Schodack in southern Rensselaer County.

The seven members of the board voted five-to-two to terminate Mrs. Miller last month while she was on medical leave. Ms. Miller received the termination letter on Castleton Public Library letterhead, which bears the tag line: “First Runner Up for Best Small Library in America.” The letter, dated September 18, was signed by board President Carolyn J. Stetson and was faxed from Goolds Orchard on September 17. Sue Goold Miller is a library trustee.

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