Chatham set to unveil village budget

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.”

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County steps up monitoring of flu cases

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.

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Murphy wins House race in 20th

GLENS FALLS—Scott Murphy will be the next representative from the 20th Congressional District, which includes all of Columbia County. The outcome of the March 31 special election remained in dispute until Friday afternoon, April 24, when Republican James Tedisco conceded the race.

     Mr. Murphy, a Democrat and Glens Falls businessman, fills the seat left vacant when Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed to the Senate early this year by Governor David Patterson. In a televised news conference from his home, Mr. Murphy said he would go to Washington next week to be sworn in to his new post, the first elective office he has held. He said he had received a call from President Obama earlier, who congratulated him on his victory.

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Challenges to second-home voters prolong House race count


HUDSON—Columbia County’s two election commissioners are scheduled to go to the state Board of Elections in Albany Thursday, April 23, to join their counterparts from other counties in the 20th Congressional District to decide whether to count some of the contested ballots in the unresolved race to fill the House seat. But that won’t end the legal and procedural wrangling that has left the post vacant since a March 31 special election.

   The latest count in the election to fill the seat vacated by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand had Democrat Scott Murphy leading Republican Jim Tedisco by a 401 votes out of more than 154,000 ballots cast. But many absentee ballots remain to be counted, and there are challenges raised by representatives of both parties that must still be resolved. The legal challenges are being heard by Judge James Brand of the state Supreme Court in Poughkeepsie, and he has ordered county election commissioners from the 10-county district to bring contested materials, including absentee ballots and ballot applications, to the Board of Elections in Albany Thursday.

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State retreats on dump called ‘farm’

COPAKE—Salvatore Cascino’s “lengthy history of disregard for the laws and regulations, which directly affect public health and safety” are all part of the official response of the town delivered this week to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.

   The town was responding to a March 11 letter written by William Kimball, director of Agricultural Protection and Development at the department, who reviewed Mr. Cascino’s proposal to build several massive structures on his 300-acre property. The letter indicated the town could not interfere with Mr. Cascino’s plans because he has what the state calls “a farm operation.”

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