Latest Tri-State News Headlines Updated June 12, 2021 5 AM

Dutchess: Students can unmask if parents claim medical hardship; area districts differ

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/education/2021/06/11/mask-documentation-dutchess-schools-health-department/7450859002/

New York state requires students to wear masks inside schools unless they are “unable to medically tolerate a mask.” What proof is required to determine a student cannot safely wear a mask is unclear. In the absence of specific rules from the state requiring a recommendation from a medical professional, Dutchess County’s health department is advocating for school districts to consider granting a medical waiver to any student whose parent or guardian requests one. The county’s largest district, Wappingers, has already been operating under that policy, though most, including Arlington, have chosen to maintain mask requirements when indoors.The differing approaches have caused an uproar among parents, some of whom are wondering why their own district won’t allow their student to unmask. Dr. Anil Vaidian, Dutchess’ health commissioner, sent a letter to school superintendents Thursday. State officials on Friday did not answer inquiries regarding what burden of proof is necessary. Under the county’s interpretation of the guidance, it would be up to each individual school district in New York to determine mask policies.

Tanglewood to host free Boston Pops spectacular on Fourth of July

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/tanglewood-to-host-free-boston-pops-spectacular-on-fourth-of-july/article_e6ab9b3e-cad1-11eb-bd64-ab03e5ce563d.html

LENOX — Tanglewood will roar back to life this Fourth of July, hosting the annual Boston Pops spectacular, which typically is held on the Esplanade in Boston before an audience in the hundreds of thousands. The free event, announced Friday by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, will mark the first performance with an audience at Tanglewood since summer 2019. It will be capped at 9,000, per local health restrictions.The festival was canceled last year, for the first time since World War II, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tanglewood will give priority guest invitations to veterans and other members of the military, first responders, health care workers and community groups. Tickets, which will be free to the general public, will be required to enter Tanglewood, but limited to four per household and available first-come, first-served. They can be reserved online starting at 10 a.m. June 21 at tanglewood.org/ July 4. The surprise announcement from Friday pointed out that while there will be no fireworks staged at Tanglewood, there will be a display from the Boston Common, in a partnership with the city.

‘Thought provoking’ student art selected to hang in Rep. Hayes’ office

U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-5th District, visited Nonnewaug High School Thursday morning to celebrate the school’s recent 2021 Congressional Art Competition victory, and to see up close a piece of student artwork that will soon adorn the walls of her office. Hayes took particular interest in two of the school’s 46 artwork submissions, both pen and ink or colored pencil drawings, that the Congresswoman said were masterfully done and so timely.

Anna Goodwin’s “Allegro” drawing, about a teenager and the isolation brought on by the pandemic, will hang in the hallways at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Goodwin, a junior, called the experience of meeting Hayes “surreal” as “Allegro” was the first serious art piece she had ever done. The Bethel resident is also part of the school’s Ellis Clark agriscience program.

10 seconds from being rescued, 2 men drown in Housatonic River in New Milford

BY BRIGITTE RUTHMAN Republican-American

NEW MILFORD – Life and death was separated by seconds Wednesday night as first responders nearly reached two fishermen who fell from a dam into the Housatonic River’s churning current. The rescue effort has transitioned into a recovery operation. Darkness was falling when one of two Danbury men, ages 23 and 36, slipped from a treacherous area of flowing water atop the Bleachery Dam behind West Cove Marina in the south end of town. The second man then slipped while trying to reach his companion. The 911 call for help was placed immediately by companions at about 8:30 p.m. and a rescue boat was in the water minutes later. “They could see them, and were telling them to swim away from the dam and toward shore,” said Wheeler, who added it’s unclear how well the men, both natives of Ecuador, could swim. “They were within 10 seconds of reaching the first victim when they saw him go under.”

Renegades to remain in Dutchess for 25 more years? County could pay $12.5M to seal deal

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/sports/baseball/minors/2021/06/10/renegades-remain-dutchess-county-lease-agreement/7637519002/

The Hudson Valley Renegades have called Dutchess Stadium home for more than a quarter-century. An agreement would keep them at the Fishkill site for a quarter-century more. It would also cost the county roughly $12.5 million of the $57 million it is receiving through the American Rescue Plan.
A lease agreement between the county and team would keep the team in Dutchess through the 2046 season, according to a release from the county. The deal calls for the county to upgrade the stadium and buy the land underneath it, which must be approved by the County Legislature. Resolutions to fund for these changes were expected to be presented tonight at the Legislature’s Public Works and Capital Projects Committee meeting, in advance of a full vote at the Legislature’s meeting Monday. The county expects an annual economic benefit of $600,000 through the lease agreement.

Amenia’s M&T Bank closed June 10

The Amenia branch of M&T Bank at the intersection of routes 22, 44 and 343, at the town’s iconic Fountain Square, closed its doors, on Thursday, June 10. “It’s disappointing that we’re losing a foundation,” town Supervisor
Victoria Perotti said, “… especially one that has been in the center of town and walkable for most people.” Perotti said residents will have to drive or find other means to get to the only other bank in town, the Bank
of Millbrook at 5086 Route 22 in the Freshtown Plaza. Others may have to consider online banking

Fridays are extra special in Norfolk, Conn., with the advent of a summer-long series of events on the village green.

Six p.m. is the magic hour that signals the start of contests and lawn games, music and more…even ice cream, a movie and a pet parade! The pet parade launches everything on Friday, June 11; http://www.norfolklibrary.org/events/pet-parade-and-fridays-on-the-green-kick-off/. Then comes an event for the 10-and-under set, all about black bears. See the Norfolk Land Trust website
Upcoming Events for Fridays on the Norfolk Village GreenJune 11, 6 p.m. – Pet Parade sponsored by the Norfolk Library
June 18, 6:30 p.m. – “Bears for Kids” sponsored by the Norfolk Land Trust
June 25, 6 p.m. – Lawn games on the green with the Botelle School PTO
July 9, 6 p.m.,- Lawn games on the green with Botelle PTO
July 23, 6 p.m. – Lawn games on the green with Botelle PTO 
July 30, 6 p.m. – WIN Weekend
August 6, 6 p.m. – Veggie contest and lawn games on the Green with Botelle School PTO 
August 13, 6 p.m. – Live Music with Grant Mudge, plus music and ice cream, sponsored by the Norfolk Foundation.
August 20, 6 p. m. – Lawn games on the Green with Botelle School PTO August 27 6 p.m.- Movie sponsored by the Norfolk Community Associates
http://norfolklandtrust.org/index.html) for details.

Celebrate local medical volunteers June 12

Saturday, June 12, there will be a reception and celebration for all of the medical volunteers who helped vaccinate most of the town of Pine Plains. This community-wide thank you will take place at 4 p.m. on the Pine Plains Episcopal Church lawn at 16 Pine St., hosted by Penny Wheeler and Victoria LoBrutto. For more information, call 518-398-5628.

Millerton elections Tuesday, June 15

Deputy Mayor Jenn Najdek (NOP), who is running uncontested and has been cross-endorsed by both the local Democratic and Republican committees for mayor; she’s following in the footsteps of her late
mother, former Mayor Mariley Najdek. For the board itself, three candidates are running for trustee:
Republican Sherman, Democrat
DeLora Brooks and Democrat
Laurie Kerr, who has been crossendorsed by both parties.

Upcoming Events Roeliff Jansen Community Library

Wednesday, June 16, 7:00-8:00pm

Chitt Chat: Snails. Join Chittenango Ovate amber snail expert Cody Gilbertson for a lesson on a snail that is so rare, it only exists in one place: the Chittenango Falls state park. This online program, geared towards adults, is hosted by Claverack Free Library, Hudson Area Library, Philmont Public Library, and Roeliff Jansen Community Library. Visit http://www.roejanlibrary.org/adult-programs/ for login information.

Sharon Town meeting June 17 for Sharon Center project

Approval of an expenditure of $1.1 million for installation of air conditioning at Sharon Center School will be the subject of a special town
Thursday, June 17. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m., held in person
at the school and remotely on Zoom.

Books & Blooms is June 18 to 20

Books & Blooms to Benefit The Cornwall Library will be held this
year on Friday, June 18, and Sunday, June 20. On Friday at 5 p.m. there
will be a Zoom talk with George Schoellkopf about Hollister House Garden in Washington Depot (a tour of the garden will be offered from noon
to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 20). On Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. there will be a tour of the Cornwall gardens of John and Juliet Hubbard , Bart and
Debby Jones, Roxana Laughlin and Michael Trapp. There will also be a sale at
the Cornwall Library of new and out-of-print gardening books; tea towels with the Books & Blooms signature design; and cut flowers arranged and donated by members of the Cornwall Garden Club.

Innisfree Curator’s Tour June 19

Innisfree Garden at 362 Tyrrel Road will offer a Curator’s Tour on Saturday, June 19, at 10 a.m. with landscape curator Kate Kerin, who will lead a tour exploring the garden known as one of the world’s 10 best gardens andlisted on the National Register of Historic Places. https://innisfreeegarden.org for details and to register.

Amenia Republican Primary

On Tuesday, June 22, registered Republican voters may cast their ballots in this year’s Primary Election for who they want to represent them on the Republican ticket for Amenia town supervisor and for the Amenia
Town Board when the General Election rolls around come November. They may also elect two members to the Dutchess County Republican Committee on the
22nd. Ballots for the 2021 Republican Primary, for the Dutchess County Republican Committee, Jeanne Rebillard and Apostolis Stefanopoulos are running against longtime committee member Mark Doyle.
For town supervisor, newcomer Julie Doran, of the newly created Amenia Strong party, will be running against incumbent town Supervisor Victoria Perotti.
Newcomers James Vitiello and Brad Rebillard are running on the Amenia Strong
line as well as the GOP line for Town Board against incumbents James Morris and Michele Somogyi. Morris and Somogyi are both running for their second terms.

Connecticut Senate, House OK $46.3B plan, but needed bill missed deadline

HARTFORD — State budget deliberations are going to carry over into a special legislative session despite the Democrat-controlled House and Senate approving a two-year, $46.3 billion spending and tax package. More time is needed to finish up because although the final Senate vote came five and a half hours before Wednesday’s midnight adjournment deadline, an omnibus authorization bill needed to carry out various budget provisions was not going to be ready. The main budget bill passed with bipartisan majorities, something that last happened in 2017 and 2018 when Democrats and Republicans, in the mostly closely divided legislature in decades, initially approved a two-year budget and subsequently approved adjustments to its second year.
The Senate voted 31-4 at 6:30 p.m. to approve the spending and tax package for the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years, with only four of the 12 Senate Republicans opposing the budget plan, and the other eight voting for approval. The House approved the budget bill on a 116-34 bipartisan vote.

Great Barrington advisory urges ‘good discretion’ among soaring vaccination rates

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/coronavirus/great-barrington-advisory-urges-good-discretion-among-soaring-vaccination-rates/article_e58f5582-c960-11eb-b6e5-53bcea138aaf.html

GREAT BARRINGTON — With vaccination rates topping more than 90 percent in some age groups, the Board of Health has issued an advisory to “use good discretion” and kindness during the transition to a full reopening after the state lifted most COVID-19 restrictions on May 29. Without elaborating on specifics, the advisory urges residents, businesses and visitors “to use good discretion with the excellent public health practices we’ve become accustomed to in the last year, especially while indoors.” Meanwhile, the town has not seen a virus case in more than two weeks, Health Agent Rebecca Jurczyk said Friday. And well over half of residents age 12 to 29 in a cohort that includes Great Barrington, Alford, Egremont, Mount Washington and New Marlborough have at least one dose of vaccine; 93 percent of those 30 to 49 have had at least one shot; for those 65 and up the rate is more than 95 percent.

Connecticut Lawmakers pass $46 billion budget, will take up recreational marijuana in special session

Lawmakers hammered out the state budget with less than 24 hours remaining in the legislative session. It was the first bipartisan budget since 2018.
However, Democrats and Republicans continue to spar over legalizing recreational marijuana. In fact, the House Speaker said there will be a special session to take up legalizing recreational marijuana.
He said Republicans who are against the legislation are planning to have lengthy debates, and since the session ends at midnight, there wouldn’t be enough time to pass a bill. The plan is to come back within seven to 14 days because it will be special session. Recreational marijuana will have to be voted on in both chambers. Calling lawmakers and staff back in for a special session will cost additional money.

COVID-19 Updates: Connecticut’s positivity rate remains below 1%

On Wednesday, 348,262 COVID-19 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic, which is up 108 since Tuesday. Out of 13,356 tests administered, 108 came back positive. That results in a positivity rate of 0.81%. There were 2 additional coronavirus-related death, bringing the overall total to 8,257 since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations increased by 4 since Tuesday, bringing the current total at 76. The number of total tests performed since the pandemic began is now at 9,340,027 an increase of 13,356 since Tuesday.

Arnoff Moving & Storage data breach revealed customer information

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2021/06/09/arnoff-moving-storage-data-breach-exposed-customer-information/7619854002/

Arnoff Moving & Storage customers may have had their data stolen by hackers as part of a breach, the company said. The company could not say how many customers may have been impacted, how long ago the data may be from, or if the breach was limited to its regional Mid Hudson Valley branches. While the Poughkeepsie-based company serves Dutchess, Orange, Ulster and Putnam counties, it also has offices in the Capital region, western Connecticut and Massachusetts, and Florida, according to its site. The alleged hackers posted to a website what they claim are examples of the private information stolen, including forms that have names, contact information and credit card numbers.
Daniel Arnoff, the company’s vice president, said they are working with the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. They planned to contact customers once they understand the extent of the breach.

B-52s’ Kate Pierson selling her ‘Love Shack’-inspired motel in the Catskills for $2.2M

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2021/06/09/love-shack-kate-pierson-b-52-s-sell-catskills-motel/7620720002/

Kate Pierson of the B-52s fame, best known for hits like “Love Shack” and “Rock Lobster,” is selling her very own love shack — the singer has listed her Mount Tremper motel, Kate’s Lazy Meadow, for $2.2 million. Sited on 6.5 acres on the banks of Esopus Creek, the 10-unit boutique lodging provides a calming respite, surrounded by forest, while also embodying a retro, ’50s aesthetic, according to the listing. The property was built in the 1950s and restored by Pierson and her wife, ceramic artist Monica Coleman. Suites at Kate’s Lazy Meadow are filled with authentic ’50s-styled kitchens, decked out with vintage cabinets, Frigidaires and stoves, in a rainbow of colors. The suites are also decorated with tchotchkes from the singer’s shopping sprees all around America, according to the motel’s website. The lodging includes a large Japanese-style hot spa and fire pit, which overlooks the mountain and river views. With additional water, electric and bathrooms along the riverbank, opportunity abounds for glamping, airstream trailers or private events. Kate’s Lazy Meadow is listed, fully furnished, with Elizabeth Peters of Heather Croner Sotherby’s International Realty. The lodging’s 13 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms are going for $2.2 million.

Salisbury Bank and Trust Company, has announced the promotionof three employees.

Stacey Curtis has been promoted to Vice President, Branch Administrator. Stacey started as Executive Assistant in July of 2008 and was promoted to Assistant Vice President in 2014. In January of 2016 she took on a new role as Branch Manager of the Canaan office. She transferred to the Newburgh office in September of 2020. In addition to her new responsibilities as Branch Administrator, Stacey will continue to manage the Newburgh Branch office.Maria Seeley has been promoted to Vice President, Mortgage Advisor. Maria has been with the bank since September of 2013. She started as an underwriter in the mortgage origination area and in September of 2019 she was promoted to Loan Originator in the NY market. She quickly excelled in her new role, has handled high volumes of loans with ease, and has exceeded her goals.Dayna Cook has been promoted to Assistant Vice President, Training Manager. Dayna has been with the Bank since March of 2009. She started as a teller and was promoted to Training Manager in 2015. In 2018 she was nominated to attend the Connecticut School of Finance and Management, a rigorous two-year program from which she successfully graduated in 2020.

Connecticut House votes to pass truck mileage tax

The House voted to pass the truck mileage tax on Tuesday night.
It was a proposal that had been taken out of the budget during negotiations and turned into its own bill. Under it, heavy weight trucks would be charged a fee per mileage. The head of the Motor Transport Association weighed in on the decision saying a last-minute change to exempt the heaviest trucks on the road means the bill won’t work as planned.

Will alcohol-to-go be here to stay in New York? Carry-out booze could be law

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/politics/2021/06/08/carry-out-alcohol-new-york-law/7588826002/

ALBANY – Carry-out alcohol sales became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic as New Yorkers craving mixed drinks were able to still enjoy them with their take-out meals. Now state leaders face a question: Should it be a permanent law? With just days left in the legislative session at the state Capitol, restaurants are urging the Legislature to put take-out alcohol from restaurants on the books. Currently, the sales are allowed through monthly extensions of an executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The latest one runs through July 4, and it’s unclear whether it would be extended thereafter.
Restaurants said offering take-out drinks was a boost to their businesses during the pandemic as most went months without in-person dining. And even as they’ve reopened as the virus wanes, carry-out drinks remain a popular option for diners. “The ability to sell one or two drinks to a customer to go home with their meal allowed diners to replicate the restaurant experience at home, increased servers’ check averages leading to higher tips and provided valuable revenue to struggling businesses,” the Empire State Restaurant & Tavern Association said in a memo in support of the bill.

Cornwall zoning board approves amended home business regulations

CORNWALL – Aware of the concerns expressed by several residents, the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the amended regulations on home businesses, making one modification and assuring the community the zoning enforcement officer would closely monitor applications. The vote was taken after months of discussion by the commissioners. Aware more people are now working from home, they wanted to make the regulations easier to allow for such businesses to operate. During several sessions of a hearing, many members of the public spoke about the possible change in the rural character of the town if certain enterprises were to locate in residential areas. A petition signed by more than 90 individuals against the proposal was submitted.

Free Community Shred “Drive-thru” Event and Food Drive – June 19, 2021

Community Shred “Drive-thru” Day (Shred Event and Food Drive)
Saturday, June 19th, 9:00 a.m. – Noon
Salisbury Bank’s Lakeville, CT Branch

For the safety of all participants and volunteers we’ve changed our Community Shred Day format to “Drive-thru”, and established the following guidelines:
Limit 4 bags / boxes per car
Face Mask: If you are vaccinated – optional, if you are NOT vaccinated – please wear mask when within 6 feet of another person
You will be guided to drop-off your boxes at the designated area to be shredded by Bank staff Stay in your car until you reach the drop-off point
If you feel unwell, please stay home. Saturday, June 19th from 9:00 a.m. to Noon at our Lakeville, CT Branch, 5 Bissell Street, Lakeville, Connecticut.
Please consider participating in their Food Drive to help our neighbors in need by bringing non-perishable food and household items along with your items to shred!

Hillsdale Concert Series to Bring Classical Music to Hamlet Park

HILLSDALE, N.Y.–Hillsdale’s Hamlet Committee continues its new Jams in the Hamlet concert series on Saturday June 19 when members of the Hudson Festival Players will fill the town’s Hamlet Park with classical music. The concert of string-quartet music will feature core members of the Hudson Festival Orchestra’s string section. The orchestra, founded in 2019 by artistic director and conductor Gwen Gould, is a professional orchestra based in Hudson, N.Y. On the program are works by Mozart, Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, Dvorak and Copland, among others. The concert will run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., with the park opening for concert guests at 4 p.m. Admission is free, but donations toward the cost of the concert series are encouraged. While some seating will be available, attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Hillsdale’s Hamlet Park is located southwest of the intersection of state Routes 22 and 23 at the traffic light.

Volunteers Needed for Doodletown Wildlife Management Area Invasive Species Removal

NYSDEC is seeking volunteers to assist with invasive plant removal at Doodletown WMA on June 16th and 17th from 9 am to 3 pm. The goal is to limit invasive plants such as barberry, autumn olive, and invasive honeysuckle that may colonize habitat being restored for New England cottontail, New York’s only native rabbit. Habitat restoration is a method used to help stabilize New England cottontail populations, which is under threat due to habitat loss and competition from non-native Eastern cottontail. Volunteers are asked to meet approximately 1.5 miles up Westfall Road, Ancram NY (look for the kiosk and yellow gate), please note this area has poor cell phone coverage.
Also wear clothes suitable for working in briars, bring tick deterrent spray, and your own snacks and water. Volunteers will be taught to identify and remove invasive plants.

Connecticut Lawmakers reach deal on cannabis bill, Senate vote expected

Announcement of the deal comes as the General Assembly attempts to finish its work before the regular legislative session adjourns at midnight on Wednesday. If the bill clears both the Senate and the House of Representatives and is signed into law by Democrat Ned Lamont, who has made legalization a key priority this session, proponents said Connecticut will join 18 other states that already allow recreational marijuana possession and use. Under the bill, it would be legal for people 21 years and older to possess and use cannabis beginning July 1. A person would be allowed to have up to 1.5 ounces, with an additional five ounces secured in their home or vehicle. Homegrown cannabis, however, will not counted toward that allowed amount. Beginning Oct. 1, 2022, the legislation makes it legal for medical marijuana patients in the state to have three mature and three immature plants, with a limit of 12 plants per household. By July 1, 2023, any adult in Connecticut will be allowed to have the same amount of plants. The retail sale of cannabis is expected to begin in May 2022. Under the program, municipalities will receive new revenue generated by a 3% local sales tax on gross receipts based on retail cannabis sales within their borders.
Besides the 6.35% state sales tax, the state will generate new revenue based on the levels of THC, the marijuana plant’s main psychoactive component, in the different products. Under this proposed tax rate structure, Connecticut’s taxes will be lower than New York’s and around the same as Massachusetts’ rates, lawmakers said.

House to vote Tuesday on two-year, $46.3B state budget

HARTFORD — The state House will vote Tuesday on a two-year state budget that proposes nearly $1.5 billion in additional spending without any broad-based tax changes. Negotiators for Gov. Ned Lamont and the legislature’s Democratic majority leaders worked out the final details on Sunday after announcing a “comprehensive understanding” on a budget deal on Friday. The two-year, $46.3 billion budget will propose appropriations of $22.7 billion in the 2022 fiscal year and $23.6 billion in the 2023 fiscal year. Spending increases $573.3 million in the first year over current appropriations, and spending in the second year increases $878.2 million over the first year. The Democratic budget plan uses nearly $1.8 billion from the American Rescue Act Plan. Also, it does not tap the $3.5 billion budget reserve fund, which is now projected to grow to $4.5 billion after the 2021 fiscal year ends June 30.

One dead in shooting near Litchfield law firm, police say

The state police Western District Major Crime Squad is investigating a shooting death in the parking lot of a law office in the center of town on Monday. An adult male was shot and killed outside the office of Cramer & Anderson at 46 West St. shortly before 5 p.m., according to state police spokesman Joseph Dorelus. The death is being investigated as a homicide, according to Dorelus, who officially did not release the names of the victim and shooter but did say it appeared they were acquaintances. One of the two individuals was associated with the law office, he said. The victim, who was a young man, was struck by at least one shot from a gun that was legal and licensed and was recovered at the scene, Dorelus said.

Northwest Hills Council of Governments names new executive director

Robert A. Phillips has been named the new executive director of the Northwest Hills Council of Governments. He will succeed Richard Lynn. Currently the director of planning and community development for the town of Southington, Phillips will begin his duties at the NWHCOG on June 14. Phillips holds a bachelor of science degree in natural sciences, a master’s of science in natural resources and a master’s of public administration, all from the University of Connecticut. He and his family reside in Farmington. In his leisure time, he coaches youth sports and skis.

Again, NY changes COVID mask mandate in schools

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/coronavirus/2021/06/07/ny-school-mask-mandate-cdc/7582164002/

After a weekend of complete confusion, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced New York state would rescind its mask mandate for outdoor activity in schools while keeping the indoor mandate in place. The rule change came after some schools called emergency board meetings over the weekend or canceled in-person classes in response to a Friday letter from the Cuomo administration indicating the school mask mandate would be lifted both indoors and outside effective Monday. Some school districts turned to remote learning, while at least one used a snow day to cancel classes rather than fuel the confusion among parents, teachers and students.

Great Barrington prep school to ‘reboot’ as claims of past abuse continue to haunt

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/great-barrington-prep-school-to-reboot-as-claims-of-past-abuse-continue-to-haunt/article_e028fe5a-c7c0-11eb-9db8-1bff2b8c20eb.html

GREAT BARRINGTON — A prep school at which former students say they were abused by the late founder is closing temporarily while its owner reimagines an entirely new school. David Baum, a teacher at The John Dewey Academy since 2015 who acquired the school last year, said he will put the residential and therapeutic school for “troubled teens” on hiatus for the rest of the year to consider other models, including a possible partnership with Bard College at Simon’s Rock. “Reboot, revise, re-staff — everything’s on the table,” Baum said. “And a name change, if we have to. We’re rethinking this thing from the ground up.” The school sold its Searles Castle, where it will remain until June 30, and had purchased land in New Marlborough to relocate. But, Baum says the school will sell that property and hopes to find a new one for smaller numbers of students near the Simon’s Rock campus, should that partnership take root. Baum said the conversations with Simon’s Rock are preliminary, but the hope is that his students would get their academics at the early college while living nearby and receiving therapy at the new location.

Great Barrington voters reject pot business restrictions, opt to increase allowed comment on civic decisions

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/great-barrington-voters-reject-pot-business-restrictions-opt-to-increase-allowed-comment-on-civic-decisions/article_97c09170-c7f5-11eb-b638-b77648709fcd.html

Voters at annual town meeting Monday had rejected a citizens petition that would have limited locations where pot shops and farms are allowed and added restrictions that opponents said would drive the cannabis industry out of town. And residents approved a bylaw change, another proposed by a citizens petition, that would allow residents to speak during pertinent moments at municipal meetings and hearings, not just at the end, after votes are taken.
Residents voted down a proposal to spend $1.2 million to buy land and construct a public parking lot downtown. Advocates said extra parking is crucial for economic development; opponents say there are too many other important needs in Great Barrington. Voters approved the town’s $12.96 million operating budget and $3.13 million in capital expenses for fiscal year 2022. Operating costs include pay hikes across a number of departments, at an approximately 5.8 percent increase over this year. Also, residents said yes to the town’s $18.4 million share of the Berkshire Hills Regional School District’s budget.

Connecticut Lawmakers reach deal on state budget

https://www.wfsb.com/news/lawmakers-reach-deal-on-state-budget/article_5f3e0dd2-c7c8-11eb-bc44-23121e9b44ae.html?block_id=994091

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – A deal has finally been reached on the state budget just days before the legislative session ends. The legislative session ends Wednesday at midnight. A deal on the budget will help cities and towns, and others waiting for funding. The state budget was a challenge. It took a while for Democrats and Governor Ned Lamont to be on the same page. Lamont said he would not support tax increases, and in the end, several taxes were taken out. The budget, a $46 billion two-year plan, may get some support from Republicans. The budget includes revenue from the sale of recreation marijuana, which could bring in around $70 million a year, but a vote on the cannabis bill in both chambers may come after a vote on the budget, so they may have to take that projected revenue out for at least now.

Solar energy farm approved for 104 acres in Winsted

The Connecticut Siting Council has approved plans for a solar energy farm off Platt Hill Road. According to the council’s ruling last month, Lodestar Energy is permitted to build a 1.99-megawatt solar photovoltaic facility on a 104-acre wooded property not far from Highland Lake. The location was formerly the site of a controversial 26-home subdivision that was never constructed. Michelle Bachman, executive director of the Siting Council, has estimated that one megawatt could power 750 to 1,000 homes. Thus the Lodestar project could potentially generate electricity for 1,500 to 2,000 homes.
The Siting Council is the only authorizing body in the state for renewable energy projects. Lodestar is an Avon-based renewable energy company.
The council ruled that the project meets air and water quality standards of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and would not have a “substantial adverse environmental effect” on the property and surrounding area. If the project is not built within three years, the council’s decision becomes void and any work that has been done must be dismantled and removed.

Mask confusion, heat force Dutchess schools to adapt; Wappingers, Webutuck go remote

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/education/2021/06/07/school-masks-new-york-confusion-heat-dutchess-wappingers-remote/7583716002/

Dutchess school leaders adapted class schedules Monday in response to changing mask mandates across the state on a day in which temperatures and humidity are soaring. The county’s largest school district, Wappingers, switched to all remote learning for Monday amid confusion, while Webutuck likewise went remote due to concerns over wearing masks in the heat.
New York on Friday afternoon lifted its requirement that any student, teacher or faculty member to wear a mask on school grounds, regardless of vaccination status. That changed abruptly on Sunday, and the state reverted to its previous guidance. On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced schools would be given the option of allowing students to take masks off while outside, but must keep them on inside. Webutuck Superintendent Ray Castellani said his district originally planned to return students to school on Monday maskless. He said when the state changed its guidance “we decided that rather than have the students here exposed to conditions with unbearable heat and wearing masks,” the district decided to go remote. He noted discussions will take place at a school board meeting on Monday evening regarding what to do should temperatures remain high and the mask mandate remains. Dover Superintendent David Fine likewise sent a memo to the community Monday morning stating students and staff may be required to have “extended/extensive” mask breaks outdoors.

NY will lift COVID restrictions when 70% get first vaccine shot, Cuomo says

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2021/06/07/ny-covid-restrictions-rescinded-70-percent/7585655002/

New York will lift its remaining COVID-19 restrictions in most settings when 70% of the state’s adult population has received at least one vaccine dose, a mark the state could hit within days. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the new benchmark at a news conference Monday, making clear the state’s emergency social distancing, health screening and cleaning rules will be rescinded for most businesses and social situations once the state meets the mark.
Currently, 68.6% of New Yorkers ages 18 and over have received at least one shot, an increase from 64.4% on Thursday. For reference, the state’s one-shot vaccination percentage was around 50% two weeks ago, on May 24.

Berkshire Community College offering free college courses to local high school students

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/berkshire-community-college-offering-free-college-courses-to-local-high-school-students/article_b21ef258-c7b1-11eb-ad9d-e75ba050bba4.html

Berkshire Community College will offer free college courses to local high school juniors and seniors this summer and fall. The courses will be available to students who live in Berkshire County, according to a news release from BCC. They include acting, dance, music, math, conservation and ecology, computer programming, cooking and baking, accounting, history and philosophy. Accepted students can earn up to six credits in the summer and up to 15 credits in the fall, and all tuition and fees will be waived. Juniors and seniors can place into college-level classes with a high school GPA of 2.7 or higher, or take BCC’s Accuplacer placement exam. Students who choose to take pre-calculus, calculus or higher will be required to take the math Accuplacer. Students who have an individualized education program or 504 plan can contact Pamela Farron at pfarron@berkshirecc.edu. For more information on the courses, and to complete a registration form, visit https://berkshirecc.edu/early-college

The North East Historical Society, in partnership with the NorthEast-Millerton Library and Main Street Magazine, is presenting an exhibit titled “The Terni Family: Building A Legacy In A New Land” in the library during the month of June.

More than 100 years ago immigrants from Italy came to Millerton and created the iconic Terni’s store in the heart of Millerton. The North East Historical Society, in partnership with the NorthEast-Millerton Library and Main Street Magazine, is presenting an exhibit titled “The Terni Family: Building A Legacy In A New Land” in the library during the month of June. Historic images, artifacts and a video of reminiscences about Phil Terni, the store’s last proprietor, tell the story of three generations of owners who created a gathering place for people to pick up the latest news, for children to choose their favorite penny candy, and for sports enthusiasts to find the right gear. As importantly, it was a place for neighbors to connect and share stories. “The store and the family who ran it were admired by this community,” said Edward Downey, president of the historical society, “and we wanted to find a way to honor their legacy.”The exhibit can be viewed at the library at 75 Main Street in Millerton during library hours: Tuesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The library is closed on Sunday and Monday.For any inquiries about the historical society, please contact Ed Downey at eddowney12@gmail.com.

Sharon Center School will honor their 8th grade graduates with a community parade.

Sharon Center School will honor their 8th grade graduates with a community parade. The parade will be on Main Street in Sharon and begin at approximately 7:00 p.m on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 with a rain date of Friday, June 18, 2021. Please come and send best wishes to our students.

Cornwall zoning addresses home offices, quality of life issues

BY RUTH EPSTEIN REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

CORNWALL – Aware of concerns of several residents, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved amended regulations for home businesses, making one modification and assuring the community the zoning enforcement officer would closely monitor applications. The vote was taken after months of discussion by the commissioners who, aware that more people are now working from home, wanted to make the regulations easier to allow for such activity. During several sessions of a hearing, members of the public spoke about the possible change in the rural character of the town if certain enterprises were allowed in residential areas. A petition was submitted with 90 signatures. When members were polled during Thursday’s meeting, James Laporta said he was concerned about the number of outspoken citizens and the fact a petition was circulated. He thought much of the information being broadcast was based on misinformation and miscommunication, but he also noted the remarks made by a lawyer hired by the opponents who questioned some points in the regulations. He said he believes those worried about noise should be heard.

New guidance: New York won’t lift mask mandate in schools, yet

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/politics/albany/2021/06/06/mask-mandate-new-york-schools-not-lifted/7575812002/

ALBANY – No, New York is not yet lifting its mask mandate in schools.

The state Education Department on Sunday emailed guidance to the roughly 700 New York school districts that said state agencies have agreed to wait until the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention responds to the state’s request Friday for more information before lifting the COVID-19 mask mandate in schools. “No changes have been, or will be, made by the Executive until after Monday, June 7 to afford the CDC an opportunity to respond to the letter,” the Education Department wrote. The updated guidance from the Education Department appears aimed at addressing confusion from schools after the state Department of Health on Friday abruptly notified the CDC that New York intends to lift its statewide mask requirement for schools on Monday.
“If there is any data or science that you are aware of that contradicts moving forward with this approach, please let me know as soon as possible. We plan to make this guidance effective on Monday, June 7,” Health Commissioner Howard Zucker wrote to the CDC.

Egremont annual town meeting preview

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/egremont-annual-town-meeting-preview/article_40c1b9ae-c57e-11eb-9a32-57265187720b.html

When: 5 p.m. Tuesday

Where: French Park, 65 Prospect Lake Rd.

Highlights: In addition to voting on petitions to ban several cannabis licenses, voters will consider a budget that makes mostly small increases across the board, as well as one-time appropriations related to road repairs and new equipment for the fire, police, highway, and building and grounds departments. Budget increases: Among the largest increases in the budget is for public transport, which would go from $18,087 to $56,578. School spending also would increase from $1,704,531 to $1,757,965. Spending on tree work would grow from $30,000 to $40,000, and total debt and interest spending would rise from $124,703 to $156,184. One-time appropriations: Voters will decide whether to appropriate $335,000 for a portion of the reconstruction of Mount Washington Road, and another item would have the town spend $150,000 on road repairs in the town. Cannabis questions: After voters approved six petitions at the May 11 election to ban five cannabis licenses and to effectively limit the town to one retail license, votes on those six petitions at the town meeting will decide their fates.

Schumer presses IRS to free up Metro-North riders’ commuting funds

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2021/06/04/sen-charles-schumer-calls-irs-aid-metro-north-commuters/7529207002/

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer ventured across party lines Friday, invoking Ronald Reagan’s Cold War era demand of Mikhail Gorbachev, as he called on the IRS to ease the tax burden of Metro-North commuters. “Reagan said, ‘Mr. Gorbachev tear down the wall,’” Schumer during a stop at Metro-North’s Tarrytown station. “We’re saying, ‘IRS tear down the wall that prevents people from getting their money.’ Let them have it. They need it. They paid for it. It makes sense.” Schumer called a press conference to highlight the IRS’ refusal to give commuters access to money employers deducted from their paychecks in pre-tax, commuting accounts. With commuters working from home during the pandemic, money continued piling up in accounts if workers didn’t stop deductions that could run as high as $270 per month, Schumer said. And now they’ve been told they can’t have access to the money for other uses.

Monument Mountain’s 114-member Class of 2021 feted during graduation ceremony

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/southcounty/monument-mountains-114-member-class-of-2021-feted-during-graduation-ceremony/article_3cbf07ec-c64d-11eb-97d2-7f1468d0d0d7.html

Valedictorian: Karina Mahida

Quote: “As I look around at my fellow classmates, I see some of the strongest members of society. They are driven by passion and focus, and because of that, I am sure we will do amazing things in the future.” “If I can leave you with one piece of advice, it is to never turn down the opportunity for fun. Those are the memories that you will share with your future families and friends. Those are the memories you will remember at the end of your life.”

Salutatorian: Abigail Zeik

Quote: “I’ve watched you pursue your dreams with relentless fervor and an infectious zeal. And after being knocked down, I’ve admired your willingness to stand up and do it all over again — all in loving pursuit of your dreams.”
“Stretch out your arms toward your green light. Enter the next part of your life with a foolish, foolish heart.”

Sheffield: Mount Everett 2021

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/sheffield-mount-everett-awards-scholarships-2021/article_217c2ac4-c4bc-11eb-b9de-47ee1ed0fa11.html

Valedictorian: Cecelia Caldwell

Salutatorian: Madison Tinker

President’s Award for Educational Excellence: Isabelle Bizalion, Cecelia Caldwell, Jack Carpenter, Kathleen Dillon, Amelia Kemp, Isabella Kemp, Austin Murray, Cole Rosseter, Cooper Rothvoss, Elizabeth Sarnacki, Jack Seward-Dailey, Jacob TenBroeck, Madison Tinker, Makenzie Ullrich, Alek Zdziarski

President’s Awards for Educational Achievement: Serena Batacchi, Kolby Bleau, Makayla Candelari, Luke Dinan, Lillee Getchell, Maile Handy, Samuel Kresiak, Hailey Liebenow, Morgan Long, Malik Masters, Emma Nardi, Jacob Race, Margaret Robitaille, Hailey Thieriot

Department Awards: Madison Tinker (Social Studies, Spanish, Art, Visual & Performing Arts); Cecelia Caldwell (Mathematics, French); Makenzie Ullrich (Science); Isabelle Bizalion (English); Malik Masters (Chorus, Theater); Cole Rosseter (Band); Makayla Candelari (Guidance); Jack Carpenter (Wellness); Amani Fleming-Jackson (Award for Perseverance and Determination); Kai LaRose (Internship)

Jennifer’s Law passes the House, heads to Gov. Lamont’s desk

https://www.wfsb.com/news/jennifers-law-passes-the-house-heads-to-gov-lamonts-desk/article_a5cc241c-c5a4-11eb-a3d8-ff74ac6eafa0.html?block_id=994091

The State House of Representatives has passed Jennifer’s Law.
The bill, named after Jennifer Dulos, a New Canaan mother who was allegedly killed by her estranged husband in 2019, is designed to protect victims of domestic violence. Jennifer’s law would broaden the definition of domestic violence and would change the laws around restraining orders, divorce and custody. Currently, domestic violence laws are based on physical violence or the threat of physical violence. The new bill would also include coercive control, which lawmakers defined as control that can and does lead to more abusive behavior. Legislators passed the bill 134 to 8. It will now head to Governor Ned Lamont’s desk.

Connecticut lawmakers continue to push through legislative session

https://www.wfsb.com/news/lawmakers-continue-to-push-through-legislative-session/article_b71e34be-c570-11eb-a612-ff87695aa516.html?block_id=1025221

Every year at this time there’s a big push at the state Capitol to pass legislation before time runs out. This year’s session ends in just five days.
There’s been a lot of talk about recreational marijuana this session, and that continues to be a work in progress. There are plenty of other bills that people want passed. She and others were pushing to reduce emissions, specifically those generated by cars and trucks. The goal is to reduce gas emissions 45 percent by 2030. To do this, the governor’s budget includes a charge on wholesalers passed onto consumers it would cost 5 cents more a gallon. The money raised would give rebates for electric vehicles and would build more EV charging stations. Republicans say they would rather see money come from somewhere else, not taxpayers.

Bardavon, UPAC announce reopening; tickets on sale to public June 11

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/entertainment/arts/2021/06/04/bardavon-upac-reopening-tickets-sale-dutchess-poughkeepsie-ulster-kingston/7526317002/

After 14 months of closure, music will once again fill the Bardavon Theater and the Ulster Performing Arts Center. The Bardavon, in Poughkeepsie, and UPAC in Kingston will be reopening for shows beginning in August. Four new events join a list of postponed 2020 performances; the latter shows include Brit Floyd, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, the Mavericks, Celtic Woman and Stomp. Tickets for the new shows are on sale to Bardavon members on Tuesday at 11 a.m. and to the general public at 11 a.m. June 11. Tickets for the rescheduled shows are on sale now. In-person ticket sales will return July 6. New shows will be announced in the next few weeks.

New York to lift COVID mask mandate in schools beginning Monday

ALBANY — New York will no longer require students, teachers and staff to wear masks inside school buildings beginning Monday, reversing a policy that had been in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In a letter Friday, state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker revealed he will alter the state’s mask requirements for schools to align them with summer camps, removing the mandate for the final days of the academic year and for camps as they get set to begin. Starting Monday, mask use in schools will be “strongly encouraged” by the state but no longer required — even if the student or teacher is not fully vaccinated, Zucker wrote in his letter to Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Great Barrington, it’s ‘basically the honor system’ when it comes to masking, social distancing

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/in-great-barrington-its-basically-the-honor-system-when-it-comes-to-masking-social-distancing/article_93c62208-c55a-11eb-ba5d-33011103920f.html

One week into a deep-breathing, full-faced new world, some merchants and shoppers in town say they are operating on that honor system — and a respect system. One staffer, who declined to be identified so as not to draw attention to the store, said he wears his mask “out of respect for others” since he hasn’t had his shots. He says he’s grateful the community respects him. Some who are vaccinated mask up when they see others wearing one. The town hasn’t seen a virus case or quarantined person for two weeks, according to town Health Agent Rebecca Jurczyk. And according to the state Department of Public Health, 65 percent of county residents have had at least one shot. Yet, the local Board of Health is considering issuing an advisory recommending that people and businesses in town continue all COVID prevention measures like mask-wearing and social distancing, Jurczyk said.

Tanglewood protocols: 3 feet of distance (inside only), masks optional

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/tanglewood-protocols-3-feet-of-distance-inside-only-masks-optional/article_51b864aa-c570-11eb-9718-0bd1492f49dd.html

LENOX — Following guidance from the Tri-Town Health Department, the state and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Boston Symphony’s plans for this summer’s Tanglewood festival now include 3 feet of separation between ticket holders seated in the Koussevitzky Music Shed for all BSO-related performances. While masking and physical distancing no longer will be required, the orchestra announced on Friday, both precautions are recommended for unvaccinated audience members, in line with CDC guidance. The regulations from the local health boards limit total attendance to 9,000 — half of the normal capacity. Earlier, the attendance cap had been 25 percent before Gov. Charlie Baker lifted most pandemic-related restrictions as of May 29.

UConn latest school to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for fall

STORRS (AP) — The University of Connecticut on Friday became the latest school to require that students be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to classes in the fall.
The school’s board of trustees approved the policy on a unanimous voice vote during a special meeting on Friday. UConn joins seven private state colleges and universities, including Yale, and 11 of the nation’s top 25 public universities in instituting a mandatory vaccination policy, school officials said. Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, the school’s interim president, said UConn decided to institute the policy to guard against any fall resurgence of the virus or its variants.

New York to lift COVID mask mandate in schools beginning Monday

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2021/06/04/ny-lifts-mask-mandate-in-schools/7548559002/

ALBANY — New York will no longer require students, teachers and staff to wear masks inside school buildings beginning Monday, reversing a policy that had been in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In a letter Friday, state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker revealed he will alter the state’s mask requirements for schools to align them with summer camps, removing the mask mandate for the final days of the academic year and for camps as they get set to begin.
Starting Monday, mask use in schools will be “strongly encouraged” by the state but no longer required — even if the student or teacher is not fully vaccinated, Zucker wrote in his letter to Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Indoors, mask use will be strongly encouraged but not required for students, campers, and staff/teachers/counselors who are not fully vaccinated,” Zucker wrote. “Outdoors, masks are not required; students, campers, and staff/teachers/counselors who are not fully vaccinated are ‘encouraged’ to wear a mask in certain higher-risk circumstances.”

James Taylor concert at Tanglewood postponed until next summer

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/james-taylor-concert-at-tanglewood-postponed-until-next-summer/article_9408344c-c558-11eb-9621-2b83807c91a8.html

LENOX — For the second consecutive summer, there will be no James Taylor concert at Tanglewood. Although a 50 percent increase in capacity for Tanglewood allows 9,000 tickets to be sold for all performances, Taylor’s Aug. 31 performance has been postponed to July 4, 2022. That’s because this season’s show had been rescheduled from July 4, 2020, and more than 15,000 tickets had been sold for that date. “I’m disappointed and frustrated to have to announce the postponement of my August 31 concert at Tanglewood,” Taylor said in a statement for The Eagle and his website, also relayed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. However, he added, “We acknowledge and support the Tri-Town Health Department’s responsibility to protect our citizens’ well-being, but it’s frustrating to have to ask you to wait until the 4th of July next year.” Tickets purchased for the original date — July 4, 2020 — will be honored on July 4, 2022. Ticket buyers are encouraged to hold onto their tickets, Taylor’s team stated in a note on his website. But they asked ticket holders to reach out to their point of purchase should a refund be preferred, or if the tickets can be donated back to Tanglewood.

Connecticut House sends deposit return law to Lamont after vote

HARTFORD — The final passage of legislation Thursday expanding the state’s deposit return law had supporters celebrating and opponents pinning their last hopes on Gov. Ned Lamont vetoing the bill. A relatively smaller bipartisan majority in the Democrat-controlled House voted 105-42 to OK the sweeping expansion the day after the Democrat-controlled Senate approved Senate Bill 1037 in an overwhelming 33-1 vote. The legislation will increase the 5-cent deposit fee to 10 cents in 2024, and it will add cans and bottles for hard seltzer and hard cider, plant water and plant-infused beverages, juice drinks, tea, coffee, kombucha, sports and energy drinks in 2023.
Under the bill, wholesalers will assess retailers a 5-cent surcharge on 50 milliliter bottles known as nips, and wholesalers will make payments to towns and cities every six months. The bill also increases the handling fee for struggling redemption centers, going from 1 cent to 2.5 cents for alcoholic beverage containers, and from 2.5 cents to 3.5 cents for all others.

Norfolk Land Trust will sponsor a nature walk Sunday

NORFOLK — Norfolk Land Trust will sponsor a nature walk Sunday as part of Connecticut Trails Day. Walkers should meet at 9 a.m. at the trail head to Pine Mountain off Grantville Road. Shelley Harms, land trust vice president, will lead the walk. She will identify native plants along the old railroad bed and, as a longtime bird enthusiast, point out species found along the route. The walk is easy and totals about 2 miles. The trail may be wet so dress appropriately.

NORFOLK — Norfolk Library kicks off its summer reading program

NORFOLK — Norfolk Library kicks off its summer reading program, “Tails and Tales,” on June 11 at 6:30 p.m. with a pet parade. Prizes will be given in many categories, so participants should register their pets by Wednesday at norfolklibrary. org or call 860542-5075.

Tri-Town Health Department caps Tanglewood audience at 9,000

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/tri-town-health-department-caps-tanglewood-audience-at-9-000/article_4e6ef1f2-c493-11eb-9f48-2762b69bea60.html

Attendance at Tanglewood will be capped at 9,000 this summer, in accordance with regulations approved Thursday by the Tri-Town Health Department.
The move clears the way for the Boston Symphony Orchestra to double the previous limit of 4,500 combined in the open-air Koussevitzky Music Shed and on the lawn. Additional tickets are expected to be put on sale, with a total of 2,500 seats available in the Shed and 6,500 on the lawn. This order is enforceable by the Town’s police officers or the Tri-Town Health Agent. Any venue found to be in violation of this order may be issued a warning or assessed a non-criminal penalty in the amount of $300 for every attendee in excess of the allowed capacity limit. In extreme circumstances in the judgment of the enforcing authority, the enforcing authority may order immediate shutdown of the venue. The Lenox and Stockbridge Boards of Health, as Tri-Town Health Department members, unanimously approved the measure limiting capacity of large outdoor events to 9,000, through Sept. 1.

Great Barrington annual town meeting Monday

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/great-barrington-annual-town-meeting-preview/article_59735784-c392-11eb-99cc-03bd64826be1.html

6 p.m. Monday (continued to 6 p.m. Thursday, if needed)
Monument Mountain Regional High School, 600 Stockbridge Road/Route 7
For a second year, Great Barrington will hold its annual town meeting drive-in style, in the Monument High parking lot. A second date, of June 10, is reserved, should the meeting run late and into darkness, as it did last year, or encounter bad weather. Select Board Chairman Stephen Bannon said if voters are familiar with the warrant and prepared, voting could be finished Monday. He said town officials “look forward to an efficient town meeting.” The warrant can be found on the town’s website. Child care won’t be available this year, though children can attend if they are supervised. Transportation is offered for those who need it. Call the Claire Teague Senior Center by June 4 to reserve a seat in a town van.

Harwinton man arrested by feds for role in Jan. 6 riot in U.S. Capitol

BY BRIGITTE RUTHMAN REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

HARWINTON — A 25-year-old Harwinton man arrested by federal authorities for charges relating to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol was allowed to go free on certain conditions including that he not visit the U.S. Capital and remain in Connecticut while his case is pending. Richard T. Crosby Jr. was arrested on a federal criminal complaint issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was taken into custody early Thursday morning and appeared in a virtual hearing via Zoom before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge David Vatti at midday. Crosby was charged with offenses related to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. He is the second Connecticut resident to be charged by the FBI with the Jan. 6 insurrection. Crosby, who qualified to be represented by a public defender, was allowed to return to his parents home in Harwinton. His father, Richard Crosby Sr., told Judge Vatti he agreed to serve as a third party custodian, and as Vatti instructed, “the eyes and ears of the court.” Crosby was instructed to continue with his employment and to surrender a passport if he has one. He cannot possess any firearms and under a condition added by Vatti, cannot have contact with any known coconspirators of the Jan. 6 event. He is only allowed to leave the state to attend court hearings in the District of Columbia or meet with an attorney there.

Pockets of Hudson Valley region show severe lags in COVID vaccination rates

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/coronavirus/2021/06/03/covid-vaccination-rates-new-york-mid-hudson-region/7464654002/

With New York’s statewide vaccination rate topping 50% for first doses given, pockets of the Hudson Vallregion continue to lag, according to data compiled by the state Department of Health. The state Health Department has yet to release a list of vaccination rates by ZIP code statewide. But a look at regional data shows that a few communities have yet to reach even a 20% vaccination rate for first doses and several more still have first-dose rates that drop well below 30%. The Mid Hudson region includes the counties of Ulster, Dutchess, Sullivan, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester. The area encompasses cities and suburbs, farms and rural towns. A few ZIP codes with lagging vaccination rates — including in the Monsey area of Rockland County, Fallsburg/South Fallsburg and Kiamesha Lake in Sullivan and the Monroe/Kiryas Joel areas in Orange County — have large Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish populations. Community members have said lower vaccination rates are likely linked to young children making up a bulk of the population. The Pfizer vaccine has only been cleared for children age 12-16 for about three weeks.

Will adult sex abuse survivors get to sue their abusers in NY? Bill in Albany gains steam

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/politics/albany/2021/06/03/adult-survivors-act-new-york-passed-senate/7521696002/

ALBANY – Adult survivors of sexual abuse in New York may soon get a window to sue their abusers regardless of how long ago the acts occurred, similar to the state’s Child Victims Act that allows youth to file lawsuits against attackers. The Democratic-led Senate passed the Adult Survivors Act on Thursday, moving the measure closer to becoming law than it had been in recent years. Now it will be up to the Assembly to pass it before the legislative session ends next week and for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign it into law. Advocates are hopeful the bill will get the approval of the Democratic-controlled Legislature, saying adults over age 18 should be able to seek retribution from their alleged abusers.

33 Berkshire County priests on Diocese of Springfield’s list of 61 credibly accused abusers

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/33-berkshire-county-priests-on-diocese-of-springfields-list-of-61-credibly-accused-abusers/article_e41dca26-c3f7-11eb-84eb-3700faff4897.html

Berkshire County list
Here are local Berkshire County names listed as credibly accused by the Diocese of Springfield, along with their assignments and years assigned within the county.

Sheffield
Frederic George Dion, St. Mark Parish in Pittsfield (1963-1970), Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Sheffield (1973-1976), St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Cheshire (1976-1981), St. Teresa Parish in Pittsfield (1981-1983)

Roy Jenness, Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Sheffield (1957-1959), St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Adams (1966-1969), St. Mary the Morning Star Parish in Pittsfield (1972-1974)

Stockbridge/West Stockbridge
John Anthony Koonz, St. Agnes Parish in Dalton (1978-2002), St. Joseph Mission in Stockbridge (1995-2002), St. Patrick Parish in West Stockbridge (1995-2002)

Terry McKiernan, co-founder of the nonprofit https://BishopAccountability.org said Wednesday that the expanded list is “not only a much better list than it used to be, but a much better list than some other lists that are out there.” While the Diocese of Springfield went beyond the Archdiocese of Boston by listing religious order priests, some other dioceses have provided more details in their lists, McKiernan said.

Falls Village takes stand vs. racist graffiti

BY RUTH EPSTEIN Republican-American

When racist graffiti was found scrawled on a local road last year, the Board of Selectmen said such expressions would not be tolerated. But three local women recently came before the board with their own value statement.
Maria Grusauskus, Carol Taylor and Julia Olff met through the town’s Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit tasked with accessing and administering funds for projects that improve economic conditions and quality of life in Falls Village. The women were drawn to the idea of a value statement based on their own experiences. After some tweaking, they came up with the statement: “Falls Village is committed to nurturing a welcoming community that respects the dignity and humanity of all of its neighbors and residents – regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, age, economic status, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity or differing abilities.” The selectmen heartily agreed to display it. Selectmen Greg Marlowe and David Barger concurred, and Barger asked that it be prominently displayed at Town Hall. Patricia A. Mechare, chairwoman of the Lee H. Kellogg School Board of Education, said it also should be posted it at the school.

Friday is National Donut Day

Friday is National Donut Day! Established in 1938 by the Salvation Army to honor the women who served the pastries to soldiers during World War I. Celebrated the first Friday of June, the foodie holiday typically involves giveaways and sales.

Connecticut House speaker: No new broad-based taxes in next state budget

BY PAUL HUGHES REPUBLICAN-AMERICANJune 2, 2021166

House speaker: No new broad-based taxes in next state budget

HARTFORD — Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont apparently has prevailed in the battle of wills on taxes on the wealthy in budget negotiations with majority leaders of the Democrat-controlled legislature. House Speaker Matt Ritter stated Wednesday that the next two-year budget will not include any broad-based tax increases as Lamont demanded, including surcharges on capital gains and personal income on taxpayers earning $500,000 and up that House and Senate Democrats proposed. During a morning news conference, he expressed confidence that the governor’s office and Democratic leaders could announce a deal on a state budget for the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years later in the day.

Bottle deposit fee could double in Connecticut, if pending legislation is approved

HARTFORD — Supporters of an expanded bottle deposit law are hopeful the Senate will move Connecticut closer to its first update in 40 years.
The Senate chairwoman of the Environment Committee advised advocates on Wednesday morning that the Senate would be voting on the legislation later in the day. The bill proposes to double the current 5-cent deposit to 10 cents on Jan. 1, 2024, and it also seeks to raise the handling fee from 1 cent to 2.5 cents. Under Senate Bill 1037, the deposit will apply to more containers. A Democratic amendment proposes to add hard cider, hard seltzer, juice, teas, coffee, kombucha, plant infused drink, and sports or energy drink. Under current law, the bottle bill applies to beverage containers of beer, other malt beverages, mineral or soda water, carbonated soft drinks and water, including flavored or nutritionally enhanced water. There is a compromise provision on so-called liquor nips. Advocates said it was a concession to the powerful liquor lobby. Wholesalers will assess retailers a 5-cent surcharge on nips, and wholesalers will make payments to towns and cities every six months based on the number of nips sold in a community.

Gun control in NY: Lawmakers want to pass these new reforms to crack down on illegal sales

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/politics/albany/2021/06/02/gun-control-new-york-new-laws/7507071002/

ALBANY – The state Senate on Wednesday was poised to pass a series of new gun-control laws, the latest in a decade-long bid to have more stringent gun laws in New York. The package of bills comes as lawmakers plan to end the legislative session for the year next week. If the bills are passed, it would then be up to the Democrat-controlled Assembly to do the same and then send the measures to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for approval. One measure that Democrats have long sought it to enact a 10-day waiting period for the purchase of all firearms, charging any violation of the law as a class A misdemeanor.
Also, lawmakers want to make it an explicit crime to purchase a firearm if a person knows there is a active warrant for their arrest. Another bill would bolster criminal penalties for illegal gun sales or manufacturing, while also limiting the sale of toy or imitation weapons to “combat the harm incurred by realistic toy guns.” The lawmakers also want to bolster how the state reports gun violence data.

The Roeliff Jansen Community Library Bookstore on Route 22 in Hillsdale is re-opening

The Friends of the Roeliff Jansen Community Library Bookstore on Route 22 in Hillsdale is re-opening on June 5th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and every Saturday through September 4th. The bookstore has a wonderful selection of books at terrific prices. Masks must be worn inside the store and social distancing required, Customers should bring bags and pay by check or cash.

Grant for Cornwall’s Little Guild

https://tricornernews.com

The John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation awarded the Little Guild of St. Francis in West Cornwall a 2020-21 Animal Welfare Grant for $29,000 to
support capital improvements and equipment. The grant will fund new
computers and printers; new network and internet wiring; repair of the dog run fence and a heating unit in the cat room; the installation of a new
animal exam room; plexiglass installation in the lobby area; the removal of a hazardous tree; and the regrading of the parking lot and driveway at the
Little Guild.

Sharon Board Of Selectmen on roads and speeding

The Sharon Borad Of Selectmen esponding to an issue that was raised by residents of Hilltop Road and ongoing concerns about vehicles exceeding
the posted speed limit, the Sharon Board of Selectmen expanded the discussion about town-wide speeding concerns at their regular meeting on Tuesday, May 25. The meeting was held on Zoom and drew light attendance. “Other roads have to be looked at,” First Selectman Brent Colley said, having heard from residents who live along several other roads where speeding is a problem.
“It’s not just one road,” he added. Those residents have asked to be included in discussions.” Colley suggested Sharon schedule a public meeting outdoors during the summer, perhaps at the Veteran’s Field pavilion.

Salisbury Central School now has an assistant principal

The Salisbury Board of Education extended the contract of Salisbury Central
School Principal Stephanie Magyar through June 30, 2024,and added a 3% par raise for the 2021-22 school year. The board met online on Monday, May 24.
The board also hired middle school science teacher John Conklin as assistant principal, the position would be new one.

Facebook helps nab wanted Torrington thieves

BY BRIGITTE RUTHMAN REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

TORRINGTON — Police believed they had cornered a thief early Saturday morning, so when their suspect offered a false name that didn’t match him, they turned to his girlfriend’s Facebook account for answers. “Scott Tonini” turned out to be Scott Dennis, a 31-year-old wanted by multiple police agencies for theft, police said. Miranda Agosto and Scott Dennis. Facebook
His identity was revealed when police looked up his girlfriend, Miranda Agosto, on Facebook and learned she was in a relationship with Dennis, who matched the description of the man behind the wheel of a white 2010 Mazda in the city’s north end, police allege. Agosto, 28, was in the passenger’s seat, police said. In the car’s trunk were suspicious items, including a Keurig coffee maker missing from a car that had been burglarized at the Brass Mill Dam as identified by its owner, police allege. The coffee maker box had been rained on during the theft. Agosto made comments identifying a pink bag she apparently accidentally left behind when she and Dennis broke into one of the cars, police allege. Both Dennis and Agosto were charged with larceny and burglary. Dennis, who has an extensive history of burglary and larceny, also was charged with drug possession, interfering with police and driving with a suspended license. Arraigned Tuesday in Torrington Superior Court, he was ordered held on $5,000 bond. He is being held on $250,000 in combined bonds on other warrants.

The Kent Memorial Library has commenced a year long celebration of their centennial that takes place in March 2022.

The anniversary will be marked by special events, as well as an online timeline that showcases the library’s history.
As part of the celebration the Library has lined up events to raise awareness about its past, for both children and adults, including a book club discussion series that will begin in the fall. Patrons can also visit the Library to see a display of archival photographs, books about Kent,
stories concerning its founding, and even a recently restored library sign from 1922 (labor done by local woodworker Al McClain, who donated a portion of his services) that will be displayed proudly near the circulation desk for all to enjoy. Visit https://kentmemoriallibrary.org for more information.

Connecticut working to fight hate crimes with new police unit and pending legislation

HARTFORD — The state’s public safety commissioner on Tuesday announced the Connecticut State Police are going to establish a special unit focusing on hate crimes and extremists. James Rovella, the commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, is moving forward while the General Assembly considers legislation proposing a Hate Crimes and Extremist Group Investigative Unit. “The state police will devote a sergeant and four troopers to this effort. It will be coordinated through the field operations group, which will encompass also the major crime units based on the seriousness of the complaint,” he said. “This is not a random act of violence. People are targeted because of their race, color, creed, sexual orientation, gender, and that is so contrary to everything we stand for here in Connecticut, and everything we stand for as Americans,” Gov. Ned Lamont
He said DESPP is going to incorporate the new unit in its budget. No additional costs are expected because existing personnel are available to staff this new division.

Multiple shots fired at the Connecticut Capitol building

https://www.wfsb.com/news/multiple-shots-fired-at-state-capitol-building/article_7a9ead04-c2e4-11eb-b498-d3c67233f90a.html?block_id=994091

Police are investigating after multiple shots were fired at the state Capitol building. At least three bullet holes were discovered on the south side of the building Tuesday morning. While the holes were found Tuesday morning, police said it is unclear when the shots were actually fired. As soon as Capitol Police found them, they called in state police, who brought in the Central District Major Crimes Division. Brian Foley, assistant to the commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, said it’s likely that the shots were fired over the holiday weekend. He added that there are no plans right now to make any changes to security at the Capitol.

Massachusetts launches marijuana delivery license application

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/statehouse/state-launches-marijuana-delivery-license-application/article_82a9d81e-c2f0-11eb-9d98-578c41cca9a4.html

After years of stops and starts, the Cannabis Control Commission announced Friday that eligible applicants can now seek pre-certification and licensure as marijuana delivery operators, a business type that regulators and advocates said will be an important part of an equitable industry. The new “marijuana delivery operator” licenses created in the new industry rules the CCC approved late last year will be available exclusively to participants in the CCC’s social equity program and economic empowerment applicants for the first three years. The new license allows its holder to buy products wholesale from growers and manufacturers and deliver them to their own customers, and requires them to follow customer verification and safety regulations. The CCC has issued one final license and seven provisional licenses for the second prong of its delivery structure, a courier model that allows a company to charge a fee to make deliveries from CCC-licensed retailers and dispensaries. Home delivery of marijuana has long been allowed under the state’s medical marijuana program and the CCC considered and debated non-medical home delivery for about three years.

Massachusetts requiring in-person learning in the fall

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/statehouse/massachusetts-requiring-in-person-learning-in-the-fall/article_a3654c16-bfb0-11eb-830b-9f58f43b896b.html#tncms-source=infinity-scroll-summary-latest

All schools and districts will be required to hold classes in-person next fall and health and safety requirements imposed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will be lifted for the new school year, the department said in new guidance sent to superintendents Thursday evening.
The guidance says districts and schools must continue “core mitigation strategies” including indoor masking, physical distance and strong hand hygiene for the remainder of this school year. When the state lifts most COVID-19 restrictions this Saturday, students and staff will still need to wear masks inside. Schools will not be able to offer remote learning “as a standard learning model” in the fall, per the guidance, but pre-pandemic virtual learning options for “individual students in limited cases” will remain available, including home or hospital tutoring because of a medical condition and single-district virtual schools.

The Sharon Land Trust will install roadside signs at several of its preserves

The Sharon Land Trust will install roadside signs at several of its preserves that have public nature trails, making it easier to find the trailheads and raising the visibility of the land trust’s mission to not only protect the town’s wild and rural lands, but also to provide opportunities for the public to enjoy them.The first sign will be installed at the Goodbody Preserve at 140 Millerton Road (Rt. 361). The public is invited to join a short ceremony to unveil the sign on Saturday, June 5 at 12 noon, part of the festivities surrounding the annual Connecticut Trail Days. The ceremony will also honor the volunteers who build, maintain and monitor the land trust’s 20 miles of trails. “The land trust is 90% volunteer-based, and we couldn’t do any of the great things we are doing without their amazing help,” said Tim Hunter, land steward of the trust. The land trust also plans to celebrate CT Trail Days by leading inaugural hikes on its two newest trails. The first hike is at 9 am on Saturday, June 5 at the D’Alton Preserve at 101 Westwoods Road #2. Maria Grace, the land trust’s executive director, will lead the moderate, 3-mile loop trek, introducing hikers to the property’s intricate network of beautiful hiking and equestrian trails that have been painstakingly maintained for private use but have now been generously donated by Terry D’Alton to the land trust for public enjoyment (see trailhead map, attached). The second hike is at 9 am on Sunday, June 6 at the Hamlin Preserve at 19 Stonehouse Road, just off Gay Street (Rt. 41). Tim Hunter will lead the moderately strenuous 2.5-mile hike up, around and down from a new 1.5-mile ledge loop he built with volunteers this spring. The hike features great views of the White Hollow Valley along the spine of Red Mountain, and winds through dramatic rock formations and vernal pools.

Connecticut legislators eye direct e-car sales to customers

Connecticut legislators eye direct e-car sales to customers

Connecticut customers will be able to purchase electric vehicles in Connecticut if the General Assembly passes a bill that would allow direct vehicle sales from manufacturers to consumers. Current law bars manufacturers from holding a new or used car dealer’s license, meaning car dealerships must be independent franchises. Companies that sell electric vehicles such as Tesla and the start-up Rivian, invest most of their resources in the sale and development of new vehicles. Advocates of the bill say the electric vehicle business model is incompatible with car dealerships, which make most of their money from servicing the vehicles they sell – often to the point of losing money on the sale of new cars. Electric vehicles need less service than their fuel-burning counterparts, so there’s little incentive for existing car dealerships to market them. Car dealerships oppose Senate Bill 127, saying it would cut into their business. If the legislation passes, Tesla could sell its own pickup truck directly to consumers. The Tesla Cybertruck has a starting price of about $39,000. It has an electric motor mounted on each axle and a range of about 300 miles. Supporters of the legislation say allowing more competition by removing government-imposed barriers to entry is part of the goal.

Sharon’s First selectman leads tribute to Sharon’s war dead

First selectman leads tribute to Sharon’s war dead

SHARON – Pointing to the Veterans Memorial where Sharon’s Civil War soldiers are listed, First Selectman Brent Colley talked about the close connection of the town to that conflict. Speaking at Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony organized by the Herbert Klebes VFW, he said the stars denote those who were killed. “The Civil War has the most,” he noted. A large crowd watched as the parade wended its way from Gay Street, along the town Green to the memorial at the intersection of routes 41, 343 and 4. Veterans, members of the Sharon Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance, children on colorfully decorated bicycles and Scouts were cheered as they went by. Colley said while there were a few glitches and there were concerns the event might not happen, everyone pitched in to make it a reality. Jane Strong, founder of the Equus Effect located in Sharon, was a guest speaker. Brian Kenny read the names of Sharon veterans who died this past year: James T. Metz, Jr., William Riley, Jack Richmond, Maynard Bartram, Frank Arnold, Edward Kirby, Vincent Cody, Adrian King and William Laemmel. He also paid tribute to Bonnnie Aakjar, a 40-year member of the VFW Auxiliary.

Kent shows its patriotic pride; parade draws largest crowd since pandemic began

KENT – Kent residents packed the sidewalks along the Main Street parade route, greeting friends and acquaintances not seen in more than a year, relishing the traditional event and how it represented a return to normalcy.
The town’s Memorial Day parade Monday morning had all the hallmarks of the annual event, including placing of wreaths at the Veterans Memorial, the Civil War Monument and flowers at the Kent Memorial Library, which is an actual memorial to the veterans of World War I. Clergy from all three of the town’s churches shared prayers and honored those who died fighting for the country. In addition, a reading of the Gettysburg Address and the playing of Taps were done by eighth graders from Kent Center School.
Veterans from the American Legion Hall-Jennings Post No. 153 led the parade and performed five 21-gun salutes at different locations within the hour-long event.

Cornwall honors its fallen heroes at Memorial Day ceremony

CORNWALL – This year’s Memorial Day theme is Cornwall’s sons and daughters, began First Selectman Gordon M. Ridgway as he opened the annual ceremony on the town Green. Those from the town’s past and its present were honored as part of that group. Those honored were Diane Beebe, the town’s emergency management director; Joyce Hart, EMS captain; Heather Dinneen, social services director; and Jennifer Markow, COVID-19 vaccine coordinator. “They are the true daughters of Cornwall,” Ridgway said. Tim Naylor of VFW Post 9853 presented this year’s VFW citizenship award to Beebe. David Cadwell read the list of Cornwall veterans who died this past year: John Perry, Peter Barrett, Jack Richmond, Alec Frost, Paul Baren, Warren Wood, Jr. and John Miller.

After pandemic year, in-person Memorial Day ceremony returns to Pittsfield

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/after-pandemic-year-in-person-memorial-day-ceremony-returns-to-pittsfield/article_51bb5022-c22b-11eb-8367-63a5ef1e198f.html

PITTSFIELD — A year after Memorial Day processions were closed to the public because of coronavirus pandemic safety concerns, a Monday ceremony brought tears to the eyes of some in attendance. Well over 100 people, including veterans and their family members, attended the Memorial Day ceremony at Pittsfield Cemetery on a chilly morning, on a day when the city’s Memorial Day parade was canceled for the second consecutive year.

NY lifts statewide virus curfew for indoor bars, eateries

Bars and restaurants no longer have to close at midnight across New York state, as its coronavirus curfew for indoor dining ended Monday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last month that the restriction would be lifted. With that, establishments can return to the closing times that their liquor licenses or other regulations allow.
A similar pandemic curfew for outdoor dining ended May 17, although some local governments have their own closing-time rules for outdoor tables.
Restaurateurs have been looking forward to the later hours as they try to recover from the shutdowns and other limitations on their business during the virus crisis.

New York State Officials to announce prison closures within days

https://imby.com/hudson/article/officials-to-announce-prison-closures-within-days/

tate officials are expected to announce the closure of multiple state prisons in the coming days with the goal to shutter more facilities by Labor Day.
It is unclear how many prisons, or which ones, are expected to be closed by summer’s end. Language in the Legislature’s adopted 2021-22 state budget permits Gov. Andrew Cuomo to permanently close facilities with a 90-day notice through the end of March 2022.

Rep. Delgado to Hold In-Person Town Hall in Hyde Park

U.S. Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19) will hold his first in-person town hall since the start of COVID-19 on Tuesday, June 1, at 6:00 p.m in Hyde Park. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rep. Delgado held 20 virtual town hall events to connect with constituents and provide critical information. The Congressman has held 55 total town hall events during his time in office.
In adherence with social distancing guidelines, all attendees will sit on their own picnic blankets and chairs. Constituents who wish to ask a question will be able to speak with Rep. Delgado in a socially distanced fashion.
Per New York State guidelines, vaccinated individuals don’t have to wear a mask at our public, outdoor events. Any immunocompromised or unvaccinated individuals are required to wear a mask.

Connecticut State legislature considers major changes to voting practices

BY PAUL HUGHES REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

State lawmakers are contemplating some of the potentially biggest expansions of Connecticut voting laws in recent years. The proposals moving through the Democrat-controlled General Assembly now regard almost every aspect of voting from absentee ballots to voter registration. Few of the voting-related bills have gotten through both the House and Senate yet, other than a proposed constitutional amendment authorizing early voting. Time to act is running down fast because the 2021 session ends June 9. Democratic leaders say House Democrats remain committed to increasing access to voting and expanding voter rights as Democrats promised in the 2020 elections. Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont says he, too, wants to make voting more accessible and easier, including expanding absentee ballot eligibility and making early voting possible. Meanwhile, Republicans continue to say the Democratic majority is going too far, ignoring risks and shortcomings of proposed bills, and uninterested in working with the House and Senate GOP.

EPA: Trust us, we’re the experts. Dump opponents: GE bought this PCB deal

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/epa-trust-us-we-re-the-experts-dump-opponents-ge-bought-this-pcb-deal/article_110e4f04-c0a8-11eb-8ba6-2fa43529ec40.html

LEE — The deal to allow the General Electric Co. to bury chemical waste in Lee hangs, for now, on how a D.C. court resolves arguments piling up on its docket. As opponents of a PCB landfill add flesh to their appeal, the Environmental Protection Agency is asking the court to trust and accept its judgment. The latest brief from the EPA before the Environmental Appeals Board says justices should grant deference to the agency’s technical expertise, as case law has established, and find that the Housatonic River cleanup settlement reached in February 2020 is the best way to protect human health and accelerate removal of more than a million cubic yards of the polychlorinated biphenyls that GE allowed to despoil Berkshire County’s premier waterway. In a boldly worded brief filed May 20, the attorneys for the Housatonic River Initiative and Housatonic Environmental Action League contend that after reaching terms with GE last year, the EPA’s Boston office did all it could to justify that pact in the months before issuing a revised “Rest of River” cleanup permit in December. The agreement calls for sediments containing more than 50 parts per million of PCBs be shipped for disposal out of state (the “hybrid” approach), just as the EPA’s 2016 permit had dictated, before it was challenged by GE and led to the 2020 settlement. “Instead of actually assessing how ‘hybrid’ disposal would impact the environment, the Region was focused on how its remedy selection decision would affect the continued viability of the Settlement,” the brief states. The EPA’s experts found that the hybrid approach to dealing with the PCBs was “viable” and not, as the environmental groups say, a flipflop from the agency’s earlier findings of fact on cleanup options. “Petitioners expend considerable rhetorical energy to paint the Region’s selection of a new disposal approach — Hybrid Disposal — as an unexplained reversal from its 2016 remedy selection, ignoring significant aspects of EPA’s basis of decision and Record in 2020. Contrary to Petitioners’ arguments, the Region explained, in detail, the basis for its decision to allow disposal of low-level PCBs in the UDF and demonstrated that the UDF fully protects human health and the environment.”

Issue over access sparks struggle for restaurant in West Stockbridge

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/issue-over-access-sparks-struggle-for-restaurant-in-west-stockbridge/article_39f0fd60-be49-11eb-a025-9fef12de3c06.html

WEST STOCKBRIDGE — More than two decades ago, the town barred vehicles from a bridge off Main Street that spans the Williams River, converting it to a footbridge. The bridge leads to Harris Street, which ends at Truc Orient Express restaurant, leaving the only access to the restaurant a private road that unofficially is known as Merritt Way. Now, that unofficial passage off Center Street, long maintained by the town, is at the heart of a dispute between the owners of Truc and their neighbor, The Foundry, a performing and visual arts venue. The Foundry adjoins the road and is part of the same property owned for two years by Amy Brentano, the Foundry’s artistic producing director. For more than 20 years, Truc patrons have used this road to reach the restaurant, since Truc is “essentially landlocked” by private property, said Truc Nguyen, whose family has owned the Vietnamese restaurant for 42 years. Enter a shaky post-COVID reopening season. Though it technically will be legal Saturday, when COVID restrictions are lifted, Brentano is choosing to hold weekend performances outside, on that road, until patrons grow more comfortable with a return to the indoor venue, she said. But, Brentano’s plans to close the road from 5 to 9 p.m. will cut into access to Truc on Friday and Saturday evenings, since Brentano fears the mix of moving cars and Foundry audiences. This scrambles Truc’s plans during its busy hours, as it is about to begin a takeout service while preparing for a full reopening, Nguyen said. The dispute has shifted attention to Town Hall, where officials already had begun eying an easement that would extend Harris Street to Moscow Road, thus opening up another entry to Truc. This involves closing the $10,000 deal with National Grid, which owns the right of way, and putting out bids for the work. Town resident Andy Potter said that when Brentano went to the board in March to discuss her plans, the state still was under COVID emergency orders, and most of those are about to expire. He urged the board to force Brentano to cease and desist. “This Select Board should not be picking winners and losers in this town,” he said, noting that Nguyen had been vocal about reopening as soon as she could. Nguyen told the board that she hadn’t learned about the evening road shutdown until May 12, and suggested that the board was favoring The Foundry by default. She said no previous owners of the road ever had tried to cut off access, and that the board never contacted her about this.

Sharon man pleads guilty to two crashes, one fatal

BY BRIGITTE RUTHMAN REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

TORRINGTON — A Sharon man admitted guilt Friday for his part in two crashes, one of which left his unbelted front-seat passenger dead. Christopher Hoyt said “Guilty, sir” into a microphone Friday at Torrington Superior Court. In exchange for his guilty pleas to second-degree manslaughter and operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Hoyt will avoid trial and likely be sentenced in August to 38 months in prison and five years of probation. The plea agreement will be voided if he is arrested again before Aug. 6. Police records show Hoyt, of 2 West Cornwall Road, was driving a 1993 Jeep Wrangler along back roads through Housatonic State Forest on July 20, 2018, when the vehicle went up an embankment and flipped over, pinning his front-seat passenger, police said.
Lukas Kosko, 18, of Canaan, died of his injuries. The teens both had recently graduated from Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village. Hoyt had been wearing a lap and shoulder belt, but Kosko had not. Hoyt was ordered in November 2019 to use an interlock device before operating any other vehicle to prevent him from driving drunk while he was awaiting prosecution for manslaughter and operating under the influence. The case was delayed by court closings due to COVID-19. He crashed again on Sept. 22, 2020. State police said Hoyt illegally drove an unregistered dirt bike on White Hollow Road into the rear of another bike being driven by a juvenile. The collision tossed the juvenile into the wheel of a Fed-Ex truck that was waiting to exit a driveway.
Hoyt was charged with reckless endangerment, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, operating a vehicle without an interlock device, following too closely and having a passenger on a dirt bike meant for one.

Massachusetts to lift almost all restrictions Saturday

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/the-checkup-for-may-28-state-to-lift-almost-all-restrictions-saturday/article_b3b919de-bff7-11eb-9944-9f3556d544f0.html

On Saturday, almost all of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 restrictions become history. Cases, deaths and hospitalizations in Berkshire County and across the state are trending downward amid rising vaccination rates, although some new infections continue to occur. Massachusetts has seen seven-day averages of 339.3 daily cases and 6.9 daily deaths as of Thursday, down from peaks of more than 6,000 daily cases and 170 daily deaths, the nonprofit Covid Act Now said. Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday called the public health crisis that has endured since last March “pretty much over” before adding that he “would put an asterisk on anything that says it’s over.” Starting Saturday, people who are fully vaccinated can do away with masks except in situations such as health care settings, nursing homes and public transportation. People who have not been vaccinated will be advised but not ordered to wear masks and to continue distancing. All industries will be allowed to reopen at full capacity, and gatherings limits will also expire.

Gillibrand seeks relief for New York dairy farmers

https://www.hudsonvalley360.com/news/nystate/gillibrand-seeks-relief-for-new-york-dairy-farmers/article_443545b5-8677-56b5-b260-ae13d2e81511.html

U.S. Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand is calling for additional U.S. Department of Agriculture payments to dairy farmers to help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and a review of what she says may be corruption in milk pricing.
“Over the last year, schools and restaurants closed and stopped making their regular orders,” she said during a video conference with the media. “Unlike other types of farms, dairy farms can’t stop production to limit cost and waste. Across New York, dairy farmers were forced to dump millions of pounds
Cows eat on a farm in Genesee County. Gillibrand, said between the disruption the pandemic caused to the supply chain, cost increases in
feed, labor, equipment and energy, as well as slashed revenue, it has been almost impossible for farmers to recover. In March, the USDA announced the new Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative to establish new
programs in efforts to help producers upon whom COVID-19 had an impact, she said

Bard Faculty Erika Switzer and Lucy Fitz Gibbon Share $30,000 NEA Grant

The National Endowment for the Arts has approved a $30,000 Grants for Arts Projects award for “Freedom on the Move: Songs in Flight,” a project envisioned and led by art song organization Sparks & Wiry Cries for the commission of two world premieres and a subsequent performance tour in 2023. This ambitious musical project is a direct response to Cornell University’s Freedom on the Move (FOTM) database, housing digitized, searchable fugitive slave advertisements, resulting in a co-commission by Sparks & Wiry Cries and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. The grant was written by Sparks cofounders Martha Guth, Ithaca College, and Erika Switzer, Bard artist in residence; director, Postgraduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship; and faculty in Bard’s undergraduate Music Program, Graduate Vocal Arts Program, and Conservatory of Music, with Sparks Managing Editor Lucy Fitz Gibbon, faculty in Bard College’s Conservatory of Music and Graduate Vocal Arts Program.