Latest Tri-State News Headlines Updated September 20, 2021 5 AM

State commission will finish job of redistricting

HARTFORD – A bipartisan committee of state lawmakers is going to get some outside help after missing its deadline for proposing a plan to realign the 187 General Assembly districts and the state’s five congressional districts. This was not an unexpected development because U.S. Census Bureau pushed back the initial release of in-depth redistricting data that states typically would have received in April to mid-August due delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic. State law sets a Sept. 15 deadline for the legislature to adopt new district lines based on the Reapportionment Committee’s recommendation. Every 10 years, congressional and General Assembly districts must be redrawn following the latest federal census. Now, a nine-member Reapportionment Commission will be named to finish the job of recommending political maps. Essentially, the redistricting committee gets a ninth member.

State Democratic committee dismisses Fall Village complaints

FALLS VILLAGE – Acknowledging an error had been made during meetings by the Democratic Town Committee this past year, the Democratic State Central Committee dismissed a complaint made by two Democratic residents. During the meeting to endorse candidates for the November municipal election in July, incumbent Republican First Selectman Henry Todd was endorsed over Democratic candidate Douglas Cohn by a vote of 15 to 9. Last month Noelle Lamuniere and Betsy Howie submitted the complaint, saying they were representing themselves and many other Democrats with regard to meetings held in January and June. Selectman David Barger, chairman of the Democratic Town Committee, attended the virtual dispute resolution hearing on Sept. 14. In response to the decision, Barger reiterated that all rules were followed. In their decision, state central committee members Karen Cato, Tom McDonough and Nicholas Vegliante note that in January 2021, the state central committee amended the party’s rules to hold a town committee meeting to endorse candidates due to the pandemic. They said holding in-person meetings might be too risky and it would be impractical to hold a virtual caucus. The decision explains that nine Democrats attended the January caucus and endorsed candidates to serve on the town committee. The complainants assert since that did not constitute a quorum, the town committee was not legitimate and therefore couldn’t endorse election candidates. Barger contended, “The caucus was properly noticed, properly conducted and that a quorum is not required at a caucus.” Barger did acknowledge he erred by allowing a secret ballot to endorse committee members. “However, he also argued that the paper ballots, while lacking any identification of the voters, were available for review but no such request was made.

New York announces plans to address school bus driver shortage.

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/politics/albany/2021/09/19/new-york-school-bus-driver-shortage/8410550002/

ALBANY – New York will bolster recruiting efforts to get more school bus drivers and look to streamline the ability of prospective drivers to get their commercial driver’s licenses, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Sunday. The moves come as New York and the nation deal with a shortage of school bus drivers amid the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for government to step in and address the problem. Bus companies in New York estimate they are 15% to 20% below full staffing levels, which has meant districts have had to limit routes and lengthen the time some students are on buses.

Sharon Classic Road Race
Saturday, September 25, 2021


The Sharon Classic Road Race, a 36-year tradition in Sharon, CT combines small-town charm with big race amenities. What began as a small but meaningful fundraiser for the Sharon Day Care Center has evolved into a significant early spring race in the Northwest Corner. It is also a very successful fundraiser. The Main Event, and 5-Mile Race begins at 10:15 a.m. with Registration opening at 8:30 a.m. Kids Events begin at 9:30 with the Fun Run, which is organized into 2 age groups. Our popular Not-Quite-A-Mile Kids race begins at 9:45 and is for children through age 12. The race course is a beautiful route through town and rural sections of Sharon. The “lollipop” route has gently rolling hills with a good climb in the 4th mile. We provide water stations and timers along the course. One of the most enjoyable courses to run in the Northwest Corner, the Sharon Classic is a great way to start the racing season and is an excellent warm-up for the larger races in the area.

http://www.lightboxreg.com/sharon-classic-road-race_2021?func=&mobile=0

Falls Village acts to mitigate grant liability of housing project

BY RUTH EPSTEIN Republican-American

FALLS VILLAGE — Part of the controversy involving the proposed River Road affordable housing project was the question of the town’s liability for a $725,800 state Department of Housing grant applied for by Falls Village Housing Trust. It turns out the state could seek return of the funds if the project goes beyond the seven-year deadline or mismanagement of money is found. Board of Finance alternate Daly Reville, a vocal opponent of the planned 16-unit rental complex in the Lime Rock Station part of town, has been claiming the town would be responsible for default of the grant. Board of Finance member Louis G. Timolat reported at last week’s meeting he took it upon himself to contact Miguel Rivera, manager of housing and community development at DOH, to get an official determination. A former first selectman, Timolat said he always went to the source of origin when questions arose and he apologized for not doing so sooner in this case. He and Selectman David Barger held a Zoom meeting with Rivera in August. First Selectman Henry Todd was on vacation at the time. “The issue was simple,” Timolat said. “Can the state claw back the money for lack of performance to finish the project within seven years? We didn’t get an answer from the town attorney.” Rivera said the signed contract cannot be amended and the town could have significant liability at the end. Timolat’s other question to Rivera was about the town requiring the housing trust to put up a performance bond. Rivera said that was allowable. Timolat reiterated the matter was not a political one, but the town wanted to neutralize its liability.

Metro-North to keep off-peak fares through the end of the year, studies commuting habits Ridership has been ticking upward since Labor Day, with more than 120,000 riders boarding Metro-North trains this past Monday and Tuesday.

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2021/09/17/ridership-up-metro-north-sticking-discounted-fares-through-2021/8361376002/

Metro-North Railroad will keep discounting fares through the end of the year while it waits to see whether its most dependable commuters return to the office five days a week. Throughout the pandemic, the railroad has been charging off-peak fares for single tickets and 10-day packages that are as much as 40% off the regular fare. They will remain in place while the railroad gauges the riding habits of its Manhattan-bound commuters to see whether they return to the office full time or for parts of the week in the months ahead.

Arethusa Farm co-owner George Malkemus dies of cancer at age 67

Arethusa Farm co-owner George Malkemus dies of cancer at age 67

LITCHFIELD – George Malkemus, one half of the duo who created Arethusa Farm and delivered a commercial jolt to the center of Bantam, died Thursday after a battle with brain cancer. The death of Malkemus, 67, was announced Friday on the Arethusa Farm Facebook page. “It is with a heavy heart that we tell you our beloved George Malkemus passed away (Thursday) evening at his home in New York City after a long battle with cancer,” the web post states. “Our George was very private – preferring not to trouble anyone with his health concerns.” Arethusa Farm, its dairy store and creamery, al tavolo restaurant and coffee shop, all in Bantam, will continue to serve the community, the statement adds. Malkemus leaves his longtime partner in life and business, Tony Yurgaitis, who will take on a greater role in overseeing the Arethusa operation.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro files to run for Congress

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2021/09/17/marc-molinaro-republican-files-run-congress/8384524002/

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro filed paperwork Friday to run for Congress in New York’s 19th district, with an official campaign kickoff expected to follow next week. Molinaro, a Republican from Red Hook, Dutchess County, filed a “statement of candidacy” Friday afternoon with the Federal Election Commission, a necessary step to begin raising money for a congressional run. A former GOP gubernatorial candidate, Molinaro had been frequently mentioned as a potential 2022 challenger to Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-Rhinebeck, in the sprawling 19th district, which stretches from Poughkeepsie to the Albany area and as far west as eastern Broome County. The boundaries of the district remain up in the air, however: New York is set to lose one of its 27 congressional districts in 2022, and a state committee that is redrawing the lines remains in the middle of that process.

COVID in Dutchess: September deaths mount; county reopening vaccine site on limited basis

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2021/09/17/covid-dutchess-deaths-outnumber-days-september/8383411002/

Dutchess County is on pace to see more residents with COVID-19 die in September than in any month since February, when vaccination doses were scarce and only a limited number of people could obtain them. Halfway through September, the progress in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic remains mixed. But the number of residents hospitalized with the virus is down, the county is reopening its Poughkeepsie vaccination site for those seeking to be inoculated, and growth in the number of active confirmed cases has been steady for the past month. Through the first half of the month, 16 residents have died from reasons relating to the virus. That’s three deaths shy of becoming the most deadly month since there were 49 deaths in February and confirmed cases were soaring. In all, at least 481 county residents have died with the illness since the beginning of the pandemic.

Great Barrington issues advisory to mask up in crowded outdoor areas

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/coronavirus/great-barrington-issues-advisory-to-mask-up-in-crowded-outdoor-areas/article_cda811d0-17e8-11ec-b34e-fbcd806b1b02.html

GREAT BARRINGTON — The town now is recommending that people wear masks while outdoors amid crowds, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, expanding an earlier advisory to mask up indoors while out in public. The Board of Health’s expanded advisory took effect Friday and encourages mask-wearing “where social distancing cannot be maintained, and when attending with anyone outside of your household,” according to the board’s statement. “The Board of Health recommends that the community take precautions to mitigate the risk of illness as we head into the flu, RSV, and cold season, while still in the midst of a pandemic.” The board is offering signs for businesses, and event planners are encouraged to consult with the Health Department about any large gatherings.

September 16, 2021 Regional COVID Notice – NCES & HVRHS

Dear Region One Families and Staff:

We have received notification about the following positive cases for coronavirus (COVID-19) in Region One:

North Canaan
● An NCES elementary grade student has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The student is related to the family member that we wrote about in our letter dated Wednesday, September 15, 2021. All family members will remain at home in quarantine per CDC preferred guidelines. Close contacts have been identified and will also remain at home, following CDC guidelines.

HVRHS
● A family member of an HVRHS student has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The student is related to the North Canaan Elementary School family member that we wrote about on Wednesday, September 15th. The affected person has never been in the building and has had no close contact (within six feet for fifteen minutes or longer over a 24 hour period) with students or staff, except for the students who reside in the home. The students
and the affected family member will follow CDC preferred guidelines with respect to quarantine and testing. There is no need to close classrooms or school at this time.

We are sharing as much information as possible given HIPAA guidelines and permission that we receive from the individual cases. Thank you for understanding that sharing more than what is allowed would violate guidelines that protect individual privacy. It is especially important that all members of Region 1 Schools follow the Region 1 Health and Safety Guidelines to protect students, staff and family members from becoming ill.

Norfolk FD dedicates 9/11 memorial

Noteworthy in North County: Norfolk FD dedicates 9/11 memorial

On a day as clear and beautiful as Sept. 11, 2001, Norfolk paused last Saturday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. About 60 people gathered at the firehouse Saturday as Norfolk Volunteer Fire Department unveiled a new memorial containing a fragment of the steel from the World Trade Center. The ceremony included music performed by school children, the unveiling of the monument, a bagpiper, and speeches by First Selectman Matt Riiska and Fire Chief Matthew Ludwig. The Rev. Eric Olsen urged listeners to remember the dead and exercise compassion for all. Former Norfolk Fire Chief Daryl Byrne, representing his career department – the UConn Fire Department, with which he responded to the twin towers on 9/11 – rang the bell for each plane lost.

Kent Food Security Initiative hits goal, hosts concert

KENT — Kent Land Trust celebrated the success of its Food Security Initiative with the final concert of its summer series Sunday. Wanda Houston and the HBH Band delighted the crowd with their broad range of songs from a variety of genres. Houston was accompanied by Larry Hamm on piano, Jay Bradley on drums, and George Potts on bass and backup vocals. Connie Manes, executive director of the trust, shared with the crowd of 50 that they met their goal of raising $10,000 to combat food insecurity. Though the concerts were free, participants were encouraged to bring donations of food and money for Kent Food Bank. The concerts also were supported by the Park and Recreation Commission and Kent Lions Club. There were a total of six concerts throughout the summer.

Great Barrington: Indigenous Peoples’ Day observances planned

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/community-news/great-barrington-indigenous-peoples-day-observances-planned/article_7943e7f8-1726-11ec-8f88-83be21359c26.html

Drumming, traditional Native American songs, speeches, and a procession culminating in a ceremonial blessing of the Housatonic River will mark the local observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday, Oct. 11. Alliance for a Viable Future has organized a series of four events from Sept. 23 to Oct. 17. The series kicks off with “Building-Community: Equinox Campfire & Potluck” from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, at the April Hill Education and Conservation Center and Greenagers headquarters in South Egremont, with an optional guided hike from 4 to 5:30 p.m. “Listening Deeply: Indigenous Voices Panel Discussion” will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting of South Berkshire in Housatonic and on Zoom. Shawn Stevens, Jake Singer, Bonney Hartley, from the Mohican Cultural Affairs Office, and Carol Dana, a Penobscot language master have been invited to speak. The Indigenous Peoples’ Day observance will begin at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 11, at the Gazebo behind Town Hall with Aaron Athey, master of ceremonies for powwows in the Berkshires, playing his drum and singing traditional songs. Several speakers will discuss the significance of the day. From the gazebo, the gathering will proceed down Main Street to the River Walk via Dresser Avenue, continuing to the Memorial Park baseball field, where a ceremonial blessing for the Housatonic River will honor the ongoing legacy of the people who were displaced by the colonists. The final event, “Moving Forward Together: Integration & Next Steps Workshop,” will take place from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Unitarian Universalist meeting house. All events are family friendly and open to all. Visit allianceforaviablefuture.org for further details and to register for each event separately.

Claverack Democratic Candidates to Hold Public Meet and Greet

All residents are invited to enjoy chicken BBQ and talk about the issues that are important to them. Claverack, NY – The Claverack Democratic Candidates will hold a Candidate Meet and Greet for all residents on Saturday, September 25, 2021 from 4pm to 7pm at the Claverack Town Park, 91 Church Street, Mellenville, NY 12544. Enjoy a delicious Chicken BBQ dinner while getting to know your Democratic Candidates; Kathleen Proper for Town Supervisor, Brenda Shufelt and Brian Yorck for Town Board, and Nat Drake for Town Clerk. Proper, Shufelt, Yorck, and Drake are all running for town office with the goal of bringing open, transparent, and receptive leadership to Claverack. They believe the government should work for all residents, and are excited about the opportunity to tackle Claverack’s challenges, like a lack of good-paying jobs, affordable housing, and reliable broadband, head-on. Tickets are $15 per plate, $10 for kids under 12. Tickets can be purchased in advance at bit.ly/claverackcandidatesbbq. Limited quantities available. Eat in or take out. For more information on the candidates, visit claverackdemocrats.org/candidates

Sharon Hospital Update September 29

https://tricornernews.com

SHARON — Sharon Hospital and Nuvance Health will host a Community Update from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 29, via Zoom livestream video. Sharon Hospital President Dr. Mark Hirko and members of the leadership team at
Sharon Hospital and Nuvance Health will share important updates regarding new investments and transformative plans for the future. A question-and-answer period will follow the presentation. Participants are encouraged to submit questions in advance by emailing sharonhospital@nuvancehealth.org or calling 845-554-1734 with their name and phone number. Instructions on how to join the virtual meeting are posted on the hospital’s website nuvancehealth.org/sharonforum. The event will also stream at facebook.com/sharonhospital. A copy of the digital presentation will be accessible on the website following the event. For more information, call 845-554-1734 or contact sharonhospital@nuvancehealth.org (TTY/Accessibility: 800- 842-9710).

Vote on West Cornwall wastewater project Nov. 20

https://tricornernews.com

CORNWALL — The project to install a wastewater system in West Cornwall is wending its way through a process that could bring federal funding to the town. In anticipation of that, the Board of Selectmen, met on Tuesday, Sept. 7, and established a schedule for residents to consider and vote on the project this fall. First Selectman Gordon Ridgway said the funding could cover 80% of the project. The funds are expected to be awarded in early December The project is in the House Appropriations Committee’s budget, currently awaiting Senate approval. For its part, the town must vote on the project before the end of the year.

Pine Plains Platter to shut down for good

https://tricornernews.com

PINE PLAINS — For many local residents as well as visitors to Pine Plains, the thought of driving into town one day and seeing the Pine Plains Platter permanently closed seems unimaginable, given how the café has flourished these last few years as a hub for the community, not to mention a place to get some great home cooking. Yet to the disappointment of practically everyone — The Platter’s owners/landlords, its manager and staff and its clientele, that thought will soon become a reality as the business is going to shutdown for good come Sunday, Sept. 26.

Vendor & Craft Fair, Penny Social

WASSAIC — Area residents are invited to drop by the Vendor & Craft Fair plus Penny Social sponsored by the Wassaic Fire Company Auxiliary on Saturday, Sept. 25. Held at the Wassaic firehouse, located at 27 Firehouse Road, the social will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a 50/50 raffle and refreshments will be available for purchase. There will be a winter coat drive for the whole community at the social as well.

Millerton donates skateboarding equipment to town of Amenia

https://tricornernews.com

AMENIA — With a unanimous vote of approval, the Amenia Town Board gratefully accepted skateboarding equipment donated to the town by the village of Millerton at its Town Board meeting on Thursday evening, Sept. 2. The Town Board gathered in-person at Amenia Town Hall; the meeting was also live streamed on YouTube. Millerton’s donation of skateboarding equipment was listed as the first resolution on the board’s agenda. Reading the resolution aloud, town Supervisor Victoria Perotti explained the equipment had been declared surplus by the village of Millerton on Monday, May 17. The village of Millerton had previously had a skateboard park at Eddie Collins Park on Route 22, one of the few in the region when it was first created.

Encroaching wall ‘untenable’ in Salisbury

Encroaching wall ‘untenable’ in Salisbury

SALISBURY – The Salisbury Board of Selectmen is telling residents of 331 Housatonic River Road to tear down a wall … or at least move it back. The stone wall that was built about 9 feet into the town’s right-of-way. During Monday’s meeting, First Selectman Curtis G. Rand said he’s been dealing with the matter all summer, concerned that if the wall is allowed to remain, it could be setting a precedent for other encroachments onto town roads. The property is owned by Jane and James Cohan, according to the assessor’s records. Selectman Christian Williams said he agrees with the Planning and Zoning Commission that this shouldn’t be allowed. “They built a solid structure on town property,” he said. “You can’t just step in and take town property.” Attorney Mark Capecelatro, who represents the owners, was given an opportunity to speak. “This was done not by design, but by error,” he said. He asked rhetorically if the wall posed any impediment to travel on the road and concluded it doesn’t. He said it’s elevated from the road and out of the way, and therefore should be no problem for the town going forward. Rand noted the Cohans not only had the wall built, but then added to the encroachment by putting plantings around it. Rand said he didn’t think it would be a big job to move the wall back on the property. Capecelatro said the town wasn’t asking other property owners to remove their encroachments.
Rand said this was the first such complaint to come before the PZC. Other encroachments weren’t known about and some probably go back decades, he said.
Rand said he will work with the town attorney to craft a letter to the Cohans.

Water runoff from solar facility in Canaan still impacting local neighbor

Concerns about water runoff from the Lodestar Energy project on Sand Road onto the property of Helen and John Mahoney will be discussed at an upcoming meeting. The couple appeared at last week’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting to discuss the problem and seek help from the town. Lodestar has received approval from the Connecticut Siting Council to construct a ground-mounted, solar-generating facility. The site is uphill from the Mahoneys’ property. John Mahoney prefaced his remarks by saying the Lodestar owners have been cooperative in addressing his problems, but he needs help alleviating the situation. Jamie Smith of Lodestar said the stormwater control measures were built in accordance with the permits that were issued. He, too, spoke of the unprecedented amount of rain the past few months. “We want to be good neighbors,” Smith said. “We continue to solicit feedback from the Mahoneys and adjust the design.” He said they rely on a third-party engineer. Smith said they are looking for long-term solutions. Cheryl Duntz, land use administrative assistant, said Planning and Zoning Commission members should have been inspecting the work. First Selectman Charles P. Perotti suggested setting up a meeting with the Mahoneys, Lodestar and town officials to discuss the matter.

NY says debate to split $14B with NJ, CT is ‘discussion among friends’ as stalemate lingers

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/transportation/2021/09/16/covid-relief-ny-debates-splitting-funds-nj-ct/8333569002/

Sometimes friends have disagreements. That is how the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s acting Chair and CEO Janno Lieber on Wednesday characterized the nine-month debate about how to split $14.2 billion in federal grant money awarded to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut through two coronavirus relief packages. The money cannot be disbursed until the states come to an agreement about how it should be split. An agreement must be reached soon if the agencies want to begin requesting the money because the Federal Transit Administration fiscal reconciliation period — the time when the agency balances its finances —begins Sept. 24 and it won’t review grant requests until November. New Jersey and Connecticut have proposed using the FTA’s suggested formulas to split the money, which has traditionally been used for this kind of money with little disagreement over the years, including for the first round of coronavirus relief funds known as the CARES Act.

Berkshire Agricultural Ventures issues two grants

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/business/berkshire-agricultural-ventures-issues-two-grants/article_cc2edf92-162a-11ec-96ce-5fd698a0f14a.html

GREAT BARRINGTON — Berkshire Agricultural Ventures recently issued two new $5,000 grants to assist organizations involved with soil health and climate change in northwestern Connecticut. Northwest Conservation District, part of the Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District, received a $5,000 grant for its “Cover Crop Challenge” projects and workshop geared to educate farmers on cover crop management and benefits. The grant will also provide free cover crop seed to farmers in Litchfield County. The second $5,000 grant was awarded to Fort Hill Farm in New Milford, Conn. to purchase no-till equipment.

Lamont wants to extend school mask mandate

HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday proposed to continue the state’s school mask mandate beyond Sept. 30 when his COVID-19 emergency orders are due to expire. Lamont confirmed Tuesday he wants the full legislature to approve at least another 90-day extension of his emergency powers because of the ongoing threat to health and safety caused by the coronavirus. He said the public health order requiring the wearing of masks or cloth face coverings inside school buildings is one of 10 emergency orders he wants to keep in place. He said he foresees a need to continue the school mask mandate for as many as six weeks.

‘Full Color Connecticut’: State to spend $1.4 million to market fall tourism

‘Full Color Connecticut’: State to spend $1.4 million to market fall tourism

ROCKY HILL — The Connecticut Office of Tourism is spending a record $1.4 million on marketing fall tourism both inside and outside the state. The budget of the “Full Color Connecticut” campaign is three times what is typically spent on the fall marketing program, and the expanded budget is expected to triple the usual reach of its target audience market in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Greene County man sentenced for raping woman at Saugerties motel

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/crime/2021/09/14/man-sentenced-rape-saugerties-motel/8294309002/

A Greene County man who pleaded guilty to the forcible rape of a 66-year-old woman in Saugerties will serve time in state prison, Ulster County District Attorney David Clegg said. Clegg said Austin Hollister, 22, of Purling, a hamlet in the town of Cairo, was sentenced Thursday in Ulster County Court to 12 years in state prison, followed by 10 years of post-release supervision. The sentence was handed down by Ulster County Court Judge Bryan Rounds. Hollister pleaded guilty in June to first-degree rape, a felony.

Judge blocks medical worker vaccine mandate in NY state

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2021/09/14/judge-blocks-medical-worker-vaccine-mandate-ny-state/8336167002/

UTICA – A federal judge temporarily blocked the state of New York on Tuesday from forcing medical workers to be vaccinated after a group of health care workers sued, saying their Constitutional rights were violated because the state’s mandate disallowed religious exemptions. Judge David Hurd in Utica issued the order after 17 health professionals, including doctors and nurses, claimed in a lawsuit Monday that their rights were violated with a vaccine mandate that disallowed the exemptions. The judge gave New York state until Sept. 22 to respond to the lawsuit in federal court in Utica. If the state opposes the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary court order blocking the vaccine mandate, a Sept. 28 oral hearing will occur.

Connecticut’s casino sports books should be taking NFL bets this weekend

BY PAUL HUGHES REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN September 13, 2021

State’s casino sports books should be taking NFL bets this weekend

ROCKY HILL — Football punters should have the chance to legally place bet for this weekend’s NFL games at the state’s two Native American-owned casinos, Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday. The needed approval of the U.S. Department of the Interior last Thursday came too late for legal wagering for the kickoff of the NFL season. The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs had to first OK necessary changes to the state gambling compacts with Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe, the state’s two federally recognized tribes. Lamont in Rocky Hill on Monday morning stated that the sports books at the Foxwoods Resort Casino and the Mohegan Sun should be ready to open for walk-up business in a matter of days.

Dutchess offering expanded COVID vaccinations for teachers, testing as cases mount

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2021/09/13/covid-testing-dutchess-teacher-vaccination-sites-opening/8323918002/

As students and teachers settle in for what they hope will be a return to normalcy, COVID-19 cases continue to mount. In response, and as education employees are faced with complying with safety mandates from the state Department of Health, Dutchess County is, beginning this week, expanding vaccination access for school staff members and testing access for all. The county announced a series of vaccination and testing clinics just for school employees this month, as well as sites at which anyone can be tested for COVID-19 three days a week.

New cases of COVID-19 in state increased by more than 4,700


The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts increased by more than 4,700 over the weekend while the state’s number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths rose by 19.

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/ap/state/new-cases-of-covid-19-in-state-increased-by-more-than-4-700/article_e9ef41d0-a996-5ed2-b7da-9e6dfc9d7adc.html

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts increased by more than 4,700 over the weekend while the number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in the state rose by 19. The new numbers from Friday, Saturday and Sunday pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 17,991 since the start of the pandemic, while its confirmed caseload rose to more than 730,000. There were more than 670 people reported hospitalized Monday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with more than 170 in intensive care units. The average age of those who have died from COVID-19 was 74.

Great Barrington: Poundstone headlining Fairview Hospital’s virtual gala

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/community-news/great-barrington-poundstone-headlining-fairview-hospitals-virtual-gala/article_fec65862-1239-11ec-9d07-c7343385636a.html

Fairview Hospital’s 2021 Laughter is the Best Medicine Gala will take place at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18. Because of the rise in COVID-19, the event, which previously offered live and virtual options, will be all-virtual, for the health and safety of the community. The community celebration is a major fundraiser for the 25-bed Critical Access Hospital. The goal of the evening is Project Ultrasound, an initiative to upgrade two ultrasound machines in the Diagnostic Radiology Department at Fairview Hospital. Comedian Paula Poundstone returns to headline a prerecorded performance on location throughout Great Barrington, including Fairview Hospital, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, Robin’s Candies, the Green River, the Walter Koladza Airport and Railroad Street, interacting with people going about their daily lives. The gala is free to watch, but preregistration is required. To sign up, visit bit.ly/fairviewgala. Attendees are encouraged to be as generous as possible to help Fairview Hospital meet its goal for new medical technology.

20 years later, the fight continues for locals impacted by 9/11

BY BRUNO MATARAZZO JR. REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

20 years later, the fight continues for locals impacted by 9/11

KENT — Before the dust settled at the World Trade Center after Sept. 11, 2001, the fight started for Peter Gadiel. He embarked on a grief-fueled mission for change that might prevent another tragedy. Twenty years later, the fight continues in memory of Brett Eagleson’s father, Bruce, inside a federal courtroom, with a lawsuit against the Saudi Kingdom concerning its knowledge of and involvement in the deadliest terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Gadiel has focused on immigration reform and border security. Eagleson wants more known about what the Saudis knew and if they were involved. James Gadiel and Bruce Eagleson were two of 148 Connecticut residents who died in the terrorist attacks 20 years ago today.

Millerton Fire Company ready to unveil Annex at Open House


https://tricornernews.com

MILLERTON — A “Top Secret” will be revealed during the Millerton Fire Company/North East Fire District’s Open House set for Sunday, Sept. 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at its Annex at 29 Century Blvd. According to Fire Chief Jason Watson, during the event, the closely held names of six long-time and/or former fire company members will also be announced as fire department equipment is re-dedicated to them. With both fire company buildings open for tours, the event will be centered at the newer of the two (the firehouse is across the street at 24 Century Blvd.). It is the first time the public will be able to tour the new Annex facility, which was built in 2017, mainly through the generosity of a private donor who wished to remain anonymous.

20th anniversary 9/11 memorial procession to take place Saturday in Berkshire County


State Representative Williams “Smitty” Pignatelli (D–Lenox) has organized a memorial procession to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and thank Berkshire County first responders for their service to the community. The procession will begin promptly at 11 a.m., on Saturday, Sept. 11, from the MassDOT District 1 Office in Lenox and proceed through downtown Lenox, Lee, Stockbridge, and Great Barrington, ending in Sheffield where there will be a lunch to honor the participants. The procession will include close to 30 vehicles including police cruisers, fire trucks, and first-response vehicles and more than 70 first responders. First responders from communities in the 4th Berkshire District, along with the Massachusetts State Police, the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office, and Massachusetts Emergency Management, will be participating.

September 9, 2021 – Regional COVID Notice – LHK, KNT, SAL

We have received notification about the following positive cases for coronavirus (COVID-19) in Region One:
Lee H. Kellogg
● A family member of two Lee H. Kellogg School students (elementary and middle school) has tested positive for
COVID-19. The family member has never been in the building and has had no close contact (within six feet for
fifteen minutes or more over a 24 hour period) with any staff or students other than the students who live in the
home. All family members will remain at home in quarantine per CDC preferred guidelines. There is no need to
close classrooms or school at this time.
Kent
● A Kent Center School staff member has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The affected person has not
been in the school building since Tuesday, September 7, has had no close contact (within six feet for fifteen
minutes or longer over a 24 hour period) with any staff or students and will remain at home in quarantine/isolation
per CDC preferred guidelines. There is no need to close any of the classrooms or the school at this time.
Salisbury
● A Salisbury Central School staff member has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The affected person has
not been in the building since Tuesday, September 7, has had no close contact with staff or students (within six feet
for fifteen minutes or longer over a 24 hour period) and will remain at home in isolation/quarantine per CDC
preferred guidelines. There is no need to close classrooms or school at this time.

We are sharing as much information as possible given HIPAA guidelines and permission that we receive from the
individual cases. Thank you for understanding that sharing more than what is allowed would violate guidelines that protect individual privacy

Online gambling moves big step closer to reality in state

Online gambling moves big step closer to reality in state

HARTFORD — It appears that sports betting and other forms of online gambling will be available in Connecticut next month. That is following a development Thursday in Washington that moves the state closer to a major expansion of available gaming. Gov. Ned Lamont, along with the heads of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Mohegan Tribal Council, announced that they have received word from the Bureau of Indian Affairs that the proposed revisions to the relevant gaming compacts have been granted final approval. Federal approval of the revisions brings the tribes, along with the Connecticut Lottery Corporation, one step closer to implementing sports wagering and online gaming in the state.

NY marijuana board picks up a member from the Hudson Valley

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2021/09/09/ny-cannabis-control-board-jen-metzger/8262075002/

ALBANY – New York took another step Thursday toward setting up a regulatory system for marijuana as Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins made her pick for the state’s cannabis board. Former Sen. Jen Metzger, an Ulster County Democrat, is Stewart-Cousins’ pick for the Cannabis Control Board, which is tasked with regulating and overseeing the legal marijuana and hemp markets in the state. Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, unveiled her selection Thursday, a day after Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, appointed Buffalo-area attorney Adam Perry to the same board. The appointments followed Gov. Kathy Hochul’s decision to name former Assembly member Tremaine Wright as the board’s chair last week, breaking a logjam that persisted since then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature legalized marijuana in late March.

Sheffield: Music In Common launches racial equity project

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/community-news/sheffield-music-in-common-launches-racial-equity-project/article_5fa3f6f4-10b8-11ec-a494-07c7ab285f89.html

Music in Common announces the launch of The Black Legacy Project, a musical collaboration that celebrates Black history and builds solidarity to advance racial justice, equity, and inclusion. This national project is produced in partnership with community stakeholders at the local level and is part of Music in Common’s “Past. Present. Forward.” conflict transformation initiative. Black and white artists of diverse ages and backgrounds will revisit and reimagine songs central to the Black American experience as well as write new songs that speak to modern-day issues connected to racism and the calls for change. The BLP will launch in the Berkshires with two online roundtable discussions open to community members ages 14 and up from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 13 and 14. Monday’s theme is lynching and Tuesday’s theme is hope. Recording for the project will begin in November at Berkshire Community College’s new recording studio. Wanda Houston, Billy Keane, Annie Guthrie, and Gina Coleman are a handful of the musicians the project will feature. A documentary short will also be produced. For roundtable registration, musician auditions and more information, visit musicincommon.org/blacklp.html. Information: Todd Mack at todd@musicincommon.org or 413-248-6070

Please see the letter below from Superintendent Lisa Carter regarding positive COVID cases in the North Canaan Elementary and Sharon Center School communities.

Dear Region One Families and Staff: We have received notification about the following positive cases for coronavirus (COVID-19) in Region One:

North Canaan● A family member of an elementary school student – The affected person has never been in the building and has had no close contact (within six feet for fifteen minutes or longer over a 24 hour period) with staff or students other than the student who resides in the home. ● A staff member – The affected individual was last in the building on Friday, September 3 when no students were present. There was no close contact with other staff members. The affected individuals and their family members will remain at home in isolation/quarantine per CDC preferred guidelines. There is no need to close classrooms or school at this time.

Sharon● A family member of a Sharon Center School elementary school student has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The affected person has never been in the building and has had no close contact (within six feet for fifteen minutes or longer over a 24 hour period) with staff or students other than the student who resides in the home. The affected individual and family members will remain at home in isolation/quarantine per CDC preferred guidelines. There is no need to close classrooms or school at this time.

We are sharing as much information as possible given HIPAA guidelines and permission that we receive from the individual cases. Thank you for understanding that sharing more than what is allowed would violate guidelines that protect individual privacy.

Millerton Fire Company ready to unveil Annex at Open House

https://tricornernews.com

MILLERTON — A “Top Secret” will be revealed during the Millerton Fire Company/North East Fire District’s Open House set for Sunday, Sept. 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at its Annex at 29 Century Blvd. According to Fire Chief Jason Watson, during the event, the closely held names of six long-time and/or former fire company members will also be announced as fire department equipment is re-dedicated to them. With both fire company buildings open for tours, the event will be centered at the newer of the two (the firehouse is across the street at 24 Century Blvd.). It is the first time the public will be able to tour the new Annex facility, which was built in 2017, mainly through the generosity of a private donor who wished to remain anonymous.

2022 Community Calendars available

https://tricornernews.com

You can now order your 2022 Community Calendar. It’s a Millerton tradition in its 63rd printing. Go to the North East Millerton Library at 75 Main St. For paper forms, call the library at 518-789-3340 to order the calendar over the
phone or go to http://www.nemillertonlibrary.org

Luck runs out: Local couple arrested in lottery scheme

BY BRIGITTE RUTHMAN REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

Luck runs out: Local couple arrested in lottery scheme

TORRINGTON — It wasn’t that the $3,000 instant lottery ticket scotch-taped together and claimed as a winner by Michael George on April 5 at Connecticut Lottery headquarters wasn’t authentic. It was that it had been stolen, a finding that triggered an investigation resulting in the arrest of George and his wife, Maria Fantasia, on charges of first-degree larceny and conspiracy. They are accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars worth of lottery tickets from Village Market and Gas in Goshen, where they were employed by store owner Mark Greenberg as managers. George, 40, and Fantasia, 36, were arraigned Wednesday in Torrington Superior Court. The trigger for the investigation conducted by James Jepsen of the state Department of Consumer Protection’s Gaming Division was George himself, appearing in person at CT Lottery headquarters in Rocky Hill to claim his $3,000 prize, apparently the most lucrative of the stolen tickets. He told lottery officials he had scotch-taped the ticket that was torn apart after a “woman behind the counter ripped it accidentally.” It had not, he said, been purchased at the Village Market. A tracing of the ticket told a different story, police said. The “net obligation” to Connecticut Lottery from Jan. 1 through April 30 is said to be $49,162. Authorities claim the cost of tickets played by Fantasia and George for which no money was paid to Village Market and Gas was $32,363.

Will NY’s COVID vaccine mandate for health workers trigger staff shortages?

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/coronavirus/2021/09/09/will-ny-revise-ny-covid-vaccine-mandate/5774999001/

New York’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers has ignited concerns that nearly 130,000 unvaccinated staff at hospitals and nursing homes will soon lose their jobs, potentially triggering a workforce crisis as delta variant cases surge. The vaccine mandate approved recently by a key Department of Health council and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker also reversed a plan to allow health care workers to refuse COVID-19 shots due to religious beliefs. Health care workers may still claim limited medical exemptions to the COVID-19 shots, but otherwise they must get the first dose by Sept. 27 or lose their job, according to the order issued by Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration. The order impacts about 94,500 hospital workers and 35,000 nursing home workers who remained unvaccinated as of Tuesday. The numbers reflected 21% and 24% of the overall workforces in hospitals and nursing homes, respectively, state data show.

Zoom official contacts West Stockbridge Police after hacker interrupts meeting with threats, racial slurs

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/southern_berkshires/zoom-official-contacts-west-stockbridge-police-after-hacker-interrupts-meeting-with-threats-racial-slurs/article_6ac33b62-10c2-11ec-80ed-4b88519dfa3f.html

WEST STOCKBRIDGE — A Zoom official has contacted the town about a threatening Zoom bombing incident that occurred Tuesday, during a public meeting, and vowed to help police catch the offenders. A least one person hacked into a videoconference Select Board meeting and targeted the owner of a Vietnamese restaurant, town officials and others with racial slurs and threats. “We have someone from Zoom who is trying to pick it apart and see how it was hacked and find their contact [information],” said West Stockbridge Police Chief Marc Portieri. “We’re taking it very seriously, the way things are going in the world today, and the heated arguments with what’s [been] going on on Harris Street,” he added, referring to a summer-long struggle over noise and road access between the restaurant and a neighboring performing arts venue downtown. He said the investigation is in motion, and that he also has contacted state police investigators attached to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office.

“Our Memorial”
Dedicated to the people who died on September 11th 2001
September 11th each year is officially Patriot Day

The Church of St. Joseph in North Canaan will be open for 24 hours, September 11th. All people of good faith are invited to come, reflect and pray respectfully at any time.

“A National Day of Remembrance”
We devote 24 hours to honoring their memory!
September 11, 2021

Please come visit us in North Canaan, Connecticut
No speeches, nothing for sale, no crowds
A quiet place to visit on September 11th

The timeline is, https://www.patriotday9-11-01memorial.com/timeline

The home page is, https://www.patriotday9-11-01memorial.com/

The Memorial is the same except the North Canaan Fire Department has added a Tribute at 11:30.

20th anniversary 9/11 memorial procession to take place Saturday in Berkshire County

State Representative Williams “Smitty” Pignatelli (D–Lenox) has organized a memorial procession to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and thank Berkshire County first responders for their service to the community. The procession will begin promptly at 11 a.m., on Saturday, Sept. 11, from the MassDOT District 1 Office in Lenox and proceed through downtown Lenox, Lee, Stockbridge, and Great Barrington, ending in Sheffield where there will be a lunch to honor the participants. The procession will include close to 30 vehicles including police cruisers, fire trucks, and first-response vehicles and more than 70 first responders. First responders from communities in the 4th Berkshire District, along with the Massachusetts State Police, the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office, and Massachusetts Emergency Management, will be participating in the eve

September 6 2021 Regional COVID Notice – Sharon & HVRHS

We have received notification about the following positive cases for coronavirus (COVID-19) in Region One:

Sharon● A family member of a Sharon Center School elementary school student has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The affected person is a staff member at the Sharon Daycare, and has had no close contact (within six feet for fifteen minutes or longer over a 24 hour period) with staff in the K-8 section of the building. However the affected individual did have close contact with two other students in addition to the student who resides in the home. The students’ families have been contacted and they and the family of the affected individual will remain at home in isolation/quarantine per CDC preferred guidelines. There is no need to close classrooms or school at this time.

HVRHS● A family member of an HVRHS student has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The affected person has never been in the building and has had no close contact (within six feet for fifteen minutes or longer over a 24 hour period) with students or staff, except for the student who resides in the home. The student and the affected family member will follow CDC preferred guidelines with respect to quarantine and testing. There is no need to close classrooms or school at this time.

We are sharing as much information as possible given HIPAA guidelines. Thank you for understanding that sharing more than what is allowed would violate guidelines that protect individual privacy. Parents who are uncomfortable sending their children given the information shared may also keep them at home to engage in distance learning. It is especially important that all members of Region 1 Schools follow the Region 1 Health and Safety Guidelines to protect students, staff and family members from becoming ill. For additional information about COVID-19 and any new variants please review the information contained on the CDC website. We are doing all that we can to keep all of our students safe and in school. Thank you for helping us by maintaining vigilance in your homes as well. Please communicate with me regarding any questions or concerns as they arise.

Kent Memorial Library celebrates being ‘Together Again’

Kent Memorial Library celebrates being ‘Together Again’

KENT — It takes a village to create a party in a small town and Kent Memorial Library showed once again its organizers know how to pull together resources to offer guests an opportunity to celebrate. It was a celebration of making it through a difficult year. The theme of the library gala on Aug. 28 was “Together Again,” and it brought people back together after persevering through the COVID pandemic. “We’re so grateful for your support this year. It was a very challenging year, but our staff really came together,” said library director Sarah Marshall to the crowd. “We really excelled at changing everything on a dime.” The library offered virtual programming for the first time and many programs, particularly for youngsters, were moved outside. “We came up with new ways to solve problems and it was outstanding,” Marshall said. The gala featured a silent auction of art to raise funds for the library. Work by local artists was on display above the bid sheets. In addition, the ever-popular raffle bowls offered opportunities to obtain gift certificates at area restaurants as well as items such as baskets of wine selections. The gala is one of the largest fundraisers held by the private library, which only receives about 30 % of its annual budget from a grant from the town.

As deadline approaches for nursing home workers to get vaccinated, the state still has no mandate for home care staff

As deadline approaches for nursing home workers to get vaccinated, the state still has no mandate for home care staff

There currently is no statewide requirement that home care employees get vaccinated. Some leaders in the home care sector are hoping Gov. Ned Lamont will impose a vaccine mandate for staff across the industry. Lamont has ordered that workers in nursing homes, assisted living centers, residential care homes, chronic disease hospitals, intermediate care facilities and managed residential communities be immunized against the coronavirus by Sept. 7, but he left the home care workers out of that requirement. A spokesman for Lamont said there are no immediate plans to expand the edict to include home care employees, but the governor has not ruled it out.

At 82, Republican-American carrier ends long, diverse career

BY RUTH EPSTEIN Republican-American

At 82, Republican-American carrier ends long, diverse career

KENT — Fremont “Monty” Besmer’s alarm clock goes off at precisely 3:22 a.m. daily, but he’s already been up for a minute. He’s preparing for his Republican-American paper route, but that’s not the first chore of the day. Feeding the 90 chickens in the barn is. He then climbs into his car at 4:10 a.m. for the drive down from Fuller Mountain to the convenience store in the center of town to pick up his pile of papers, stuff them with inserts, climb on his bike and cover the route. That routine will end Saturday, when he delivers his last load. After nearly 30 years, Besmer, 82, is hanging up his bag. In a farewell letter to his customers, Besmer recounted his first job; that of a paper boy as a fourth-grader in Downers Grove, Ill. Now, it will be his last.

Biden to survey Hurricane Ida devastation in New York, New Jersey; NYC basement apartments under scrutiny

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/nation/2021/09/04/hurricane-ida-new-york-city-illegal-basement-apartments-cleanup/5731042001/

President Joe Biden announced Saturday he will travel to Manville, New Jersey, and Queens, New York, on Tuesday to survey the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Ida and its remnants. Meanwhile, the nation is learning more about the 60+ people killed by the storm. Many of the victims drowned in cars or were swept away by flood waters. Connecticut State Police Sgt. Brian Mohl was among those who died in flooding caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. Multiple nursing home residents died after being evacuated to a warehouse in Louisiana. A 31-year-old New Jersey resident was killed when he was swept into a 36-inch storm sewer. At least 25 people died in New Jersey, which had the highest death toll of any state. Most drowned in their vehicles. A family of three were killed after water rushed into their Elizabeth, New Jersey, apartment.

Glorious return to the Goshen Fair

Glorious return to the Goshen Fair (with video)

GOSHEN — Organizers of the Goshen Fair couldn’t have asked for a better day than Saturday to celebrate the return of the fair that traditionally marks the end of the summer season. Blue sky, bright sunshine and dry air also made it a perfect day to recognize an individual who has been an integral part of the fair for 63 years, Rick Wadhams of Goshen, a member of Goshen Agricultural Society and former fair president. The day’s opening ceremony saw the society’s current president, Scott Fraher, announce that the archway built at the main entrance to the fairgrounds last year has been named in honor of Wadhams. A plaque engraved with “Wadhams Way” was presented by Dan Belmonte, a director with the agricultural society, and mounted on one of the concrete columns supporting the archway. It was Belmonte who spearheaded the effort to build the structure. Hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday. Today’s activities include an antique tractor pull at 10 a.m., horse draw at 1 p.m., relay race at 2 and skillet throw at 4:30. Belmonte’s band, Dan’s Roadhouse Country, takes the concert stage at 3.

Egremont, Great Barrington, Sheffield police team up to arrest driver

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/southern_berkshires/egremont-great-barrington-sheffield-police-team-up-to-arrest-driver/article_fddeef82-0dbf-11ec-b806-a7a22be9e23f.html

EGREMONT — Three Southern Berkshire police departments collaborated Friday to arrest a driver who authorities say tried to flee a traffic stop. About 7 p.m. Friday, an Egremont officer tried to stop a driver for allegedly speeding on Egremont Plain Road, the Egremont Police Department said in a Facebook post. “The operator of the vehicle failed to stop and increased his speed,” the post said. Egremont contacted the Great Barrington Police Department, which also tried to stop the vehicle, but the driver continued southbound on Route 7. The Sheffield Police Department then was notified and sent two units. “Upon seeing the two additional cruisers the operator of the vehicle pulled to the right and stopped,” the post said. Egremont Police arrested the 19-year-old driver, from Goshen, Conn., on charges of speeding, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to stop for a police officer.

New Yorkers to lose extra unemployment aid. What’s ending and what’s staying

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/politics/albany/2021/09/03/new-york-extra-unemployment-aid-ending/5712253001/

ALBANY – More than 900,000 New Yorkers are set to lose an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits as a federal program expires that helped out-of-work people due to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Joe Biden’s administration announced Aug. 19 that it would not continue the enhanced weekly $300 unemployment benefits past Sept. 5, and it instead said states could continue the extra payments by using their COVID stimulus funds. New York and other states have not dipped into their relief funds to further extend the program as unemployment rates continue to drop and as a work shortage has hurt businesses. As of Friday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul had not indicated plans to extend the extra benefits past Sunday. “New York state has paid out more than $97 billion in unemployment benefits during this pandemic, providing a lifeline to more than 4.7 million New Yorkers,” said Hochul spokesman Haley Viccaro. “We continue to review all options to assist New Yorkers in need.”

NY school safety guidelines: 3 feet of distance for students; vaccine or test for teachers

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/education/2021/09/03/ny-covid-school-safety-rules/5712649001/

New York health regulators are recommending K-12 schools maintain at least three feet of distance between students as they return to the classroom amid concern over the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19. The state Department of Health issued school safety guidelines late Thursday, a day after some New York school districts welcomed students for the first time this academic year. The 12-page guidance came after the Health Department had previously canceled plans to release something similar in early August, amid then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s troubled final days as governor. Included in the guidance is a vaccine-or-test mandate for teachers and other school workers, with school employees in New York now required to show proof they’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine or undergo weekly testing. The mandate follows up on a promise made by Hochul shortly after she was sworn in on Aug. 24. Earlier the state Public Health and Health Planning Council passed an emergency regulation that allows the state Health Department to require testing of unvaccinated school employees and employees in other fields.

Otis elementary school closes due to COVID outbreak

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/coronavirus/otis-elementary-school-closes-due-to-covid/article_9d19c5fc-0caa-11ec-b35e-b39208dd1e1d.html

OTIS — Farmington River Elementary School was closed Friday because of a COVID-19 outbreak within the school district. “Due to confirmed cases of COVID 19 within the school district, as well as the larger community, Farmington River Elementary will closed Friday September 3rd, awaiting testing results of personnel and students. COVID cases already were on the rise in Otis before school started this week. Three people tested positive for COVID-19 after Saturday’s steak roast fundraiser hosted by the Otis Fire Department.

State trooper dies after being washed away in cruiser by flood waters

State trooper dies after being washed away in cruiser by flood waters

WOODBURY – A state trooper died after he was washed away in his police cruiser in the flooded Pomperaug River early Thursday morning. The trooper was transported to Yale New Haven Hospital after he was found around 9 a.m., more than five hours after he radioed a distress call that his vehicle was being washed away by the rising water. State police were not releasing the trooper’s name as of 3:30 p.m. because the trooper’s parents were flying to Connecticut and were not yet informed of his death. The trooper was in the area between Jack’s Bridge and Judson roads in Woodbury at around 3:30 a.m. when he issued a distress call.

Dutchess health care workers planning suit over vaccine mandate: Lawyer

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2021/09/03/health-workers-vaccine-mandate-may-prompt-lawsuit-dutchess/5702073001/

Area hospital staff members are planning to sue for relief from a COVID-19 vaccination requirement instituted by the Nuvance Health group and New York. However, it is unclear exactly how many health care workers are interested in taking action against the mandate. Patricia Finn, a Rockland-based civil rights attorney specializing in vaccination suits, said Thursday she intends on launching legal action, but did not specify which parties would be sued or when it may be filed. She also said a strike was possible without amicable resolution.

West Stockbridge board issues permit to The Foundry on condition most events are indoors

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/southern_berkshires/west-stockbridge-board-issues-permit-to-the-foundry-on-condition-most-events-are-indoors/article_cd1097fc-0c52-11ec-b10b-e329afe72002.html

WEST STOCKBRIDGE — The Select Board granted a music and theater venue a special permit Thursday on the condition that it hold all but five performances indoors, a decision that ended months of strife for two neighboring businesses and their supporters across the Berkshires and beyond. For the outdoor performances, The Foundry must not exceed 60 decibels, and those sound levels must be measured at the property line. Board member Roger Kavanagh said the town should take charge of these measurements and apply rigor to ensure fair enforcement of the condition for both businesses. The Foundry can hold its three remaining outdoor shows as long as sound levels are controlled. Other conditions include keeping liquor on the Foundry premises, crowd control and preventing trespassing onto the Truc Orient Express property, a family-owned Vietnamese restaurant where the proprietors, the Nguyens, reside. Also, The Foundry must not control access to Merritt Way, the only vehicle access to Truc. The permit has to be renewed every year on Oct. 31. Violations of these will constitute a zoning breach and could result in loss of the permit, according to the conditions drafted by attorneys for both parties. Owner Truc Nguyen said, given all this, the Foundry should get the permit.

Hochul vows review of NY’s preparation for Hurricane Ida flooding

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2021/09/02/nyc-hudson-valley-flooding-ida-rainfall/5692291001/

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul vowed Thursday to conduct an autopsy of the state’s preparation for the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which caused major flooding in New York City and the Hudson Valley after unleashing torrential rain in the region late Wednesday. At least nine people died overnight in New York City alone as Ida’s rainfall caused basement apartments and highways to be overrun with water, while public transit ground to a halt and a stretch of Interstate 87 remained closed for much of Thursday. Of those nine people confirmed dead by Thursday afternoon, eight died in their residences, according to New York City officials. Hochul, speaking at a joint news conference with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, said she will direct the state to conduct a full after-action report to determine if more could have been done to prepare for the storm or if there were any “intelligence failures” leading up to it.

Limo company operator pleads guilty, avoids jail time for NY crash that killed 20

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2021/09/02/ny-limo-crash-nauman-hussain-plea-deal/5695134001/

SCHOHARIE – The operator of a Saratoga County limousine company will not serve jail time for his role in a 2018 wreck that killed 20 people, most of whom were on their way to a birthday party at a brewery. Nauman Hussain, 31, pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon in Schoharie County Court to 20 counts of criminally negligent homicide in connection with the Oct. 6 crash, which at the time was the deadliest road wreck in 13 years. Hussain’s plea agreement — signed by him, his attorney Joseph Tacopina and Schoharie County District Attorney Susan Mallery — calls for a sentence of five years probation and 1,000 hours of community service. The deal also calls for Hussain to forfeit his Fifth Amendment rights in any civil proceedings, requiring him to testify under oath in the various lawsuits filed by family members of the crash’s victims. He will also be prohibited from owning or operating a commercial transportation company during his probation, according to the plea deal.

GREAT BARRINGTON — Bard College at Simon’s Rock will offer opportunities for no-cost early college coursework to high school students in the upcoming academic year, in partnership with the Southern Berkshire Regional School District.

Mount Everett Regional High School students will take Simon’s Rock courses and receive college credits in an initiative supported by a grant from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Simon’s Rock piloted the program in the 2019-20 school year, before the coronavirus pandemic put the program on pause. The program resumed this summer, with the addition of Monument Mountain Regional High School of the Berkshire Hills Regional School District. About 35 students between the two schools have participated in the program, Simon’s Rock said in a Tuesday news release.

https://613095fe73b8aec1758c51343dff1f7f.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

The college “continues to explore extending opportunities with the Berkshire Hills Regional School District,” the release said.

Lee H. Kellogg Board of Education

On August 11, the Lee H. Kellogg Board of Education received notice of the relocation and resignation of Principal, Alexandra Juch. Ms. Juch became the Interim Principal in 2017, coming from North Canaan Elementary School , where she had been the Library Media Specialist for seven years. Ms. Juch was appointed permanently as Principal in 2018. Ms. Juch is being succeeded by Robin Faust as the Interim Principal. Ms. Faust has been a teacher at Lee H. Kellogg School in the early elementary grades for 40 years. She is a newly retired teacher, who has been a Lead Teacher and a member of the school’s leadership team. She has strong relationships with the staff as well as the students and their families and is well qualified to serve in this capacity. Superintendent Lisa Carter will work with the members of the Canaan Board of Education to recruit and hire an individual to fill the Principal position permanently. Mrs. Faust will remain in the position

Alleged Cornwall heist lands Winsted man in prison

BY BRIGITTE RUTHMAN REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

Alleged Cornwall heist lands Winsted man in prison

TORRINGTON – Jay Puzinski could have gotten away with a 90-day prison term on assault and other charges under the terms of a plea deal ironed out May 21 in Torrington Superior Court. Instead, the 48-year-old robbed the National Iron Bank in Cornwall on Aug. 6, authorities allege. After that, the deal was off the table. Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Fallon asked Wednesday for Puzinski’s bond to be raised after he admitted he had violated his probation by robbing a bank. Judge Chris Pelosi instead granted public defender Mark Johnson’s request to send Puzinski, a veteran, immediately to the Columbus House treatment facility in New Haven while he awaits prosecution. Puzinski and Brian Baras, both of Winsted, were arrested in connection with the Cornwall robbery. The two men also are suspects in a robbery at the Sharon branch of Salisbury Bank & Trust Co. days earlier. Puzinski was arrested 45 minutes after the Cornwall heist by a state trooper who saw Puzinski drive by in a Subaru described by a bank teller.

New York declares state of emergency as Ida pounds NYC, Hudson Valley

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2021/09/02/nyc-hudson-valley-flooding-ida-rainfall/5692291001/

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency early Thursday as the remnants of Hurricane Ida dropped massive rainfall on much of the Northeast, leading to flooding across wide swaths of New York City and the Hudson Valley. The National Weather Service’s New York City office issued its first ever flash-flood emergency for much of the city and Westchester County around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday as the rapid, sustained rainfall led to floodwaters overtaking some roads and subway stations. By the early hours of Thursday, the entirety of New York City and the Mid and Lower Hudson Valley was under a hazardous weather watch in one form or another — with parts under a flash-flood warning and others under a flood warning.

COVID-19 cases confirmed after Otis Fire Department event

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/coronavirus/covid-19-cases-confirmed-after-otis-fire-department-event/article_a6658dbe-0b90-11ec-91a9-67e2bc13c485.html

Officials with the Otis Fire Department say people who attended a recent event have been confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus. “A few people in attendance at the Fire Department Steak Roast tested positive for COVID,” the department said in a statement released through the town. “If you experience any symptoms, please get tested, monitor your health, and follow CDC guidelines.” The annual fundraiser was held Saturday evening at the Center Fire House in Otis, according to posts on the event’s Facebook page. The department’s statement did not say how many cases have been confirmed among people who attended.

Dear Region One Families and Staff:
We have received notification about the following positive cases for coronavirus (COVID-19) in Region One:
Salisbury


● A family member of a Salisbury Central elementary school student has tested positive for coronavirus
(COVID-19). The affected person has not been in the building and has had no close contact with staff or students
(within six feet for fifteen minutes or longer over a 24 hour period). All family members will remain at home in
isolation/quarantine per CDC preferred guidelines. Out of an abundance of caution, due to the contagious nature of
the Delta variant and a report of possible symptoms on behalf of the student while they were in school, all close
contacts of the student will quarantine pending receipt of test results. Those families have been notified this
afternoon.

We are sharing as much information as possible given HIPAA guidelines. Thank you for understanding that sharing more than what is allowed would violate guidelines that protect individual privacy. Parents who are uncomfortable sending their children given the information shared may also keep them at home to engage in distance learning.
It is especially important that all members of Region 1 Schools follow the Region 1 Health and Safety Guidelines to protect students, staff and family members from becoming ill. For additional information about COVID-19 and any new variants please review the information contained on the CDC website. We are doing all that we can to keep all of our students safe and in school. Thank you for helping us by maintaining vigilance in your homes as well. Please communicate with me regarding any questions or concerns as they arise.

Flood Advisory
National Weather Service Albany NY
416 PM EDT Wed Sep 1 2021

CTC005-NYC027-111-012315-
/O.NEW.KALY.FA.Y.0136.210901T2016Z-210901T2315Z/
/00000.N.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.OO/
Litchfield CT-Dutchess NY-Ulster NY-
416 PM EDT Wed Sep 1 2021

The National Weather Service in Albany has issued a

* Urban and Small Stream Flood Advisory for...
  Litchfield County in northern Connecticut...
  Dutchess County in east central New York...
  Ulster County in east central New York...

* Until 715 PM EDT.

* At 416 PM EDT, Doppler radar indicated heavy rain. This will cause
  urban and small stream flooding. Up to 2 inches of rain have
  fallen. Additional moderate rainfall will continue through this
  afternoon, with heavy rain arriving this evening.

* Some locations that will experience flooding include...
  Torrington, Poughkeepsie, New Milford, Kingston, Beacon, New
  Paltz, Ellenville, Rhinebeck, Pawling, Wallkill, Hyde Park,
  Milton, Plattekill, Pleasant Valley, Thomaston, New Hartford,
  Hurley, Wappingers Falls, Amenia and Kent.

Gov. Hochul taps 2 to be cannabis regulators in effort to jumpstart weed legalization

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2021/09/01/new-york-marijuana-legal-appointments/5681190001/

ALBANY — The state Senate on Wednesday was poised to make two appointments to a key marijuana control board that will be instrumental in allowing weed sales as early as next spring. Gov. Kathy Hochul sent the names to the Senate in a bid to “jumpstart” the establishment of a legalized marijuana market in New York. Hochul tapped former Brooklyn Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright as chairwoman of the Cannabis Control Board and named Christopher Alexander, a former policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, as executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management. Alexander, a former staffer at the Drug Policy Alliance, helped push for the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act centered on racial and economic justice. He has also worked in the cannabis sector and for the state Senate.

How to watch Thursday as nation’s top environmental court hears Housatonic cleanup case

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/central_berkshires/how-watch-housatonic-river-cleanup-case/article_810de7dc-0b54-11ec-a3be-bf687b25514d.html

For more than an hour early Thursday afternoon, the country’s top environmental court will hear why the latest plan to pull toxins from the Housatonic River should be scuttled. And why it should go ahead. Lawyers for environmental groups will face off against lawyers with the Environmental Protection Agency and the General Electric Co. in a videoconference proceeding that the public can observe. The Environmental Appeals Board will stream the proceedings on a Zoom platform. The hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. The Zoom webinar ID number is 160 076 0195.
Two groups are appealing the Rest of River permit awarded to the EPA in December. That permit allows sediments pulled from the river tainted with lower levels of PCBs to be stowed in an engineered landfill in Lee.

As the school year kicks off, state COVID-19 numbers soar

As the school year kicks off, state COVID-19 numbers soar

HARTFORD — With the positive test rate rising past 4%, Gov. Ned Lamont described the next three weeks as another critical period in the COVID-19 outbreak as public and private schools across the state reopen to students. In the last school year, there were 23,656 cases of COVID-19 among students reported between Oct. 8, 2020 and June 23, and 7,288 among staff members, according to state figures. Lamont said Tuesday one of his top priorities is keeping schools open and operating safely as the state continues to grapple with the coronavirus that forced schools to close and switch to remote learning in the 2020-21 school year. This is one of the reasons why the governor is continuing to require that all students, staff and visitors wear masks inside school buildings regardless of vaccination status. Children younger than age 12 are ineligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Lamont also ordered that teachers and staff at pre-K to 12th-grade schools statewide must receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 27. Others who qualify for medical or religious exemptions will be required to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.

New fire truck added to Sharon fleet

BY RUTH EPSTEIN Republican-American

New fire truck added to Sharon fleet

SHARON — Sharon Fire Department members took possession of their new ambulance Monday. As they gathered at the firehouse to get a close-up look, they expressed pleasure at all the features of the shiny red vehicle that will help increase their ability to provide the best care possible for the passengers. Among them are ultraviolet lights in the ceiling and duct work to help with the decontamination process, and cameras that allow for 360-degree views. The purchase of the 2021 AEV Type ll TraumaHAWK was made from Eastford Fire & Rescue Sales in Eastford for $282,000. The funding came solely from donations and fundraisers. Department members said they are grateful to town residents, the John Morgan estate, Robert Rosenheim Foundation and an anonymous family foundation for providing all the money to make the purchase possible. The current ambulance has been sold to a department in East Clinton, N.Y., and will remain in service.

Hochul reconvenes state Legislature with aim to extend eviction moratorium to January 2022

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2021/08/31/hochul-reconvenes-legislature-aims-extend-eviction-moratorium/5673219001/

With hours to go before New York’s eviction moratorium expired Tuesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced she would reconvene the state Legislature on Wednesday to attend to a number of pressing issues, including extending the moratorium to January 2022. The state’s moratorium halted evictions as a public health measure related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and was extended in May to allow more time for the federal Emergency Rental Assistance program to kick in. That $2.7 billion program faced a logjam of 160,000 applications in mid-July, but by the end of August had handed out or obligated more than $800 million to tenants and landlords.

Local governments may be getting their wish from Gov. Kathy Hochul.

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2021/08/31/covid-vaccine-booster-rollout-funded-new-york/5671672001/

And they’ll split $65 million to use toward circulating COVID-19 booster shots to residents. The newly minted governor announced the funding Tuesday while detailing the importance of combatting the contagious COVID-19 delta variant and the role she expects state government to play. For much of the pandemic, while Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration determined safety restrictions and rollout strategies for COVID-19 vaccines, local governments called for a greater role in deciding how best to reach their populations. Many, like Dutchess County, established county-run vaccination distribution points with no state-run site established. Hochul on Tuesday made clear she does not have the authority granted to Cuomo under the previous state disaster emergency declaration, but also isn’t looking to exercise that power when it comes to vaccine rollout.

New York is hiring state troopers. Here’s how to apply, and the qualifications needed

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/politics/albany/2021/08/31/new-york-state-police-trooper-hiring-jobs/5667058001/

ALBANY – If you want to be a state trooper in New York, here’s your chance to apply. The state announced Tuesday that applications are open for the next State Police trooper entrance exam. The exam will be administered online for the first time and run from January 2022 through April 2022. The tests will be given at authorized testing centers in a bid to attract more diverse candidates from across the nation. State Police have long been criticized for its lack of diversity: Of its 4,640 sworn members, only 6% are Hispanic and 4% are Black, while 11% are women. The state is launching a “reimagined recruitment outreach program” designed to increase the number of minorities and women serving in the ranks, Hochul’s office said to learn about the exams, visit joinstatepolice.ny.gov.
The starting salary is $58,443 and grows to $82,677 after one year, the state said. The positions also come with full benefits and a pension.

State board mandates masking for day care, after-school programs

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/coronavirus/day-care-mask-mandate/article_a16e08f2-0a98-11ec-905e-9fa7c12efebb.html

BOSTON — Teachers, staff and many students at day care centers and after-school programs will be required to wear masks indoors after Labor Day, but Education Secretary Jim Peyser on Tuesday told the board that licenses early education providers that a vaccine mandate may be out of their control. The Board of Early Education and Care voted unanimously to align its masking policies for programs under its oversight with those being deployed in K-12 public schools as children across Massachusetts return to in-person learning over the next couple of weeks. Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy requested and received the permission to implement the masking policy across the early education sector as COVID-19 cases fueled by the spread of the delta variant continue to rise, and have been recorded in early education settings.

New troopers begin training in Canaan

6 academy grads are now getting field experience

New troopers begin training in Canaan

CANAAN – Six newly minted troopers began work Monday at State Police Troop B. The assignment is the next step in their education as they begin 45 working days of field training. There were 101 graduates from the 22-week program at the State Police Academy this term, including the Canaan contingent, which includes Andrew Isner of East Hartland; Gina Giannini, Torrington; Michael Osorio, Torrington; Joshua Wedge, Riverton; Alexandra Krzywicki, Morris; and Jared Tuers, Torrington. They will be part of a team covering the largest geographic district in Connecticut, with four patrols serving 13 towns. Only two of the communities, Winsted and Torrington, have independent police forces.

COVID in Dutchess: New cases climb in August, but rate of vaccination increases, too

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2021/08/30/dutchess-covid-vaccine-rate-begins-climb-cases-continue/5656197001/

As the unofficial end of summer approaches, and kids and various employees prepare to spend more time indoors, COVID-19’s grip on Dutchess County is continuing to tighten. An average of more than 70 residents have been confirmed with a new case of the novel coronavirus each day through the first four weeks of August, and roughly four out of five of them appear to be occurring in residents who are not fully vaccinated. But, amid increasing positive cases and the FDA approval last week of the Pfizer vaccine, the number of residents receiving their first inoculation dose is also seeing an uptick. Through Saturday, Aug. 28, the most recent day for which Dutchess shared information on its county online dashboard, there had been 1,970 new cases confirmed in the month. That tops May (620), June (120) and July (400) combined, and is the most since April (2,544).

Attorney seeks noise conditions for Foundry to West Stockbridge board

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/southern_berkshires/attorney-seeks-noise-conditions-for-foundry-to-west-stockbridge-board/article_5ded423c-09b2-11ec-9a6b-27bedd119e88.html

WEST STOCKBRIDGE — Sometimes, the Select Board finds itself between a rock and a hard place. Unsure of how to resolve a dispute between two popular businesses after an emotional public hearing Monday, the Select Board continued its special permit hearing for The Foundry until Thursday. The intent was to give board members time to digest testimony and new information about what is now almost entirely a noise problem — and may come down to decibel measurements. Early indications from the attorney for the owner of Truc Orient Express, who is complaining of excessive noise from Foundry events, suggests the owners want conditions on a special permit. At least 70 people came to the hearing at Town Hall, and many more joined on Zoom, to weigh in on a dust-up that has gripped the Berkshires and beyond, and to support Amy Brentano, owner and artistic director of The Foundry, a performing arts venue, and Truc Nguyen, who with her family owns Truc Orient Express, a Vietnamese restaurant across the street.

Fire officials: Great Barrington residents in no danger after calls about natural gas odor

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/southern_berkshires/fire-officials-great-barrington-residents-in-no-danger-after-calls-about-natural-gas-odor/article_fabedd42-08cb-11ec-8895-0b10e106effc.html

GREAT BARRINGTON — Residents got bit of a scare over the weekend, after getting an unusual whiff of typically undetectable, minor natural gas leaks in the Berkshire Gas Co. pipeline system. The Great Barrington Fire Department responded to nearly 20 emergency 911 phone calls from customers late Friday night and into the early hours of Saturday, according to Fire Chief Charles Burger. Burger says the Pittsfield-based utility responded quickly with crews from as far away as Greenfield that worked through the night to ensure that homeowners were not in any danger. Burger said the problem began when the company’s injection system added too much mercaptan to the naturally odorless gas to help detect gas leaks. These minor leaks, which never before were detected, Burger said, now were very noticeable. The fire chief said that for anyone smelling gas in their home or business, it’s important to evacuate and call 911 from outside the building.

Celebrities wade into West Stockbridge feud as permit hearing looms for The Foundry

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/southern_berkshires/celebrities-wade-into-west-stockbridge-feud-as-permit-hearing-looms-for-the-foundry/article_4ec452ae-076a-11ec-9ddb-975f7c8106e4.html

WEST STOCKBRIDGE — A legal dispute roiling this tiny Berkshire community and engaging people across the county now has captured the attention of two Hollywood celebrities and a former governor. The feud over permitting, noise and road access, and amplified by coronavirus pandemic-related struggles, has been brewing all summer between two neighboring and beloved downtown businesses, the Truc Orient Express restaurant and The Foundry theater. And with a special permit hearing looming for The Foundry, Academy Award winner Allison Janney, of “West Wing” fame, chimed in Thursday with a letter to the editor of The Eagle in support of a permit for the performing arts venue to continue operating. And on Friday, actor Allison Mackie also sent a letter to the paper; both women have, in the past, worked with Foundry owner Amy Brentano. Brentano said that amid more than 100 letters of support, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who lives in nearby Richmond, sent a note of support to the town. The celebrity supporters are just a few who rallied for both pandemic-battered businesses as they face what they say is a make-or-break hearing, amid a situation that has fueled rage against town officials, and sowed deep divisions in a larger community that loves its food, art and culture. The Select Board is scheduled to hold a special hearing at 6 p.m. Monday on Brentano’s request for a special permit to operate the theater. The board in 2019 granted her an entertainment license but neglected to grant a permit, which the town’s zoning bylaws require.

Sharon Playhouse Saturday, August 28 – 2pm Sunday, August 29 – 2pm WRITERS PLAYGROUND

Please be advised that certain plays have adult language and themes. This new festival provides an opportunity to showcase our talented local community of writers and directors and bring all community members together through live theater. We also hope to empower people of all ages to use their voice and creativity as vehicles for expression. Utilizing as many local actors, directors and crew members as we can, thus offering even more opportunities to our local talented theater enthusiasts and professionals of all ages and levels. This event will be presented on our indoor Main Stage. Please be aware that proof of Covid Vaccination will be required for attendance. https://sharonplayhosue.org

Goshen Fair is Back Labor Day Weekend Saturday Sunday and Monday

Goshen Fair COVID 19 info:
If you are vaccinated a mask is no longer required when outdoors. If you are not vaccinated, please wear a mask for your own protection. Please wear a mask when entering buildings. While they don’t anticipate any changes at this point, please check their website prior to your arrival to confirm. Get vaccinated at the Goshen Fair. Vaccines will be available all three days!

Goshen Fair is held Labor Day weekend every year. We have a variety of animals including draft horses, dairy cows, pigs, chickens, goats, ducks sheep, rabbits, llamas, horses, beef cows. Draught Animal pulls, Garden Tractor pulls, Tractor pulls, Truck pulls, Wood chopping, showmanship classes. Petting zoo courtesy of local FFA chapters. Many displays for photography, vegetables, needlework, flowers, arts and crafts, bakery, canning, Conservation exhibits and Farm produce. Live entertainment for all ages. For a listing of the events you may visit our webpage at https://goshenfair.org

On the Main Stage
Country Steel: Saturday at 12pm
Frozen T-Shirt Contest: Saturday at 3pm
Relic: Saturday at 4pm
Soul Sound Revue: Saturday at 7pm

Junior Krauss and the Shakes: Sunday at 12pm
Dan’s Road House Country: Sunday at 3pm
James Montgomery with Christine Ohlman: Sunday at 6pm

The D.Lemma: Monday at 12pm
Erin Troy Danner: Monday at 3pm

Lime Rock Park’s Historic Festival 39

Thursday, Sept. 2 – Monday, Sept. 6, 2021 – Labor Day Weekend
Free Admission To Veterans & Active Military
Youths 16 and under are FREE at all major racing events when accompanied by adults. General outfield parking, courtesy golf cart shuttle rides and paddock access are FREE too. (860) 435-5000 for more information. https://limerock.com

Crescendo Chorus is back! Friday, September 3 at 5 pm
Sharon Veterans’ Field, Lions’ Pavilion

The first in-person concert is devoted to well-known and beloved choral favorites, dramatic and sublime, in a special outdoor setting. Included in the concert are English Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic and American traditional Spirituals. The Crescendo Chorus, Vocal Ensemble and vocal soloists will be accompanied by Christopher Belluscio and Brian Kanner, trumpets, and Juan Mesa, organ. Crescendo’s founder and artistic director Christine Gevert will conduct. Out of caution given the current increase in COVID cases in our area, this concert has been moved outside to the Sharon Lions’ Club Pavilion at Veterans’ Field, 29 Sharon Station Rd., Sharon CT. Starting time has been moved earlier to 5pm. PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN CHAIR. All performers, staff members and volunteers are fully vaccinated, and will be masked. We will follow state and federal guidelines for Covid prevention. We recommend wearing a mask to all. Tickets for this concert are general lawn seating (bring your own chair) at $25 and youth $10. They can be purchased online at https://worldclassmusic.org or at the door. No credit card sales will be possible at the door.

Falls Village Democrats file appeal over first selectman selection

BY RUTH EPSTEIN Republican-American

Falls Village Democrats file appeal over first selectman selection

FALLS VILLAGE — Claiming they are being denied a choice of candidates for first selectman in the Nov. 2 election, several Democrats have filed an appeal with the Democratic State Central Committee. Selectman David Barger, who serves as chairman of the Democratic Town Committee, said all rules of the local and state central committee were followed during the nominating process. During the July meeting, which was held in lieu of a caucus due to COVID-19, only town committee members could vote for the slate. The majority (15 to 9) voted to support incumbent First Selectman Henry Todd, a Republican. He was being challenged by Democrat Douglas Cohn. Noelle Lamuniere and Betsy Howie filed the appeal with 21 other registered Democrats. In the document, they said when the town committee was constituted in January, a quorum was not present, therefore members were neither properly nominated or elected. They also claimed a town committee meeting in June called to, among other business, elect replacements for resigning and new members was not conducted properly. Votes were taken by secret ballot, a violation of the rules. As a result, at the July 20 meeting to formulate a slate, those named in June were powerless to act, they claim. The appeal adds that state party rules were amended due to COVID-19, acknowledging caucuses were not required. However, “nothing in the January 2021 amendment forbade the public from attending and speaking at a town committee meeting,” the appeal states. Lamuniere and Howie said the Democratic registrar of voters, with the assent of the chairman, posted on social media July 19 the meeting was not to be a caucus and, though all Democrats were welcome, only those on the committee could speak. They believe such a message was incorrect. The appeal also states the voting procedure, instead of being separate roll call votes, was a single vote in which members cast for either candidate. They want the Democratic State Central Committee to invalidate Todd’s endorsement and order that his name not appear as the Democratic nominee for first selectman; and they want the state central committee to require a caucus be convened on a Saturday no less than six weeks before the November election to properly elect a duly constituted town committee.

Connecticut’s positivity rate is at 3.44%

On Friday, 370,708 COVID-19 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic, which is up 788 since Thursday. Out of 22,892 tests administered, 788 came back positive. That results in a positivity rate of 3.44%. Hospitalizations decreased by 2 since Thursday, bringing the current total to 378. Data on COVID-19 associated deaths is updated every Thursday. As of Thursday, 25 new COVID-associated deaths were reported, bringing the total so far since the beginning of the pandemic to 8,355. The number of total tests performed since the pandemic began is now at 10,410,984

The 9th annual Roe Jan Ramble Bike Tour has been cancelled due to rising COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in our area.

After consulting with local authorities, and reviewing their own concerns about the safety and health of our riders and the community and feel this is the best course of action. They still are firmly committed to the belief that getting outside in the fresh air on a bike enjoying the countryside is some of the healthiest activity you can do, and hope at some point you’ll choose a time and place on your own in a safe and responsible way. Stay safe and healthy! And they promise you, you’ll hear back again in the future, when we can plan and enjoy a happy and successful Ramble again.

Sharon Playhouse
September 11 – 8pm


The Rave-Ons are a high energy rock and roll band originally formed to revitalize the music of Buddy Holly and the Crickets. They produce and star in two different Buddy Holly tribute shows as well as a 50’s and 60’s rock and roll tribute. For concerts, they have over a hundred and fifty early rock and roll tunes in their repertoire. https://sharonplayhosue.org

County block grant funds make their way to Millerton and Dover

By KAITLIN LYLE kaitlinl@millertonnews.com

https://tricornernews.com

MILLERTON — A total of 21 projects centered on improving infrastructure, developing affordable housing and addressing other vital community needs received additional financial support from Dutchess County in July, thanks to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership programs. Millerton was one of the municipalities to get a block grant, worth $150,000, to complete its sidewalk infrastructure repair and replacement project. In addition to replacing 600-linear feet of deteriorated Main Street sidewalks, a new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible sidewalk and crosswalk will be installed in front of the North East-Millerton Library to promote accessibility. The town of Dover also received CDBG infrastructure funding worth $99,000 for its J.H. Ketcham Memorial Park Walking Track project. The town aims to develop a “new quarter-mile porous asphalt accessible walking path to enhance recreation options,” according to Molinaro’s office. Among the CDBG public service projects to get funding, the North East Community Center (NECC) in Millerton received $25,000 for two of its youth development programs: Teen Team and the Community Partnership with Schools and Business (CPSB) internship program. Available to teens ages 14 to 18 living in the North East (Webutuck) Central School District, Teen Team offers teenagers a myriad of educational, recreational and community service opportunities, while the internship program offers a work skills training program for local students ages 14 to 19.

Library gets creative and mobile with $25k county grant

By CAROL KNEELAND

https://tricornernews,com

MILLERTON — The boundaries of the North East-Millerton Library (NEML) are in the process of expanding geographically and creatively thanks to a huge chunk of change that was just dropped into its donation jar by Dutchess County in the form of a $25,000 grant. The funding is designed to make up for some of the deficits caused in childhood development by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant, which came from federal monies filtered through the state and eventually by the county, amounts to five times the library’s annual budget for children and teenagers, according to Youth Program Coordinator Kristin McClune. McClune said a portion of the funds will be used to create a Makerspace, which, she explained, is as much a concept as it is a physical entity. It’s also an idea that has spread throughout schools, libraries and other institutions across the country

Meet Democratic Candidates Aug. 29

The Amenia Democratic Committee (ADC) will be hosting an outdoor “Meet your Democratic Candidates” event on Sunday, Aug. 29, from 3 to 5 p.m. Meet Dutchess County and local Democratic candidates for office. The event will be held at the Indian Rock Schoolhouse Pavilion, 25 Mygatt Road, Amenia. There will be opportunities for informal conversations with the candidates before and after they speak, plus an opportunity to ask questions of those running for office. All are welcome. Email ameniademocrats@gmail.com or call 845-489-7826 for more information.

Town Board to discuss cannabis law Sept. 2

Residents interested to find out whether the Town Board will opt in or out of allowing marijuana dispensaries and lounges are encouraged to attend its monthly meeting on Thursday, Sept. 2. The meeting will be held at Amenia Town Hall, located at 4988 Route 22, at 7 p.m. For more information, including the agenda, https://ameniany.gov.

Clothing aid for students

https://tricornernews.com

SALISBURY — Salisbury Family Services is sponsoring a back-to-school program.
Gift cards for school clothing will be provided to children in the town of Salisbury. Families who are in need are asked to call Patrice McGrath at 860-435-5187

Feds approve Connecticut plan for school relief money

Feds approve Connecticut plan for school relief money

HARTFORD — Connecticut’s plan for using $110 million in federal pandemic relief funds to reopen the state’s K-12 schools for in-person learning, while addressing the impact of lost instructional time last school year and reducing education gaps over the long-term, has been approved by the federal government, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Friday. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday released the remaining $369 million in federal pandemic relief funds for education to the state. With this latest batch, Connecticut will have received approximately $1.1 billion under the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, according to federal figures. The state previously received $737 million in March. When combined with other federal COVID-relief funds for education, Connecticut has received roughly $1.7 billion since the start of the pandemic, according to the state Department of Education.

Stockbridge Bowl harvester retrieved, but capsizing remains a mystery

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/central_berkshires/stockbridge-bowl-capsized-harvester-retrieved/article_b72c6878-0746-11ec-8bee-d3594af207c4.html

STOCKBRIDGE — The town’s weed harvester that capsized Thursday afternoon has been removed from Stockbridge Bowl in an intricate maneuver by R.W.’s Towing of Lee that included flipping it back to an upright position onshore. As a result of the boat’s early-evening retrieval, the Department of Environmental Protection has given the bowl an all-clear after finding no evidence of any significant leakage of “bio-friendly oil” used by the vessel. The harvester, which resembles a miniature barge, was transported to the town’s Highway Department garage for an inspection, hopefully to reveal clues about the cause of the mishap and to assess any damage, said Select Board Chair Roxanne McCaffrey.

COVID booster shots available for fully immunized in mid-September


https://www.rep-am.com/life-arts/health/2021/08/26/covid-booster-shots-available-for-fully-immunized-in-mid-september/

Americans who have been fully immunized against COVID-19 should prepare to receive a booster shot beginning in mid-September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised in mid-August. In an announcement, the U.S. Surgeon General said health officials were concerned about “waning immunity and the strength of the Delta variant.” Currently, about 25% of those hospitalized at Hartford HealthCare and Yale New Haven Health have been vaccinated. Although Dr. Thomas Balcezak, chief medical officer of Yale New Haven Health, said such patients “do well” and none have died, he and other physicians say it remains unclear if waning immunity or the more contagious Delta variant, or a combination of both, are the cause of such “breakthrough infections.”

Canaan works to put end to growing homeless population

BY RUTH EPSTEIN

Canaan works to put end to growing homeless population

CANAAN — Town officials are concerned with an uptick in homeless individuals and are seeking ways to help them. During a meeting Tuesday to give an update on the problem, social services Director MaryBeth Wabrek and First Selectman Charles P. Perotti said they worry about the safety and health of at least four people living on the town’s streets or at Lawrence Field, and think there may be a few more. Perotti noted some residents have expressed concern for these individuals, while others would rather not see them sleeping on benches or walking around. Resident State Trooper Spencer Bronson said he and the others have received phone calls from people who either feel sorry for these individuals, or want them removed or arrested for loitering.

Great Barrington resident blocked from speaking against student masking at Berkshire Hills meeting

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/coronavirus/great-barrington-resident-blocked-from-speaking-against-student-masking-at-berkshire-hills-meeting/article_476544be-06bb-11ec-9b95-3b02ef23b099.html

STOCKBRIDGE — A fight raging at school board meetings nationwide played out in the Berkshires Thursday after a resident sent school officials a notice saying that their masking mandates for children to curb the spread of COVID-19 is possibly unhealthy and could be a violation of human rights under the Nuremberg Code. Great Barrington resident Dattatreya Haynes had suggested in his email that, at the least, masking mandates should be suspended pending more studies of the risks and benefits. But officials blocked Haynes from speaking during a public comment period at the Berkshire Hills Regional School District’s School Committee’s meeting, held on Zoom, with 23 participants. Haynes said that as a citizen he had a right to speak for three minutes. Chairman Stephen Bannon said he would adjourn. The violation notice, which Haynes sent to officials on Wednesday, says masks could cause “medical and emotional harm resulting in oxygen deprivation and depression, among other adverse effects.” His note comes days after the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education mandated masking in public schools statewide through Oct. 1. Earlier Wednesday committee member Richard Dohoney responded to Haynes’ email, telling him not to respond to his email nor to ever contact him again. “Your purported ‘notice’ is factually and legally incorrect, frivolous and sent in bad faith,” Dohoney wrote. “This is crazy, crazy stuff,” Dohoney told The Eagle, adding that Haynes’ approach is blunting discourse. Haynes, an MIT graduate and retired mechanical engineer who specialized in ventilation, told The Eagle that he had had “a congenial discussion” with Superintendent Peter Dillion Thursday, who he said assured Haynes that he could present the information at the meeting.

Report highlights risk for unvaccinated people in Connecticut

Report highlights risk for unvaccinated people in state

The state Department of Public Health reported 25 more deaths attributed to COVID-19 in its weekly report released on Thursday. With a push on to get more people vaccinated, the report also shows that unvaccinated people are five times more likely to test positive, five times more likely to die and 16 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who are vaccinated. There have been a tiny percentage of breakthrough cases in the state (with more than 2.4 million people having received at least one vaccine dose), according to the report.

Heat advisory in Connecticut extended into Friday

HARTFORD — The fourth heat wave of the season continued on Thursday. A heat advisory was issued for most of the state on Thursday, with the exception of southern Middlesex and southern New London counties. It has been extended into Friday. An air quality alert for the shoreline on Thursday runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

NY approves COVID vaccine mandate for health care workers, removes religious exemption

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2021/08/26/ny-covid-vaccine-mandate-for-health-care-workers/5599461001/

A New York State Department of Health board voted unanimously Thursday to implement emergency authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all health care workers in the state, while also removing a planned religious exemption as an alternative to vaccination. Thursday’s meeting of the Public Health and Health Planning Council consisted of a discussion and subsequent formal adoption of a regulation first announced by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week. The mandate approved by the council also removed a planned exemption that would have allowed workers to avoid vaccination based on religious considerations. Any religious exemptions previously granted are no longer valid and facilities will not be allowed to include religious exemptions at all, said Vanessa Murphy, a DOH attorney.

Stockbridge Bowl harvester flips over; no one injured

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/central_berkshires/stockbridge-bowl-harvester-flips-over-no-one-injured/article_5b198026-06aa-11ec-8af9-47e084660fe5.html

STOCKBRIDGE — The town’s harvester, mounted on a pontoon and resembling a barge, tipped over in the lake shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday, according to police and town officials. The operator, who was not immediately identified, was unhurt, and the harvester was towed back to the town’s boat launch ramp off Interlaken Road (Route 183), said Select Board Chairwoman Roxanne McCaffrey. There were no reports of any oil leakage from the boat, she said. But, State Department of Environmental Protection officials were notified immediately, and they are expected on the scene before nightfall.

Theory Wellness to pay nearly $300,000 for failing to pay workers proper wages 282 employees are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to investigation by Attorney General’s office

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/crime/theory-wellness-to-pay-back-wages-to-employees/article_f225d7d8-069d-11ec-a12f-4fa837de1359.html

GREAT BARRINGTON — Theory Wellness failed to properly pay employees who worked Sunday and holiday shifts at its cannabis dispensaries, the state attorney general’s office says, depriving hundreds of people of rightful compensation due to a law that will soon be phased out. The business, with locations in Great Barrington, Chicopee and Bridgewater, has been ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution and penalties after an eight-month investigation. Theory Wellness, Inc., President and CEO Brandon Pollock, and Treasurer and Secretary Nicholas Friedman have been issued one citation by the Attorney General’s office for failing to pay its employees premium pay for hours worked on Sundays and covered holidays, in violation of Massachusetts wage and hour laws. Under the terms of the settlement, Theory Wellness has agreed to pay in full the premium wages owed to impacted employees. The company cooperated with the investigation and has since come into compliance with the premium and holiday pay laws.

Dutchess Vaccine County Clinics – This week

  • Walk-in Clinic: Dutchess County Fairgrounds, 6636 US 9, Rhinebeck (in partnership with NYS Department of Health)
  • Friday, August 27 10AM-5PM
  • Saturday, August 28 10AM-7PM
  • Sunday, August 29 10AM-5PM

Dutchess County Immunization Clinic, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
COVID-19 Vaccines available for individuals, 12 years of age and older (Pfizer) 18years and older (Pfizer, Moderna & J&J offered)
Family Partnership Center, 29 North Hamilton Street, Poughkeepsie
Call for appointments: 845-486-3409 or 845-486-3533

Litchfield County is now in the ‘high transmission’ COVID-19 category

Litchfield County is now in the ‘high transmission’ COVID-19 category

HARTFORD – The Centers for Disease Control has now placed Litchfield County in the “High Transmission” category of COVID-19. Litchfield is the sixth county in the state to be upgraded to the High Transmission category. New Haven, Hartford, New London, Fairfield and Middlesex Counties also are listed as High Transmission. Middlesex County was downgraded last week by the CDC to the Substantial category but was upgraded back to High Transmission on Wednesday afternoon. The other two Connecticut counties also as being in the “Substantial Transmission” category. The High Transmission category- which is the most severe as defined by the CDC- is 100 or more cases per 100,000 people or a positivity rate of 10 percent or higher over the past seven days.

NY Gov. Kathy Hochul recognizes higher COVID death count in show of transparency

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2021/08/25/ny-covid-kathy-hochul-cdc-death-count/5587838001/

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul promised more government transparency on her first day in office and by day’s end her administration had quietly delivered it by acknowledging nearly 12,000 more deaths in the state from COVID-19 than had been publicized by her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo. New York now reports nearly 55,400 people have died of COVID-19 in New York based on death certificate data submitted to the CDC, up from about 43,400 that Gov. Cuomo had reported to the public as of Monday, his last day in office. “We’re now releasing more data than had been released before publicly, so people know the nursing home deaths and the hospital deaths are consistent with what’s being displayed by the CDC,” Hochul said Wednesday on MSNBC. “There’s a lot of things that weren’t happening and I’m going to make them happen. Transparency will be the hallmark of my administration.”

It’s official: Masks required in all Mass. public schools — at least until Oct. 1

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/coronavirus/riley-school-mask-mandate-massachusetts/article_aba30266-05eb-11ec-bbab-57b2b3191f32.html

BOSTON – Students and staff at Massachusetts public schools are now required to wear masks indoors, under a policy Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley officially put forward Wednesday. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education authorized Riley to issue a mask mandate by a 9-1 vote Tuesday. As discussed at that meeting, the mask requirement Riley implemented will remain in place until at least Oct. 1. After Oct. 1, middle and high schools can lift their mask mandates if they can demonstrate 80 percent of students and staff are vaccinated against COVID-19.

After years of begging for a stoplight, Great Barrington gets DOT to add safety fixes to Monument High entrance

https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/southern_berkshires/monument-high-school-traffic-changes/article_bbd395d4-04ff-11ec-aab1-eb2411bc1ef2.html

GREAT BARRINGTON — After decades of near-misses and the occasional crash at the Monument Mountain Regional High School entrance off Route 7, the state appears ready to make some safety changes. Speaking at Monday’s meeting of the Select Board, Vice Chair Leigh Davis laid out the possible steps, which could include reworking the northbound turn lane and adding a warning signal device. The Massachusetts DOT might place these devices at the Monument Mountain Regional High School entrance to improve safety. The changes were discussed during a July 28 meeting with town, school district and state officials, Davis said. Participants included representatives from Gov. Charlie Baker’s office and Massachusetts Department of Transportation, as well as state Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, D-Lenox, and state Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield. Berkshire Hills Regional Schools Superintendent Peter Dillon said the district is working closely with the DOT, and will give a presentation about the changes at Thursday’s School Committee meeting.

COVID-19: Connecticut’s positivity rate at 3.83%

On Tuesday, 368,481 COVID-19 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic, which is up 1,071 since Monday. Out of 27,958 tests administered, 1,071 came back positive. That results in a positivity rate of 3.83 percent. Hospitalizations increased by 22 since Monday, bringing the current total to 391. Data on COVID-19 associated deaths is updated every Thursday. As of Thursday, 23 new COVID-associated deaths were reported, bringing the total so far since the beginning of the pandemic to 8,330. The number of total tests performed since the pandemic began is now at 10,346,593, an increase of 27,958 since Monday.

CT restaurant industry says it’s in danger of being wiped out by the Delta variant

https://www.wfsb.com/news/ct-restaurant-industry-says-its-in-danger-of-being-wiped-out-by-the-delta-variant/article_3096fdbe-04f3-11ec-a77b-5f6df15768f5.html?block_id=994091

Connecticut’s restaurant industry claims it is in danger of being wiped out by the Delta COVID variant, citing results from a recent national restaurant survey. The National Restaurant Association survey found that nationally, a majority of consumers changed their dining behavior, which has started to put acute pressure back on the restaurant industry. Adding to the pressure has been increased food and supply prices, capacity limits in several states, and debt loads. The Connecticut Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association, and 50 other state restaurant association partners sent a letter to Congress in which they shared the survey’s findings. In the letter, they also urged a swift replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to require masks in schools, COVID vaccine or test for teachers

https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/coronavirus/2021/08/24/kathy-hochul-governor-new-york-covid-vaccine-policies/8248620002/

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s first actions leading New York will include requiring all K-12 teachers and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or face weekly testing in an attempt to limit the delta variant’s spread. Hochul, who was sworn in as governor early Tuesday, will also require universal indoor masking for ages 2 and above in K-12 schools. She announced the plans during an inaugural address broadcast Tuesday afternoon. “Priority number one: we get children back to school and protect the environment so they can learn and everyone is safe,” she said, noting further details of her plans for battling surging COVID-19 infections statewide will come later this week. The statements included an apparent caveat that the plans for vaccinating educators could be subject to change. “We need to require vaccinations for all school personnel, with an option to test out weekly — at least for now,” Hochul said.

Mass. education head gets power to order K-12 mask mandate

By a 9-1 vote on Tuesday, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education decided to give Commissioner Jeff Riley the authority to mandate masks in K-12 schools for the imminent start of the third academic year influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Riley has said the mandate he plans to impose will require all students and staff wear masks indoors through Oct. 1. After that date, under his plan, middle and high schools where at least 80 percent of staff and students are vaccinated would be able to lift the mask mandate, but only for vaccinated individuals. He said he could not rule out the possibility that masks “may be required intermittently throughout the year” based on the path the virus takes. The board’s vote — a shift from the Baker administration’s previous approach of recommending masks for unvaccinated individuals in schools but allowing individual districts to adopt their own policies — comes after dozens of school committees, boards of health and other local officials across the state had already decided to require masks in their schools.

Several Connecticut real estate markets rank among the worst in the nation

https://www.wfsb.com/news/several-connecticut-real-estate-markets-rank-among-the-worst-in-the-nation/article_13d30f1c-04dd-11ec-9d87-c7f111f9a0b0.html?block_id=994091

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Several of Connecticut’s real estate markets rank among the worst in the country, according to a study. WalletHub.com, a personal finance website, released on Tuesday the results of a study it called “2021’s Best Real-Estate Markets.” Researchers said they compared 300 cities across 18 metrics, including median home price appreciation and job growth. Hartford was dead last on the list at 300th. Also finishing close to the bottom were Waterbury at 292nd and Bridgeport at 291st. New Haven was 276th and Stamford was 255th.