Eversource Partners with Major Utilities to Increase Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Across the Country
Clean energy company joins coalition to ensure drivers
have seamless access to EV chargers on major highways
BERLIN, Conn. (April 12, 2021) – In an effort to provide drivers with effective and convenient charging options that enable long-distance electric vehicle (EV) travel, Eversource is joining the Electric Highway Coalition. Comprised of seven of the nation’s leading utility companies, the coalition will advance clean energy by helping
to enable EV drivers’ access to uninterrupted travel across major regions of the country. Each utility will provide EV charging solutions within its service territory through a network of DC fast chargers, coordinating with neighboring utilities, and will connect major highway systems from the Atlantic Coast, through the Midwest and South and into the Gulf and Central Plains regions. Other participating utilities include American Electric Power, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy Corporation, Southern Co., and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
This effort could help drivers realize the benefits of how EVs fit both their lifestyle and travel plans, especially if those plans cross state lines.
A roundtable discussion got underway in Meriden over how to best utilize education funds from the American Rescue Plan.
Gov. Ned Lamont, Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Rep. Jahana Hayes, and acting commissioner of education Charlene Russell-Tucker took part in the discussion on Monday morning. It centered on producing the best outcomes for students within the state’s K-12 school system following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lamont announced details of an initiative his administration is launching to engage students who struggled with absenteeism and disengagement as a result of the pandemic. The initiative, which Lamont called the Learner Engagement and Attendance Program (LEAP), will include a partnership between the Connecticut State Department of Education and the six state Regional Education Service Centers that will target 15 school districts throughout Connecticut. Funds will go to increasing people power who will be deployed to homes to directly engage with families and students to provide support. Connecticut’s RESCs will coordinate this work with school district officials, local community organizations, and other state service providers, and will be deployed to homes to engage with families and provide support.
Financial issues cloud skate park’s future
By Aliya Schneider Columbia-Greene Media
CLAVERACK — Two Philmont residents proposed building a skate park in Claverack, but the town board may not be willing to take on the financial burden. Aiden Paul and Nathaniel Williams proposed building skateboard ramps on an existing cement pad in the Claverack Town Park at the town board workshop meeting March 29. Paul and Williams volunteered to donate time and materials for the project. Paul’s proposed plan would have the ramps ready for skating by May 26, at which point he would host an opening party for local skaters.
Councilman George Duntz, Paul and Deputy Supervisor Stephen Hook discussed using a concrete slab behind the town hall to construct the ramps, Duntz said. But even with construction materials secured,
giving the green light to the park construction opens up a list of considerations. The town planned to build a skate park years ago and installed a small cement pad for the park, Councilwoman Katy Cashen said Monday. But the town decided against pursuing its plan because of
liability and insurance issues. Rich Nesbit from Johnnie Walker Insurance Agency, the company that insures the town, based in
Spencertown and Albany, said at the board workshop meeting he did not think the park equipment would make a big difference for town insurance purposes because the area has a pre-existing purpose for skating,
but he wanted to see more information about the proposal. But after looking into the idea, the insurance company determined there would be several requirements for the park to be allowed. Duntz has
a list of bullet points of all the considerations needed for the park, per insurance requirements, but he declined to share the list Monday. He said he preferred not to send any information because the town is
discussing options about the park.
Own a restaurant or small business? Check out these new NY grants, tax breaks
Many of New York’s restaurants and small businesses will be eligible for new state grants and tax credits that could act as an economic lifeline for establishments still navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state’s delayed $212 billion budget, approved last week by the Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, includes incentives for business owners hit hard by the pandemic’s economic fallout, including a new tax credit for restaurants. The new program, known as the Restaurant Return to Work Tax Credit would apply to restaurants rehiring workers or increasing employment in New York City and in areas that were subject to extended “red” or “orange” zone restrictions for at least 30 consecutive days. Restaurant owners must demonstrate they have suffered a decrease in gross receipts or average full-time employment by at least 40% the second and third quarters of 2020 when compared to 2019. Restaurant owners may be eligible to claim a $5,000 tax credit for each full-time worker they hire after March 31, 2021, up to 10 workers.
As part of the budget, the state will make up to $35 million available in tax credits, with each restaurant capped at a maximum of $50,000.
Retired Great Barrington Fire Chief Harry Jennings dies of cancer
GREAT BARRINGTON — Former Fire Chief Harry Jennings, who served the town’s department for 38 years and inspired generations of firefighters, died Monday morning after a 10-year battle with cancer.
Town officials remembered Jennings for his commitment to the community and the fire department. The town has lowered flags to half-mast in honor of Jennings, who was chief from 2001 to 2012, when he retired due to health issues. Current Fire Chief Charlie Burger called Jennings a talented incident commander and tireless advocate to the department and community. “His biggest achievements as chief were overseeing the construction of a new first station designed to serve the town for 50-100 years, advocating for the best training for Berkshire County, building a solid fire prevention program, and developing the next generation of firefighters,” Burger said. “Chief Jennings will be missed but his legacy will live on. Great Barrington was blessed to have him.”
New York to make $2.1B available to undocumented immigrants. Here’s how it will work.
New York is set to give payments to thousands of undocumented workers excluded from federal benefits and unemployment payments during the pandemic due to their immigration status. The excluded worker fund, included in a $212 billion budget deal passed by the state Legislature last week, can also provide payments for other low-income workers who weren’t eligible for the relief measures The fund can provide payments of $15,600 or $3,200 to eligible recipients, depending on the criteria they meet. That is much higher than the $500 one-time cash benefit that was set aside in a similar program in California.
‘Food banks are going to be needed’: Groups seek collaboration in fight against hunger
GREAT BARRINGTON — The People’s Pantry officially opens at 10 a.m. Thursdays, but people sometimes show up as early as 8:30 to get in line. The coronavirus pandemic not only has moved lines outdoors for safety reasons, it has made the lines longer than ever. Some visitors previously have worked at the Great Barrington pantry as volunteers, but having lost jobs or working hours in the recession, many are getting food at the pantry for the first time or coming in more frequently. Many people had been seasonally unemployed for months when the pandemic hit last year. The pantry served about 60 to 80 households a week before the pandemic, mostly households of one or two people. But, during the pandemic, it found itself serving as many as 300 people a week, with an average household size of about three people. While it previously relied heavily on donated produce and shelf-stable foods from Big Y and Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, the pantry, having heard feedback from community members, now is buying more fresh food from those supermarkets, as well as sourcing food locally from places like High Lawn Farm in Lee, Mountain Falls Farm in Sheffield, and Sky Farm and Lila’s Mountain Lamb in Stockbridge. Berkshire Grown and Berkshire Bounty, two other nonprofits based in South County, help connect pantries with farms and transport the food.
Connecticut issues guidelines for proms, graduation events
High school proms and graduation ceremonies can take place this spring but should have precautions to reduce the possibility of spreading COVID-19, Connecticut’s Department of Public Health said.
Attendees should wear masks and practice social distancing regardless of their vaccination status, the department said Friday as it issued a series of guidelines. Events also should be held outdoors with a scheduled rain date, rather than moving indoors.
Schools holding indoor events should consider reducing capacity, health officials said. Also, delaying events until later in the school year or after the end of the school year will give more students the opportunity to be vaccinated. The state recommended schools set up mass testing sites and require attendees to show proof of a negative test result within 72 hours of the event.
Schools also should consider not serving food and drinks to reduce the amount of time people have to take off their masks, the state said.
Cornwall paddle ball court proposal on hold
BY RUTH EPSTEIN REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
CORNWALL — Board of Selectmen members favor increased recreational activities in town, such as the proposal of installing paddle tennis courts, but their desires may be blocked by finances. During the board’s meeting last week, Nell Nicholas gave a presentation on behalf of a group who would like to see such courts built at Foote Field. She said the cost would be $133,000 for the entire project, which would include construction of the courts and installation of propane tanks and electricity. They are hoping the town would split the expenditure, contributing $66,000. Selectman Marina Kotchoubey said, “More recreational offerings are great, but finances need another look.”
Ridgway said, “The board is definitely interested in looking at this, but we have to look at the costs.”
Great Barrington came to the rescue.
Gina Beligni has spent the last few years trying to downsize, and righting her finances and credit after a divorce left her with a Sandisfield home that she couldn’t afford to carry or repair. She managed to dig herself out of a financial mess, and sold the home, capitalizing on a sellers real estate market that also made it hard for her to buy a new house. And things went sideways. A missed mortgage payment in the past disqualified her from a low interest rate. Beligni, 54, makes too much at her administrative job at Fairview Hospital, but too little to qualify for significant public assistance. Then came a series of fortuitous events that led her to the Great Barrington Affordable Housing Trust. Through the trust’s down payment assistance program, Beligni was able to put 20 percent down on the $145,000 townhouse, with an interest-free loan. It’s the fourth such loan the housing trust has made since it empaneled in 2019 with $110,000 from the town’s Community Preservation Act funds; it received anther $100,000 the following year. With permission from the CPA committee, about $85,000 has gone to housing nonprofit Construct, Inc. for rental assistance.
Connecticut marijuana law allows employers to prohibit worker use
Connecticut appears closer than ever to legalizing recreational marijuana, but that doesn’t mean workers won’t get fired for using it outside of work. The current draft of Gov. Ned Lamont’s proposal for legalizing recreational marijuana would explicitly allow employers to forbid workers from having any detectible traces of the drug in their bodies. The active ingredient of marijuana – tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC – can remain in the bloodstream for weeks. This means an employer can sanction an employee following a positive drug test, even if the effects of the drug wore off long before the employee clocked into work.
Cornwall approves speed bumps
The Cornwall Board of Selectmen have approved a request from Trinity Conference Center to install three speed bumps along its property on Lower River Road. First Selectman Gordon M. Ridgway said he’s generally not in favor of the bumps, but he understands the problem of speeding in that area. The bumps will be used in spring, summer and fall, but not in winter to avoid interference with plowing. Center employees will maintain the bumps, and selectmen will ask for the center’s insurance and that signs are posted warning of the bumps.
Cornwall will host a smaller event for Memorial Day
First Selectman Gordon M. Ridgway is not advising the usual Memorial Day celebration because of the pandemic, but said some type of event should be held to recognize veterans. He suggested a mobile parade could be held in which residents drive by all the town’s cemeteries and then conclude with a small gathering on the town Green.
A new scholarship for Housatonic students
A new $500 scholarship is available to a graduating student at Housatonic Valley Regional High School from a Kent-based business, TrailHeads. To apply, students should fill out the HVRHS Common Scholarship application and email it to email@example.com along with their response to a question. Contact Kristina Simonds at HVRHS or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Applications must be submitted by May 1 to be considered.
New York’s students can now be 3 feet apart in classrooms; no barriers required
Students in New York’s classrooms can now be three feet apart in most instances, without barriers between their desks, as the state Health Department on Friday updated its distancing rules for schools.
Adults in school, though, should still be six feet apart and six feet from students, according to the department’s updated guidelines.
The change for student distancing had been widely expected since the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its recommendations on March 19 to say that three feet of distance is sufficient for mask-wearing students in classrooms. The new rule should make it easier for school districts to return more students to school at once.
Global health fellowship launched in honor of Sheffield woman killed in air crash
SHEFFIELD — A fellowship in honor of Samya Stumo, a Sheffield native who died two years ago in an airline crash, has been launched to support young women who also want to pursue ideas to revolutionize global public health. This year, the Washington-based ThinkWell Institute will fund four women from several countries through the Samya Rose Stumo Memorial Fellowship for Global Health to work full time for one year on a project of their choosing.
Great Barrington’s fourth cannabis shop set to open this week
Farnsworth Fine Cannabis, one of the state’s first LGBTQ+-owned cannabis retailers, will be selling packs of filtered cannabis cigarettes with its own product beginning Friday. The company will sell different kinds of cigarettes, in addition to flower and a jewelry and clothing line along with new and vintage smoking wares.
Six Torrington police officers test positive, one in hospital
BY BRUNO MATARAZZO JR. REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
TORRINGTON — The city’s police department has become a hot spot for COVID-19 cases with six patrol officers infected with the virus, including one who was hospitalized since last week. The sudden surge is staggering for a department with 67 officers, including 48 in patrol, that saw very few cases in the first year of the pandemic.
The hospitalized officer was not intubated but has been given oxygen. He was expected to be released soon. Torrington Police Chief William Baldwin. RA archives
“The report I got is that he’s doing much better,” Police Chief William Baldwin said. Torrington and other cities and towns in the Naugatuck Valley remain hot spots for COVID-19 cases. Torrington has seen 52.8 cases per 100,000 population over the past two weeks
European COVID strain causing cases to spike in Connecticut
BY PAUL HUGHES REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
The number of cases of the B.1.1.7 variant of the coronavirus jumped 40% since last week as overall COVID-19 cases have also continued to mount.
The latest weekly report documented 200 more cases of the more contagious strain of the virus that was first identified in the United Kingdom last fall.
The 649 reported B.1.1.7 cases represent slightly more than 20% of the nearly 3,000 state cases involving variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been approximately 135,900 overall cases reported since the start of 2021. The first Connecticut cases were reported in January shortly after the mutation was initially detected in the United States in late December.
Claverack board unsure of COVID-19 rule enforcement at park
By Aliya Schneider Columbia-Greene Media
CLAVERACK — Enforcing COVID-19 guidelines at a municipal park is not a clear-cut propostion for town board members. Signs instructing visitors at Claverack Town Park to social distance and wear masks will be installed at the park in Mellenville, said board Deputy Supervisor Stephen Hook Thursday’s board meeting. The signs will be in English and Spanish and will be ready to be posted within the week.
Town Supervisor Clifford Weigelt does not know how the town can enforce the COVID-19 precautions, he said. But park workers will try to remind people the virus is still an issue, he added.
Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington sets target date for reopening
Six weeks after the Phoenix Theatres Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield began showing movies again, a second Berkshire County theater operator has set a target date for reopening. Richard Stanley, who owns the Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington, said Thursday that he is “98 percent” sure that the three-cinema complex will reopen May 21 — the week before Memorial Day. The Beacon, which reopened Feb. 26, and the North Adams Movieplex 8, which has been open since August, are the only Berkshire venues showing live movies. Regal Cinemas, the country’s second-largest movie chain, reopened its 10-cinema complex in the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough on Aug, 27, before closing all its theaters nationwide Oct. 7 because of health concerns stemming from COVID-19.
Silver Alert issued for missing Colebrook man
NORTH CANAAN — State police issued a Silver Alert for a missing 64-year-old man from Colebrook early Friday. Andrew Gahura has green eyes, weighs 190 pounds and is 5-foot-9, according to the alert.
Anyone who has information about Gahura’s location is asked to call State Police Troop B in North Canaan at 860-626-1840. A Silver Alert is issued in Connecticut when a child under 18, a person between 18 and 65 who has mental health issues or someone who is over 65 goes missing.
Connecticut lifts capacity limits on state parks, but other protocols remain in place
Despite rising vaccination rates, state parks, beaches, and campgrounds will be open for business. Connecticut’s State Parks system and boat launches are planning to return to full services, including a lift of capacity limits. Gov. Ned Lamont held a news conference Friday morning at the People’s State Forest in Barkhamsted. Personal and group compliance with COVID-19 precautions, mask wearing, and maintaining social distance practices will be essential to the safety of park visitors and staff, and DEEP’s ability to ensure maximum safe access to these valuable resources. There is a 200-person limit for outdoor group activities in Connecticut, which may be adjusted throughout the recreation season. Most park buildings, museums, nature centers, and other enclosed structures, including restrooms, will be opened on Memorial Day weekend. Six feet of social distancing must be maintained at all times while inside park buildings, along with adhering to mask wearing requirements. Visitors who do not abide by these rules may be asked to leave state park property.
NY’s road test scheduler down for more than a week, frustrating prospective drivers
ALBANY – New York’s online and phone systems for booking road tests have been down for more than a week, leaving prospective drivers without the ability to schedule a test to get their license.
Those looking to book a test Friday were greeted with a message on the state Department of Motor Vehicles’ website warning them that the Schedule a Road Test system remained down, noting the state hopes it will be restored soon. The downed system has been an ongoing issue: Prospective drivers have taken to social media to voice their displeasure since at least the beginning of the month, with the DMV acknowledging the outage in Twitter posts dating back to at least April 2. The situation has left county clerks, many of whom oversee their county’s DMV operations, frustrated and unable to provide answers to angry motorists. Road test scheduling is handled by a communal system that applies statewide.
Region One Budget being sent along to voters
After a brief public hearing, the Region One Board of Education voted to send its $ 16,026,463.00 proposed budget to a referendum on Tuesday, May 4, Noon to 8 PM. The budget represents a 1.58% increase ($ 249,155.00) over the current spending plan. Voting takes place in each community’s Town Hall. Absentee ballots will be available as well. Contact your Town Clerk’s office for an absentee ballot.
Region One Announces A Continuation of the Assistant Superintendent Team
Falls Village, Connecticut (April 4, 2021) – The Region One Board of Education is pleased to announce
the re-appointment of Dr. Scott Fellows and Mrs. Jill Pace as the team to fill the Interim Assistant
Superintendent position for one more year. The Assistant Superintendent Search Committee,
composed of all members of the Region One Board of Education and the All Board Chairs Committee
agreed with Lisa Carter, the newly appointed Superintendent, that it was best to continue to work with
this team as they continue to support administrators and staff in the areas of curriculum and
professional learning. The strengths that each one of these individuals brings to the table due to their
respective backgrounds will continue to be important as the administrators and staff make necessary
adjustments to curriculum and professional learning as they transition to a “post-COVID-19” classroom
environment. Dr. Fellows will continue to primarily support the curriculum and professional learning
needs for Housatonic Valley Regional High School as well as for the Pre-K -12 math teachers, and Mrs.
Pace will do the same for the six Region One Pre-K-8 schools.
Connecticut could host children sent here from border, Lamont says
BY PAUL HUGHES REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
Gov. Ned Lamont says a state reply is forthcoming to a White House inquiry about the possibility of Connecticut hosting some children who have recently entered the U.S. from Mexico without their parents.
The shuttered Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown is one location that is being evaluated, Lamont and Vannessa Dorantes, the commissioner of children and families, confirmed Thursday.
Lamont said Vice President Kamala Harris asked him if Connecticut could house some of the unaccompanied migrant children and teenagers largely coming from Central America when Harris visited New Haven and West Haven on March 26. He indicated a response could come over the weekend or early next week.
COVID-19 Updates: Connecticut’s positivity rate lowers to 2.41%
On Thursday, 319,779 COVID-19 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic, which is up by 1,012 since Wednesday. Out of 42,067 tests administered, 1,012 came back positive. That results in a positivity rate of 2.41%. There were 5 additional coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the overall total to 7,940 since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations increased by 1 since Wednesday, bringing the current total to 515. The number of total tests performed since the pandemic began is now at 7,948,598 an increase of 42,067 since Wednesday.
CT seeing an increase of jobs as businesses struggle during the pandemic
While thousands are still out of work, jobs are coming back and there seems to be more confidence.
Businesses have struggled during the pandemic and many have closed, but those that managed to stay open are seeing more customers.
For restaurants, it’s been harder. More than 600 have closed during the pandemic, and as a result, there have been record numbers of unemployment in the service sector.
CT’s unemployment rate is currently at 8.5 percent with 200,000 claims filed each week, but the silver lining is jobs are coming back. In February, 3,000 jobs were added.
Economist Patrick Flaherty says its been a roller-coaster, but there is growth surprisingly in retail.
Gillibrand: ‘These are common sense reforms, and this is the time to make them’
The time has come to lower prescription drug prices in the United States, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, said Thursday afternoon at a news conference in Utica. The pandemic has proven the urgency of the issue, she said, pointing out that prices increased for 860 prescription drugs last year. Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, held the press conference at the Resource Center for Independent Living and used it to announce a three-bill package aimed at lowering drug costs.
Clearwater Festival to be held virtually for second year in a row; How to watch
For the second consecutive year, Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, also known as the Clearwater Festival, will be held virtually.
The 2021 Clearwater Festival will be held June 19, livestreamed on Clearwater’s website, clearwaterfestival.org, YouTube channel, youtube.com/channel, and Facebook page, facebook.com/sloopclearwater. The festival will run from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. and is free, though viewers are encouraged to donate.
Pedestrian accident with ‘serious injuries’ reported in Dalton
Authorities are investigating a pedestrian accident in Dalton, in which a person was struck by a motor vehicle near the Union Block on Main Street. Police Chief Deanna Strout said that a male pedestrian was hit at 7:01 p.m. and suffered serious injuries. Strout said at 9:20 p.m. that she had not yet learned of the extent of the pedestrian’s injuries or his name. She said it was not yet known whether the pedestrian’s injuries were life-threatening. A section of Main Street — also known as Routes 8 and 9 — was closed between Flansburg and Curtis avenues, roughly across from the Dalton CRA building. Traffic was being rerouted.
New York has a new property tax credit. Here’s how to tell if you qualify
ALBANY – New York has created a new property tax credit for homeowners who make less than $250,000 a year, with about a quarter of the state’s estimated 4.5 million owner-occupied homes expected to qualify.
The new tax credit, included in the state’s $212 billion budget approved this week by the Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, will apply to eligible homeowners whose property tax bill exceeds 6% of their annual income, with some exceptions.
The amount of the credit will be between $250 and $350, and it will be available through 2023. All told, it’s expected to result in $383 million in property tax savings each year, according to the state Division of the Budget. Wondering if you qualify and how much your credit will be? In general, homeowners who make less than $250,000 annually and pay more than 6% of their income toward property taxes qualify for the new credit. A homeowner seeking the credit must live in their New York home for at least 183 days out of the calendar year, similar to the STAR program. That means you can only claim the credit for one property.
Fire leaves fourteen homeless
by Bill Williams / Hudson Valley 360
PHILMONT — Fourteen people are homeless after flames tore through three buildings in the village Tuesday morning, Philmont Fire Chief Mark Beaumont said. At about 10:18 a.m., the fire, at 48-51 Block Street, was first reported as a brush fire behind the building. The ire quickly spread to a garage and then to the four-unit apartment building, and a second home, at 22 Main Street.
James Taylor concert at Tanglewood rescheduled for Aug. 31
James Taylor, back on the road this summer, is slated to perform at Tanglewood on Aug. 31, rescheduled from previous July 4 dates.
Tickets purchased for the original date will be honored Aug. 31, according to an announcement from Taylor’s team. Refunds can be obtained at the point of purchase if preferred, although ticket holders are encouraged to hold on to their tickets. More information is available at https://jamestaylor.com
The announcement from the singer’s management team pointed out that because of COVID-19 government-mandated capacity limits in Massachusetts, at this time no additional tickets will be available for the new Tanglewood date beyond what already have been sold.
Eversource Energy Announces Leadership Changes Effective May 5, 2021
Eversource Energy today announced that Jim Judge, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, will become the company’s Executive Chairman of the Board,
effective May 5, 2021. Also, effective that date, as part of the company’s leadership succession plan, Joe Nolan, Executive Vice President, Strategy, Customer and Corporate Relations, will be promoted to President and CEO and is also expected to be elected to the Board of Trustees in May, 2021. Jim Judge has served as Eversource’s President and CEO since 2016 and Chairman since 2017. Under his leadership, Eversource introduced its corporate clean energy strategy and carbon neutrality vision, and earned industry-leading #1 recognitions for ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) as well as corporate responsibility. Joe Nolan’s experience across the company positions him well to continue that record of success. He has been the executive vice president, customer and corporate relations for Eversource since the merger between Northeast Utilities and NSTAR in 2012 and assumed responsibility for the strategy function in early 2020.
Former sheriff recognized by Oath Keepers
Sarah Trafton Columbia-Greene Media
CATSKILL — As arrests from the attempted insurrection at the Capitol continue, links are being made between the rioters and an extremist group called the Oath Keepers, a far-right, anti-government, militia organization that named former Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley the New York Constitutional Sheriff in 2017. More than 300 people, including William Tryon, of Selkirk, have been charged with crimes in connection with the events of Jan. 6. Investigators identified more than 540 suspects and more arrests are anticipated. Nine of those arrested had links to the Oath Keepers, one of the largest anti-government groups in the nation, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Seeley received the Oath Keepers’ NY Constitutional Sheriff Award in 2017 while he was Greene County’s sheriff, and was a guest speaker at the group’s awards dinner, which was held in Albany.
“Sheriff Seeley has been a strong supporter of the New York Oath Keepers since we were formed in 2009,”
according to a June 8, 2017 New York Oath Keepers press release posted on the oathkeepers.org website.
Oath Keeper leader John Mahoney, who represents Greene, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster
counties, could not be reached for comment about Seeley’s membership. Seeley did not respond to requests
Region 1 board seeking 1.6% spending boost; hearing set for tonight
BY RUTH EPSTEIN Republican-American
FALLS VILLAGE – For the first time in three years, the Region 1 Board of Education budget will see an increase. Business Manager Samuel Herrick highlighted the total $16 million proposal, which would increase spending by $265,734, or 1.6%, during Monday’s board meeting in preparation for Thursday night’s Zoom hearing at 7. He spoke of the intense process involving the administration, staff and board’s budget committee to come up with the plan that features upgrades for the Housatonic Valley Regional High School building. “We have a building that was built in 1939 and things come up all the time,” Herrick said.
One new social worker position is being added to the staff, but the $85,000 appropriation will be paid through ESSR funds for next year and half that amount for the following year. The administration has said a counselor is needed to help students deal with effects of the pandemic.
Region 1 towns share in the assessment for the operation of Housatonic and this year North Canaan is getting hit with a $400,000 bill because of the addition of two students. Other towns have smaller increases or decreases, depending on the number of students enrolled.
North Canaan representative Brian D. Bartram said he was distressed the board hasn’t talked about such things as class size, course offerings or eliminating positions. Chairwoman Patricia A. Mechare of Falls Village, while sympathetic, said all of the towns have gotten hit over the years. Region 1 was established by a special act of the state legislature and to change the way it operates would mean seeking a change through the state.
BUDGET: REGION 1
Board of Education
Housatonic Valley Regional High School
2020-21 budget: $8,058,096
2021-22 proposed: $8,178,995
Proposed increase: $120,899 or 1.5%
2020-21 budget: $6,270,099
2021-22 proposed: $6,407,752
Proposed increase: $137,653 or 2.2%
2020-21 budget: $1,449,605
2021-22 proposed: $1,456,296
Proposed Increase: $6,621 or 0.5%
2020-21 budget: $15,777,309
2021-22 proposed: $16,043,043
Proposed increase: $265,734 or 1.6%
LIME ROCK PARK ANNOUNCES NEW OWNERSHIP GROUP
After 37 years of ownership, Skip Barber announced a new Lime Rock Park ownership structure to propel future growth and opportunity for the Park in the years ahead. “I am extremely excited and proud to announce the acquisition of Lime Rock Park by Lime Rock Group, LLC,” said Skip Barber. “The Group’s General Partners, Charles Mallory, Dicky Riegel and Bill Rueckert along with a group of private investors have assumed control of Lime Rock Park and are bringing outstanding new vision and vitality to Lime Rock’s operations and to our local and regional community. Lime Rock Group, LLC was formed specifically for the acquisition of Lime Rock Park. Skip Barber will remain a significant owner in the new entity and will be an integral part of its Management Committee, as the business continues to leverage Skip’s worldwide reputation in the motorsports industry. Dicky Riegel, former President & CEO of Airstream, Inc. and COO of Thor Industries, Inc., will serve as Lime Rock Park’s new CEO. “Lime Rock has been one of my favorite places and my home track for over 40 years; the same is true for my partners, Charles and Bill, both of whom consider Lime Rock a home away from home. All of us have deep roots in Connecticut and look forward to being active in the community and working collaboratively with the Town. To now be owners of this iconic and storied brand is a dream come true,” said Mr. Riegel.As Lime Rock commences the 2021 season after a pandemic-restricted year in 2020, there is much to anticipate, including an expanding events calendar, new partners and sponsors, and additional new working capital to invest in future opportunities. Lime Rock Group’s investors include seasoned motorsports luminaries and automotive entities that will immediately drive new activity for the Park, including manufacturer and sponsor relationships. Most importantly, all of the Group’s investors are passionate motorsports enthusiasts intent on burnishing Lime Rock’s traditions and reputation while also evolving to meet modern demands.
Gillibrand announces bill to break down barriers to essential social services
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced legislation to break down barriers to essential social services as Americans struggle to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Gillibrand will reintroduce the Health, Opportunities, and Personal Empowerment Act, or HOPE Act, comprehensive legislation to break down barriers for low-income individuals and families so they can access the social services and benefits they need to make ends meet. Throughout the pandemic, millions of recently unemployed Americans have turned to government support services — many for the first time — in order to keep food on the table and pay their bills. The HOPE Act would modernize and streamline how eligible recipients access critical nutrition, housing, health care, job training, and unemployment assistance programs. Companion legislation was reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Joe Morelle (D-NY).
Connecticut’s positivity rate lowers to 3.84%
On Wednesday, 318,767 COVID-19 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic, which is up by 1,038 since Tuesday. Out of 27,019 tests administered, 1,038 came back positive. That results in a positivity rate of 3.84%. There were 5 additional coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the overall total to 7,935 since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations increased by 9 since Tuesday, bringing the current total to 514. The number of total tests performed since the pandemic began is now at 7,906,531 an increase of 27,019 since Tuesday.
Private well owners in Connecticut urged to test water quality after arsenic, uranium detected
Connecticut public health officials are urging private well owners to test their water quality.
This comes after a new report put out by the U.S. Geological Survey showed high levels of naturally occurring arsenic and uranium in some wells. The research, undertaken in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, projects that approximately 3.9% of private wells across Connecticut contain water with arsenic at concentrations higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum contaminant level for public drinking-water supplies. This research also projects that 4.7% of private wells in the state have uranium concentrations higher than the EPA’s standards a press release said. Arsenic and uranium are naturally occurring metals found in bedrock. They are odorless and tasteless chemicals. Experts said wells that are sometimes drilled into bedrock aquifers can produce water containing arsenic or uranium. Unless wells are tested, there’s no way to confirm the presence or absence of these contaminants. According to the state, 23 percent, or 820,000 homes, have private wells in Connecticut.
Unlike IRS, NY will still tax first $10,200 of unemployment benefits
New York will continue to apply state income tax to 2020 unemployment benefits in full despite the federal government exempting the first $10,200. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration confirmed the decision Wednesday during a news conference on the new $212 billion state budget. The decision came almost a month after the federal government, in the most recent stimulus package, opted against taxing the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received by individuals with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000 in 2020. “There has been no change to the taxable status of the unemployment benefits,” Robert Mujica, Cuomo’s budget director, said at the news conference Wednesday. “Those benefits have been subject to state tax for decades and that has not changed.”
Woman discusses details of alleged Cuomo groping incident at Executive Mansion: report
ALBANY – The female aide who claims New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reached under her shirt and groped her in the Executive Mansion last year says the governor groomed her for the encounter over a period of years and later warned her not to tell anyone. The woman, who still works in the Capitol, detailed the encounter in her first public comments about the November incident, granting an interview to the Times Union of Albany on the condition of anonymity. In the interview, the woman said she was summoned to the Executive Mansion — the taxpayer-owned home that serves as Cuomo’s residence — in late November and told the governor needed assistance with a technical issue involving his phone. Once there, the governor came out from behind his desk and began groping her, she claims. When she warned Cuomo that he would get them in trouble, he slammed a nearby door shut and told her he didn’t care, she told the newspaper.
Rep. Delgado Reintroduces Legislation to Rebuild Rural Communities
U.S. Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19) along with Reps. Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Angie Craig (MN-02), and Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) reintroduced the Rebuild Rural America Act in the House. This legislation would deliver federal resources directly to rural communities as they respond to, and recover from, the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. The Rebuild Rural America Act would establish a dedicated stream of federal funding for rural communities and provide guaranteed, multi-year, flexible block grants to support regional economic growth and recovery.
Amid resistance, Sandisfield approves commercial pot-cultivation plan
SANDISFIELD — A company’s long battle for a permit to grow and process cannabis in the Berkshires advanced Monday, when the Select Board approved the plan, and set a number of conditions.
Those include control of odors and noise, as well as security, hours of operation and use of 100 percent renewable energy. A surety bond to force restoration of potential damage to roads could face legal hurdles, said board chairman Brian O’Rourke, but Sama Productions LLC is planning to take photos of the road before and after and to restore it to its initial state.
Most conditions on the town’s special permit already are required by the state Cannabis Control Commission, the licensing agency, said board member George Riley.
NY lags in vaccinating older adults as eligibility expands to 16 and older, CDC data shows
As New York opens COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to those 16 and older Tuesday, the state has lagged behind national averages in getting shots to more elderly people.
New York’s vaccination rate for those age 65 and older falls within a group of 15 states lagging behind the rest of the country, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data as of Sunday.
For example, New York has administered about 117,000 vaccine doses per 100,000 people in the 65-plus group, ranking it 45th lowest nationally as of Sunday, CDC data show. It only outpaced Oregon, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi and Hawaii.
Just last week, New York ranked 44th lowest in vaccinating the critical older age group, reaching 67% of those in that population, below the 70% national average, according to the Empire Center, a conservative think tank in Albany that released a report on the issue Monday.
New York ranked 24th for immunizing the total population over 18, and 9th for the population between 18 and 65.
Legalizing recreational marijuana in Connecticut has moved a step closer.
On Tuesday, the Judiciary Committee voted ‘yes,’ most Democrats saying ‘yes,’ as most Republicans voted ‘no.’
There’s no question that the pressure is on, especially now that New York has legalized marijuana and it’s been legal in Massachusetts for a few years.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont supports it, and wants it passed this year.
Solid Sound Festival at Mass MoCA canceled
The Solid Sound Festival has been canceled due to the pandemic.
“We don’t expect it comes as a surprise that Solid Sound Festival won’t take place in 2021,” read a post on the festival’s Facebook page. “We’ll miss our biennial trip to the Berkshires, but will use this extended time off to plan the best rendition of the festival yet.
“We look forward to seeing you again at MASS MoCA in early Summer 2022.”
Barrington Stage Company announces summer season, including four indoor
PITTSFIELD — This summer, Barrington Stage Company is moving theater back indoors.
Taking advantage of Gov. Charlie Baker’s COVID-19 safety guidelines permitting the reopening of theaters and performance venues in Massachusetts, Barrington Stage Company will be the first — and, as of this date, only — Berkshires-area theater to produce indoors this summer.
Four of the seven productions scheduled by BSC for its 2021 season will be staged at the theater’s Boyd-Quinson Stage on Union Street. Three other shows will be presented outdoors, under a tent at BSC’s Production Center at 34 Laurel St., just off Merrill Road.
Legislation would let Connecticut restaurants keep portion of sales tax
Gov. Lamont is not in favor of the idea
A coronavirus relief bill is proposing to allow restaurants to temporarily retain a portion of sales taxes collected on meals.
The Connecticut Restaurant Association is backing the legislation that would permit restaurants to keep 1% of the 7.35% sales tax on meals for the upcoming 2022 fiscal year. State legislators on the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee conducted a hearing Monday on House Bill 6673. If enacted, restaurants would be permitted to retain 1% of sales taxes collected on meals sold from July 1 through June 30, 2022.
Dan Meiser, chairman of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, testified that the temporary measure will help the hard hit restaurant industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Ned Lamont in North Haven on Monday was not supportive of the relief bill.
COVID-19 Updates: Connecticut’s positivity rate is at 3.28%
On Monday, 316,655 COVID-19 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic, which is up by 2,699 since Friday. Out of 82,365 tests administered, 2,699 came back positive. That results in a positivity rate of 3.28%. There were 19 additional coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the overall total to 7,923 since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations decreased by 15 since Friday, bringing the current total to 484. The number of total tests performed since the pandemic began is now at 7,858,053 an increase of 82,365 since Friday.
Swiss Hutte sold to NYC restaurateurs
Aliya Schneider Columbia-Greene Media
COPAKE — The Swiss Hutte Inn and Restaurant closed after a run spanning several decades and will reopen in the fall under new ownership.
Cindy Alper, of North Salem, and Gert Alper, of Zurich, Switzerland, bought the Swiss Hutte Inn in 1986, Gert Alper said Thursday. Another couple, Tom Breen and Linda Breen, purchased it before the Alpers in
1962 and gave it the Swiss Hutte name, Town Supervisor Jeanne Mettler said. The inn has a Hillsdale mailing address and is located on both sides of the state line between Copake and Egremont, Massachusetts.
The Alpers shut their doors Feb. 28 and the sale was closed March 22, Gert Alper said. The new owners, Noah Bernamoff and Matt Kliegman, plan to renovate the inn and open in the fall, Bernamoff said Friday. They do not know whether they will keep the Swiss Hutte name. The duo does not plan on making major changes to the building and will run their design by Copake officials. Bernamoff lives in Germantown and Kliegman lives in New York City and part-time in Germantown. Bernamoff and Kliegman run Black Seed Bagels, a bagel shop with six New York City locations. Bernamoff also owns Grand Army, a bar and seafood restaurant in Brooklyn, and Celestine, a Mediterranean restaurant in Brooklyn. Kliegman owns The Smile, a Mediterranean-style cafe with four New York City locations. ants and desires, people are definitely a little more healthconscious than they were in 1985,” he said. “We haven’t nailed anything down yet.”
CONTEMPORARY VISUAL ARTS SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS AVAILABLEFALLS VILLAGE, CT APRIL 4, 2021
The Contemporary Visual Arts Scholarship (CVAS) waslaunched in 2004 to assist, encourage and promote study in a chosen discipline within the spectrum of visual arts at a college or university of the recipient’s choice. Each year a graduating senior of HVRHS is awarded the $40,000 scholarship.Applications for the 2021 year are available through the HVRHS (art department) and Counseling office. The application deadline this year is April 30, 2021.
Kent to hire for positions vacated during the pandemic
BY LYNN MELLIS WORTHINGTON Republican-American
KENT – After a difficult year when town offices have conducted business with their offices closed to the public, Kent now must fill several vacancies due to resignations. The selectmen recently hired Jennifer Dubray as the town’s new assessor after longtime assessor Patricia Braislin retired after 35 years of service to the town. Braislin retired on Feb. 15, and during the interim Dubray and James Hurlbut, both assistant assessors, manned the office and kept things flowing smoothly. Dubray was the only applicant. Another position recently vacated is the Park and Recreation director when Lesly Ferris resigned after 22 years in the role. Ferris submitted her letter to the selectmen dated March 15 and her last day was Friday. The selectmen want to form a search committee of five people, with three members from the Park and Recreation Commission along with Selectman Edward Matson, to hire a new director. However, the fifth person is still being sought from the public. Interested residents should email email@example.com. Selectmen are still working to hire a manager for the transfer station and have received applications. They held an executive session Wednesday but took no action but did agree to set up a committee to hire a new transfer station attendant.
TOWN OF HILLSDALE APPROVES “JAMS IN THE HAMLET”
Free Monthly Concert Series Will Run May-October in Hillsdale Hamlet Park
[Hillsdale, NY, April 5, 2021] – At its March 9th meeting, the Hillsdale Town Board approved a proposed monthly concert series to be held in Hillsdale Hamlet Park and hosted by the Hillsdale Hamlet Committee on the third Saturday of the month from May to September, and on the second Saturday of October (with Pumpkin Fest). The series will feature professional musicians performing a different musical genre each month. Local sponsors so far include Taconic Ridge Farm, Hawthorne Valley Farm Store, Random Harvest Market and the Hillsdale Economic Development Committee with more to be announced. Funds for the event are also being raised through the sale of “Jams in the Hamlet” merchandise and an online concert by event promoter Garrin Benfield on April 25. “Jams in the Hamlet” will be produced by Hillsdale residents Garrin Benfield and his husband Jason Durant along with the Hillsdale Hamlet Committee. Garrin and Jason moved to Hillsdale in 2019 and have since become full-time residents.
Concerts will be held from 5:00-7:00 PM with the park opening for guests at 4pm. Admission is FREE, but donations are encouraged.
Complete list of acts who will perform at the event:
May 15: Bluegrass with Sleepy Hollow String Band
June 19: Classical with Hudson Festival Players
July 17: Jazz with the Hudson Valley Jazz Quartet
August 21: Singer/Songwriters Kerri Powers and Lisa and Lori Brigantino
September 18: Children’s Performer and Grammy nominee Brady Rymer and Claudia Mussen
October 9: Community Talent Night at Pumpkin Fest
Event Information: https://www.facebook.com/jamsinthehamlet
NY budget: $5B tax deal, mobile sports betting to fund middle-class breaks, SUNY tuition freeze
ALBANY – New York lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo were nearing a budget deal Sunday that would raise about $5 billion in a year in new revenue through higher taxes on the rich and legalizing mobile sports betting. The infusion of cash would be used to fund record spending on education, expand full-day pre-kindergarten, restore $400 million in middle-class tax cuts and provide $2.4 billion in aid to tenants and landlords amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The package was coming together late Sunday as the sides look to pass a $200 billion budget in the coming days after missing the deadline to have a spending plan at the beginning of the fiscal year, which started April 1. The details, obtained by the USA TODAY Network New York, would achieve the some of the priorities of the Democrat-led Legislature, who have been pressing Cuomo to support higher taxes on the wealthy, despite $12.6 billion in federal aid to help New York close its $15 billion budget gap over the next two years.
Ahead of pot farm vote, Sandisfield residents question deed that restricts land to homes
SANDISFIELD — A cannabis grower seeking to operate a greenhouse and manufacturing business has given town officials additional information they had requested to inform their vote Monday on whether to grant a special permit for the project. The company, Sama Productions LLC, provided details on the potential for noise, pollution, and proof that the company can operate its proposed business on property it owns near the state forest. The deed attached to the company’s three lots totaling 60 acres, however, has a restriction placed on it by the property’s seller that Jesse Belcher-Timme, an attorney for a group of residents, says should, in part, disqualify the company from receiving the permit. That restriction says only single-family homes can be built there. Select Board members, noting at last week’s public hearing that the restriction is an issue between the buyer and seller only, said their concern is whether it would prevent Sama from operating their business
North Canaan budget in flux as priorities may change
BY RUTH EPSTEIN Republican-American
CANAAN — The proposed municipal budget for 2021-22 is lower than the current budget, but if Board of Finance Chairwoman Nancy O’Connor’s recommendations are followed, that will change. During Wednesday’s meeting, she spoke about the need to address some long-standing issues.
She came with a list of concerns, among them the town’s roads. She said First Selectman Charles P. Perotti put together a list of high priorities, including Canaan Valley Road, Allyndale Road and Pease Street. With no funds allocated for that purpose, O’Connor is proposing to establish a capital fund strictly for roads. O’Connor also stipulated other areas that need addressing, including painting and repairs to Town Hall, as well as upgrading a bathroom, which she set at $10,000, up from the budgeted $2,000; painting and repairs to the capital nonrecurring account of the Roraback building, which houses Canaan History Center, for $10,000, up from the budgeted $1,500; an increase of $5,000 to $75,000 to Canaan Fire Company’s nonrecurring account for equipment. If all additional increases are approved, they would add $127,000 to the budget’s bottom line, bringing it to $2,855,504. Members asked representatives from the Recreation Commission to come to that meeting to explain their proposed spending plan. Sorrell wants to know why there’s a requested increase when programs were curtailed over the past year. Representatives from North Canaan Elementary also will be asked to attend.
Hillsdale Park trash policy ineffective, residents say
By Aliya Schneider Columbia-Greene Media
HILLSDALE — The Hamlet Park in Hillsdale has a carry-in, carry-out policy for trash, which some residents have seen as ineffective.
The town plans to install signs in the park to inform the public about the trash policy, Town Supervisor Christian Kersten said. “The signs will be posted as soon as they are available,” he said. Trash cans were eliminated eight years ago because people were routinely putting their household garbage into park trash cans. Tamara Carroll posted in a local Hillsdale Facebook group March 30 that she saw a diaper, empty bottles and broken glass left at the playground. She saw a pizza box, several empty bottles and broken glass around the baby swings, she wrote. The town Hamlet Committee has been planning a renovation for the park. A design for a park renovation developed by the Hamlet Committee and Chazen Design consultants was approved at the February town board meeting. The park plan will address trash and maintenance needs to
support increased use. Funds for the park renovation will be raised from grants and donations. The estimated cost of the renovation is $1.2 million to $1.5 million, according to a Feb. 14 Hamlet Committee
New filtration system at Housatonic plant proposed to end water troubles
By Heather Bellow, The Berkshire Eagle
GREAT BARRINGTON — Housatonic Water Works Co. is proposing a new filtration system that consultants say will rid the network of discolored-water episodes that, for years, have plagued its customers.
In a March 29 statement on its website, the company says it plans to install an “ultrafiltration membrane treatment system” that would address high levels of naturally occurring manganese at Long Pond, the water source. The decision to purchase and install the $1.7 million system came after consultant Lenard Engineering studied a number of technologies that remove manganese and said this product from Koch Separations Solutions would be most effective for the cost. The method first will be tested in a pilot study at the waterworks using smaller equipment, a requirement of the state agencies that oversee the utility. And the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities would have to approve the cost of the new system, since it would fall to ratepayers. A preliminary estimate pegs that cost at about $15 extra on monthly bills, according to Jim Mercer, treasurer and co-owner of the waterworks. plant dates to 1939 and does not meet current state standards. The new equipment would satisfy a number of the DEP’s corrective orders, the DEP had also said that excessive leaks in the system are costing the Housatonic Water Works Co. and its customers.
The new equipment would not change plans to eventually replace old mains.
Author to discuss myths about New England cuisine
New England cuisine, cocktails and history will be topics of conversation April 14 at 7 p.m. during a virtual program offered by Kent Memorial Library and House of Books. Author Meg Muckenhoupt will discuss her book, “The Truth About Baked Beans,” with Lakeville Journal Executive Editor Cynthia Hochswender. Muckenhourpt delves into the history of this cuisine, explaining why and how “New England food” actually came to be. Registration is available at kentmemorialibrary.org
Copies of the book are available for sale at houseofbooksct.com.
Week ends in Connecticut with nearly 500 hospitalized by COVID
BY PAUL HUGHES REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
The positive test rate ticked down for a second day as state health officials on Friday reported more than 1,500 additional COVID-19 cases in the state. The percentage of positive results dropped down from 4.5% reported Thursday to 3.5% based on new test results that the state Department of Public Health received. The daily positive test rate reached 5.3% on Tuesday, its highest level since Jan. 20. DPH officials reported 1,542 new cases of COVID-19 out of 44,111 test results included in Friday’s report. There now have been 313,956 cases since the first infections were identified in early March 2020. There was a net increase of seven patients hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported Friday to 499 statewide, including 219 patients in New Haven County, 125 patients in Fairfield County, and 118 patients in Hartford County.
Over 100,000 people signed up for a vaccine since eligibility expanded
Since eligibility opened up to all adults Thursday in Connecticut, over 100,000 people signed up for appointments. Clinics, like the Community Health Center Inc. (CHC) site at Wesleyan University, has been seeing a steady flow of people coming in for their shots. Community Health Center said they have been vaccinating 700 people at that location per day, and that number could go up as they add more workers to help give out the shots. CHC’s Director of Community Relations Gary Wallace said there has been an influx of people in the new age range signing up for vaccines, and they’re making changes to accommodate them. They’re aiming to vaccinated 250,000 people by the beginning of May. CHC will also be open this holiday weekend, as will other sites across the state.
First deployment of body-worn cameras by New York State Police
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Police has deployed its first body-worn cameras as the agency’s new program begins its statewide rollout. The requirement for Troopers to wear body-worn cameras is the result of legislation that was signed into law last June by Governor Cuomo. The body-worn cameras will be worn by uniform members at the rank of Trooper while they are on patrol. The first cameras will be deployed in Troop G in the Capital Region and training and cameras will be expanded to NYSP members statewide on a gradual, rolling basis. The full deployment for Troop G should be completed by late April or early May. The cameras will be then be deployed in Troop NYC, with Troops K, L, F, C, E, A, D and B to follow throughout the summer and fall. Troopers stationed in Troop T on the NYS Thruway will receive cameras at the same time as the Troop in which they are geographically located. The exact order and timing of the deployments will depend on the completion of infrastructure and information technology upgrades and buildouts at each of the 250 barracks statewide.
Connecticut Emissions testing halted due to issue with vendor’s operating system
Emissions testing in the state has been halted after the testing program was hit by a massive outage. The Dept. of Motor Vehicles said the testing vendor, who runs the program, is currently working to fix its operating system. No emissions testing is currently available.
It’s unclear when it will be back up and running.
The DMV said police won’t cite anyone for their emissions not being up to date. At this time, the state is asking anyone trying to schedule a test to check back in a day or two as they wait for the vendor to get their operating system fixed.
Massachusetts to begin COVID-19 mobile and pop-up vaccine clinics
BOSTON (AP) — The state is planning to launch a new strategy to bring COVID-19 vaccine shots to some of the state’s hardest hit areas.
Beginning next week and ramping up over time, mobile and pop-up clinics will take to the streets of Chelsea, Revere, Boston, Fall River and New Bedford. Vaccine doses will be picked up by mobile vaccination teams at the Hynes Convention Center — one of the state’s mass vaccination sites — and then distributed and administered in the communities.
Most of the mobile units and pop-up clinics will be set up in city parks, parking lots, and other community locations identified by the municipalities as easy to access for community members.
Connecticut launches next COVID-19 vaccine phase: 16-over now eligible
HARTFORD – The final age group of residents 16 to 44 years old are now able to schedule appointments to get COVID-19 vaccine shots.
Gov. Ned Lamont on Wednesday declared the state vaccination program ready to proceed to this next phase four and a half months after its mid-December launch. The expansion comes as the infection rate has been ticking up with the biggest increases among younger people who will now be eligible to get vaccinate.
Connecticut announces 100 more pharmacies will begin offering COVID vaccine
On Wednesday, the state announced that 100 additional pharmacies throughout the state will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines over the next several days. To scheduled an appointment, click here or call 877-918-2224.The new pharmacies that are being added to Connecticut’s COVID-19 vaccination program in Northwest Connecticut include:
• Big Y Pharmacy: 504 Winsted Road, Torrington
• Petricones Torrington Pharmacy: 110 East Main Street, Torrington
Bard College Receives $500 Million Endowment Pledge from Investor and Philanthropist George Soros
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY – Bard College today announced a transformational $500 million endowment from philanthropist and long-time Bard supporter George Soros. This challenge grant —among the largest ever made to higher education in the United States — will facilitate and strengthen Bard’s exemplary educational and social initiatives, establish the College’s most substantial endowment ever, and set the stage for a $1 billion endowment drive. In response to Mr. Soros’s generous challenge grant, Bard announced it has raised an additional $250 million from supporters, including trustees, alumni/ae, and friends, and will raise another $250 million over the next five years.
Hillsdale family homeless after Fire
By Bill Williams Columbia-Greene Media
HILLSDALE — A family is homeless after fire broke out in the basement of their Hillsdale home on Tuesday night. When the first firefighters arrived at the home they reported a dryer was burning and
requested mutual aid from Mellenville Fire Company. The dryer was engulfed in flames and all the clothes were burning and the house was filled with thick smoke. Everyone got out safely and there were no reported injuries. Fire police provided traffic control on County Route 21 through the area. Philmont Fire Company and Greenport Rescue Squad were called to the scene and both fire companies were back in service at 9:44 p.m.
Salisbury Bank Announces 2021 Community Shred ‘Drive-Thru’ Days Schedule
Community Shred “Drive-thru” Days will include a Free Shred Day as part of the Bank’s commitment to help in
the fight against identity theft, and a Food Drive to support local food pantries in the area. The Community Days
will take place during the months of May through October at select branches throughout the tri-state area, and
are open to all local residents and businesses.
Amy Raymond, Executive Vice President and Chief Retail Banking Officer stated, “With the increased
importance of minimizing the risk of identity theft and fraud, our Shred Day events continue to help community
members securely dispose of sensitive documents to aid in protecting themselves.”
Community Shred “Drive-thru” Days are open to anyone at the locations listed below from 9:00 a.m. to Noon.
Saturday, May 22nd – Dover Plains Branch, 5 Dover Village Plaza, Dover Plains, NY
Saturday, June 19th – Lakeville Branch, 5 Bissell Street, Lakeville, CT
Saturday, August 21st – Lakeville Branch, 5 Bissell Street, Lakeville, CT
Saturday, September 18th – Millerton Branch, 87 Main Street, Millerton, NY
Saturday, October 2nd – Sheffield Branch, 640 North Main Street, Sheffield, MA
Saturday, October 9th – Fishkill Branch, 701 Route 9, Suite 7, Fishkill, NY
Saturday, October 16th – Lakeville Branch, 5 Bissell Street, Lakeville, CT
For the safety of all participants and volunteers the Bank has changed its Shred Days format to “Drive-thru”, and
established the following guidelines:
Limit 4 bags / boxes per car (paper only; no binders)
Must wear a facial cover / mask
You will be guided to drop-off your boxes at the designated area to be shredded by Bank staff
Stay in your car until you reach the drop-off point
If you feel unwell, please stay home
Southern Berkshire schools to go all-remote due to COVID-19 cases; in-person start delayed to April 12
SHEFFIELD — Schools in the Southern Berkshire Regional School District will switch to all-remote learning beginning Friday after two new COVID-19 cases emerged Thursday morning — and due to a general uptick in infections in the community. Mount Everett Regional Middle and High Schools, Undermountain Regional Elementary School and New Marlborough Central School also will have a half-day Friday. Also, the district will push the state-mandated April 4 in-person reopening to April 12, Superintendent Beth Regulbuto said in an email sent to district families Thursday. Sports and afterschool programs are suspended during this time. On Wednesdays from April 12 to the end of the year, students’ days will end at 1:30 p.m. “in support of the faculty and staff,” Regulbuto wrote. Two students received positive test results Thursday, on the heels of a staff member testing positive earlier this week, and another case last week, because students were not in school over the last week, no one had been exposed. Yet the decision was “very challenging,” she said, despite being “lucky.”
Connecticut’s proposed carbon tax bill clears hurdle
BY PAUL HUGHES REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
HARTFORD – Rep. Maria Horn, D-Salisbury, backed a proposed carbon tax on large gasoline and diesel suppliers Tuesday because she says climate change is more costly to her constituents than higher fuel prices.
Horn and other Democrats on the Environment Committee advanced a top legislative proposal from Gov. Ned Lamont for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and financing for transportation, economic development, public health and environmental justice initiatives.
Lamont is asking the legislature to authorize Connecticut’s participation in the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program, a proposed regional cap-and-trade program that will require large fuel suppliers to purchase carbon allowances for the pollution caused by the use of the products they sell in participating states.
“I represent a very rural part of the state. A lot of small towns. We have very little public transportation. So, people drive. I drive a lot, and so the costs that this bill might impose on my constituents is meaningful to me,” Horn said. Her Northwestern Corner district covers all or parts eight towns and the city of Torrington.
Cornwall hearing set on rules for home businesses
BY RUTH EPSTEIN Republican-American
CORNWALL – Planning and Zoning Commission members have completed the draft for the revised home business regulations that will be taken to a hearing April 13 at 7 p.m. During a special meeting Tuesday, members made some changes after hearing Town Attorney Perley Grimes’ recommendations. Chairwoman Anna Timell noted the commissioners have been working on the amendments for 21 months. The commission undertook the task to allow for modernizing the rules that reflect the increase in those who are now working from home, yet making sure there are no adverse effects to residential neighborhoods. Most of Tuesday’s discussion centered on Grimes’ suggestion about how much floor space in a home should be dedicated to the business. After much input from commission members, they concluded a business should not exceed 49% of that space in the primary dwelling. A full 100% of a home business in an accessory building will be permitted. If additional room is needed, a special permit will be required.
Marist, with 400-plus COVID cases in March, extends campus restrictions
Two weeks after initiating campus-wide restrictions to combat a COVID-19 outbreak that had surpassed 100 cases, Marist College was still facing more than 150 active cases. That number is part of more than 400 total reported cases for the month of March. While the tally of active cases among on-campus students is trending down, the number of those who live off campus remained over 100 Wednesday. That’s even as the Dutchess County health department this week said there was no evidence the Marist outbreak has spread beyond the college’s community.
Accordingly, the school again extended and tightened campus restrictions Wednesday, through at least April 4. All classes will continue to be held remotely.
Fire alarm problem flagged a month before Jacob’s Pillow blaze
BECKET — On Oct. 31, a local security firm monitoring the sprinkler and fire alarm system at Jacob’s Pillow called an employee at the dance center after the alarm system at the Doris Duke Theatre had not self-tested or received signals the day before. The employee told Lee Audio N’ Security, which monitors fire protection systems at the Pillow, to “ignore the fault,” essentially severing a key communications network between the two locations. Less than three weeks later, on Nov. 17, a blaze destroyed the theater. No one was injured in the early morning fire at the Pillow, one of the dance world’s most celebrated institutions.
SHEFFIELD’S VOLUNTEER HOSE COMPANY # 1 WILL HOLD THEIR 2ND ANNUAL EASTER WAVE PARADE ON SUNDAY APRIL 4TH.
ALL RESIDENTS WHO ARE OUTSIDE ARE ENCOURAGED TO STAY WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THEIR PROPERTY. THEY MUST WEAR MASKS AND PROPER SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES WILL BE STRICTLY ENFORCED. CHECK OUT THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE FOR PARADE ROUTES AND EXACT TIMES
THE GREAT BARRINGTON FIRE DISTRICT WATER DEPARTMENT WILL MAIL OUT FIRST QUARTER WATER BILLS ON APRIL 1ST.
A COPY OF THE 2020 CONSUMER CONFIDENCE REPORT WILL ALSO BE ENCLOSED. YOU CAN OBTAIN ADDITIONAL COPIES AT THEIR OFFICE LOCATED ON 17 EAST STREET OR CALL (413) 528-0133. THIS DOCUMENT CAN ALSO BE FOUND BY LOGGING ON TO THEIR WEB SITE: http://www.greatbarringtonwater.org
The Canaan Foundation has recently awarded 21 grants totaling $27,150 to area programs benefiting the residents of the Town of North Canaan.
Core services that received grants included the Canaan Fire Company and the North Canaan
Ambulance Service, the North Canaan Social Services office and the Douglas Library. Grants
were also made to North Canaan Beautification Committee projects, the North Canaan
Housing Authority and the Canaan History Center. Geer’s Dial-A-Ride transportation service,
the Chore Service and the Visiting Nurse and Hospice Service of Litchfield also received
Grants benefiting families and children in North Canaan included the Housatonic Youth
Services Bureau, Canaan Child Care Center, the Canaan Community Trust, Fishes and
Loaves Food Pantry, Greenwood Counseling, AHA! after school program, Steve Bass Little
League baseball program, the Canaan branch YMCA and the Camp Sloane YMCA.
Funds for The Canaan Foundation come from donations during its annual fund drive,
bequests and memorial contributions by families of deceased Canaan residents, and friends
of the Foundation.
The Canaan Foundation was established in 2000 to enhance the quality of life in the Town of
North Canaan. Since that time, the Foundation has distributed almost $370,000 in grants.
For more information and a full list of this year’s grant recipients, visit our website:
AMENIA TOWN BOARD WORKSHOP MEETING
THURSDAY APRIL 1, 2021
TOWN HALL – 1 ST FLOOR
NOTICE REGARDING APRIL 1, 2021 TOWN BOARD WORKSHOP MEETING
Pursuant to the Executive Orders issued by Governor Cuomo, and due to the public health and safety
concerns associated with the COVID-19 virus, the Town Board will be conducting the April 1, 2021
Town Board workshop meeting commencing at 7:00 with the Town Board, Town Attorney, and Town Clerk
attending this meeting via Zoom.
The public will not be permitted to attend this meeting in person.
Religious exemption for school vaccinations appears headed for repeal
BY PAUL HUGHES REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
HARTFORD — Identical House and Senate bills proposing to repeal the religious exemption for required school vaccinations appear headed out of the Public Health Committee. Initial tallies of two committee votes on Senate Bill 568 and House Bill 6423 indicated that each will easily advance out of Democrat-controlled committee. No Democrats who voted opposed either bill, and no Republicans who voted supported either one.
If the religious exemption is repealed, Connecticut would continue to have a medical exemption from childhood vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella that a physician has deemed necessary.
Live, in-person theater returns to Shakespeare and Company in July
LENOX — Shakespeare and Company will launch its 2021 season with its a first production in The New Spruce Theatre, its new outdoor amphitheater, with its first live, in-person performance since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic. Three-time Emmy Award-winner Christopher Lloyd helps to kick off the season, starring as the tragic title character of “King Lear,” running July 2 through Aug. 29. In addition to “King Lear,” Shakespeare & Company has announced “Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey,” and “Measure for Measure,” will run in its other outdoor venue, the 280-seat Roman Garden Theatre. Tickets for the season go on sale April 29 for the general public. Shakespeare and Company donors will be able to purchase tickets beginning April 22, while FLEXpass holders able to purchase tickets on April 27.
Shakespeare & Company has instituted a “COVID-19 Code of Courtesy” for all in-person outdoor shows, requiring visitors to practice social distancing and wear masks at all times. To enable contact tracing, all ticket buyers will be required to provide contact information for everyone in their party.
Sun may set on Halls-Jennings Post 153 of the American Legion
After 75 years of raising awareness about the American military and raising funds for veterans’ causes, Halls-Jennings Post 153 of the American Legion may be disbanding. Adjutant Andrew Ocif, who served in the Air Force, has been trying to find veterans who would step up and allow the organization to continue, but he has been unsuccessful and plans to call a meeting. He proposes a vote to cancel the post’s charter in May when his term is up. “I’m very disappointed and would like to see it continue, but unless we find someone, there is no choice,” he said, noting at 81 years old, he has some health issues and wants to leave the position. He noted that of the 46 current members, six are over age 90, 16 are older than 80 and 14 are 70 or above. Several are in poor health. “I have contacted and spoken to all the local members in an attempt to keep the post active with negative results,” Ocif said.
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have continued to creep up across the state and more of those patients are younger, officials at Yale New Haven Health said Tuesday. While the state’s largest health provider has seen a 77% reduction in COVID-19 patients older than 75, it has seen a 41% increase in COVID-19 patients between 35-44.
“That’s staggering,” said Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Tom Balcezak, Yale New Haven Health. “Last week we admitted and intubated a 21-year-old,” he said. “We have now six pediatric patients, two in the Intensive Care Unit. It’s hitting a much younger population much harder. We’ve seen an uptick in kids. We have also seen a big uptick in 35-year-olds. I think it’s the variant, more than anything else.” Balcezak refers to the B-117 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, and believed to be abut 50% more infectious. Currently, 44 out of the 208 patients being treated by Yale New Haven Health are under age 45.
“The demographics are becoming younger,” Balcezak said. “Those who are older, particularly those over 75, are not being admitted in the numbers that we’ve seen.”
NY lawmakers legalize recreational marijuana.
ALBANY – State lawmakers voted Tuesday to make New York the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana, marking a key step to ending years of failed attempts to allow adults to purchase, grow and use cannabis-based drugs. The legislation passed by a margin of 43 to 20 in the Senate and 100 to 49 in the Assembly, with Democrats controlling both chambers. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the measure that creates a regulatory system to oversee the cannabis industry, spanning from massive grow operations to corner cafes allowing outdoor marijuana smoking and vaping. The state anticipates legal marijuana sales for those age 21 and older will begin a year from now, as it embarks on the complex task of issuing cannabis business licenses while preparing to enforce a lengthy list of new marijuana statutes.
Sandisfield vote on major cannabis project postponed; residents divided on plan
SANDISFIELD — After a marathon public hearing Monday on a commercial pot grower’s plans, town officials pushed their vote to next week to give the company time to produce more information. The Select Board will meet again April 5 to discuss and vote on Sama Productions LLC’s special permit request. Board member George Riley asked for clarity on potential toxic byproducts from the company’s odor-control method, how solvents in the manufacturing lab will be contained so as not to pollute the air or groundwater, and noise levels from exhaust fans.
Riley also asked for more detailed contact information for the company’s partners and assurances that a deed restriction on Sama’s property is lifted.