Paterson releases budget proposal

The New York State governor's office has released its proposed 2010-11 budget. Press release here.

There's plenty of pain to go around in Paterson's proposed budget, from deep cuts to education, healthcare and environmental protection funding to a $1 per-pack tax increase on cigarettes.

A few other interesting tidbits from the guv's proposal: a 3% tax on natural gas from hydrofractured wells, legalizing wine sales in grocery stores and legalizing "Mixed Martial Arts" in the state.

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Kingston, heal thyself

Kingston Citizens contributor Arthur Zaczkiewicz has some ideas on what Kingston could do to be a better place to live. (Ten of them, to be exact.) Here's Number One:

Greater Unification. From the socio-economic to business to the political, Kingston – to thrive – needs to be unified. City leaders (business, civic, elected and appointed) need to set aside egos, agendas and self interests and place the greater good ahead of all.

There are some tall orders here. The whole list is well worth a read.

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Haiti benefit in Rock Hill

Catskill Chronicle reports that the town of Thompson and Sullivan County country radio station Thunder 102 are teaming up on a benefit for Haiti earthquake victims this Thursday.

Thunder 102 and the Town of Thompson are asking residents across the Hudson Valley and Catskills to show their support for the cause. According to the International Red Cross, over 3 million people were affected by the natural disaster and further reports have indicated the death toll could reach one hundred thousand.

The mind boggles at such large numbers. For a little context, the entire population of Sullivan County in 2007 was 76,303.

Big Indian-born singer Lhasa dies

Acclaimed musician Lhasa de Sela, who spent much of her professional life in Montreal, died of breast cancer at the age of 37 this New Years' Day. The Globe and Mail has an obit:

Music in an unfamiliar language is too often relegated to a niche genre - the marketers like to call it "world music," and others often consigned her to the cabaret or folk bins. But Lhasa spoke to all listeners, even those who did not understand the literal words of the songs; like Holiday and Tom Waits, two performers to whom she was often compared, she could reach an audience through cadence and rhythm alone, as any listener of the songs "De cara a la pared" and "Con toda Palabra" can attest. She mesmerized live audiences with her sensuality and her between-song stories.

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Nevele bought at auction

Ellenville's floundering, decrepit, once-glittery Nevele Grande Resort has been sold. Finally.

Brooklyn builder Raphael Weiss of Tricon Development partnered with the Giluet Foundation is in contract to buy the resort from the Stratford Business Corporation. Sources estimate the price at around $20 million.

The Times Herald-Record has a little more on Weiss's plans (which, mercifully, don't involve casino gambling):

"The Nevele will be a class A resort with at least 500 people working there," said Rafi Weiss, president of Tricon Development, the group that plans to buy the storied resort. "It will have world-class amenities, just like the good old days."

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Slap in the face to local hospitals

Drugs flushed down the toilet and ending up in drinking water is a growing problem nationwide. This week, New York Attorney General (and rumored gubernatorial hopeful) Andrew Cuomo went after five hospitals and nursing homes within the New York City watershed for their illegal practice of flushing drugs: O’Connor Hospital and Countryside Care Center in Delhi, Margaretville Memorial Hospital and Mountainside Residential Care Center in Margaretville, and Putnam Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Holmes. The facilities face fines of a few thousand dollars apiece and have agreed to stop the dumping.

Federal OSHA guidelines for hospitals recommend that drugs be taken to "either an incinerator or a licensed sanitary landfill for toxic wastes, as appropriate."

A press release from the AG's office calls the settlement "groundbreaking":

Save the Rosendale Theatre

If you have a stake in the future of the arts, theatre and small movie houses in the region, you might want to be in Rosendale tomorrow night to discuss the Rosendale Theatre Collective's plans for the Rosendale Theatre. Mike Madsen at Kingston Progressive has the details:

Being one of the last single screen family run theaters in the country, I think this would be a good reason to get out Thursday night. The meeting is at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Rosendale Recreation Center on Route 32.

Background: The Rosendale Theatre, a family-run movie and live theatre house since 1949, is on the market. The Rosendale Theatre Collective has made an offer of $500,000, and the offer's been accepted, but the group only has until March 15 to come up with the money for the purchase.

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Hudson Valley: All that and a bag of chips

In an interview with Big Gay Hudson Valley, WAMC's Hudson Valley bureau chief, Susan Barnett, gets just a little too smug with the regional pride.

Schoharie, Otsego, Delaware counties are absolutely lovely and there are certainly some creative people hiding away in their hills.  But I don’t believe there’s any other part of the state that is so liberally populated with independent thinkers, proud members of the counterculture and members of various groups that show the real diversity of what it means to be American.

As opposed to that other, non-real kind of diversity.

Also, is anyone else getting heartily tired of hearing about how all the gay folks are so artsy and creative? Gays sell car insurance too, people.

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Let them eat broadband

While the Huffington Post gleefully declares phone calls, newspaper classifieds and letter-writing obsolete, Sullivan County blogger and news columnist Jeanne Sager frets that the world is leaving rural upstate New York behind.

As of August of 2009, Neilsen estimated there were more than 220 million Internet users, but only 69 million were broadband subscribers. Listen at a local town board meeting, and there are repeated pleas by residents for these resources - requests to resist the frogmarch toward irrelevancy. We need to get moving before another decade passes us by.

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