New York City: Group Sues State Corrections

The New York Civil Liberties Union on Jan. 30 sued the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision for denying its requests for records related to officer misconduct.

The group said it submitted a Freedom of Information Law request in October 2020, following the repeal by the state Legislature of a statute, known as 50-a, that had banned the disclosure of disciplinary records.

In June 2020, The Current filed a FOIL request for the disciplinary records of officers employed at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon. In February 2022, the state rejected the request, saying it was “unreasonable” because it would take an employee working full time for six months to complete.

Ulster: Buffett Nearly Doubled Gifts

Acharitable foundation controlled by Peter Buffett, the youngest son of billionaire Warren Buffet, gave away nearly twice as much money in 2021 in the region as it did the year before, according to the Daily Freeman.

Buffett, who lives in Ulster County, distributed $46 million in 2021 through his NoVo Foundation to nonprofits in the Mid-Hudson Valley. The largest grants went to the Hudson Valley Farm Hub ($15 million) and Radio Kingston ($9 million).

Red Hook: Town Hopes to Buy Farmland

Red Hook hopes to buy and preserve 113 acres of farmland along Route 9, setting 10 acres aside for affordable housing, according to the Red Hook Daily Catch.

The land, which is listed at $2.5 million, has been owned by the Cookingham family for generations. It was used most recently to grow corn and grain.

Buffalo: Earthquake Startles Residents

A3.8-magnitude earthquake that lasted for several seconds startled residents in the city and suburbs at 6:15 a.m. on Monday (Feb. 6). Mark Poloncarz, the Erie County executive, said on Twitter it felt like a car had hit his house.

The largest earthquake in New York state, on Sept. 5, 1944, was measured at 5.8 magnitude near the Canadian border. In the Hudson Valley, recent quakes have included a “micro” event detected 3 miles below Garrison in 2014 and a 2.2-magnitude quake that shook Putnam Valley in 2018.

The catastrophic earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey on Monday measured 7.8 magnitude.

Ulster: Breeder on Run

Ajudge issued an arrest warrant on Monday (Feb. 6) for a Hurley puppy breeder who was indicted on 40 counts of animal abuse but failed to show up for her arraignment.

Nicole Baggatta was detained in July on charges she neglected 30 Yorkshire terriers found in her home, according to the Daily Freeman. When officers returned in August, they found 14 more Yorkies in small cages hidden in the closets under piles of clothes.

Yorktown: State Trooper Arrested

ANew York State police officer from Troop K, which patrols Dutchess, Putnam, Westchester and Columbia counties, was arrested Jan. 31 and accused of filing 32 fake traffic tickets in 2021 and 2022.

Edward Longo, 34, of Yorktown, was charged with falsifying documents and official misconduct. The trooper who investigated the case said in legal documents that officers are monitored for “performance-related goals,” suggesting Longo felt pressure to meet quotas.

Longo was suspended in November with pay. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday (Feb. 16).

Nyack: Schools Investigating Meal

The Nyack school district is investigating why middle-school students were served chicken and waffles and watermelon for lunch on the first day of Black History Month, according to the Times Herald-Record.

The school contracts its cafeteria service to Aramark, which faced criticism in 2018 when it served a meal of ribs, collard greens, watermelon-flavored water and Kool-Aid to New York University students during Black History Month.

The Nyack district and Aramark said they could not determine who set the menu for the Feb. 1 meal but planned to conduct equity training for food service staff.

In Kingston, meanwhile, the superintendent of the city school district apologized for a form sent to the parents of fourth grade students allowing them to opt their children out of watching films shown as part of Black History Month.

According to the Daily Freeman, the superintendent said that, after consulting with the principal, “we both acknowledge that the form was not well thought out.”

Kingston: Charges Dropped Against Officer

An Ulster County judge dropped a murder charge against a New York State trooper who rammed a car during a high-speed chase, killing an 11-year-old passenger, according to the Daily Freeman.

Christopher Baldner was charged with second-degree murder after the December 2020 crash. He had been chasing a car driven by Tristin Goods and occupied by four members of the Goods family, including Monica Goods, 11. When Baldner hit the car, it flipped over, killing the girl.

The state is appealing the decision. Baldner still faces a charge of second-degree manslaughter and six counts of reckless endangerment.

Bard College: Course Called Anti-Semitic

The Ulster County Jewish Federation wrote to the president of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson to protest a new course, “Apartheid in Israel-Palestine,” that it considers anti-Semitic.

“There is no statutory system of apartheid” in Israel, said the UCJF, alleging that the professor, Nathan Thrall, the author of The Only Language They Understand: Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine, lacks “academic integrity.”

According to the Daily Freeman, the Bard president dismissed the charges. “There is nothing anti-Semitic about the course,” he said. “It explores questions that have been the subject of debate in Israel for years. Why should the Jewish community in America be afraid of the same debates and arguments taking place in Israel?”

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Articles attributed to "staff" are written by the editor or a senior editor. This is typically because they are brief items based on a single source, such as a press release, or there are multiple contributors, such as a collection of photos.