E-Mail Newsletter – December 16, 2015

Capital Region earns nearly $100 million in REDC grants and Community Conversation in Bethlehem

Please join me Thursday evening (December 17) from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Bethlehem Public Library for my next Community Conversation. These events provide an opportunity for you to hear more about my work in the New York State Assembly, the state budget, and legislative priorities for the next session. I welcome questions and comments on issues of importance to you, including the environment, public transportation, ethics, economic development, education, jobs, and more.

Below are additional highlights and announcements I’d like to share with you and your family.

Regional Economic Development Council Awards. As had been the tradition for the past five years in December, the Regional Economic Development Council Awards are given out as part of a competition between the ten regions of New York State to help accelerate project growth for economic development purposes. Although our region was not an Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) winner, the Capital Region REDC earned $98.3 million dollars for the region as a Top Performer. Projects within the 109th District include $200,000 for a micro-enterprise program for Albany County, and $37,000 for Bethlehem waterfront redevelopment. Congratulations to each of the project awardees listed below and many thanks to the council members for their hard work!

View the awards here via the Regional Economic Development Councils website.

Concerns about the Pilgrim Pipeline relayed to the Governor. In a letter sent to Governor Cuomo, I joined my Assembly colleagues impacted by the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline, where we recommend the Department of Environmental Conversation, rather than the Thruway Authority, be the lead in conducting the stated mandated environmental review of the Pilgrim Pipeline proposal.

The 178 mile long project would span the Hudson Valley, impacting the land and water resources in dozens of our communities. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is the agency best suited to consider the public health, safety, environmental justice, and climate issues that we urge be fully addressed during the environmental review.

Albany Police Department receives LEAD grant. The Albany Police Department announced it has received a grant to aid APD in the implementation of the recently adopted Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program, or LEAD, which allows police officers to exercise their discretion and divert certain low-level offenders from the criminal justice system into coordinated, managed, health-based services. Albany is the first East Coast city and the third city in the nation to adopt the progressive LEAD approach. A $70,000 grant from the Touhey Family Foundation will provide funding for the hire of a Project Manager to begin the implementation of the LEAD program, which gives officers the discretion of diverting individuals to a network of services to treat many of the root causes of crime, such as drug dependency, mental illness, or homelessness. LEAD, introduced in Seattle in 2011, can reduce recidivism while advancing public safety and public health.

Common Core task force. I couldn't be more pleased with the Common Core Task Force recommendations to reduce testing and begin to listen to the professionals. It is also good to see the recognition that the needs of some unique student populations such as English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities are not adequately addressed.

Massachusetts town example for how New York municipalities can take advantage of Streetlight Replacement and Savings Act. Andover, Massachusetts is moving ahead with plans to purchase 1,682 streetlights from National Grid, purchasing the lights for $1 apiece.

Originally, Andover agreement with National Grid to pay $165,000. But after the town found out that other communities had gotten their lights for $1, they negotiated the lower price. This example could set the stage for how New York cities, towns, and villages can use the recently signed Streetlight Replacement and Savings Act I sponsored. Read more.

Honored by American Labor Studies Center. Thank you to the American Labor Studies Center for this year’s Kate Mullany Medal. I also extend my congratulations to the Coalition of Labor Union Women and William Scheuerman for also being honor with this award.

Hackett mentoring program. Would you like to help make a difference in the academic and personal development of a student at William S. Hackett Middle School? If so, please consider becoming a mentor.

The City School District of Albany is partnering with the Black Child Development Institute to offer introductory meet-and-greet sessions for prospective Hackett mentors. A session will be offered on Friday, Dec. 18. at Hackett from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The meetings will include an introduction of Hackett’s new Mentorship Program, an overview of the need for mentors and a discussion on building a network of mentors throughout the Capital Region.

Santa Stroll in Altamont. This Sunday, the Village of Altamont will play host for the Santa Stroll, taking place around the village between the hours of 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Look for Santa and his helpers. They are borrowing the village’s Big Red Fire Truck, filling it with candy canes and will be strolling through the village and knocking on doors just to say hello to the Altamont’s children. E-mail AltamontFireDept@aol.com if you want them to stop by and visit your children.

Job Opportunities: New York State has setup a new job portal entitled Jobs Express, where thousands of private and public sector jobs are listed. Visit jobs.ny.gov for more information on how to apply for these opportunities.

As always, for the latest news or for upcoming events, please visit my office online, on Facebook, on Twitter, or my Times Union blog. If you would like to reach my office, please feel free to send us a note.

Sincerely ---