NewsShed, Friday, Jan. 13: The state of our state

Happy Friday the 13th, Catskills. This week’s NewsShed is a blockbuster edition, on account of us missing last week. (Pardon the interruption; the hamster that makes the news wheel spin has been fending off some sort of seasonal plague.)

Talk about being thrown into the deep end: Our new Congressman in the 19th, John Faso, is one of five freshmen appointed to a special budget committee dedicated to reforming and reshaping the ACA (a.k.a. Obamacare). Faso recently announced contact info for his offices in the district and in DC; those phones are going to be ringing. [Woodstock Times, WP]

There’s lots of news out of Albany since the New Year. Gov. Cuomo spent most of this week on a flashy “State of the State” tour, giving his annual address to various local audiences instead of doing the usual broadcast from Albany. (He’s got some chutzpah to show up in Buffalo, after everything that's gone down there.) [Politico]

On the tour, Cuomo announced a bunch of new initiatives for 2017 - 35 of them, to be exact. Here’s a link to his summary of all the proposals — and below, we’ve called out a few that are likely to matter most to the Catskills. [Gov. Cuomo's office]

Obvious report is obvious: A draft audit of the village of Monticello by the state comptroller’s office that got prematurely leaked to the press cites “significant government-wide dysfunction” in the village. They’re working on it. [Times Herald-Record]

Meanwhile, one of Monticello's more dysfunctional former village trustees is suing the village government and police. [Times Herald-Record]

The Catskills lobby isn’t the slickest game in town, even by Albany standards, but they’ve gotten some practice in the last couple of years. A group of local nonprofits dubbed the Catskill Park Coalition is asking — again — for a dedicated $10 million line item for the Catskills in the state budget. They’re planning to visit Albany on Feb. 7 to make their case, and are hoping for a better reception from lawmakers than they got last year. [Catskill Center] 

“There is an ongoing investigation.” That’s Delaware County DA John Hubbard, confirming reports that the FBI is investigating William Moon, former Delaware County social services commissioner and current deputy commissioner of Sullivan County's Department of Family Services. Details on the investigation are scarce — and, true to form, the FBI will neither confirm nor deny that they’re on the case — but Hubbard tells the Daily Star that it’s connected to a case brought in 2015 against DSS caseworker Carolyn Massey. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one. [Daily Star]

Budding farmers, here’s a chance to learn your trade: On Jan. 17, Cornell Cooperative Extension hosts a “Pigs For Beginners” class in Kingston. For would-be shepherds and goatherds, Heather Ridge Farm is holding two classes on lambing and kidding, one on Jan. 21 and one on Feb. 4. If you’re interested in any of the classes, call today — space is limited. [Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County, Schoharie News]

The solution to deer overpopulation, according to a recent paper by a wildlife expert from Ulster County: More hunting. [Daily Freeman]

Recovering addict Abby Clark told a powerful story at a Delhi forum on heroin addiction last week. Also on hand were local officials with some deeply sobering statistics on the rise in related drug arrests, hospital admissions, and hepatitis C cases in the local area. Coming up: a community action meeting on Jan. 18 at Delaware Academy. [Daily Star]

At another recent forum in Rock Hill, the Sullivan County coroner reported that the county is currently averaging two overdoses a week. It wasn’t just a statistic to the forum participants — grieving local father Alejandro Rey spoke about the loss of his son to a prescription drug overdose. [Sullivan County Democrat]

Kingston City Hall was packed to the rafters on Tuesday for a vote on a “sanctuary city” resolution. Both supporters and opponents turned out in droves, and more than 50 people spoke (37 for, 17 against, the Freeman reports). The resolution was adopted by a 5-3 vote. [Daily Freeman]

Even in the mostly-red rural Catskills, activists worried about Trump’s recent election are organizing — and not all of them want to protest. The Daily Star has a profile on one Cherry Valley group focused on taking “positive action” in the community. [Daily Star]

The Shandaken zoning board recently met behind closed doors with a lawyer to discuss a judge’s order regarding the Belleayre resort plans. (Yep, they’re allowed to do that under open meeting law.) [Daily Freeman]

A Cochecton man and his vehicle have been missing for more than two weeks, and search efforts are underway in three states. [Mid-Hudson News]

Ice rinks in Stamford and Ashland are up for the season! Now all we need is some more cold weather. [Village of Stamford, Windham Journal]

The new owners of the Hudson Valley Mall sat down with a Woodstock Times reporter recently for some surprisingly in-depth dish on their aesthetic and economic vision for the beleaguered mall — and the entire 9W corridor. Margaret Mead got quoted. Hard truths got told. Seriously, it’s worth a read. [Woodstock Times]

Update, 10:45pm: Edited to add a line about the proposed investment in Catskill Park outlined in Cuomo's State of the State book -- thanks to WP reader Erik Johanson of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development for tipping us off!

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