Local Government

Local Government 04.23.20

North Greenbush Report from Councilwoman Mary Frances Sabo

NORTH GREENBUSH – I hope that everyone who celebrates enjoyed a safe and meaningful Easter and Passover. I think children young and old appreciated the Easter cheer spread town by the Bunny and the employees who gave up their Saturday to drive him through town. This month I would like to dedicate this column to expressions of gratitude. I would like to start out by thanking our first responders from the Police Department, North Greenbush Ambulance, and Wynantskill and Defreestville Fire Departments who are on the frontlines of this pandemic. Every day these brave men and women risk their lives to keep us safe. I also want to express my gratitude to the people who operate essential businesses and their hard-working employees-the hardware store, the gas stations, the grocery stores, the restaurants who provide take-out and frankly give us something to look forward to at the end of a day working from home. I know many residents are experiencing severe financial stress but I ask that you support these businesses to the extent that you can. Finally, I want to shout out all the hard working officials and staff in the town of North Greenbush. Town Clerk Kerwin and staff from the building department and comptroller’s office are keeping the business of the town running. Superintendent Premo and the highway department are working with a reduced crew and are still managing to complete projects such as picking up an unusually large amount of yard waste. With everyone at home, a lot of raking is going on! Remember, the town government is here for you. If you have any needs or concerns, please leave a message at town hall. As always, you may contact me at msabo@nullnorthgreenbush.org or call me at 518-424-1884. Be well!

Submitted by Councilwoman Mary Frances Sabo

Rensselaer County Legislature Office of the Minority April 2020 Meeting Highlights

RENSSELAER COUNTY – COVID-19 is now an unfortunate part of our daily lives. The April meeting of the Rensselaer County Legislature was held via teleconferencing with the Legislative leadership in attendance while the majority of the members attended via Zoom video meetings.

May is Mental Health Month in Rensselaer County and it is incumbent upon us to recognize the increase of calls regarding mental health issues during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, we honor the dedication of our first responders, doctors, nurses and mental health professionals as they navigate through this epidemic. The COVID-19 virus has affected every aspect of their daily lives and has presented monumental and emotional challenges to them and their families, so it seems even more relevant to acknowledge the support our mental health professionals can offer to anyone feeling distressed and anxious, especially during these difficult times of social distancing. The Mental Health Department is available to all residents of Rensselaer County and can be reached at 518-270-2800 and responds 24/7.

The County also celebrates National Nurses Week from May 6 – 12, with the theme of “Compassion, Expertise, Trust”. Our nurses promise to provide safe and high quality care and to protect and preserve the public health system. Now more than ever, these professionals are putting themselves on the line and in unavoidable danger to help patients affected with COVID-19. As a legislative body, we praise their commitment and pray they stay protected.

We are grateful to our Rensselaer County Department of Health staff, who have accepted the challenge and are doing a fantastic job. Thank you!

In preparing for the future in Rensselaer County, the legislature unanimously approved a contract for the 10 week Summer Food Program, now in its 45th year, which runs from 6/29/20 to 9/4/20. This federally funded program offers breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack to close to 90,000 children.

Rensselaer County Legislature Holds its First Ever Virtual Meeting in April

RENSSELAER COUNTY – These are certainly interesting times for all of us. While many businesses have been temporarily shuttered, or have had their operations reduced, your county government continues on. On Tuesday April 14th, we held our first ever virtual meeting of the Legislature. Using the Zoom app, we had members of the Legislature join those who were present in our chambers, to conduct our monthly meeting. The meeting was streamed live on Facebook and recorded as usual.

Legislation included funding road repair for the spring and summer, the acceptance of grant funding, and other budget transfers. Two resolutions that stood out include an agreement with the East Greenbush Police Department that allows them to use LiveScan to act as a backup for our County emergency dispatching system. This will help us provide redundancy in our dispatching system in the event that our system ever fails.

We also accepted a significant grant that will assist our Rensselaer County Health Department address the COVID-19 pandemic. Our health department is doing a fantastic job handling this crisis. Since day one, the staff has been answering questions from concerned residents and has been conducting contact tracing of residents that may have come in contact with someone who tested positive. We applaud County Health Director Mary Fran Wachunas and her staff for working tirelessly to stay on top of the ever changing demands this crisis places on us.

County Executive Steve McLaughlin and his staff have been skillfully coordinating this response with all of our cities, towns and villages. Steve’s daily Facebook updates with Mary Fran and other guests have been very informative and have reached thousands of viewers who have had their questions and concerns addressed in real-time.

Thanks to all of our county staff, first responders, medical professionals, those who prepare and deliver meals to seniors, and everyone else who has stepped up and gone above and beyond to get us through this.

Harry Tutunjian

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