Friday, April 24, 2009

Numberful News

401=latest count of votes, out of 160,335, by which Scott Murphy leads James Tedisco in the special 20th Congressional District election. Still to come are judicial rulings on absentee ballots whose validity has been questioned by county election commissioners or by party lawyers. Most of the challenges have come from the Tedisco (Republican) camp and have aimed at ballots cast by voters who, in party registration, are Democrats or blanks. The presiding State Supreme Court judge, James Brand, reversed an earlier ruling and decided that attention could be paid not only to the ballots themselves (how they are marked) but also to the applicants' legitimacy. The Republican lawyers want rulings on whether the primary residences of targeted absentee voters are indeed in the 20th district rather than, say, in New York City. In keeping with that project, Republican chieftains sponsored an "exit poll," asking respondents whether they had voted, whether they had voted directly or by absentee ballot, and whether they had voted for Murphy or Tedisco. Actually, they knew that the respondents had voted and had done so by absentee ballot. They were compiling a pool of prospective challenges. (Much trouble and expense would be spared if candidates were not identified on the ballots by party affiliation. There would then be no need for governments to take elaborate, costly procedures, such as primary elections, to decide who gets what party "line.") 343,000=dollars just allocated by the National Parks Service to GreeneLand's Thomas Cole National Historic Site. It's a piece of the Federal stimulus (Recovery & Reinvestment Act) pie. The money will fund repairs and deferred maintenance on the Cole House and reconstruction of the stone wall and picket fence along Spring Street in Catskill. The grant is one of 800 Park Service projects, costing $750 million, which met the stated criteria of creating local economy-boosting jobs while also serving, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, "as investments in telling the story of America to future generations." 3,600,000,000=dollars pledged (yes, 3.6 billion) by GlazoSmithKline Corporation to acquire ownership of Stiefel Laboratories, including Stiefel's 270- employee facility in Oak Hill. Privately owned for the past 162 years (by family members, mostly), Stiefel is a global force in skin care products, with reported sales last year, according to company announcements, of $900 million. Its 3000 employees work in California, Florida (company headquarters), Georgia and five foreign countries as well as GreeneLand. The acquiring company, based in London, is the world's second largest drug maker. 23,000=dollars re-granted by the Greene County Council on the Arts to local cultural projects. Recipients include the County Historical Society's Bronck Museum, Catskill Mountain Foundation, Free103WaveRadio, Horton By The Stream theater, Inter-Cities Performing Arts at Altamura music center, Irish American Heritage Museum in East Durham, Irish Cultural and Sports Centre, Grazhda Music and Arts Centre in Jewett, Planet Arts in Athens, Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Windham Chamber Music Festival, and Zadock Pratt Museum of Prattsville. The awards, ranging in amount from $900 to $3000, are re-grants in that the money comes from the State Arts Council. 3=number of Catskill School Board members who voted against adopting a $37million (OK; only $36,970,555) budget for 2009-10. The other six voted in favor. The proposed total was included in the agenda that was distributed to audience members at Tuesday's meeting. The details and comparative figures that Business Director Kimberly Lewis had prepared were distributed only to Board members. No statements for or against the budget were voiced. 17=cents per share of common stock payable as a dividend to people who, as of May 15th, own pieces of Greene County Bankcorp. That sum covers the first quarter of this year. Similar dividends were paid in several previous quarter-years and are anticipated in successive quarters. At the current market price of $11.50 per share, that dividend rate amounts to about 6 per cent per year. The company is 56 per cent owner of the Bank of Greene County. It can pay that dividend because the bank's business is healthy (very few bad loans) and because it waives its own right to dividends. Thus, the dividends go only to owners of 44% of the shares. 808=number of persons "admitted" to jail in GreeneLand in 2008, as noted in Sheriff Gregory R. Seeley's comprehensive, first-of-its-kind, report. That is an increase of 39 over the previous year's inmate population. ("Admitted" sounds like allowed to enter ?) 326,730=boarding-out costs incurred in 2008 by the Sheriff's department. The costs are necessitated by the dearth of cells here. Some inmates must be transported under escort to jails in other counties, housed and fed there at GreeneLand taxpayers' expense, and transported back. The 2008 boarding-out cost, Sheriff Seeley reports, represented a big reduction-- $389,714--over the 2007 cost. It came from rationalizing the choice of boarded-out prisoners, with preference being given to the already-sentenced, as distinct from those who are awaiting court hearings or imminent release. 933=miles of highway (State and County) and municipal road that are subject to patrol by GreeneLand sheriff's deputies. 410,468=miles driven in Sheriff's Department vehicles on those roads, as well as on boarding-out trips, on off-road chases and, in Marine Patrol craft, on the Hudson River. 11,091=official deeds performed by deputies while patrolling those roadways: traffic stops, alarm (de-)activations, dispute interventions,animal complaints, suicide attempts or threats.... 60=drunk driving cases handled (a 55% increases over 2007, under the previous Sheriff). 97=drug busts, up from 88 in 2007. 99=warrants of eviction served by deputies (who usually made a point of standing by during actual removal of tenants' personal property). Those warrants were among 1,995 civil papers (vs. 1,634 in 2007) served by deputies (summonses, family court orders...). 392,120=Federal and State dollars that enabled the Sheriff in 2008 to acquire a new boat and pick-up truck, jet skis, all-terrain vehicles and other equipment--including cameras that read every license plate that passes a patrol car, run the number through Department of Motor Vehicles files, ascertain whether the plate is suspended or revoked and whether there is a warrant out for the registered owner's arrest. Instantly. 208,000=Federal dollars that Sheriff Seeley still hopes to snare from an award that was made to the Department back in 2001 for patrol car computers but was "not utilized by the previous administration."

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