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January 1, 2011

Reporter's Notebook:State to assess level of 'green' employment

Daily Star

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The level of "green" employment in New York is under review.

The state Department of Labor is conducting a survey to estimate the number of green jobs across the state and to identify skills people need to do such jobs, a Dec. 7 media release said.

Green jobs involve some aspect of renewable energy, energy efficiency or clean-technology industries. The agency is cooperating with many partner organizations on the survey.

Funded by a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the project surveys were being sent to firms in six industry sectors. Each firm's responses will be combined with data from other similar businesses, officials said, and the final report will not contain any details from an individual firm, only group results.

Green industries have a ripple effect on the economy because they spur new business opportunities as industries integrate clean-energy technologies, practices and services, the release said.

Sectors to be surveyed will be construction; energy and environment-related manufacturing; electric power generation, transmission and distribution; professional services; financial services and building services.

A man with ties to the area will be honored by the Coalition to Save Belleayre.

Kenneth D. Pasternak, a lifelong presence in Fleischmanns, will receive the Spirit of the Catskills award at the 25th annual Snowball at Belleayre Mountain in Highmount in January.

Pasternak, who grew up in the Delaware County community, was chosen for the honor by the Coalition to Save Belleayre, sponsor of the annual event, for his commitment to improving the quality of life and economic vitality of the Catskill region, a media release issued in November said.

"I care about this region. I want it to be enhanced not just economically but spiritually," Pasternak said in the release. "When you've been as blessed as I have been, you have as many obligations as you do blessings. ... The good thing about being honored in this way is that it might inspire others to do the same _ whether it's money or volunteering."

The financial entrepreneur and philanthropist joins a list of leaders honored with the Spirit of the Catskills award. Past recipients were Bernadette Castro in 2001, John Cahill in 2002, Libby Pataki in 2003, Tony Lanza in 2004, John Bonacic in 2005, Ward Todd in 2006, Dean Skelos in 2007, Judith Enck in 2008, Maurice Hinchey in 2009 and the A. Lindsay & Olive B. O'Connor Foundation in 2010.

Though his full-time residence today is in northern New Jersey, Pasternak and his family still maintain a home on the outskirts of Fleischmanns and pursue local business interests.

The Coalition to Save Belleayre was founded in 1984 by concerned residents and visitors determined to reverse a planned closure of the facility.

The Snowball will be at Belleayre Mountain in Ulster County on Saturday, Jan 29.

The New York Army National Guard's 130 Honor Guard members helped more than 10,000 families bid farewell to veterans at funerals held across the state in 2010, a media release said.

Soldiers from 10 New York Military Forces Honor Guard offices from Long Island to Buffalo performed military honors at an average of 900 funerals each month, said Donald E. Roy, director of the program. About 9,000 were at funerals of World War II veterans, Roy said, and the Honor Guard provided services for eight soldiers killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

New York is second only to California, which does about 1,000 funerals weekly, in the number of services with National Guard Honor Guard members, the release issued Tuesday said.

For most funerals, the Honor Guard sends three members. Federal law requires that at least two Honor Guard members be present to fold and present a flag to family members of all former soldiers when families request a military service.

New York's Military Honor Guard is staffed with 68 soldiers paid to be available for funerals on a daily basis, and another 70 soldiers volunteer to come in when needed. The Honor Guard soldiers train with their Army National Guard units, the release said, and most of the members have deployed into combat zones.

Total cost of the program is $5 million annually, Roy said. About 20 percent of Honor Guard members are women.

This year a team of eight New York Honor Guard members finished first in a Nationwide Honor Guard competition held by the National Guard Bureau at Fort Snelling, Minn.

Denise Richardson can be reached at 432-1000 or (800) 721-1000, ext. 213, or at