Local government officials look to strengthen college-community relations

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For most politically minded college students at Marist College, the presidential race may appear to be the most pressing upcoming election, but amid all the Hillary-Benghazi-hearing and Trump-on-SNL media coverage, they might have missed an even more consequential political race.

Local elections for key offices in the Dutchess County and Poughkeepsie governments took place on Nov. 3, ending months of hectic, door-to-door campaigning for hundreds of candidates throughout the county. In one of the most hotly contested races, Marc Molinaro, the incumbent republican county executive, won re-election with more than 63 percent of the vote, beating out Democratic challenger Diane Jablonski.

Republican Rob Rolison was elected mayor of the City of Poughkeepsie, defeating Democrat Randy Johnson by more than 1000 votes. Seats on the seven-member Poughkeepsie Town Board, the eight-member Common Council of Poughkeepsie and the 25-member county legislative body were also up for grabs, among other positions.

These officials indubitably affect the lives of the thousands of constituents within their districts, but often overlooked is the relationship between these officials and local college students. Continue reading

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Can weather predict crime?

Over the past several years, the relationship between weather and crime rates has emerged as a major focus in the field of criminology. The overall consensus among researchers is that severe weather—high temperatures, large amounts of precipitation, etc.—leads to more crime. According to the Department of Justice, burglaries are 10.5 percent more likely to happen in the summer than in the winter and violent crimes such as murder, rape and aggravated assault are also “significantly higher.”

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“Many studies show a correlation between weather and crime, with crime increasing during hotter weather,” said Dr. David McDowall, a criminology professor at the University of Albany. “I believe these findings are valid as a set because they appear consistently over many studies using different data and methodological approaches.”

One of the prominent theories as to why crime rates seem to rise along with the thermometers can be summarized in two words: scarcity and aggression. The former term is more commonly used in low-income areas, where drastic weather can render people fighting for survival; the desperation of these circumstances often results in crime. The latter term is based on the idea that people experience pent up anger and agitation as temperatures become more stifling and are then more likely to release these emotions in violent ways. Continue reading