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AROUND THE STATE

New schools chief makes first visit

NEW YORK (AP) -- On his first school day as head of New York City's public school system, Chancellor Dennis Walcott visited a school that is slated to be closed.

"Just because a school is going through a transition doesn't mean that we're going to forget about our students at all," Walcott said Wednesday at Paul Robeson High School, which will be phased out starting in September.

Walcott's appointment was announced April 7 after publishing executive Cathie Black resigned from the chancellor's post.

Walcott is a one-time kindergarten teacher and former head of the Urban League.

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Superintendent hiring generates protests

LEWISBORO (AP) -- A Wisconsin school superintendent who supported his state's efforts to limit most public workers' collective bargaining rights has been hired to head a suburban New York school district.

Parents and teachers protested at the hearing to name New Berlin, Wis., Superintendent Paul Kreutzer to head the Katonah Lewisboro School District in Westchester County.

On Tuesday night, the district board unanimously approved a five-year contract for Kreutzer. His annual salary will be $245,000.

Kreutzer said he will represent "the democratic process as represented by the school board."

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Stabilization work on castle begins

POLLEPEL ISLAND (AP) -- Stabilization work has begun on a Hudson River island dominated by the imperiled ruins of a high-walled castle.

The turreted and crumbling walls of Bannerman's Castle are well known to rail commuters who zip by the island off the river's eastern shore, some 50 miles north of Manhattan. The castle is actually an old warehouse for military surplus items built early in the 20th century by Francis Bannerman VI, a Manhattan merchant who also built a weekend home on the island. The Bannerman Castle Trust said work began this month on a $286,000 project to shore up the landmark.

The trust formed in 1993 to turn the scenic ruin into an attraction complete with island tours in warmer months.

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