They’re waiting ‘on high.’ As the congregation assembles prior to the beginning of mass at St. James Catholic Church in Chatham on December 14, Anna Whittaker, 7, of Philmont, Rose Holliday, 8, of Kinderhook and Sasha Langley, 8, of Ghent wait in the balcony to play the angels in the traditional Christmas pageant. Photo by Scott Langley


CMH opens calm space for special kids

HUDSON–The walls of the small room at the edge of the Columbia Memorial Hospital Emergency Department are painted a calming blue. So is the face of the blood pressure gauge above the single child-size bed. There are drawers full of squishy toys and brightly colored, weighted  blankets.

Unlike the nearby emergency cubicles defined by curtains and bathed in florescent light, this room is designed to be as unthreatening as possible to children with autism spectrum disorders or other conditions that cause verbal impairments. It opened this week with the press and guests–some of  them kids on the spectrum–invited to see the place. Those present were also introduced to an important feature of the service not readily apparent except on an iPad running digital applications–apps–designed to help caregivers and this special group of patients find pathways to communicate. Read more…

CMH sheds its nursing home in Catskill

HUDSON–Columbia Memorial Hospital announced last week it has agreed to sell its Kaaterskill Care Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility in Catskill to Premier Healthcare Management, a privately held company based on Long Island.

The hospital said deal awaits review by regulators, with final transfer expected within 12 months. The price for the 120-bed facility will not be made public, a spokesman for the hospital said. Read more…

Auditoriums: If you build one, will they come?

Germantown School mulls new auditorium

GERMANTOWN—The Board of Education of the Germantown Central School District spent October and November considering a $4.7-million capital project in general and a new auditorium in particular. The auditorium would be an additional project that would cost, depending on size, somewhere between $3.4 million (350 seats) and $8 million (500 seats).

Currently the school uses the cafetorium for assemblies, Drama Club productions and other activities. Read more…

New Leb eyes more insurance

NEW LEBANON—At the December 9 meeting of the Town Board, Supervisor Michael Benson suggested that the town switch its public officers liability insurance coverage. This type of insurance protects the town from liability for “fraudulent activity” by any town employee—typically theft or embezzlement.

In the plan that Mr. Benson suggested, the town’s new insurance coverage limit for these cases would be $1 million—a $760,000 increase from the town’s current $240,000 limit. The new policy would be blanket coverage for every town employee, as opposed to the piecemeal coverage that the town currently has. Read more…

Chatham joins awareness effort

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Marchers head up Main Street in Chatham Sunday, December 14, one of many such protests nationwide over the weekend in response to recent deaths of unarmed black males caused by police. Photo by Parry Teasdale

CHATHAM–Over 50 people gathered in Chatham village Sunday, December 14, convening first at the gazebo on the green and then marching down the center of Main Street to protest the recent deaths in New York City, Cleveland and Ferguson, MO, of unarmed black men and a boy as the result of force used by police.

Barbara Iuevene, one of the speakers, said that racism was “intrinsic in our society” and that combating it called for local as well as national efforts. “This is something that’s got to be done city by city and town by town,” she said.

Grand juries did not indict the officers in either the death of Eric Garner, the New York City resident who died from a chokehold applied by a city police officer, or the death of Michael Brown, who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson. Read more…