It’ll all grow back, really!  Braydon Steltz, 6, of Chatham gets his head shaved for St. Baldrick’s Foundation by his mom, Shannon Steltz as his sister, Laney looks on. Braydon’s twin, Cooper (not pictured) also donated hair for the fourth year in a row. The event took place in the Chatham High School gym Sunday, March 22. Photo by David Lee



The state of state roads? They’re a holey mess

CANAAN–Of the 2,042 miles of public roads in Columbia County, about 250 miles are owned by New York State and maintained by the state Department of Transportation (DOT). After this winter, many of the state roads are described by town officials and residents alike as “horrible.”

Canaan Highway Superintendent Bernie Meyer calls the state roads in his town “deplorable to the point where they’re dangerous.” Austerlitz Highway Superintendent Robert Meehan says his crew has been picking up hubcaps dislodged by the fractured roads regularly and they see several blown tires most weeks. Read more…

Chatham pores over plan for bottleneck

EAST CHATHAM–The Town Board moved its monthly meeting to the East Chatham Firehouse last week to get feedback on proposed designs to slow traffic on the Albany Turnpike Bridge. The bridge, also known as the East Chatham Bridge, was reopened last year and residents have come to the board over the last few months with concerns about poor sightlines and safety on the one-lane span.

The board passed a motion at the March 19 meeting to move forward with a temporary solution that  will use town Highway Department employees to close off what one resident called “short cuts,” to the bridge entrance on the side that intersects state Route 295. The goal is to create a 90-degree, or “T”, intersection where Albany Turnpike meets Route 295. The town will use cones, road surface striping and cement brackets to close off the short diagonal ramps that that now funnel traffic on and off the state highway. Read more…

Sap, weather and heat yield maples’ sweet treat

CLAVERACK–It was drizzling last Saturday afternoon, the temperature 40 degrees, and a hearty group of about 30 people gathered at the Cashen family’s Farm at Miller’s Crossing for a tour of the maple syrup processing operation. The tour was presented by the Columbia Land Conservancy, which protects the entire 200 acres of vegetable fields and sugar maples from development.

Chris Cashen greeted everybody in the sugar shack, as his wife, Katie Cashen, stoked the wood fire under the boiler. The sugar shack is situated in a corner of a much larger farm shed, where excess steam swirled through the rafters. Read more…

EPA Reports on water, sediment in Kinderhook Lake

KINDERHOOK–In response to requests from the public made during a meeting about the Dewey Loeffel Superfund site in March 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tested samples of surface water and sediment derived from 10 sites on May 19 and May 20, 2014 and has just issued its report of the results.

The Dewey Loeffel Superfund site is located near the Town of Nassau in Rensselaer County. In the early 1950s to the late 1960s, the site was a dumping ground for 46,000 tons of toxic waste, including industrial solvents, waste oils, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), scrap materials, sludge and solids. After being declared a federal Superfund Site in 2011, a water treatment plant was built by some of the companies responsible for dumping and overseen by the EPA. Treated water from the plant has been released in the Valatie Kill, which flows in Kinderhook Lake, since last year. Treated water at the plant is tested. Read more…

Bouchard Junkyard might get off superfund list

NEW LEBANON – New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proposing to delist the former Bouchard Junkyard site from the state Superfund Program site because it has determined that the site no longer presents a threat to public health or the environment.

The DEC will receive public comments about the proposal through April 5. Send written comments to Lawrence Thomas, Project Manager, NYS Department of Environmental Conservations, Division of Environmental Remediation, Remedial Bureau E, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 1223-7017. You can email comments to or call 518 402-9813. Read more…