Pine Haven protest meets the press. About 20 employees of Pine Haven, the county rehabilitation and nursing facility in Philmont, gathered along state Route 66 in front of The Columbia Paper office in Ghent Friday afternoon, October 17, to protest efforts by the county to sell the facility to a private owner. Requests for proposals to purchase the facility are due by the end of this month. Four companies have sent representatives to tour Pine Haven, employees said this week. County officials have said the nursing home is too large a strain on the county budget. At upper left is Albert Wassenhove, chairman of the Save Pine Haven Committee. He organized the demonstration and has led opposition to the county’s plans. Photo by Lance Wheeler.


Germantown mulls axing Police Department

GERMANTOWN—Eliminating the Germantown Police Department—or not—was the sole topic of a 90-minute Town Board budget workshop on October 17. All board members attended, along with half-a-dozen residents.

Germantown is one of only three towns in Columbia County that still has its own police force. The other two are Greenport and Stockport. Towns without their own police department count on law enforcement by officers from the county Sheriff’s Office and the State Police. Read more…

Chatham eyes trimming highway and rec lines

CHATHAM – The Town Board discussed the 2015 budget at the regular meeting last week, reviewing the requests from the Highway and Recreation departments.

Town Supervisor Jessie DeGroodt also announced at the October 16 meeting that the energy company Kinder Morgan is hosting a presentation to discuss the proposed pipeline, which would carry natural gas from the Marcellus shale through the county. The new pipeline would go through properties in Chatham, Canaan and New Lebanon. Read more…

Barrett faces Kelsey in 106th AD

GHENT–The race for Assembly in the 106th District pits incumbent Didi Barrett, now completing her first full term, against Dutchess County Legislator Mike Kelsey.
The district includes the City of Hudson and the Columbia County Towns of Ancram, Claverack, Copake, Gallatin, Germantown, Ghent, Greenport, Livingston and Taghkanic plus nine towns in northern and central Dutchess County stretching south to the Town of Poughkeepsie.
In both counties Democrats hold a slight enrollment advantage over Republicans, but the number of voters not enrolled in any political party almost equals the total number of voters affiliated with each of the two major parties. That factor combined with the voters enrolled in minor parties–Conservative, Independence, Working Families and Green–makes the outcome of state races difficult to predict.
Separate profiles of each candidate appear below. Read more…

Retaining part-time workers bedevils village

CHATHAM–The Village Board accepted Deputy Clerk Carissa Fair’s resignation last week. Ms. Fair, who was hired in May, is leaving to take a fulltime job with health benefits, a decision that prompted the board to discuss offering health benefits to some employees to keep them working for the village.

“I think we need a stable work force,” said Mayor Tom Curran at the board’s October 9 meeting. The former village clerk left in April after taking a job with benefits. Village Administrator Barbara Henry took over the position of clerk for 30 hours a week with no health benefits. The board then created the part-time deputy clerk position, which also came with no health benefits and a 30-hour work week. Read more…

Claverack hears calls for light and water

CLAVERACK–The town will look into possible extensions to its water district and one of its lighting districts after receiving requests from town residents.

Resident Mike Bowman spoke to the board last week requesting a streetlight on behalf of residents who live in the vicinity of the intersection of Orchard Grove Lane and Route 9H. Read more…