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



Ancram dips into plan for pool’s future

ANCRAM—The town swimming pool should stay put.

That’s the conclusion of a committee formed to evaluate the economics, usage, structural and site considerations associated with keeping the pool where it is at Blass Memorial Field and making some improvements or building a new pool on the Town Hall grounds, about three quarters of a mile away.

Bob Wilcox, town justice, a member of the town’s Financial Advisory Council (FAC) and the council’s pool subcommittee, presented the Pool Committee findings at the March 19 Town Board meeting. Read more…

Ghent asks PSC to review power line impact

GHENT–The Town Board turned its attention last week to the state Public Service Commission’s plan to authorize new, higher voltage power lines that would run through parts of the county. The resolution adopted by the board calls on the PSC to “carefully scrutinize all of the environmental issues and review impact on the environment by this project to the maximum extent possible.”

Part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Energy Highway initiative calls for upgrading the lines that connect power providers west of Albany to Pleasant Valley in Dutchess County. The plan is to increase the power carried by new lines by 1,000 megawatts (MW), a proposal that is supposed to relieve anticipated electrical supply “bottlenecks” as the energy is routed through this region to the densely populated downstate area. Read more…

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…