Art or banner debate goes on

The words on the Jack Shainman Gallery/The School, on Broad Street in the Village of Kinderhook, have changed from “Truth Be Told” to “Truth.” In a New York Times article, online January 14, gallery owner Jack Shainman said that artist Nick Cave made the change to words in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 18, and the inauguration of President Joe Biden on January 20. Photo by Emilia Teasdale

County buys deputy cameras

HUDSON—The Columbia County Board of Supervisors approved a contract to spend $500,000 on body worn cameras for the Sheriff’s Office at its Year End meeting December 30. But some believe more planning is necessary before activating the cameras for the benefit of the community.

Body worn cameras got favorable responses at Police Reform Panel meetings in December. At one such meeting, Stockport Police Chief James Delaney said the cameras “protect the officer, they protect the town, and they protect the individual being interviewed by the police.”

County Sheriff David Bartlett said the cameras allow “additional accountability.” And Greenport Police Chief Kevin Marchetto said they “protect us from lawsuits. It would be nice if insurance companies bought them for us.” Read more…

Martin departs HHA board, citing progress on housing

HUDSON—The best part of being a commissioner for the Hudson Housing Authority (HHA) was “being able to achieve positive changes in the lives of residents,” said T. Randall Martin, looking back at his almost four years on the HHA Board.

Mr. Martin, a professional videographer, joined the board in January 2017 and left it this fall because of business pressures. During his last year, he served as the board’s chairman, before that he served as its vice chairman. The HHA runs the income-restricted 135-unit Bliss Tower and Columbia Apartments in Hudson. Read more…

Virus affects where kids learn and what it costs Hudson schools

HUDSON—Finances, the high school swimming pool and health measures dominated the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting January 5.

The new stimulus package that Congress passed in December includes four times as much money for “education-related expenses” as the previous package but still less than what advocates had hoped for, Businesses Administrator Jesse Boehme reported. Of this, New York should get $4 billion, which “we’re waiting to see how the state will distribute,” he said.

“We’re still unsure of the amount of state aid we will be receiving this year,” Mr. Boehme added later. The possibility that the state will cut up to 20% less than budgeted for this school year still looms. Read more…

Village moves closer to adjourning court for good

CHATHAM—At its January 11 meeting, the Village Board agreed to hold a public hearing on a proposed local law to abolish the position of village justice, thereby dissolving the Village Court. The public hearing will be in February. After the hearing the board will vote on the proposed law and if they pass it, the court would be dissolved by April 5, when the current justice’s term is up.

If the board votes in favor of the local law, residents have 30 days to circulate a petition. Village Attorney Ken Dow explained at the online Village Board meeting Monday night, January 11, that if the petition is signed by 20% of village residents, normally the question of dissolving the court would then go on the village ballot. But due to changes in state election laws, there is not enough time to get the resolution on the March ballot. Mr. Dow said at the meeting that a petition would “kill” the law and that the board could not dissolve the court for another four years, when the justice’s term is up again.

Mayor John Howe brought up the issue of closing the court at the board meeting last month, saying that the funds brought in by the village court in fines and forfeitures are “pretty much a wash” with the cost of running the court. The village is in the Towns of Chatham and Ghent, each of which has a court where cases would be heard if the village court is dissolved. At the meeting this month, Mayor Howe said he talked to both town supervisors about the possibility of dissolving the village court. Read more…

Patients praise retiring family practitioner

Dr. Neal Baillargeon, MD, a family practitioner with offices in Philmont and Kinderhook, retired at the end of 2020. His decision prompted patients and neighbors to give him a boisterous demonstration of gratitude in Philmont. He also received an official certificate of thanks for his service to village residents in the form of a resolution of the Philmont Village Board. Photo by Lance Wheeler

PHILMONT—When Dr. Neal Baillargeon, a family practitioner, retired at the end of December, the village of Philmont held a surprise farewell parade in his honor and Mayor Clarence Speed read a proclamation thanking the doctor for his 40-plus years’ service to the community.

Dr. Baillargeon also had an office in Kinderhook, his hometown.

He is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Medicine and did his internship at DeWitt Army Hospital before returning to the Hudson Valley and opening a private practice in 1986. Read more…