Brushing up on charity. The seventh annual St. Baldrick’s event took place in the Chatham High School gymnasium Sunday, March 19. As always, there was the head shaving of dozens of people who, this year, had raised over $100,000 to benefit research for childhood cancer treatments. Organizer Dawn Elbert reported about 60 people had registered and, typically, there are many additional walk-ins. Above, 9-year-old Cali Adamski holds long strands of her hair that she plans to donated to Pantene to be made into wigs that the company gives free of charge to people whose cancer treatment had caused them to lose their hair. Shaving the rest of Cali’s hair is Shannon Steltz. Photo by David Lee

New gift protects 1.3K acres in Ancram

ANCRAM—A “regionally significant” 1,300 acres of farm and woodland has been donated to the Columbia Land Conservancy (CLC). The new property is the CLC’s largest land acquisition to date and offers an opportunity for more than just public access.

CLC Special Projects Manager Tom Crowell appeared at the March 16 Ancram Town Board to announce that a portion of Scotland Farm formerly owned by Elizabeth Gilmore was donated to the conservancy.

The transaction was finalized February 27, according to a statement in the conservancy’s latest newsletter. Read more…

County hears details of Chatham Cares 4 U program

HUDSON– Chatham Police Chief Peter Volkmann briefed the county Opioid Epidemic Response Committee early this month on his department’s Chatham Cares 4 U Outreach program, which gets opioid abusers and others in opioid crises into treatment promptly. The chief also explained more about the program–the only one of its kind in the county–in a follow-up telephone interview.

All Chatham Police positions are part time, but each officer’s duties include handling Chatham Cares 4 U as cases arise, Chief Volkmann said. This includes all steps necessary to place people with opioid problems in facilities providing the treatment they need: determining the type of treatment facility a person needs; finding out the person’s insurance coverage; coaching the person on how to answer insurance questions; finding a bed for the person in an appropriate facility; and driving the person to the facility. Read more…

Chatham confirms incumbents plus write-in judge

CHATHAM–Tuesday’s village election returned all three incumbents on the ballot to office.

Mayor Tom Curran received the most votes, 107, according to figures on the Columbia County Board of Elections website, He will serve another two-year term.

Trustees Jay Rippel, 101 votes, and Michael Wallowitz, 100 votes, were also reelected to two-year terms.

For each of those three offices there was one write-in candidate. The write-in names for those posts were not immediately available Tuesday night.

The village also had a vacancy but no candidate on the ballot for village justice, a four-year term. Write-in candidate Walter Simonsmeier won that election with 42 votes. He campaigned in the last few days before the election with the mayor.

There were five other write-in candidates, led by Daniel Brackett with five votes. The others–Wayne Coe, Bill Hogencamp, Mitchell Khosrova and “Labinsky” (no first name given)–each received one vote.

The county Board of Elections manages Village of Chatham elections. Each of the other three villages in the county, Kinderhook, Philmont and Valatie, manages its own elections.


The three incumbents running in the Village Valatie were all reelected without opposition.

Mayor Diane Argyle received 43 votes. Trustee Frank Bevens received 42 votes and Trustee Larry Eleby had 45 votes.

A total of 48 votes were cast, according to Valatie Village Clerk Barbara Fischer.





Chatham ponders how much to charge for village streets

CHATHAM–The Village Board took up the question last week of what to charge for events that use municipal services and village streets.

At issue were plans by Chatham Area Business and Arts (CABA) to host the organization’s annual Summerfest and what fees the village will charge to pay for police and to have the village Department of Public Works clean up afterward.

“We are not allowed to gift or give away municipal services,” Mayor Tom Curran said at the March 9 meeting. He said the total cost to CABA for the summer event, where vendors set up stands along Main Street and Park Row, would be about $980. Read more…

Town asks EPA for more filtering at Dewey Loeffel

(This story is reprinted from and is used here with permission)

NASSAU–The town wants the federal government to increase filtering of contaminated water from the Dewey Loeffel Landfill Superfund Site to prevent a suspected carcinogen from entering the Valatie Kill.

Supervisor David Fleming wrote the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Sunday, March 12 asking for action to stop 1,4-dioxane from entering the creek that runs past the landfill site in Rensselaer County and flows south and west through northern Columbia County.

“Your agency is able to take simple corrective action to resolve this issue by either adding additional filtration or simply recirculating water through the plant treatment process to guarantee clean discharge into our community water resources,” Mr. Fleming wrote. Read more…