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Not spotless, but now it’s a neater natural setting. Doug Brown, the Public Lands Manager for the Columbia Land Conservancy (CLC) led a detail of volunteers to maintain the trail that leads to the High Falls in Philmont on Friday, September 13. “This site got 20,000 visits last year, making it the most highly visited of any of the 10 CLC lands in the county,” Mr. Brown said. Pictured (l to r) are Land Steward Ian Schillinger-Brokaw, Volunteer Coordinator John Horton, volunteers Stan Jolly, Gary Siegel and Pat Muldoon, and Land Steward Whitney Bushey. In addition to cleanup of deadfall and garbage, the group reset the stones at the promintory. CLC is doing another cleanup further downstream from the falls at Agawamuck on October 10. “It will make a nice community project,” Mr. Brown said. Details are at https://clctrust.org/event/high-falls-cleanup/ Photo by David Lee

Valatie bridge named after local soldier

Pictured on the newly named Roger K. Mazal Memorial Bridge with the sign are (l to r) Mr. Mazal’s relatives Daniel Hagadone, David Hagadone, Jane Williams, Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R-107th) (in back), Cookie Mackey holding the flag presented to the family by a representative of Congressman Antonio Delgado (D-19th), Senator Daphne Jordan (R-43rd), Linda Wildermuth, and Louisette Dugan with Alyssa and Ellise Dugan. Photo by David Lee

VALATIE–In a ceremony Saturday, September 14, Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R-107th), state Senator Daphne Jordan (R-43rd), several local officials for the Village of Valatie and the Town of Kinderhook along with the family of Roger Mazal unveiled the sign naming the bridge over the Kinderhook Creek on Route 203 after Mr. Mazal.

Governor Cuomo signed legislation (S.6213A/A.8013A) to designate a portion of the state highway system as the Roger K. Mazal Memorial Bridge. Last year the bridge crossing Kline Kill between the towns of Kinderhook and Chatham was renamed as the Roger J. Mazal Memorial Bridge. But the new law relocates the designation from the bridge crossing at the Kline Kill to the bridge in downtown Valatie. Mr. Mazal was a Valatie native who was killed in Vietnam.

According to Dominick Lizzi’s book, “Valatie: The Forgotten History,” Mr. Mazal left Ichabod Crane High School in his senior year to join the Army on January 15, 1968. He was a member of Company D., 20th Battalion, 35th Infantry, 4th Division. Mr. Mazal was 20 years old when he was killed on March 7, 1969. He was part of a combat sweep operation at Pleibon Province when he was shot in the chest and killed instantly. He received the Purple Heart, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and other medals. Read more…

Older library users want more local info

COPAKE—People want to live out in the country, yet they want to feel connected to others and a community. That’s according to findings of the Roeliff Jansen Library’s Community Conversations Initiative.

Library Director Tamara Gaskell gave a slide presentation about the initiative at the September 12 Copake Town Board meeting. Several members of the library’s Board of Trustees were also on hand.

The initiative started back in April with a series of six conversations—gatherings of community members at the library, the Taconic Hills High School, Our Lady of Hope Church and the three Roe Jan area firehouses. Read more…

Shaker Museum move clears first hurdle

CHATHAM–The village Planning Board voted to approve the general site plan for a new Shaker Museum and Library at 5 Austerlitz Street. The board reviewed the plan, held a public hearing on the project and went over the state environmental review at the September 16 meeting.

The Shaker Museum is in the process of purchasing the three-story brick building by the traffic roundabout at the north end of the Main Street intersection with River and Austerlitz streets. The museum needed the site plan approval from the Planning Board to move forward with the purchase.

The board approved the general site plan after closing the public hearing on the matter. But Village Attorney Ken Dow reminded the three Planning Board members present that the site plan still must be reviewed by the county Planning Board before this step of the process is finalized. Mr. Dow said they would have to vote again on the site plan after they receive comments from the county. Read more…

Columbia County History: The Greendale Ferry

SAY THE WORD “FERRY” to many New York State residents and for large numbers of them, even upstaters, the Staten Island Ferry will come to mind. But until a few years after 1935, for many thousands of people on both sides of the Hudson near Catskill, the word brought to mind the Greendale Ferry, which operated for about 200 years until about 1937.

The 1935 opening of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge began a new era in crossing the Hudson River, soon putting the Greendale ferry out of business. In its heyday, the ferry had battled the tides, wind, rain, storms, fog, snow and ice while attempting to provide comfort and safety to its passengers and cargo. Protected from competition within a mile by the State Legislature, the ferry, coupled with an inn and eventually a railroad stop, had been a lucrative endeavor.

The ferry crossing had been located for generations near the hamlet of Greendale, just south of Olana. One of its earliest mentions in historical records was in 1788, when Henry Van Gordon leased it (and provided a license for a tavern called Oak Hill) to John B. Hollenbeck for two pounds, ten schillings. Read more…

Fleas force county office move to start from scratch

The Columbia County Office building at 401 State Street, Hudson, currently does or does not have fleas, depending on the source. Photo by Jeanette Wolfberg

HUDSON–Fleas have disrupted Columbia County offices in 401 State Street, but Matt Murell, chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, said, “We think we found the problem, and we’re going to repair it.”

For now, board committee meetings take place in the Board Chambers (formerly the auditorium), because the county Board of Elections is working in the committee meeting room, because its office is undergoing treatment for fleas. Mr. Murell said he expects the arrangement to last “for the rest of the year.”

The problem started at the end of July, when some Board of Elections employees began complaining about bites, Mr. Murell said on September 9. When fleas were identified, everybody who worked in the building was sent home, and the building was fumigated. But soon the problem recurred in the Board of Elections office. Since then, that office has undergone additional spraying, and its carpets and floor boards have been removed. Read more…