What a great way to learn

State Trooper and A.B. Shaw Fire Chief Brennan Keeler gives his daughter, Kersten, 14, some on-the-job firefighting tips as they battled a structure fire on Snydertown Road in Claverack. Kersten is a Junior Firefighter with A.B. Shaw. The fire started the morning of July 25. Churchtown and Greenport Fire Departments were on the scene, with mutual aid from A.B. Shaw, Mellenville, Philmont, Craryville, Taghkanic, Ancram, Copake, and Hillsdale. Also on the scene were county fire coordinators and EMS. Taghkanic, Hudson, Livingston, Millerton and Egremont stood by. Photo by Lance Wheeler

THE CATSKILL GEOLOGISTS: Geologists seek story of South Bay rail bed

WE ARE MORE THAN JUST A LITTLE FOND of the artists of the Hudson River School of Art. That was America’s first recognized school of art. It flourished during the middle of the 19th century. These were landscape artists who focused on the wilderness that was still so common in our country. Many geologists find that when they look into those paintings, they have the same feel for the landscapes as did those artists. The two of us always like to say that their hearts and ours beat as one.

Those artists were far more active on our (western) side of the Hudson, but you had some of the greatest of them living in Columbia County. You have probably visited Olana, the home of Frederic Edwin Church. He is commonly regarded as the greatest Hudson River artist. But you also had one of our favorites, Sanford Robinson Gifford. He lived right in the center of Hudson in a house that no longer stands.

Gifford was not just active in the Catskills; he did some work in Hudson. Take a look at our illustration, a painting of something called South Bay as it was back in 1864. We think it is a great painting and we were very interested in seeing if we could locate where it was painted. That wasn’t all that hard. In the background is Mt. Merino and that, in fact, made it easy to locate. Take a look at our second illustration, a photo we took. Read more…

Good news? County faces only $13-million budget hole

HUDSON – “When it became clear that the coronavirus-related shutdown would have significant financial impacts and was not a short-term situation, there was no question that Columbia County would need to begin taking steps to prevent a total economic catastrophe,” county Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell said in a press release issued July 16.

In response, a bipartisan budget work group consisting of Chairman Murell and Supervisors Art Bassin (D-Ancram), James Guzzi (R-Livingston), Ron Knott (R-Stuyvesant) and Rick Scalera (D-Hudson), as well as county Treasurer PJ Keeler, Controller Ron Caponera, HR Director Michaele Williams-Riordon, and county Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons began meeting.

In late March, county Treasurer Keeler issued a preliminary estimate that the county faced an impending deficit of $12 million in lost revenue attributed to the economic shutdown. He said that the figure was based upon the best-case scenario, assuming a mild economic impact on county finances. By May, Mr. Keeler had updated the projected loss of revenue as ranging from $13.2 million to $20 million. Read more…

Stay safe from usual suspects

HUDSON—The Covid-19 pandemic may be grabbing the headlines but the usual summertime scourges have not disappeared.

People are spending more time at home recreating in the backyard or outdoors in other places like parks, beaches or woodland trails.

While staying away from crowds may keep someone safe from the coronavirus—ticks, mosquitos and rabid creatures like to hang out with Mother Nature too. Read more…

Cipkowski makes his exit official

HILLSDALE—Town Supervisor Peter Cipkowski resigned July 27. Mr. Cipkowski served as town supervisor for five years and, previously, as a Town Board member for three years. Deputy Supervisor Jill Sims has stepped in, temporarily, as interim supervisor until the board appoints an interim supervisor to serve to the end of 2020 at its regular monthly meeting August 11.

In the town’s November 2019 newsletter, Mr. Cipkowski announced that he would not complete the term of service in order to join his husband, who had moved to Los Angeles for employment purposes.

In an email exchange following his resignation Mr. Cipkowski responded to questions about his background, future challenges for Hillsdale and Columbia County, and whom he would like to succeed him as town supervisor. Read more…

Something looks (mostly) normal here

Grays pitcher Landon VanAlstyne delivers a pitch during the fourth inning versus the Reds during a Chatham Little League majors division baseball game on Tuesday, July 14. The Grays defeated the Reds 8-7. Little League baseball started in the area earlier this month, with new regulations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Games are played the complex on Payn Avenue in Chatham. The Town of Chatham recently approved the contract with the Reds to use the field at Crellin Park. Photo by Chip Moon