Summer looks busy–and fun–for Ancram kids

ANCRAM–The town’s summer camp program for youngsters got the green light from the Town Board at its May 19 meeting.

Councilman John MacArthur asked whether the town wants to put on the program for the kids or whether it was doing it to make money.

Town Supervisor Art Bassin answered that the town is doing it for the kids, but he would like the program to break even.

Ruth Thomas, who will direct the program, said with an enrollment of 50 kids, she expects the program to make a $3,500 profit. Mrs. Thomas, the wife of Councilman Chris Thomas, asked the town for $2,500 up-front to buy a used tent, fix the basketball court and install a railing to help people negotiate a steep hill near the pool.

The program, which includes swimming lessons at the town pool, will run from July 5 through August 12, Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The cost is $65 for Town of Ancram residents and $75 for non-residents.

Adrienne Citrin of the Ancramdale Neighbors Helping Neighbors organization said the group will provide two five-week scholarships for youngsters whose families can’t afford to pay.

A pig roast in Ancramdale this Sunday, May 29 from noon to 4 p.m. benefits the program.

Ancram residents must register for the program at the Town Hall, 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, June 4 or 11; non-residents register June 18. Potential campers must bring proof of residency and immunization records. Anyone with questions should contact Mrs. Thomas at (518) 329-7309.

All board members, with the exception of Councilman Thomas, voted in favor of establishing the program and providing Mrs. Thomas with $2,500 to be repaid to the town by the end of the summer. Councilman Thomas did not vote on the issue.

The board also gave the thumbs up to the town’s Agriculture and Farmland Protection Plan as an addendum to the April 2010 Town Comprehensive Plan.

Resident Donna Hoyt questioned whether Mr. Bassin and Councilman Jim Miller, who both own farmland, should vote on the matter, saying it is a conflict of interest due to their potential eligibility to sell developmental rights to their land. Mr. Bassin answered that his land was “already in the conservancy” and the link Mrs. Hoyt was attempting to draw was “tenuous. But you can bring it up with the Ethics Board if you like,” he told her.

All board members were in favor except Councilman MacArthur, who said he voted no because the town’s Conservation Advisory Council offered an opinion in which it said there would be negative impacts from the plan. Though the council noted some negative impacts, Supervisor Bassin said the council did not recommend that the plan be given a “positive” impact declaration.

In other business the board:

*Heard from longtime Cell Tower Seeker Bob Roth that Mariner Tower II Inc, is in “high negotiation” with someone from Ancram for a piece land on which to build a cell tower.

*Agreed to go forward with converting part of the old milk factory into a salt shed before the end of the year at a cost not to exceed $50,000.

*Heard from Supervisor Bassin that he had received a report from a resident about a bear making an appearance on Woods Drive, emptying a birdfeeder and “ravaging” a compost pile. Councilman MacArthur then told a story about how his wife and her friend were in the clubhouse at their golf course late one night when they heard the garbage cans being dumped over outside. Mrs. MacArthur knew what the source of the sound was and the two women picked up a couple of golf clubs and went outside, where they “came eye-to-eye with a 400 pound bear,” said the councilman. He explained that the bear was a “frequent flyer” when it comes to neighborhood garbage cans, having been in the business of finding chow in them for three years. He said the bear reluctantly went on its way after the women hit some golf balls in its direction.

To contact Diane Valden email

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