Ancram beams up board member… kind of

Councilwoman uses web to ‘attend’ Town Board meeting

ANCRAM–When the town’s January 5 year-end/annual organization meeting was called to order, Town Councilwoman Madeleine Israel was in Redwood City, CA, visiting her daughter and awaiting the birth of another grandchild.

But that didn’t stop her from showing up at the meeting.


Through Skype technology, Ms. Israel could be seen on the screen of a laptop computer sitting on the table at which all other board members were seated, including recently-elected Councilman Hugh Clark. Ms. Israel was the first to welcome Mr. Clark to the board from on-screen.

The councilwoman participated in board discussions and voted on motions throughout the meeting, except when the Skype connection was temporarily lost and then again when the laptop battery ran out of juice. But this was Ancram, after all, and glitches were to be expected with the town’s first-ever foray into remote meeting attendance.

Meeting via Skype may be something of a trend, with Kinderhook Village Mayor Carol Weaver attending Village Board meetings in February and March 2011 from La Jolla, CA, and Copake Councilman Bob Sacks slated to attend the January 12 Copake Town Board meeting via Skype from Las Vegas, NV.

The fact that Ms. Israel was going to participate in the Ancram meeting via Skype was announced by public notices in newspapers both locally and in Redwood, according to Supervisor Art Bassin.

By the way, John Daniel Dugery, lll, who is called Jack, was born January 9. His big brother, Paul Reilly Dugery, is 18-months-old and their proud parents are Nancy and John Dugery.

Also at the meeting:

*Supervisor Bassin said that during his most recent conversation with Mariner Tower representative Chris Ciolfi, Mr. Ciolfi told him that he and AT&T were reviewing alternatives, looking at alternate sites and had decided not to appear at the January 5 Ancram Planning Board meeting.

Mariner’s proposal to construct a 150-foot-high cell tower at 2259 State Route 82 near the Gallatin town line came under heavy fire at the December 1 public hearing.

*Supervisor Bassin reported that Columbia County Public Works Commissioner David Robinson said the county expected to close on the purchase of the Tinsmith house at the State Route 82/County Route 7 intersection sometime in February and that he will come to the February Town Board meeting to talk about the project to fix that intersection. Mr. Bassin said he had heard from some residents who want the county to leave the house standing if possible. Mr. Robinson said he would look at that possibility, but if it would cost the county more money, the county would not want to do it. If the house could be saved and any extra project costs to that end could be borne by community fundraising, it would be helpful. But the county’s first priority is intersection safety, said the supervisor.

*Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) Chair Jamie Purinton gave a presentation about the council and its accomplishments over the past two years, the reports the council has issued and its goals for the coming year which include continuing work on the biodiversity map, putting on public education events and being a fact and information resource for the Town Board, Planning Board and Zoning Board. The town’s CAC is considered a leader and a model for other such councils in towns throughout the county.

*Agreed to the following resolutions during the 2012 organization meeting: continue current arrangements with attorneys John Lyons (Grant Lyons), Jason Shaw (Whiteman Osterman & Hanna) to provide legal services for the Town of Ancram; accept the proposal of the Lofgren Agency to provide property,inland marine,automobile, public officials and liability insurance coverage through the Houston Casualty Company for the Town of Ancram beginning January 4, for 2012 for a total premium not to exceed $21,000.

*Made the following appointments: Budget Officer Art Bassin, Deputy Town Supervisor Jim Miller, Town Historian Clara VanTassel, Town Hall Building Manager George Wittlinger, Town Assessor Ken Leggett (appointed through May 2013), Assessor’s clerk Mary Boice, Building Inspector, ZEO, CEO Ed Ferratto, Deputy Building Inspector/ZEO/CEO Bill Hunt, Clerk for Building Inspector/ZEO/CEO Marie McDermott , Animal Control Officer Wes Powell, Registrar of Vital Statistics and Records Management Officer Monica Cleveland, Clerk of the Town Court Ruth Wittlinger, Deputy Clerk of the Town Court Colleen Lutz, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals Clerk Naomi Davies, Deputy Town Clerk/Tax Collector Ruth Wittlinger, Kid’s Summer Camp Director Ruth Thomas.

*Made the following designations: Official Town Bank/Depository Bank of Greene County, Town Justices Depository Key Bank, Town Clerk Depository First Niagara, Town Tax Collector Depository Bank of Greene County; Official Newspapers The Register Star and The Columbia Paper; Official Dog Kennel Columbia Greene Humane Society; Representative to the Advisory Council to the Office of the Aging Madeleine Israel, Alternate Adrienne Citrin; Representative to the Columbia County Traffic Safety Board Libby McKee; Representative to the County Environmental Management Council Jamie Purinton; Official Polling Places District #1: Ancram Town Hall and District #2: Ancramdale Presbyterian Church.

The Town Board conducts a special meeting to review the financial control processes and the 2011 books of the Town Count, Town Building Department and the town clerk/tax collector, and conduct any other business that comes before the Board Saturday, January 14 at 10 a.m.

To contact Diane Valden email .

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