They probably will dance all night. PS 21 in Chatham celebrated the opening night of its Black Box Theater off of Route 66 in Chatham on Saturday, April 14, with a performance by Caleb Teicher and Nic Gareiss. The space was filled with the sold-out audience and guests as Judy Grunberg (center, with scissors), president of the PS21 Board of Directors, cut the ribbon along with board members (l to r) Marcia Fardella, Seth Lachterman and Deborah Lans. Photo by David Lee

Zzzzoning by attrition, town completes task

COPAKE—The journey has been slow, fraught with upheaval and head-butting and even a do-over, but finally, the newly-revised rendition of Copake Zoning Code is complete and available for public viewing on the town’s website.

In October 2011, the month following the adoption of town’s new Comprehensive Plan in September 2011, the Copake Town Board appointed an 11-member committee to review zoning regulations to insure their compliance with the newly-adopted Comprehensive Plan. In its resolution to form the committee, the board declared the committee “should be free from any political influences.”

But in February 2012 a majority of Town Board members, all Democrats, none of whom are current board members, voted to abolish the original committee, much to the dismay of the volunteer committee members and the general public. Read more…

Special election will fill vacant posts

GHENT–On Tuesday, April 24 a special election will take place to fill two state Assembly seats left vacant by Republicans Steve McLaughlin and Peter Lopez. The two former assemblymen who represented the 107th and 102nd districts, respectively. Mr. McLaughlin was elected Rensselaer County executive and Mr. Lopez was named regional administrator for the EPA.

Voters in the special election will elect new Assembly members to fill the two seats for the remaining eight months of their two-year terms.

One of the biggest challenges facing candidates in special elections like these is voter turnout, leaving open the possibility of upsets due to far fewer voters show up compared to the general election in November. Read more…

Hillsdale fills court clerk seat

HILLSDALE–Deputy Supervisor Steve Tiger presided over this week’s Town Board meeting in the absence of Supervisor Peter Cipkowski. The meeting started with a minute of silence in recognition of the passing of Sam Dawson, age 99, on April 8. Mr. Dawson served as Hillsdale’s Supervisor for four two-year terms, 1988 – 94, in addition to several other civic positions.

The board approved the appointments of Katie Bell as Court Clerk and Teri Traver as Deputy Court Clerk. Ms. Bell replaces Carla Ingersoll, who resigned to serve as a judge in Philmont. The court clerk positions pay $15/hr. The court clerk position is budgeted for 20 hours per week. The board will determine the deputy clerk’s hours at a future date. Read more…

Ghent birthday party draws a crowd

GHENT–Last Tuesday, April 3, the town of Ghent celebrated its 200th birthday. It began with a celebration at the Post Office during the day, including old maps and photos of Ghent throughout the years, as well as a special bicentennial postmark. It ended with an evening celebration at the Ghent VFW Post 5933 that included speakers, food, cake, old photos and new video of the town.

The town of Ghent was recognized through proclamations from Congress via Representative John Faso’s (R-19th) office, the state Assembly from Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-106th), as well as through a legislative resolution from the office of state Senator Kathleen Marchione (R-43rd), all to commemorate the town’s birthday. Town Supervisor Michael Benvenuto presented a resolution of congratulations from the Columbia County Board of Supervisors.

The Ghent Band played at the event, and the town’s new town historian, Gregg Berninger, spoke about his efforts over the past few months, compiling photos and stories into a Bicentennial Publication to share the history of Ghent with the public. This publication is for sale at the Town Hall, and includes highlights and photos from the two-century history of Ghent.

“If you’re wondering what the first thing on Ghent’s mind was, it was pigs. The first law passed in Ghent was that all pigs must be yoked,” Mr. Berninger said, drawing laughter from the audience of well over 100. “People fenced their gardens in, and if the pig had a yoke, it couldn’t get through the fence. There have been no reports this year of pigs in people’s gardens, so people are still following the law.” Read more…

Valatie budget proposal holds line on tax rate

VALATIE–Mayor Diane Argyle presented the Village Board with a $1.7-million proposed budget for 2018-19 at a special meeting Wednesday, April 4. The mayor said the budget has the same tax rate as the current budget, so she said most residents in the village won’t see an increase in their village taxes.

Village budgets run from June through May, so this budget will start June 1 and cover village expenses and revenues through May 31, 2019. Mayor Argyle said that some properties in the village were recently reassessed and those property owners will see a change in their taxes.

In the proposed budget, which the board is scheduled to vote on at an April 10 meeting, general fund spending is set at $824,670; the water budget is $344,373; and sewer budget is $499,500. Read more…