COMMUNITY BRIEFS: April 23 through 30

All’s quiet in the ‘dog bark’

GERMANTOWN—Effective April 23, Palatine Bark, the Germantown dog park, is closed until further notice. Town officials say they cannot properly manage social distancing and safety during this time.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Germantown Town Hall, including all offices, will remain closed until at least May 31.

The Kellner Community Activity Building and the Parsonage are also closed until further notice. Read more…

LIBRARIES: Roe Jan, Claverack, Hudson

Saturday brings free webinar on native trees, shrubs
COPAKE—In celebration of Earth Day, a free webinar on native trees and shrubs takes place via Zoom on Saturday, April 25, from 10 to 11 a.m., presented by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties, in partnership with the Roeliff Jansen Community Library.
Master Gardener Tim Kennalty will lead a lesson on how native shrubs, trees, and other wildlife can provide beauty and structure to landscape and help preserve nature.
This program is being held in lieu of Cornell’s Spring Gardening Day and the Roe Jan Library’s earlier scheduled program on this topic, which were cancelled this year in accordance with current health and safety measures. Read more…

THROUGH THE WOODS: What happened to spring?

A few days ago the weatherman said we might get a little snow or rain. It turned out to be some rain, then high winds, snow and power outages. The snow kept on up here in the hills of Austerlitz with white-outs and deepening snow. It looked like the middle of winter. Birch trees were bent over around the field, trees were covered with thick snow, and the poor birds and wildlife didn’t come out until the worst of the storm calmed down in the afternoon. Fearing damage I checked out the stand of evergreens east of the house. All seemed to be well. It was interesting to see the birds flying under cover above me. We all had the same idea. Thankfully it didn’t last too long.

Male Cardinal in a pine tree by Nancy Jane Kern.

The next day there were a few inches of snow that melted when the sun came out. The 40mph+ wind gusts roared across the yard to bend even substantial oak trees. Lots of twigs and small branches came down and there were no birds except one poor crow who attempted to fly across the field behind the house. It twisted about, rose and fell, and finally made it to some trees, probably taking shelter in one of the thick pines. The ground was white, there was less wind, and steady snow came from the east.

This is the kind of storm we see in mid-March, not in April. One of our eastern Phoebes was back last week eating flies emerging from the porch ceiling. It looked nice and fat so should survive without insects for awhile. I stopped feeding the birds because the black bears are out of hibernation, but it was so bad I took a chance and put out some corn and sunflower seed. I spread it on the porch railing and filled one feeder. Read more…

THE CATSKILL GEOLOGISTS: Why’s Lindenwald’s lawn so flat?

NOT MANY COUNTIES can claim to be the home of one of our nation’s former presidents, but folks in Columbia County can do just that. Kinderhook is the location of Lindenwald, the home of Martin Van Buren. It is, in many ways, still his home today. It’s a National Historic site, maintained by the National Park Service. It’s been closed for the winter and remains closed because of the coronavirus pandemic but the grounds are open to the public with certain restrictions. (See below.)

We have visited Lindenwald any number of times and taken the tour; we can recommend it highly. But we are different from most. Sure, we find the history here fascinating but, for us, there is always more. Take a look at our photo of the grounds. Lindenwald is almost hidden by trees but we were far more interested in the landscape that surrounds it. Notice how flat it is. You wouldn’t think that geologists would find flat to be very interesting, but we rather thought there was a story here. There was, but we had some research to do.

Using a very good map of the site, we quickly found that the mansion was built atop a low and very flat plateau, lying just a bit above Kinderhook Creek. That, in turn, led us to a New York State Museum map of the local ice age geology. Soon we cracked the problem; we understood the grounds at Lindenwald! Read more…

Hailey Beaumont named to Phi Theta Kappa NY All-American Team

GREENPORT — Columbia-Greene Community College student Hailey Beaumont of Hudson has been named to the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) New York All-American Academic Team for 2020.

Hailey Beaumont. Photo contributed

The Phi Theta Kappa Award recognizes outstanding community college students throughout the state who demonstrate “academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society,” according to the PTK website.

Hailey, a Criminal Justice major, plans to graduate from C-GCC in Spring 2020, and currently holds a GPA of 3.94. She’s an active member of the C-GCC Criminal Justice Club, frequently serving as a program ambassador for potential students, and a member of the Twins softball team. In 2019, she was honored with the David A. Rarich Scholar-Athlete Award. For more information, please visit or