TWO MEN, EACH WITH YEARS of police experience, are running for the office of sheriff of Columbia County. It’s a four-year term and a big job. The sheriff runs the jail. The Sheriff’s Office also operates a county-wide road patrol and an investigative unit, among other services.

The candidates are the incumbent sheriff, David Bartlett, and one of his employees, Donald Krapf. Sheriff Bartlett is seeking a third term. He has been with the Sheriff’s Office 37 years, rising through the ranks until he got to the top 8 years ago.

First Sergeant Krapf is in charge of the Security Services Division. He has been with the Sheriff’s Office for 23 years and is team commander of the Shared Services Response Team and of the Rope Rescue Unit among other duties. Read more…

EDITORIAL: What’s with all these proposals?

WHEN THE POLLS OPEN in Columbia County—this Saturday in Hudson and Valatie for early voters; Tuesday, November 2 at community polling places—voters will not only elect a sheriff, some judges and a slate of local officials, we will be asked to support or oppose five statewide ballot proposals… if we remember to look at the the back of our ballot.

Statewide proposals are the way we amend the state constitution. The choices we have are Yes or No. It’s simple enough if we have some idea what the amendments are meant to do for us. So here’s a crash course on this batch of changes.

• Proposition One; “Amending the Apportionment and Redistricting Process” Read more…

EDITORIAL: Flip your ballot

ONCE UPON A TIME you could hear the spare change rattling in tin cups. The hands of local library trustees trembled. Drops of sweat dripped down their foreheads as they approached their Town Board to plead for a few dollars in the budget to buy an armful of books, patch the roof, keep the lights on.

“We can’t afford it,” one then another councilman would say. “We’d like to help, but we can’t, you see. The voters won’t have it. But come back next year, and then we’ll see.”

So the library trustees were thrifty for another year and not much changed until a governor named Pataki signed a law in 1995 called Chapter 414 that allowed small association libraries to place funding propositions on the annual election ballot. Town boards could no longer determine what independent association libraries needed to serve their communities. Some of town boards said no, no, that won’t work. Voters will never support taxing themselves. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Watch out for Germantown

GERMANTOWN IS A COMMUNITY that punches above its weight when it comes to other people meddling with its Hudson River shoreline. Remember what happened not long ago when Amtrak decided it had to fence off its tracks through Germantown?

In case you weren’t here then, the citizens of Germantown were joined by environmental organizations and every local politician who could grip a microphone, and suddenly Amtrak flacks realized they needed another five years to study the possible alternatives to fences.

But there’s something about Germantown that encourages dreamers, and now there’s a new proposal under consideration by the Army Corps of Engineers to allow up to three barges at a time to be moored off the Germantown shoreline. The barges could be as big as 52 feet wide by 250 feet long. New York State Marine Highway Transportation, LLC is the company that would haul these barges with its tugs. It’s based in Troy. Read more…

EDITORIAL: The real cost

IT WASN’T A BIG HEIST. As criminal behavior goes, it wasn’t a heist at all. Two people working for the same village took advantage of their positions and, with a steady drip-drip-drip, paid their own expenses with money that wasn’t theirs.

The story held the promise of mystery and romance. Call it “The Treasurer and the Police Chief” if you like. But keep your imagination in check. No one in a position to know has even hinted that there was anything other than coincidence and opportunity that connects the two subjects at the same time in the same town hall.

And if that weren’t enough to douse suspicions of misbehavior more entertaining than “scamming” employers, consider the indisputable hero of the tale. He is none other than the state comptroller, who assigned his staff to figure out why the things didn’t add up in the Village of Chatham. Read more…