BLACK HISTORY: For some, county was stop on Underground Railroad

IN THE 1830s fugitive slaves increasingly moved to New York City for sanctuary. Many of these escapees were fleeing plantations located along Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

In his autobiography Samuel Ringgold Ward, above, wrote about his escape from slavery and his career. In the mid-19th century he lived in Poughkeepsie.

Slave catchers, backed by laws requiring support from law enforcement and private citizens alike, engaged in aggressive tactics. Abolitionists fought back and established networks of safe homes, called “way stations,” throughout upstate New York, including the Hudson Valley.

The networks managed primarily by Quakers and freed Blacks were dubbed the Underground Railroad. Columbia County had four “way stations” located in Hudson, Claverack, Ghent and Chatham, according to historian Fergus M. Bordewich, author of The Underground Railroad in the New York Hudson Valley.

Bordewich says that overland travel by horse-drawn wagons from New York City to the Hudson Valley way stations took an average 10 -14 days, but the invention of the steamboat shortened the journey on the Hudson River, from days to hours. The People’s Line sailed up to 500 “Abolition Boats” daily as 20 years of improvements to steamboat travel cut the journey to Albany from 15 to 7 hours. Read more…

Offensive email, then town seeks outside help

ANCRAM—Emails never die.

A disturbing email received by a Town Board member which was brought up at the January Town Board meeting, came up again at the February 18 board meeting and will likely come up again.

Moments before the January 21 meeting, the email popped up during an email conversation between Councilperson Bonnie Hundt and Town Clerk Monica Cleveland about the minutes of a prior meeting. It was part of an email chain which included all Town Board members and Town Highway Superintendent James Miller. Read more…

Wintertime and the fishing is frosty

Saturday, February 13, was the 22nd annual Canaan Conservation Club Hard Water Derby fishing contest. Fishing families came out and enjoyed the perfect weather for the event at Queechy Lake. There were 117 adults and 27 youth registered. Above, seven year-old Hunter Trapasso held up his 13-1/2″ trout, which won him third place in his division. Photo by David Lee

State poised to make good on school aid promises

HUDSON—The Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education has learned that the school district will receive all the aid budgeted for 2020-21 school year, but for 2021-22 state officials may try again to combine several aid categories that school officials want keep separate.

The possibility that the state would cut up to 20% of this year’s aid hung over school districts until late last month, when the state Department of Budget said that school districts will get all their scheduled aid, HCSD Business Administrator Jesse Boehme reported at the February 2 board meeting.

In addition to state aid, the district is expecting $2.2 million in specific grants plus additional money from the federal CARES Act, Mr. Boehme said. The district has more flexibility in deciding how to use these grants than in previous years, added Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement April Prestipino. Read more…

ICC ok’s sports team restart

KINDERHOOK—The Ichabod Crane School Board voted to approve the start of high risk sports at a special online meeting on February 9. The sports include boys and girls basketball (varsity and JV), boys volleyball (varsity), girls volleyball (varsity, JV and modified), football (varsity), cheerleading (varsity) and wrestling (varsity).

The board included wording in the resolution that there would need to be a testing protocol for wrestling, since it was the one sport about which a couple of board members had concerns.

On January 22, the governor announced that high risk sports were authorized to begin practice and competition on February 1, if permitted by local health authorities. Read more…