What will we do when polar goes solar?

Sixth Annual Oakdale Polar Plunge was held on Sunday, March 5, postponed a day because of the winter weather Saturday morning. The event at the beach at Oakdale Lake benefits the Youth Department Waterfront Program and the Hudson Fire Department Water Rescue and Dive Team. The Oakdale Polar Plunge website reports that there were 18 teams, 122 plungers, 40 sponsors and 416 donations. The goal of raising $50,000 was exceeded by $6,249.60. Top fundraisers were Karin-Renee Roberts with $4,350, Peter Frank with $3,250, Carla Sadoff with $2,359, Tamar Adler with $1,830 and Matthew Wood, (pictured) leader of Metzwood Insurance Team with $1,825 raised. His team raised the most money. Photo by David Lee

State board approves farm worker overtime

GHENT—New York State farm workers will be eligible for overtime pay (OT) after 40 hours.

The current OT threshold is 60 hours. The lower OT threshold starts next year and will be phased in over a 10-year period. The threshold will be lowered by 2 hours every other year.

State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon announced two weeks ago that Governor Kathy Hochul had signed off on recommendations made last year by the state’s Farm Laborers Wage Board. The changes align farm workers with all other labor sectors in New York regarding hourly wage compensation. “These new regulations ensure equity for farm workers . . . the very backbone of our agriculture sector,” said Commissioner Reardon.

The legislature created the wage board in 2019. Read more…

Village of Kinderhook receives $2.25M grant

Pictured (l-r) are Mayor Michael Abrams, Renee Shur, Governor Kathy Hochul, Quinn Murphy and and Trustee Dorene Weir. Photo contributed

KINDERHOOK—Governor Kathy Hochul announced on March 3 that the Village of Kinderhook has received $2.25 million in funding as one of the Capital Region winners of the first round of that state’s NY Forward program.

Also as part of the first round the Greene County Village of Coxsackie has received $4.5 million and the Village of Cambridge in Washington County has received $2.25 million.

A press release from the governor says this new program is building on the momentum of the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). The $100 million NY Forward program adopts the same “Plan-then-Act” strategy as the DRI to support a more equitable downtown recovery for the state’s smaller and rural communities.

As part of NY Forward Round One, two to three awards will be made to smaller communities in each of the state’s ten economic development regions to support development and implementation of a revitalization plan for their downtowns. Read more…

Copake activates team to look at housing

COPAKE—Copake has decided to give itself a little time to figure out what the town can do to address a big issue—housing.

Part of the strategy involves enacting a town law to establish a six-month moratorium on major subdivisions, which the Town Board did unanimously at a special meeting held February 28.

The other part of the strategy is to activate a “SWAT team.”

In her January 12 report, Supervisor Jeanne Mettler said that the Town Board’s “careful fiscal policies” over the years coupled with the significant economic growth (a nearly $19 million increase in the town’s assessed value in just the past year) have benefited the individual taxpayer.

“The flip side of the increased value of housing in Copake is the increased cost of housing and the resulting housing crisis. This is not just a local crisis; there is a housing crisis in Columbia County, and in her recent State of the State address, New York Governor Hochul recognized this as a statewide crisis,” Ms. Mettler said. Read more…

Villagers and visitors show support for Ukraine

Friday, February 24 marked a year since the Russian army rolled into Ukraine, initiating an invasion that, rather than being concluded in a few days, has bogged down in a morass of attrition warfare. The anniversary was marked with a vigil on the village green in Chatham. Dozens of people, buttoned up against a frigid wind, gathered and held signs. The event was co-sponsored by Ukraine Solidarity-Albany and Rivers & Mountains GreenFaith. In attendance was Olena Lake. She held signs reading “Solidarity with Ukraine” and “Russia! Out of Ukraine!!! Now!!!” She is from Kyiv and lives in Albany. She has family and friends in Ukraine including friends fighting on the front lines. “It is very important that they know that they are not alone,” she told The Columbia Paper, “and that they know they are supported here.” Photo by David Lee