What’s this ‘farmer’ really growing?

COPAKE—If at first you don’t succeed, stall, stall again.

That seems to be Salvatore Cascino’s strategy for dealing with the Copake Planning Board’s request for information members need to help them decide if Mr. Cascino is really the farmer he claims to be.

Mr. Cascino’s right-hand man, David Wiener, appeared for the second time in two months at the Planning Board’s most recent meeting, representing his boss on two site plan reviews. One review seeks site plan approval for existing buildings, which Mr. Cascino has already built on his 300-acre property, some without permission, and the second review seeks approval for three more new structures that will yield 64,200 square feet of enclosed or semi-enclosed space—all to be used in Mr. Cascino’s “farm operation known as Copake Valley Farm,” according to a proposed operating plan submitted by Mr. Wiener in March. Read more…

ICC schools super faces DWI charge

KINDERHOOK–Ichabod Crane Central School District Superintendent Michael Vanyo is on indefinite, unpaid leave. Assistant Superintendent Suzanne Guntlow was appointed acting superintendent at a special board meeting Tuesday, April 9.

News broke Monday morning that Mr. Vanyo, 51, was arrested by the Saratoga Sheriff’s Office for DWI – operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater – leaving the scene of a property damage accident, and an improper right turn. According to a press release for the sheriff’s office, they “responded to a call of a property damage motor vehicle crash on Maple Avenue in the Town of Wilton on April 6 at 8:33 p.m. where one of the involved vehicles reportedly left the scene.” The sheriff’s office did not release Mr. Vanyo’s BAC.

Mr. Vanyo, who lives in Saratoga Springs, was processed and released to a third party. He is scheduled to appear in the Wilton Town Court on a later date. Read more…

Valatie’s sidewalk flaws spark talk of new walk law

VALATIE–The Village Board discussed changing the village code on maintaining sidewalks and who is responsible for repairing them at their March 12 board meeting. According to Mayor Diane Argyle, the current code says the responsibility for the repairing sidewalks lies with the property owner but she also said that property owners don’t own the sidewalks; the sidewalks are owned by the municipality.

Jenn Kolb, who owns a business on Main Street and is a former village trustee, asked what the village plans to do about the sidewalk in front of her property. A section of the sidewalk has sunk and for several months has had safety cones around it so that pedestrians won’t trip. Ms. Kolb said she told the village about the sunken sidewalk in the fall.

She also said that because of the sidewalk, water has been leaking into her basement and the basement wall has deteriorated from the water damage. Read more…

Ancram ponders slab and color scheme for equipment shed

ANCRAM—Big trucks and heavy machines keep getting bigger and heavier.

That’s why many fire stations have been built anew or added onto in recent years to accommodate expanding truck size and why the Ancram Highway Department needs a new shed to keep all its equipment out of the weather.

With the long-awaited removal of the Houghtaling house at 2 Town Road near the Highway Department headquarters now complete, the Town Board has decided to go forward with the construction of a new equipment shed in its place Read more…

Records restore history of Hudson’s prison

THE HUDSON ADOLESCENT OFFENDER FACILITY sits close to the city’s busy central business district. But, for the most part, except for its employees who live locally, residents don’t give it a second thought. The facility’s nearly 150-year-old brick buildings have a fascinating but often sad history that, until recently, has been hidden from contemporary notice.

Since 2012, the Prison Public Memory Project (PPMP) has worked with individuals and organizations inside and outside Columbia County to document, interpret and share the history of the prison in its backyard.

The prison opened in Hudson in 1877 as the House of Refuge for Women, the state’s first reformatory for women and, according to some historians, America’s first “gender-specific” women’s penal institution. Read more…