Four villages hold elections September 15


GHENT—The four county villages—Chatham, Kinderhook, Philmont and Valatie—will hold elections on Tuesday, September 15. Village elections were originally scheduled for March 18, but were postponed a few times due the pandemic.

In Philmont and Valatie, incumbent board members are running unopposed for the open seats. In Chatham current trustee Lenore Packet did not run for reelection. There are two open seats in Chatham with two people running: incumbent Melony Spock and first-time candidate Jodie Russell.

In Kinderhook, current mayor Jim Dunham and long-time trustee Rich Phillips are not running for reelection. Four people are running for two open seats on the board: Michael Abrams, Robert Baumeister (incumbent), James Mark Browne and Dorene M. Weir. One person—Dale R. Leiser—is running for mayor. Also on the ballot in Kinderhook is village justice. Current Judge David Dellehunt is running unopposed. Read more…

They breathe easier with $500K grant

GHENT—Three Columbia County fire departments will share in a half-million-dollar grant to help them purchase essential breathing equipment.

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles “Chuck” Schumer, announced in a September 3 press release that more than $5 million in federal funding has been awarded to 36 fire departments, municipalities and ambulance corps across the state “to bolster New York’s firefighter force and to provide essential PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] for firefighters responding to the Covid-19 outbreak.”

Ghent Volunteer Fire Company #1 has made attempts at applying for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) before, but had “just no luck,” Ghent Fire Chief Anthony Brahm told The Columbia Paper this week. Read more…

Over 20 tons of food go to our neighbors

A second food distribution was conducted Monday, August 31 at the county Fairgrounds in Chatham. As was the case for the first distribution in May, food was supplied by the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, overseen by Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Albany and in cooperation with food pantries in Chatham, Kinderhook and Ghent. According to Catholic Charities Director of Community Services Wilhelmina Murray-Davis, there were 38 volunteers who loaded up 697 cars in two hours between 10 a.m. and noon. The only information asked of each driver was how many people they were collecting for. The number of people for whom food was provided was 1,993. These numbers compare to 60 volunteers in May serving 1,356 people. There were 22 pallets of food on Monday compared to 19 in May. Each pallet weighs about a ton. Photo by David Lee

ICC hopes reserves will offset any aid cuts

KINDERHOOK—The Ichabod Crane Board of Education met in person and on Zoom Tuesday, September 1. Board President Matthew Nelson said that at the in-person meeting, held in the primary school cafeteria, the district followed safety guidelines of everyone in masks, having temperature checks and a sign-in for contract tracing. The meeting was also streamed live online.

Mr. Nelson announced that board member Jessica Berner has resigned. The board has decided to ask community members to apply for the position and the board will appoint someone in October to finish the rest of Ms. Berner’s term, which will expire in May 2021. The board plans to release more information about how to apply for the seat.

The board also heard an update on district finances. Questar III/BOCES released a video that District Business Manager Michael Brennan shared with the board that said the governor had warned of a 20% cut in state aid if the federal government did not provide additional relief to states. Read more…

NEWS ANALYSIS: When one party can’t agree

HOW DID HILLSDALE DEMOCRATS reach the level of political turmoil that has left them with two town supervisor candidates, no interim supervisor and no vote on the county Board of Supervisors?

Town Supervisor Peter Cipkowski resigned effective July 27. On August 5, Chris Kersten, chair of the Hillsdale Democratic Committee (HDC), was chosen as the HDC’s town supervisor candidate. Mr. Kersten served on the nominating committee but did not vote.

The next day Robina Ward, a town councilwoman, announced that she would challenge Mr. Kersten on an independent Hillsdale Unity Party line. Read more…