CAP and CLC host Chatham Area Farm Tour

CHATHAM – The Chatham Agricultural Partnership (CAP), the Columbia Land Conservancy (CLC) and area farmers sponsored the 11th Annual Chatham Area Farm Tour on Saturday, September 28. Tourists were invited to visit any of 19 locations of rural and farming activity from orchards and vegetable growing to livestock and equine rescue, and see how they worked.

Farms on the tour included: Love Apple Farm, Grimaldi Farm, Hudson-Chatham Winery, Maple Leaf Sugaring, Jersey Meadow Farm, Little Ghent Farm, Kinderhook Farm, The Berry Farm, Staron’s Farm Stand, Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary, Highland Farm, Little Book Farm, Raven & Board Dog Wood Farm & Rock City Mushrooms, Buttonwood Hollow Farm, Red Rock Farm, Hawthorne Valley Farm, High & Mighty Farm and The Barn at Miller’s Crossing.

The Little Brook Farm in Old Chatham is known for equine rescue but it is much more than that, it is an educational facility and home of B.I.T.S. or Balanced Innovative Teaching Strategies. Summer Brennan (r) conducts a riding lesson in the recently constructed enclosed arena. Photo by David Lee

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Galvan Motel opens; helps those with no home

GREENPORT–The Galvan Civic Motel on Route 9 near the Livingston line, opened last month under contract with Columbia County to provide emergency housing for people referred to it by the County Department of Social Services.

The Department of Social Services (DSS) uses motels to lodge people in need of housing. But it has had to place about two-thirds of these households in motels located over 10 miles from the DSS office in Hudson, as per DSS data April 2018, due to lack of rooms that are closer. The number of rooms the DSS has rented for emergency housing has fluctuated between 35 and 75 monthly.

The Galvan Civic Motel (GCM) is less than six miles from the DSS office. And with 25 rooms, DSS Commissioner Bob Gibson said last year, the GCM will not solve the county’s homelessness problem, but it will be a big help. Read more…

Early voting starts Oct. 26 at three sites


HUDSON–Early voting is an option offered to all registered voters in Columbia County for the first time this year. Voting will be available for nine days, from Saturday, October 26 through Sunday, November 3 at three locations in Hudson, Valatie and Copake.

The locations are:

• Columbia County Office Building, 401 State Street, Hudson

• Martin H Glynn Municipal Building, Valatie

• Copake Town Hall, 230 Mountain View Road, Copake. Read more…

For some, Greene bus bridges this county’s transit hurdle

HUDSON–“We get a lot of college students, nurses who work at Columbia Memorial Hospital, and people who get on somewhere, go shopping, and come back,” said a driver of the bus—a white 16-passenger van–that connects the Hudson with Catskill.

Greene County operates the bus Route 711: Teal. It runs Monday through Friday, looping in the morning from Catskill, across the Rip Van Winkle Bridge to Columbia-Greene Community College (C-GCC) in Greenport, up Route 9 to Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH), down Warren Street to the Hudson Train Station and then back to Catskill. In the afternoon, it runs the same loop but in the reverse direction, from Catskill, to Hudson, to CGCC, and back to Catskill.

In Catskill, the bus has several designated stops, including the Hub, the Catskill Price Chopper, the high school, the court house, and Main Street. Read more…

Columbia County History: In Hillsdale, a vanishing act

NOT EVERYTHING CAN BE SAVED. As Town Historians, we hear that a lot. There never seems to be enough money to prevent local history from disappearing.

But it’s important to save things. What gets lost gets forgotten. A good example is the McKinstry burial plot on upper Hunt Road in North Hillsdale. Its beautifully carved headstones, many dating to the late 1700s, have lain mostly undisturbed for over two centuries. They lie flat, probably laid down years ago by a kind farmer to protect them from harvesting equipment. Over the decades they were covered over with earth and brambles. In 1998 Becky Dean of Hillsdale, a college student, found the small burial ground and spent a summer excavating the stones, recording inscriptions, and researching McKinstry history. Then she went back to college, moved away, and the headstones vanished again.

Why should we care about this particular burial plot? First, for its historical significance: John and Jane Dickey McKinstry arrived in America from Northern Ireland in 1740 and put down stakes in Hillsdale in 1772, just six years after the burning of Nobletown by Van Rensselaer-backed British troops. The land between the Massachusetts border and the Hudson River had long been in dispute between the New York and Bay colonies–a dispute that wasn’t resolved until after the Revolutionary War. Concerned about its sparsely settled western border, Massachusetts encouraged “military families” to settle the region. Read more…