ICC board considers bidding French adieu

KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane Board of Education held a budget workshop meeting last week to review options for staffing the art, music and foreign languages programs in the next school year.

At the January 22 workshop meeting school officials also discussed joining a distance learning group that would allow students to take classes from different schools via video conferences. In addition the district could also offer classes to other districts in the distance learning program, which would come with some state aid for teachers’ salaries.

The board discussed the upcoming retirements of staff members in the art, music and foreign language departments and what that could mean for reconfiguring how and when some of those classes are taught. Last year, five teachers retired, yielding an estimated savings for the district of $343,000 in salary and benefits. At the end of the this school year, eight teachers will be retiring, leading to an estimated savings of $409,000. Read more…

When a bullet shattered morning routine

HILLSDALE—Poachers aiming to illegally take deer by shooting from a vehicle on a public road bagged themselves a house instead.

The incident took place the morning of Sunday, December 2 on Pumpkin Hill Road, a rural dirt lane.

Ben Lucki and his wife were at home, still asleep, when they heard a loud noise, which woke them up and caused his wife to “spring out of bed,” Mr. Lucki told The Columbia Paper this week. Read more…

Canaan faces recycling changes

CANAAN–The Town Board at its January 14 meeting confirmed just 50 residents have purchased recycling permits. Discussion focused on the transfer station and its recurring problems like massive potholes.

Kovanta is selling the property and keeping a second in Pittsfield due in large measure to an Industrial Development Agency (IDA) loan. A purchase of the Canaan transfer station is in the works, though not yet closed, by a national company that owns landfills nationwide and manages waste recovery and recycling programs throughout the country.

Also last week the board unanimously approved the appointment of David Patzwahl as deputy supervisor for 2019 and approved scheduling of an audit meeting on February 11 at 6:30 p.m. ahead of the regular board meeting. Read more…

Kinderhook Bank sold for $93 million

KINDERHOOK–Kinderhook Bank Corp., parent company of National Union Bank of Kinderhook, is being acquired by Community Bank System, Inc. headquartered in the Syracuse suburb of DeWitt, NY. Community Bank will pay approximately $93.4 million in cash for Kinderhook Bank.

A press release announcing the sale issued by both banks Tuesday, January 22 said, “The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.” The banks expect to close the merger in the second quarter of 2019, subject approval by the shareholders of Kinderhook Bank Corp. and bank regulators, according to the release.

Kinderhook Bank Corp., which was established in Columbia County 165 years ago, has 11 branches in 5 counties. In recent years it expanded into Albany and the surrounding Capital District and in 2017 purchased the Patriot Federal Bank in Amsterdam, NY, which included Patriot’s two branches. Read more…

Officials question impact of sex offender registry

HUDSON–Ways to reduce the chance of ex-convicts returning to crime after completing their sentence include helping them get secure housing, a secure income, helpful education and counseling, Scott Thomas, division director of the Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties told a meeting of ReEntry Columbia January 9.

But many housing, job, education and counseling options he and others observed, are not available to sex offenders. Furthermore, meeting attendees pointed out, the sex offender registry stigmatizes those on it, sometimes for life. “Marginalization doesn’t work. It’s the worst,” said Mr. Thomas. “And we’ve seen the bad effects more with sex offenders than with others.”

“The last thing we want is for people to recommit the crime,” Mr. Thomas said later. “We want them to develop a new identity as a functioning part of the community. The trouble with stigmatization is that it makes the identity” they had when committing the offense into “the only identity they know.” Read more…