Hurt, abandoned horse needs surgery

CLAVERACK—The Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA seeks donations to help a horse named Skye that was seized by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and CGHS/SPCA, July 21.

The 14-year-old mare was allegedly abandoned in a barn in Halcott, Greene County, without food or water, for an extended period of time during the hottest stretch of the year. She was found emaciated and dehydrated, had two serious injuries on her rear legs. One of these wounds went untreated for so long it had grown to the size of a basketball.

Upon veterinary examination, Skye was given a body condition score of 1.5 (1 being emaciated and 9 being obese). “It’s amazing that Skye survived this hot weather period, considering the average horse will drink 10 to 20 gallons of water each day. Her survival demonstrates what a fighter she is. She has an incredible will to live,” CGHS/SPCA President/Cruelty Investigator Ron Perez said in a press release. In a subsequent email, he described Skye as a grey Thoroughbred cross with “excellent manners” a “very nice mare.” Read more…

The Claverack giant

The Cohoes Mastodon at the Cohoes Library. Photo by Robert Titus

IN RECENT DECADES there has been a small flurry of discoveries of ice age elephants in New York State. You may well have read about the mastodont discovered in Hyde Park; it made quite a stir down there. The bones were found quite by accident in a swampy section of family’s backyard. All they had wanted was to dig a small pond, what they got was an ice age treasure. Researchers from the Paleontological Research Association in Ithaca spent the summer excavating the skeleton and most of it was recovered. Such events are very exciting, and people come from all over to see the bones as they emerge from the mud. Some even got involved in the project, there is never a shortage of local volunteers to help out in such a dig.

Less well known was a similar discovery near Ithaca. Another swampy area yielded the bones of an ice age elephant. This one was a woolly mammoth, and this dig attracted dozens of Cornell students. A big surprise awaited them when, during the excavation, the remains of a second skeleton, this one being another mastodon, came to light. You can imagine the excitement that accompanied this “twofer.”

Such discoveries are always big news stories in the local area. They should be; they are rare and exciting events. But, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries very many more such discoveries were made. In those times it was common for farmers to drain their swamplands and this frequently led to the discovery of large bones. The Hudson Valley of New York State became something of a world capital for mastodonts, as these close relatives of the modern elephants were apparently very common here, especially in Orange County in the lower Hudson Valley. Read more…

Teal resigns as New Leb supervisor

Now former Town Supervisor Colleen Teal will move to Virginia this month. Photo by Peter Flierl

NEW LEBANON—Town Supervisor Colleen Teal presided over a special meeting of the Town Board on Monday, July 29 where her resignation as town supervisor and consequently as the town’s member on the County Board of Supervisors was accepted by a unanimous vote of the board.

All of those present from board members and media to town residents gave her ovations for over 25 years of public service to New Lebanon, first as town clerk followed by her years as town supervisor. Read more…

Costs nudge upward on ICC capital plan

KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane Board of Education approved an agreement with Western NY Educational Services Council to conduct a superintendent search. The motion the board passed at the meeting Monday night said the district will pay the company $17,000 plus expenses (capped at $5,000) for the search.

Members of the board’s committee for the superintendent search said they met with four different companies that applied to do the search. The board had sent out a request for proposals from search companies and individuals earlier in the summer.

Board member Regina Rose, who is on the committee and was reporting to the full board about the interviews, said that with Interim Superintendent Lee Bordick’s guidance the committee was able to sort through the candidates and agreed on Western NY Educational Services Council as the best choice. Read more…

Short-term rental tax is long way off

HUDSON–Columbia County is considering imposing occupancy taxes on Airbnb and other short term rentals (STRs), while some towns are considering imposing their own fees on them.

The County Board of Supervisors Subcommittee on Occupancy Taxes met July 17 and identified several questions to iron out before presenting a tax proposal. Board Chairman Matt Murell (R-Stockport) recommended resolving the questions by February. This would allow time for the full board to hold a public hearing on the proposal and pass a resolution in March or April 2020. After passing the resolution, the county will have to enlist sponsors in the state Senate and Assembly and wait for approval by both houses in the legislature. This wait could take at least a year, said Assistant County Attorney Heidi Cochrane, so the earliest the tax could become law would be sometime in 2021.

Open questions include:

• Will the tax also include the City of Hudson, which already has a 4% occupancy tax on STRs?

The City of Troy just received authorization from the state for its own 4% occupancy tax, on top of Rensselaer County’s 3%, making consumers pay 7%, Michael Slawson, chief financial officer for Rensselaer County told the meeting by speaker phone. Read more…