Chatham is 3rd board to embrace no-hate-here law

CHATHAM—The Chatham Town Board passed a Resolution Against Hate at the last regular board meeting of 2021, December 16. The resolution is the same one adopted by the County Board of Supervisors and the Town of New Lebanon.

Councilman Kevin Weldon brought the resolution to the board and read the wording during the online meeting. The resolution starts by saying “whereas recently as a nation we have witnessed record high violence based upon a person’s religion, race, gender identities, sexual orientation, nationalities, economic status and political affiliation” and concludes that the Town Board “reaffirms our commitment to a status of inclusion for all races, religions, nationalities, gender identities, sexual orientations, economic statuses and political affiliations… and on behalf of all residents of the Town of Chatham, we maintain our position that violence of any kind is unacceptable and condemn any act of aggression, hostility or violence against any member of our community based…” on the criteria listed above.

The County Board of Supervisors adopted the Resolution Against Hate in July and the Town of New Lebanon adopted the resolution in May. The Chatham Town Board voted unanimously for this resolution.

“Beautiful,” said Councilwoman Abi Mesick at the Chatham Town Board meeting. Read more…

DA says assault trial will proceed

HUDSON—In a 42-page decision dated December 10, Columbia County Judge Richard Koweek dismissed several charges against the four defendants indicted in the July 2020 beating of Harold Handy of Kinderhook.

Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka told The Columbia Paper Tuesday, he will accept the judge’s ruling and go to trial with the charges as they now stand.

Mr. Czajka said he had three options, the other two were to appeal the judge’s decision or present the case to the grand jury again.

Mr. Handy, a local mechanic, was allegedly beaten in the early morning hours of July 5 during a Fourth of July party at the residence of Alex and Kelly Rosenstrach at 319 County Route 21 in Kinderhook. Mrs. Rosenstrach is a Sheriff’s deputy. Read more…

Bipartisan county budget trims taxes, spends plenty

HUDSON—Columbia County’s 2022 budget calls for a 2% tax levy cut, despite a 10% increase in appropriations. The budget, which the County Board of Supervisors approved December 8, appropriates $170.4 million, of which 25.6% is to be covered by the tax levy of $43.7 million.

The 2021 budget appropriated $155.5 million, of which 28.6% was to be covered by the tax levy of $44.5 million.

The tax levy cut will allow the tax rate for the average county property to drop 6% (from $5.69 to $5.34 per thousand), County Controller Ron Caponera said by phone December 15. But he cautioned that the tax rate is just one factor in determining what tax a property owner pays. Other factors include assessments and municipal equalization rates. Read more…

Even the Jolly Old Elf maintains a safe social distance

In Valatie the rain relented by the evening of Saturday, December 11, though the wind was still gusty. The annual WinterWalk parade and events stepped off on Main Street to bright lights, music and cheers. At the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building, Santa greeted children from a decorated, clear acrylic box. Pictured, Ava Cayler (center), with her siblings Austin and Kennedy, looks dubious as kids often do when they meet Santa. Their mom, Jen, encourages them. WinterWalk was sponsored by Valatie Economic Redevelopment Association (V.E.R.A.), the Village of Valatie and the Valatie Santa Claus Club. Photo by David Lee

Some pollution detected north of county

VALATIE—Tap water samples collected this fall by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at 61 residences near the state Route 203 Superfund site in the Town of Nassau have found a dozen wells with some detectable levels of chemical pollutants and one with contamination of well water above acceptable levels. The other 48 wells tested showed no signs of contamination.

The Route 203 site is located near the intersection of Route 203 and Sweets Crossing Road in Nassau in Rensselaer County, not far from the Dewey Loeffel Superfund site, which is also in Nassau. The Route 203 Site is a short distance north of the Columbia County border and near the Valatie Kill.

Dewey Loeffel Landfill was a dumping ground for toxic waste for companies including General Electric for many years in the 1950s and ’60s. The state eventually stepped in to start the clean-up, and in 2011 the EPA declared the landfill a federal Superfund Site. A settlement was agreed on with the companies to build the $2.5 million water treatment plant on the site. Treated water has been released in the nearby Valatie Kill and Little Thunder Brook since early 2014. Information on the treated water and the plant is at https://cumulis.epa.gov Read more…