Density hurdle strikes sour note for Chatham broadband

CHATHAM–Town Board member Bob Balcom told the board at the meeting Thursday, January 17, that he’d taken a “deep dive” recently into the issue of broadband and the fact that high speed internet service is not available to all town residents.

He said that for areas in the town with a high density of homes, the speed of internet connections has improved. “They have laid down so much fiber [optic cable] in the density areas,” he said. But he said that in more rural areas of the town internet speeds remain slow.

Mr. Balcom mentioned the town’s franchise agreement with Charter, which is now called Spectrum, but is just for cable television. He did say he talked to Consolidated, the company that purchased Fairpoint, about reaching the rural areas but Consolidated told him they don’t have the infrastructure to do that. Read more…

CAC gets ever greener

ANCRAM—If there’s something in Ancram that needs conserving, the town’s Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) is on it.

At the January 17 Town Board meeting, Kim E. Tripp, osteopathic physician (DO) and plant scientist (PhD), a member of the nine-member council, delivered the CAC’s year-end report for 2018. The list of the group’s achievements and activities is impressive even though many members have jobs monopolizing their time.

Among the topics the CAC provided input on at the request of the Town Board during the year was the land spreading of septage on a 55-acre Sawchuk Road property back in the spring. Read more…

Amtrak withdraws fence and gate plan

GERMANTOWN–Amtrak has put its plans for fences on the shelf.

On Friday, January 18, the passenger rail service along with the state Department of Transportation and the state Department of State released a statement saying, “After hosting collaborative meetings over the past few months, Amtrak, the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Department of State, have jointly agreed to Amtrak withdrawing its application on the current Hudson Line Fencing Project proposal.”

The fence plan became public last March, with Amtrak’s proposal to install fences and locked gates near the railroad tracks that would restrict public access to the Hudson River. Several sections of fence were slated to be built in Germantown. Read more…

ICE arrested 3 in Chatham restaurant raid

Reprinted with permission from the Times Union

CHATHAM – ICE arrested three undocumented men in a restaurant kitchen raid last week and detained them in the Albany County Jail, according to the Albany County Sheriff and local immigration activists who interviewed one man arrested and a restaurant employee.

Columbia County Sanctuary Movement Executive Director Bryan MacCormack said it was the first time the organization heard of ICE conducting a restaurant raid in the county since October 2016. Usually ICE picks people up in their home, on the street, or leaving court, he said.

One of the men arrested and a restaurant employee told him that ICE officers entered the restaurant Wednesday, January 2 looking to arrest an undocumented man with criminal charges, according to Mr. MacCormack. The officers went back into the kitchen and began questioning workers about their immigration status. They arrested three men — including the one they had initially targeted. Read more…

Stewart’s Shop in New Lebanon opens

NEW LEBANON – Stewart’s Shop hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of its new expanded shop on Route 20 on December 20. Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R-107th), Town Supervisor Colleen Teal and Town Clerk Tistrya Houghting were on hand to represent the community. There was free food and special sales all day. Stewart’s associates were all in and engaged, particularly with their fundraising efforts.

Stewart’s is a source of anything from snacks, coffee, and papers to gasoline, homemade soups, hot dogs, meals, beverages, and respite for the weary with tables for eating and chatting. Stewart’s has evolved and grown since its 1945 beginnings as an ice cream purveyor with “make your own sundaes” with a wide variety of toppings. Today, Stewart’s is a mini-mart with 27,000 people daily at its 335 shops.

The 2018 Stewart’s Holiday Match program raised over $2 million for local children’s organizations, setting a record for the fifth consecutive season. From Thanksgiving Day through Christmas Day, Stewart’s customers donated over $1,031,000 to the program, which is an approximate $86,000 increase over last season. Each individual donation is matched penny for penny by Stewart’s Shops. There are no administrative costs and 100% of the funds benefit local, non-profit children’s organizations. Read more…