Art Omi adjusts estimates for bigger center

GHENT—The Planning Board discussed Art Omi’s application for expanding the Benenson Visitors Center on a Zoom meeting June 3. The board seemed happier with the attendance numbers presented by Omi at this meeting, but before voting on whether to approve the plans, the board wanted to discuss some conditions.

Art Omi, on county Route 22, submitted plans to board in the spring of 2019 to increase the size of the visitors center. The center, which is at the south side of the 120-acre outdoor sculpture park, currently houses a gallery, a cafe and administrative offices. The new plans would more than double the size of the building to include an educational center, a second art gallery and more office space for existing employees. Art Omi applied to modify the organization’s special use permit, which was granted in 2005 by the town.

The Planning Board closed the public hearing on the site plan in May of this year. At that meeting the board was concerned with the attendance numbers proposed by Art Omi for programs. Omi Director Ruth Adams said she misunderstood what the board wanted and at the meeting last week she said, “We are now presenting adjusted numbers.” Read more…

2020 School election, budget vote results

GHENT–Four of the six school districts in Columbia County have reported results in this year’s budget referendums and school board elections. Budgets were approved by comfortable margins in all four: Chatham, Germantown, Hudson and New Lebanon.

Ichabod Crane and Taconic Hills districts had not released results by 1 a.m. June 17.

All voters voted by absentee ballots this year because of the Covid-19 epidemic. But one school official said that the total number of voters was higher this election because the absentee paper ballots made it easier for people to vote. Each ballot included a stamped return envelope for the ballot. Read more…

Germantown CSD Superintendent Brown is retiring

Germantown Central School District Superintendent Susan Brown. Photo contributed

GERMANTOWN – Susan Brown, superintendent at the Germantown Central School District, announced her plan to retire on October 31. Mrs. Brown served the district as Elementary Principal from March 2005 through August 2013 and as superintendent since then. She is also a resident, parent and grandparent in the school district.

Mrs. Brown started her career in education at the Hudson City School District where she served as an elementary computer teacher for 11 years and associate principal at the Hudson Middle School until March 2005. She was dedicated to the children and families of the Hudson CSD, her own alma mater, until the opportunity at Germantown was brought to her attention. As a parent in the Germantown Central School District, she had firsthand knowledge of the small community school environment, with grades K-12 in a single building, so she decided to make a change.

In March 2005, Mrs. Brown joined the team at Germantown to continue the elementary educational philosophy, K-2 Learn to Read ~ 3-6 Read to Learn. Together she and her teachers used data from multiple measures of student achievement to implement individualized Academic Intervention Services (AIS) and monitored each child’s progress with the goal that all students be successful. During her tenure as principal, Mrs. Brown developed and implemented an after-school program, established new safety plans, chaired the district’s Technology Committee, implemented an Exceptional Student program, was a board member of the Germantown Student Education Foundation (GSEF), sat on the Education 2015 Committee, and was an integral member of the District Leadership Team. Read more…

County’s virus infection rate is 1 in 17; 37 dead

HUDSON—So far 37 Columbia County residents have died of the coronavirus, according to figures provided by the Columbia County Department of Health (DOH) as June 15 at 3 p.m.

The DOH reports Columbia County has 422 confirmed positive cases of the virus with 39 active cases of Covid-19 currently in the county; 346 of the 422 cases have recovered from the virus; 11 of the positive cases are hospitalized, none of those hospitalized are in the ICU.

County will no longer report tests results

County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said in the June 15 county-issued coronavirus update press release that the county will discontinue what has become an impossible task of trying to determine the total daily number of tests performed for Covid-19 on county residents. Read more…

Hillsdale board pursues a less speedy hamlet

HILLSDALE—Roads, local housing and cable television contract renewals dominated the regular June Town Board meeting on Tuesday, June 9.

Town Supervisor Peter Cipkowski informed the board that a change in protocol regarding speed limit change requests requires the request to go to the county engineer before the state Department of Transportation gets involved. For that reason the board voted again on previously passed resolutions asking for speed limit changes on town roads within the perimeter of the hamlet.

The board unanimously approved requests for a reduced speed limit to 25 mph on sections of Old Town, Cold Water and Maple and all of Poole Hill and Anthony Extension. The board also approved a reduced speed limit request to 35 mph on Wolfe Hill and to 30 mph on Mitchell Street. Read more…