This year the Stocking Fund has a hole in it

HUDSON–“There is a huge need this year,” said Marcella Biegel. For the last decade she has led the Edith Casey Stocking Fund, a project run by RSVP (Retired Seniors Volunteer program) that has provided toys for the needy children of Columbia County for the past 89 years. This is the worst year she can recall.

“Money is scarce. This has been the hardest year so far,” said Ms. Biegel. “At first the room was so full of toys, you couldn’t move, but we’re down to nothing.”  Two hundred bags of toys tailored to meet the needs of specific children await pick-up by their families, but 200 more applications need to be fulfilled, and it’s not clear at this point where the toys will come from.

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Vote count goes on and on…

GOP asks to subpoena records of Taghkanic voters’ lives 

HUDSON–If you live in the Town of Taghkanic, perhaps you are wondering who your town leaders will be. Five elected positions there have remained undecided since the November 3  election as lawyers argue over more than 80 absentee ballots. After two more days spent in court hearings there is good news and bad.

At a court hearing held Tuesday, December 8, at the Hudson Elks Lodge, nine contested votes received scrutiny and were approved by Judge Jonathan Nichols, who is hearing the case. The ballots were taken back to the county Board of Elections, where they were counted, resulting in Elizabeth Young, longtime town supervisor of Taghkanic, securing another term. But the new vote counts were not enough to resolve the other four races for town justice, highway superintendent, and two town council posts.

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School board expands senior tax exemption eligibility

VALATIE–Following a public hearing last week, the Ichabod Crane school board inched up the income level that allows older taxpayers to qualify for the Senior Citizen Real Property Tax Exemption

At its regular meeting Tuesday, December 1, the board adopted a motion “increasing from $28,000 to $29,000 the income which may be earned by the owner or owners of property within the district who are qualifying senior citizens and/or disabled persons, to provide for an exemption from real property taxation to the extent of 50% of the assessed valuation.” There is a sliding scale, with the reduction decreasing as income rises and a cap set at incomes of more than $37,400 a year.

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Book shows Chatham through long-ago lenses

CHATHAM–If you ever wondered what Main Street here looked like in the mid-1800s, open a copy of Images of America: Around the Village of Chatham, a collection of old photos of and around the village, with detailed captions that address village history. Village Historian Gail Blass Wolczanski, who collected the photos and wrote captions for the book, said that the hardest part of creating this book was stopping her research.

The book came about after the Historical Society got a call “out of the blue” from Arcadia Publishing, which wanted someone to write the book about Chatham, said Mrs. Wolczanski’s. And her first question was: “Which one?”

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Board sets January 12 date for schools improvement vote

CHATHAM – The school board voted last week to place a $5-million capital improvement project before voters in January. The project will be presented on the ballot as two propositions, letting voters decide on whether to permit the district to spend the money on upgrades and repairs in all three district buildings, with the second proposal asking for approval the replace the lights at the high school athletic field.

The projects would be paid for with federal economic stimulus money and from the district’s capital reserves. No new taxes would be required to pay for the work.

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