Snowy slopes make for a slalom occasion at Catamount

An in-house (local) race was underway on Sunday, February 7 at Catamount Ski Area in Copake. Dogs joined the spectators. Catamount Marketing Director Rich Edwards told The Columbia Paper that this has been a season of snowy weeks making for very favorable conditions. Regarding the pandemic restrictions, Mr. Edwards said, “I am impressed at how cooperative the skiing public has been this winter allowing us to operate within our Covid restrictions.” Because of the Covid-19, the chalets are allowing only 25% of maximum occupancy, but skiers are not daunted as they camp out around blazing fire pits and consume hotdogs and chili. Lift lines are generally spaced out and lifts are operated with spaces between riders. Masks are mandatory on lifts and in the buildings. Photo by David Lee

County reschedules 2nd dose vaccinations

HUDSON—In a message posted Wednesday, the Columbia County Department of Health said that the dose two COVID-19 vaccine PODs scheduled by the Department of Health for 2/18 and 2/19 at Columbia-Greene Community College have been canceled “due to shipping delays with the vaccine related to weather conditions.”

The notice also said, “The dose two PODs have been rescheduled to Wednesday, 2/24 at CGCC.” Those scheduled for vaccination are advised to “return at your originally scheduled dose-two appointment time.”

A representative from the county Department of Health will contact individuals to confirm appointment times by the end of the day tomorrow, February 18.

The notice is posted on the health department website at https://www.columbiacountynyhealth.com/news/covid-19-2nd-dose-vaccination-clinics-rescheduled/

County police panel tackles scope of change needed

HUDSON—The Columbia County Police Reform Panel focused its February 3 discussion on what the Police Reform Plan under preparation must include and emphasize, while noting that some reforms require the involvement of departments other than law enforcement.

In the wake of tragic encounters nationwide between police officers and people of color last year, Governor Cuomo ordered each local government with a police force to deliver police improvement plans by April 1 of 2021. To develop such a plan, Columbia County formed a Police Reform Panel, which has had several meetings since October 2020. The panel covers the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and the Greenport, Philmont, and Stockport police. The Village of Chatham and the City of Hudson are preparing its their own plans.

February 3 meeting participants viewed an outline of the county plan. Matt Murrell (R-Stockport), chairman of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, said he would like the document completed by March 1, and disseminated to the public in time for a public hearing March 8, so the full Board of Supervisors can vote on it March 10. Read more…

Ancram marshals green brain trust

Pictured are cows at Chaseholm Farm, which won a Good Earthkeeping Award in 2020 after being nominated by the Ancram Conservation Advisory Committee. Photo contributed

ANCRAM—Pandemic or not, the Ancram Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) produced a long list of achievements and activities in 2020 as reported by Chairperson Jamie Purinton at the Town Board’s January 21 meeting.

The nine-member, all volunteer CAC is made up of landscape and plant experts, farmers, writers, environmental scientists, planners, researchers, teachers, doctors and a zoo director. That’s a lot of brain power packed into one group all aimed at “the preservation and ecological well-being of the town’s flora and fauna.”

In fact, Ancram’s Conservation Advisory Council serves as a model for towns around the county interested in establishing the same kind of human resource in their communities. Read more…

Volkmann pleads guilty to pension double-dips, defrauding village

CHATHAM – Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka announced Thursday, February 11, that Peter Volkmann, 57, of Stuyvesant, formerly the chief of the Village of Chatham Police Department, pleaded guilty to grand larceny and official misconduct before County Court Judge Richard Koweek.

The DA stated that the conviction was the result of a two-year investigation that began shortly before State Police executed a search warrant issued by County Court Judge Jonathan Nichols on January 8, 2019.

Mr. Volkmann pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the fourth degree for circumventing the state’s post-retirement income restrictions and cheating the New York State and Local Retirement System out of $74,222, according a press release from State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s office. Mr. Volkmann hid public-source income from 19 municipalities and school districts in excess of the statutory limit by funneling the earnings through a private business, PF Volkmann & Associates. Read more…