Records restore history of Hudson’s prison

THE HUDSON ADOLESCENT OFFENDER FACILITY sits close to the city’s busy central business district. But, for the most part, except for its employees who live locally, residents don’t give it a second thought. The facility’s nearly 150-year-old brick buildings have a fascinating but often sad history that, until recently, has been hidden from contemporary notice.

Since 2012, the Prison Public Memory Project (PPMP) has worked with individuals and organizations inside and outside Columbia County to document, interpret and share the history of the prison in its backyard.

The prison opened in Hudson in 1877 as the House of Refuge for Women, the state’s first reformatory for women and, according to some historians, America’s first “gender-specific” women’s penal institution. Read more…

ICC gets more than expected in state aid

VALATIE–The Ichabod Crane Board of Education reviewed the school’s state aid for the 2019-20 school year at their meeting Tuesday night, with Superintendent Michael Vanyo reporting that the district will receive about $80,000 more in state aid than expected when the district started planning early this year for next year’s budget.

“We are really pleased,” he said of the budget numbers though he did say, “to get $80,000 more is a very thin margin.”

The district is looking at a $41-million budget for the next school year with about $15.7 million of that coming from the state aid. The rest of the funds, about 58% of the total budget, will come mainly from local property taxes. Read more…

K’hook village ponders short-term rental law

KINDERHOOK–Mayor Jim Dunham presented the Village Board with a proposed zoning law on short-term rentals at the Wednesday, March 13 village meeting.

Village Zoning Code Enforcement Officer Glenn Smith had asked the board to review some sort of village regulations on short-term rentals, like the ones offered on the website Airbnb. At the January board meeting, Mr. Smith told the board he looked at the Airbnb website and there are several short-term rental options offered in the village.

“I don’t want to eliminate them, I just want them to be inspected,” he said at that meeting. Read more…

New Lebanon switches to LED streetlights

NEW LEBANON–The Town Board meeting March 12 was preceded by a special meeting and presentation on the Columbia County Environmental Management Council Resolutions on Carbon Fee and Dividend, a policy to address climate change. There was a packed house and attendees were encouraged to participate in discussions throughout the evening.

Like other Columbia County towns, Supervisor Colleen Teal noted that New Lebanon had received an increase in revenue from the county sales tax, a reflection of the improved economy that resulted in $97,000 more than budgeted. Read more…

Supervisor’s cool to pavilion stove purchase

CHATHAM–The Town Board reviewed plans for an updated pavilion at Crellin Park at their meeting last week. The board plans to borrow over $220,000 to add flooring, bathrooms and snack bar/kitchen to the structure at the town park near the swimming pond.

At the March 21 meeting, the board debated whether or not the plans should include a radiant heating system and a stove for the kitchen, which would add another $26,000 to the plan.

There was also discussion of whether to connect the pavilion to the Village of Chatham water system or continue using a well at the site. If the board chooses the well, the town will have to install an $8,500 water treatment system. The site is already connected to the village sewer system. Read more…