Hudson woman leads plan to help Syrian kids

HUDSON–A Hudson woman is leading efforts to help an encampment of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Danette Gorman visited the encampment near Ketermaya, Lebanon, this spring and now is spearheading programs both to give its 134 children education and to “connect” them with “the people of” the Hudson area.

Immediate goals include a pen pal program and other connections between American and Ketermaya Syrian children, arranging a show about the situation that took place earlier this month at the Basilica in Hudson, and building an organization to facilitate future projects. “I think the Syrian crisis is very distant to people,” Ms. Gorman said. Nevertheless, “most Americans feel great compassion when they see reports of these suffering refugee children. Our goal is to create a path to turn our compassion into action,” she said, adding, “One goal is to get an education program in place. Through education they can move forward and build a better world.” Read more…

Seniors’ group rejects town demand for contract

CHATHAM–The Chatham/Ghent Area Seniors and the Town of Chatham have come to an impasse. The Town Board wants the board of seniors’ group to sign an agreement before the town will release the $2,000 budgeted for the group. The funds offset the costs of the group’s monthly bus trips.

“They’ve always given it to us before,” the group’s president, Bootie Fenoff, said last week. This is her first year as president of the seniors’ group board, but the group has been around for at least 25 years, she said. Ms. Fenoff and other members of the group pointed out that the Town of Ghent gave them the money that the Ghent Town Board budgeted for the group without requiring a contract or insurance. Read more…

State won’t aid Hillsdale intersection upgrade

HILLSDALE–At the Town Board meeting this week Hillsdale Supervisor Peter Cipkowski announced that the state Department of Transportation “is not interested” in modifying the intersection of Route 22 and Whippoorwill Road. If the town wants to bear the cost of the work, it would need to provide an engineer study to DOT and seek the necessary permits, according to Mr. Cipkowski.

The town submitted a petition in June with 75 signatures from residents of Whippoorwill, Wolf Hill, Pumpkin Hill and Sir William roads requesting access modification for safety reasons. A house located at the intersection of the highway and Whippoorwill obstructs visibility for traffic turning onto Route 22.

A search of the town’s archives turned up a plan to modify the intersection by relocating a 300-foot north-south section of Whippoorwill, 25 feet south of its current location. The plan was submitted to the Columbia County Clerk’s Office in April 1988. At that time the town also secured an Offer of Cession, which is “irrevocable” from the property owners, according to Mr. Cipkowski. Read more…

Public libraries group asks county for 3% funding bump

HUDSON–One of the biggest challenges libraries face today is the cost of maintaining e-books. AnnaLee Giraldo, director of the Kinderhook Memorial Library, provided that information to members of the Government Committee of the county Board of Supervisors last month while requesting an increase in funding for the Columbia County Library Association (CCLA).

Usually county committee meetings have many empty seats set aside for the public. But at this meeting on July 25 the crowd, including children, overflowed the room.

“When you buy a paper book, you have it until it falls apart,” said Ms. Giraldo. But an e-book is purchased only for a specified period, such as “12 months or 12 usages.” After that period, in order to keep the e-book on your system, “you must pay again.” Read more…

Local gleaners share farms’ bounty

Volunteer gleaners Christian Sweningsen, Anna Victoria, Sophie D’Anieri and Karen Wilson at work in a field. Photo contributed

GERMANTOWN—Today “gleaning” refers more often to gathering information than produce. But the 14th-century meaning of the word, to gather overage or leftover produce, is active in Columbia and Dutchess counties through the efforts of Long Table Harvest.

Long Table Harvest began its work just last fall—collecting unsold or un-harvested produce from local farms and distributing it to local food pantries. Today it counts as partners 40 farms and 31 distribution sites.

This is not the poor scrabbling in the fields for leavings after the crop has been harvested. While there are some “public gleanings,” the type of gleaning practiced here involves volunteers who harvest crops in the fall that farmers know they won’t get to. The volunteers then turn over those crops to Long Table, which distributes them. Read more…