Village moves closer to adjourning court for good

CHATHAM—At its January 11 meeting, the Village Board agreed to hold a public hearing on a proposed local law to abolish the position of village justice, thereby dissolving the Village Court. The public hearing will be in February. After the hearing the board will vote on the proposed law and if they pass it, the court would be dissolved by April 5, when the current justice’s term is up.

If the board votes in favor of the local law, residents have 30 days to circulate a petition. Village Attorney Ken Dow explained at the online Village Board meeting Monday night, January 11, that if the petition is signed by 20% of village residents, normally the question of dissolving the court would then go on the village ballot. But due to changes in state election laws, there is not enough time to get the resolution on the March ballot. Mr. Dow said at the meeting that a petition would “kill” the law and that the board could not dissolve the court for another four years, when the justice’s term is up again.

Mayor John Howe brought up the issue of closing the court at the board meeting last month, saying that the funds brought in by the village court in fines and forfeitures are “pretty much a wash” with the cost of running the court. The village is in the Towns of Chatham and Ghent, each of which has a court where cases would be heard if the village court is dissolved. At the meeting this month, Mayor Howe said he talked to both town supervisors about the possibility of dissolving the village court. Read more…

Patients praise retiring family practitioner

Dr. Neal Baillargeon, MD, a family practitioner with offices in Philmont and Kinderhook, retired at the end of 2020. His decision prompted patients and neighbors to give him a boisterous demonstration of gratitude in Philmont. He also received an official certificate of thanks for his service to village residents in the form of a resolution of the Philmont Village Board. Photo by Lance Wheeler

PHILMONT—When Dr. Neal Baillargeon, a family practitioner, retired at the end of December, the village of Philmont held a surprise farewell parade in his honor and Mayor Clarence Speed read a proclamation thanking the doctor for his 40-plus years’ service to the community.

Dr. Baillargeon also had an office in Kinderhook, his hometown.

He is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Medicine and did his internship at DeWitt Army Hospital before returning to the Hudson Valley and opening a private practice in 1986. Read more…

Vaccine supply angers county

HUDSON—“This situation has gone beyond crazy,” said Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell in his January 12 Covid-19 update press release.

Every day more categories of people become eligible to receive their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s vaccine administration plan, yet the supply of vaccine is limited.

In a January 12 press release the Governor announced that five state-run vaccination sites have begun accepting appointments and are scheduled to open this week. One at SUNY Albany opens January 15. Getting an appointment for a vaccine could take up to 14 weeks due to limited federal allocation. Read more…

Electric Trail makes connection

On Friday, January 1, (l to r) State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid, Empire State Trail Director Andy Beers and Hudson Valley Greenway Executive Director Scott Keller held a ribbon cutting for the opening of the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail in the Village of Nassau in Rensselaer County near the Columbia County border. The local trail is part of the larger Empire State Trail. January 1 was also the 10th Annual First Day Hikes, a program that encourages people to begin the New Year by spending time outdoors at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas, trails, and public lands. Pictured below, residents admire the new Empire State Trail sign and take a stroll on the trail. Photo by Emilia Teasdale

Taghkanic offers ways to cut broadband costs

TAGHKANIC—The town Broadband Advisory Committee has published “The Guide to Broadband Financial Help” on the town’s website, The booklet is also available at the Taghkanic Town Hall, 909 US 82, (Post office is Ancram, NY 12502).

The purpose of the publication is to provide low-income households with students and seniors a list of government agencies and private non-profit organizations committed to helping families access discounts on devices and lower communications service fees.

All of the groups listed, save one, require applications and have income guidelines. A sampling of the information in “The Guide to Broadband Financial Help” follows. Read more…