COUNTY PRESS RELEASE: State Medicaid change hits county budget hard

“THIS WILL CLEARLY PRESENT COLUMBIA COUNTY FINANCES with an enormous challenge,” said Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell of the recently adopted fiscal year 2024 New York State budget, which calls for the immediate phased-in withholding of federal Medicaid funding that had been passed through to New York counties for the past dozen years.

Beginning April 1 and extending through the end of this year, in Columbia County that adds up to $267,000 of funds that have already been included as expected revenue in the 2023 county budget. In 2024, that number rises to $356,000; in 2025, $800,000; and in 2026, $1.4 million.

In 2011, New York State made a deal with local governments that enforced a two percent limit on local property tax increases per year, while the state’s end called for it to cover any Medicaid increases. That has remained in place until now. Read more…

School district elections find favor with voters

GHENT — In all six school districts in the county, registered voters liked what they saw and gave large margins of support to annual school district spending.

Voters in some districts adopted propositions to purchase items such as school buses or fund capital improvements. Those choices too won easily.

The districts also held school board elections. The top voter-getters in districts with a races won seats on the board. Read more…

The Jewish World and CRIM ally on readership and ad sales

ALBANY – The Jewish World of Albany has formed an alliance for enriched sales and marketing projects with Capital Region Independent Media (CRIM), which operates media companies including nine newspapers in the region.

Mark Vinciguerra, of Clifton Park, and Warren Dews, Jr., of Hinsdale, MA, operate CRIM and NYVTmedia, whose properties include The Ravena News-Herald, The Greenville Pioneer, The Columbia Paper, Lakes Region Free Press, Whitehall Times, Washington County Free Press, Granville Sentinel, the,, Community, and dozens of magazines.

With systems for mixing print and digital advertising, CRIM is building sales of subscriptions and advertising for The Jewish World.

Jewish World editor Laurie Clevenson, who has single-handedly managed the paper’s production since the death of founders Sam S. Clevenson in 2008 and Pearl G. Clevenson in 2011, said she looks forward to increased revenue for local reporting, and making the paper’s graphic presentation compelling. Read more…

Talk focuses on lives of enslaved people

HUDSON—The Columbia County Historical Society and African American Archive co-sponsored “Occupations and Lifestyles of Enslaved and Freed Peoples in the Hudson Valley,” a presentation of the In Perspective Lecture Series at the Hudson Library’s 5th Street branch April 30.

The speaker, Dr. Myra B. Young Armstead, is a historian on the faculty at Bard College, where she also serves as vice president for Academic Inclusive Excellence. Dr. Armstead, who was raised in South Falls, Sullivan County, called the Borscht Belt “a wonderful place to grow up.”

Dr. Armstead’s talk focused on Colonial New York, 1684-1837, and the northwest area of the Hudson River Valley, then known as the Saratoga Patent. The patent consisted of 150,000 acres and was acquired from the Mohawk Nation by seven prominent Dutch families including the Schuylers, who claimed 24,000 of those acres, and the Livingstons.

Her talk centered on the father and son, Philip Schuylers. The father was a general in George Washington’s army and defeated the British at the Battle of Saratoga, which is regarded as the turning point in the American Revolutionary War. The son’s management of the family estates, upon his father’s death in 1804, propelled the family into great wealth. Dr. Armstead noted that the Schuyler family was “active in the international slave trade.” Read more…

More brewing in Harold Handy case?

HUDSON—Charges against all four defendants indicted in the July 2020 beating of Harold Handy have been dismissed, but the case is not over.

An appeal of the dismissal by a special prosecutor is in the works. New criminal charges in the case are also brewing and many aspects of what transpired still remain a mystery.

In Columbia County Court May 10, State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Marcelle threw out all charges remaining in the case that has been marked by Covid delays, twists and turns, revelations, public interest and protest for nearly three years.

Mr. Handy of Kinderhook, a local mechanic, was beaten during a drunken brawl in the early morning hours of July 5, 2020 at a Fourth of July party at the home of Alex and Kelly Rosenstrach, 319 County Route 21 in Kinderhook. Mrs. Rosenstrach is a Columbia County Sheriff’s deputy and remains on administrative leave, according to a May 17 statement from the Sheriff’s Office. Read more…