Mentors aid ‘scholars’ at Hudson’s Bluehawk Academy

HUDSON—What is new about the Bluehawk Academy, which the Hudson City School District (HCSD) launched February 1, is the mentoring program. It will connect all the program’s students with “a positive adult… to cheer them on when they are successful and to be a support when they make mistakes,” Willette Jones, president of the HCSD Board of Education, said.

The statement came in a response to a series of questions in mid-February to Austin Crosier, HCSD’s communication specialist. The mentors will include local businesses, business leaders, artisans, teachers, and professionals “who make a positive difference in the community,” said a February 3 press release from the the district. (In this article all quotes will be from written answers to those questions, unless otherwise stated.)

The Bluehawk Academy, like its predecessors, is for students who could benefit from a non-traditional secondary education. HCSD Superintendent Lisamarie Spindler’s experience as a school administrator includes three similar academies in the state. She said that with the Bluehawk Academy, “I’m consolidating the best aspects of all three. In addition, from 2014 to 2020, Columbia County youths could get non-traditional high school education at the Columbia Greene Partnership Academy (referred to as The Bridge or the Warren Street Academy), which was in Hudson. The Bluehawk Academy, like the Bridge, is starting out with students who have successfully completed fewer courses than expected for their age. Read more…

Recovery Kitchen celebrates local farmers

Chef Tommy Carlucci (third on r) talks to the gathering about the process of creating a menu. Photo by David Lee

HUDSON – It has been three years since the Columbia County Recovery Kitchen (CCRK) started its operation to serve fresh, healthy, locally sourced meals to people in the county who would otherwise have difficulty finding such within their abilities and/or budgets. In that time the restrictions of the pandemic have eased and the organization has evolved, but one thing remains consistent; the importance of local farmers to the process.

So on Saturday evening, March 18, a soiree was organized to thank the local farmers who have shared their harvest. The location was the community room of the Christ Church Episcopal. This is also the location of the kitchen where CCRK meals are prepared. In keeping with the CCRK ambition of providing gourmet quality meals for free distribution around the county, beautiful finger foods were created for the event such as beer braised beef kielbasa with country mustard, smoked trout mousse on bagel and Swedish meatballs. Many of the approximately 27 farmers who supply CCRK were in attendance.
“We wanted to provide the same quality of food as one would get from a restaurant,” said organization founder Carol Clark, “sourced not from food banks but fresh and local. It has been extraordinary working with these farmers.” Read more…

Copake ice rink gets pickle on top

COPAKE—You won’t see any flying kosher baby dills or sweet gherkins being swatted back and forth on a pickleball court.

But what you will see sometime this spring is people playing pickleball at Copake’s Memorial Park.

That news was part of Copake Highway Superintendent/Park Superintendent Bill Gregory’s comprehensive report to the Town Board at its March 9 meeting.

According to, pickleball is “a fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong… Played as doubles or singles,” it is “played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court” with “a paddle and a plastic ball with holes and a slightly modified tennis net…and can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels.” Read more…

Write-in candidate wins in Chatham Village

GHENT—All four villages in the county held elections Tuesday, March 21. In the Village of Chatham a write-in candidate won a trustee seat over a candidate on the ballot. Ralph O’Mara-Garcia received 124 as a write-in, while candidate Brandon Gaylord, who was on the ballot, received 55. The other person running for trustee, incumbent Peter Minahan, received 157 votes. Mayor John Howe, running unopposed, received 173. There were 5 write-in votes for mayor.

Mr. Gaylord ran unsuccessfully against Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-106th) in the fall of 2022. In that race for Assembly he was on the Republican and Conservative ballot lines. Village elections do not use traditional party lines so for this election Mr. Gaylord was on the Chatham Future Party, the same party line as Mayor Howe and Trustee Minahan.

Chatham is the only village that uses the county Board of Elections to manage their village elections.

Chatham resident Michael Richardson said after the polls closed that he and a handful of other village residents launched the write-in campaign 48 hours before Election Day. He called the results “amazing.” Read more…

Maple syrup producers celebrate the season this weekend

The New York State Maple Producers Association announced the 27th annual Maple Weekend which is actually two weekends, March 18-19 and 25-26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The New Lebanon Sap Sucker is not really open to the public but other operations around the county such as the Farm at Miller’s Crossing and Maple Leaf Sugaring in Ghent will be open. The New Lebanon site is a small operation tended by a group of friends who make syrup not for the market but for themselves and their families. Typically they make about 25 gallons in a season, from sap collected by truck from small maple groves around the town. Tom Evans (pictured testing the sugar content) was doing most of the work on Sunday, March 12. He said he got into the hobby because of the influence of his father Harold “Tank” Evans and Walter B. Howard. Photo by David Lee