Society to preserve Millay’s Steepletop home perseveres

Edna St. Vincent Millay and Eugen Boissevain c. 1923. Photo courtesy of

AUSTERLITZ—Last May, the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society at Steepletop announced the Save Steepletop campaign, an effort to raise $1 million to keep the house, visitors’ center and grounds open to the public next year.

Press coverage, including an article in The New York Times, was widespread and sympathetic.

Nevertheless, a second letter went out this fall from Vincent Elizabeth Barnett, president of the Millay Society Board of Trustees, announcing that despite an “outpouring of support from poetry, culture and history lovers,” the board had made the “painful but responsible decision not to reopen Steepletop to the public in 2019.” Read more…

County sets fee for drop-off recyclables

KINDERHOOK–The Town Board has authorized the Town Clerk to sell permits to residents who bring their recycling to the county’s waste stations.

Currently there is no charge to bring recyclables to any of the county’s waste stations, but starting in 2019 the county will charge $50 for one-year-long permits per household and $35 for residents 65 and older. There will be a $100 fee for residents from outside the county.

The county Solid Waste Department said this week that it plans to have more information about the permits later this month. Town clerks will be able to sell the permits to residents if the towns agree to participate in the permit program. This will only be for residents who use the county’s Solid Waste Department’s stations for recycling. Several villages, including Valatie and Kinderhook, which are both in the Town of Kinderhook, use a private company called County Waste from Greene County to pick up residents’ recycling and garbage at their houses. Read more…

ICC offers details of wide-ranging upgrade proposal

KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane School Board hosted an information night November 14 about the proposed $27-million capital improvement project that will go before voters in early December. The board was joined by representatives from CSArch, the architecture firm designing the project, a representative from the district’s financial adviser, administrators and high school teachers. About 40 community residents attended the meeting in the high school auditorium.

School Superintendent Michael Vanyo, who had been on medical leave since late summer, welcomed the community to the meeting. Board president Matthew Nelson welcomed Mr. Vanyo’s return, saying the superintendent was “back on duty.” In August the board appointed district administrator Suzanne Guntlow as the assistant to the acting superintendent while Mr. Vanyo was on leave.

As for the scope of the capital project, the $27 million would pay for projects in all three school buildings, the bus garage and the maintenance building as well as for construction of a connector road between the middle and primary school buildings. The projects are based on a facilities study, which suggested the district needed over $40 million of upgrades and repairs. Read more…

Sewn Together program displays quilts in county jail

GREENPORT–Chatham artist and educator Melissa Sarris has long been known for her quilts. She is also known for initiating the sorts of community arts projects that bring a patchwork of people together. And for several years she has volunteered at the Columbia County Jail bringing art workshops to people incarcerated there.

The results of a nine-month project she calls Sewn Together were unveiled earlier this month–two framed quilts created by inmates of the Columbia County jail. A third full-sized quilt that was also part of the project was exhibited at the county fair in September and then donated to Columbia Opportunities, a community action program based in Hudson with a mission to solve poverty related problems.

The formal presentation was held Thursday, November 15 in the lobby of the jail in Greenport, where the quilts will be installed for permanent display. In attendance to celebrate with Ms. Sarris were county Sheriff David Bartlett, Jail Administrator Brian Gardner, ReEntry Columbia Executive Director Laurie Scott and ReEntry Case Manager Caroline Polykarpus. ReEntry’s mission is to help people when they are released from jail. The organization has also underwritten Ms. Sarris’ various art projects at the jail, including this one. Read more…

Hudson board briefed on elementary school topics

HUDSON–The Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School held a curriculum workshop for the Hudson City School District Board of Education at the board’s November 26 meeting.

Topics included:

• Social emotional development of students in the classroom

• The mentoring of newer teachers by more experienced teachers Read more…