Stiehle House is victim of through-and-through crash

The Stiehle House has a new see-through feature. Photo by Abigail Della Cerra

ANCRAM—The Stiehle House at 2407 Route 82, on the southeast corner of the County Route 7/Route 82 intersection in the Ancram hamlet was the victim of an intruder, the morning of Saturday, July 18 at 3:25.

A vehicle plowed into the north side of the unoccupied, run-down, old structure and out the other side.

The State Police handled the crash but did not respond to a request for accident details. Read more…

In Chatham, the plan for lift is going down

CHATHAM—The Chatham Town Board has tabled signing a lease with the Village of Chatham for renting space in the Tracy Memorial Village Hall for the town court. The proposed lease is for one year, starting August 1, for a monthly rent of $1,650.

At the Town Board meeting Thursday, July 16, held online, board members were concerned about signing a lease for a space that is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The courtroom the town has leased for years on the second floor of the village hall has no elevator or lift. Town Supervisor Donal Collins said he and Councilman Vance Pitkin spoke with Village Mayor John Howe and were told that the Village Board did not want to install a lift in the historic building.

Councilwoman Abi Mesick asked about any language in the lease in case the town needed to break it. “We really need to figure out a way for this court to have an ADA compliant home,” she told the board. Read more…

Hillsdale joins other towns in nixing summer camp

HILLSDALE–Covid-19’s impact on town and county finances plus road projects dominated business at the Hillsdale monthly Town Board meeting online July 14.

Town Supervisor Peter Cipkowski reported that Columbia County is projecting a $12-million budget shortfall this year due to lost revenue from lockdowns related to the pandemic. Mr. Cipkowski added that the actual shortfall as of mid-July is $6 million, noting that projections are “on target.” To help stanch a drain on county revenue, the supervisor said that county workers are being furloughed one pay period per month.

Mr. Cipkowski reported on other casualties of the financial pinch created by Covid 19:

• Hillsdale received no money from the state in May and June

• The tourism board did receive $20,000 but the amount represents only 20% of past state support.

• Hillsdale sales tax revenue is down by 4.6% or $1 million

• Current property tax delinquency is $1.3 million, the highest it has been since 2015. The delinquent properties include large commercial parcels. Read more…

Hudson’s plans to reopen begin to take shape

HUDSON—Questions about school reopening, including kindergarten preparation and classroom use in summer, were the focus of discussion at the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting July 14.

School districts have until July 31 to submit a plan for reopening schools in September under pandemic restrictions, reported HCSD Superintendent Maria Suttmeier and Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement April Prestipino. The districts received some guidelines from the state earlier this month, but local school officials are still on their own in many respects.

Between August 1 and August 7 they will hear more from the governor. The challenge, said Dr. Suttmeier, is “how can we reopen safely, with learning in mind,” while supporting the students’ social/emotional development and meeting graduation requirements? Read more…

Cascino changes Copake landscape… again

The leveling off of a small knoll grew into a major excavation project on Salvatore Cascino’s property along Route 22. Photo by Abigail Della Cerra

COPAKE—The Copake Planning Board is still considering Salvatore Cascino’s master plan for the build-out of his 300-acre property along Route 22 and Lackawanna Road. But that didn’t prevent Mr. Cascino from embarking on a major excavation project involving the leveling of several acres and moving tons of dirt just north of his proposed farm stand.

Mr. Cascino, 80, of Larchmont, Westchester County, is a convicted felon who has spent the past 22 years amassing violations of federal, state and town laws for illegal dumping, building and excavating at a place he calls Copake Valley Farm, along the east side of Route 22.

The Planning Board has been wrangling with two site plan reviews of Mr. Cascino’s plans to build multiple new structures on and off since 2017. Read more…