ICC student board member reports smooth start

KINDERHOOK—The Ichabod Crane Board of Education appointed Ruth Moore to an open seat on the board at the October 6 meeting. Ms. Moore will finish the term of board member Jessica Berner, who resigned in September. The term will run through May 2021.

School Board President Matthew Nelson thanked the candidates who applied for the board seat. He said after the district announced the vacancy on the board they received several responses. The board met with two of those respondents at a special meeting September 29.

At the start of Tuesday’s meeting, the board went into a brief executive session, then reopened the public session and appointed Ms. Moore. Mr. Nelson said that she will bring a “tremendous amount” of experience to the board. Ms. Moore was until recently the executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension for Dutchess County.

The board held the meeting in-person at the primary school cafeteria and online with Zoom. Read more…

Charges highlight stakes in absentee voting

HUDSON—Due to the pandemic, state election law was recently amended to allow every voter eligible to vote in the November 3 General Election to vote by absentee ballot on the basis of “temporary illness or physical disability,” according to the county Board of Elections website; voters don’t need to be sick or infected with Covid-19 virus. “Temporary illness” includes being unable to appear due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like Covid-19.

Requests for absentee ballots have increased—see voting instructions below—but a new wrinkle emerged last week when, on September 29, county Republican Elections Commissioner Kelly Miller-Simmons announced in a press release that she had filed a complaint with state and federal authorities against the county Democratic Committee for “misuse of mail indicia and fraudulently misrepresenting an absentee mailing.”

Ms. Miller-Simmons’ complaint concerned an envelope sent by the Columbia County Democratic Committee to registered Democrats that contained a request for an absentee ballot. But the return envelope carried the return address of the county Board of Elections, not the Democratic Committee. She also claimed the Democrats did not have the right to use the indicia, the printed postage used for large scale mailings. Read more…

Town wary of  Cascino’s ‘big dig’

COPAKE—The major construction project Salvatore Cascino plans to build on his 300-acre property will disturb more than two acres of earth.

At the Planning Board’s October 1 meeting, some board members pointed out that because of the magnitude of the project, the law requires Mr. Cascino to come up with a plan to prevent stormwater pollution before he can be allowed to proceed. Mr. Cascino’s attorney, Michael Sussman argued that is not within the Planning Board’s purview to require such a plan.

Which entity is responsible for making sure that the plan is in place became one of several contentious issues at the meeting. Read more…

Local activist presses for focus on housing

HUDSON—“Let it be known that I’m here for the people. All the work I do, either popular or unpopular, is for the people. And I will use every platform I have to magnify their voices.”

Claire Cousin, president of the Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition (HCHC), made that statement in a telephone conversation September 24. The 27-year-old Hudson resident is also a commissioner for the Hudson Housing Authority and a full-time teaching assistant at the Devereaux residential school. She has been socially active for years.

Ms. Cousin was already on the board of the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center (SBKSJC), when, “We found that a lot of the issues we dealt with were related to housing.” Recently, SBKSJC found itself “having to advocate on an emergency basis for a tenant in Hop-o-Nose,” a public housing complex in Catskill. But in Hudson, she said, “We have more of a [housing] crisis than we have had in a long time. People are sleeping in Seventh Street Park.” Read more…

Housing authority tries to find good help

HUDSON—A new board member, moratoriums on fees and evictions, the census and the coronavirus were among the topics that received attention at the Hudson Housing Authority Board of Commissioners meeting September 9.

The Hudson Housing Authority (HHA) controls the 135-unit Bliss income-restricted residential complex and supplies federal Section 8 vouchers for housing in Hudson.

The board welcomed its newest member, Claire Cousin, who had officially taken her seat a half hour before the meeting. Ms. Cousin said she is 27 years old and has lived in Hudson all her life. She is president of the Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition. Read more…