NEWS ANALYSIS: When one party can’t agree

HOW DID HILLSDALE DEMOCRATS reach the level of political turmoil that has left them with two town supervisor candidates, no interim supervisor and no vote on the county Board of Supervisors?

Town Supervisor Peter Cipkowski resigned effective July 27. On August 5, Chris Kersten, chair of the Hillsdale Democratic Committee (HDC), was chosen as the HDC’s town supervisor candidate. Mr. Kersten served on the nominating committee but did not vote.

The next day Robina Ward, a town councilwoman, announced that she would challenge Mr. Kersten on an independent Hillsdale Unity Party line. Read more…

Backers offer details on no-strings income plan

HUDSON—Questions about income verification, existing benefits and results evaluation arose frequently at an online information session about the HudsonUP income program hosted by the Hudson Area Library August 20.

HudsonUP plans to give 25 Hudson residents $500 a month for five years, as a pilot program to test former presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s Universal Basic Income (UBI) proposal. Recipients will not have to pay taxes on the $500 itself, and they will be able to use it however they want, said Susan Danziger and Albert Wenger, cofounders of the Spark of Hudson, which will contribute toward the payments. The first checks should come in October or November, said Mr. Wenger. He and Ms. Danziger were the main speakers at the session.

The session began with Ms. Danziger and Mr. Wenger explaining the selection process for Hudson’s program and giving the background of universal income ideas. Then they answered questions submitted by viewers. Read more…

Ancram speeders, you’re gonna get a ticket

ANCRAM—Drivers on roads in Ancram seem to have a recurring need for speed and the Town Board is trying to figure out how to control it.

Problems with pedal-to-the-metal motorists in this southeastern Columbia County town are nothing new. Talk of imposing lower speed limits to get drivers’ feet off the gas and weight limits to divert big rigs from the hamlets began two years ago.

The town backed off the idea of weight limits and purchased two new Evolis radar speed signs in 2019—at the same time seeking help from the Sheriff’s Office and State Police to get increased patrols to clamp down on the speedsters. Read more…

Hudson schools tackle restart details

HUDSON—Goals, reopening plans, the code of conduct, and cellphone policy dominated the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting August 18.

“Despite our additional challenges, we still need to keep our eyes on our mission,” said district Superintendent Maria L Suttmeier. This includes preparing students for college, career and citizenship. As the Vision 2020 time frame ends, the district needs to set future goals, but given the circumstances, “it’s impossible to set specific targets,” she said.

Instead, the district will set “philosophical goals” and figure out how to meet them despite the challenges, Dr. Suttmeier said. Proposed directions include: achieve, become and commit. Read more…

Two at Columbia Paper win statewide journalism awards

David Lee won a 3rd Place award with this “Spot News” photo in the statewide New York Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.

COHOES—The awards in the New York Press Association’s 2019 Better Newspaper Contest were announced late last week and two journalists from The Columbia Paper were among the award recipients.

The Thomas G. Butson Award for In-Depth Reporting Division 1 Second Place went to Associate Editor Diane Valden and The Columbia Paper for Ms. Valden’s continuing coverage of Sal Cascino’s efforts to portray his Copake Valley “Farm” as an agricultural operation rather than the site where he illegally dumped tons of construction debris and solid waste without permits.

The judge in this category said the award went to her story because of “The great beginning telling the story’s result and then you filled in the many details.” Read more…