Ghent applies rescue funds to build out broadband

GHENT—The Town Board has approved using federal funds from ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act of 2021) to finish a plan to make broadband internet access available to all residents. The board designated the funds for that purpose at the July 21 board meeting.

The town received over $420,000 in ARPA funds and will use about $180,000 to complete the broadband project. Town Board member Patti Matheney said she hopes that the project would be done by the end of the year. The town has contracts with two providers, Mid-Hudson Cable and Consolidated Communications.

Town Supervisor Craig Simmons said Ms. Matheney had been “incredible” at negotiating contracts with those companies.

Councilwoman Matheney said it had taken seven years to finish this project in Ghent. “We have worked really hard to get this accomplished,” she said. She stressed that now, “I want the county to do their part” in making broadband available to the rest of the county. Read more…

Too much sun?

On Sunday morning July 17 a fire started at the ELP solar farm on Route 66 in the Town of Ghent. The solar farm is owned by East Light Partners Solar (ELP) of Cambridge, MA, and consists of 10,725 panels covering approximately 14 acres. Ghent Zoning Enforcement Officer Christopher Keefe told The Columbia Paper in 2021 that the solar farm is one of the company’s community solar projects; the electricity generated is shared by multiple residents and businesses. ELP has other project sites in Greenport and Kinderhook, according to the company’s website. For more on this fire and others on that day, see the story on Page 3. Glenn Wheeler Drone

Town declares July 5 ‘Ernie Santoro Day’

HILLSDALE–World War II Army veteran Ernest “Ernie” Santoro was feted July 1 with a drive-by parade near is home and a Proclamation from the Town of Hillsdale declaring his 100th birthday, July 5, “Ernie Santoro Day: Celebrating a Remarkable Life.” Participating in the parade were trucks and vehicles from the Hillsdale Fire Company, the Hillsdale VFW, The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Columbia County Veterans, and Mr. Santoro’s friends and well-wishers from all over.

Pictured is Hillsdale Town Supervisor Chris Kersten (l) presenting Mr. Santoro (r) with the Town Proclamation. Photo contributed

Also pictured is Mr. Santoro greeting another 100-year-old WWII Army veteran from Chatham, Edwin “Ed” Odegard (r), who attended the parade. Photo contributed

Two fires and more keeps fire companies busy

GHENT – At around 8:45 Sunday morning July 17 the Ghent Fire Company was dispatched along with the West Ghent Fire task force for smoke in the kitchen of the Ghent Assisted Living Center in West Ghent. A second call from employees stated fire was visible. A rooftop fan motor was on fire and was putting smoke into the building. Power to the unit was shut off and that fire was easily extinguished. Multiple smoke ejectors cleared the smoke from the building quickly.

At the same time this was happening a fire was noticed at the solar farm just south of the nursing home (pictured on page 1). Incoming mutual aid was redirected to that location and stood by there until a company representative showed up. The fire was put out after the power to that building was confirmed shut off.

NYSEG also reported a power line down south of the airport. Three units responded and one stood by in quarters for that incident.

Earlier that the morning the Ghent Fire Company was dispatched for a one-car motor vehicle accident on the Taconic State Parkway northbound lane. It was a minor incident and one passenger was treated by Greenport Rescue Squad.

This information was posted on the West Ghent Fire Company Facebook page.

New HHA director wants to hear from tenants

Jeffrey Dodson, executive director of the Hudson Housing Authority. Photo by Jeanette Wolfberg

HUDSON—As the new executive director of the Hudson Housing Authority (HHA), Jeffrey Dodson expressed interest in learning what is on residents’ minds and repeatedly urged residents to make appointments to speak to him. He made the offers at the July 18 regular HHA Board meeting, the first HHA meeting at which he has officiated.

The HHA runs the 135-unit income-restricted residences, which consist of the high-rise Bliss Tower and three low-rise buildings on its grounds in Hudson.

Mr. Dodson said he was there to “promote decent, safe, and sanitary housing,” as well as good customer service, adding, “Hopefully, great changes will be made at HHA.”

He comes from Newark and started as HHA executive director in late June. He said he can handle people’s concerns best if he talks to them by appointment, so he can make sure he has the “time and space” to give them the attention they deserve. For one thing, he will be equipped to take notes.

Public comment came at the beginning of the meeting, as per a change Mr. Dodson announced he was making. A resident reported that somebody is selling drugs “right in front of” a low rise building, at all hours of the day and night. Nearby cars have been vandalized, and the police have come. Children play in the area. Read more…