Copake hears options for brighter, more connected future

COPAKE—History, broadband and water are the subjects of several initiatives in the works for this town—all with the aim of making Copake a better place to live.

At its February 11 meeting via Zoom, the Town Board heard from Roberta Roll, chairperson of the Hamlet Revitalization Task Force (HRTF) about nominating certain areas of the town for historic designation.

In her presentation, Ms. Roll noted that several areas and buildings in town already have such designations through the State and National Historic Registers. Read more…

Biologist sees wildlife imperiled as rail trail advances

MILLERTON—In a press release last November, the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association, Inc., announced that the rail trail extension from Millerton to Ancram is now open. The extension consists of an 8-mile section of graded, bridged, paved and railing-equipped pedestrian trail “perfect for runners, walkers, bikers and outdoors and park enthusiasts of all ages.” The trail, open from dawn to dusk, has restrictions on littering and leashed dogs, and allows no motorized traffic or horses.

A map on the Harlem Valley Rail Trail (HVRT) website, hvrt.org, shows the stops and crossings of the trail as it extends the 23 miles from the Metro North’s Wassaic train terminus in Amenia in Dutchess County to the Copake Falls area of Taconic State Park in Columbia County.

The master plan for the trail’s future has it continuing north to Hillsdale, then west to Craryville and north through Philmont and Ghent to Chatham, at the 46.1 mile marker. A short segment from Black Grocery Road to Hillsdale has been completed but requires the construction of a bridge over Route 22 to finish the Hillsdale connection. The map designates the segments from Hillsdale to Chatham as either “master-planned” or “shovel-ready.” Read more…

Former chief pleads guilty

CHATHAM—Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka announced Thursday, February 11, that Peter Volkmann, 57, of Stuyvesant, formerly the chief of the Village of Chatham Police Department, pleaded guilty to grand larceny and official misconduct before County Court Judge Richard Koweek.

The DA said the conviction was the result of a two-year investigation that began shortly before State Police executed a search warrant issued by County Court Judge Jonathan Nichols January 8, 2019.

Mr. Volkmann pleaded guilty to fourth degree grand larceny for circumventing the state’s post-retirement income restrictions, cheating the New York State and Local Retirement System out of $74,222, according a press release from State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s office. Mr. Volkmann hid public-source income from 19 municipalities and school districts in excess of the statutory limit by funneling the earnings through a private business, PF Volkmann & Associates. The Times Union cited authorities who said he “funneled the government payments through his firm from about 2012 to 2019.” Read more…

Snowy slopes make for a slalom occasion at Catamount

An in-house (local) race was underway on Sunday, February 7 at Catamount Ski Area in Copake. Dogs joined the spectators. Catamount Marketing Director Rich Edwards told The Columbia Paper that this has been a season of snowy weeks making for very favorable conditions. Regarding the pandemic restrictions, Mr. Edwards said, “I am impressed at how cooperative the skiing public has been this winter allowing us to operate within our Covid restrictions.” Because of the Covid-19, the chalets are allowing only 25% of maximum occupancy, but skiers are not daunted as they camp out around blazing fire pits and consume hotdogs and chili. Lift lines are generally spaced out and lifts are operated with spaces between riders. Masks are mandatory on lifts and in the buildings. Photo by David Lee

County reschedules 2nd dose vaccinations

HUDSON—In a message posted Wednesday, the Columbia County Department of Health said that the dose two COVID-19 vaccine PODs scheduled by the Department of Health for 2/18 and 2/19 at Columbia-Greene Community College have been canceled “due to shipping delays with the vaccine related to weather conditions.”

The notice also said, “The dose two PODs have been rescheduled to Wednesday, 2/24 at CGCC.” Those scheduled for vaccination are advised to “return at your originally scheduled dose-two appointment time.”

A representative from the county Department of Health will contact individuals to confirm appointment times by the end of the day tomorrow, February 18.

The notice is posted on the health department website at https://www.columbiacountynyhealth.com/news/covid-19-2nd-dose-vaccination-clinics-rescheduled/