Invaders! They crawl, they stink!

Amynthas agrestis, a/k/a, crazy jumping worm. Photo contributed

Halyomorpha halys, a/k/a, brown marmorated stink bug. David R. Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ,

CLAVERACK—Why wait for the release of the latest Halloween flick when you can stay in the comfort of your own home or yard and be scared out of your wits?

Stink bugs and jumping worms are not imagined movie villains but real invaders now making appearances here.

Crazy jumping worms that have been rearing their invasive heads” have caused Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Columbia and Greene Counties master gardeners to cancel their Fall Plant Swap and Sales scheduled for October 7 in both counties, according to a press release. Read more…

County looks to recruit new aides for care of seniors

HUDSON–The Columbia County Board of Supervisors Health and Human Services Committee has agreed to pursue a program to alleviate the shortage of personal care aides (PCAs) for county senior citizens.

PCAs provide assistance with housekeeping, cleaning, meal preparation, grocery shopping, laundry, and–if necessary–bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, walking and feeding. For medical procedures such as taking blood pressure, a home health aide (HHA) or nurse is required. County residents qualifying for HHAs “get help from other services, such as Visiting Nurses,” said Michelle Kraham, assistant administrator of the County Office for the Aging, by telephone September 26, the day after the most recent committee meeting at which the decision was made. The county helps people get the PCA service through the county Department of Social Services and the Office for the Aging.

The County arranges for PCAs through agencies it contracts with, but it has more people who need PCAs than these agencies have available. As a consequence some eligible people have been waiting for a PCA for over a year. So the committee agreed to try a program whereby the county would subcontract directly with PCAs, with nurses from the county Department of Health training and supervising the aides. These PCAs would be paid by the county as contractors not employees; they would not be on the county’s staff. Read more…

EPA readies new PCB cleanup near landfill, Valatie Kill

Reprinted with permission by the Times Union

NASSAU – The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the removal of PCB-laden soil and sediments along a tributary to a trout stream as part of a second round of cleaning up polluted land near the Dewey Loeffel Landfill Superfund site, the town said last Thursday.

Soil testing discovered very high levels of contamination along the 1,900-foot-long creek identified as T11A that feeds the Valatie Kill, according to the town.

“We reached out to EPA expressing our concerns. We’re very happy that they agreed. This is a good result. This is not only the removal of PCB-laden soil and sediments, it’s also the restoration of the habitat for the Valatie Kill,” Supervisor David Fleming said in an interview Thursday. Read more…

Tests say Taconic Hills shows some improvement

CRARYVILLE–The results of proficiency testing in 2017 for Taconic Hills School District elementary students shows a 5% gain in English Language skills compared to 2016, and a 1% increase in mathematics, according to report cards released by the New York State Education Department in August.

Director of instruction and staff development for the district, Sandra Gardner, presented the report card findings to the school board at its September 20 meeting.

Of the 506 third through eighth graders tested in English, 179, or 35%, were proficient; and out of 482 third through eighth graders tested in math, 166, or 33%, were proficient. While Taconic Hills testing results improved overall, the district’s students lag behind statewide proficiency in English by 5% and in math by 7%. Read more…

Ghent calls for help at pantry, Meals on Wheels

GHENT–Town Board members commented at last week’s meeting on the desperate need for volunteers to help with the food pantry and Meals on Wheels.

In the month of July approximately 80 families were served through the pantry and new customers are being added each month.

The hours volunteers are needed at the food pantry are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon; for Meals on Wheels the hours for volunteers are Monday through Friday until 11 a.m. For more information on volunteering or to become a volunteer, call Town Clerk Michelle Radley, 518-392-4644 or visit the Town Hall on Route 66 in the hamlet. Read more…