New principal has high hopes for Hudson district

Rhode Octobre-Cooper is the new principal of Hudson High School. Photo contributed

HUDSON—“We want to make sure we support our children, both the ones who are struggling and the ones who are excelling,” Rhode Octobre-Cooper, the new principal of Hudson High School said on August 1. “It’s not okay just to be successful and move forward; you should also help those who are struggling.” And a good way to do so, she repeatedly said, is through one-on-one mentoring.

Ms. Octobre-Cooper recalled that her mother, a teacher, would say, “once you impact a child’s life you change the trajectory of their life,” and, “If you create a bond with a child, you know they can trust you.”

Ms. Octobre-Cooper said her goals for the junior high include allowing eighth graders to take the American History Regents and establishing a mentoring program. In addition, “I have always lived by an open door policy for my teachers and staff.”

American History is part of the eighth grade curriculum. One school in Ms. Octobre-Cooper’s background gave eighth graders the American History Regents, and they outscored the high school students, she reported. Read more…

News from the County Board of Supervisors


NURSING education limits, property foreclosures, and house prices highlighted the Columbia County Board of Supervisors regular monthly meeting August 10.

The meeting began with a hearing on the Columbia-Greene Community College (C-GCC) 2022-23 operating budget. During the hearing college President Carlee Drummer noted that, despite a demand for more nurses, the waiting list to get into C-GCC’s nursing program this fall had 45 people.

One speaker suggested devoting resources to hiring more staff for the nursing program in order to allow it to admit more people. But Dr. Drummer explained that what limits the number of students C-GCC can enroll in nursing programs is the number of positions in health care facilities for such students to get their clinical training. And to get each of its students into such a position, C-GCC must compete against other community colleges and universities. This problem is nationwide.

Although C-GCC encourages its nursing students to get jobs at Columbia Memorial Health, many end up spread between 60 clinical sites. Read more…

Towns create brochure to help new home builders stay green

HILLSDALE—Do the natural pastoral views of Columbia County have you dreaming about settling here? Maybe building a new house?

If so, the Conservation Advisory Councils of Ancram, Hillsdale, New Lebanon and Taghkanic have created a brochure to help you and the environment at the same time.

The two-sided, full-color, tri-fold brochure is called, “Thinking of Building a New House?”

According to Caroline Stewart a member of the Hillsdale Conservation Advisory Council (CAC), the idea for the brochure emerged with the great influx of people who arrived here within the past couple of years during the Covid-19 pandemic. While many bought existing houses, many others bought undeveloped property to build on.

It is those people the brochure hopes to reach while their projects are still in the planning stages. Read more…

Ag drought? Depends who you ask

SPENCERTOWN—The Joe Pye Weed is more brown than purple, the fields are yellow, the tree leaves are drooping, the crops are stunted and the deer and birds are foraging day and night in search of moisture in the crops. These are among the effects of the drought conditions the county has been seeing all summer.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has declared Columbia County, like much of the state, in a Drought Watch, the first of four levels beyond normal (Watch, Warning, Emergency and Disaster). In non-technical terms the National Weather Service defines a drought as “a period of unusually persistent dry weather that persists long enough to cause serious problems such as crop damage and/or water shortages.” An “agricultural drought” is “a situation where the amount of moisture in the soil no longer meets the needs of a particular crop.”

We are having an agricultural drought. It has been several months since most of the county has experienced a soaking rain on June 9. Rainfall has been scant ever since. An Austerlitz rain tracker measured 3.7 inches in June, 4.7 inches in July and 3.6 in August to date. A recent 1.5-inch storm in the Chatham area skipped the lower part of the county, which saw just drops.

How have local farmers and growers been affected? In short, it depends. Read more…

Last dives before school bells ring

The annual Copake Falls Day was held Saturday, August 20. The day celebrates many attractions within strolling distance in the community. Copake Falls encompasses a major access to the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, the Copake Iron Works museum and furnace, the Roeliff Jansen Historical Museum, the historic St. John in the Wilderness Church and the Taconic State Park with its swimming quarry. This photo shows the last weekend the quarry was open for swimming due to the fact that all the lifeguards were going back to school. The day began with a 5k run on the Harlem Valley Rail Trail and included an art show, farmers’ market, kids’ games and face painting. The day was dedicated to valued home-town volunteer, the late Glenn Pupa. Photo by David Lee