As deadline nears, ICC ponders capital wish list

KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane Board of Education had another discussion, this one during the August 21 meeting, on a possible capital improvement project.

The board is looking at a facilities study that suggests about $40 million of work that could be done to improve the district. The study includes work at all the school buildings and the grounds. The board has been going over each part of a possible project to determine what they plan to ask voters to approve at a special vote in December.

Since discussions on the project started last spring, the board has also looked at doing several phases of work, with the December vote being phase one and other parts of the project put off to a second phase or even third. Read more…

Trouble is brewing in bunny land

COPAKE—The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has adopted a plan for creating a habitat conducive to the New England cottontail and other targeted species at the Doodletown Wildlife Management Area.

But some of human species who live near the 689-acre area that spans the towns of Ancram, Gallatin and Taghkanic don’t like it.

About 50 people attended a public meeting at the Copake Park Building Tuesday evening, August 28 at which DEC officials rolled out their 10-year habitat management plan on the property DEC purchased in 2017 for $2.8 million in funds from the federal Pittman-Robertson Act. The funds come from an excise tax on the sale of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment to pay for restoration, land acquisition, wildlife habitat management and wildlife-related recreational programs. Read more…

Ginsberg’s pays full price for Rte. 66 site

GHENT–The Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) has received a six-figure payment for 33-acre property in the towns of Claverack and Ghent on Route 66 near the county industrial park. The land was proposed as the site for an expansion of the Ginsberg’s food service company, but the terms for the site sparked opposition to the project and became a factor in a leadership shakeup at the CEDC three years ago.

In August 2015 CEDC, the county’s non-profit economic development authority, transferred the 33-acre parcel to DNJ Properties, LLC (DNJ) in connection with the proposed $14 million expansion of Ginsberg’s Foods. DNJ is a real estate affiliate of Ginsberg’s. The cost for the undeveloped land was set at a symbolic $1.

But there were conditions attached to the deal. A statement released last week by the CEDC reviewed the original deal, which said that if the expansion project was not completed within three years of the transfer, DNJ would pay CEDC $280,000–the appraised value of the property at the time–plus interest at 7% per year. Read more…

ICC super injured in accident, Guntlow, Cruz fill in

KINDERHOOK–Board President Matthew Nelson announced to the public at the board meeting this week that Superintendent Michael Vanyo had been seriously injured in an accident while on vacation and had just come out of surgery in Syracuse that day.

At the August 21 meeting Mr. Nelson said the superintendent will be “out for an extended period of time.” He said the board would address how they planned to move forward.

Questar III/BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Gladys Cruz will be acting superintendent while Mr. Vanyo is recovering. Read more…

Author explores toll from incarcerating kids

HUDSON–Columbia County was a major influence, Alexandra Cox, author of a recent book on youth incarceration told an audience in the Hudson Area Library August 6. She conducted research inside Brookwood Secure Center in Claverack earlier this century, worked as a sentencing mitigation specialist in New York City, later got a PhD in criminology, now lectures in sociology in England, and recently wrote the book Trapped in a Vice: The Consequences of Confinement for Young People.

Brookwood, run by the state Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) holds youths who “committed certain violent felonies and were convicted and sentenced in an adult criminal court,” according to its website.

Dr. Cox shared the August 6 podium with Frankey Bailey, professor of criminal justice at SUNY Albany, and author of mystery and police novels. In the audience sat Allen Skerrett of Greenport, who directed Philmont Hearth after retiring as mental health supervisor for The Toombs, as well as other locals and some Bard students. Read more…