Rescue squad is ready

VALATIE—The Valatie Rescue Squad has been taking measures to be prepared to meet the challenge of assisting the Columbia County community during the COVID-19 emergency.

“This is a serious situation, but we are preparing ourselves for whatever happens,” Valatie Rescue Squad Operations Director Anand Balasar said in a recent press release.

He observed that the generosity of local businesses and other local first responders “has been fantastic” as the squad has been diligently working to stock up with as many of the protective items they may need to protect themselves and the public. Read more…

Ancram Board holds a meeting… very carefully

ANCRAM—Though it was the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Ancram Town Board, March 19, there wasn’t much that was regular about it.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic saw to that.

All town board members, the town clerk and the town highway superintendent were present as usual, but their seating arrangement had changed. The officials were seated in a wide semi-circle that spanned the width of the meeting room—each person sitting at least six feet from the person next to them, some at individual tables.

One board member wore pink latex gloves. Read more…

Two New COVID-19 response funds launch in Columbia County

HUDSON–Two new emergency funds to rapidly deploy resources to community-based organizations and small businesses as they respond to the impact of the coronavirus have been established in Columbia County.

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF) has launched the Columbia County COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. It will provide flexible resources to nonprofit organizations to meet the needs of individuals and families who are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. The fund will prioritize human services and community-based organizations with experience helping individuals and families stabilize their lives in times of crisis. Donations to the fund and applications from eligible nonprofits can be made at BerkshireTaconic.org/ColumbiaCOVID19. BTCF staff and volunteer members of BTCF’s Fund for Columbia County committee will review and award grants.

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC), in partnership with the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Hudson Business Coalition, have established the Columbia County Business Continuity Fund. It will provide cash grants to small businesses in our city and town centers with fewer than 10 full-time employees and less than $1 million in annual revenue. These businesses can apply for grant funds from $1,000 to $5,000 to cover costs related to retaining employees, rent and other fixed operational costs. Donations to the fund can be made at BerkshireTaconic.org/BusinessContinuity. The fund will accept applications from April 1 to April 15 at www.columbiaedc.com. An independent, volunteer committee of local business leaders will review and award grants based on the availability of funds. Read more…

County health dept. pursues new rapid-result tests

HUDSON—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the emergency use of a rapid coronavirus test that can deliver results in as little as 15 minutes.

Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said in a Monday, March 30, 2020 that the test may be “rolled out” as early as Wednesday, April 1.

“I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I am going to aggressively pursue getting the tests. If the kits become available to the county in large quantities, I would hope to be able to do large scale testing in the county to help us better understand the disease,” he said. Read more…

Delgado urges public to seek CARES Act aid

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Representative Antonio Delgado (D-19th) chaired a telephone Town Hall meeting last week with constituents from across the 11-county district he represents. The in-person meetings he’s frequently held over the last two years are not possible during the COVID-19 emergency, but half a dozen constituents got the chance to question Mr. Delgado by phone, many of them concerned about government aid to small business.

Links and guidance on specific information about applying for assistance are available at the congressman’s website, https://delgado.house.gov/

Rep. Delgado said during the phone meeting Friday, March 27 there are now three major aid bills passed by Congress and approved by the president, the latest one being the $2 trillion CARES Act signed into law not long before last Friday’s call. In his opening remarks and in answer to questions later, Mr. Delgado said that hourly and salaried workers and independent contractors would all be eligible for unemployment assistance. Read more…