Crowd logs in to virtual hearing on definition of ‘Truth’

KINDERHOOK—About 190 people attended the Village Zoning Board of Appeals public hearing Monday, January 25, held on Zoom. The board was holding a public hearing on an application from the Jack Shainman Gallery/The School on Broad Street for an interpretation of a ruling by the village Code Enforcement Office Peter Bujanow.

The issue concerns a temporary exhibit on the facade of the gallery—“Truth Be Told” by artist Nick Cave. Mr. Bujanow denied the gallery’s application for the project, saying in a letter to The School that the proposal was not in compliance with Kinderhook Village Code. Mr. Shainman is asking the ZBA to overturn Mr. Bujanow’s ruling on the basis that the artwork is not a “sign,” which was one of the listed reasons for the denial.

ZBA Chairman Jerome Callahan announced at the start of the meeting that the board would hold a special meeting on February 2 to discuss the application. The meeting on January 25 was just for public comment. Over 40 people spoke at the hearing, which lasted over three hours. Mr. Bujanow and Mr. Shainman’s lawyer, William Better, give opening and closing statements. Read more…

Hudson set to resume in-person classes for juniors, seniors

HUDSON—The Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education got good news confirmed about the district’s most recent graduation rate last week. The board also heard details about a return to in-person vs. remote schooling as well as news that a board member has resigned.

At the January 19 school board meeting Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement Dr. April Prestipino reported that 80% of students who entered high school in the fall of 2016 have graduated, according to data just released by the state. If one looks at Hudson High School specifically, 84% have graduated. This is a remarkable improvement for the district, where just 10 years ago the graduation rate was fluctuating close to 60%.

Looking ahead, Hudson High School juniors and seniors will have the opportunity to take in-person classes for the first time since last March, district Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier announced. Seniors can come Monday and Tuesday, juniors Thursday and Friday. On the other hand, third through fifth graders, who have had in-person classes since September, had a stint of all-remote classes for several days “due to lack of staff to bring them safely in,” said Dr. Suttmeier. Read more…

Copake leaders praise longtime public servant Vana Hotaling

Vana Hotaling. Photo by Jeanne Mettler

COPAKE—“You’re the best.”

That’s how former Copake Supervisor Jeff Nayer summed up the essence of Vana Hotaling at the January 14 Town Board meeting, which started off with a tribute to Ms. Hotaling via Zoom.

Vana, as she is popularly known, started working for the Town of Copake January 1, 1994, when she was elected tax collector. In July 1998 she was appointed deputy town clerk. Read more…

CMH top doc says region has tools to treat pandemic

HUDSON—Covid-19 is nothing if not dynamic. There were 47 new cases of the illness reported by the county health department as of Saturday, January 23. There will be more cases by the time this issue reaches newsstands January 28. There may be more deaths too, increasing the 63 recorded since the pandemic emerged exactly a year ago.

Columbia County, with a population of 60,000, has nearly 500 active cases of the illness and 35 patients currently hospitalized, all of whom depend on Columbia Memorial Hospital to help them survive this virus.

Dr. Clifford J. Belden, MD is chief medical officer at Columbia Memorial Health (CMH), which operates the hospital in Hudson. In a phone interview last week he said the hospital staff is in a “constant planning process” for ways to treat Covid-19 patients. The hospital is licensed to operate with 192 hospital beds, but at present it has only budgeted for staff to handle about 100 beds, including some for psychiatric patients. The hospital doesn’t need more beds at the moment because “we’re not at capacity,” he said. Read more…

Village planners applaud museum plan

This rendering shows the final plan for the Shaker Museum in The Village of Chatham. The view is looking north across Austerlitz Street. Image courtesy of Shaker Museum/Annabelle Selldorf, Architects

The brick building as it looked this week. Photo by Parry Teasdale

CHATHAM—The Shaker Museum presented plans to the Village Planning Board for the museum’s new site at 5 Austerlitz Street at an online meeting Monday, January 25.

“If I had to vote right now, I’d vote yes,” said Planning Board Chair Dan Herrick of the designs for the brick building near the traffic circle in the village. Other board members also voiced their support and voted to hold a public hearing on the project at their next meeting in February.

Planning Board Member Francis Iaconetti said the project was “a positive for the village” and the museum’s thoroughness was appreciated. Read more…