Chatham board balks at consultant’s fee

CHATHAM—The Town Board has voted 3 to 2 against hiring a planner to work on the update of the town’s Comprehensive Plan for “an amount not to exceed $42,000.” At the online meeting Thursday, March 18 the board discussed working with the planner on an hourly rate instead.

Also at the meeting Town Supervisor Donal Collins reported that the town could see about $419,000 in funds from the federal American Rescue Plan. He said he had been to round table meetings with Congressman Antonio Delgado (D-19th) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D) about the funds. Mr. Collins said that the town and Village of Chatham would be getting some relief and it is “fantastic” news. He is waiting on more information on how the funds can be used.

And Supervisor Collins also announced that Town Assessor Daniel Horst is resigning in July. In his letter of resignation Mr. Horst said he was taking an assessor position in the Town of Kinderhook. He said in his letter that over the years he has been asked to run for Town Board by residents but he could not as assessor. He wrote that taking the new position means he can “run for office in Chatham.” The board said they will be looking for a replacement that Mr. Horst can train before he leaves. Read more…

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Millay found inspiration in Austerlitz

IN 1925, AT THE HEIGHT of her literary career, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (1896 – 1950), who also wrote plays and librettos, retreated from New York City’s Greenwich Village to a 700-acre farm in Austerlitz. The Columbia County sanctuary was named “Steepletop” after the pink-flowered steeplebush that grew wild in the fields and meadows.

Soon after moving, Vincent, as Millay was called by family and friends, wrote to her mother and sisters in Maine, “Here we are, in one of the loveliest places in the world… having chimneys put in, & plumbing put in, & a garage built…. I have so many things on my mind… that I hardly know if I am writing with a pen or with a screwdriver….”

Her mother, Cora, who worked as a day nurse after divorcing in 1900, steeped her three children in literature and music, and encouraged them to be “free thinkers,” and Vincent’s talent was evident early. At age 19, her poem “Renascence” was anthologized in The Lyric Anthology, 1912. Her recitation of the poem before guests at a Camden inn where a sister worked as a waitress caught the attention of Caroline Dow, head of the YWCA National Training School in New York. Dow offered to finance Millay’s college education. Vincent chose Vassar. Read more…

Ancram plans for the next pandemic

ANCRAM—The hope is never to have to use it, but in the event of another public health emergency like the current pandemic, the town now has a plan in place to deal with it.

Back in September, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation (S8617B/A10832) requiring all public employers to create plans to adequately protect workers in the event of another state disaster emergency involving a communicable disease. The state and localities, including school districts—all must have these plans.

Plans had to be submitted to unions and labor management committees within 150 days, and plans have to be finalized by April 1. Read more…

What could be more normal than spring football?

On Friday, March 12, the Chatham High School varsity football team practiced for the second time outside for their new spring season, delayed from last fall. Pictured running through the line carrying the ball is Jacob Sorros. The season was to consist of seven games and a best-of-each division championship, but their first game was canceled due to a positive Covid-19 test at the school. The games are being played in Hudson where the field is drier, and each player will be allowed two spectators to comply with Covid restrictions. The next game is scheduled for March 27 at 1 p.m. Photo by David Lee

Delgado bill will send Rescue funds to county

GHENT—On March 10, the office of Congressman Antonio Delgado (D-19) issued a press release saying that the House had voted to pass the American Rescue Plan, which included funds for municipalities in his district. The plan includes Rep. Delgado’s bill, the Direct Support for Communities Act, which establishes a formula for local aid that delivers $130.2 billion to counties and municipalities across the United States. President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan into law March 11.

According to Rep. Delgado’s release, Columbia County could receive about $11.5 million. Information from the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) says the plan includes $3.8 billion for 57 counties ($2.2 billion) of New York State outside New York City and New York City ($1.6 billion). The amounts are based on population. Columbia County’s funding is estimated at $11,622,225.

Under Rep. Delgado’s Direct Support for Communities Act formula, and according to the House Committee on Oversight estimates, towns and villages in the 19th district would get over $160 million in relief funding. The district includes all of Columbia County and all or parts of 10 other counties. Read more…