At ICC set for ballots and drive-in graduation

KINDERHOOK—The Ichabod Crane Board of Education held a public hearing June 2 on the $42-million proposed budget for the 2020-21 school year. The budget is within the state mandated tax cap and does not include any cuts to services or staff. This year’s ballot includes a bus purchasing proposal and there are five people running for three open board seats.

Voters were mailed ballots on May 26. This year all school districts in the state are voting absentee ballot so that there is no in-person voting due to the pandemic.

On June 7, Governor Cuomo announced that he will issue an Executive Order extending the deadline for school districts to receive school budget ballots. To be counted, school budget ballots can be accepted by hand delivery through 5 p.m. on June 9 but they can be received by mail through June 16 by the school district.

District Clerk Mindy Potts said at the board meeting last week that it was a team effort getting the ballots out. The district is posting information at for voters on the absentee ballot process and confidentiality. Ms. Potts said she will be available in the Main Office for people who want to drop off their ballots. She is at the office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, and can be contacted at and phone 518 758-7575, ext. 3001. Read more…

Chairman calls state guidance ‘confounding’

HUDSON—“Since the coronavirus pandemic sent us into lockdown with a variety of health protocols designed to prevent the spread of the virus, Health Department officials and elected leaders in Columbia County have done their best to adhere to New York State-issued guidance. From all appearances, much of it has seemed to help and we’re happy to have entered into Phase 2 of the New York Forward business reopening plan,” Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell said in the June 6 county-issued Covid-19 update press release.

“That being said, it’s hard for me to understand why places like department stores, grocery stores, and summer camps can be open for business, when high school graduations continue to be held to a strict set of guidelines.

“The inconsistency of virus-fighting recommendations is confounding, to say the least,” the chairman said. Read more…

‘Zoom bombing’ disrupts Hudson school board meeting

HUDSON—Viewers heard last week about the options school district voters would have for casting their absentee ballots, and how a last minute action prevented a materials shortage from causing an election crisis.

But Hudson City School District Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier had just announced those items Tuesday, June 2 at a video “public hearing” on the proposed Hudson City School District 2020-21 budget, when a “zoom bomb” computer hack led officials to shut the meeting down.

As of the Thursday morning, June 4 the district website suggested that Tuesday’s disruption had been caused by “one of the participants.” A make-up video “meeting” on the budget was scheduled for that evening but with less easy access.

All school district voting (for more see 3 school districts offer ‘drop-off’ voting) will take place by absentee ballot, with ballots due by 5 p.m. June 9. Unmarked ballots were required to be mailed by June 3 to every registered voter. The voters were initially instructed to fill it their ballots and mail them to the district clerk in a postage paid envelope sent with the ballot. Read more…

Alternative graduations get green light

HUDSON—The New York State Department of Health and Governor Cuomo have announced guidance for alternative graduation celebrations for school districts to consider, according to the June 5 Columbia County-issued Covid-19 press release.

Provided the guidance is strictly followed, school districts are cleared to proceed with graduation.

The new guidance is contrary to the previous state approach, which called for a local committee composed of the county’s chief elected official, the county DOH director, and the county Emergency Management director to review and approve a school’s graduation plan. Read more…

Surveyors will be working at Promenade Hill Park

HUDSON – On Monday, June 8, surveyors are scheduled to begin work at Promenade Hill Park. The surveyors will be taking measurements of the park to prepare for park improvements. Improvements include preserving historic features while providing access to park amenities and the views of the Hudson and the Catskills for people of all abilities.

“We need to ensure more people can access our public parks. Residents have been demanding park improvements for years and it’s great to be moving forward on this. I appreciate everyone who has contributed to this project,” Hudson City Mayor Kamal Johnson said in a press release.

The city asks all residents and visitors to be mindful of the workers at the park and help create a safe environment. Wear a mask and give them extra space.