County tries to reduce suicide rate

HUDSON–The topic of suicide became news last week with death of Copake dairy farmer Dean Pierson. Behind the news, the number of what experts call “completed suicides” in Columbia County dropped last year after a surprising spike in 2008, but state Health Department data show that the number of deaths in 2009 was still higher in the county than anticipated based on the county’s population and rural setting, and county agencies are continuing their effort to address the problem.

There were eight completed suicides in 2009, less than the 20 reported for all of 2008 but still slightly higher than would be expected. There were 27 completed suicides during the previous five years. Read more…

Once a mayor, he’s now a commissioner

Jason Nastke, former Valatie mayor, holds GOP seat on election board

HUDSON–“I was excited to take this job on,” said the newly appointed Columbia County Election Commissioner Jason Nastke.

That enthusiasm will assist the Republican commissioner as the county Board of Elections, made up of Mr. Nastke and his Democratic counterpart, Virginia Martin, and their staffs, has just finished handling a prolonged set of legal challenges to last November’s local elections and now faces the task of switching from the familiar lever voting machines to a new electronic ballot count system.

Read more…

Car, truck crash kills man

CLAVERACK—A 24-year-old Wappingers Falls man was killed this morning in a crash on a snowy road.Car, truck collision kills man

Daniel Edmondson was driving his car northbound on Route 9H at about 8 a.m. when he crossed over the center of the road into the path of a southbound flatbed truck, State Police at Livingston said. The driver of the truck, Norman Morrison Jr., 45, was taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital, where police said he is being treated for neck, back and rib injuries. The truck is owned by Columbia Tractor.

Claverack Firefighters and the Greenport Rescue Squad responded. Columbia County Coroner Angelo Nero pronounced Mr. Edmonson dead at the scene.

Route 9H was closed for approximately 3 hours while State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Units assisted BCI investigators and Troopers at the scene .

 

Death puts focus on farm crisis

Copake dairy farmer takes his own life after destroying some of herd

COPAKE–In life, dairy farmer Dean Pierson was private, quiet and hard-working, but when he killed himself and 51 of his dairy cows last week, his story drew national attention.

Though newspaper and radio reports have linked the Pierson tragedy to the financial strain put on dairymen by record low milk prices, it seems personal problems rather than economic ones may have played a more substantial role in this dairy farmer’s last desperate acts. Read more…

Hearing airs concerns over gravel mine proposal

TAGHKANIC–The town Zoning Board of Appeals convened a hearing Monday evening at the firehouse to receive public comments on a proposal by Berry Pond LLC of New York to conduct a gravel mining operation on Livingston Road near Route 82 in West Taghkanic. The applicant’s lawyer said the mine would have little impact on the community, but residents who live near the proposed site see nothing but trouble ahead if officials grant a permit for the project.

Berry Pond has received a permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and now needs only the approval of the town ZBA before commencing its surface mine operation. That prospect drew over 60 residents to attend the January 18 hearing. Read more…