Dump meets criteria top Superfund status

NASSAU–The federal government is stepping in and recognizing an environmental disaster that has impacted residents in this Rensselaer County village for decades and continues to threaten communities downstream along the Valatie Kill in Columbia County.

A 60-day public comment period began Thursday for residents to weigh in on the Dewey Loeffel toxic waste dump. Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency told a crowd of local residents Thursday that the EPA will add the site to the National Priorities List, which would make the closed dump and Nassau Lake, where chemicals from the dump have been found, a federal Superfund site. This would allow the EPA to put pressure on G.E., Schenectady Chemical and Bendix– the latter two firms now under different ownership– to fund further remediation. Read more…

Schools plan huge layoffs

State budget proposal would force districts to cut jobs

HUDSON–At this week’s school board meeting Superintendent John Howe gave up the annual 3% raise his contract calls for in a resolution that was proposed and approved by the board. Two board members expressed their sincere appreciation for Mr. Howe’s gesture, and people attending the meeting applauded. But the savings from the foregone raise, amounting to $4,050, are only a drop in the bucket in what is shaping up to be one of the toughest school budget seasons in years.

The situation looks similarly grim at Taconic Hills, where the district is hoping to save money by reducing the number of bus runs. But even that may not avert the prospects of up to 45 layoffs. Read more…

Ironman contest challenges their athletic mettle

KINDERHOOK–Imagine, competing in a 26.2-mile race and asking yourself, OK, now what? That is what Valatie resident Ed Oldrich asked himself after completing a marathon in October 2008. The next July, he found his answer. After volunteering at the Ironman Triathlon in Lake Placid, he registered for 2010 event.

Mr. Oldrich, 37, is one of four local athletes who recently began a 24-week training regimen leading up to what the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) dubs “the world’s most challenging endurance event.” The other three area athletes are Jack Nabozny, 53, also of Valatie, Ed Hamilton, 41, of Kinderhook and Kari Gathen, 41, of Albany. Less a team than a support group, they tend to train individually, averaging 10-12 hours a week working out in the early spring, progressing to 20-25 hours a week as race day approaches. During a group discussion at an Albany area restaurant right after the holidays, Ms. Gathen noted, “If this was March, we wouldn’t be here.” Read more…

Local Ocean wins chamber’s Crystal Apple award

ANCRAMDALE– Local Ocean, the new fish farm in Greenport, is the recipient of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce 21st Annual Crystal Apple Award.

Over 100 people attended the event at Pond Restaurant & Banquet Facility in Ancramdale Friday, February 26, where the award was announced.  Dinner was crafted by the staff at The Pond. Read more…

Two left homeless in Philmont fire

PHILMONT–Rhiann Clark sifts through the debris of what had been the home she shared with her mother, after an early Tuesday Rhiann Clarkmorning fire forced the pair into the cold when flames and smoke swept through their home.

The Clarks had just moved to their 3 Prospect Street apartment.

Four fire companies were called to the scene.

The Red Cross is assisting with finding a new home and clothing for the mother and daughter.