Delgado, at county Veterans Center, hears what works

Congressman pays visit to veterans center Day Room. During a February 11 visit to the county’s Joseph P. Dwyer Day Room of the Veteran’s Center in Greenport, county Director of Veterans Services Gary Flaherty shows Congressman Antonio Delgado (D-19th) the center’s new Space Force flag. Rep. The meeting gave Rep. Delgado a chance to hear from Mr. Flaherty what legislative issues are of greatest concern to local veterans. And Mr. Delgado discussed bi-partisan legislation he has proposed that would benefit veterans. Photo by David Lee

GREENPORT—A billboard in Chatham advertises the Joseph P. Dwyer Day Room of the Veteran’s Center in Greenport. It features a photograph of an American soldier in battle gear carrying an injured child. The picture is by photojournalist Warren Zinn, who was working for the Army Times and embedded with the 7th Cavalry in 2003 as the United States Army approached Baghdad, Iraq. After a night of ambushes and firefights PFC Dwyer was photographed as he evacuated the child from a contested village.

The photo became famous, featured on magazine covers all over the world. PFC Dwyer became a celebrity. But after he left the military he suffered from severe traumatic stress and five years later he died of a drug overdose.

The Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project, launched in 2012 in Suffolk County, has is now in Columbia County. Money provided by the state Senate through the Dwyer Project has helped to fund the new facility and its programs. Read more…

Housing board eyes plans for upgrades within a year

HUDSON—The Hudson Housing Authority (HHA) runs the 135-unit income-restricted Bliss complex in Hudson—a high rise with 120 units and three low-rise dwellings which together have 15 units. For years the HHA has been considering construction projects such as rehabilitating and upgrading apartments, renovating and “rebuilding” existing structures, and erecting new buildings on HHA land. Now HHA Commissioner Rebecca Borrer, who is also acting Secretary of the City of Hudson Planning Board, said she expects a construction plan that will be shovel-ready by April 2022. Ms. Borrer is not a voting member of the of the city Planning Board.

Before finalizing its details she told the February HHA meeting, current Bliss residents should have input on the plan.

Finalizing construction goals will help the HHA define its direction, complete a five-year plan and apply for loans. The most immediate needs include replacing the high rise elevators before fixing them becomes impossible and opening more units for rent. Both the HHA Board of Commissioners and HHA Executive Director Tim Mattice agree on these priorities. Read more…

BLACK HISTORY: For some, county was stop on Underground Railroad

IN THE 1830s fugitive slaves increasingly moved to New York City for sanctuary. Many of these escapees were fleeing plantations located along Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

In his autobiography Samuel Ringgold Ward, above, wrote about his escape from slavery and his career. In the mid-19th century he lived in Poughkeepsie.

Slave catchers, backed by laws requiring support from law enforcement and private citizens alike, engaged in aggressive tactics. Abolitionists fought back and established networks of safe homes, called “way stations,” throughout upstate New York, including the Hudson Valley.

The networks managed primarily by Quakers and freed Blacks were dubbed the Underground Railroad. Columbia County had four “way stations” located in Hudson, Claverack, Ghent and Chatham, according to historian Fergus M. Bordewich, author of The Underground Railroad in the New York Hudson Valley.

Bordewich says that overland travel by horse-drawn wagons from New York City to the Hudson Valley way stations took an average 10 -14 days, but the invention of the steamboat shortened the journey on the Hudson River, from days to hours. The People’s Line sailed up to 500 “Abolition Boats” daily as 20 years of improvements to steamboat travel cut the journey to Albany from 15 to 7 hours. Read more…

Offensive email, then town seeks outside help

ANCRAM—Emails never die.

A disturbing email received by a Town Board member which was brought up at the January Town Board meeting, came up again at the February 18 board meeting and will likely come up again.

Moments before the January 21 meeting, the email popped up during an email conversation between Councilperson Bonnie Hundt and Town Clerk Monica Cleveland about the minutes of a prior meeting. It was part of an email chain which included all Town Board members and Town Highway Superintendent James Miller. Read more…

Wintertime and the fishing is frosty

Saturday, February 13, was the 22nd annual Canaan Conservation Club Hard Water Derby fishing contest. Fishing families came out and enjoyed the perfect weather for the event at Queechy Lake. There were 117 adults and 27 youth registered. Above, seven year-old Hunter Trapasso held up his 13-1/2″ trout, which won him third place in his division. Photo by David Lee