Comprehensive planners extend survey deadline, meet with special interest groups

COPAKE—Because there are still groups of people in the town who have not filed a response to the Comprehensive Plan survey, the town Comprehensive Plan Committee has extended the deadline for completing the survey until Labor Day.
   “We have been pleased by the response to the survey, but as we have begun to tabulate the results we see that there are certain groups in the town from whom we have yet to hear,” Committee Chair Jeanne Mettler said in a press release.
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Spruce down: Supes poised to axe evergreens

COPAKE–Time may have run out for a row of 70-foot-tall Norway spruce trees.

   County officials say they impede visibility along a 153-foot curved section of county Routes 7A (Center Hill Road) and 7, where a long-awaited county highway improvement project is planned.

   The county Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote in August on whether to move forward with eminent domain proceedings to seize the slice of land on which the trees stand. Once the land is seized, the 45 trees, or at least some of them, would then be removed to improve the sight distance around the Mountain View Road/Center Hill Road intersection as part of the road rehabilitation project.

   But Susan Winchell-Sweeney, the owner of the property and the trees in question, believes the county can solve the sight distance issue without taking her trees and for a fraction of the cost.

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Rain, prices dampen farms’ future


Local dairy operations hit by drops in US and export markets and from the sky

CHATHAM–Dairy farming in Columbia County is in the midst of what Eric Ooms, co-owner of the 400-cow Oomsdale Farm here, calls “a perfect storm.” And while politicians from Albany to Washington propose a raft of remedies, the situation doesn’t look like it will improve any time soon.

   The first factor is the current price farmers receive for fluid milk–$12.15 per hundredweight for June milk, Mr. Ooms . That’s the lowest it’s been in about 20 years and a 39% decrease in just one year. The website for the state’s senior U.S. Senator, Chuck Schumer (D), says that for the approximately 40 county dairy farms milking an average of 175 cows each, the milk price translates to a loss of about $693,000 a month.


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Flash flood warning issued for county

ALBANY–The National Weather Service in albany has issued a flash flood warning for Columbia County, including the City of Hudson and Village of Chatham. The warning also includes eastern Greene County and the Village of Catskill. It will remain in effect until 4:15 p.m. Friday, July 31.

At 12:10 p.m. National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated flash flooding from heavy showers and  embedded thunderstorms over the warned area. Locations in the warning include but are not limited to Valatie, Philmont, New Lebanon, Kinderhook and Austerlitz.

Additional rainfall amounts of one to two inches are possible in the warned area. Many of these locations received two to seven inches of rainfall on Wednesday. This new rainfall will increase further flooding as the showers repeatedly move over the same area.

Excessive runoff from heavy rainfall will cause flooding of small creeks and streams, highways and underpasses. Additionally, country roads and farmlands along the banks of creeks streams and other low-lying areas are subject to flooding.

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Doc probes mystery of chronic Lyme disease


County urges awareness to avoid ‘devastating’ illness

KINDERHOOK–Who was that psychiatrist and why does he want so much local blood?

   The blood–8 tubes from each of the 150 volunteers who showed up at Town Hall in Niverville and at the Livingston Town Hall Sunday, July 12, is being used for a research project under the direction of Brian A. Fallon, MD, the director of the Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center at the Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan. The donors are adults who have been diagnosed with or believe they’ve had Lyme disease. The blood samples were collected here and in Dutchess County, Norwalk, Conn., and Basking Ridge, N.J., and researchers hope that combined with the health histories of the volunteers, the samples will provide the raw material for future development of tests for the illness and for new treatments for chronic Lyme disease.


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