Budget hole forces Copake to trim its police department

COPAKE–The Town Board’s first order of business at a special meeting about town finances July 29 was to hire a new accountant. The last order of business was to fire the old one.

   But it appears that the board’s out-with-the-old-and-in-with-the-new actions won’t change the $200,000 budget shortfall the town faces if substantial cuts are not made soon.

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New sign bears old image

VALATIE–Drivers and pedestrians entering the village via the Route 203 Chatham Bridge are now welcomed by a new sign approximately 8 feet by 3 feet, bearing a reproduction of an 1881 map of Valatie.

   The sign is the brainchild of Abby Freinberg, owner of Rotate, a Valatie consignment store. V.E.R.A. (Valatie Economic Redevelopment Association), the village merchants organization, paid the $1,000 cost for the sign. Phillip Bickerton, a village trustee and member of V.E.R.A., built the posts and mounted it. He will soon be adding an 8-foot flower box underneath.

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Murphy finds healthcare tops list of local concerns

HUDSON–It’s summer recess for the House of Representatives, but it’s no vacation for Representative Scott Murphy (D-20th). He’s barnstorming his patchwork district, which stretches from the Adirondacks south through all of Columbia County and parts of Dutchess and west toward the central part of the state, catching up on ceremonial duties like the groundbreaking for a new park in Stockport (see Page 1 photo) and talking with constituents.

   He said in a phone interview Wednesday from his Warren Street office that he’s not surprised the big topic on the minds of the people here is healthcare: “about not having it or about the cost.” He sees the two concerns as closely tied, but he acknowledges that efforts at reforming the way healthcare is delivered are “confusing.”

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Generous donor speeds completion of town war memorial

HILLSDALE–The memorial to local wartime veterans, started by Joe LaPorta and his buddy Paul Proper Sr. of the Cadby-Shutts VFW Post 7552, is now becoming a reality.

   The project was conceived earlier this year as a way to list on memorial markers the names of all Hillsdale residents who served in the military during the Vietnam, Korea, and World Wars I and II. As Mr. LaPorta puts it, “There’s got to be something for posterity. It’s a veterans’ function to look after veterans.”

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Flood costs $5M

Deluge hits hard at north end of county 

KINDERHOOK–Local, state and federal officials added up the damage estimates this week from last week’s record-breaking downpours that struck 10 municipalities around the county. The overall cost to roads and embankments, bridges and sewer systems is now set at $4.8 million, an amount that does not take into account damages to crops and local businesses.

   Initial reports from the National Weather Service in Albany said that rainfall amounts reached nearly five inches Wednesday, July 30, in some northern Columbia County communities. More rain fell on Friday, raising floodwaters again briefly.

   Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the State Emergency Management Office (SEMO) toured the worst-hit communities early this week, accompanied by town highway superintendents and other officials. “The Town of new Lebanon is probably one of the hardest hit,” said Bill Black, the director of Columbia County Emergency Management.

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