Little gallery promises big return for Olana

Olana Associate Curator and co-curator of this inaugural exhibit Valerie Balint conducts a tour of the new gallery on Saturday, May 16. Photo by David Lee.   GREENPORT—The room isn’t large; in fact it was once a guest bedroom, and it requires navigating two narrow stairways in a section of the mansion few visitors have seen. But the roughly 18-foot square room, with its ornate fireplace and majestic view southward down the Hudson Valley looms large in the future of the state historic site at Olana.

   The room is now the Evelyn and Maurice Sharp Gallery, named in honor of the parents of Olana Partnership Trustee Richard T. Sharp. It opens to the public this Saturday, May 23, with a show called Glories of the Hudson: Frederic Church’s Views from Olana, a show that includes works by artists other than Church, the renowned 19th century painter and designer, who built the Moorish style home that has become a regional icon for the Hudson River School of art. A preview of the show was offered to trustees and supporters last weekend, and the ribbon on the room was cut Tuesday.

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School district budgets pass

CHATHAM—Voters approved school district budgets around Columbia County Tuesday, with none of the districts reporting contests on the proposals that could be described as close.

   Of the six districts in the county, four reported results to The Columbia Paper Tuesday evening. Results from the Ichabod Crane Central School District were not immediately available, but WTEN Channel 10 in Albany did put up partial results, and WNYT Channel 13 reported on Germantown. The results were as follows:

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Gillibrand headlines Dems’ dinner

Senator Kirsten GillibrandCLAVERACK—Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will be the keynote speaker Columbia County Democratic Committee’s second annual Martin Van Buren Dinner Saturday, June 6, at the Columbia Golf and Country Club, 295 Route 217.

   Ms. Gillibrand is a resident of Greenport. She represented the county and the rest of the 20th District in Congress until her surprise appointment to the Senate in January. She reportedly has been traveling the state since her appointment, getting to know statewide issues and meeting constituents and politicians.

   She was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, now secretary of state. But if Ms. Gillibrand wishes to stay in office past 2010, she must run in November of next year to fill the remaining two years of Mrs. Clinton’s term. Ms. Gillibrand can run for a full six-year term of her own in 2012.

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Appellate panel clears Wilzig motorcycle storage, repair space

Alan Wilzig’s “moto museum” features a  brow roof inspired by the Air Sea Rescue building in Tasmania.  Mr. Wilzig says he chose the Cor-ten steel siding, brown metal roof and fieldstone foundation in an effort to have the building blend in with the landscape. Photo contributed. ALBANY—The Appellate Division of state Supreme Court has upheld a trial court decision and dismissed the action brought by the Granger Group against the Taghkanic Zoning Board of Appeals . The decision gives official approval to the three-story structure where Alan Wilzig houses his collection of motorcycles.

   The Granger Group and some individuals had appealed  the decision of the town’s zoning enforcement officer to issue a permit for the construction of the 12,000-square-foot building to house the extensive motorcycle collection of Mr. Wilzig, a wealthy banking heir and town resident.

  Mr. Wilzig is also petitioning the town for permission to pave the mile-long, private motorcycle track he built without a permit starting in 2006, but his opponents have asked the court for a temporary restraining order on that project, and a lawyer for the group challenging the track said last week the order is currently in effect.

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Health department issues reminder on swine flu

HUDSON—Columbia has so far not had any confirmed cases of the A(H1N1) influenza virus, commonly called swine flu. But the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) anticipates that there will be more cases and more hospitalizations associated with this new virus in the coming weeks, and the county Department of Health issued a reminder Friday, May 15, about flu precautions and procedures for people who believe they may have the flu.

   There are 3,352 cases in 45 states to date, but the county health department believes it is likely cases will be detected in our area as the virus spreads. The state Department of Health Laboratory has an increased capacity to test specimens for the swine flu virus, allowing results to be obtained in 48 hours.  Since the virus symptoms have been milder than the seasonal flu, school closure is no longer being recommended when a student contracts the illness.

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