Thursday, March 31, 2011

3-31-11: the story

This is another blog of mine. If you look, for the past month I have tried to do a run down of local stories every day. Today I won't get to do that. I'll be back at it tomorrow.

My other blog is meant to have longer investigative pieces, more like essays and less like a list. This one is more like a list of good links with short discussions of the issues.

When the town first jumped me back in December 2009 I did not know what to do. It took me awhile to figure out what the problems were and why this was happening. I tried to get along. I've tried to settle, promote mediation, spend money on problems that didn't exist.

After I decided to hold my ground and fight back, I had no idea HOW to fight back. Honestly, I still don't. I hope that the Federal Courts will use their power to protect the constitutional rights and public integrity of government in this county. But I know that defending our constitutional rights is not something you leave to some judge. We have to do it to.

Email me. Get in touch. This county is dirty and we don't have to put up with it. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Crowd sourcing (NYT article) for social change: that is what is and will be. Join us.

Will be promoting more energetically in the next few weeks.

Letter re hearing this week:

I have never at any time violated any aspect of town law. The hearing you attended came to exist in this way:

(8/10) permit revoked > (10/10) ZBA appeal > (12/10) good faith offer to settler > (1/11 and 3/11) planning board

Following an illegal act on the part of the ZEO, I was initially denied the right to appeal. When I did achieve an appeal, the attorney acting without the consent of the zoning board expanded the scope of my appeal to include any and all additional issues without even informing me as to what the charges I might answer would be. The town board was unable to achieve a quorum on the zoning board without allowing members to join who might be willing to allow me a fair hearing and ignored the application of a highly qualified person who lived in Stuyvesant Falls, an individual who knew there was no barking problem with my facility, while waiting for more applications to come in and eventually selected a less qualified person. While we were waiting for a quorum to emerge on the zoning board, I made a good faith offer to settle the dispute. The supervisor of the town, the town attorney and other town officials decided that this good faith offer would be an opportunity to alter my permit and thereby render my business not viable. Subsequently, with the encouragement of town officials, Fritz Platt and Patty Yerick gathered more complaints. These complaints are clearly coordinated and without except false. Next, we had an opportunity for public comments which included issues beyond my good faith offer to settle, including irrelevant personal defamation against me.

At the same time, I initiated a campaign to bring mediation services to town government, a free professional service offered by the New York Courts to avoid conflicts in neighbor to neighbor disputes in the future. The town board refused to consider this option.

As you know, these problems lead me to conclude that I needed to file an action in Northern District, Federal Court. In that setting, I will argue that this entire process was politically motivated in order to punish me for exposing routine corruption in town government. I will be asking for wide ranging changes to assure this never happens again.

Again: 1) I did nothing wrong; 2) I spent 5000 in sound proofing anyway; 3) I made a good faith offer to settle; 4) I campaigned for mediation services; 5) I sent you and the board information as requested when I was under no obligation to do so despite many months of unfair treatment.

Monday, March 28, 2011

3-28-11: hearing today in stuyvesant

Thanks to all the people who offered to come to the planning hearing today and for all the support in town during and after the filing of the law suit. 

The lawsuit, I believe, is not about me and my situation. I am asking the judge to consider making the town (and all towns) do what they should have been doing all along.

And my planning board hearing is not really about me, I don't think. It's important to me and my family but the issues are pretty basic and universal: rule of law, equal protection, and economic development. There is nothing on the table at this hearing that should be on the table. Such a long story... and makes a big turn tonight.

Should be interesting. 7pm tonight.


Sam Pratt is right on again about elections. Run!

I don't really get what the unified issue is here. I don't think I get this.

Jump from bridge.

Is this good? Why? Isn't this a big mistake? Huge?

Rally for farming! Yes!

Fiction in Kinderhook. 

Dog show is today.

This is the picture of Martin serving the town with my federal lawsuit.

And who stole spring?

This is cold yesterday.

Untitled from glencadia on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

3-27-11: live

Federal Civil Rights lawsuit. Filed. Served.

Oh, and please jump in and make this wikipedia for Columbia County better.

Hudson lost 11% of its population between 2000 and 2010. Wow. Here is William Hughes, a Hudson supervisor, on the subject.

No gain in the overall population is the big story. Sam Pratt has an excellent piece on the data.

He comes up with some scenarios under which no change could be a good thing but in this case I don't think this data is good. Fascinating, not good.

I have a public hearing on Monday. Other hearings to attend on more substantial issues.

Spam or a FB page for Chatham?

This coin is cool. Hudson. Or Manicanituk, as I like to call it. ("my man connie tuck," the Mohican name for the Hudson River).

Need a trooper?

Anyone curious about that civil rights lawsuit? It was a big deal to me... and may be to you soon, who knows?

Assumption: Woody is a bear.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

3-26-11: no jobs, no growth

Columbia County has the lowest private job growth in the region. Unemployment is stuck at 8.6 percent, the second highest rate in at least the last two decades.

Are you sure the population is stable at the working/children kind of segment? The county is stable but greying?

Mr. Sichko,

Your article on population and jobs in Columbia County was an eye opener.

As a businessman in the county I can tell you one important reason Roy Brown, chairman of the board of supervisors, would not admit: corruption, cronyism and waste in government.

Yesterday I filed a Federal Civil Rights lawsuit against my town and on Monday I will have an arbitrary and capricious planning board harassment.

I'm not all that impressed with this PR stunt.

Gibson is not willing to be independent and reach out to Democrats and represent the county as it is not as it was or how he wishes it were. Ooms farm is a good old time farm. He should have done his stunt at a farm further from Kinderhook with a more progressive kind of approach, like Thistle Milk or something Biodynamic or something he doesn't know about from his childhood. Nothing against Ooms, of course.

Gibson is floundering. He has no issues that resonate and has not established himself firmly as an independent person not a Republican yes man.

Friday, March 25, 2011

3-25-11: local corruption and new york state

New York State has a policy that citizen volunteers should help enforce ethics. New York State says ethics should be enforced locally. I'm in a hurry or I would heap on a bunch of links to prove this is New York State policy but I'm super busy today.

New York State has no agency or body with jurisdiction over town dealing with ethics violations prior to these violations becoming or absent evidence of crimes in all cases and even with evidence of crimes in some cases.

Again, I have a stack of letters showing this to be the case.

This structure allowed Stuyvesant to violate my constitutional rights because all of this is a bunch of bull. None of this works.

So either 1) this local enforcement and citizen volunteer thing has to work or 2) the state has to have an agency digging around in the corners of every one of the 1600 local governments in this state.

Of course, we don't need 1600 local governments. If we had 500, maybe a state agency would work. But no Federal Court can order New York State to reduce the number of jurisdictions.

I think they should make the citizen volunteer / local enforcement model work. Here's how: 1) punish those who fail to enforce locally (have state agencies focus on local enforcement); 2) mandate that ALL LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN NEW YORK STATE post every financial and assessment data online.

I know it sounds radical but it is in fact the easiest, cheapest, and most effective solution to local government corruption at least in the medium term.

Like I said, I have a busy day.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

3-24-11: ok, development, nukes

Big development in Greenport.

More news!

Performance in New Lebanon. New Lebanon Library, local favorites David Grover and Linda Worster will perform together, 6-8 p.m. Free. Route 20, New Lebanon, N.Y. 518-794-8844.

Old Postcards in color. Are all of these from the same person? More!

Gibson. Nukes again. Strange issue to hang your hat on.

February town meeting audio online.

Movie night at Kinderhook Library.

Today the word OKAY turns 172, so they say, from Old Kinderhook.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3-23-11: library, water, mayor, old diary, college roof, congressman speaks

Murder sentance: William Demagall to 25 years to life in a New York prison for the 2006 murder of George Mancini. An escaped psychiatric patient has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for killing a retired teacher near the Massachusetts border in New York.

Water problems in Hudson and money to fix them. Someone investigate/explain this.

I'm sorry I missed this event on eroding 4th amendment rights. You betcha!

Hudson library history explained. I love this building and the way Hudson has this great crossroads in the middle, with the court and library looking at each other across Warren street.

Someone, long ago, had a lot of sense.

Sam Pratt on Hudson mayoral politics.

I don't know if this guy really couldn't find a phone for two years.

Way better than the old postcards on ebay. I kind of want this.

Best news aggregator in town.

Almost 2 million for the community college. I was never happy with the site of the college.

Government development should help towns and villages achieve viability and not the opposite.

It's really stupid for government to join developers in abandoning our old towns and villages, putting libraries and schools out in the middle of nowhere.

I hate that.

Supervisors to cut finding to Columbia Opportunities. Resolution online! Thanks Martin.

How do you see the other resolutions?

Chatham highway department selling equipment.

This event is today. Has our Congressman figured out who he wants to be politically? Here is against intervention in Libya, which I might agree with. Nuclear power, yes. NPR, yes.

I don't think he's been in politics that long. I hope he charts an independent path and tries to find a non-partisan way to represent this diverse district, which went for Obama in 2008.

Holcim's "declining influence" in the region. Cement factory closing.

Chamber music in Columbia County.

Need to track all the mobile home parks in the area?

I still haven't look at her blog! She is everywhere and I haven't bothered to go and look and add her blog to my roll.

Pictures of Copake found with tag. Nice pictures out there. Lot of good photographers in Copake.

Everyone took good pictures of the ice storm.

Notice is hereby given pursuant to Municipal Home Rule Law §20 that the Town Board of the Town of Greenport, Columbia County, will hold a public hearing for the purpose of receiving public comment concerning the Town’s adoption of local law amending Chapter 102, Signs and Billboards. The hearing will be held on April 6, 2011, at 6:20 p.m. at the Greenport Town Hall, Town Hall Drive, Town of Greenport, Columbia County, New York. A copy of the ordinance is available for inspection at the office of the Greenport Town Clerk.
By Order of the Town Board
Sharon Zempko
Town Clerk-Town of Greenport
Dated: March 17, 2011

Notice is hereby given pursuant to Municipal Home Rule Law §20 that the Town Board of the Town of Greenport, Columbia County, will hold a public hearing for the purpose of receiving public comment concerning the Town’s proposed adoption of local law amending Sections 110-1 and 110-11 of the Town Code entitled “Taxation”. The hearing will be held on April 6, 2011, at 6:20 p.m. at the Greenport Town Hall, Town Hall Drive, Town of Greenport, Columbia County, New York. A copy of the ordinance is available for inspection at the office of the Greenport Town Clerk.
By Order of the Town Board
Sharon Zempko
Town Clerk-Town of Greenport
Dated: March 17, 2011

782 Stottville
Verizon Wireless proposes to collocate on an existing water tower on property located at 6894 Route 9, the Town of Stockport, Columbia County, New York. Comments regarding the potential effects of the proposed facility on historic properties should be directed to: IVI Telecom Services, Inc., 55 West Red Oak Lane, White Plains, New York 10604.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

3-22-11: blogs spread the local news in comprehensible form, bankrupcy in Claverack? hope not, end of Claverack police.

Here is an article about that Farm forum I went to on Saturday. "Chittenden, a Stuyvesant Town Board member, said as many as 20 other agricultural businesses depend on him for inputs like raw milk, hay and feed, and even contract harvest or cropping services."

Why that quote? Well, I said something like that in a similar forum and I was hit with an increase in my assessment.

Speaking of assessment, another MUST READ (which I will read soon) by Sam Pratt on the Hudson deals.

I think this report deserves study. More people must do this! Go in there and look at the documents. Thank you Sam.

This (along with Sam's story) is why we need bloggers in the county.  Little Town Life makes sense of the story about the County Sherif moving to new digs in Hillsdale. Now I know why I care about that story: the Copake police will be redundant.

Chatham Village Police, Copake Police: most towns and villages do not have these forces, thank goodness. At some point, police was consolodated into a county wide force and the town forces went away, mostly. This was a good movement.

Why can't the same thing happen to the town assessor and the town judge and the town highway department? Obviously, these things need to go away too and the towns should be like community boards with very limited power.

That's what I see by reading Little Town Life. What I see by reading the Register Star article on the County Sherif opening in Hillsdale is .... not much.

And there there is this about 900 Columbia. Nice activism and news of said activism to boot.

Don't forget about my hearing next week. Come on over and see the dog show.

New roof on the community college. Taking bids.

I agree with this letter about the new Copake blog.

Claverack food market is bankrupt?

Walmart hours.

Accident on the Taconic parkway.

For more news go here.

Gibson against the intervention in Libya. I get the sense he searching for his voice and stance as a politician. I hope I get to speak to him tomorrow in Chatham. If I miss him there I suppose I can find him somewhere.

Puppies for sale in Philmont.

These meet ups in Copake seem to real.

Police and neighborhood look into crime. Valatie.

As I was writing this blog entry, Alan Chartock was writing about a sex scandal.

Monday, March 21, 2011

3-21-11: the real stories are unreported and the easy stuff that doesn't matter as much rises to the top

This is the best daily round up of news in the area. WGXC doesn't seem to have a feed I can put into my local blogs list on this page but if they did, it would be top of the list naturally through regular updating.

The Taghkanic board condemned the "jewed him down" comment. This story was on the first day I started blogging and I don't think it's the biggest story in even the little town of Taghkanic: the supervisor's justification on the night in question and her relationship to others in the board of supervisors is more important. Still, technically, this "jewed" comment is the story... although it is not a comprehensive review of the assessment data for the town which I suspect is worth someone's time. Maybe mine.

Hudson pride announcement.

Google says the Columbia County board of Realtors re-wrote this page.

Find a record and I'll post it.

More old postcards.

My superficial thought is that something good is brewing in terms of Hudson development but I may be wrong... still we need development downtown.

Grew up in Valatie. Passed away.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

3-11-20: farm conference, sunshine week shadows

I went to the Farm Forum at the Stuyvesant town hall yesterday. Very important to get the agriculture economy rolling fast enough to pick up steam and roll over the suburbanization/sprawl economy.

Nice turn out. Some good ideas and information. Some belly-aching and grandstanding. I might have been guilty of some of that too! Go to a meeting and shut up, that was my plan but it didn't pan out! I yapped away! And a nice little zinger in there for me from one of my opponents that on one else understood.

Anyone else write this event up yet? I have the audio I have to edit and post.

I'm still troubled by the Register Star's "Sunshine Week." I sent them some pretty dramatic FOILs that clearly show how important citizen action and sunshine laws are, direct savings for the taxpayers, and they passed on the story, didn't even get back to me.

Strange, for Sunshine Week.

Hudson school board elections! Get into it.

Frogs came out. That is, WAKE UP NIGHT. Here is a discussion of the past four years of frog activity and how it might be important and how you can help track this data.

Drug bust.

Young Republican dinner. Gearing up for Fall election in this county. Support small business: good idea. Just ask me!

Sam Pratt on the cement factory. I hear it's pretty bad over there by the plant in terms of disease... so probably a good thing.

The unending supply of old postcards on ebay.

Stuyvesant board denies Martin Roby the right to see the assessment data as described in the public notices. Let's see what happens with this. Emails to come to prove this.

Baby steps in the right direction of consolidation of redundant and substandard services.

Right now, I'm on the governor's side.

My hearing is in a week. Here is my appeal to come.

Big tree down. Trees down and be a VERY big deal.

Someone want to sign in and see what kind of signal trouble we have in Columbia County?

Chef job in Valatie.

No waste transfer in Ghent.

Israeli trio, classical music, coming to New Lebanon.

Why does the New York Bridge Authority need a Facebook page?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

3-19-11: brief Saturday post

I can't follow this about Hudson Mayor Scalera. Someone else understand it.

As a land owner, I think I have to check out this resource packed website on land management.

I am very sorry I missed this one.

New BnB in Stuyvesant.

Frogs came out two nights ago. That's wake up night... records for the past few years.

Pavement, rain garden and Claverack. Interesting way to do run off, cracks in the parking lot. Nice.

Got 3 million and need a horse ranch?

Bessie Head Brainer. I like these headstone pages.

Fast lane to dirt road again.

Mad data dump by zip.

Copake artists meetup!

Our Republican congressman voted against defunding NPR. At least he's not taking the party line on everything. Good start in independence.

I never listen to NPR myself, except as a podcast, like This American Life and Sound Lab. I don't bother with the news or talk now that I have all these podcasts to choose from.

I think the government should have some kind of agency that supports a more diverse array of news sources and networks.

Rallies in Union Square, NYC and New Lebanon only in this whole state?

Benefit for friends of Copake Falls. Margaret Roach.

Mayor of Chatham, craftsman.

Friday, March 18, 2011

3-18-11: grade the school, grade the supervisors, stop the waste

Good of the governor for insisting schools take a look at their budgets.

Here is a breakdown of New Lebanon Schools. Fascinating profile. I got to think there is tremendous waste: $24,000 per student per year? You could send all the kids to Berkshire County Day School. Does anyone argue that New Lebanon is doing better than Berkshire County Day?

Did I miss something?

Complete cheap and pointless shot by Copake Town Supervisor Reggie Crowley.

Removed from the email list or from office?

And speaking of Columbia County Supervisors not respecting the democratic process, let's review this situation again, with the secret sub-quorum meetings.

The following supervisors appear to be ethical:
Ed Cross, D-Hudson2
Pat Grattan, R-Kinderhook
William Hughes, D-Hudson4

Grattan turned in the embezzler bookkeeper.

We now know these three supervisors are clean. The other 14 have some explaining to do.

Sam Pratt has a run down of news on his blog which a different list than this one.

Opening on the assessment review board in Hudson.

This is a strange case from Greene County involving the Columbia County DA. Alcohol to minors and the majority leader?

On my other blog, I'm starting my efforts to get folks out for a hearing.

A job in Livingston.

Sheriff might get another substation.

Library in Valatie.

Practical joke story. Ends in hospital.

Copake Chronicle editor on digital media.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

3-17-11: news bias against news that is interesting?

A few days ago the Register Star ran this article about me in part.

I offered this comment:

Thank you for including the link to my blog... I would quibble with the report of the case but I understand that a situation that has developed this far along is hard to summarize quickly. And of course you might guess where I might quibble. Thank you for covering county business Francesca.

The Register Star declined to run that rather innocent comment.

Not the first time and I'm not the only person.... not that they can't have bias in their comments but to note that in fact they do and readers should know the comments are highly edited.

And this article intentionally avoids all the interesting stuff that happened at the meeting.

The underage drinking sting story is not over.

Hope the FBI is listening to some phone calls around here.

Nice new list of places to stay in Hudson.


Do you have some pictures of the ice storm too? Nice shot.

Marcia Anderson of Valatie New York is smart and writes well. Thank you. Email me Marcia! I would love to see that lawsuit from Nassau.

Story about the Roosevelts in New Lebanon and the teacher in New Lebanon who uncovered the interesting history.

Nuclear power wasn't working for our congressman so now he's playing with guns. Why doesn't he start with something not so controversial like ETHICS and CORRUPTION?

Shape up Kinderhook! Get those pounds off.

And then put them back on.

Nurse job with county.

This is an old book about the county.

Accident: Accident on NY 203 north area of Town of Chatham; Town of Kinderhook Line (Kinderhook) rht shldr of 1 lane blkd

This makes no sense but mentions the county DA.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

3-16-11: cement factory closes, village election results, supervisors hiding stuff

Tom Curran wins in Chatham village. Hurray! Email from Bob Balcom says so.

"Tom and Joanne won by over two thirds of the vote. I thought of calling you but thought it would be too late. The party at the Blue Plate lasted until midnight. Everyone was in high spirits."

Cement factory closes. Big story.

And what are these guys hiding? Is corruption that bad around here?

Stuyvesant appoints Kelly Williams to Roz's vacant seat on the Town Board. "Kelly said she wanted to be on the Board to keep Stuyvesant safe for the future of farming."

Roy Brown writes an op ed.

Francesca Olsen from the Register-Star and Victor Mendolia will be co-hosting our show @Issue on Wednesday morning at 11am on WGXC 90.7 fm, discussing the local Village elections then Mayor Rick Scalera and Council President Moore will be guests.

Some people just can't deal with multiple opinions. I like this blog.

Melissa Auf der Maur (aka MAdM): Thanks for choosing Hudson.

FB page on CC Tourism.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

3-15-11: village elections today! do elected officials have to lie?

Village elections! Read about it and vote! Today is the day.

You know I have to lead with a story about me. Not vanity, mind you, just human nature... and I think I need a blog to counter just this kind of thing.

My response to the article is longer than the article but I promise my little source criticism here will be more informative and entertaining too.

The story in the Register Star starts by saying that I "did not speak on topic." I think I did speak on the topic. I believe all county business should be tabled until we citizens can be sure that public officials operate in the public interest.

That is my theory: stop what you're doing and fix the hole in your roof before you go off and renovate your kitchen. That is what I said at the hearing

The hole in your roof argument is a damn good one liner to pass up for a newspaper article. And it explains my argument very succinctly.

There is no oversight of elected officials and the chair of the Ethics Board is guilty of punishing me for bringing her evidence of an ethics violation.

Next the article in the Register Star says, "asked for Stuyvesant supervisor Valerie Bertram (R) to resign as chair of the county ethics committee." I never asked her to resign. Roy Brown, chairman of the County Board of Supervisors, is the first person to suggest she resign in his letter to her in January. I called for a hearing to allow Valerie to have due process. I did not want to corner her and force her to resign without allowing her to have her chance to speak.

Valerie Bertram and her officials have repeatedly denied me due process and again. I would not try to do that to Ms. Bertram.

Next, the article says, " town officials have tried to shut him down through denying or redacting his Freedom of Information Law requests, revoking his permit and intimidating him through citations, visits to his home by the town’s building inspector, and more." That's a mouthful. And it's the tip of the iceberg for sure.

“This public hearing is for just this local law,” Supervisor Larry Andrews, R-Ghent, who presided over the hearing, said to Pflaum.

So that's who that guy was! Anyway, I was advancing an argument that you have to assure the public that supervisors are not allowed to run rough-shot over the public interest before you do anything else. You can disagree with me but it is relevant to the local law under consideration, whatever the law may be.

Now we get to the Valerie Bertram quote. "In previous interviews with the Register-Star, Bertram has said she and other officials haven’t retaliated against Pflaum or tried to shut his business down." Bullshit part one. Bullshit part two. They did try to shut me down.

Back to Valerie Bertram: "She says he violated zoning code because his dog-boarding business, Glencadia Dog Camp, is too noisy from barking dogs."

How would she know? Did she read this paper showing the charge is impossible? Did she talk to these 31 witnesses who report no problem including 100% of the near neighbors? Come to my open house? Come to my sound test?

Why bother to have a Zoning Board of Appeals if the supervisor can determine the matter without a hearing or reviewing the evidence... or ever visiting the site.

Back to Valerie Bertram: “This has to be resolved. He has a zoning violation, and it’s not being resolved because he won’t comply …"

I don't have a zoning violation. I live in a corrupt town. There has been no determination that I violated anything. The process by which I was charged is unconstitutional.

And by the way, I can't comply with a crazy law enforced in bizarre ways. I tried.

It can be resolved by Valerie Bertram stopping her harassment of me to try to silence me from exercising my constitutional rights. That will end the zoning farce. It will end the criminal charges farce. It won't help Ms. Bertram, who runs a corrupt government and must face the music.

Valerie Bertram is lying. Tal Rappleyea pocketed $10,000. Tal Rappleyea requested an illegal payment from me. Howard Gleason certified a fraudulent assessment, costing the tax payer $70,000 a year in lost revenue. Gerry Ennis harassed and stalked me.

But let's go back to Valerie Bertram in the Register Star: "certainly no one in my town has been doing anything malicious, illegal or unethical. It’s just that he doesn’t like that we’re making him go through this process.”

"Certaintly," she said. How can she be certain? Did she ask them to explain where the $10,000 went? Why there are four mistakes on the Boat Club Assessment and yet correcting those mistakes does not raise the assessment? Why Gerry Ennis walked around my house 25 times at 5:30 in the morning?

Did she ask them? The how the hell does she know they did nothing wrong?

Meanwhile, I'm before the planning board to answer false, politically motivated charge, then again in town court on April 6 to answer the same false charge, then the zoning board...

Where is Valerie Bertram's hearing? That's what I called for.

Columbia County is corrupt. If it werent' Valerie Bertram would not retain her chair of the Ethics Board without a hearing.

That's the story.

And I'm done for today.

Monday, March 14, 2011

3-14-11: quick entry

I've been getting hits about some kind of event in Ghent. It's the Big Up.

Auction: Skate Deck Art Show and Silent Auction to benefit construction of the Chatham Skate Park

Old Postcard of the day, New Lebanon. Old Kinderhook tobacco.

Children's book by local author. New. Columbia County residents Jennifer Berne and Keith Bendis are the author and illustrator, respectively, of "Calvin Can't Fly," a picture book.

Scam. Is Columbia County full of suckers?

60 Day report... by Congressman "Nuke" Gibson.

I haven't read this. I like this "It's frustrating to argue against opponents of open government who are paid with tax money."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

3-13-11: insurance fraud?, last day for last cafe in town, resolution in part, not full as promised by the county, flooding, lights on and off

Too early to say the Kinderhook creek won't flood?

Here are the resolutions from last county meeting. Looking for the full text versions.

Like the county emergency management FB page?

Wait, here's a scandal. More evidence Columbia County government is broken.

Power back on in Copake. That took a long time again. Taghkanic still in state of emergency.

Advice: when something as horrible as what is happening in Japan transpires do not watch video clips of people in grief or listen to radio/audio of real people. You will know immediately by the tone of voice what the person is experiencing without translation and you should avoid that recognition at all costs. At least, this is what I do.

You can follow the news in written form and look at still photos of buildings.

The emotions released in the viewer help no one. The emotions triggered by video and audio can be powerful but they are fundamentally wrong.

My opinion.

Terry Chabot is closing her doors at the Riverview Cafe in Stuyvesant.

"It's time," she said,"but I'm so-o-o-o going to miss everyone! My husband and I want to retire while we are still energetic enough to enjoy our retirement."

So, pop in toda. Last day.

Greenport re-evaluation. Hold onto your wallets: these suckers are usually tax increases... or maybe always. The assessments in Columbia County need some serious attention. A fat mess.

This proposal for Hudson looks gorgeous to me. Something gets built downtown not ugly and I'm positively disposed.

Kinderhook artist with a show at the Banana Factory?

What is the real story with Quintin Cross? Seems like the controversy is about his sentencing, not the underlying conviction.

Why did he go to jail for stealing $16,000?

Tal Rappleyea continues to act as attorney to so many towns and the county after he helped himself to $10,000 from the town of Stuyvesant in 2009. There is no paperwork or logical answer to how the money got form the town bank account to Tal's pocket.

Why is that okay?

Why is Valerie Bertram chair of the Ethics Board? Am I missing something: is this not unfair? Do only some politicians get charged, the opposition, so to speak? Just asking... and asking... and asking...


Oh, we have an election in Philmont village. I know nothing about this! Damn!

Old postcard of the day.

29 year old grandmother (in the UK, not local!).

Very exciting business delivering local produce locally. Fantastic website. Nice interview.

I'm in the public notices! Why? What did I do? Please come. It's politically motivated bull trying to intimidate me from exercising my constitutional rights... and it's not working.

Really, you want to see if Columbia County is corrupt or not? Come to my "hearing."

MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2011
7:00 P.M.
Notice is hereby given that a Public Hearing, required by law, will be held for the following purpose: To hear all interested parties and residents of the Town of Stuyvesant regarding review and possible modification of prior site plan approval for a Class 2 Home Occupation to operate Glencadia Dog Camp by William Pflaum, 3 Rybka Road, Stuyvesant Falls, NY. Shirley Narzynski Secretary to the Board

Saturday, March 12, 2011

3-12-11: melting, Congressman Gibson and his nuclear obsession I mean, Tom Curran for Mayor, ebay history, invoices again

Be sure to vote for Tom Curran for mayor of Chatham! No doubt. Election soon: abolish the village assessor as recommended in 2008. TOM CURRAN for mayor of Chatham Village,  vote March 15, I think.

Gibson, our representative in congress,  speaking about nuclear power again. Meanwhile, in Japan... Any revisions to his speech planned due to current events?

What suit? (see Matter of Granger Group v Town of Taghkanic, 77 A.D.3d 1137, 1141 [2010], lv denied NY3d [Feb. 22, 2011]). Oh, that's the motorcycle guy.

Here is the decision of the judge.

I would buy this coin. Mad cool thing. Hudson should make these again.

And I'm sorry I missed this sale from a law office. The butterflies and photos are terrific but the old legal documents are quite interesting too. A website of old legal documents would be nice... and maybe useful. Start collecting old documents?

Report from the Hudson Library board meeting. Full report by Theresa Parsons.

Valatie water problems.

How about a book on Shaker peg boards? New Lebanon 1966.

Basilica Industria kicks off in April.

Discovery of the grave of this painter. Check out the blog and visit the grave.

The guy in Texas who lives in the shack, as featured in the New York Times, made enough money by selling his house in Spencertown, NY, Columbia County, to live a pauper's existence off the grid in comfort.

Kindhook Creek river overflows.

Estate sale in Valatie this weekend.

Copake video. Nice.

These guys fixed my computer.

Sam twitter feed.

Arsonist in Copake?

Computer animated tour of Austerlitz complete with annoying robotic voice.

Ever want to know what Kinderhook means?

This has got to be really big story.

Painting of Camphill Village for sale on ebay.

Rehab officer job. Apply now.

Upcoming Wikicoco investigation: highway spending per road mile, between towns and comparison to other counties.

If Tal Rappleyea says he "fixed" a problem with inappropriate payments at planning board in Stuyvesant, why do FOIL submissions produce no evidence of any fix or discussion?

Original FOIL Thursday, February 3, 2011:
All documents (memos, minutes, resolution, bylaws, etc.) from the Planning Board relating to billing procedures for contractor invoices. Tal Rappleyea referred to changes in procedure at the December 30, 2010 Town Board meeting. Publicly available minutes do not seem to reflect Planning Board consideration of contractor billing (escrow, etc.).

Response from Ms. Naegeli Friday, March 11, 2011:
No such document exists as you have described in your original request. The requirements are discussed in the Zoning Law of the Town of Stuyvesant (on or about page 21). The aforementioned law may be found on the Town website.

My response on Friday, March 11, 2011:
Thank you for your clarification. The practices in place on June 2009 are still in place now with no revision. Mr. Rappleyea was apparently in error on December 30, 2010when he indicated that the issue of escrow accounts had been raised with the planning board and that no more payments would be sprung on applicants at the end of the process. No discussion of the error made at the June 2009 planning board meeting, when an inappropriate request for payment was made, has ever occurred among the members of the planning board. Thank you for clarifying that the statement indicating that such a process of correction of practices, the statement of December 30, 2010, was inaccurate.

"To seek 'causes' of poverty... is to enter an intellectual dead end because poverty has no causes. Only prosperity has causes."

Jane Jacobs, The Economy of Cities

Friday, March 11, 2011

3-11-11: thou dost protest too much?

Tonight (Thursday, 3-10) Stuyvesant Highway Superintendent Bernie Bernard Kowalski reported that Martin Roby accused him of stealing the town's tool box.

Martin did not accuse him of stealing the tool box but if he did accuse him of something in a private email, why did Bernie Kowalski bring it up at the town meeting and deny it? Remember, Nixon with "I'm not a crook." Martin actually never said anything about Bernie stealing the toolbox. He just wanted to know where the stuff that belongs to the town is... on the truck. Good answer. Did Bernie email Martin back and tell him that it was on the truck or wait for the town meeting and accuse Martin of accusing Bernie...

The Stuyvesant Town Meeting... as hard as the board members work to make it boring it never quite pans out as boring as intended.

Making news myself. 

What is up with this 1.2 million dollar deal with Columbia County? This seems like big news.

DWI in Ghent.

Fatal accident in Claverack. 

Hey, I know Jared! This VERY NICE KID who is great with his younger siblings met State Senator Saland re: 4H. Way to go Jared

NYSEG is pooped proping up electric lines in Copake. Wouldn't it be cheaper in the long run to put the electric lines under ground?

Breaking: Columbia County Sheriff finds that spam is mostly fraudulent

Have any shot guns you want to unload? I mean unload them, then unload them.

Reducing polling sites? I don't like it.

Taghkanic resident makes beautiful wine holders.

Google made 3D models of the Shaker Village in New Lebanon as it would have been 100 years ago.

Copake resident Margaret Roach lives in the county, as per profile, and has a blog about gardening that I want to check out.

Semi-useful largely bogus list of resources for Columbia County Supreme Court. 

Stealing cigarettes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

3-10-11: speaking truth to power

Columbia County Board of Supervisors March 8, 2011 from glencadia on Vimeo.

I told the county board of supervisors last night they have a hole in their roof and shouldn't be renovating their kitchen. You can ignore the hole for awhile but eventually your house will fall down. The house will fall that much faster and harder if it is also crooked.

Columbia County government: a crooked house. Valerie Bertram chair of the Ethic Board: the hole in the roof.

Martin Roby is responsible for the county supervisors agreeing to post the full text of the resolutions online before voting on them. Way to go Martin. But where is the URL to the resolutions?

Sam Pratt has a must read post on Hudson politics. Now you get it.

Hillsdale library book talk. Nice site Hillsdale.

Greenway is pushing trails in Columbia County too.

Captain Robinson's grave in Copake. Was he a pirate? Who was he? I can't read the inscription.

Magazine profile of Copake resident.

Labor trouble at Taconic Hills school district. Started with a personal thing between the union rep and a board member? I'm suspicious of claims that an issue is "just personal." The personal may follow the real issue, which then get cloudy with personal acrimony. I don't call that a personal conflict. And as to the rumor that the principle who lives north of Albany calls snow days when it snows in Albany but isn't so bad here, I would normally think that is likely to be a myth: who would do that? Why would he have the power to call a snow day on his own? Why wouldn't he check the ongoing weather at the relevant point, that is the school? So I doubt that story. But if it's true, it's worse than it appears.

Chamber of Commerce members largely optimistic. I think I filled out the survey and said the government was corrupt but business was up a bit over last year.

Flasher alert! This guy is the one dropping his pants.

State commissioner dies of heart attack at 60.

Old postcard of the day: New Lebanon.

Compare Forks Washington to Copake New York? Click that link! This is actually kind of interesting, how expensive Copake (and the rest of this County is) BEFORE you add in our OUTRAGEOUSLY high taxes. If this comparison included real estate taxes...

I bet Forks, Washington maintains their roads at 57% of the cost of maintaining our roads. And that guy making $50,000 in the comparison is going to pay for that to.

TIDES Hudson: High, 5:53 p.m./Low, 11:54 p.m.
SUNRISE/SUNSET 6:17 a.m./6:16 p.m.
MOONRISE/MOONSET 8:02 a.m./10:56 p.m.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

3-9-11: jurisdiction, the movie, which pretty much sums up a year and county for me

Jurisdiction: How a Fallen Tree Almost Brought on the Apocalypse from glencadia on Vimeo.

Rabbi Daniel Fried of Congregation Anshe Emeth in Greenport comment on the "jewed them down" controversy.  Funny the story appears in the Register Star 29 days after circulating to the Daily News in New York, etc...

500 signatures in favor of 900 Columbia. Army corp. of engineers to study pollution in Hudson's south bay.

Tri-athalon anyone?

New site for Hudson Salvation Army.

Someone has been stealing copper! Use PVC people!

Book signing at the Claverack library this weekend. Check out the movies at the library: we had a ball two weeks ago at The Silver Skate.

Budget cuts in agriculture? In our county?

No to option for old school in Philmont.

Is this really the New Lebanon forum talking about whether Mohammed and Moses are warrior prophets?

More old postcards, this time Copake.

Taxi of the future factory here in our area?

I'm baised but I'm just sure Chatham MA is better run.

A loss in Chatham. Dr. Ira Marks.
On line condolences may be sent at


Notice is hereby given that assessment inventory and valuation data is available for examination and review. This data is the information that will be used to establish the assessment of each parcel, which will appear on the Tentative Assessment Roll for the Stuyvesant which will be filed on or before May 1, 2011. The information may be reviewed by appointment in the Assessor’s office at 5 Sunset Drive on 3/14/11 between the hours of 6pm and 8pm, and on 3/21/11 between the hours of 6pm and 8pm. An appointment may be made to review the assessment information by telephoning the Assessor’s office at 758-6248 Ext. 21
Dated 4th day of March, 2011
Howard Gleason Jr.

Notice is hereby given that assessment inventory and valuation data is available for review. This data in the information that will be used to establish the assessment of each parcel, which will appear on the Tentative Assessment Roll for the Town of Kinderhook which will be filed on or before May 1, 2011. The information may be reviewed by appointment in the Assessor’s Office at 4 Church Street in Niverville, Town of Kinderhook, on March 8 between the hours of 9 AM to 5 PM and on March 10 between the hours on 9 AM and 5 PM. An appointment may be made to review the assessment information by telephoning the Assessor’s office at 518 784 2501. Dated the 1st day of March, 2011 Thomas G Griffen, Acting Assessor

(Pursuant to Real
Property Tax Law
section 501)
Notice is hereby given that assessment inventory and valuation data is available for examination and review. This data is the information that will be used to establish the assessment of each parcel, which will appear on the Tentative Assessment Roll for the TOWN OF TAGHKANIC which will be filed on or before May 1, 2011. The information may be reviewed by appointment in the Assessor’s office at 909 ST. RT. 82 on MARCH 9,2011 between the hours of 10 AM and 12 NOON, and on MARCH 16, 2011 between the hours of 10 AM and 12 NOON. An appointment may be made to review the assessment information by telephoning the Assessor’s office at 518-851-7501. Dated 1 day of March, 2011 ART GRIFFITH, NANCY GRIFFITH, TOM HERISHKO ASSESSOR

Notice is hereby given that assessment inventory and valuation data is available for examination and review. This data is the information that will be used to establish the assessment of each parcel, which will appear on the Tentative Assessment Roll for the Town of Ancram which will be filed on or before May 1, 2011. The information may be reviewed by appointment in the Assessor’s office at Ancram Town Hall 1416 Cty Rte 7 Ancram N.Y. 12502 on March 21, 2011 between the hours of 9:00 A.M. and 12:00 noon, and on March 26, 2011 between the hours of 1:00 P.M. and 4:00 P.M. An appointment may be made to review the assessment information by telephoning the Assessor’s office at 329-6512 Ext. 4.
Dated 3 day of March, 2011.
Kenneth P. Leggett
Sole Assessor

Notice is hereby given that assessment inventory and valuation data is available for examination and review. This data is the information that will be used to establish the assessment of each parcel, which will appear on the Tentative Assessment Roll for the Town of Livingston which will be filed on or before May 1, 2011. The information may be reviewed by appointment in the Assessor’s office at Livingston Town Hall Rte 19 Livingston on March 21, 2011 between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., and on March 26, 2011 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon. An appointment may be made to review the assessment information by telephoning the Assessor’s office at 518-851-2776 Ext. 313.
Dated: 3 day of March, 2011.
Kenneth P. Leggett
Sole Assessor

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

3-8-11: that does it, rest of the week I make some news if no one post some I can re-cycle

Ice on the trees was incredible on the Taconic as the sunset. I didn't have my video camera then but I did what I could around the farm.

March 7 at Glencadia Dog Camp from glencadia on Vimeo.

Lot of folks without power of course.

About 900 Columbia Street: battle to save this historic building takes a few steps forward with an article in Rural Intelligence. Sign the petition. I did and donated 25 bucks too.

Who will run for office in Copake? Nice write up. Glad to see this blog out there.

Get in line and run! Anyone 1) taking on a sitting supervisor other than maybe one or two out of 17 who is 2) not crooked gets an automatic contribution from me regardless of party. The Columbia County Board of Supervisors: no accountability. Chaos. Malfeasance. Schemes.

Incumbents running again.

Not only did Sam Pratt do a tremendous job leading the Stop the Plant fight, he's done a nice job writing up the experience in five parts to date. Definitely a bullet we dodged.

Local heroes.

Congressman Gibson against unions in federal contracting.

Volcano in Hawaii.

Look, the first few days of this blog there was plenty of local news I could basically pilfer off the net but the last two days have been slow so I have decided to make some news. All this week, starting tomorrow, enough originally reporting and grandstanding to fill a blog: county meetings, town meetings... FOIL responses. Enough pontificating and grazing! More reporting!

Is former, disgraced congressman Sweeney trying to make a come back?

Unacceptable conditions at youth detention facility, according to whistleblower. Thank the stars for whistleblowers.

If this turns into a nuclear power plant I'll eat hat, which may be filled with my hair as it all falls out, but I won't be able to chew since my teeth will fall out too.

Err, well, I get the idea. Wrong sign. Damn.

What the hell is this? Sounds major. Can someone pass me the skinny on it?

Notice is hereby given that a public hearing pursuant to Section 859-a(2) of the General Municipal Law of the State of New York (the "Act") and Section 147(f) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "Code") will be held by Columbia County Industrial Development Agency (the "Issuer") on the 23rd day of March, 2011, at 9:30 o=clock a.m., local time, at the Greenport Town Hall located in the Town of Greenport, Columbia County, New York, in connection with the following matters:
Greenport Crossings, LLC (the "Applicant") has requested that the Issuer consider undertaking a project (the "Project=) consisting of (A) 

Goodbye to the Skate Factory? I still can't get over that one.

Untitled from glencadia on Vimeo.

Monday, March 7, 2011

3-7-11: boat versus dog, ice storm again

Sam Pratt has a map showing power outages.

I'm uploading a video of March snow now. See it here.

There is a Kinderhook in Illinois.

Scholarships from the Hudson Pride Foundation.

A visit to the Shakers in New Lebanon.

If a state judge says you violated zoning, maybe you did.

Where to stay in Hudson in 1960. Back when the Crandell-type theater was the norm everywhere: a movie theater on Warren street.

Chatham food coop dinner.

The Hook Boat Club: 31 acres, 15+ residences, 10+ other structures, marina, pavilion, Hudson River views, grant for rail crossing, surrounded by state land, private, Assessment: $358,600.00, Tax burden: $7,093.00

Will the dog man, your humble blogger: 14 acres, 1 residence, 1 barn, 1 shed, 1 garage, no waterfront, no state land, semi-private, Assessment: $465,000.00Tax burden: $9,198.00

Fair or not fair? Please discuss. More than 10 times as many building, twice as much land, better land, better privacy, better protection from development, Hudson river access, etc. and yet pays about 25% less in tax.

I'm definitely going to this trails conference.

This local list of farm markets is far from complete.

This is the official sex offenders look up site.

Great concert coming to town.

Video on Copake.

Indoor market in Hudson. Should check it out.

You can a t-shirt for a team which doesn't exist here.

Tweet from the diner.

Chicks arrived in the mail, mixed breed assortment, all 50 survived so far.

"Expansion of Water Resources for the Village of Philmont, New York.  A hydrogeologic evaluation for the expansion of groundwater resources for the Village of Philmont, Columbia County, New York was performed by Continental Placer. The purpose of the investigation was to evaluate the potential for locating an additional groundwater supply source for the Village, which is not under the direct influence of surface water impacts. The study incorporated the review of existing data, evaluation of the site, analysis of previous pumping test data, installation of an observation well, and performing and evaluating an aquifer pumping test for the Village of Philmont."

And what did they find out?

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that on the 9th day of March, 2011 at 7:25 P.M. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the Columbia County Office Building, 401 State Street, Hudson, New York, the Columbia County Board of Supervisors shall hold a Public Hearing, pursuant to Municipal Home Rule Law Ch. 36-a, Art. II, § 20(5), on the enactment of Local Law No. 4 of 2011, establishing the annual salaries of Elections Commissioners in Columbia County at an amount of $20,000. The proposed Local Law is subject to referendum on petition pursuant to § 24(2)(h) of the Municipal Home Rule Law and § 400(3) of the County Law.
This Notice is given pursuant to a directive of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors.
Dated: February 28, 2011 Hudson, New York

Volume buyer of manufactured homes: Summerset Landing

Dean's List at College of St. Rose: Columbia County students, congrats. 
AUSTERLITZ Brianna Diskin CANAAN Ashley Lillie GHENT Brooke Kneller, Carla McGrath HUDSON Katherine Gardner, Lauren Maisenbacher, Breanne Pfeiffer, Michelle Wahl NEW LEBANON Rosa McKeon STUYVESANT Nicole Palermo VALATIE April Burtis, Karolyn Eberhardt