Saturday, April 30, 2011

5-1-11: new lebanon spanked by comptroller's office last week; clermont spanked last year

Five reports or releases on the Comptroller’s website release in the past five years reveal irregularities, with financial problems in Clermont, Greenpoint, Kinderhook, Hudson, New Lebanon and the Germantown school district. (Town of New Lebanon 2010M-239; Town of Clermont 2010M-55, Audit Finds $19,000 in Questionable Charges in The City of Hudson, July 9, 2007; Germantown Follow Up, January 29, 2010; DiNapoli Investigation Leads to Embezzlement Guilty Plea, March 01, 2011)

How did this HUGE local story not get in the paper? This report is hot: New Lebanon is not looking good. This is 5 days old! Here is the meat:
Internal controls over wire transfers were not appropriately designed and operating effectively to safeguard Town assets. The Board did not establish written policies or procedures for wire transfers. Consequently, online access to the Town’s bank accounts is not effectively limited. For example, the Supervisor, bookkeeper, and accountant (who is not a Town employee) all have online access to the Town’s bank accounts via a shared user name and password. In addition, the Town does not require confirmations from the bank prior to wire transfers being completed. Furthermore, all 41 of the wire transfers we tested, totaling $949,498, lacked documentation identifying the individual who initiated the transfer, and five of those, totaling $62,195, lacked documentation as to the purpose of the transfer. Due to these control weaknesses, the Board cannot be sure who initiates wire transfers, or if they are appropriate.
Internal controls over purchasing were not adequate. As a result, Town officials made purchases of highway materials totaling $84,570 without properly soliciting or awarding bids, and made procurements of goods and services, such as for the rental of equipment, totaling $36,356 without using requests for proposals or solicting written quotes, as required. The failure to comply with legal requirements and Town policies increases the risk that the Town could overspend for goods and services.
Internal controls over IT are not appropriately designed. The Board has not established policies or procedures for the back up of Town and Court data and remote access to the Town’s computers, or adopted a formal disaster recovery plan. Additionally, backup copies of the Town’s financial data are not stored in a remote location or tested to ensure that the data can be restored. In addition, the Court’s case management application has not been backed up, or tested, since January 2009. As a result, there is an increased risk of loss of important data along with a serious interruption to Town operations, such as not being able to process vendor claims or operate the Justice Court.

Clermont giving away the store?

The Board has not adopted a policy nor have Town officials developed procedures to govern the level of unreserved, unappropriated fund balance to be maintained and/or to determine whether the amount maintained is reasonable. In recent years, the Board has generally adopted highway fund budgets that under-estimated revenues and over-estimated expenditures, which generally resulted in annual increases to the amount of total fund balance. Actual sales tax revenues were also higher than estimates in the general fund over this time period, contributing to that fund’s excessive fund balance. Further, Town budgets have not always included sufficient appropriated fund balance to help offset highway fund property taxes in ensuing years’ budgets. These budgeting practices have resulted in excessive general fund and highway fund balances. At fiscal year end December 31, 2009, the general fund unreserved, unappropriated fund balance was reported at $322,688, 102 percent of the ensuing year’s total budgetary appropriations of $316,395. The highway fund unreserved, unappropriated fund balance was $175,279, 64 percent of the ensuing year’s total budgetary appropriations of $274,215. Collectively, these factors have contributed to the highway fund levying more property taxes than necessary to fund operations. In addition, Town officials did not properly establish a capital reserve fund, totaling $97,305, in the highway fund.
The Town’s procurement policy does not address the procurement of professional services. As a result of this lack of policy direction, the Town spent about $100,750 for professional services without seeking competition and did not enter into written agreements with these service providers. In addition, the Town, in conjunction with two neighboring towns, acquired a used paving machine for $28,000 without complying with competitive bidding requirements. As a result, Town officials may have paid more than necessary to procure these professional services and the paver. Additionally, the Town paid a contractor $6,000 prior to services being rendered without the legal authority to do so. This and two additional payments to the contractor, totaling $18,000, did not follow proper claim voucher processing procedures. Making payments prior to services being rendered or goods being delivered increases the risk that a vendor could collect payment and then not deliver the agreed upon services. Furthermore, the practice of making payments outside of the normal claim voucher process increases the risk of unauthorized or inappropriate payments being made and not detected in a timely manner.
During our audit period, Town officials donated approximately $24,000 in Town funds to outside service organizations. We believe that $10,000 of the donations were not appropriate because they were for events considered social in nature, which did not further legally authorized Town purposes. While some of these monies were for allowable youth programs promoting a Town purpose, the Town did not have a written contract with the organization providing the service, as required by law.

4-30-11: those wacky guys

Those wacky supervisors.

Those wacky guys in Albany.

This guy.

Rudy at Bascilica Industria.

Gifford's Grave.

Disband the Copake police department?

More hotels!

Friday, April 29, 2011

4-29-11: lightning!

Thank you for explaining this! I linked it first, will study up later.

Here is how much each town got from the state.

Here is the population by town.

So, do they correlate?

State school aide document. Not so easy to use: not searchable.

This CT case in just horrible.

How about a beer.

Assessment rolls for Kinderhook.



Thursday, April 28, 2011

4-28-11: no to ugly, no to useless, no to wrong- the rest we can talk about

Ugly: the proposed TV Gnome Welcome to Hudson Bizarro Farce? (maybe I'm wrong and this is brilliant)
Useless: the purchase of Ockawamick? (Maybe I'm missing something.)
Wrong: birthers and barkers. (Definitely not wrong: you can't legislate the surface area of a sphere.)

Three examples of government failure in the County in one blog entry... let's get started.

I like this photo club and I like this picture.

I thought the county was walking away from the old school they bought in Philmont an now they want to buy the old Walmart? So why are they taking bids on the Ockawamick Project? Or is this link old?

How much did the county spend on this? How is the process of buying this old Walmart different from the process that apparently lead to bad decisions in terms of buying Ockawamick?

Feeding the birds is good for birds, except maybe in the Spring.

Not Morris Associates. No!!!!!! This is so bad!!!! Stop them!!!!

Who likes this crazy idea?

Now some very good news.

Local angle: artist lives in Hudson.

Who has the guts to read this? I bet it's worse than that Welcome to Hudson monstrosity.

I mean, this is tasteful. What happened?

The New York Times has a partisan Democratic bias. Proof here.

I think consumers should have more power versus corporations. Like that cell phone contract is not really a contract between roughly equal parties like the contract to sell or buy a house. The consumer should be able to use the corporation in the consumer's local small claims court. Speaking of helping the consumer...

O Baby consignment sale.

Over at I have been uploading a lot of documents. I have not tried to promote that site yet but I will, find someone to UPLOAD stuff and CHANGE TAGS and write things. I want other people to jump in and TAKE IT OVER.

To make it more useful and interesting: 1) I added a lot of new stuff under the "local history" tag, like this 1869 flier for the strawberry festival and this picture of men harvesting ice around 1890; 2) I found a lot of good stuff at the US Census and added census as a tag.

Stuff like this:

And I found this great document about swimming in the Hudson.

Martin Roby's been busy.

On my other blog I wrote about birthers and barkers.

The US Chamber of Commerce is NOT AFFILIATED with the local branch!

Here is our congressman (skip to about 4 minutes into the video!)... Planned Parenthood provides abortions but federal money does not pay for those operations, as Gibson claims? Is that the scoop?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

4-27-11: county resolutions released?

Controversy: Martin Roby versus Valerie Bertram, supervisors of Stuyvesant full version. I talk about it on my other blog.

Short version at the end of this post.

I did not have this blog on my list yet this is not to be missed. No feed?

Hudson politics.

Hudson school budget. What a great blog.

Need a sheriff's patch?

Mostly cloudy, with a high near 75.

County Supervisor's meeting tonight according to wcgx. Is that right? No, next meeting in May. I'm confused. But either way, do they vote on the resolutions first, then they post them online? No new resolutions this month? I think the meeting is actually in a few weeks but when were they going to be posted? Just curious

After five years Martin Roby gets access to the Stuyvesant assessment RPS list.

WGXC links:

Artist Melissa Auf de Maur interview.




Last typewriter factory in the world closes.

Most Republicans in Mississippi wish the South had won the Civil War. Why didn't Lincoln let them go? I wish we could merge with Canada now and have a negotiated new constitutional/federal framework that would be more inline with international norms as a consequence ... and if not that, I'll take wings and fly to the moon.

Flea markets.

Clean up Stuyvesant.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

4-26-11: internet service in the news, noise issue

Internet access in the news at Sam Pratt and ccScoop.

Internet at my house, for the record, is bad. Definitely one more thing Columbia County does badly, like just about everything these governments touch.

What happened to Beer World?

Education jargon: what is it for? To sound smart? To get you to shut up? Our local education blog extraordinaire discusses.

If prisoners can't vote, they shouldn't count for re-districting. It reminds me of the US Constitution and this 3/5th a person for slaves... to be honest.

Southern Columbia / Northern Dutchess list of delis and restaurants with their websites linked. Useful.

Article about agricultural districts from the 1970s in CC.

This Copake blog seems pretty active. No feed.

Great deal! Get into a bunch of museums and support the Kinderhook Library.

Gerri Mooore, local artist. Nice write up.

Summer house for rent.

Here's the butcher who gets his meat from Kinderhook Farm in Ghent.

Last night I was at the planning board again for more talking. Here is the audio.

On my other blog I get into it a bit more.

Do check out the other blog. More interesting today! I save the Sunshine on the Hudson blog for longer pieces, this one for lists of links. Thanks.

Monday, April 25, 2011

4-25-11: obviously I am skeptical of everything these governments around here do... everything... wrong until proven right

At my other blog I drop a water proof camera in a bucket of water and watch a bunch of dogs drink from below.

And if you wonder why I'm skeptical of these people, here is my third blog with a detailed list of video and audio files proving the obvious, which is necessary in Columbia County because the governments, at least some of them, are run by people who will intentionally twist the truth, or try to.

The battle in Chatham Village is between smart and stupid. I know that sounds harsh but Chatham Village does not need an assessor since the Town of Chatham already assesses the properties in the village, or can.

Just get rid of the office. Simple. Duplication costs money.

Sorry if I sound harsh. Why is the old guard defending the indefensible?

And all those cops: come on. There is no crime for them to fight and the county and state cops are quite able to take care of all the problems that arise. Ridiculous.

Stop throwing tax money down the drain.

Thistle Milk $1.65m investment. Nice.

Board of Supervisors always ready to fight for the ability to tax to provide services and buy real estate. Which they then sell at a loss. Because they had a plan. Didn't work out. Now another plan. Which is good! This time. And more money so we can do it. Now we'll get it right. I think. Or maybe lose some millions. But we have a good plan to consolidate everything somewhere. We don't know where. Maybe in a Walmart.

Nichols runs for judge.

Austerlitz and the hard to plow road.

Bascilica Industria.

As long as this applies to everyone, Gibson is right about this one.

Eric Galloway owns property in Hudson.

Columbia County Young Democrats
Human Rights Campaign
invite you to
a free screening of the documentary film
followed by a
Panel Discussion on Marriage Equality

Saturday, May 7
7:00pm - 10:30pm

at Basilica Hudson
110 South Front Street Hudson, NY

Sunday, April 24, 2011

4-24-11: chatham village and valatie village and the struggle to stop the wasteful spending

Happy Easter everyone. Short blog. Have to look for bunny.

We have a 101 year old man here in Stuyvesant Falls who still drives and goes walks and look pretty damn good. Amazing guy. Oldest man in the world: not yet.

Jobs! Wed.

You missed the Copake bike swap? Cool stuff to see.

Good easter story: Copake egg farm in the New York Times.

Tom, the new mayor of Chatham village, has an uphill fight to save money for the taxpayers. Keep at it Tom! Go!

And villages and towns don't need courts. Probably don't need police force.

End of Happy Clown?

This blog has no feed and no contact info or I would go to it more often.

Record search.

Highway department monthly report: Copake. Justifying.

Got an email from ccScoop about cutltural choices -- a nice list -- but the only link in the email was to the donate page and when I go to the home page I don't see the email list anywhere obvious.

So I can't link to the list in the email.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

4-23-11: New Lebanon newsletter, historic district issue from another side

Photo of Chatham. Nice one.

Gossips blog writes in on the historic district for Robinson street and makes a terrific case that the street should be a historic district.

Historic district does not mean you have to request permission to paint your house green or whatever. Original article in RS was wrong and Jamie Larson corrected it. Nice all around.

Poll at Little Town Life.

New edition of the official New Lebanon newsletter.

Do any other towns do this? Does the go out in the mail to residents? Can opponents or people with other views get in on this mailing? The first page seems political... but I like the idea of a newsletter as long as it should not be sent by the political side ... not paid for by taxpayers to mail.

Supervisor defends the quasi-meetings:

Following the election last November, many Columbia County supervisors frustrated with the resulting political control and its directives over us in the county, gathered as a bi-partisan group without the influence of outside political forces, to discuss the pressing issues we have to deal with and solve as a county board. Several Democrats, Republicans and NOPs, have been meeting monthly face to face for discussions, and to learn the details of those issues we would not thoroughly understand through our short caucuses held before the Board of Supervisors' monthly meeting. It has been refreshing and enlightening for me, as that time allows the necessary details in a truly informative answer to a question. Too often there is an inadequate amount of time before the whole body of supervisors convenes, to make an informed decision on a resolution that could affect the entire county. In light of the criticisms we have faced for gath- ering without informing anyone, it is important to keep in mind that it began informally, no votes are taken, no resolu- tions made, and there is no quorum.

And what issues did you discuss?

Copake Rescue Squad Facebook.

Can't find a psychiatrist?

A senior group thanks our congressman for voting to abolish medicare.

On the Stuyvesant Forum the issues of the depot and if the town did or did not request grant money for the site got hot and whether or not assessment information is open and available to the public came up.

"I don't find the "public terminal" all that much handier than the hardcopy rolls. One still has to get to Town Hall(if open) and/or make an appointment. It would be better to have access via the web and the library. It could be put up in a format that couldn't be tampered with. People would use it a lot then, at their convenience. ...or make a disc available for purchase, if cost is an issue. I think Martin has offered to do the IT work for free, on various occasions. The public terminal is not being used because it is not truly accessible."

Copake skate park:

Friday, April 22, 2011

4-22-11: RS policy, electric car, historic district, dead rabbit

Mr. Rodgers does not live in the neighborhood? He's only pretending to live in Mr. Rodger's neighborhood? Can you say, "scandal"? I knew you could.

Tongue is in cheek! Here is a serious story: Oil discovered in Hudson.

Good Friday. Cuban Horror Movie.

Partly sunny, with a high near 55. Calm wind becoming south between 5 and 8 mph.

Historic neighborhood story.

Well written, good story.

History is an asset. But without a lot of money, a historic district won't necessarily look good enough to pay for itself.

Did you have to register to read the story?

Register Star change in policy?

I think there is definitely still a roll that a paper like the RS fills that the blogs do not, that the Columbia Paper is not... and I try to get as much news in one place without checking the RS first to see what you can learn before you go to the RS... anyway, we'll see.

Carrie Haddad 20 years.

Here is a story about alderman Cross.

I'm not accusing anyone of anything but I do notice that the two times that political actions lead to prosecution in Columbia County since I moved here the accused individuals were not of the same party as the DA. Not that there can't be good reasons for this discrepancy...

Speaking of ethics, which I do, this article I think speaks to what goes on in local government as well.

And if you change browsers you get 20 more New York Times articles but maybe I should just subscribe... I read the NYTimes more than I thought.

From Stockport to Albany in a Chevy Volt.

Stop and charge your battery.

Resolutions online.

Here's a nice house for 2 million dollars.

Farms in Copake. Listing.

I can't believe this story never went anywhere! They brought a rabbit into a classroom to show children about farming, then the farmer slit his throat right in front of the children.

Three children is a rational economic choice. Great. I have to say we never made any of these calculations and I entirely disagree with this perspective on what human life is for, utterly and completely, totally and fundamentally, purely and deeply, thoroughly and bone-deep, vastly and profoundly, now and in the past, up and down, left and right, north and south... but it's a good article.

What are taxes for... I can't follow this. Too abstract. Taxes are, in Columbia County, to pay for duplication of highway department who do not actually maintain the roads that well given what we pay and to have town justice departments that cost a lot and do not give out better but worse justice and assessors who use their offices to reward and punish the people they like and don't like and not provide accurate and fair assessments for a stupid tax anyway, since it is subjective, punishes farmers, retirees, poor communities with no commercial development, and the middle class: real estate taxes...

Property taxes: really stupid. Should be replaced.
Town highway department: useless.
Town justice department: useless.
Town assessor: worse than useless.
Individual transportation departments for all these schools: probably not efficient.

If I have a blog, you might guess I want to mouth off and grandstand a bit.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

4-20-11: more guys shooting, bear, 6 years ago today

This is another guy shooting, not the neighbor yesterday.

High 67F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Isolated thunderstorms this evening, then skies turning partly cloudy after midnight. Low near 45F. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

An old bike purchases in Copake. Nice.

Running for supervisor. Stockport. Hey, elections aren't until November?

April 19 now and 6 years ago.

Hey: Hudson waterfront has not be re-zoned as ordered? What up?

Skate Factory for rent/sale. I think this business can work.

Song and dance.

Bare bones Claverack FB.

Wild pig alert!


German - English translation.

History: first settlers of ghent. More: genology. And this guy died in 1909.

Taconic State Parkway news.

Mug shots.

Need a DJ?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

4-19-11: francesca olsen leaving RS, gun fire to harass neighbors,

Breaking: The Columbia County Board of Supervisors now has all the resolutions online. I went through them and found something already: this.

Who is Richard H. A. Washburn? Is this the guy?

I need to know this!

I campaigned for mediation in neighbor to neighbor disputes. We seem to have quite a few of those to mediate in Columbia County. Here is one that ends in gun fire.

Hey, the county did put the resolutions online!

Public safety, Valerie Bertram.

Here is the short list. Please look through this carefully. What are they up to?

Good luck to Francesca Olsen from Register Star. Young, smart, ambitious... wonder where she's going?

Great document showing the stats about injuries on the road in Columbia County.

No shortage of warehouses.

Grant to the county Red Cross.

Diner on FB.

I'm all for limiting the power of the President to make war. Good point, congressman Gibson.

Hold on to your wallet. Don't trust them to get it right.

Okay, okay Earth Day. First kid, all cloth diapers. Number two, 90% cloth until number three showed up while number 2 was still into number 2. Then we went bad. Next kid, Earth Day, I promise to do cloth again.

Press Release. Stuyvesant.

Kittens again.

Total speculation:

Cats, unlike foxes, do not make or steal elaborate dens. Therefore in nature (evolutionary state) the "homes" cats find (crook of tree, hole between rocks, etc.) are far from perfect defensively. It is likely to be better to pick up your babies and move to a new spot every few days than to stay put and let the smell of your occupation build and advertise your position. So, cats, unlike foxes, have a strong urge to pick up their babies and move to a new spot every few days. Even though my cat is in the bathroom and we change the towel every day or so and give her a cat litter and change it and she has food and water and the door is securely closed (no preditors) the ancient calculation that moving is better still holds in her mind. This is why she seems desperate to slip out of the bathroom and put her kittens in worse places, like under the sofa.

Or dogs:

Monday, April 18, 2011

4-18-11: signs, fire, prision video, vision of the possible future

Convicted of child porn in Valatie.

Here is Hudson prison. Dog story. Go inside.


Bad fire in Livingston.

I worry about fire when I see these.

I mock it like a serb on my other site.

Big up is coming up.

Great post about what an old abandoned factory can be. We have a lot of these to renovate.

New Lebanon town hall was shot down. Now what?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

4-17-11: back when I didn't know, a year ago

Remember the old bike event in Copake?

Some kind of vote on cable service in Chatham?

Thompson: What about Medicare vouchers?
Gibson: No - not at all. I don't support that.


Sam Pratt on New York Magazine and other tourism-related issues. Thanks for the link!

Gossips of Rivertown on re-doing Front Street.

Bear attack!

Just the other day I had a casual conversation in Chatham on the street with someone who should know but who I forgot to ask if I could quote and he went over chapter and verse of all the mistakes that went into the re-make of Main Street in Chatham.

Do you realize what a huge missed opportunity that re-build was? What a colossal failure on the part of the previous mayor? The stunning lack of community input to insist that that project, which could have been funded to higher levels at the time, lead to a plan to assure the viability of downtown Chatham, a goal that was not emphasized and a vision and hope that is not guaranteed? Did you notice the number of vacancies on the street lately?


1) Additional funding was left on the table.
2) Bike path disappeared from design.
3) No consideration of extending Main Street and offering developers incentives to build big downtown to create a more comprehensive shopping experience (park once, shop big and small) right in the historic downtown to compete with sprawl that is picking up steam on route 66?

So when I hear about "rebuilding" front street I wonder if there is more to it... or maybe there are no additional opportunities being lost in Hudson.

Anyway, I was horrified by what happened right before my eyes in Chatham when I didn't even know what could have been going on.

I didn't know a lot a year ago and I think I was happier not paying attention. Talk about naive:

Dog control officer 
Posted by: "William Pflaum" 
Mon Mar 8, 2010 10:37 am (PST)

Apparently, the Town of Stuyvesant has hired a new dog control
officer, Wesley Powell. I wish him the best and good luck. If anyone
knows Mr. Powell, I am happy to help and offer my dog boarding
facility and staff (and myself) if any loose dog problem should arise.
My number is 518-XXX-XXXX and my email is here above. Let him know. He
can call, come by, say hello. I'm right here in Stuyvesant Falls.

I volunteered to be the dog control officer because I wanted to help
the town out. I pay $4500 a year in business insurance to assure that
any damage done by any dogs under my care is covered, since I run a
dog business. I have commercial insurance on my dog van, on my
property and staff. If a dog were to cause a traffic accident or bite
someone, the town might potentially be on the hook for millions. But
paying the kind of insurance premiums I pay seems excessive for the
occasional dog. I thought since I would just have to add rider to my
policy, I might pitch in and help.

Also, when I moved in I wanted to join the fire department but I have
to work every Monday night, so I can't make any meetings. The fire
department folks do a tremendous amount of work for no pay and deserve
a lot of credit. Since I couldn't pitch in that capacity, I thought I
could at least be the dog control officer.

I only learned that my offer to work for free and to use my commercial
insurance to protect the town had not been accepted through rumors and
word of mouth. Although I sent emails, tried to leave phone messages
and sent a letter through the USPS, I never got a letter back from the
town, so I don't have much information to go on.

I don't know Wesley Powell and I honestly wish him the best. I
honestly and sincerely am happy to help out if I can. Give me a call,
and I'll pitch in. Thanks.


Will Pflaum
owner Glencadia Dog Camp


Saturday, April 16, 2011

4-16-11: kittens

Hell, it's Saturday. Drop the kitten video.

Tax hikes in just about every district every damn year. And no, I'm not impressed with the value of the education they deliver. Not at all. I'm homeschooling my kids for pennies compared to what the district spends. I have no doubt that school as we know it is mostly a waste of money and time. Schools no more lead to education than barns lead to milk.

In this, I would vote for restoring as it was as a farm in 1850. Pretty cool if they could do it.

The bridge to Stuyvesant Falls needs paint. I'll go take some pictures and upload them. But in the meantime, this is what happens when you don't take cares of bridges.

Girls Basketball: New Lebanon v Loudenville... by LocalNews-GrabNetworks

Friday, April 15, 2011

4-15-11: columbia county tourism boost in some media

Summer's coming and the NYC legacy media is writing up this county. That's good. New York Magazine. And the New York Times.

Anyone up for a Triathlon?

Gibson likes the Republican budget?

Stuyvesant town meeting last night. You know, the town I'm suing in federal court. I didn't go to the meeting this time. I was a little under the weather as were my kids, plus I had to work.


This is true. They are continually squashed as dismissed, which may be good.

High 61F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph. Tonight will have some clouds. Low 37F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph.

Hope it's not cloudy tonight: if you have a telescope you might be able to get another chance for peak at the rings of Saturn.

Municipal mergers and consolidation of services are two different issues which get mixed a little in this otherwise very interesting article. You don't have to eliminate the local town for example. You just take away justice, highway, and assessment. What's left? Not much, sort a community board that should have a bare bones budget.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

4-14-11: dying language, fire, dead body?, health concerns of fossil fuels vesus nuclear energy, polarization of congress

Last two people who speak Ayapaneco won't talk to each other. Bad blood.

Excellent local news site.

Commercial, Kinderhook bank.

My son loves this store.

Here is a well written newspaper article about public officials dealing with a real problem in a fairly intelligent way.  Needless to say, none of this occurred in Columbia County.

New Lebanon: New York is not great. Library okay, though.

About the speedway in New Lebanon.

Dead body in Copake?

Fire in Hudson.

County meeting last night. I was sick and couldn't make it but I will have some audio tomorrow.

Planning news from Hudson.

Nice article about school lunch/breakfast.

Here's a good rejection letter:
…it is with no inconsiderable degree of reluctance that I decline the offer of any Paper from you. I think, however, you will under reconsideration of the subject be of the opinion that I have no other alternative. The subjects you propose for a series of Mathematical and Metaphysical Essays are so very profound, that there is perhaps not a single subscriber to our Journal who could follow them.
Sir David Brewster editor of The Edinburgh Journal of Science to Charles Babbage on July 3, 1821. Noted in James Gleick’s, The Information.

Something I hadn't thought of:
During the round-the-clock coverage of the nuclear drama, the specter of Chernobyl has been raised repeatedly. It is worth noting that the worst nuclear disaster in history directly caused only 31 fatalities. The World Health Organization estimates that 4,000 deaths could be linked to the disaster over 70 years, whereas the OECD projects a range of 9,000 to 33,000 deaths during this period. That is substantial. But also consider that, according to the OECD, every year nearly 1 million people die from fine-particle outdoor air pollution. This massive death toll provokes no discernible fear in the developed world, and receives virtually no news coverage.
Must read, as they say: "Legislators Never Bowl Alone: Big Money, Mass Media, and the Polarization of Congress"

Farmer? Another good document, maybe.

Paper of the ethics of voting.

Route 7a.

Donate to African orphans.

There is this story about dogs in jail.

Video of the high speed chase with the priest?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

4-13-11: suicide, budget cuts, photos, oil!

Oil discovered in Hudson area!

High 53F. Winds ENE at 10 to 20 mph. Rainfall around a half an inch. There will be showers this evening becoming less numerous overnight

This is one of our roads.  If that's the top story, you better expect a short entry today.

Anyway, this is an interesting picture.

Good for Valatie! Sounds like someone has a pulse.

Spike in suicide.

Ferry Road issue is not closed (nor is the road yet). I think there are easy solutions to this crossing.

Another cool picture. Barge on the Hudson.

If you can't afford football, you can't afford football.

A judge was given an award.

Columbia County Bounty has a FB page.

A federal traffic ticket?

Fewer voting districts in Hudson school elections. We're broke and shrinking?

Animal tracks at the Kinderhook library.

Full Board of Supervisors meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. at 401 State St. in Hudson.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

4-12-11: power lines, cheats, signs, nuts, photos and lawsuit

Vermont official pocketed money for 25 years. I'm glad that we don't have to worry about that kind of thing here in Columbia County given our active and effective County Ethics Board.

And we live in New York State, so we don't have to worry about the fact that many of our legislators also practice law at the same time. So then the State is kept clean and the counties and towns and cities are clean and there can't possibly be a problem like we see in the cesspool of corruption known as Vermont.

Do you know about this? Huge deal. Could go right through my property! Didn't even know!


On my other blog I wrote about the dog signs slowly making their way to a road near you.

High 59F. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%.

Nut roasting in Valatie. "The prize for the Capital Region's best-smelling workplace goes to Tierra Farm, an organic nut-roasting company in Valatie."

Crime blotter.

Columbia County Photo Club.

Congressman Gibson on the deal to avert a government shut down.

Hudson school budget. And more here. Those are two great sources.

Lawsuit on a big deal in Greenport.

Monday, April 11, 2011

4-11-11: farms subdividing (bad), philmont coop market (good), game with flikr photos (name the spot)

Raw numbers on the Hudson Schools. Unmuffled.

High 72 today?

Farms are subdividing and we're turning suburban.

Philmont could use this market. Good luck. Go.

Mass MOCA party.

Hudson should have a FILM FESTIVAL. News story that isn't.

ID the spot: New Caanan?

Nice photo -- too much text detail to play the game.

Art talk this Saturday. Art Historian Dore Ashton & Sculptor William Tucker in Conversation
Sat. Apr 16, 2011 from 3:00pm - 5:00pm

Poll on the Furgary Boat Club done.

New letters in the Copake Chronicle.

Hard to decipher twittering.

A solitary bee. Anyone know anything about it?

Remember this?

ID the spot: Arch bridge? Ghent?

A human being did not write this.

Soil and Water conservation has a Facebook page. The county fair has a FB page. Ronnybrook has a FB page.

Anyone got a boat?

I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this but I know a lot of people read this and maybe could help me out. My husband is going to start kidney dialysis soon and he would like to get a small fishing boat with a trailer and a small motor, so that he could take his grandson out before it all begins. We are willing to pay, but nothing to expensive because we don't know how long he will be getting any use out of it. If anyone has any infomation on where we could find something please email me or call me at 518-(email glencadia at
Thank you for your help,
Wonder where this is?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

4-10-11: no old postcards today

Sculpture and house photo.

Disability assistance? Hudson.

This house is foreclosed? Columbia County Courthouse, Hudson, NY on Apr. 29, 2011 at 11:30 a.m.

Music in the Kinderhook church. Looks good.

Manufacturer in Ghent.

Apparently some kind of scheme with bank-owned houses.

Need a job? Government job in Hudson.

No ethernet.

Claverack Coop Insurance write up.

STAR savings by town. I don't really get this chart. Looks interesting, though.

Good that Copake has an Ethics Board. Columbia County doesn't really have one. Howard Blue writes:

Transparency of government in Copake is in danger... In Copake, dissatisfied with one or a number of the board's findings, Town Supervisor Reggie Crowley would like to abolish the town's Ethics Board.
More on Copake in the comments from the Little Town Life video.

Poll: If the election for Copake Town Supervisor was held today, who would you vote for?

Historical research on Gossips blog.

Burglary charge.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

4-9-11: can the county be trusted with a move this big? didn't they screw this up last time they tried to figure it out?

18% of Columbia County bridges are deficient.

Conference about Hudson and other things. Seems big.

I vote for pumpkins.

I heard this announcement, sitting right there, and it didn't seem like a big deal to me, except that I am sure it is a bad idea. I just can't believe this makes sense and the guys running the county have a track record of screwing up that does not instill confidence. Let's hold off on this.

I wrote up Chamber of Commerce breakfast yesterday.

Dumping cement in the river.

Al Hudson and the Soul Partners.

Yeah, Hudson seems to have a lot of these and these.

New page about Roeliff Jansen Park. Hike next week.

Flikr photo of the day: Copake Falls.

Columbia County is the only county public social services department with no link on this state page for some reason.

Copake budget online. Good going Copake! Put them all online.

Our congressman not making much of a difference in the looming government shut down.

Poetry in Kinderhook library.

Kinderhook, N.Y. On Monday, April 18 at 2:00, The Kinderhook Memorial Library will be having a special Afternoon Discoveries program all about Animal Tracks.

Dangerous incident perhaps.

Yard sale in Ghent.

Armenian Donelian Trio will perform at April 9 at The Abode, 5 Abode Rd, New Lebanon, NY at 7:30pm

Timelines and Indeterminate Landscapes by painter and sculptor Jim Holl opens on Saturday, April 16. Gallery Location: 2633 Rt.23 Hillsdale, NY ( In the B&G Wine Building) Contact: Liane Nouri at:

Columbia County FB.

Dog video for the day.

Friday, April 8, 2011

4-8-11: Chamber of Commerce Breakfast

I was at this event, which threw my blogging strategy right off.

My interview with Peter Lopez, this guy. That's his official website.


We agreed that local ethics enforcement should be included in ethics reform and that financial records should be online for public inspection.

And Stephen Saland and Roy Brown spoke. I have that audio for what its worth. Saland talked about how dire the budget is and all that, but of course he's been there in Albany the whole time. Roy Brown talked about buying the old Walmart. I don't think it sounds good to me. Apparently this is big news. I thought it was well known or I heard about the plan before but I could be wrong.

And the District Attorney was there. If the DA is having breakfast with folks, is she likely to also prosecute them if necessary? Theoretically, in terms of what controls there are on local ethics, there are really almost none. The DA is one tiny possible control. Somehow, her office should be more insulated from politics. Not her fault: structural problem.

The Chamber of Commerce, the local one, by the way, is a great organization. Not criticizing the Chamber.

I met these guys, from Shireworks, the guys behind the BIG UP festival. Good project, nice guys. If you do a blog search on this blog, you'll see me trying to figure what this is.

In general the county officials and employees and elected officials and hangers on seemed to out number actual business owners.

Here are some of the folks who didn't come, since their tags were sitting on the table:

I saw a lot of elected officials shaking hands, making speeches and stuff. Not a lot of time for asking questions. I paid $18 but I only had a lukewarm cup of coffee and a lousy danish.

I call it a good morning.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

4-7-11: cow ride, north dock, martin roby

No court. Adjourned. No dog barking charge last night. Yesterday I did my dialogue on this ridiculous charge, criminal dog barking...

Mom and Dad said no horse. So... German news.

Good picture from Art Omi. Hard to take a bad one over there.

There are a lot of these not so friendly signs in Hudson...

Court ruling about North Dock in Hudson that I don't understand. I think the residents wanted to claim ownership. I've always wondered what the deal was with this site, as I've seen it from the river when I'm out canoeing and it looks like something out of... a movie set in Louisiana in 1938.

The Hudson school situation is simply bleak. And the blog report from Unmuffled is very clear and well written.

Of course if you want a really great picture, try 600px. Columbia County photographer Ford Bailey bikes to Albany a lot.

Copake blog has a poll and comment thread grows.

Anti-Abortion activist/priest high speed chase story continues.

Environmentalist speaks at Bard about disrupting an oil and gas auction. Tim DeChristopher.

Judges don't like Cuomo's austerity budget.

As a U.S. citizen who has just returned from a decade in Europe, I can't report much good news about the relative standing of the American dream. My experience is that—despite their own economic crises—Europeans have far less reason to worry about job security, health care, or unpronounceable ingredients in their food. Their public transportation is better, their roads smoother. Their working hours, vacation, and parental leave are staggeringly more family-friendly. We're falling behind. Debts and wars, income inequality, a curdling political culture, and Charlie Sheen have knocked us off our national stride.

Martin Roby, the guy behind this site, I hear folks say "I think his language is too blunt" or "I wish he wouldn't be so confrontational" or "he should do X" or "I wish he were Y." I would note this: how many people do you know have convictions and act of them steadily, effectively and consistently? How many people are willing to sacrifice their time for their beliefs like Martin? What if there is someone or something that need confronting, when is it okay to confront it or them? He may mistakes. I know I make mistakes. But he honestly believes in good government and is willing to stick his neck out for it. That trait is far more remarkable than it should be. Thanks Martin.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

4-6-11: court tonight, ethics in the news (lack there of), events coming up in the county you might not know about

Tonight I will be in court in Stuyvesant before Judge Bruno making motions regarding the false, impossible charge lodged against me based on a law that has never been enforced before in the history of the town (or even known) three days after bringing evidence of wronging doing of town employees to the attention of the town supervisor and chair of the county ethics board, Valerie Bertram. I could go to jail for up to 15 days for the same impossible, false charge that lead to the zoning and planning harassment you may have heard about.

Want to come? 6:30 PM Stuyvesant Town Hall.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to the make the play at Hawthorne Valley in which our friend and neighbor is performing.

Anti-abortion activist in jail. Wow.

Will Hudson jail be open for long?

Skate park moves forward. Ghent.

Big Up event in Ghent moves forward.

Do not miss this bike swap! Cool blog about it. Copake.

This is good. All these towns and villages do not need courts. I'll be in one of these useless courts tonight arguing against a politically motivated hit, so I should know.

Obituary:  Roy Edward "Bud" Cunningham Jr., 83.

Hudson mayor talks about what to do with empty or closed buildings... which we will have more of.

I was in Rhinebeck the other day and in the city on Monday. Everywhere I go I get a better internet connection than my Fairpoint DSL at home. We need better internet around here.

Sam Pratt finds signs of spring in the friendly city.

And then Sam Pratt puts some nails in the coffin of the idea of merging Greenport and Hudson.

Here is a blog by local radio personality about ethics at the state level. If the state can't get an effective ethics policy, I hope my federal suit will force some changes at the local level. I will argue that New York State has no system for enforcement of ethics at the local level now, assuming the judge allows the argument.

See you tomorrow if I'm not locked up.

"Whatcha in for?"

"Dog barking."

"You barked like a dog? You mean, you were high on crack, butt naked and standing in Times Square barking like a dog."

"No, I mean my dog barked."

"Your dog barked but they put you in jail? What did they do to the dog?"

"Nothing. The dog's home now sitting on the porch chewing a stick."

"They didn't make him spend a night in the pound or nothing?"


"Well, dogs are supposed to bark. I mean if he said Meow, then maybe they would lock him up for that."

"What you in for?"

"I grew a plant in my garden that if you smoke it, you feel nice."

"That's crazy! They locked you up for growing a plant!"

"Yeah, and I didn't even plant it. It just grew!"

"Crazy place. Police state."

"Well, I'll tell you what. If I were you, the first thing I would do when I got out of here would be to take that dog straight to Michael Vick. Here you go, Michael, here's your new dog."

"Naw, the dog didn't do anything but bark."

"Still, you took the fall for it. Better teach that dog to moo."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

4-5-11: move over for cops giving tickets, crowd sourcing, bad news at Hudson school budget meeting

Motorist New Lebanon arrested for not changing lanes to make room for trooper to write someone else a ticket.

Here is the new president of Haiti.

Borders is out of business. The internet promises a pee-free future.

Hudson schools in big trouble.

Reservoir in Philmont. Nice photo.

Art fair comes to Hudson.

Hudson camera sign. Friendly city.

Prisoners to train to dogs.

Karl Rove has a good idea. I would like something like what he proposes for this County, a local wikipedia. Wikicoco is the local wikipedia. Write anything you want and wait and see if anyone adds/corrects/changes anything. Go ahead. Upload documents, write comments, create pages. Opinion, business, politics, whatever you want.

The Farm Stay at Kinderhook farm looks really nice.

Photo from Copake.

Sky Farm in Copake.

Hudson kid play.

Monday, April 4, 2011

4-4-11: saturn, trails, photos, comments

Last night would have been the best night of the year to see Saturn (we want to see the rings with our telescope). But it was too cloudy. We've got time to see it all month though, until the moon messes it up. The moons of Jupiter were great and we're hoping the rings of Saturn don't slip by us this month.

Back and forth in Copake.

"Oh no. Controversies. Hurt feelings. I better stay out of politics."

Another stranger comments argument on my other blog. Check the comments on this one. I'll respond if she writes in again.

Scenic Hudson has a nice brochure up.

This cool, modern house just keeps popping up.

Sweet potatoes and flowers, says our local photographer and gardener Starr Ockenga.

He escaped from prison yesterday. Today he's back.

I registered for this and forgot to go! Damn!

Don't miss Hudson school meeting like I did the trails.

If you can't get a good picture at Art Omi, you can't take a good picture... Cool shot.

How about a Hudson foreclosure? Pick something up cheap and renovate it?

Need someone to take care of your second home?

Why is Facebook becoming Wikipedia? Taconic State Park gets a nice write up.

We don't need a nuclear power plant. No kidding.

Obituary: A Van Buren from Kinderhook. RIP.

A letter from Martin Roby to Ron Knott I cut and pasted from the Stuyvesant Yahoo Forum:

Mr. Deputy Supervisor Ron Knott,
I am confused by your press release confirming that you will be running for Stuyvesant Supervisor. It makes no mention of the Federal Lawsuit.
The town is currently facing a major issue here; As a tax payer I would like this issue to be resolved as quickly as possible. As tax payers we have already spent tens of thousands of dollars on this issue. It seems that "common sense" would dictate that you at least address your view on how this issue might be handled.
A lot of people are pointing to our Zoning Enforcement Officer Gerald Ennis as the original source of the issue; seeing as how he revoked the permit given to Mr. Pflaum , by The Stuyvesant Planing Board without having the authority to do so. While their are now dozens of side issues; this seems to be the root of the issue. What is your opinion on this ?
You are not only on the Town Board; but also the Deputy Supervisor; I don't understand why you could not have worked on any issue you felt needed more attention. You have the ability to make motions at the Town Meetings; if you felt that something was wrong you certainly had the ability to work to correct that issue.
The last question I would like to ask you about is the indirect employment issue that was talked about, at the last planing board meeting by Mr. Shanahan. Mr. Shanahan claims that Mr. Pflaum has violated the terms of his permit because of a claim once made on an Internet group (the stuyvesantforum) that he provides employment to people indirectly. As a small business owner in Stuyvesant and a man offering to bring common sense to the town of Stuyvesant I am wondering if you could address this issue. I think the planing boardis so wrong it was painful to listen to the twisted logic they attempt to use.
For example Mr. Pflaum paid me $50 to serve papers; does that mean I work for him and his permit can be revoked? I then spent that $50 on Hay for my sheep at The Gibson's farm on County route 21, are they employees of Mr. Pflaum at that point? When I sell meat to The Honest Weight Food Co Op do they become employees of Mr. Pflaum? I don't think so , at least two members of the planing board seem to think this, but I would like to hear your opinion on the matter.
If you need to review the meeting you can listen to it online here:
Best Regards.
Martin Roby

Sunday, April 3, 2011

4-3-11: goat, pizza, runaway prisoner, Ron Knott

Prisoner escaped in Hudson! True?

I saw Spottiswoode & His Enemies at Club Helsinki last night. Nice show.

New Lebanon Business Association has a great newsletter but I don't see a URL link. So you SHOULD SIGN UP FOR THE MAILING LIST.

Gillibrand has a lot of money.

IT at Columbia County. The county posted a newspaper article on it's website as its official statement?

What to do with hazardous waste in Columbia County.

Our congressman talks about his appearance in Chatham on his Facebook site.

More controversy in Copake.

More inside baseball: Ron Knott, of Stuyvesant, sent a lengthy press release announcing he's running for Supervisor. Here is the story.

Why not ask Common Ground services to come to Stuyvesant and make a presentation on mediation services for neighbor to neighbor disputes?

It's a no brainer. If Ron could simply invite them to speak and get a majority on the board to vote in favor, there might be some reason for him to be supervisor other than to do whatever, um, whatever it is, well, he wants to do.

What could be wrong with hearing a presentation on mediation services? Is that controversial? Why is Ron Knott against it when we sorely need it?

No one ever said why this proposal never took off.

I'd like to see that press release in full by the way. Hey, Ron, I'm a blogger. Send it over.

Track and field in Chatham.

Why did Fresco's in New Lebanon close? Seems like the owner had to defend his liquor license and ran out of money and the building was controlled a the bankrupt court. The business was fine. I don't like stories like that.

I got a goat!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

4-2-11: underage drinking sting continues, piano, jurisdiction, bikes, summer rental season, Pflaum v. Stuyvesant

Veterans remember. CBS News video.

The sting continues! What is the underage drinking law for? Traffic safety. Remember that connection.

Nice shoes.

Old Bike swap is coming. Get out your old bikes!

News on WGXC. Nice show. Ask Francesca how that got in her inbox: I didn't send it! I was told not to. If she would upload it somewhere...

Spottiswood is playing at Club Helsinki tonight. "You won't regret it. Very original music, band of 7 and very english! We'll try to get there by 8.30 pm. Hope there's enough space." Friend of mine. 

Summer rental

Gossips has this cool post from 1886.


Pflaum v. Town of Stuyvesant et al: Were it not necessary. “For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Don't get weary. Before August 2010 (too close to perfect) versus now (stressful): an unwanted obligation has appeared before me.

Classical at Helsinki schedule.

This guy in the Bronx hunts in Columbia County.

Recorded April 1, 2011:

Ollie playing Piano from glencadia on Vimeo.

Recorded a few weeks ago:

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