Stuyvesant, New York

Columbia County Comeback Committee was formed and held its first regular meeting online today to begin to prepare for the time when the county can reopen.

The state considers Columbia County part of the Capital District (although we’re really defined as Hudson Valley) and as such, we have met only five of seven criteria. The two remaining criteria are hospitalizations and positive cases.

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Stuyvesant, New York
Richard Moody


ALBANY — Lawmakers representing Columbia County urged the state Department of State to hold public forums on a proposed Amtrak fence along tracks from Rhinebeck to Stuyvesant.

The proposed project raised concerns for several town supervisors in the county.

Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-106, and state Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-43, recently sent letters to the Department of State asking that public forums be held on the project.

The proposal calls for installation or replacement of approximately 8,600 feet of fencing in various locations between Milepost 75 and 141 and near Milepost 163.96 before the end of the public comment period May 1.

Amtrak proposes installing fencing in Germantown, Stockport and Stuyvesant in Columbia County, and Rhinebeck and Tivoli in Dutchess County.

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Stuyvesant, New York

Free Columbia Painting 4 day intensive in February: Using Artistic Process to “See” One Another

Note Time Change!

Tuesday February 21- Friday February 24
84 Main Street, Philmont NY

People working together often have challenges to see the viewpoint of the other person. This problem can lead to disagreements and disharmony in the workplace, social situations, or school. Working artistically with painting and drawing exercises designed to help participants see a viewpoint other than their own can help develop the capacity not only to see the other but to use these techniques in one’s own work.
Exercises will include making a three part painting (triptych) where one person creates the first panel in their own style and color, then moving on to their neighbor’s place to create the second panel using their neighbor’s style and color and so on for the third panel. The triptychs produced can be grouped by artist or by style. No experience is necessary, the approach is both forgiving and engaging.

Contact Laura Summer for information and to register.
518 672 7302
Suggested donation $0-400

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Stuyvesant, New York


While you’re in New Lebanon, pick up lunch… in the field and forest. You can learn how in this June 11 program, hosted by Wyomanock Center for Sustainable Living.

Join noted ecologist David Hunt, who has been foraging for wild edibles as a way of life for decades, at the 75 acre Wyomanock Farm and preserve. In this 2:30pm program, visitors will have the opportunity to forage and learn to identify varied habitats under his guidance. David’s background in botany (Ph.D) and his concentrations in natural communities and deep ecology will combine with his intuition to interpret the group’s field observations.

“Foraging walk at Wyomanock Center” is one of BEHOLD! New Lebanon’s six programs for Saturday, June 11. This session is one of a three-part foraging series: each session will focus on collecting seasonal edibles. Other programs on June 11 include a nature walk; reptile rescuing; historic printing as applied today; home restoration; and sausage making.

BEHOLD! New Lebanon, the first museum of contemporary rural American life, includes more than 100 different programs over the course of the summer. Rural Guides greet visitors at their farms, studios and workspaces, where they practice cooking, farming, cattle raising, automobile racing and mechanics, wood-working, foraging and much more. These presenters are not costumed actors or docents recalling old-world skills; they are the real townspeople of today, whose lives and work challenge the quaint myths about country life.

Unlike other museums, BEHOLD! New Lebanon is not housed in a building. Programs take place in situ: the museum is the town itself, “where it’s happening.”

Tour shuttle buses depart from the new Behold! Station and Store, which serves as a gateway and launch spot for museum tours and other activities, in a picturesque Victorian house located at 438 State Rte. 20. The shuttle generally boards a half-hour before the tour starts, check web site or box office for further information.

Advance ticket purchase is recommended for all programs, which are priced at $18 per program, with discounts for multiple programs, and families; ages 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. More information, including full descriptions of all programs and the online box office can be found at http://www.beholdnewlebanon.org, 518-720-7265, or by emailing info@beholdnewlebanon.org.

Uli Rose photo

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Stuyvesant, New York
Virginia Martin


Animalkind cares for kittens, no matter how many there are, and there are a lot! Help Animalkind do this by buying a beautiful t-shirt, or perhaps a tank top. The goal is 50 shirts sold, with 32 sold so far, and there are only seven days left to meet the goal.

Buy a great-looking shirt for that special someone. And keep Hudson fierce!

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Stuyvesant, New York
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Stuyvesant, New York
Columbia County Habitat for Humanity

Columbia County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Brenda Adams announced today that the Hudson River Bank & Trust (HRBT) Foundation has awarded Habitat a 3-year grant totaling $30,000. Habitat will receive $10,000 a year from the Foundation for the next three years.
“The HRBT Foundation has been one of Habitat’s staunchest supporters,” Adams said, “and we’re honored to receive this renewed commitment to building economically sustainable, affordable housing for working families in Columbia County.”
HRBT Foundation Director Carl Florio said, “Columbia County Habitat’s innovative Columbia Passive Townhouses are adding a new dimension of affordability through their significant energy-saving design and operation. We’re pleased to make a multi-year grant to advance Habitat’s efforts to develop a cost-effective, volunteer-friendly template for Passive House construction.”
The Hudson River Bank & Trust Company Foundation is a private foundation that concentrates its grant making on education, youth development, arts and culture, historic preservation, health care, human services and community development.
Sara McWilliams, President of Columbia County Habitat, noted, “In a time of reduced funding resources and increased needs among non-profit organizations, HRBT’s long-term investment in Habitat is especially gratifying.”

Habitat is currently completing the construction of two new Passive Townhouses at 210-212 Columbia Street in Hudson, the second pair of Habitat homes designed by BarlisWedlick Architects, LLC, incorporating Passive House design and construction standards. The use of high performance technology and materials produces dramatic energy savings over the life of the home, slashing heating use and costs by 90% and overall energy consumption by 70%. The new homes are the second of three case studies Columbia County Habitat has undertaken to develop a cost-effective, volunteer-friendly building template for high energy performance affordable housing.

The new Passive Townhouses are the 17th and 18th homes built by Habitat volunteers and partner families. Since its founding in 1993, Columbia County Habitat has returned $2 million of developed property to county and local tax rolls while purchasing $1.5 million in local goods and services. Habitat operates the ReStore, which sells donated new and gently-used furniture, appliances, building materials and more, to encourage recycling and reuse as well as generate funds to support construction. This year, the ReStore is expected to contribute $50,000 to Habitat building programs.

Organizations, businesses, schools, community groups and individuals who would like to volunteer with Columbia County Habitat on the construction site or at the ReStore can visit http://www.columbiacountyhabitat.org or contact Sara and Barry McWilliams, Volunteer Coordinators, at volunteer@columbiacountyhabitat.org.

Photo caption: Pictured in the kitchen of one of Columbia County Habitat’s two new Passive Townhouses on Columbia Street in Hudson are, l-r, Habitat President Sara McWilliams, Habitat Executive Director Brenda Adams and HRBT Foundation Board members Marilyn Herrington and Holly Rappleyea. Photo credit: Joanne Stiles

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Stuyvesant, New York
Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program


Join us for the launch of Conrad Vispo’s “The Nature of the Place: A History of Living with the Land in Columbia County,” this Saturday from 4 to 6 pm at the Hawthorne Valley Creek House.

Based on a decade of work by the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program,
“The Nature of the Place” is an exciting invitation to explore the rich heritage and nature of Columbia County, and our place within it. It describes forest, field, soil and waters of our county both from the perspective of the diversity and beauty of their inherent nature and also in terms of the way the human head and hand has, for better or worse, left its mark. In the words of John Barnes (editor and publisher of the book): “Written out of love and appreciation both for the land and its human residents – with a contagious empathy that reveals itself not least through its subtle humor – this book is full of original observations as well as historical and factual information. Though based on past history and present condition, it also seeks to uncover the future potential of Columbia County, and it calls upon its readers not only to appreciate its past and enjoy it in the present, but also to become active participants in forming its future.”

“Everyone who cares about Columbia County, who appreciates its exceptionally scenic and ecologically rich landscape, should read this book. Conrad Vispo’s vivid descriptions of the county’s forests, fields, soils and waters provide fascinating insights into the mysteries of the natural world, mysteries only deepened by his reflections on the uses to which the land has been put in successive eras of settlement, farming and industry and the ways in which this exercise of human dominion has affected the land. The book calls on us to ponder the interactions between the human and the natural world and the enormous, not always obvious consequences of decisions we make about how we occupy the land.” — Peter Paden, Executive Director, Columbia Land Conservancy

“An ambitious and remarkable book, learned, sharp, and fascinating, that describes the present nature of Columbia County and traces it to its historical and biological roots. It is one of the few books to describe how and why the Hudson Valley landscape has changed over time, and the only one that I know that relates contemporary biodiversity to agricultural history. In doing so – by presenting, if you will, forest and field as collaborative rather than competing landscapes – it gives us a deepened picture of where diverse landscapes really come from and, hence, what we will need to do to conserve them.” —- Jerry Jenkins, Ecologist, Wildlife Conservation Society Adirondack Program, Co-author of “The Adirondack Atlas”

“Blending natural and human history in an insightful interpretation of the Hudson Valley landscape The Nature of the Place will captivate anyone interested in the history, ecology, and conservation of the eastern U.S.” —- David Foster, Director of the Harvard Forest, author of “Thoreau’s Country: Journey through a Transformed Landscape”

Drop by the Creekhouse, 1075 Harlemville Road, Ghent, anytime between 4 and 6 on Saturday to meet some of the folks involved in putting the book together, have some refreshments, and chat about the County landscape. Conrad will sign books and the Farmscape Ecology Program will receive 50% of the proceeds from books sold at the Creekhouse for program support.

Other opportunities to purchase your copy and get it signed are during the monthly Open House on December 4th, 6-8pm (1075 Harlemville Rd., Ghent), at the Hawthorne Valley Yuletide Fair (December 6th, 10am-2pm) and at the Chatham Bookstore (December 11, 5-7pm). Conrad welcomes your feedback and conversation.

Books are always available at the Creekhouse, and through Adonis Press (www.adonispress.org) and local bookstores. For more information, contact FEP at the above link or 518-672-7994.

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