News from Town Hall

Gypsy moth caterpillars are everywhere! In our yards, along roadways and on walks in the woods, we suddenly see light where there should be shade at this time of year. To say the least, it is an eerie feeling and reminds us once again of the force of nature.

Lifting our spirits are a rich array of wonderful events and activities – concerts sponsored by the Town of Hillsdale and the Roe Jan Community Library, a Car Show, a Flea Market this weekend in Hamlet Park, the Farmers Market held each Saturday morning, the recent opening of a sculpture garden in North Hillsdale, a leisurely ride along the Harlem Valley Rail Trail or a more strenuous biking experience among the hills of Hillsdale – that make our town such a special place. We are grateful that so many Hillsdale neighbors, friends and guests from elsewhere are participating in and supporting these events. And in addition to attending these and other venues, we hope that our guests round out their Hillsdale experience by enjoying the unique local shops and restaurants that combine to make for a perfect visit.

Just as the leaves will regenerate on the trees, our town is alive with interesting and creative activities, all in readiness for a celebratory July 4th weekend that will mark a return to our more familiar way of life.

I wish you and your loved ones a joyous and safe holiday weekend.


Chris Kersten
Town Supervisor
July Town Board Meeting
Now that the pandemic driven state of emergency in New York State has ended, the town must again comply with the state's Open Meeting Law and hold all Town Board meetings in person. Therefore, the July meeting will be held at Town Hall on Tuesday July 13 at 7 PM. Masks will be required.

The board is investigating streaming the meeting to make it easier for residents to attend. If the July meeting will be available via streaming, the link will be posted on the town website.

The Planning and Zoning Boards will also resume in-person meetings.
COVID Update
Columbia County's COVID-19 rate continues to be extremely low. As of Tuesday the county had just 3 active cases, with no one hospitalized. Since the start of the pandemic Columbia County has had 4,266 cases and 96 deaths.

Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb reported that as of June 22, according to numbers issued by the CDC, 71.4 percent of the county's over 18 population had received at least one COVID19 vaccination.

CDC numbers are higher than those issued by the state’s vaccine tracker.“It seems the CDC has access to numbers, such as the number of veterans vaccinated at the VA and those who are snowbirds, that the state does not have or is unable to factor into its calculations.”

In addition, among those over the age of 65 in the county, 85.4 percent had received at least one vaccination and 79.9 percent were fully vaccinated.

Columbia County's COVID-19 state of emergency ended on June 24. The local state of emergency, which had been extended month-by-month, had been in effect in the county since early 2020. It was put into place to enable the county’s chief executive to implement necessary measures to preserve the public safety and render all required and available assistance to the security, well-being, and health of the citizens of the community. The state of emergency also carried implications for possible state and federal COVID-19 related reimbursement programs.
Town Hall Now Open to the Public
Hillsdale’s Town Hall is now open to the public Monday - Friday 10 AM to -1 PM and by appointment Monday - Thursday 2-4 PM. Appointments are recommended for any visits to Town Hall.

Social distancing and masks are required in publicly accessible areas, though vaccinated employees are not required to wear masks when in their work area and members of the public are not present or other employees are present and social distance can be maintained. All non-vaccinated employees, as well as those not choosing to prove they have been vaccinated will continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing while in Town Hall.

In-person meetings should be limited, and attendees should maintain a safe distance of at least six feet from others at all times. The wearing of face masks is required at in-person meetings.

The Town Board reserves the right to resume closure if a resurgence of the COVID-19 virus deems it necessary to ensure public safety.
Hillsdale Flea Market, With a Wide Variety of Vendors, Returns This Saturday
Hillsdale’s popular flea market returns this, Saturday July 3, offering a broad array of goods ranging from household items and clothing to antiques and collectibles. 

The market, in Hillsdale's Hamlet Park, just southwest of the traffic light at the intersection of N.Y. Routes 22 and 23, will open at 8 a.m. for early-bird shoppers, at a donation of $10 a person. Free attendance will begin at 9 a.m. The market will end at 3 p.m.

Vendors will offer items ranging from kitchenware, toys, garden items and baked goods to handicrafts, as well as vintage textiles, artwork and furniture. 

Pampered Chef products will be on sale as well as classic women’s clothing. Power equipment, kayaks and sports equipment will also be offered, as well as jewelry ranging from vintage to handcrafted and make-it-yourself kits. Other vendors will sell records, pottery, books and ephemera.

 “The flea market has become a community gathering place and a fun way to spend an hour or two on a holiday weekend,” said Gaye Hoffman, a member of the Hamlet Committee who is overseeing the event. “It’s also a great way for residents to get rid of unneeded things in an ecologically friendly way.”
Proceeds from the flea market space rentals will help fund town improvement projects overseen by the Hamlet Committee, including the redesign and restoration of Hamlet Park.

Some vendor spaces are still available. If interested, contact Steven Tiger at or by calling (518) 938-1404.

As this is an outdoor event, the rain date for severe weather will be Sunday July 4, at the same time. Notice of a rain delay would be posted on the event’s Facebook page.
No, Fall Hasn't Come Early...
Gypsy Moths are Here
Have you noticed larges areas of bare trees and maybe leaves are being eaten on trees in your yard? That's thanks to gypsy moth caterpillars.

"In most years they are with us in low numbers, and are hardly noticeable among the diverse other caterpillars that occupy our gardens, lawns, fields, and forests, says Gretchen Stevens, of the Hillsdale Conservation Advisory Council. "But every now and then, multiple environmental factors coincide to create a large outbreak. Oak is their favored species but they will eat many other hardwood trees and shrubs, and even white pine."

Fortunately, many trees will put out new leaves this summer and most will survive. The stress of defoliation, however, will certainly slow the trees’ growth, and also make them more vulnerable to other stresses such as drought and disease. Weaker trees may succumb when a second and third year infestation occurs.

"Luckily, many forest organisms help to control gypsy moth populations," says Stevens. "White-footed mice consumes the gypsy moth pupae, many species of songbirds feed on the caterpillars and a number of predatory and parasitoid insects feed on both caterpillars and pupae. The most effective enemies of the gypsy moth, however, are a fungus and a virus normally present in our forests. They attack and kill the late-stage caterpillars and have been credited with preventing even larger and longer-term infestations that would cause more permanent damage to our forests."

By late June, surviving caterpillars enter the pupal stage of their life cycle. After a couple of weeks, adult moths emerge from the pupae and breed. The females then deposit their buff-colored fuzzy egg masses on tree trunks, and both the males and females die. Caterpillars will then emerge from the eggs in spring 2022.

At this time of the summer, there isn't much you can do about gypsy moths. The large outbreak this year, however, is an unfortunate predictor of another large outbreak next year. If you are concerned about trees in your yard, there are non-toxic methods that may reduce the numbers of caterpillars on your trees. Around mid-May next year, you could wrap a broad (12-18” wide) band of burlap or other cloth around the trunk, secured in the middle with string, letting the upper half flop over. The caterpillars intercepted as they move up or down the trunk can be collected and disposed of in soapy water. Right now you can also remove the fuzzy tan egg masses that start to appear on the tree trunks in your yard.

"Applications of pesticides may kill the caterpillars, but may also harm all the beneficial insects that are essential to the tree and forest ecosystems, explains Stevens. "So just sit back and endure the several weeks of infestation, and count on all the other organisms of a healthy forest to help most of your trees and shrubs survive."
Jams in the Hamlet Presents
the Hudson Valley Jazz Quintet on July 17
Jazz is up next at Jams in the Hamlet, Hillsdale's summer concert series, on Saturday, July 17. Performing will be the Hudson Valley Jazz Quintet, made up of Steve Rubin on drums, Rick Savage on trumpet, Lew Scott on bass and Joe Vincent Tranchina on keyboards, plus a special guest. All are members of the Hudson Valley Jazz Ensemble, a rotating cast of musicians that have participated in the past 12 years of The Hudson Valley Jazz Festival. They a part of a network of artists who work together on a regular basis. All “Jams” concerts take place in the Hamlet Park, at the intersection of Routes 22 and 23 and all the concerts are free.

The event begins at 4 pm with pre-show food and drink available for sale by local restaurants, including Momma Lo’s BBQ, Roe Jan Brewery and Little Apple Cidery. The concert will run from 5 - 7 PM. Some limited seating will be available at the event but concert goers are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket.

Jams in the Hamlet is sponsored by the Hillsdale Hamlet Committee.
Hillsdale's High Schools,
With the Usual Interesting Asides
The end of the school year prompted the Hillsdale Historians to learn about Hillsdale High School, which graduated its first class in 1905, and its successors. Obituaries and wedding announcements provided details, as did the reminiscences of a woman who commuted to Hillsdale by train to attend the High School. The Historians detour to talk about Penny Farthing bicycles and mention Oliver North as they track high school education for Hillsdalians to the Mt. Washington House, Roeliff Jansen (watch the video!) and Taconic Hills.
Open Space Plan to be Developed
A new effort to create a Town Open Space Plan for Hillsdale is being launched by the town's ConservationAdvisory Council (CAC). This new plan will draw on the Town’s 2020 Natural Resources Inventory and identify a vision and strategies to preserve natural resources and protect farmland, scenic views, and the rural character of the town. The plan will be developed over the course of one year at no cost to the Town, through a partnership with Cornell University and the New York State Water Resources Institute, with funding from the Environmental Protection Fund through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program.
The CAC is currently recruiting volunteers to join a new Open Space Plan Committee that will undertake the project. Starting in September, Professor George Frantz from Cornell University’s Department of City and Regional Planning and a group of Cornell students will work with the new committee to engage residents and identify conservation priorities and strategies for the plan. The plan will identify natural resource and open space priorities that may include streams and drinking water resources, wildlife habitats, farmland, recreation opportunities, and scenic landscapes. Hudson River Estuary Program staff will contribute technical assistance and data to inform the effort. The Open Space Plan is expected to be completed in spring 2022.
For more information about how to get involved or receive updates about the Open Space Plan, please contact Gretchen Stevens at
Of Note.....
Hillsdale's Summer Youth Program in the Roe Jan Park starts July 12 and runs through August 20. Parts of the park will be closed to the public while the camp is in session, Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 3PM: the playground equipment and the green in front of it and back to the Roe Jan Kill as well as the Hilltop Barn and the area around it.

To find out if there are still any openings for campers (ages five - 13) contact the Town Clerk's office at 518 325-5073.

At their June meeting, the town board approved an engineering study to be done on the town owned West End Road Bridge, which is functionally obsolete and failing, to determine how it can be repaired or replaced. They also approved an engineering study for a distance survey and map of the Whippoorwill Road and Route 23 intersection, to be used in determining if additional land is needed in order to move Whippoorwill Road west to make the intersection safer.


The Emergency Broadband Benefit, which provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households struggling to afford Internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic is still available. Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail in application. You can learn more about the benefit, including eligibility and enrollment information by clicking below or by calling 833 511-0311.
The Hillsdale Conservation Advisory Council is seeking a volunteer who would like to recruit experts to participate in "repair cafés" for Hillsdale and neighboring towns. A “repair café” or “fix it clinic” is an event where people can bring in their household electrical and mechanical devices, computers, lawnmowers, bicycles, crockery, toys, clothing, and other items, and get them fixed at no cost with the help of skilled volunteers. The objectives are to increase the durability of goods, reduce waste, and improve repair skills, but it is also a fun community event that brings people together.

The Council is looking for someone to recruit a team of skilled handypersons covering an array of specialties. If you would like to take on the task of finding the specialists (the “fixers”) and organizing the event (with the help of the Conservation Advisory Council), please contact Paul Duernberger at . Also contact Paul if you would like to be a fixer at the event but do not want to be an organizer.
Follow Hillsdale on our official Facebook and Instagram pages.
Have you seen the Hillsdale Business Directory? From plumbers to galleries, restaurants to inns, businesses have a lot to offer in Hillsdale. 

If you have a business located in Hillsdale you can add or edit your listing online.
Newsletter Editor: Meg Wormley