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News From Town Hall

Dear Hillsdale,

Food insecurity is a major concern nationally, and here at home. As most of us are enjoying the bounty of nature at this time of year, there are those who are struggling to put food on the table. According to numerous indices, we are considered to be a relatively prosperous community, yet 6.6% of Hillsdale families live in poverty.

Fortunately, we are blessed with volunteers in our local community who are addressing these concerns through the Roe Jan Pantry, the Blessing Box, the Community Garden, the Copake Hillsdale Farmers Market (that accepts SNAP), and Meals on Wheels among other organizations. We salute these volunteers who give their time, treasure, and humanity to support these worthy efforts that provide a lifeline to those in need.

All of these organizations are important and I invite you to volunteer or make a contribution to an organization of your choice. Gifts may be made by mail to the Roe Jan Food Pantry (P.O. Box 475, Hillsdale, NY 12529) and the Blessing Box (via the Hillsdale Economic and Community Development Corporation at P.O. Box 305, Hillsdale, NY 12529,) Blessing Box donations may also be made via our website, at link below. On the web page scroll down to the Blessing Box where you can make a designated online contribution).

Please keep those less fortunate in mind as we celebrate Independence Day this July 4th.

I wish you and your family a very happy holiday and a great summer.


Chris Kersten

Town Supervisor

[email protected]

Donate to Blessing Box

July Town Board Meeting

The July Town Board meeting will be on Tuesday, July 11. The meeting will be held in person at Town Hall at 7 PM and will be available on Zoom. People participating via Zoom will be able to make comments during the designated Public Comment times at the beginning and end of the meeting.


Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 826 2336 5260

Documents that will be referred to at the town board meeting will be posted on the Agendas & Minutes page of the town website a few days before the meeting. Minutes of previous Town Board meetings are posted on the Town Board page and the Agendas & Minutes page. 

Town Website
Agendas & Minutes
Town Board

Town Engineer to Inspect Condemned Log Cabin

 So Board Can Decide on Next Steps

Hillsdale Building Inspector Lee Heim attended the June Town Board meeting to brief the board on the condition of the derelict log cabin at the intersection of Routes 22 and 23. Because the building deteriorated significantly as a result of the owner not making repairs after it was extensively damaged in an October 2017 storm, the town condemned the building in April 2019. Since then, Heim has be unable to get any response from the owner and deterioration has continued.

Following an extended discussion, the board voted to retain the town engineer to inspect the building and report to the board on its condition so that the board can decide on the appropriate action to take.

Heim started the discussion by telling the board that, due to the continued deterioration of the building. action needs to be taken. If the owner does not make repairs, the town can put up a fence around the property to deter access, have a contractor make repairs to the building, or demolish the building. The costs of any action by the town would be the responsibility of the property owner, if necessary taken as a lien against their taxes.

Matt Cabral, Hillsdale’s attorney, said that the town‘s unsafe buildings and structures law would allow the town, after receiving the engineer’s report, to have an order served on the property owner and to hold a hearing before the Town Board. The town would then decide on further action.

Hospital Closed Copake Rapid Care

But Towns Make Progress Toward Getting it Reopened

Columbia Memorial Health said they had to close their Rapid Care facility on Mountain View Road in Copake due to financial and staffing problems, but the towns served by the facility are pushing back and have made good progress toward having the facility reopened.

Copake has taken the lead, supported by Hillsdale, Ancram, Taghkanic and Gallatin, in working to convince CMH that the Rapid Care facility is very much needed and worth reopening.

In a phone meeting Wednesday June 28, attended by representatives of the five towns and CMH, CHM committed to reopening the facility contingent on finding staff and to making a public statement to that effect. CMH CEO Dorothy Urschel told the group that CMH is conducting a search for a nurse practitioner provider for emergency room services at the facility, but to date they have not been successful in their search. Dr. Midwood will continue to provide primary care services at the facility as CMH searches for staff. They asked the towns to help in the recruitment process by providing information about the area and by publicizing the opening.

Hillsdale Supervisor Chris Kersten and Town Board member Tom Carty participated in the meeting, the third meeting between the towns and CMH. Kersten says that it is clear that CMH has gotten the message that the eastern part of the county needs and can support a Rapid Care facility, if it is well publicized and has regular hours.

CMH CFO Bryan Mahoney stated that they were working to cite the Roe Jan region as a Health Professional Shortage Area, (HPSA, a federal designation) as that may be helpful in getting government support. He further said that the Rapid Care facility would need 7,000 patients per year to break even. At its height, 5,600 patients were served so there is much work to do to get the word out. 

It was reported that a meeting between CMH and Senator Michelle Hinchey was very helpful. CMH has also had positive conversations with Assemblymember Didi Barrett. Both representatives have expressed strong support for restoring medical services to the eastern part of the county and both will be meeting again with CMH to further discussions.

Kirk Kneller, Chair of the CMH Board of Trustees, has been attending the meetings and also very much supports reopening Rapid Care in Copake.

When the closure was discussed at the Hillsdale Town Board meeting Hillsdale Fire Chief Richard Briggs commented that the closure causes a significant problem for the fire company as Copake Rapid Care was where the firemen were getting their required physicals. On behalf of the fire company, Briggs thanked Kersten and the town for joining the effort to get the facility reopened.

Of Note.....

Hillsdale's finances are in good shape, reported Supervisor Chris Kersten at the June meeting. The town's general account stood at $1,871,047.61 and the $1 million that was moved into a money market account at 2% interest has already yielded $5,800 in interest. The town received $28,297.40 in mortgage tax, Hillsdale’s share from the county for October 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023.

The Highway fund held $1,267,296.27 as of May 31. 


At the June meeting the board approved a proposal from Interim Town Clerk Elizabeth Sheer to upgrade town employee emails to a secure Microsoft government account.  All addresses will by @hillsdaleny.

Current email addresses which are on Fairpoint or Gmail will automatically be forwarded to the new hillsdaleny addresses. Town board email addresses will based on the board member's name while other addresses will be based on the position. By law, all old emails must be saved.


Hillsdale received 100 N95 masks from the county for distribution free to residents. The masks will help protect users from smoke from forest fires as well as from COVID. They are available when Town Hall is open: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 AM to 2 PM.


The County Board of Supervisors has voted to increase county property tax exemptions for low income seniors, disabled people, low-income residents, firemen, and ambulance drivers and recommended that towns take similar action. Supervisor Kersten proposed that a local law be discussed at the July board meeting, with a hearing in August. According to town attorney Matt Cabral, the process must be completed by December 2023. 


At the June meeting, the board approved the appointment of Suzanne Werner to the Planning Board, to complete the term of Richard Freiman, who is leaving the board after many years of service.


The town's engineer is investigating moving the town's street lights on Rt. 23 further back from the road to decrease the chances that snow plows will knock them down as has happened several times. Replacements for those that have been knocked down will not be installed until a decision on placement is made.


Yes, that big white rectangle on the Anthony Street side of the Hillsdale Supermarket is where the wayfinding mural is going to be. No, it won't be done, as hoped, by July 1, (rain is not conducive to painting), but it will be completed this summer.

Volunteers Again Supplying Food Pantry with Fresh Vegetables From the Community Garden

For the second year, a team of volunteers is using Community Garden space at the Roe Jan Park to grow vegetables that are supplied to the Roe Jan Food Pantry for distribution to their clients. Sheryl Boris-Schacter of Copake Falls, and Heidi Bock and Jane Capellaro of Hillsdale, (left to right in photo) are growing cauliflower, radishes, lettuces, onions, squashes, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and green beans for the food pantry in eight raised beds.

All three are long-time avid gardeners and have have their own plots in the community garden. Last year, knowing there was unused space in the garden and aware that the pandemic had made food insecurity in the community more obvious, Jane wrote a Facebook post asking for other volunteers. Heidi and Sheryl responded. With the assistance of Town Board member Joanna Virello, eight raised beds were installed and growing started. The space for the gardens already existed so it was an existing resource applied to an existing need.

This year the team received seedlings from Long Table Harvest, a Columbia/Dutchess County gleaning organization to supplement seeds and seedlings they purchased. The first delivery to the Food Pantry was made last week and deliveries will continue through into the fall.

Other spaces within the community garden are utilized by the Summer Youth Camp and by residents for private use, making it is a vibrant and well-used garden. 

July Coffee Hour to Provide Helpful Info

for those Aging In Place

Rachel Cole, the Consumer Assistance Program Coordinator for the Healthcare Consortium, Inc., will share lots of information that is helpful for those aging in place as guest speaker at the Hillsdale Safe at Home Committee's next monthly Coffee Hour. The Coffee Hour will be Tuesday, July 25th from 10 - 11:30 AM at Hillsdale House.

The Healthcare Consortium is non-profit organization that facilitates access to healthcare services, and generally supports the health and welfare of our rural community.

Rachel Cole, a Hillsdale resident, has spent her entire career working with older adults and people with disabilities. At the Consortium she has been involved with many resource programs including: accessing affordable insurance and prescription drugs, Medicare counseling, and assisting those experiencing financial hardship due to illness. In her present Coordinator position, Rachel interacts with many community partners to connect individuals with the resources they need.

Seniors, near seniors and neighbors are all invited to attend. In addition to learning valuable information about services in our community, there will be a lively discussion, free coffee and refreshments, and warm camaraderie.

If you need a ride, or would like further information about the Coffee Hour, or the Safe At Home Committee, contact Natalie at 518 265-6789.

Safe at Home Committee Starts Walking Group

A Weekly Wednesday Walking Group that will walk on the Harlem Valley Rail Trail this summer and fall is being launched by Hillsdale’s Safe at Home Committee. Starting July 5, walkers will meet at 9:30 AM at the kiosk by Rail Trail Parking between Herrington’s and Roe Jan Brewing for the walk.

“Safe at Home is committed to aging in place and recognizes the importance of including some physical activity to remain healthy," says committee chair Joyce Lapenn. “How wonderful that the Harlem Valley Rail Trail is right in our backyard and we can walk together with neighbors and friends. We know we’ll all have different paces but we also know that we’re all in this together.”

The Rail Trail was chosen because it is paved, flat, and shady, and has benches along the way. Safe at Home will provide water bottles at the parking lot, as well as tick/bug repellent wipes.

Walks will continue every Wednesday until it gets too cold and are always weather dependent. If you have any questions, call Natalie. at 518 265-6789

Farmers Market Participates in New NYS Program

 for Doubling Food Stamp Benefits

The Copake Hillsdale Farmers Market is participating in a brand new NY State initiative called Fresh2You, which provides for doubling the buying power of customers who use SNAP (food stamp) benefits. This replaces the previous matching programs that utilized DoubleUp Food Bucks as well as generous grants from Berkshire Agricultural Ventures and individuals. Link below to learn more.

Community Guests at the Market in July include the Roe Jan Historical Society, The Rooted Voyageurs traveling Shakespeare troupe, and the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. On July 1, at 10 AM, Julia Brandi and Marilyn Herrington’s films, “Hillsdale: Our Story” and “Portraits of Hillsdale”, will be shown at the market.

The Market reports that about one third of the food growers and producers selling at the market are based in Hillsdale. The rest come from Copake, Claverack, Philmont, Hudson, Chatham, Millerton, Kinderhook, Amenia, Pine Plains, Ancram, and Germantown as well as a handful from the wider Hudson Valley.


Hillsdale ARTSWALK Returns

The 5th Annual Hillsdale NY ARTSWALK will be held on Saturday August 12, from 10 AM to 4 PM in the Town center. Diverse local and regional artists and artisans will be exhibiting in stores and businesses in the Hamlet and outside under tents. Guests will enjoy a huge variety of art, spanning fine art, oil, acrylic, pastel and watercolor painting, ceramics and pottery, woodcraft, traditional and avant-garde photography, found object art, sculpture and mixed media. Live music will be performed during the event.

The Hillsdale ARTSWALK is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization that provides a showcase for local artists and artisans to share their work with a large and diverse audience. If you are interested in volunteering behind the scenes or for an hour or more at the event or want to be listed as a sponsor in the printed map guide, contact [email protected].

Hillsdale ARTSWALK


Historical Society Summer Exhibit Celebrates 40 Years

To recognize the 40th anniversary of the dedication of the restored Old Copake Falls Church as the home of The Roeliff Jansen Historical Society & Museum, this summer’s exhibit at the museum wii be The First 40: A Celebration of Local History Preserved. The exhibit will open on July 15.


RJHS’s mission to preserve the past for future generations is highlighted through a treasure trove of artifacts, documents, and objects from the Copake Iron Works, the hamlet of Copake Falls, the Harlem Railroad, and many new and rarely-seen items from the Society's collection.


The exhibit also chronicles the preservation of sites and traditions central to the history of the society’s five member towns: Ancram's paper mill, Copake's Memorial Clock, Gallatin's venerable Vedder Church, the Pulver family legacy in Hillsdale, and the legendary basket makers of Taghkanic.


The exhibit will be open Saturdays and Sundays 2 - 4 PM, from July 15 to October 15. The Roeliff Jansen Historical Society is located at 8 Miles Road, Copake Falls.

Golf Tournament to Benefit Library

Undermountain Golf Course is again hosting a golf tournament to benefit the Roeliff Jansen Commmunity Library. The Sunday, July 16 18-hole scramble is for two person teams, with prizes for men's, women's and mixed teams. The shotgun start is at 8:30 AM. The entry fee for this tournament, $90 for non-members and $75 for members of the Undermountain Golf Course, includes a BBQ chicken lunch and a donation to the library. Cart rental is $10 per person. Those who do not wish to golf can enjoy the BBQ chicken lunch at 2:30 for $30. Link below to sign up by July 9.

RJCL Golf Tournament Registration

Nutty Scientist STEM Programs for Kids at Library

The Nutty Scientists are coming to the Roe Jan Library with three STEM programs for kids this summer. Nutty Boat Racing will teach kids that there is more to floating and sinking than they may think. They will also earn the role shape plays by creating their own boats to race. (Wednesday, July 19, 1 - 2 PM.)

Next kids will learn to build their own solar oven and cook with the heat of the sun. Experiments with a solar fountain and a car will show them how to harness the sun's power. (Saturday, July 29, 1 - 2 PM)

A program on rockets will teach kids about Newton's three laws of motion as they make and test paper stomp rockets that can fly more than 50 feet. They will learn about pressure and propulsion with special film canister rockets the kids can take home. (Wednesday, August 2, 1 - 2 PM)

Registration is required. Link below for more info and to register.

Other Programs for Kids: Lego Thursdays, Playtime with Tia on Wednesdays, and Farm Market Kids on Saturdays at the Farmers Market

Nutty Scientist Programs

Adult programs at the Roe Jan Community Library in July include:

  • Roe Jan Writers Series: J. Mae Barizo will read from and discuss her new book of poetry, Tender Machines
  • Qigong & Tai Chi at the Library every Thursday
  • Octagon Club: conversation and camaraderie for those 80+
  • Monthly Prose Writers Group
  • Three session Write That Story workshop
  • Book Marks Book Club: reading Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories that Make Us by Rachel Aviv
  • Cookbook Club: Everyone cooks a southern cooking recipe of their choice
  • Tea Time at the Library: Understanding Your Critters - Pets and Their Needs
  • Concert: The BTUs, playing Jazz, R'n'B, and Blues, at the Roe Jan Park
  • Chess Club: All ages welcome
  • Free English-language tutoring 6 - 7:30 PM on Thursdays, by appointment; this tutoring program is intended primarily for adults
  • Job search and resume help

The library is located at 9091 Rt. 22.

Adult Programs at the RJCL
Kid's Programs at the RJCL

The Friends of the Roe Jan Library need books to sell! Books will be accepted at the Friends Book Shop on the lower level of the library every Saturday from 10 AM - 1:30 PM. The Book Shop in now open every Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM. The library is located at 9091 Rt. 22.

Roe Jan Ramble Again Offers Six Routes

The 11th Roe Jan Ramble Bike Tour will be held on Saturday, September 23. This fun, non-competitive ride is free to all participants and is sponsored by the towns of Hillsdale, Copake, and Ancram. There are six easy to expert routes to choose from (10, 18, 25, 35, 50 miles and 100km/62.5 miles), all on quiet scenic roads in the three towns and the Harlem Valley Rail Trial. While the ride is free, participants are encouraged to donate to support the Rail Trail. The rides start and end at Copake Memorial Park, 305 Mountain View Road in Copake. More information and and registration is at the link below. (Photo by Suzy Allman)

Roe Jan Ramble

Upcoming Town Meetings

The Planning Board will meet on Monday, July 10,  7 PM (in person only) to consider:

  • Marc Dellea, 663 Wolf Hill Road, minor subdivision

The Zoning Board will not meet in June.

Hamlet Committee

Time: Monday, July 10, 6 PM


Passcode: 379569

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 894 3599 1372

Economic Development Committee

Time: Monday, July 17, 11 AM


Passcode: 839879

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID:  823 5106 3623

Conservation Advisory Council

Time: Thursday, July 27, 7 PM

Town Hall

Safe at Home Committee

Time: Friday, July 28, 3 PM

Cook & Larder, in the Hillsdale General Store Building on Rt. 23

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Newsletter Editor: Meg Wormley

[email protected]

2609 State Route 23/Main Street
Hillsdale NY 12529
518 325-5073