News from Town Hall

I want to thank all of you for your patience and forbearance during this difficult time. Hillsdale and the entire Roe Jan community are growing closer, even as we socially isolate, because neighbors are helping neighbors. We are working our way through this challenging time together.

As the County slowly reopens, please continue to use an abundance of caution and follow CDC guidelines. Please always wear a mask in public –Governor Cuomo has authorized businesses to deny entry to individuals who do not wear masks or face-coverings.

County buildings, Hillsdale Town Hall, and Hillsdale Town Garage will remain closed to the public through Friday, June 5 even as town employees continue to do their jobs.

The Columbia County Department of Health has published its numbers for today.

As of noon on May 30, 2020:

  • 33 Columbia County residents have died due to COVID-19 including 12 residents of Pine Haven and 15 residents of Barnwell.
  • The County has received confirmed positive test results for 385 community members.
  • There are 126 active cases of COVID-19 in Columbia County.
  • There are 54 additional residents on mandatory quarantine and 5 residents on precautionary quarantine.
  • 226 of the 385 cases have recovered from COVID-19.
  • 16 of the positive cases are hospitalized, 1 of those hospitalized are in the ICU.
  • We’ve received a total of 4,271 PCR test results and we’ve received 1,211antibody results, of which 128 were positive.
Below you can find the breakdown of TOTAL confirmed, positive cases of COVID-19 in Columbia County:

Ancram 7
Canaan 10
Chatham 17
Claverack 9
Clermont 4
Copake 17
Germantown 8
Ghent 18
Greenport 13
Hillsdale 12
Hudson 33
Kinderhook 41
Livingston 8
New Lebanon 4
Stockport 2
Stuyvesant 9
Livingston Hills 2
Pine Haven 37
Barnwell 134

Please stay safe and healthy, and please check out the link below for local services. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me at any time.

Peter Cipkowski
Hillsdale Town Supervisor
518-325-5073 x6 (Town Hall)
646-373-5002 (cell)
Columbia County Board of Supervisors announced that the County remains on track for Phase 2 reopening on Wednesday, June 3.

During Phase One, select business sectors have been operating including construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, retail (limited to curbside or in-store pickup, or drop off), manufacturing, and wholesale trade. 

Industries in Phase Two include all office-based jobs, real estate services, retail (in-store shopping), and limited barbershop and hair salon services. They may be able to start reopening on Wednesday, June 3, if the number of new COVID-19 cases remain low.
Two testing sites are scheduled to open in early June. Testing will be done via nasopharyngeal swabs which are most useful to detect the virus in actively sick people. The kits used at these testing sites are part of those purchased with the help of private donations to Columbia County. The testing sites and hours are:

  • Tuesday, June 2, 10 am to noon at the John L. Edwards Elementary School in Hudson.
  • Sunday, June 7, 10 am to 1 pm at the Columbia County Fairgrounds in Chatham.

Signup instructions and further instructions regarding the clinics can be found on the Health Department’s webpage or by calling 518-828-3358.
A new local law, #1 2020 - Unsafe Buildings, is being reviewed prior to the June Town Board meeting on June 9 at 6:30 pm. The proposed law will provide the town with a procedure for addressing unsafe buildings in the community–both occupied and unoccupied. The board welcomes community feedback on the law, a draft of which can be found on the link below. You may email your comments to Peter Cipkowski, Town Supervisor, at [email protected] . The comments will be shared at the public hearing.
The Town of Hillsdale, following investigation and research by its Hamlet Committee, is seeking bids from qualified landscape architects licensed to provide such services in the State of New York, for preparation of a master plan and associated documents and consultation services for the restoration of the Hillsdale Hamlet Park. A detailed list of requirements can be found at the link below and also is available by requesting it via email: [email protected] .

Sealed bids must be received by email to the Hillsdale Town Clerk at [email protected] , by mail or hand delivered to Kathi Doolan, Hillsdale Town Clerk, Hillsdale Town Hall, PO Box 305, 2609 State Route 23, Hillsdale, NY 12529, by 1:00pm on July 31, 2020. The bids will be reviewed at the Town Board meeting on August 11, 2020, at 7 pm.

Questions may also be directed to the Hamlet Committee Chair, Shannon May at  [email protected]  or (917) 664-9786.
With spring clean-up in full-swing, the Hillsdale Fire Department reports there has been an increase in out-of-control burns.

Q. Should I call to report that I am planning to have a controlled burn?

A. Yes. Call the 911 Office at 518-828-4114 to let them know.

Q. Do regulations on open burning make burning household trash in burn barrels or piles illegal?

A. Yes. Burning trash is prohibited statewide in all cases.

Q. Can I burn leaves if I live in a rural area?

A. No, burning leaves is banned in New York State.

Q. Where should I call to report an  illegal  open fire?

A. To report environmental violations call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332).
The Hillsdale Economic and Community Development Corporation (HECDC) continues to offer one-time gifts of $250 to local families and individuals who are experiencing financial stress due to loss of income because of COVID-19.

Please email [email protected] or call 518-325-5073 extension 6 to learn if you qualify.
Several years ago, Hillsdale residents Julia Brandi and Marilyn Herrington conceived the idea of interviewing a diverse group of long-time Hillsdale residents to capture their unique and often extraordinary stories of daily life in this town. These brief interviews can be enjoyed and explored by generations to come.

The footage is divided into two sections: “Portraits” contains 2-minute close-up interviews of 25 residents. “Our Story”, is a 20-minute overview of the town’s history and includes several voices.

"Portraits" appeared in the May 13 newsletter and, "Our Story" has just been made available. Both can be viewed here.
Read the latest blog entry from Hillsdale's historians:

"At the corner of Rts. 22 and 23 sits an imposing brick house built circa 1783-1790 by a man named Parla Foster."
The Roe Jan Community Library continues to sponsor a series of brief interviews with community leaders during this unique moment in our history. The next collection of conversations includes a local historian, an advisor to the Hillsdale Housing Committee, a farmers market manager, and a member of an internationally renowned Baroque ensemble .
Lesley Doyel, Roeliff Jansen Historical Society President
Dennis Wedlick, Architect and Planner
Nicole Friedrich, Copake Hillsdale Farmers Market Manager
Andrew Appel, Four Nations Artistic Director and Harpsichordist
Bonus: A performance by the Four Nations Ensemble inside Hillsdale's Masonic Temple recorded on March 26, 2020
The Roeliff Jansen Historical Society (RJHS) is inviting residents to share their personal stories and perspectives from the time of COVID-19.

Though spring programs and the summer exhibition have been postponed until 2021, the RJHS has designed an online interactive “Memory Book” as part of its new website feature, "Pandemics of the Past & Present", as a way of collecting stories from this historic time. The Pandemic section of the website also provides relevant terminology, and articles providing historical context.

In addition to preserving objects, archives and images from the past, an historical society's mission is also to gather content from the present ultimately the historical record of the future. As visitors explore the Pandemic section of the website, RJHS hopes they will share experiences and reflections on the current COVID-19 pandemic in the Roe Jan region as well as memories of past epidemics such as Polio of the 1950s, the AIDS crisis, and the ongoing struggle with Lyme Disease, as well as first-hand family reminiscences of the Spanish Influenza of 1918 handed down from generation to generation.
Visitors to the new website can revisit last summer's entire exhibition " Hidden History of the Roe Jan Region " as a PDF flipbook.
Also new on the website: "The Roe Jan Towns" pages includes new descriptions and historic pictures of each of the five towns of the Roe Jan region.
Now that construction can resume in our region, the Library is repaving its driveway and parking lot. This project is funded with a State Aid for Library Construction Grant, awarded in 2018, and with matching funds from the Friends of the Roeliff Jansen Community Library and from a generous donor.

The current porous concrete driveway is now 10 years old, at the end of its projected life. This experimental surface has not held up well through our northern winters. Fortunately, the library's landscape design, which includes a centrally located bioswale and catch basins, is environmentally sound even without a porous driveway and parking lot.

Prep work is also underway for an electric vehicle charging station, before repaving, so that the library is ready to install a station once state grant funds for such stations become available again.