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News from Town Hall

Dear Hillsdale,

As A.A. Milne, author of the Winne the Pooh children’s classics observed, “The end of summer is not the end of the world. Here’s to October!”

At the end of summer, on September 18, the Town held the popular Car Show that was well attended and wonderfully organized by Gaye Hoffman, and we will celebrate the arrival of fall with our annual Pumpkin Festival on Saturday, October 8, once again arranged by the Hamlet Committee. I hope you will join us!

On September 13, and following a Public Hearing, the Town Board approved a Local Law which “expressly authorizes the Town Board to adopt a local law giving the public bodies of the Town the authority to conduct and participate in meetings via videoconferencing so long as a quorum of the public body (the board) participates from a location (i.e., Town Hall) where the public may be physically present and other conditions are met.” In the interest of transparent government, members of the public will also be able to attend, observe, and participate when public comment is authorized. The Board also authorized the necessary expenses to purchase the needed equipment, installation, and training to facilitate videoconferencing. This is a major step for the Town and will take some time to fully implement.

Our 2023 budget process is well underway at this point, with Budget Workshops scheduled for Wednesday, October 12, Thursday, October 13 and Monday, October 17, all at 6:00 p.m. at Town Hall. Public Notices will be posted as required.

Thanks to the leadership of Tom Carty, I’m delighted to report that solar panels have now been installed on the roof of the Highway Garage that will result in significant energy savings to the Town, and serve as a model for other similar projects.

And finally, the Board commissioned a Building Condition Survey of our three Town Buildings - Town Hall, the Sheriff’s Sub-station and the Highway Garage - to identify safety and structural issues so they may be addressed in an organized way. Two of these buildings are more than a century old. The Survey is underway at this time.

On the County level, I am pleased to announce that the Board of Supervisors approved the formation of a County-wide Affordable Housing Task Force and hiring a full-time staff person to serve as Housing Coordinator. This will certainly help the efforts underway with the Hillsdale Housing Committee and our tri-town Roe Jan Housing Task Force. Both committees are actively engaged in finding solutions to the housing crisis.

Best wishes and Happy Fall!

Chris Kersten

Town Supervisor


October Town Board Meeting

The October Town Board meeting will be held in person at Town Hall on Tuesday, October 11 at 7 PM.

Documents that will be referred to at the 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. 

Town Website
Agendas & Minutes
Town Board

COVID Update

As of September 29, in Columbia County there were 38 active cases and nine hospitalized county residents, three of them in the ICU. As of the 29th there had been 14,382 cases and 156 deaths.

The Columbia County Department of Health is offering Pfizer and Moderna bivalent boosters at their Thursday afternoon vaccine clinics. For information link to the DOH web site (link below) and go to the Calendar or to the Facebook page.

According to the CDC COVID-19 Community Level tool, Columbia County's level is "low". Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.

CDC COVID-19 Community Levels
Columbia County Dept. of Health

Scarecrows, Music, Fun and Games

at the Pumpkin Festival! Plus a Chicken BBQ!

Fun activities and live music for kids of all ages will be the highlights of Hillsdale’s 12th annual Pumpkin Festival on Saturday October 8, from 11 AM -3 PM, in the Hamlet Park. The event starts with a “Gathering of Scarecrows" with the theme of "Rockstars and Sports Legends." Scarecrows (with humans welcome and costumes encouraged!) will gather at Cullen Park at 10:45 AM to parade down the sidewalk led by Cub Scout Pack 2130 for “Opening Ceremonies” in Hamlet Park at 11 AM. At the park the public can vote until 2 PM for their favorite scarecrow, with prizes awarded at 3 PM.

The live music kicks off with Christina Dellea, from 11 AM - 12:15 PM. Singer/songwriters Lori and Lisa Brigantino follow from 12:15 -1:30 PM. The over 20 member Ghent Band, one of America’s oldest community bands, active since 1899, plays from 1:30 - 3 PM. There will also be entertainment for kids, including the Great Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt. Other activities include a bake sale, voter registration and law enforcement demonstartions. Meantime, at the Roe Jan Community Library there will be pumpkin painting for kids from 1 to 2 PM--register by email at youth@roejanlibrary.org. Businesses in the hamlet will have events throughout the day.

The day wraps up with a Hillsdale Fire Company chicken BBQ dinner from 4 PM. The meal is half a chicken, coleslaw, baked potato, baked beans, watermelon, and a roll for $18. Meals must be preordered by October 3. Call the firehouse at 518-325-4721 and leave a message or email hillsdalefirecompany@gmail.com.

Safe at Home Committee:

Nutrition is Topic of Next Coffee Hour,

Sign Up to Do Chores or Have Them Done

Ellen Levine, nutritionist for the Columbia County Office for the Aging, will talk about the newest “trends” in good nutrition for seniors and answer attendee’s questions at the Tuesday, October 25 Safe at Home Coffee Hour. As usual, the Coffee Hour will be held at the Hillsdale House from 10 – 11:30 AM. “We are grateful to Carmen Barbato Jr. for opening his restaurant so seniors can enjoy a morning of coffee, muffins, conversation and a true feeling of camaraderie,” said committee chair Joyce Lapenn. “The environment is warm and supporting as seniors gain some new information and socialize with friends and neighbors.”

Volunteers will help seniors get ready for winter by assisting with outside chores on the Safe at Home Committee’s October 22 Senior Chore Services Day. If you or a senior you know needs some help with chores such as cleaning trash from the yard or moving lawn furniture, or if you or a student you know would like to volunteer to help seniors that morning, contact Natalie at 518 265-2113.

Two Hillsdale-Copake Fire District Votes

to Be Held This Month

The Hillsdale-Copake Fire District is holding two elections this month. On Tuesday, October 4 residents of the district who have been registered voters for at least 30 days are being asked to approve the purchase of a new Rosenbauer custom 1,500 gallon per minute pumper tanker fire truck for $672,941. Existing funds in the equipment capital reserve fund of the district will cover $305,368 of the purchase price. The remaining $367,573 will be paid by the issuance of serial bonds of the district.

On Thursday, October 20 the annual budget for the Hillsdale-Copake Fire District will be voted on. The 2023 budget (link below) is $279,311, up from $273,888 in 2022. The increase is within the allotted state tax cap increase.

Both votes take place from 6 – 9 PM at the Hillsdale Firehouse at 9387 State Route 22. Members of fire company work the polls and can answer questions about the truck and the budget.

Small portions of Hillsdale are served by the Philmont Fire Protection District, Green River Fire District, and Craryville Fire District. As part of their annual tax bill, Hillsdale property owners pay a tax to the fire district in which their property is located. Owners of Copake properties served by the Hillsdale-Copake Fire District pay a portion of the cost of the district.

The Hillsdale Fire Company serves the Hillsdale-Copake Fire District. The Fire Company, which is a non-profit, owns the firehouse while the district/taxpayers own the trucks and equipment. The district pays rent to the Fire Company for storage of the trucks and equipment.

The purchase of equipment is 30% of the budget. Any funds not spent on equipment during the year go into a reserve fund for future truck purchases. Since 2009, the district has purchased two new trucks, a fire police van, a pickup truck, and a gator for brush fires. The district maintains the reserve fund so that new equipment can be purchased without increasing taxes.

Services awards account for 22% of the budget. This is a retirement program for active firefighters, which was approved by the taxpayers in 2000. The only other benefit volunteers receive is a $500 income tax deduction.

As owners of the building, Fire Company members raise funds to pay bills for insurance, electricity, heating oil, and regular maintenance on the building. “Our electric bills are over $500 month and the fuel oil bill is almost $10,000 this year,” says Joe Hanselman Jr., president and treasurer of the Fire Company. “That’s why fundraising is so important.”

Hillsdale-Copake Fire District commissioners are chairman John Cottini, George" Bud " Atwood, Emily Stalker, Robert White, and Robert Briggs Jr. 

Hillsdale-Copake Fire District 2023 Budget

Historians Recommend Three Local History Exhibits

The Hillsdale Historians are taking a break this month from their usual extensive research and writing, but lest their readers feel history-deprived, they have posted in their blog about three terrific local history exhibits you can visit for free this fall.

“George R. ‘Pop’ Sweet: The Famed Fiddler of Fog Hill” is the subject of an Austerlitz History Center exhibit. This meticulously-researched installation explores the life of George R. “Pop” Sweet (1883-1965) whose career as a fiddler and square dance caller brought him wide renown. Visit Copake Town Hall to see the 24 newly installed panels depicting 200 years of town history, including famous residents, lost buildings and businesses, public monuments, natural attractions and more.

At the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society Museum in Copake Falls you can view “From the Home Front to the Front Lines,” a compilation of life-shaping stories, objects, and memories of World War II as told through personal correspondence, photographs, G.I. equipment, recorded interviews, official documents, photographs, and mementos contributed by the more than 35 Roe Jan area families of those who served. (See "Upcoming Events" below for info on talks at the museum on October 2.) 

Hillsdale Historians

Election Inspectors Needed for Hillsdale,

It's a Paid Position!

Hillsdale’s polling site, the Hillsdale Firehouse, needs more election inspectors to work on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8, especially registered Republicans and unaffiliated voters. Multiple inspector positions are available. These are paid positions: $18.50/hr for 8-9 hour shifts. Polls are open 6 AM to 9 PM.

Training is required and will be offered during the first two weeks of October. You must be a registered voter in Columbia County and a citizen of the United States.

If interested, email erin.stamper@columbiacountyny.com or call 518 828-3115 and ask for Erin.

Of Note.....

Town Board member Steve Tiger is leading the negotiations with Teamsters Local 294 which represents employees of the Town Highway Department. They are negotiating a three year contract that will start in 2023.


The intensive review of the Sewer District finances from 2014 to 2020 being conducted by the town's accountant, Bob Patterson, is almost done and it is expected that it will be reviewed at the October Town Board meeting. 


The Roe Jam Ramble Bike Tour in Copake, Hillsdale and Ancram on September 17 had over 600 pre-registered riders plus 54 day of sign ups. Donations to the Harlem Valley Rail Trail exceeded $22,700, with more coming in. Community Christmas Baskets, Ltd., the local non-profit that provides meals to the needy at the holidays, made several thousand dollars selling lunch to riders.


Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties invites friends and stakeholders to participate in public feedback sessions, a collaborative planning process that will chart the future of the Extension Education Center, their campus in Hudson. The extension is interested in any ideas, big or small, on how to add more interactive and modern educational spaces to the Hudson campus. Link below for dates and times.

CCE Feedback Sessions

Columbia Forward Initiative Offers New Loan Program & Workshops for Small Business Owners

Columbia Forward, a county-wide initiative to provide business support and financial assistance to small businesses, is aiding small businesses that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic by connecting them with support programs, including small business loan/grant programs, technical assistance and training.

Free in-person monthly workshops cover relevant business topics and provide small business people with an opportunity to ask an expert tips and tricks of their trade.

  • October 11, 8:30-10 AM @ Stuyvesant Town Hall: “When the HR Department is You: A Guide to Human Resources for Small Business Owners”
  • November 8, 8:30-10 AM @ Claverack Library: “QuickBooks – Help for New Users”

To register contact Amy Kneller at 518 828-4417

The Columbia Forwar Loan and Grant program provides qualified businesses with low interest (3.75%) loans, along with grants equal to 10% of each loan at closing. The maximum loan amount under this program is $25,000. To apply contact Martha Lane at 518 828-4718


For additional information and resources link below.

Columbia Forward

Farmers Market, and SNAP Use, Going Strong

The Copake Hillsdale Farmers Market is still going strong and will be through Saturday November 19, so there is still plenty of time to shop for produce to eat now as well as meats, jams, cheeses, etc. to stock up for the winter From apples and beets to squash and cauliflower, the farmers at the market still have lots to harvest.

“The market is thrilled to report that, with 8 weeks to go, the use of SNAP (food stamps) has already surpassed last season,” says Laura Griffin, Board Director and Marketing Manger. ‘This is important to us, as it means that more fresh, local food is making it to the community. We thank our sponsors that allow us to double the buying power of SNAP users -- Berkshire Agricultural Ventures, Double Up Food Bucks, and generous individuals.”


Two Gallery Talks and 100th Birthday Tribute for WWII Vet at RJHS WWII Exhibit 

Two men will talk about their fathers' WWII experiences in Gallery Talks at the "From the Home Front to the Front Lines" exhibit at the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society Museum, on Sunday October 2, starting at 2:30 PM.

Ron Vincent will speak about his father, Hillsdale resident David Vincent, Motor Machinist Mate, Second Class, V6, U.S. Navy Reserves, who served in the Pacific Theater from 1943 to 1946 and was at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, April 1, 1945.

Jed Luchow will speak about his father, Lt. Sylvan Luchow (U.S. Army), and his service in the Pacific, including the reclamation of the island of Iwo Jima, as shown in documents and photographs, and anecdotes about the men in his quarters, including recording star Tony Martin and J.J. Gunther, editor from Newsweek Magazine.

Following the talks will be a tribute to Copake resident Eugene Meenagh who served in the China-India-Burma Theater. In anticipation of his 100th birthday, the Historical Society will present him with a Certificate of Appreciation and birthday cake.

The museum is open Saturdays and Sundays through October 9 plus Columbus Day, the 10th, from 2 to 4 PM. The museum is at 8 Miles Road in Copake Falls.

Roeliff Jansen Historical Society

Hillsdale writer and performer (and Town Historian) Lauren Letellier will perform her new solo show "THE VILLAGE CIDIOT" at the Ancram Opera House in a one-time-only benefit for the Roe Jan Historical Society on October 23 at 2PM. Ticket information will be posted on the Society website. (link above.)

Adult programs at the Roe Jan Community Library in October include

  • New: Free English-language tutoring 6 - 7:30 PM on Thursdays, by appointment. This tutoring program is intended primarily for adults. Instruction will be one-on-one or in small groups and will be geared toward everyday conversational needs. Free childcare will be provided for children ages 3 and up. E-mail director@roejanlibrary.org or call 518-325-4101 to schedule an appointment. 
  • Hot Topics in Healthy Aging – Clearing Up Common Questions: What's Good for You?
  • In-Person Workshop: Align Your Money with Your Values – Personal Divestment from Fossil Fuels
  • History Webinar: Full Circle - Washington Irving at Lindenwald
  • Write That Story Writing Workshop
  • Local historian Howard Blue discusses his new book, The Man Who Sold Superman to the World: How Carroll Rheinstrom Made DC Comics Go Global
  • Exhibition of Nature Drawings and Bird Prints by Lynn Croton & Liz Rudey
  • Strength & Balance Class on Zoom

 For kids there will be Lego Thursdays, Home School Wednesdays, Storytime with Tia on Saturdays, Homework Help on Thursday evenings and Pumpkin Painting on Saturday, October 8. The library is located at 9091 Rt. 22.

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

The Roe Jan Library Friends Bookshop is staying open longer than planned. The shop will be open every Saturday through November 8 from 10 AM to 2 PM. Thousands of gently used books, CD’s and DVD’s will be for sale. Masks are required. To donate books, email Celia Kahn at caskahn@gmail.com. The bookshop is located on the lower level of the library at 9091 Rt. 22.

Upcoming Town Meetings

The Zoning Board will not meet in October.

The Planning Board will meet on Monday, October 10 at 7 PM. A Public Hearing will be held to consider the application of Daniel Levy for a special permit to build a duplex building at Bellwether and Route 23.

Also to be discussed at the meeting are:

  • Steve Bluestone, Roe Jan Brewery at 32 Anthony Street, applying to construct a pergola
  • Karen Climo, Oxbow Road, transfer of .68 acres to neighbor Andrew Freedberg
  • Chris and Angie Stalker, 2535 State Route 23, applying for a site plan review re building an accessory dwelling.

Hamlet Committee

Time: Monday, October 10, 6 PM


Passcode: 398450

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 817 4366 3601

Safe at Home Committee

Time: Friday, October 7, 10 AM

Home of Joyce Lapenn, 25 Schmeichel Rd 

Conservation Advisory Council

Time: Thursday, October 27, 7 PM


Passcode: 237890

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 883 7859 0016

Economic Development Committee

Time: Wednesday, October 26, 11 AM


Passcode: 937430

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID: 822 6540 5660

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Newsletter Editor: Meg Wormley


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