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News From Town Hall

Dear Hillsdale,

September has arrived! The days are becoming noticeably shorter and many of our trees are showing the subtle but unmistakable signs of change. Though not yet crisp, the air hints at cooler weather of the fall season ahead.

Our process to establish the 2024 Town budget has begun with a call to department heads to make their projections, leading to the Supervisor’s tentative budget filing by September 30. That tentative budget will then be discussed and refined through a series of publicly announced budget workshops, leading to the adoption of the final budget no later than November 20.

Simultaneously, the re-bidding process for major Town Hall repairs is underway, with notices placed in the Register-Star and online. Bids are due on September 21, followed by the engineer’s recommendations on September 25 and action at the October 10 Town Board meeting.

As more fully described in this newsletter, our BridgeNY grant proposal to repair or replace the West End bridge was not awarded in the current round, largely due to “economic impact” factors. Our engineers will be providing a series of options to keep the bridge safe until the next grant cycle for discussion at the September board meeting.

Finally, I’m delighted to give a shout out to Joe Raco, Director of Hillsdale’s Summer Recreation Program, and our counselors for another successful season for our 70 campers. Congratulations!

Happy Labor Day!

Chris Kersten

Town Supervisor

[email protected]

September Town Board Meeting

The September Town Board meeting will be on Tuesday, September 12. 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:  862 1516 1343

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

The Mural is Being Painted!

That big white rectangle on the Anthony Street side of the Hillsdale Supermarket is on its way to becoming the wayfinding mural! Artist Jane Buck has started work, up on the scaffold with her paints. The first step is using rollers to paint the background. Once that is done, she'll be using brushes to paint "32 houses, all the roads, horses, cows, a tandem bike" and more. Jane says the rough surface is challenging to paint but she seems to be enjoying the job. The mural should be complete sometime in September.

Town Hall Repairs to Be Rebid

 In July, the Town Board approved accepting a $47,000 bid from Paragon Roofing for Town Hall roof repair subject to Town Attorney Matt Cabral determining if under state law the project would qualify as an “emergency” which would mean that the project did not have to be publicly bid even though the submitted bid was over $35,000. Cabral determined that the project did not qualify as an “emergency” so at the August meeting the Board approved putting the project out for bid.


Because only one bid, which was incomplete, was received for the rest of the Town Hall renovations, that project has to be put out for bid again.


At the August meeting the board approved amendments to the Town Hall renovations contract with CPL, the town’s engineering firm. CPL prepared additional design drawings and details for the renovation project and put the project out for bid, services not included in the original contract. CPL will now prepare bid documents and bid milestone dates for both the renovations and the roof repair. They will post the documents for bid on behalf of the town, attend a pre-bid walkthrough, and attend a bid opening at Town Hall.


The roof repair project will be expedited in hopes that the repairs can be completed before winter.

Get Household Items Repaired at a Repair Cafe

Southeast Columbia County will hold its first Repair Café at the Roeliff Jansen Community Library on Saturday, September 30 from 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM in the Library’s Community Room. The Hillsdale Climate Smart Committee is sponsoring the program along with the Library, the Copake Grange, and the Ancram, Copake, and Taghkanic Climate Smart Committees.


A Repair Café is a gathering of neighbors helping neighbors mend and repair household items in the spirit of sustainability and mutual aid. Bring clothing, knives that need sharpening, lamps, bicycles and jewelry to be repaired by local volunteer “fixers.” There will also be a group of volunteers at the Café who will be answering computer and technology related questions for those that need help with their devices. This event is free and open to the public.


If you have repair skills and would like to volunteer, please call the Library at 518 325-4101 or email Fran Colombo at [email protected]

The first Repair Café was organized in the Netherlands in 2009 and in 2013 volunteer organizer John Wackman held one in New Paltz, NY. His dedication, enthusiasm, and subsequent book, Repair Revolution: How Fixers are Transforming Our Throwaway Culture, inspired others to launch Repair Cafés in their own communities.

Safe at Home Schedules Senior Chore Services Day and Dr. to Speak at September Coffee Hour

The third annual Senior Chore Services Day will be held on Saturday, October 21, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The Safe at Home Committee organizes the day to help seniors with outdoor chores around the house and yard. Chores can include cleaning trash from the yard, moving lawn furniture from the outside, cleaning outside windows at ground level, and raking leaves and all chores are done for free. Volunteers are needed to do the chores for the seniors. If you are willing to volunteer or you or a neighbor is interested in having chores done, please contact Natalie at 518 265-2113. This project is funded by The Bank of Greene County and is important to the overall goal of the committee to help Hillsdale residents age safely in place.

Dr. Pier Boutin a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with a private practice in Great Barrington will be the speaker at the September Safe at Home Coffee Hour. After more than 20 years of surgery her practice has evolved to focus on non-surgical methods to maintain and regain health. She has a broad area of expertise that includes arthritis, sports medicine, knee meniscus tears, fractures, osteoporosis, and menopausal symptoms. As an expert contributor, she researches and writes content for Women’s Health Network. In addition, Dr. Boutin has recently written a very well received memoir, The Little Mo Effect, and she will speak about the impactful experience and moving story that is core to the book and how it has informed her practice. 


The Coffee Hour will be on Tuesday, the 26th, from 10:00-11:30 AM at Hillsdale House. Coffee and muffins will be served and camaraderie and compelling conversation can be expected.


Dr. Boutin is a graduate of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Health Sciences. She completed her residency at the University of Florida Orthopedic Surgery, along with a fellowship in total joint replacement and specialization in sports medicine. Her philosophy is to promote health and vitality incorporating conventional medicine while offering more progressive options in the treatment of orthopedic conditions.

No Grant for West End Road Bridge This Year

Hillsdale was recently informed that the town was not chosen to receive a BridgeNY grant this year for the repair of the West End Road Bridge. In a debrief with the NYS Department of Transportation, the town was told that the grant proposal was a very well done but was not chosen for a grant because of limited economic impact. There were two grant proposals from Columbia County in this round and, given limted BridgeNY funds, the other one was chosen because it had greater traffic. The town was encouraged to reapply in the next round in two years. Supervisor Kersten has been in touch with the town’s engineers and asked them to recommend options for keeping the bridge safe in the meantime. The engineers’ options will be considered at the September Town Board meeting. 

For Labor Day, Learn How "Hillsdale Goes to Work"

With Labor Day upon us, the Hillsdale Historians' thoughts turned to the industries and businesses of Hillsdale's past. They have reposted a blog from 2019 that looks at the history of work in Hillsdale. As usual, their blog is jam packed with interesting facts and figures. For instance, in the late 1800's Hillsdale's farmers produced 17,000 pounds of wool a year. In 1883 the occupations of Hillsdale residents included scythe maker, tinsmith, cigar dealer, four physicians, and six wagon makers. Iron ore was discovered in Hillsdale but never was a big business. But, the hills of Green River and North Hillsdale were denuded to provide charcoal for the Copake Iron Works. Read the blog and learn lots more about how Hillsdalians have labored in years past.

Hillsdale Historians Blog

Of Note.....

The Planning Board is in need of a secretary, an integral part of the Hillsdale Planning Board. Chief requirements include attending monthly meetings, (second Monday of the month at 7 PM), preparing accurate and complete minutes, and managing correspondence with the public. Hours vary, but average 10 per week. This is a paid position. For further details, please contact the Chair of the Planning Board, Barbara Pascale, at  [email protected].

At the August Town Board meeting, Town Attorney Matt Cabral reported that he has been able to locate the surviving spouse of the owner of the log cabin that has been condemned by the town. Probate is proceeding. The estate is responsible for the property and there seems to be a desire to resolve the issue.


Building a salt shed on Hillsdale Highway Department property was discussed at the August Town Board meeting. Some years ago, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation told the town that such a building must be built. Engineers drew plans and one area at the Highway Garage property was identified as appropriate for the salt shed but a shed was not built. Those plans will be resurrected, costs will be determined, and the Board will look into possible grants.


Shredding bins will be available in Town Hall from Friday, September 1 to Friday, September 8. Hours are 10 AM – 2 PM, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.


This month an Eagle Scout Court of Honor will be held for Karl Weingaertner of Copake whose Eagle Scout project was building wooden benches that have been placed in the Roe Jan Park. Karl obtained donations from Herrington's and led his troop of scouts and adults in constructing the benches. He passed his Eagle Scout Board of Review in 2021. The Court of Honor was delayed due to COVID and scheduling issues.

Second Request! Residents Asked to Complete

 Vulnerability Assessment Survey

All Hillsdale residents are invited to complete a survey for a Vulnerability Assessment being conducted by the Hillsdale Climate Smart Task Force. The survey can be completed online and is available via the link below. This survey will help in identifying local concerns related to extreme weather and other climate hazards and is also part of the Task Force's effort to obtain silver certification as a Climate Smart Community. Accomplishing the tasks for certification not only reduces the town's carbon footprint, but also makes the town eligible for grants to further progress toward these goals.

This survey was created by Cornell Cooperative Extension in coordination with the Hillsdale Climate Smart Task Force and other Columbia County communities. The results will contribute to a county-wide vulnerability assessment. The survey must be completed by Sept 4, 2023.

Vulnerability Assessment Survey

It's High Season for the Farmers Market

The Copake Hillsdale Farmers Market season is half over but it's entering the most bountiful period for produce. Vendors will be selling everything from broccoli to zucchini, and tomatoes will be hitting their peak ripeness in September.


Community guests at the market in September will include Hillsdale chef Julie Gale, signing copies of her new book "The View from my Kitchen Window". Also, volunteers from the Roe Jan Ramble will provide information about the September 23 event. 


5K in Roe Jan Park to Fund Scholarships

The “Remember the Titans Memorial 5k” race sponsored by the Taconic Hills Chapter of Dollars for Scholars will be run on Saturday, September 23, at Roe Jan Park. Registration starts at 2 PM and the race is at 3 PM. . This is a scenic run on the trails of the park. All proceeds will be used by TH Dollars for Scholars to give scholarships to graduating seniors at Taconic Hills in honor of Titan staff, alumni, and students who have died. Runners, walkers and teams are welcome. Pre-registration is $20. Day of event registration is $25.


Contact Joe Raco at 518 929-9960 if you would like to participate or volunteer. Pre-registration checks made payable to “Community Scholarship Fund” should be sent to RACO P.O. Box 593 Philmont, NY 12565. To pay via Venmo use @CommunityScholarshipFund.

Roe Jan Ramble's Seven Routes

 Range from 10 to 100 Miles

The 2023 Roe Jan Ramble Bike Tour, coming Saturday, September 23, has seven routes to choose from, from the easy, mostly flat 10-miler, to the new expert 100 mile route that puts the hills back in Hillsdale. Other routes are 18, 25, 35, and 50 miles, plus a 100 km (62.1 mile) route. A fund raiser for the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, the Ramble is a fun, non-competitive ride sponsored by the towns of Hillsdale, Copake, and Ancram. The ride is free, with voluntary donations encouraged to support the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. Register to ride and get more information at the link below. Not a bike rider? You can enjoy the Ramble as a volunteer at a rest stop or the check-in desk or as a route guide. Email [email protected] to volunteer - no experience needed. (Photo by Suzy Allman)

Roe Jan Ramble

Dr. Waldo to Read From and Discuss Her Memoir

Dr. Irma Waldo, a long-time Hillsdale resident whose practice included pediatrics, hospice, geriatrics and addiction recovery medicine, will read from and discuss her recently published memoir, The Doctor Wore High Heels, at the Roeliff Jansen Community Library on Wednesday, September 20, at 5:30 PM. Waldo, who is ninety-eight-years-old, was among the first women admitted to medical school at the University of Buffalo during World War II. Her memoir focuses on her time practicing medicine as a rural doctor in Columbia County and the challenges she faced as a woman physician serving farmers and their families. This program, which is co-sponsored by the Roe Jan Historical Society, will be presented in-person and online. To receive the Zoom login details, email [email protected].

County Libraries Sponsor Community Read

The Columbia County Libraries Association (CCLA) is organizing a countywide Community Read this fall to encourage people throughout the county to read a common book and come together for discussions and programs around the themes presented in the book. The book is The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba.  

There are several editions of this book, including a picture book for young children, a book for young readers, and a book for young adults and adults, making it appropriate for every reading level. Screenings will take place at different member libraries of the book’s subsequent documentary feature and Netflix film. This way, everyone in the community can participate: read a book, share perspectives, attend a program, and build a stronger community together. All editions will be available through Columbia County libraries as well as through digital library platforms, Libby and Hoopla. 

For a list of upcoming book discussions, storytimes, and film screenings at the Roe Jan Library and other county libraries click below.

Community Read

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

  • Concert: Matt & Atla DeChamplain sing and play American Songbook Jazz
  • NYS Citizen Emergency Preparedness Training
  • Qigong & Tai Chi every Thursday
  • Octagon Club: conversation and camaraderie for those 80+
  • Book Marks Book Club: reading The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkawamba
  • Tea Time at the Library: Money 2023 - a talk about finances
  • Group Photography Show - photos by community members
  • Cookbook Club
  • 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

Programs for Kids: Lego Thursdays, Playtime with Tia on Wednesdays, the last Farm Market Kids of the summer on Saturday, September 2, at the Farmers Market, and Homeschool Wednesdays starts on September 6 with "Meet the Bees"

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

The Friends of the Roe Jan Library Book Shop has thousand's of books for sale! Lots of fiction, plus memoirs/ biographies, mysteries, cookbooks, art, fantasy/science fiction, children’s books, gardening, hobbies/crafts, history/politics. and much much more. Still, they are always looking for donations of more. Books will be accepted at the Book Shop on the lower level of the library every Saturday from 10 AM - 1:30 PM. The Book Shop is open every Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM. The library is located at 9091 Rt. 22.

Upcoming Town Meetings

The Zoning Board will meet at Town Hall on Tuesday, September 5 at 7:30 PM (in person only) to hear the application of:

  • Kristina Dousharm Architecture for a special permit to convert an existing garage into an accessory apartment on 44 Mansfield Road

Safe at Home Committee

Time: Friday, September 8, 3 PM

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

Economic Development Committee

Time: Wednesday, September 20, 11 AM


Passcode: 041350

Dial in: 646 558-8656 Meeting ID:  856 7238 2419

Conservation Advisory Council

Time: Thursday, September 28, 7 PM

Town Hall

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Newsletter Editor: Meg Wormley

[email protected]

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