I was deeply saddened yesterday to learn of the passing of Claverack's beloved friend and public servant Bill Blaauw.
Serving with Bill as a Town Councilman on the Claverack Town Board, I learned so much from him. He was a mentor. His demeanor, professionalism and common sense approach to every issue that came before us helped to teach me the right way to represent all town residents while serving on the Town Board.
Bill devoted his life to public service. He gave countless hours to his community as a volunteer firefighter, serving nearly 60 years with the Philmont Volunteer Fire Company. His leadership and service earned him the 2020 Lifetime Firefighter Achievement Award from the Columbia County Volunteer Firefighters Association.
In addition to his multiple terms on the Philmont Village Board of Trustees and the Claverack Town Board, Bill served many years as the Claverack Town Highway Superintendent and, after his retirement, as the Deputy Town Supervisor.
Bill will be sorely missed. We should all learn by his example. Be kind, be neighborly, be thoughtful, be understanding and be generous.
Godspeed, my friend.
The world famous Harlem Wizards visited Claverack last week to entertain and mentor area youth. This professional basketball team travels the country, and around the world, raising money for charitable organizations, schools, and foundations.
You may know that Mary Jeanne's grandson, Jordan, is part of this organization. He and his teammates have mentored kids and raised money for public education around the world.
It was quite an honor to welcome them here to Claverack.
I was happy to present the team with a proclamation thanking them for their work and their visit to Claverack.
Mary Jeanne passed out ice pops to the kids (it was a warm day) and Hookie and Doug Colwell were on hand to help out. Such a terrific event!
NEW PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT AT THE TOWN PARK
Playground closed as work is completed
A nearly $100,000 investment will provide for much needed improvements to the playground at the Town Park on Church Street in Mellenville. The funds cover the purchase and installation of the new equipment, a longtime priority of Deputy Town Supervisor Stephen Hook and Town Clerk Mary Jeanne Hoose.
As a result of smart fiscal policy and budgeting, the Town was able to make this investment in our Town Park despite the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
The playground is a space for area kids to enjoy a fun outdoor experience with their friends and family.
The upgrades include three new playground pieces that are handicapped accessible. (The kids are going to love it when they see it!)
We've made youth programs and services, such as the very popular Summer Youth Program at the park and the Winter Snow Sports Program at Catamount, a priority to help keep kids engaged in productive activities.
Unfortunately this year, the Summer Program had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 and a lack of available Camp Counselors, but we fully expect to be back in operation next year.
Work is expected to be completed on the new playground in the next 7 to 10 days.
Claverack is working!
HAMLET PARK IMPROVEMENTS
The Hamlet Park at the intersection of Route 23 and Route 9H is looking great, thanks to the hard work of our park maintenance staff and our Town Highway Department.
Today, Supervising Groundskeeper Derby Shutts raked out the landscaping and installed fresh mulch throughout the park. Town Highway Superintendent Lou Lamont and his team finished up installation of a new water spigot (yard hydrant) to keep the plants and flowers watered and seeded the area disturbed to bring water to the park.
Next week, a second flower tree will be installed on the north side of the park to bring lots of color and bloom to views from Routes 23 and 23B.
EVENTS / REMINDERS
The weather wasn't the best, but at least the rain held back while the community came together to mourn the loss of those who gave their lives in battle on this Memorial Day 2021, in Philmont.
Town Supervisor Kippy Weigelt, Town Councilman and Deputy Town Supervisor Stephen ("Hookie") Hook, Town Councilman George Duntz, Town Clerk/Tax Collector Mary Jeanne Hoose, Congressman Antonio Delgado, NYS Senator Daphne Jordan, Philmont Mayor Brian Johnson and other dignitaries and elected officials attended.
The event, organized by the Philmont American Legion, included a shortened parade down Main Street, from Maple Avenue to Elm Street.
Following the parade, speeches were given and prayers shared.
While delivering his remarks, Town Supervisor Kippy Weigelt said, "With any luck, we are beginning to see the end of this terrible pandemic that we've been living through and dealing with for over a year now. It's been difficult to be separated from our family and friends; not able to see them or hug them for so long. And while the pain of being isolated from those we love during this pandemic is real, today - Memorial Day - helps to put it in perspective for me.
Far too many military families will never see their loved ones again. They've been lost to war and conflict, defending our freedom and liberty. These families will never again share a holiday with their fallen service member. They can no longer call them to share exciting news or just to tell them they love them. They'll never again share a meal or a family vacation with their military hero. The pain of being isolated from loved ones that we've all felt in recent months, is permanent for these Gold Star families. As we begin to open up and spend time with family again, our hearts are again full; while the hearts of our Gold Star families remain broken... the void left ever present.
So today, as we gather for barbecues and family get-togethers to observe this solemn day, let us not forget that there will be an empty chair at the home of many patriots. Let us never forget them or their sacrifice. Let us always support their family and their loved ones left behind.
To those who gave all, I thank you. We thank you. This village, town and nation thanks you. We will remember.
Thank you all again for attending. It's an honor to serve as your Town Supervisor and to speak with you here today.
God bless this great country."
Rich Morris and Jeff French conducted the presentation at the War Memorial.
State Senator Daphne Jordan recognized the Village of Philmont as an official "Purple Heart Village."
COUNSELORS NEEDED FOR SUMMER YOUTH PROGRAM
A great employment opportunity for students age 16+!
The Town of Claverack is gearing up for its Summer Youth Program and is looking for persons interested in serving as Program Counselors.
The five week summer recreation program runs July through August.
Interested persons must be:
For an application click here. Please attach a resume with the application.
Completed applications must be returned by June 1, 2021 by either dropping them off at the Town Office (91 Church Street, Mellenville), by mail to Town of Claverack, P.O. Box V, Mellenville NY 12544 or by email to Deputy Town Clerk Rich Michael.
For more information, contact the Town Clerk's office at 518-672-7911.
PHILMONT MEMORIAL DAY SERVICES PLANNED
Village to be designated a Purple Heart Community.
The Minkler-Seery American Legion Post # 252 is busy planning this year’s Memorial Day Parade and service in Philmont.
This Memorial Day, May 31st, 2021, the Village of Philmont will become an official Purple Heart Community.
New York State Senator Daphne Jordan, Philmont Mayor Brian Johnson, Town Supervisor Kippy Weigelt, Deputy Town Supervisor Stephen Hook, Town Clerk Mary Jeanne Hoose and other elected officials and dignitaries are expected to attend.
The Town of Claverack was named Columbia County's very first Purple Heart Community in 2019.
Scheduled events are as follows:
Friday evening May 28th the Legion will hold services at the lower Main Street Memorial at 6:00 pm and at the two cemeteries.
Monday, May 31st there will be a small parade lining up at 8:30 am on Maple Avenue in front of the Philmont Firehouse. The parade will travel down Main Street to the Main Street Memorial starting at 9:00 am.
The Philmont Post Office is also taking part by promoting the Purple Heart stamp the week before Memorial Day.
These are exciting times. Claverack (and Philmont) is working!
The Mellenville-Philmont Food Pantry continues to provide much needed food and supplies to town residents.
Volunteers including Town Clerk Mary Jeanne Hoose, Deputy Town Supervisor Stephen Hook and many others continue to support the Food Pantry's mission by keeping the pantry supplied, distributing items to the community and keeping people up-to-date via the town website and Food Pantry's Facebook page.
The vast majority of the food and supplies that we offer do not come to us free; we have to purchase them. Many things, like meat protein, is expensive and makes it difficult for us to afford. So we have to be able to substitute with what we can afford, and use what funds we have.
Anyone wishing to make a financial donation to the food pantry may do so by mailing a check made payable to "Mellenville/Philmont Food Pantry" to the Claverack Town Office, PO Box V, Mellenville, NY 12544.
CLAVERACK REPUBLICAN CLUB PLANS ROADSIDE CLEANUP
The Claverack Republican Club will conduct a roadside cleanup of trash, litter and debris Saturday, May 22, 2021 in the Claverack Hamlet.
A number of years ago the group “adopted” three one-mile stretches of road leading to the traffic light in the center of the hamlet and every year members and volunteers, in conjunction with the NYS Department of Transportation, pick up the trash that has accumulated along the sides of those three stretches.
The cleanup will be held Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 9:00 AM. Volunteers will meet in the A.B. Shaw Firehouse parking lot (must be at least 12-years old).
Coffee and donuts will be provided.
Volunteers need not be a member of the Claverack Republican Club.... all are welcome!
FOUR FAMILIES HOMELESS AFTER PHILMONT BLAZE
Donations being accepted.
Four families are homeless after a huge fire ripped through an apartment building and a second home in the Village of Philmont. The fire was reported to Columbia County 911 Tuesday morning, shortly after 10 AM. The fire started at a row house on Block Street before spreading to a nearby home on Main Street.
The Philmont Fire Company was aided by several surrounding fire departments, with others providing standby coverage. All told, over 20 fire departments were involved with additional public safety agencies providing support at the scene.
The blaze left 14 people homeless. Various efforts have been organized to collect donations for those affected. More information on that below.
On behalf of the entire Town Board, I'd like to thank the Philmont Fire Company, the Mellenville Fire Company, A.B. Shaw, Churchtown and the many other mutual aid fire companies who responded to this terrible fire. We also thank the local businesses - like Mcnan's Variety Foods, High Falls Pizzeria, Cumberland Farms and others - who came together, as they so often do, to support the firefighters as they worked to extinguish the fire.
To help the families, consider donating in any of the following ways:
Our Community Cares
GoFundMe for the Wallace Family
GoFundMe for the Khan Family
GoFundMe for the Palumbo Family
SKIP SPEED HONORED FOR YEARS OF SERVICE
I was happy to join New York State Senator Daphne Jordan, incumbent Philmont Mayor Brian Johnson, Deputy Mayor Doug Cropper, past and present village officials and employees, and a host of friends and family to acknowledge and thank Philmont Mayor Skip Speed for his many years of service to the Village of Philmont at the Village's annual Organizational Meeting on Monday, April 5th.
Senator Jordan presented Skip with a New York State legislative proclamation, and I was honored to present him with a proclamation from the Columbia County Board of Supervisors.
Deputy Mayor Doug Cropper also honored Skip, on behalf of the Village Board, by handing over the blue sign that proclaimed his service as Mayor for years as you entered the village on Route 217.
We thank you Skip for your years of service, and look forward to working with the new Mayor and Village Board on joint projects of mutual benefit moving forward.
HOOKIE'S COOK'IN CHICKEN
Advance sale only -- get your tickets by April 17th.
Tickets are on sale now for the Claverack Republican Team Chicken Barbecue slated for April 29th at the Claverack Firehouse on Route 23.
This will be an advance sale only (no tickets at the door) / take-out only event.
Deputy Town Supervisor Steve Hook will be serving up his famous secret recipe barbecue chicken, complete with potato salad, coleslaw, dinner roll and drink.
Pick up will be 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm on the 29th.
This event will sell out!
Order your tickets by April 17th online here, or by calling 518-813-2516 or 518-851-7570.
TOWN ASSESSOR COMPLETES TOWN-WIDE REVALUATION
What do updated assessments mean for you?
Recently, Claverack property owners received a notice from Town of Claverack Assessor Charles Brewer regarding their new preliminary assessments. These assessments were the result of a town wide revaluation to bring all assessments up to current full-market value. It’s important that we understand what a revaluation does, and doesn’t do. I’ll try to explain. Read the full story here!
Thankfully, our efforts to stay at home, socially distance and practice good hand hygiene have paid off. We've managed to slow the spread and flatten the curve, which helped avoid a healthcare crisis in our local emergency rooms.
New York State is slowly beginning to reopen, but unfortunately it will be some time before things return to "normal." That said, I regret to share with you the following cancellations:
The Philmont Memorial Day Community service and parade have been canceled. The Minkler-Seery American Legion Post 252 will still honor those Veterans who gave their lives for us with a service at each cemetery and at the Village Memorial Parks, with a time and date to be announced.
Chairman Jeffrey French is asking all Claverack residents to take a moment out of your day on May 25th to remember those service members who are no longer with us.
All rentals of the Claverack Town Park have been suspended for the Summer. This includes any private parties, gatherings, concerts, etc. The park will remain open for walking and playing, but residents are asked to refrain from playing any contact sports (basketball, etc.).
The Claverack Summer Youth Program at the Town Park has been canceled. The Town Board regrets having to make this decision, but we did not feel it was prudent to move forward with the program as State and County government have both discouraged summer camps and youth programs during this time. We look forward to having a program in Summer 2021.
The Claverack Republican Club's Summer Concert Series has been canceled for 2020. In making the announcement, Club vice-president Charles Schram said, “there was simply no way to make it work given the nature of the venue and the close interaction required.” The club will begin planning for the 2021 season at the first of the year.
Philmont Community Day has been canceled. Any donations, and all money from fundraising will be utilized for next year’s event. Anyone with questions or concerns can contact Secretary/Treasurer Brenda Baker by calling (518)-821-4481, or by email.
For additional updates and announcements, please continue to check the town website.
The Claverack Town Board recently recognized William "Bill" Blaauw with a community service award. Bill has been a big part of the Claverack and Philmont communities for 60 years. He joined the Philmont Fire Company in 1963, rising to the rank of Chief, and serving in the department still today. In addition to multiple terms on the Philmont Village Board of Trustees and the Claverack Town Board, Bill served many years as the Claverack Town Highway Superintendent. After retiring from the highway department, he was re-elected to the Town Board and appointed Deputy Town Supervisor.
As a town official, Bill set a high bar. His common sense approach to decision making and his concern for all issues and residents earned him much respect. We thank him for his many years of service and friendship.
The Town of Claverack will receive $195,000 in grant funding in the sixth round of the state’s Regional Economic Development Council awards. The announcement came today by Governor Andrew Cuomo at a news conference held in Albany.
The funding will go toward two town projects; restoration of the historic Shaw Bridge and a study of historic sites and access points within the Claverack Creek watershed.
A total of $170,000 was awarded to restore the internationally renowned Shaw Bridge, which crosses the Claverack Creek on Van Wyck Lane. The bridge will be restored to its original 1870 appearance, but as a pedestrian and bicycle bridge.
The second award, totaling $25,000, will allow the Town of Claverack to study the existing visual and public access to important historic sites within the Claverack Creek watershed, and identify waterfront access sites that will expand public recreation opportunities, including boating and fishing.
“I’m very happy to learn that we’ll be receiving this funding,” said Claverack Town Supervisor Kippy Weigelt. “Restoring the Shaw Bridge for pedestrian use and expanding access to areas for walking, biking, fishing, and boating are all worthy causes that will benefit everyone,” Weigelt added.
Supervisor Weigelt acknowledged the hard work of the Claverack Historic Preservation Advisory Committee, including Committee Chair Ian Nitschke, and congratulated them on the awards.
The Village of Philmont also received $191,250 to install a new disinfection system at the Village’s Wastewater Treatment Facility.
A complete listing of all 2016 Regional Economic Development Council awards can be found at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.
PHILMONT BUS SHUTTLE SERVICE TO BEGIN IN SEPTEMBER
As you know, we worked hard to get a bus shuttle service for Philmont residents approved. I’m very happy to announce that the new service will begin operating on Monday, September 12th. The new shuttle service, part of the lumbia County Public Transportation System, will take passengers to and from Hudson and Greenport twice daily, each and every Monday. This will allow residents access to goods and services not readily available in the Village. The ride will cost passengers just $1.00. Many thanks to Johnston & Pulcher, Inc. and Columbia County government for helping make this happen. We’ll provide more information on the routes and pick-up/drop-off times and locations soon.
FALL BRINGS COOLER TEMPERATURES, PUMPKIN EVERYTHING, AND BUDGET WORK
Fall is almost here and along with the cool air, colorful mums, and comfort food comes the always difficult work of crafting the following year’s budget. As outlined in previous updates, we’ve been able to make good progress cutting town government’s dependency on cash reserves, and moving the town to a strong financial position – but further work needs to be done. We’re faced with a very difficult tax cap for 2017, but are determined to produce a budget that complies with the cap, which would once again bring much needed relief and State property tax rebate checks to Claverack residents. The budget is the single most difficult issue that we deal with as your town officials, and certainly one of the most important.
TOWN HALL/COURT BUILDING
As announced earlier this year, we’ve undertaken a study of the current Town Hall/Court to get an idea of the structural condition of the building, and to review the space needs for town departments and organizations that use the Town Hall. An inspection of the building by the engineering firm Crawford & Associates found serious structural issues making it necessary and prudent to abandon the current building. The committee will now begin looking at alternative options (rebuilding on the same site, or relocating to a new location) and what to do in the interim.
KEEPING IDENTITIES OF SENIORS SAFE (DOCUMENT SHREDDING PROGRAM)
The office of Town Clerk Mary Jeanne Hoose, in conjunction with County Clerk Holly Tanner, will once again sponsor the KISS (Keeping Identities of Seniors Safe) document shredding program for town residents in September. Seniors may bring sensitive documents for shredding to the Town Office on Church Street Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM, from September 6th to September 23rd. More info here.
The Columbia County Board of Supervisors Broadband Sub-Committee is working collaboratively with grassroots groups and industry leaders to expand broadband service to residents across Columbia County. As part of that effort, an online survey has been created to help map underserved areas. There are separate surveys for residential and commercial (business) customers. Links to both surveys can be found below. (Note that the residential survey asks for your address, but that information is not required to complete the survey).
Link to the residential broadband survey here
Link to the commercial (business) broadband survey here
OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE
The final concert in the Claverack Republican Club’s 2016 Summer Concert Series was held Thursday, August 26th. I’d like to thank the many volunteers who work so hard to bring these events to our town park each summer – and special thanks to the generous sponsors who help pay for the entertainment and allow the concerts to be offered free-of-charge. We’re also happy to report that approximately 150 kids took part in this year’s Summer Youth Program at the town park! The kids participated in a variety of recreational programs, sports, and field trips during the six-week camp. A huge thank you to all of the staff and volunteers who help make this program a success every year.
Congratulations to Philmont Volunteer Fire Company on 120 years of dedicated service. Your selfless devotion to the safety and wellbeing of our community is very much appreciated!
The September meeting of the Claverack Town Planning Board will be held on Wednesday, September 7th due to the Labor Day holiday.
The Mellenville Fire Company will host the 18th Annual Kim Harvey Memorial Golf Tournament on Saturday, October 1st. Contact Jim Brady at 518-755-8878 for information.
Columbia County Hazardous Waste Collection Day will be held Saturday, September 10th at the County Highway Garage on Route 23B in Greenport. Residents with large quantities of materials must contact the DPW Administrative Office prior to the date by calling 518-828-2737. The event runs 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Click here to review what materials will be accepted.
The A.B. Shaw Fire Company will host its Annual Car Show & Chicken BBQ on Saturday, September 24th from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM (Chicken BBQ starts at 3 pm) at their firehouse on Route 23B.