Weekend in review
Some of the stories that made the news from Fri., Jul. 28 through Sun., Jul. 30:
Melanie Lekocevic reported for Columbia-Green Media the body of a missing 21-year-old Ghent man was found at Bash Bish Falls in Copake, Sun., Jul. 30. Aiden Campion-Pratt, 21, of Ghent, was believed to have slipped off a rock at the falls, Friday night around 7:30 p.m. Crews from the Columbia County Sheriff's Department, the Copake Fire District and Community Rescue Squad, and other first responders, were called to the scene on Route 344 just after 8:15 p.m. The focus shifted late that night to the Massachusetts side of the falls, with Massachusetts State Police taking over the investigation. Campion-Pratt’s body was located at approximately 12:30 p.m., Sunday. Because of where the body was found, emergency responders determined it could not be retrieved from the water.
Richard Moody reported for Columbia-Greene Media the owner of the Stewart House, located in Athens, has put the 11-room hotel, restaurant and bar on the market for nearly $2 million. Lipstein purchased the property in 2001 and renovated it over a period of 15 years. He recently moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Lipstein has one condition for potential buyers. “It has to be someone with a lot of experience in the hospitality business who can take this business to the next level,” he said. “I have done the best work I can with this business. Now it’s time for someone else to take over.”
William J. Kemble reported in the Daily Freeman the 130th annual Ulster County Fair opens Tue., Aug. 1, and will run for six days at the Libertyville Road fairgrounds in New Paltz. The fair enters the digital age this year with the addition of free WiFi on site. “We just added WiFi to the fairgrounds so people can keep [their devices] active,” fair General Manager Gary Newkirk said. “It’s just a way of life anymore and it’s certainly a benefit to the fair because the kids will be here with their friend(s)." The fair has also added farm-based entertainment for children, as well as new educational exhibits. Headline acts during the fair will include 90 Proof (Tuesday), Oak Ridge Boys (Wednesday), Restless Heart (Thursday), Martin Family Circus (Friday), Savannah Jack (Saturday) and B.J. Thomas (Sunday).
Larry Rulison reported in the Times Union the New York State Builders Association has announced its opposition to National Grid's $331 million rate hike request to state regulators. The association is the Albany-based trade group that represents home and apartment builders. The association says the rate plan does not address its concerns over utility rules that delay and add significant costs to home building. The rate hike is expected to increase monthly bills by $17 for gas and electric customers.
Aaron Krein reported in The Columbia Paper the Claverack Town Board has approved a letter to residents in the town lighting district alerting them to changes slated to take effect in 2018. Those changes are intended to correct billing errors in the district. A March report from National Grid identified properties currently charged a lighting district tax and also compiled a list of all the streetlights within the district. Property owners within the district are taxed to cover the cost of the electricity, not the cost of lights or installation. The billing adjustments will be effective with the town property tax bill next year.
The Daily Freeman reported the Bank of Greene County has announced it will open a new branch office at 179 county Route 7A in Copake. The location is the site of a former Key Bank branch. The building will be completely renovated and upgraded, according to a statement released by Bank of Greene County. An opening date has not been announced. When complete, branch will be the bank’s fifth in Columbia County.
The Times Union reported the Olana State Historic Site has become an official Taste NY site, selling food and beverages from New York vendors. The former home of Hudson River School painter and architect Frederic Church located in Greenport, is now one of 10 state parks and historic sites that sell Taste NY concessions. The new concessions will be sold at the visitors center.
Daniel Zuckerman reported for Columbia-Greene Media the recently formed Friends of Athens group proposed tree maintenance and preservation objectives to the village board last week. Group members Stephan Bradicich and MaryEllen Gallagher presented a resolution providing recommendations for tree maintenance, removal and care by volunteers. One of the aims of the legislation is to attract more businesses to the village, Bradicich said. “If we do it right, we bring young families in from around the Hudson Valley, from the Capital Region,” Bradicich said. Mayor Peter Alberti has already reviewed the legislation, according to Bradicich. The next step will be a meeting between the board and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.