Labor Day is on the horizon and COVID is still with us. Not in the sense of numbers of cases, the numbers in Columbia County have been flat over recent weeks, but deeply embedded in the COVID related practices that govern our activities. The professional consensus is that the numbers are low because the majority of residents are following these practices, social distancing, wearing a mask, and self-quarantining if they’ve travelled out of state to certain states. Thank each of you for respecting each other and keeping our families and community safe.
As more businesses re-open and schools open, and with flu season approaching, we ask that you continue to be vigilant. The above guidelines remain in place, please renew your commitment to these precautions to keep yourselves and your families healthy over the next few weeks or until we have a vaccine, whichever is sooner. Here are a few updates on local activities.
• Schools are re-opening after intensive preparation and in new formats that will challenge students, faculty, and staff. Plans are in place should the virus occur in this setting, see your school district website for more information. This is a stressful time for these community members. Allow neighbors, especially families with children, some space and grace as they navigate remote and on site learning and the complicated transportation and child care issues that come with new formats and schedules.
• The health department is recommending that all residents over 6 months of age get a flu shot. If you or your children do not usually get a flu shot, consider consulting your physician to see if flu shots make sense for your family under these unusual circumstances.
• Meetings have resumed at the Town Hall. Town Board, Planning, and Zoning Boards are back to their normal meeting schedules with one important difference, attendance is subject to social distancing rules. In the event you wish to attend a meeting, seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Plan for the possibility that the room may be full. Make a call, send a letter or an email to the respective board. We want to hear from you!
• Court is operating but still on a limited basis. If you have any questions about the disposition of a case, contact Court Clerk Darsi Frederick at 518-781-3749. She’ll have the information you need.
• The Town and Deputy Clerks are working regular summer hours meeting most, if not all, of our small town needs. Marriage licenses, dog licenses, hunting licenses, transfer station stickers are doing a brisk business as life resumes, even under COVID.
Canaan Neighbors Helping Neighbors (CNHN)
By now many of you will have heard from our new community group Canaan Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Thanks to a generous gift from a local family, committee members Ginny Nightingale, Wayne Gearing, Pat Liddle, Kristin Van Note and Erin Roberts have spent the summer putting together an organization and raising matching funds to meet the needs of our community during COVID. If you have not heard about the work of this committee, reach out, CNHN@canaannewyork.org, and we’ll get you connected. If you or someone you know needs a hand up, most of us have been there, reach out, CNHN@canaannewyork.org, and we’ll get you connected. If you have something to give, time or money, reach out. We will get through this together!
“A drive-thru food distribution will be held on August 31, from 10 a.m. until the food is gone at the Columbia County Fairgrounds, 182 Hudson Avenue, Chatham. Use the Route 66 entrance.
Households will receive fresh fruits and vegetables, and dairy products, along with canned and frozen food.
The organizers say that no one should arrive ahead of time. Arriving early will cause traffic and large crowds. Everyone should wear a mask and stay in the car. Those who are walking should practice social distancing. Adhering to these instructions will allow the volunteers to distribute food safely and quickly.
Catholic Charities, the Northeast Regional Food Bank, the Chatham Silent Pantry, Valatie and Ghent Pantries have joined forces to organize the event.”
Purple Heart Service
August 7 was the anniversary of the founding of the Purple Heart medal and, thanks to the efforts of Gary Flaherty, Director of Veterans Services for Columbia County, this summer Columbia County was designated a Purple Heart County.
Under the leadership of Town Historian Dodi Gearing we learned three Canaan residents were recipients of the Purple Heart, WWII veterans Charles Girdler, Jr, Richard P Hatch, and Vernon Warren. A small, graveside commemoration of the founding anniversary was held at the Flatbrook Cemetery on August 7 attended by NY Senator Daphne Jordan, Mr. Flaherty, Mrs. Gearing and members of the Girdler, Hatch & Warren families.
Election Day, Tuesday November 3
In the event of a flu or additional virus outbreak, Election Day could be a challenge to some of our more vulnerable community members. The County Board of Elections is working in collaboration with the State Board of Elections to provide maximum access, with minimum health risks, to all voters. Here’s what we know so far:
Absentee ballot applications should be sent in as early as possible. Applications are available at the Town Hall, post office, and online at https://sites.google.com/a/columbiacountyny.com/elections/. Due to COVID, anyone can request a ballot.
• The ballots will start to go out in late September. The sooner an application is received, the sooner the ballot will go out. Once again, go to the above site or call the BOE for more information. Plan ahead, do not wait. Absentee ballots can be mailed, dropped off at the BOE, or dropped off at the polling site on Election Day.
• Ten days of early voting will take place in Hudson, see https://sites.google.com/a/columbiacountyny.com/elections/ for more information.
• We are working with the BOE to ensure that our town polling site is safe, and compliant, for voters and election volunteers. Watch for more information on this subject.
• Finally, we are looking for Republican election workers. If you are interested, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming Event, Jazz Vespers, date to follow
Hello from the Supervisor