Year in Review: the final six months

The news in the second half of 2011 still included debate over where the town offices would wind up, as well as discussion about coin drops and the sale of the armory.

Here is a summary:


July 7


Clemons PO may close

The U.S. Postal Service releases a study that concludes the advantages of closing the Clemons Post Office outweigh the disadvantages but officials have yet to come to a final decision whether the branch will close. The primary reason for the study is a lack of business. The study revealed that the post office experienced only eight transactions per day. After factoring in the cost of replacement services (which would be provided at the curb by rural route carriers), officials concluded they could save nearly $44,000 per year by closing the branch. Officials say a final decision has not been made but will posted at the post office when it is.


Fire company seeks coin drop

The Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company asked the village for permission to host a coin drop later in the summer. WVFC President Brian Brooks indicates he believes there is a provision in the law that would allow the company to legally host a coin drop.  The village asked its’ attorney Tony Jordan to look into the legality of coin drops and have asked the state comptroller for a written opinion on the matter.  The village says they will withhold any decision until they hear from Jordan.


Voters OK auditorium work

Voters in the Whitehall School district overwhelmingly approved both phases of a capital project that will result in the complete renovation of the high school auditorium. The proposition to replace the roof passed with 65 votes in its favor and three against, while the proposal to renovate the auditorium was approved 57 to five. “I think the voters understood this was an opportunity to update our facilities without further tax impact,” Superintendent James Watson said. The total cost of the project has been estimated at $625,000 and work on the roof is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2011.


Woman charged in fatal

Mary Baptie, 44, of Whitehall was charged with vehicular homicide and manslaughter after blood tests revealed she was intoxicated during a Memorial Day Weekend car crash that resulted in the death of Richard Stack of Rutland, Vt.  Blood tests taken after the crash revealed Baptie’s BAC to be .16%, nearly twice the legal limit. Baptie was also charged with failure to stop at a stop sign, failure to yield at a stop sign and reckless driving.


July 14


Boating off to slow start

Local business owners say this season’s tourism business is lagging behind previous years.

Robert Elmy, owner of Champlain Harbor Marina and Ray Faville, who owns Lock 12 Marina both say boat traffic has been slower than normal, and describe the start of the season as “dismal.”

Officials at the Canal Corp Visitor’s Center and the Skenesborough museum say they have experienced lower than normal turnout as well.

Elmy and Faville chalk up the decline to high gas prices, the state of the economy the early season flooding, and the free mooring spaces along the canal.


Vermont Rail improves  line

The Vermont Rail System began work on its Whitehall-to-Rutland line that is expected to reduce transit time over the company’s Clarendon and Pittsford (CPL) line. When complete, the project is expected to result in an 18-minute reduction in the time it takes for a train to travel from Whitehall to Rutland, President Dave Wulfson said. Work on the line began in May and the first phase of the project was completed in mid-October. Crews changed over 12,000 railroad ties and plan to change out the rails next year.


Multiple charges

Jairo Figueroa, 22, was charged with 10 separate violations, including third degree bribery of a

public servant, and misdemeanor counts of obstructing government administration, resisting arrest and aggravated DWI, after a vehicle he was operating was involved in an accident at approximately Smith Street on July 10. After being pulled over, and attempting to flee from the vehicle, Figueroa offered police offiers $1,400 if they let him go. It was later determined that he was in the country illegally. He pleaded guilty in September and was agreed to serve six months in Washington County Jail before being deported to his native Guatemala.


July 21


Armory to be sold

The New York State Office of General Services, the caretaker of the Armory since the National Guard left, announced that the building would be for sale at a public auction on Sept. 20. The sale is set to include the entire 2.8 acre lot, the Armory and the maintenance shed. The minimum bid is set at $75,000.


Attorney says coin drops OK

Mayor Peter Telisky said he received a response from Tony Jordan who said he believes that coin drops are permissible under municipal home law. Following the ruling, WVFC president Brian Brooks submitted a written request to hold a coin drop near the intersection of Poultney and William’s streets on Labor Day. Although the board declined to give a decision on the request, they did pass a resolution to review and submit the letter with the understanding that if they didn’t explicitly deny the request, then there was a tacit agreement that they would be able to hold their coin drop.


July 28


Clemons PO given reprieve

The Clemons Post Office which the US Postal Service had studied for potential closure was given a 120 day reprieve after officials said they had yet to come to a decision on whether they would close the branch. Debbie Winkler, the acting postmaster at the Clemons Post Office said she believes the branch will close eventually.


Food shelves bare

An increase in the demand for non-perishable food items and a decrease in donations left the shelves of the

Whitehall Ecumenical Food Pantry as bare as Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard. Mark Koeble, executive director of the food pantry, has seen lean times during his eight years running the food pantry but said this is about as barren as he can recall. Fortunately, the community came together in the following months to assist the pantry.


Police gets new cars

The Whitehall Police Department got a few new weapons in its fight against crime. The department purchased two cruisers- one new and one used to replace the departments’ older vehicles. The department also received a grant to purchase two new computers for the vehicles.

Aug. 4


Town, Village reach agreement

The town’s proposed move to the Skenesborough Fire House cleared another hurdle as the village board of trustees passed a resolution that effectively voids a reverter clause included in the original deed to the property the firehouse sits upon. The resolution is contingent on the dissolution of the Skenesborough Volunteer Fire Company and the subsequent payment by the town of $150,000 to the joint fire district that will be created after the Skenesborough dissolves.


Durfee competes in Death Races

Grace Cuomo Durfee, a 2003 graduate of Whitehall High School, prepares for The Beast, a Super Spartan Race held at Killington that exposes competitors to a ten to 12 mile military style obstacle course. The race is nothing new for Durfee, a 27 year old massage therapist. Over the last two years, she has competed in several physically demanding races, including last year’s Beast Run which she won and the last two Spartan Death Races in Pittsfield, Vt., which she had won earlier in the summer. She says her daughter Quinn is her inspiration. I do it as an example for her. I want her to realize she can do anything she puts her mind to,” Durfee said.


Aug. 11


Village works on trash laws

The village of Whitehall began the process of drawing up a new set of laws governing the collection and disposal of garbage. The new laws address any confusion people may have had with the old rules and allow officials to more effectively enforce rules regarding the disposal of garbage. The new law legally defines what constitutes garbage and solid waste as well as who is responsible for its removal and what is a suitable dumpster.


Gordon opposed to change in law

Richard “Geezer” Gordon was one of one of two supervisors who voted against having a public hearing regarding local law that restricts where convicted sex offenders are allowed to live. Gordon said he believes the law, which prohibits convicted sex offenders from living or working within 1,000 feet of a school, child care facility, park, playground, youth center, swimming area, library, or any facility operated by the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, or the Washington County Chapter of NYSARC, should remain the same. Gordon eventually changed his mind and was one of 15 supervisors who voted to adopt a less restrictive law in September amid fears that the county would lose a lawsuit if one was filed.


Aug. 18


Skyline closing

Seventy-eight local residents found out they will be without a job this fall after Skyline Corporation, a producer of manufactured homes and recreational vehicles, announced they will close its Fair Haven facility on Oct. 21. The announcement caught many residents and local officials off guard. Although no formal reason was giving for the closure, the company had consolidated several other facilities as they struggled with declining sales.


Republican ticket announced

George Armstrong wins the Republican nomination for town supervisor for this fall’s town wide elections and is joined on the ticket by town clerk candidate Julie Millett, highway superintendent Louis Pratt, and town councilmen Farrell Prefountaine and Stephanie Safka. Prefountaine and Pratt are both incumbents and Millett had previously served as town clerk. Armstrong has served on the Board of Education for 16 years and ran for supervisor in the past and Safka is a newcomer to the political arena.


Crews take bore samples  

The village hired a crew to take bore sample from behind the Champlain Canal wall on North Williams Streetas they try determine the extent of erosion. The wall has slowly been falling toward the canal and a portion of the sidewalk above the wall had to be closed. Although the wall isn’t in immediate danger of collapsing, officials seek to be proactive and learn to what extent repairs will be needed.


Aug. 25


Movement on grocery store

Representatives from the New York State Healthy Food and Healthy Communities Fund, a financing program that helps facilitate the development of food markets in under-served communities, has designated Whitehall as a town that qualifies for assistance. The group provides assistance in developing grocery stores in areas where they may be needed. Katie Scallon, program manager for Low Income Investment

Fund said the money is available if grocer will commit to a store in Whitehall. Karl Benedikt, whose company, Tower Associates, owns the former Champlain Mills Store on Poultney Street, said they have spoken with several companies but have yet to get any to commit.


Hampton keeps elected official

The Hampton Town Board decided to stick with an elected highway superintendent after hearing from local residents. The town had explored the possibility of changing from an elected superintendent to an appointed superintendent but a number of residents said they disagreed with such a move because it was another right they would lose.


Sept. 1


Irene hits Whitehall

Whitehall emerged from Hurricane Irene relatively unscathed following torrential rains that caused rivers throughout the area to overspill their banks resulting in widespread flooding throughout the region. Although some roads leading into the community were closed Monday morning and several areas in town were under water, local officials were describing Whitehall as lucky after the community avoided the worse brunt of the storm. Some local farmers lost their fall crops and about two dozen basements need to be pumped out but that was about the extent of the damage. Water levels quickly subsided in the following days, although a large amount of debris did wash into the canal. Granville, however, did not fare as well, with homes needing to be evacuated and several bridges closed due to high water.


Music festival debuts

In a first for Whitehall, Mike Lemery from Faith Chapel Assembly of God, organizes a Christian Music Festival, dubbed “It’s All About Jesus Fest.” The festival features several Christian rock bands and Lemery expresses the hope that the event will become an annual tradition. The festival, which is held at the Skenesborough Park attracts about a 100 people.


Sept. 8


Aubuchon closes

Aubuchon Hardware abruptly shut its door on Sept. 6 after 35 years of business in Whitehall. Officials with the company announced they were closing because of declining sales, describing the store as “marginal.” The announcement caught employees off guard and shortly after learning of the closure employees papered off the windows and began packing up inventory. All the employees were offered jobs elsewhere but many described it as another blow to the community.

Debris released into lake

A large amount of debris, including several dozen large straw bales that washed into the canal and against lock 12, were released into Lake Champlain after the Canal Corp feared the debris could damage canal infrastructure. The decision did not sit well with marina owner Ray Faville whose docks were struck by some of the debris. A spokesperson with the Canal Corp. said the debris was not their property and ended up in the lake so therefore was not their responsibility to clean up. However, several days later they changed course and did remove what remained of the debris.


School officials react to scores

Whitehall elementary principal David St. Germain said he was not happy with NYS English and Math assessment tests. Nearly a quarter of last year’s third grade class did not meet the minimum standards on the state exams. He said the scores were partially the result of changes in the format of the tests but also said officials have made instructional changes and test scores should improve next year.


Sept. 15


Democrats pick candidates

The Whitehall Democratic Party held their caucus for the fall elections incumbent town clerk Elaine Jones and councilman James Putorti are chosen to seek reelection. Robert Juckett and Bob Putorti Sr. were also selected to run but each bowed out before the election. The democrats failed to select a candidate to run against George Armstrong for town Supervisor.


Firefighter honored

The community of Whitehall honored their own heroes doing a Blue Mass on Sept. 10 at Our Lady of Hope. A number of civic groups show up to pay homage to the firefighters who helped save a man’s life during a May fire on Broadway. Chief Bryan Brooks, Captain Thomas Rock, and firefighters Leon Gordon, Philip McKee (all of the WVFC) and Scott Rozell (SVFC) all received medals of Honor and Second Lieutenant Scott Wescott (WVFC) and firefighter Adam Mickel (SVFC) were awarded the Silver Lifesaving Medal.


Sept. 22


Armory sold

Gregory Gross, an Orange County businessman and entrepreneur who owns an historic ski lodge in Vermont and property on Gray Lane along the Mettowee River secured the winning bid for the Whitehall Armory. His bid of $165,000 beat out six other registered bidders. Gross, who worked in the insurance industry for 30 years and splits his time between -Tuxedo Park and Killington, Vt., said he hopes to transform the building into an athletic club and club house to complement his links style golf course on Gray Lane. Renovations to the building are expected to begin early next year.


Whitehall featured on site

Whitehall will be well represented on a Lakes to Locks and National Geographic co-branded website that will be unveiled next week in Glens Falls. The interactive site, which aims to promote Geotourism in the region that represents the Lakes to Locks corridor, features more than ten contributions from Whitehall, including historical, cultural, recreational and commercial attractions. The site will be multi-layered with an interactive map powered by Google and will have unlimited room for text, images, audio, video and pdf’s. It will also have a number of interactive social media functions, including the ability to rate, comment and share the site with other people in your personal network of friends. Local attractions that

on the site when are Smokin’ on the Water restaurant, Finch and Chubb restaurant, the Skenesborough Museum, Lock 12, the Skene Manor, the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce and the USS Ticonderoga.


Local man sentenced

A local man who illegally entered his ex-wife’s home and beat her until she was unconscious will spend up to 14 years in prison. Ruben Morales Lopez, 33, pleaded guilty to first degree burglary in the May 30 incident on Route 4. He will serve between 10 and 14 years in prison with two and a half to five years on parole.


Sept. 29


Finch and Chubb, marina to close

A pair of floods, gas prices that refuse to come down substantially, and the continuation of a depressed economy appear to have delivered the final blow to another Whitehall business. Ray Faville, owner of Lock 12 Marina and Finch and Chubb Restaurant, said that he and his wife Linda were closing their doors on Oct. 15 and that both the restaurant and the marina would not be reopening in the spring. “It’s all those factors together. The bottom line is I’m in business to make money and I haven’t been doing much of that the last three years,” Faville said.


Bridge Theater may be torn down

The Clinton Street Bridge and the theater that rests upon its trusses may be removed next spring after the village declined to take responsibility for the structure. The village was given the opportunity last month to

 assume all responsibilities for the bridge, including ownership and maintenance of the 100 year old structure but declined given the financial commitment that would be necessary to repair the span. A  spokesman for The New York State Department of Transportation said the department is working with key stakeholders to determine what to do with the bridge and didn’t rule out its removal, but said a timeline had not yet been established.


Main Street property renovations

Erika Foy and Neil Vaughn Vaughn, owners of Brown Dog Auction Company and State Line Flea Market, spent the several months painstakingly rehabilitating and renovating the former Skenesborough Garden Florist at 114 Main Street. Their stated goal is to return the building to its original splendor. “We want the building to look like it in did in 1866,” Vaughn said. “We’ve had to undo 150 years of alterations to the building to get it there.” Although the project isn’t complete, the couple made a great deal of progress and has held several auctions in the building over the subsequent months.


Oct. 6


Village passes garbage law

The village board unanimously approved a new law regarding the disposal of garbage. The law, which was discussed and revised several times, had three main components: it clearly defines what garbage is and it lays out the duties of property owners. Those who violate the law could face a fine of up to $250 and imprisonment of up to 15 days. Several residents praised the law and said it was important step in cleaning up Whitehall.


Auditorium roof complete

The first phase of a two phase construction project that will result in the complete renovation of the Whitehall High School auditorium was completed in early Oct. Work began in Sept. 19 and despite some wet weather, crews managed to complete work to the roof. The second phase of the project, the renovation of the auditorium will begin in Feb.


Water main work done

The village of Whitehall ordered several “boil water notices” as crews completed the installation of a new water main along Broadway. The notices were needed as crews began hooking up homes to the new water main which began in April. The new line improves water pressure along Broadway and provides for better protection in the event of a fire. Crews also replaced sidewalks that were removed earlier in the project.


Oct. 13


Local man charged in assault

Robert A. Elmy, 63, who Champlain Harbor Marina in Whitehall, was charged with second- degree assault. He is accused of assaulting his wife Patricia Elmy in their residence and causing a serious head injury that forced doctors to put her in a medically induced coma.


Bouncy House deflates

Revelers at this year’s Fall Free Festival got more than they bargained for when an inflatable bouncy house deflated on a group of children. The incident occurred near the end of the festival. The bouncy house lost power and began to deflate on more than a dozen children. Citizens were able to remove the kids and other than some frayed nerves, everyone was okay.


Youths get lost, man arrested

Police received a scare on Oct. 10 when five youth became lost in the woods off of School Street. Police were dispatched to the area around 7 p.m. and tracked one of the youth’s cell phone coordinates with a GPS to locate them. Travis C. Edmonds, 18, one of the youths who was lost, was arrested and charged with Second Degree Criminal Contempt, a misdemeanor, after police found him in the company of a subject who had an order of protection against him.


Family revives breakfast

The family of Janice Oliver revived Whitehall Elks 1491 Monthly breakfast. Oliver was instrumental in starting the breakfast, which is held on the fourth Sunday of each month. “After her passing, her family felt it was necessary to memorialize Janice by continuing her fundraising efforts via the monthly breakfast,” lodge esquire Tammy Stevens said. “Her goal was veterans. Everything was always about the veterans.”


Oct. 20


Invasive plant found in South Bay

 A non-native aquatic plant that has the potential to crowd out beneficial plant life and impair recreational pursuits has been found in South Bay. The Department of Environmental Conservation announced in Oct. that more than 20 acres of Variable-leaf watermilfoil was found growing in waters up to 6 feet deep in the southern portion of South Bay. The discovery is the first known concentration of the species on the New York side of Lake Champlain. Beds of the plant can become so dense that they can make swimming, boating and fishing extremely difficult, if not impossible. Eradication efforts have not yet been scheduled but it’s expected a boat launch steward will be present at the boat launch next spring to educate people of the infestation and how they can prevent its spread elsewhere.


Board consider tax-cap override

The town discussed passing a local law that would allow them exceed the two percent tax cap passed by the governor earlier in the year. The law would allow the town to exceed the cap without having to dip into their reserve funds.


LaFlammes to move

LaFlammes announced they will move from their Main Street location to the former site of Aubuchon Hardware. Owner Chris LaFlamme said the move to a larger store would allow the business to carry a greater array of products. A move was expected to occur in Dec. but has yet to happen.


Village settles sewer dispute

The Village Board of Trustees resolved a nearly three-year dispute with local resident Dave Waters, who had to complete work to his mother’s Potter Street home after the village inadvertently cut off the sewer line to his home. The board agreed to pay Waters $792.98 in restitution for repairs Waters completed at the home as a result of work done by the village.


Oct. 27


Route 4 crash snarls traffic

A collision between a car transporter loaded with new vehicles bound for Ross Chevrolet in Whitehall and an out-of-state minivan injured three and tied up traffic for much of the afternoon on Oct. 20 as the crash sent vehicles flying along the shoulder of Route 4. Police say the crash occurred after trailer crossed the center line and traveled well into the opposite lane striking the van when the van’s driver was unable to avoid the collision. The crash occurred directly across the road from the house of Whitehall Times outdoor columnist Gene Terry and his wife Dixie. Despite a few injuries, everyone was expected to make a full recover.


Abbott wins competition

Alexandra Abbott won this year’s Distinguished Young Women program. Marion Gendron, an athlete, national Honor Society member and band member, was the first runner-up. Emily Sweeney, who shares all of those activities with Gendron and also competes in bobsled and skeleton, was first runner-up. 12 seniors participated in this year’s event, the first time it’s been held in Whitehall under the name of Distinguished Young Women. It was previously known as Junior Miss.


Nov. 3


Granville bank robbed

The TD Banknorth branch in Granville is robbed twice within a five day span. A female robbed the bank on Oct. 25 and a male robbed the bank on Oct. 29. In each instance, the suspects entered the bank wearing a hooded sweatshirt, handed the teller a note asking for cash and claiming they had a gun and then left with the money. Law enforcement personnel began to investigate a link between the robberies and two previous incidents at banks in the Rutland region.


Locals  run for coroner

Republican Ruth Scribner and Democrat Mike Putorti are two of seven candidates running for the county coroner’s position. Scribner is running for her second consecutive term while Putorti is running for the first time. Scribner ended up winning reelection but Putorti fell short.


Ferguson wins  title

Sophomore PJ Ferguson wins the Adirondack League Cross Country title on Oct. 27 at Queensbury High School. Ferguson completed the 3.1 mile race in 17:47.35, 19 seconds faster than second place finisher John Ferrone of Lake George. Dan Jardine from Lake George finished third. Ferguson advanced to compete in the Section II Championships in Saratoga on Nov. 4 where he finished seventh.


Good season ends

The Cambridge Indians defeated Whitehall 54-0 in the Class D, Section II semifinal game held in Schuylerville on Oct. 29. The Railroaders had their second consecutive 5-4 season and appear poised to become a successful program for years to come. 


Nov. 10


Bank robbers arrested

Jill Ludwig, 30, and John Maynard, 30, of Castleton are arrested in Hydeville after they robbed the Citizen’s Bank in Poultney on Nov. 2. The couple is targeted as the suspects who robbed a Graville bank twice in Oct. Police suspect the robberies were used to support a heroin habit. A tip by Poultney barber Jeff Roberts helped police apprehend the suspects.


Republicans take office

The GOP swept their way into office on Nov. 8. Julie Millet, Farrell Prefountaine, Stephanie Safka, George Armstrong and Louis Pratt all won election to the town board. Jim Putorti, Elaine Jones, and Robert Carswell all came up short in their bids for office. In Dresden, incumbents, all of whom were running unopposed, were reelected.


Rec Director resigns

The director of the Whitehall Recreation Center resigned following an incident in which a child was struck with a projectile from an air-powered gun. Daniel Welch, 52, of Whitehall was arrested and charged with second -degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. He is accused of shooting a 13- year old child in the buttocks with a projectile from an air-powered rifle on Oct. 25 at the Rec. Center. The parent’s child lodged a formal complaint with Supervisor Richard “Geezer” Gordon following the incident and the matter was handed over to the Whitehall Police Department. After receiving the complaint, Gordon gave Welch the option of being suspended without pay or resigning. Welch chose to resign. Welch was arraigned and ordered to appear in court at a later date.


Elmy indicted

Robert A. Elmy, was indicted on four felony charges, including two counts of second-degree assault, unlawful imprisonment, and coercion after he was accused of beating his wife. A Washington County grand jury added the additional assault charge accusing him of “intentionally causing the victim to suffer a stupor, unconsciousness or other physical impairment by administering to her without her consent, drugs and alcohol.” He is set to appear in court on Jan. 20.


Nov. 17


Town rejects LaFlamme’s move

The town board voted against moving into the LaFlamme’s building. The town had considered the move after Stan and Brenda Woodruff, the owners of the building, had told town officials they could rent the building for $1,000 a month or purchase it outright for $120,000. The town rejected the move because of fears the building was not handicap accessible.


SVFC may still dissolve

Despite voting against dissolution of their fire department, members of the Skenesborough Volunteer Fire Company say they will most likely have to dissolve anyways. After several months of weighing their options, the department voted Oct. 27 on dissolving, but the vote failed 7-6.However, acting chief Jeff Benjamin said he felt the department would eventually dissolve anyways.


Three killed in crash

A fiery early morning crash near the state border claimed three lives Nov. 14 as a car that left the road burned after striking a bridge abutment. Of the four people in the vehicle, three were pronounced dead shortly after the 12:30 a.m. crash and a fourth succumbed to injuries at Fletcher Allen Hospital in Burlington. All four victims were from Brooklyn.


Nov. 24


Budget increases 10 percent

The town board unanimously approved its 2012 fiscal budget during a special meeting on Nov. 16 and homeowners can expect to pay a little more when they receive their tax bills next year. The nearly $1 million budget calls for a 10.02 percent increase in the tax rate, meaning local property owners could expect to pay around $50 more on a property assessed at a $100,000 than they did last year. Budget officer Kathy Jones said the primary reasons for the increase was the cost of the state retirement system.


County slashes heating fund

Washington County Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) officials said residents could expect a steep cut in heating assistance programs this year. They said the federal government reduced the state’s HEAP allotment from $93 million to $52 million. The cut means the maximum an individual could receive is $200 less than what it was last year. According to the Campaign for Home Energy Assistance 1.3 million New Yorkers received some benefits from this program last year alone.


Dec. 1


Groups get large gifts

Six local non-profit organizations were the benefactors of a generous posthumous gift left by a former graduate of Whitehall High School. Ed Scott, a former resident of Whitehall and a 1954 graduate of Whitehall High, donated over $822,000 to six non-profit organizations within the community. Recognizing the difficult economic times which lie ahead, Scott established an IRA to fund six organizations of his choosing after he passed away and during the past two months, distributions from this account were made to the following organizations: the Whitehall Historical Society ($164,580), the Skene Manor ($205,725), the Whitehall Free Library ($164,580), the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company ($41,145), the Skenesborough Emergency Squad ($41,145) and Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church ($82,290). Members of each organization expressed the gratitude and pledged to put the money to good use.


Baptie accepts plea deal

Mary Baptie, who was accused of aggravated vehicular homicide in a fatal crash earlier this spring in Hampton, accepted a plea deal earlier this month and will be sentenced sentenced to 3½ to 10½ years in prison. Baptie was allegedly drunk when she was involved in a May 29 crash on Route 4 near the New York Vermont state line that killed Richard Stack, 64, of Rutland, Vt.


Village website up and running

The Village of Whitehall, led by trustee Marge Mohn, unveiled a municipal website last month that provides information and direct links to organizations within the community. The project, which has been several months in the making, helps move Whitehall into the 21st century and is a clearinghouse for community-related information. You can visit the website at


Dec. 8


Clemons PO  to close

After months of speculation, the U.S. Postal Service has confirmed that the Clemons Post Office will close. The US Postal Service initially announced that the post office would close after business on Jan. 6 but that date was pushed back to May 15 after a group of US Senators asked the agency to delay the closing for several months.


Toys for Tots draws crowd

Around 210 children showed earlier this month for the annual Toys for Tots Train. Local coordinator Jim Lafayette said he had expected about 160 kids but a number of kids from other communities were sent to Whitehall after they missed the deadlines in their own towns. Undaunted, volunteer’s collected extra toys at the last minute and every child went home with two toys and a smile on their face.


Gibson to visit

Rep. Chris Gibson will host a Town Hall meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2012 at the

Whitehall High School auditorium. Rep. Gibson will deliver a presentation and then open up the floor to questions from those in attendance. Senator Betty Little and Assemblyman Tony Jordon have also been invited to attend.


County passes budget

The Washington County Board of Supervisors passed a $113.8 million budget, which includes a 1.176 percent tax increase. Supervisors used almost $7 million from the county’s various fund balances to keep the increase under the state-mandated two-percent cap. Without the fund-balance transfers, the tax increase would have been 25.9 percent.


Bascue named to team;

Sweeney does well

Codie Bascue was officially selected to represent the United States at the Youth Olympic Games next month in Austria. The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation formally announced its roster earlier this month and Bascue was one of five athletes named to the team. He will team with Jake Peterson at the game Jan. 13-22. Bascue has enjoyed a great season, winning every youth qualifying race and as well a number of medals in the America’s Cup races. He is expected to compete for a spot on the podium next month.

Ryan Sweeney, a Hampton resident, has also enjoyed a stellar season competing in the Skeleton against international competition for the first time. He has several top 10 finishes.


Dec. 15


Rail line receives grant

A section of rail line in Whitehall, which has been abandoned for three decades, will be replaced thanks to a grant of more than $1 million from the New York Capital Region Economic Development Council. Dave Wulfson, president of Vermont Rail System, said the money will be used to replace a section of track and cut down on time it takes to pass through Whitehall.


Water gauges to be shut off

Two flood gauges which served as early-warning systems during this year’s heavy flooding will be turned off in -March, because there is no more funding available for them. The gauges are located on the Mettawee River in Granville and on Lake Champlain, a few miles north of Whitehall. Bill Cook, Washington County Director of Public Safety, said his department relied heavily on those gauges during both of this year’s flooding events and described the decision to turn them off as “crazy.”


Dec. 22


Skenesborough dissolves

The Skenesborough Volunteer Fire Company have decided to dissolve. Although they had previously voted against doing so, members changed their minds with no solution to the problems they faced-declining membership and insufficient funds. Although details have yet to ironed yet, its expected most of the company’s operations will be absorbed by the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company.



Troy Shirt Factory grant

Whitehall was the recent recipient of a $50,000 grant that will help cover some of the cost of cleanup efforts at the Troy Shirt Factory. The funding, which is nearly two years in the making, will be used to recoup a portion of the approximately $87,000 that has already been spent cleaning up environmental contaminants at the site.