By Jaime Thomas
An opening for a town historian in Granville came at a perfect time for Lee Tugas.
Tugas, who is retiring at the end of this school year from Whitehall Central School after teaching English for 30 years, was looking for a way to stay active.
So he applied for the position of town historian, and as the only applicant to submit his paperwork on time, was voted in Thursday night effective July 1.
“I’ve lived here nearly 30 years, and I’ve always had a lot of questions about the place and never had the time to look into them,” Tugas said on Friday. One of his curiosities, for example, is how Granville was able to build many big, Victorian homes years ago.
“There’s a story there. This is a way of finding out why things are and why they look the way they do,” he said of his new job. Compared to other villages throughout the county, which Tugas and his wife frequent for garage sales, he thinks Granville is holding up very well. He also thinks his job will be a way of giving back to the community.
As far as his primary duties, Tugas said he will be working on organizing pertinent and historical documents.
“Matt Hicks told me they have a lot of material, but they need to get it centralized again. So I hope to get it centralized,” he said.
Hicks, in turn, said he picked Tugas out of two applicants and is pleased with his choice.
“I think he’s going to do a good job. I look forward to working with him,” he said, adding that the previous town historian, Edith Sparling, will meet with Tugas later this month to help familiarize him with his duties.
Tugas said he knows a lot about history and he reads a lot of history material, but he is looking forward to learning more about local times gone by.
“Those world histories can be serious and grim; local history, in contrast, is positive history. People are growing, building things and doing things,” he said. And he thinks it is especially important for Granville residents to know their history so they can protect it.
“By having an awareness of our history and all these good things we’ve done, we can preserve all those good things we’ve done,” he said.
Also during the meeting the board voted to allow Highway Superintendent John Tanner to renew the town’s contract with Washington County to receive $4,755 to mow county roads.
Hicks also announced that Chanleigh Casey, a former counselor, will be the new director of the town’s summer recreation program. He said the program, which is funded primarily by the town and also in part by the state and the county, will run the same as it has in previous years. It starts on July 8 and runs for six weeks at the elementary school weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Ecumenical Council will provide food for those who need it, and for the first time this year, the Cornell Cooperative Extension will come once a week to do a program about food, fitness and health with the children.
At next month’s meeting on July 11, there will be a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. about updated subdivision regulations the town board has recently tweaked. The regular meeting starts at 7 p.m.