GNH Lumber February 2024

Ancram faces question: Swarm enough for you?

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ANCRAM–The bees came back.

Probably not the same bees, but other bees, a bunch of them, swooped into the old Borden Milk Factory, now the Town Highway Department’s new salt/sand storage facility, July 18.

Taffy Blass, a member of the Highway Department staff told the Town Board at its July 19 meeting that the crew was putting up new road name signs. They opened the door to the salt/sand shed while they carried the signs out and left it open when they went to install the signs. They returned to discover “a big swarm” of bees had moved in.

The highway crew started converting and renovating the old milk factory into a sand/salt storage building last summer. The building is now complete with a new roof and siding to match the renovated and expanded highway garage.

While they were working on the salt shed last August, the resident bees, 80,000 of them, apparently didn’t appreciate the improvements and got a bit antsy. For the safety of both his crew and the bugs, Highway Superintendent James MacArthur called in Kenny VanKeuren, a budding beekeeper, who had to cut open the concrete floor and take off some exterior siding to get at the bees and suck them up in his “Bee Vac.” The two colonies had been conducting their buzziness in the old milk factory for a number of years before Mr. VanKeuren successfully removed them to some new hives in West Copake.

With the recent invasion, Mr. MacArthur wasted no time in calling in “the bee guy” again, who came just three days after the bees’ arrival. The “thousands of bees” had made their way inside an interior wall through a couple holes and had started building a honeycomb, which was already about 12″ by 18″. “They work pretty fast,” Mr. MacArthur noted.

Asked what keeps attracting the bees, the highway boss guessed, his sweet personality.

In other business, the board:

*Talked about coming up with a Road Dirt Policy. The dirt in question is the stuff that the highway crew scrapes from along roadsides. Apparently some people want it and some don’t. Those who want it can’t get it and those that don’t want it find it deposited on their property, according to at least one resident. Councilman Hugh Clark said the town should make it known to everyone that the dirt is available so those who want it can get it

*Heard from Ancram Fire Chief David Boice that there is a statewide ban on outdoor open burning in effect until October 10. He said the new fire truck is scheduled to be delivered the last week in August and sometime thereafter an official “wet down” will take place

*Appointed Colleen Lutz as the new clerk for the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals. Former clerk Naomi Davies resigned. Mrs. Lutz was a Planning Board member. The Town Board appointed Erin Robertson to replace Mrs. Lutz. Ms. Robertson was an alternate member of the Planning Board, now that position is vacant

*Passed Local Law #1 of 2012, a revision of the Town’s Telecommunications Tower Law, which incorporates tower setbacks of 500 feet from habitable structures; 1.5 times the tower height from property lines, watercourses, wildlife habitats, historic sites, and at least the tower height from accessory structures that are not lived in

*Will conduct a public hearing on the third package of proposed zoning revisions, Monday, August 13 at 7 p.m.

*Will conduct its next regular meeting August 16 at 7 p.m.

To contact Diane Valden email dvalden@columbiapaper.com.

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