GNH Lumber February 2024

Neighborhood group hears how county helps


VALATIE–The Kinderhook Town and Valatie Village Neighborhood Watch recently hosted representatives from the county’s Office for the Aging (OFA) and the Sheriff’s Office to talk about programs the two agencies offer aging members of the community.

The representatives shared handouts with the small group of residents, including Town Board members Pasty Leader and Deb Simonsmeier and Valatie Mayor Diane Argyle, and talked about statistics of crime in the area.

The county sheriff reported to the group attending the June 20 gathering at the Martin H. Glynn Building that the likelihood of someone being a victim of violent crime in the Town of Kinderhook was 1 in over 1,000, but being victim of property crime was 1 in 155. The crime rates in the town are twice as low as the state average, which is low compared to nationwide statistics.

Michelle Ublacker, the assistant administrator at OFA, and Resident Deputy William Dunspaugh, who covers Claverack, the Village of Philmont, Greenport and City of Hudson, talked about the many programs the two agencies offer seniors, from Meals on Wheels to legal services to Senior Safety Net.

Ms. Ublacker also talked about a program for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and children or adults with developmental disabilities, who receive monitors to help responders locate these disabled people if they go missing.

The Senior Safety Net calls seniors in the county daily to make sure they are alright; if, after a third consecutive call scheduled in advance for a specific time every day, is not answered a deputy is sent to the house.

Ms. Ublacker said the OFA, which is funded through the state, runs several volunteer programs, like the local Meals on Wheels. The office also offers home care services, Home Energy Assistance Programs (HEAP), insurance counseling and transportation. She said OFA is always looking for more volunteers, especially with for the meals program.

One resident asked about patrols in the area and raised issues about local parks.

Ms. Simonsmeier said that when crime is down in the area, the meetings are not well attended.

“Winter has been alright, but summer is different,” said Ms. Leader. Both board members urged audience members to call 911 if they see anything suspicious.

“Our manpower has stayed the same but our calls have increased,” said Deputy Dunspaugh. He said that the county is divided into zones–Kinderhook is zone 803–and that the State Police and the Sheriff’s Office cover the same zones, so the first car able to reach the scene of an incident or complaint deals with the situation and the two police forces back each other up.

The resident deputy sheriff for Kinderhook is Deputy Louis Bray, whose office is in the Glynn building and whose community covers the Towns of Stuyvesant and Kinderhook, and the Villages of Kinderhook and Valatie.

Ms. Ublacker said she was happy to answer questions from local seniors about programs. The Office for the Aging headquarters in Hudson can be reached at 518 828-4258.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email



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