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Chatham is 3rd board to embrace no-hate-here law

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CHATHAM—The Chatham Town Board passed a Resolution Against Hate at the last regular board meeting of 2021, December 16. The resolution is the same one adopted by the County Board of Supervisors and the Town of New Lebanon.

Councilman Kevin Weldon brought the resolution to the board and read the wording during the online meeting. The resolution starts by saying “whereas recently as a nation we have witnessed record high violence based upon a person’s religion, race, gender identities, sexual orientation, nationalities, economic status and political affiliation” and concludes that the Town Board “reaffirms our commitment to a status of inclusion for all races, religions, nationalities, gender identities, sexual orientations, economic statuses and political affiliations… and on behalf of all residents of the Town of Chatham, we maintain our position that violence of any kind is unacceptable and condemn any act of aggression, hostility or violence against any member of our community based…” on the criteria listed above.

The County Board of Supervisors adopted the Resolution Against Hate in July and the Town of New Lebanon adopted the resolution in May. The Chatham Town Board voted unanimously for this resolution.

“Beautiful,” said Councilwoman Abi Mesick at the Chatham Town Board meeting.

Councilman John Wapner said that it was timely since the Chatham Central School District just sent out an email about a threat of a day of violence at schools going around social media. The email from Chatham Superintendent Sal DeAngelo says he “wanted to address a generalized threat that is circulating nationally on social media claiming violence may take place at schools across the country on December 17. I want to make clear that we have looked into the matter and are not aware of any threat that has been made specific to Chatham Central Schools.” A similar email was also sent out by Ichabod Crane School Superintendent Suzanne Guntlow.

The email from the Chatham School District, posted on the district’s website, says, “The safety of our students and staff is our priority and we take all threats of violence seriously.” The officials are working with law enforcement and the district has a school resource deputy. “We also ask that our families continue to share any information you might have about potential threats to our students, staff, or schools.”

December 16 was also the last regular Town Board meeting for Mr. Weldon and Mr. Wapner. Neither ran for reelection this year. Mr. Weldon has served on the board for four years and was very involved with the Climate Smart Task Force and the town Recreation Committee. Mr. Wapner, who was appointed to the board in early 2015 and was elected in 2017, also was involved in the Recreation Committee and upgrades at Crellin Park and working with the Morris Memorial to find a new home for the Morris’s recreation program.


‘The safety of our students and staff is our priority and we take all threats of violence seriously.’

Supt. Sal DeAngelo

Chatham Central School District

Posted online at chathamcentralschools.com


Town Supervisor Donal Collins thanked them both and said he appreciated all their work pointing out, “We got the town through an early part of a pandemic.”

New board members Destiny Hallenbeck and Rick Werwaiss, who both ran on the Democratic ballot lines, will be sworn in in January.

The board also interviewed candidates in October to replace Councilwoman Mesick. At the September meeting, Ms. Mesick reported that she was considering resigning from the Town Board and moving to Virginia for health reasons. According to the minutes from the September 16 meeting, she did not formally resign but said “she wants the board to begin looking for someone to replace her.” A motion was made by Supervisor Collins, seconded by Ms. Mesick, to begin the search for her replacement. The minutes say that Town Attorney Tal Rappleyea added that there had to be a vacancy in order to make an appointment. So far, Councilwoman Mesick has not resigned.

Also at the board meeting:

• Resident Wendy Conway spoke about concerns with the Albany Turnpike Bridge traffic light project. Ms. Conway said that residents are “in the dark about what’s going on” with the new traffic lights being put in at the one-way bridge off of state Route 295 in East Chatham crossing into Old Chatham. She said that residents wanted to talk to the engineer about the project.

Supervisor Collins answered many of the questions that he received from residents, saying the traffic light should go in next week and he has asked that the state put in temporary markings on Route 295 for a turn lane. He said as an elected official he would be the go-between with the engineer and residents. Councilman Wapner urged the board to form a committee with East Chatham residents and board members to deal with the project

• The board will host another public hearing on the local law “opting out of licensing and establishing on-site cannabis consumption establishments within the town.” Board members voted to pass the law last month but needed to follow that vote with a resolution in the town’s official newspapers 10 days after the vote. So they will hold a public hearing again and will again vote on the proposed law on December 28 at 5 p.m. This will also be an online meeting. Information will be at www.chathamnewyork.us

The next regular Town Board meeting will be January 20 at 6:30 p.m. There will be an organization meeting January 3 at 6:30 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email eteasdale@columbiapaper.com

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