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G’town looks to trees to measure human history


GERMANTOWN—Reviewing the proceedings of the July 18 Town Board meeting might expand some readers’ vocabulary.

The board approved the spending of up to $3,500 from the Parsonage Account (not from the town budget) for a dendrochronology report. Dendrochronology is the scientific dating of tree rings (growth rings).

The First Reformed Church Parsonage at 52 Maple Avenue dates to “around 1743,” according to the town’s website ( It is the town’s oldest building. Parts of the parsonage appear to have been constructed during different periods, Supervisor Joel Craig said after the meeting; ascertaining the exact age of nearby trees will help date the building.

The Parsonage houses a growing number of historical artifact displays, the results of an archeology dig just outside the building under the supervision of Christopher Lindner, a professor in the Bard College Anthropology Program. The building is home to the Germantown History Department and is open to the public on Saturdays.

Saturday, July 29 the Parsonage holds an Open House from noon to 1 p.m. at which Dr. Lindner will lead a tour of the dig site. At 4 p.m. he will update the status of the ongoing dig, at the Germantown Library, 31 Palatine Park Road. The rain date is July 30 at the same times.

On other business, the board:

• Announced a presentation from ReCultivateNY Sunday, July 30 at 4 p.m. in Town Hall, 50 Palatine Park Road. ReCultivateNY, based in Tarrytown, provides an avenue between commercial generators of food waste, such as restaurants and farms, including Field Apothecary and Herb Farm in Germantown, that can use the waste as compost, to amend the soil. A video about the organization can be viewed at

• Approved a Columbia County MIS shared services agreement. Management information system (MIS) refers to the processing of information through computers and other intelligent devices to manage and support managerial decisions within an organization, according to Wikipedia. In this instance, said Mr. Craig, the agreement allows the town “to have county computer people work on our computers.” The cost is $50 an hour, which is less than what some private services charge, he said, and consensus was to have the agreement in place

• Approved an agreement with Fiscal Advisors & Marketing, based in Syracuse with an office in Mechanicville, for financial advice regarding the issuance of bonds for the renovation of the wastewater treatment plant. Bond counsel Christine Chale recommended the town hire a financial advisor, Mr. Craig said Tuesday

• Agreed to sponsor Daniel Rifenburgh to the New York State Police Training Academy in Albany. Mr. Craig described Mr. Rifenburgh as a “young man from community” who had been a police officer in Florida. Having returned to Germantown, Mr. Rifenburgh must now be trained in New York State in order to serve with the Germantown Police Department

• Noted that the Camp Palatine Funraiser takes place today, Thursday, July 27 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Tousey Winery, 1774 Route 9

• During the public comment period heard Ellen Jouret-Epstein ask if the board is planning another public hearing on the proposed commercial venues law.

“Assuming we make revisions,” Mr. Craig said Tuesday, “we will hold another public hearing. We’ve gathered some comments,” he said, “and will revisit the proposal in a couple of months”

• Heard another resident complain about landscapers parking on sidewalks. Mr. Craig said Tuesday that the town would follow up on that.

Board members Brittany DuFresne and Andrea Foley were absent from the meeting. The next Town Board meeting is Tuesday, August 15 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

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