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Fire levels garden shed/workshop at Camphill Village


W. COPAKE–A large, three-bay garden shed on Camphill Village Road at Camphill Village was destroyed by a blaze that broke out in the early morning hours Sunday, February 6.

Camphill Village is a 600-acre residential community for people with developmental disabilities, Camphill staff members and their families. It is the oldest and largest Camphill facility in North America and was founded in 1961.


The fire alarm went out to Copake firefighters at 3:05 a.m. The blaze was reported by a Camphill resident on Willow Lane. Mutual aid with tankers and manpower was summoned from Craryville, Taghkanic, Hillsdale and Ancram.

The 60- by 30-foot building, a wood-framed pole barn with a metal roof and walls, contained gardening tools and equipment, a medium-sized tractor and two small chest freezers, according to Copake Fire Chief John DeRocha.

The structure was fully-involved in flames when firefighters arrived. Due to high snow banks, access was difficult and the icy road was made more treacherous by the water being applied to the fire, said the chief.

A tanker shuttle was set up to haul water to the scene from a dry hydrant in the hamlet, about three miles away, Chief DeRocha said .

The blaze was reported knocked down and firefighters were overhauling at 4:45 a.m., according to information from County 911.

Though one report from the scene indicated three firefighters fell and were hurt due to the slippery conditions, Chief DeRocha said no injuries were reported to him.

The county Cause and Origin Team was also called in, but was unavailable, said the chief. Investigators from the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC) were on the scene along with Bill Hunt from the County Fire Coordinators Office. The cause of the blaze has not yet been determined, but investigators are confident it is not suspicious, the chief said.

About 40 firefighters battled the blaze. An assistant Copake chief and OFPC officials remained on the fire scene into the afternoon.

In a press release from Camphill Head Gardener Peter Brady said, “The garden shed cost $40,000 to build in 2004-2005 and housed three tractors, four freezers, and many small shop tools and hand tools. We lost a two-month supply of biodynamic beef and pork that we raised on our farm with a value of $10,950.”

Camphill Village operates a biodynamic farm which grows almost all the fresh vegetables for its community of 240 people including 103 adults with developmental disabilities who enjoy the benefits of healthy food and working in gardens or in a greenhouse.

Twenty people are employed in the gardens year-round and its produce is shared on a weekly basis. There are also approximately 20 people from the local region who are shareholders of Camphill Village’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), said the release.

“We are working with our insurance company fairly quickly because we need to rebuild, replace the food we lost, and be ready for tilling our fields,” Executive Director Richard Neal said in the release.

“We ask that anyone who’d like to help support the effort to rebuild, please send contributions to Camphill Village USA, 84 Camphill Road, Copake 12516 or call (518) 329-7924. Camphill Village is a recognized not-for-profit and relies on donations to fund 60% of its operating budget.

Red Hook

Rhinebeck State Police charged a Germantown man with drunk driving in connection with hitting a Bard College student, February 7.

The 20-year-old college student was walking on Annandale Road, which runs through the Bard College Campus, at about 9:30 p.m.

She was walking from one point on campus to another when she was struck by a southbound vehicle.

Troopers say they found that the driver of the 2001 Jeep that hit the student was Robert Brumaghin, 34, of Germantown. He was found to be under the influence of alcohol and was charged with driving while intoxicated. His breath test revealed a blood alcohol content greater than .08%. Mr. Brumaghin was charged with several vehicle and traffic violations in addition to the misdemeanor drunk driving charge.

An Advanced Life Support ambulance took the student to St. Francis Hospital Trauma Center in Poughkeepsie, for treatment.


Kenneth Teague, 27, of Philmont was charged with fourth degree criminal possession of stolen property by Livingston State Police and Philmont Village Police, February 5.

Mr. Teague was allegedly driving a van that was earlier reported stolen from the COARC facility on State Route 217 in Claverack.

He was arraigned in Claverack Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail.


Daniel Josefsberg, 35, of Greenport was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and second degree obstructing governmental administration by Livingston State Police, February 2.

Mr. Josefsberg allegedly walked up and interfered with a traffic stop a trooper was conducting on Fairview Avenue, then refused to get out of the of the roadway. After the trooper told Mr. Josefsberg he was under arrest for disorderly conduct, Mr. Josefsberg allegedly took a swing at the trooper and resisted arrest.

He was eventually taken into custody, arraigned in Greenport Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $1,500 cash bail.


One person was hurt during a crash on County Route 21 at the intersection with Pheasant Lane, February 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Chansoo Lee, 21, of Williamstown, MA, was driving a 2009 Chrysler four door sedan when it struck the support post of a guide rail, causing the car to flip on its roof.

The Greenport Rescue Squad took Mr. Lee to Columbia Memorial Hospital for treatment of a hand injury. No tickets were issued by Deputy William Dunspaugh, who investigated.


The following face drug- and/or alcohol-related charges:

*Danielle Soule, 33, of Great Barrington, MA was charged with driving while intoxicated by Livingston State Police, January 28.

Police pulled her over after they saw her throw a cigarette out the window on State Route 23, Copake. Troopers subsequently found that a passenger in the vehicle, Paul Henry, 33, of Pittsfield, MA, had a quantity of cocaine in his possession. He was charged with fifth degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Ms. Soule was released on tickets.  Mr. Henry was arraigned in Copake Court and sent to the county jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail.

*Ted Gomme, 39, of Hillsdale was charged with driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated and parking on the pavement by Deputies Joshua Oakes and Jeffrey Hofstetter, February 9 at 5:27 p.m. Deputies charged Mr. Gomme as a result of their investigation into a trespass complaint on Church Street in Philmont. Mr. Gomme was released with traffic tickets and directed to appear in Philmont Village Court at a later date.

To contact Diane Valden email

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