Wednesday, March 9, 2011



Report of February meeting - 03/07/11. Called to order 7:15 p.m. by Zenie at Rensselaerville Library, Rensselaerville, NY. Present: Zenie Gladieux, John Elberfeld, Jane McLean, Gerry Chartier, Jessica Duval, Barb Husek,Jack Milner
HELDEBERG MARKET: Sarah Gordon reported via email: recent week was the best week ever; products include produce, meats, eggs, and breads at 
CONTRACT GROWING: Bonnie Kohl reported via email: she met recently with Tom Gallagher, Ralph Douty, and her husband to review last season. She is seeking 25-35 farmers who want to be part of the group for the coming season. For more information, contact Bonnie at 797-3959 or
DUDLEY OBSERVATORY: Ron Barnell, Dudley Observatory Site Committee, reported via email: Dudley is looking at a site in Knox for their observatory, although their offices will continue to be off-hill. Ron has asked to attend April meeting to discuss plans, including rural land initiative and diminishing light pollution in the Hilltowns.
  • John has added info on how to do publicity for Hilltown events, including a comprehensive list of organizations to contact in various media complete with phone numbers and email addresses.
  • Gerry brought to our attention the educational program Division of Soil and Water is offering on how to work with the media, 9:00-4:00 on 03/24, at the Cooperative Extension center in Voorheesville. The program is free and designed for farmers and people in farm support organizations. It is an interactive, hands-on program: how to present positive benefits of agriculture to media, taught by professionals. Call Barbara Silvestri in Ag&Markets to register.
MISSION STATEMENT: Adopted: The Helderberg Hilltowns Association (HHA) consists of neighbors from Berne, Knox, Rensselaerville, and Westerlo working together to help preserve and promote local farms, businesses, and organizations. HHA is committed to:
- developing a unified Hilltown presence
- cultivating a vibrant local economy
- safeguarding our rural culture and heritage
- encouraging stewardship of our agricultural lands, forests, and open spaces.
ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE FOR 2011: After some discussion, it was decided to continue with steering committee format, rather than electing officers, at least for the present. The Chairs ofthe various areas of activities will form the steering committee. As special projects are undertaken, members of those committees can join steering committee on a temporary basis.
POTENTIAL AREAS OF INTEREST: At the meeting of 5/18/10, part of the meeting involved breaking the attendees into groups and asking each group to develop ideas for projects that might benefit their group. During subsequent meetings other ideas were added to the lists as well. Zenie passed out the original ideas; a copy is appended to the minutes.
Zenie has realigned these initial ideas into proposed areas of interest; a copy of that document is also attached to the minutes. During the ensuing discussion, other ideas were brought up, including:
- kiosks for maps/tours
- adding recipe exchange to website
- town-wide garage sales: Rensselaerville in May, Berne July or August?
- helping historical societies and/or libraries share resources
- each area committee set up two activities to be completed by 12/31?
- need improved communication to town governments about what HHA is doing
- how can we coordinate town activities?
- keep youth [middle-high schoolers] in mind, geocaching, clubs at school
- beekeeping class
- Dutch Barns
- energy tour: can HHA help Helderberg Community Energy during energy fest in April?
The “areas” of interest (subject to revision or change at this point) are:
- Hilltowns Community Support
- Agriculture
- Hospitality
- Services
- Tourism
- Recreation: Gerry will continue to work on trail project with trail committee
- Historical: John and Jane will chair this committee
- Cultural
- Classes
Volunteers to chair any of these other areas will be gratefully accepted.
  • 03/28: Knox: Monday, March 28, 2011, 7:00p-9:00p  Place TBA - Presentation by Dudley Observatory - Contact Zenie Gladieux at (518) 894-8589 for more info. 
  • 04/18: Westerlo: Jack will find place
  • 05/09: Rensselaerville: Barb will find place
Respectfully submitted, Jane McLean

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