Thursday, August 11, 2011


Helderberg Hilltowns Association Meeting Notes 08 08 2011
Attending: Rick Blysma, Vicki Blysma, John Elberfeld, Zenie Gladieux, Barb Husek, Dawn Jordan, Bonnie Kohl, Leonard
Loeb, Jack Milner, Amy Pokorny, Dotty Verch, Anna Wolfe
The meeting convened at the Red Baron at Lake Onderdonk at 7:00 PM.
  • Hosts Rick and Vicki gave us a tour of their facility. Rick grew up spending summers there. They bought it 6 years ago after
they heard it was slated for demolition. They have 5,000 square feet on the first floor (with downstairs entrance accessible to pickup trucks) and 3,500 square feet in the large room on the second floor (parking lot level). They hope to make it available to the public for events, workspace, farmers’ markets, and a community kitchen/cannery. They welcome other ideas. It offers opportunities for ice skating, swimming and water sports, fishing, snowmobiling. The operation needs to be sustainable; must generate income. They hope to run a coffee house to create a community gathering place. Fred and Carolyn Wellington’s might be a model to consider. It could be used by HHA for various fund raising activities. It is centrally located in the Hilltowns, and it could serve many constituencies, including farmers, community locals, and service organizations. It was built in 1920 and operated as the DeWitt Casino. It had bath houses in the area behind the parking lot, and an ice house across the road. It had a four lane bowling alley on the first floor. Later it became the Red Baron. Bonnie gave her assessment of the work and materials needed and associated costs. Rick and Vicki are working to convince the Westerlo Town Board of the merit of their vision for the building and grounds.
  • Farm tour: - Around 28 people signed up by the deadline of August 6, and a few more may be getting their forms in soon.
  • Publicity: John demonstrated the website support he has developed, including the full schedule for both days, pages for each farm or artisan, an icon for access to a tour map, and Google access to maps for each location. John reviewed the publicity resources on the website, including logos and the NOFA Locavore information. He provided posters and 1/3 page handouts for members to distribute. Suggested assignments for posters:
o Delmar – Zenie
o Guilderland - Anna
o Knox - Amy
o Rensselaerville – Barb
o Voorheesville - Amy
.Other locations are available. John will make more 1/3 cuts for Sarah’s farmers to include in deliveries. Some will be distributed to farmer’s markets – Delmar, Voorheesville, Schenectady.
· We need to ask Hal Miller and Sarah Gordon to send notices to their email distributions.
· Barb brought laminated samples of the HHA logo, with slight changes to indicate HHA membership.
  • Promotional Strategies:
· Our goal is to attract over 200 visitors.
· Dawn will work on a new press release directed to patrons of the event.
· We can develop a news story and send a release or invite reporters from Times Union, Gazette, Enterprise,
  • Metroland, TV stations.
· We can request an interview on WAMC’s Roundtable program.
· Dawn will contact Albany County Visitor’s Bureau.
· Zenie will email Jane with a list of special services. We can contact senior housing and senior services organizations.
· Zenie and her mom will compose sample tour suggestions.
· We’ll encourage patrons to carpool.
  • Signs:
· Signs will be put up along roads on September 4 and removed on September 12.
· Sign painting party will be scheduled sometime around August 20 or so. Rick offered space at the Red Baron.
  • Maps:
· Amy will design paper maps. They will be 11 x 17 inches, two sides, folded in quarters.
· Dawn will make up the descriptions of each destination on the map.
· We will have 500 black and white copies of maps made. Rick and Vicki can help with costs.
· Numbers could be used to correlate roadside signs with map notations.
· Maps will indicate rest rooms and family friendly destinations.
  • · Partnerships and sponsorships will be included on maps; e.g. NOFA Locavore Challenge, Zenie, John and Jane, etc.
  • Insurance:
· Anna is researching liability insurance, is waiting to hear back from Clickman. Will check with Stafford Ins. Co. and Marshall and Sterling in Leeds (800-724-0695).
· We will ask another organization (Huyck Preserve? Kiwanis?) to sponsor the event so we can buy insurance through them.
The meeting closed at 8:50 PM.
Next meeting will be held in Medusa at the Medusa General Store at 7 PM on Monday, August 29.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


The next meeting place for HHA on Monday night Aug. 8 at 7pm at the former Red Baron on Lake Road off County Route 1 on the north end of Lake Onderdonk in Westerlo.

Our reason for visiting this location is that it has been offered as a site for a community cannery. Owners Rich and Vickie Bylsma have some other ideas that could work with ours as well – such as a permanent farmers’ market with cool cellar for self-serve items, and a couple of ideas that could allow us to earn a little income to support our activities.

Also on the agenda will be a discussion of the so-called Dark Skies initiative, updates on the website, and, of course, reports and plans for the Farmers and Artisans Tour (known to the cognoscenti as FAT) which is galloping along due to the efforts of Jane and her crew.

I’m hoping you can make it. If you know you are coming please respond back to me, so Vickie will know about how many tables to set up. Thanks. Zenie Gladieux