By Buffy Calvert

In the first Privilege of the Floor segment of the September Andes Town Board meeting, Matt Sluiter outlined Andes’ insurance options.

Immediately afterwards, Catherine Skalda, of Delaware County Soil & Water’s “Catskill Streams Buffer Initiatives,” took over. She is fiercely protective of native plant life along our brooks and rivers. Several years ago she and some ACS children planted native flowers along the Tremperskill in Ballantine Park. Been there lately? What did you see? Swarms of Japanese knotweed thick along the banks on both sides.picture9

Ms. Skalda is going into battle against this “kudzu of the north” (my phrase). In a vivid, detailed slide show she demonstrated that pulling it up by the roots won’t work for long. The plant harbors nodes on its subsoil rhizomes that fall off when disturbed, cleverly planting new little knotweeds. Reluctantly, Ms. Skalda announced that the Stream Buffer Initiatives would go to work this Fall injecting an herbicide into every knotweed stem in Ballantine Park from the clinic to the waste water treatment plant. She assured an anxious audience member that the treatment is not toxic to pets. She hopes that private owners on the other bank will let her treat their knotweed next year.

Marty Donnelly had alerted her to the problem. Together with Supervisor Gladstone they had inspected the park. Assured that the Town and Friends of Ballantine Park would keep up the maintenance of the stream buffer, she is prepared to use DEP grant funds to attack the noxious weed this year, follow up for the next 2 years and plant new native flowers and herbs along the brook.

In one vigorous stroke this beloved park will be rid of the invasive knotweed, giving natives a chance to flourish.  And all for free!

The Town fathers expressed their appreciation and proceeded to regular business. Supervisor Bud Gladstone reported that the depot committee is planning to use remaining grant money to install a security system and site 25 parking spots between the station and Rail Trail and the neighboring property. He has also hired Dwayne LaFever to scrape down the wretched broken area on each side of the school crosswalk and install new, red, studded mats.

On a bright note he announced that for the first time a wedding will be celebrated in Ballantine Park: Ellen Brett to Josh Brisbane on Saturday, September 17th.

Councilman Tom Joyce reported from the Economic Development Committee that the Andes Business Council has decided to join the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce. He hopes that the community forum part of the meetings will continue. Ideas spring out of these discussions, for example, the great Community Days in August.

As pool supervisor, he reported a successful season and heaped praise on Director Rachel Andrews for her fine work. He and Artie Short will close the pool for winter. His advice for next year? Start early! ~