|Social dog boarding in the country for city dogs.|
|Glencadia Dog Camp in the Albany Times Union|
|Wed, 2 Oct 2013|
Party hits big time, Athens dig, dog barks
By Chris Churchill, The Advocate
Published 6:41 pm, Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Will Pflaum, left, and his wife Aenne Grannis, right, along with their children, Lotta, 5, second from left, and Leo, 3, play with the dogs inside the enclosure at their business the Glencadia Dog Camp on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 in the Town of Stuyvesant, NY. Pflaum and Grannis own and operate the dog camp. (Paul Buckowski / Times Union) Photo: Paul Buckowski / 00018254A
Will Pflaum, left, and his wife Aenne Grannis, right, along with their children, Lotta, 5, second from left, and Leo, 3, play with the dogs inside the enclosure at their business the Glencadia Dog Camp on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 in the Town of Stuyvesant, NY. Pflaum and Grannis own and operate the dog camp. (Paul Buckowski / Times Union)
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Today's column is a grab bag. I've got items about an electricity project in Athens, barking dogs in Stuyvesant and, yes, even more about that infamous party at Brian Holloway's house in Stephentown.
I'll start with the Holloway party, which continues to receive a tremendous amount of national attention. On Monday, Brian Holloway and his family even appeared on "The View" and again discussed the unauthorized party held by teens over Labor Day weekend.
Also receiving national attention is an impassioned and thought-provoking call for better parenting that Kelly Lynch, morning host on radio station WGY, addressed to the moms and dads of teens who attended the party.
There's much to like about Lynch's letter, which was reposted on the Huffington Post. We can't have too many calls for parental responsibility — yet the letter also repeats allegations for which there's no proof.
Lynch wrote, "Instead of dragging your kids back to apologize and clean up the mess, you lashed out at Brian Holloway, threatened to firebomb his house, and are now planning to sue him."
Yes, it would have been nice if more parents had taken their children to Holloway's house for an apology. I still remember my mother dragging me to an elderly neighbor's house to apologize for a window broken by an errant tennis ball.
But as I said in my column Sunday, I'm aware of no evidence — other than Holloway's own claims — that parents are threatening to sue. Nor have I seen evidence that parents have threatened to "firebomb" Holloway's house. Nothing of the sort has been reported to police.
Why assume that parents aren't punishing teens who attended the party? We can't know how parents are responding. Why assume the worst?
I learned this week that Holloway last year lost a foreclosure trial, according to county records, although he retains ownership as Berkshire Bank works to sell the property. He owes $1,006,348 on the mortgage and $45,131 in back property taxes, and a foreclosure auction is scheduled for Oct. 29. Holloway declined to comment Wednesday.
You can decide if the foreclosure is relevant information. It certainly doesn't excuse behavior exhibited by some of the teens.
But I'll say again that damage to the house is being exaggerated. I saw little evidence of lingering damage during a tour of the property last week, yet Holloway continues to ask for donations for repairs. That troubles me.
Athens power cord
In Athens, Sue Sherman has a question: What's with the transmission project planned for the village?
Sherman said residents have been hearing rumors about the plan, but haven't been able to find details. She asked if I could help.
Here's what I learned: The $1 billion project by West Point Partners would connect an Athens substation to Westchester County. High-voltage power cords would mostly be laid along the bottom of the Hudson River, but would travel, underground, down Leeds-Athens Road, North Vernon Street and other roads to get to the waterway.
"There are people in Athens who are concerned about the high-voltage underground lines, even though it's done all the time," said Christopher Hocker, vice president of planning for West Point Partners. "We're not surprised by that concern."
The project has only recently been submitted to the state Public Service Commission for approval, and Hocker stressed that the company is open to changing the proposed route. An informational meeting for Athens residents has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 16 in the village firehouse on Third Street,
"This is the beginning of the process, not the end of the process," Hocker said. "So if there's a better idea, we're open to it."
No barking in matter
Now let's cross the river to the Columbia County town of Stuyvesant, where officials have been engaged in multiyear battle with the Will Pflaum, owner of a dog kennel.
I first wrote about the battle last summer, and noted that the town's obsession with noise from barking dogs at the kennel seemed odd given that some of its closest neighbors hadn't complained. Pflaum claimed the town's effort to shut him down was motivated by his online criticism of Stuyvesant officials.
Last week, a state Supreme Court justice ruled in Pflaum's favor — and dismissed a violation filed against the kennel owner in 2010.
"With respect to (Pflaum's) charge that he has been unfairly targeted by the town because he has been vocal in his criticism of it through his blog, there does appear to have been a disproportionate amount of time and money spent on this violation notice, " Acting Justice Henry Zwack wrote in the decision. "A review of the board meetings and the hearings reveal nothing but contention between the petitioner and respondents.
"What the records do not reveal is a real issue with dog barking."
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Have a story? Contact Churchill at 518-454-5700 or email@example.com. The column appears Thursdays and Sundays.