Friday, May 22, 2015

Gossips Celebrates Preservation Month 2015 Historic Detail 22

There's a long weekend before us, with ample time to walk or cycle the streets searching for architectural details. Tomorrow, Gossips will publish an updated walking list which you can carry with you as you scour the city. Meanwhile, here is the detail for today.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

What's Happening at the Armory

This week, the Hudson Area Library released these photographs of the work going on at the Armory to create the library's new home. The first picture shows the handicapped ramp leading to the building entrance on North Fifth Street. The second picture shows the west side, the Short Street side, of the drill shed which will become the new library space. The third picture shows the west side of the space, facing North Fifth Street.

The library anticipates being able to move in before the end of this year. There is no word on the progress of the part of the building destined to become the City of Hudson senior center.

Tuesday Night at City Hall: Furgary Boat Club

At Tuesday's meeting, the Common Council passed two resolutions having to do with the Furgary Boat Club, a.k.a. North Dock. The first resolution authorized Ambient Environmental, Inc., a woman-owned business, to complete asbestos and lead-based paint testing on "seventeen dilapidated structures located at property known as the Furgary Boat Club," for an amount not to exceed $4,500. The resolution was passed unanimously.

The second resolution authorized the City of Hudson "to commence to undertake the necessary studies, administrative steps and other matters in order to accomplish the removal of seventeen dilapidated structures without delay." Before the Council voted on the resolution, they agreed to amend it to allow for the preservation of one or two of the shacks. The amended resolution was passed unanimously.

Meanwhile last week, Gossips, as an interested third party, used the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation's new Cultural Resources Information System to submit an official request to the State Historic Preservation Office for an eligibility evaluation of the site. The submission was deemed complete and assigned a project number on May 19.

Tuesday Night at City Hall: The CAC

If ever the City of Hudson could benefit from having a Conservation Advisory Council it is now, when the City is pursuing a storm water separation project that will put the fragile ecosystem of North Bay in jeopardy. Although we could have used a CAC a year ago or more, the Common Council on Tuesday passed the resolution appointing six members to the CAC, which was created by Local Law No. 6 of 2014. The members are Holly Gardner, Michael O'Hara, Nick Zachos, Lauren Lafleur, Jonathan Lerner, and Carol Smillie. Let's hope that future planning and decision making for projects that impact the river and wetlands of North and South bays is informed by their collective knowledge and expertise.

Gossips Celebrates Preservation Month 2015 Historic Detail 21

Gossips 2015 Historic Detail Hunt continues. There are still ten days left to join the hunt. Identify the building on which each of the architectural details presented by Gossips is found and email your answers to Gossips at the end of May. Here is the detail for today.


Tuesday Night at City Hall: Sewer Separation

The Common Council meeting on Tuesday night lasted for more than two hours, and the final issue to be taken up during the long evening was the resolution, originally introduced in March, declaring the proposed sewer separation project a Type II Action.

In April, when it appeared that the Council would vote on the resolution, Council president Don Moore, responding to public concern, proposed that the vote be postponed until June 16 and the intervening time be used doing an environmental study. At the informal meeting of the Council on May 11, we learned the progress of that study. Moore requested a proposal from Saratoga Associates to do an environmental study, and after reviewing the information provided to him, Dan Shearer of Saratoga Associates replied, "I . . . share Delaware's opinion that this is a Type 2 action." At that meeting, too, the Council received a draft SEAF (Short Environmental Assessment Form) completed by Delaware Engineering.

After reviewing the draft SEAF, Gossips raised questions about some the answers given, and earlier this week, we shared the results Timothy O'Connor got when he used the Department of Environmental Conservation's EAF Mapper to complete the SEAF.

Given this discrepancy, on Tuesday night, the Common Council decided to complete the SEAF themselves, and as the clock edged toward 9 p.m., Moore read out the twenty questions that make up Part 1 of the Short Environmental Assessment Form, and the aldermen indicated their answers, No or Yes--a process that often required a show of hands to reach consensus. The aldermen's answers to the key questions about wetlands and natural resources were Yes, in agreement with the answers derived by using the DEC Mapper and in disagreement with the answers provided by Delaware Engineering.

It was after 9 o'clock when the aldermen had finished answering the twenty questions in Part 1 of the SEAF. When city attorney Carl Whitbeck advised them that they now had to go on Part 2 of the form, which requires deciding, in eleven different categories, between "No, or small impact may occur" and "Moderate to large impact may occur," the aldermen's resolve flagged. Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) moved to table the process until their next meeting, presumably so that she and her colleagues could give some thought to the magnitude of the impact of the proposed action on natural resources and environmental resources, but in the end it was decided that the Council would "bring Delaware in to ask them why they answered the questions as they did."

According to John Mason's report in today's Register-Star, a return appearance by Delaware Engineering isn't likely, since DPW superintendent Rob Perry called the request "unacceptable." Mason's article, which stresses the time constraints for the project, is recommended reading: "Stormwater project put on hold, again." Also recommended is the testimony by the South Bay Task Force, a greatly abbreviated version of which O'Connor presented at Tuesday's Council meeting.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Remembering Christina Malisoff

This Sunday, May 24, at 11 a.m., a celebration of the remarkable life of Christina Malisoff will take place at the Hudson Opera House. Those attending are invited to bring a dish to share.

Photo: China Jorrin

Let's Be Careful Out There

The following appeared on the Hudson Police Department's Facebook page this afternoon.

The fact that the police are involved suggests that whatever happened went beyond yelling, honking, and rude gestures.

Today Is Your Last Chance

On Sunday, May 31, the Hudson River Historic Boat Restoration & Sailing Society is hosting an Edwardian Great Lawn & Porch Party at the historic Astor family estate Rokeby in Barrytown, and today is the last day for making a reservation to attend this uniquely Hudson Valley event.

The afternoon provides an opportunity to dress like a character from the first season of Downton Abbey (in other words, in the fashion of the Edwardian Era), if you so desire, but whatever period attire you elect to wear, you can stroll the grounds of the two-hundred-year-old mansion, tour the grand hall, the library, the parlor, and the dining room, enjoy picnic fare provided by Bruno's, and imbibe Hudson Valley wine, signature cocktails, and sparkling water.

The event takes place from 3 to 6 in the afternoon, and at 4 o'clock, Halsey Herreshoff, prolific designer of production and custom yachts, will speak about his racing experiences, the America's Cup, and things dear to sailors. The Herreshoff family is known for designing and building high quality yachts, among them the famed Reliance and Westward, the most technologically advanced racing yachts of their time.

The event benefits the Hudson River Historic Boat Restoration & Sailing Society's major project: the ongoing restoration of the historic Hudson River racing sloop Eleanor. Specifically, the proceeds from the event will go toward purchasing the spars for the historic boat, which spent its days sailing on the Hudson between New York City and Albany and will someday do so again. So, before this day is over, click here to make a reservation to attend this very special event.

This Just In  The deadline for making reservations for the Great Lawn & Porch Party has been extended until May 26, but make your reservations today anyway.

Gossips Celebrates Preservation Month 2015 Historic Detail 20

The Historic Detail Hunt continues! Each day in May, Gossips publishes the picture of an architectural detail found in Hudson. Join the hunt by locating each detail, recording the address of the building on which it is found, and submitting your answers to Gossips at the end of the month. Here is the detail for today.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

More About the Sewer Separation Project

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has a tool on its website called the EAF Mapper, which makes completing an Environmental Assessment Form pretty much an automated process. You enter the location of your project, and the mapper searches the state's database for relevant information and completes the Environmental Assessment Form for you.

Timothy O'Connor used the EAF Mapper recently to generate a Short Environmental Assessment Form using State and North Front streets--the site of the proposed sewer separation project--as the location and shared the results with Gossips.

Curiously, the answers provided by the EAF Mapper to some key questions on the Short Environmental Assessment Form are different from the answers provided by Delaware Engineering on the draft SEAF presented to the Common Council at the Council's informal meeting last Monday.

While Delaware Engineering answered NO to Question 13a (Does any portion of the site of the proposed action, or lands adjoining the proposed action, contain wetlands or other waterbodies regulated by a federal, state or local agency?), Question 15 (Does the site of the proposed action contain any species of animal, or associated habitats, listed the the State or Federal government as threatened or endangered?), and Question 20 (Has the site of the proposed action or an adjoining property been the subject of remediation [ongoing or completed] for hazardous waste?), the EAF Mapper answered YES to all three of those questions.

Not to Be Missed

Today, Sam Pratt provides a full report of the discussion of CEDC and its discovered conflicts of interest, which took place at yesterday's meeting of the Board of Supervisors Economic Development Committee: "All the gory details from County meeting about CEDC."

Gossips Celebrates Preservation Month 2015 Historic Detail 19

Fewer than two weeks remain in the 2015 Historic Detail Hunt, but that's more than enough time to take up the challenge and join the search. Every day in May, Gossips is publishing the picture of an architectural detail found on a building in Hudson. Locate the details, submit your answers to Gossips at the end of the month, and you could be a winner. Here is the detail for today.


Don't Forget to Vote Today

School district elections take place today, May 19. The polls are open from noon until 9 p.m. The polling place for everyone in Hudson is John L. Edwards Primary School, 360 State Street. Check here to learn the polling sites for voters elsewhere in the Hudson City School District. 

HCSD voters are asked to approve or reject the proposed $45,477,121 budget, which Peter Rice, president of the Board of Education, celebrates as representing "the lowest tax levy increase our district has had," but in fact, at 1.75 percent, is the maximum allowed by the state tax cap. Voters will also vote for two candidates who are "vying" for two vacant seats on the Board of Education: William J. Kappel and Sage Carter.

You can learn about the two candidates here and here.

You Can't Get There from Here

Last October, the mayor ordered the roadway approaching Ferry Street bridge be closed, and it has remained so ever since. Now the New York State Department of Transportation has ordered that the bridge be closed--just in time for all the parades and summer events that make use of the waterfront. John Mason has the story in today's Register-Star: "State closes Ferry Street Bridge."

Fleshing Out the Story

In today's Register-Star, Arthur Cusano reports on the incidents that took place in the vicinity of Warren and Second streets over the weekend: "Man arrested after shots fired on Warren Street." HPD chief Ed Moore is quoted in the article as saying, "This is in keeping with the factual report I presented back on October 27. Despite Mrs. Walthour's efforts, the area around the Savoia is a lightning rod for criminal behavior. Especially after 2 a.m. The facts are the facts." 

Mrs. Walthour places the blame elsewhere. She is reported to have told the New York State Liquor Authority, during a compliance hearing that took place earlier this month, "The only time we ever had problems or complaints is when the New York City people moved here and they're trying to change it. We are the only black establishment in Columbia and Greene counties and we do run a decent establishment. The fights that occur are not in the premises but across the street or around the corner. We have one neighbor that constantly calls, she is like five doors away, she brings chicken bones and says, 'these come from you.' These are the kind of people we're having to deal with."

Monday, May 18, 2015

Who Got the Money This Year?

On Monday night, the Common Council Arts, Entertainment & Tourism Committee divvied up $20,000 among twelve events that take place in Hudson. In the past, the $20,000 had been made up of $15,000 that was written into the city budget and $5,000 provided by the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC). This year, HDC did not contribute $5,000, so, at the mayor's request, $5,000 was taken from the general fund to make a total of $20,000.

Last year, thirteen events received funding from the City of Hudson. This year, three were missing from the pack of grant seekers--the Hudson Music Festival, Taste of Hudson, and the New Year's Eve Ball Drop--and two new ones were added--the Hudson Halloween Parade and the Lincoln Funeral Train commemoration.

A few years ago, the AET Committee developed a scoring system to help them evaluate events seeking funding. Events were scored from 1 to 5 on Local Purpose, Economic Impact, Other Funding, and Size of Audience. That system wasn't used this year. Instead, the committee seemed to make its decisions based primarily on what had been awarded in the previous year. Here is the list in alphabetical order:
  • ArtsWalk requested $1,350 and will receive $1,000 (total budget: $4,900)
  • Bangladeshi Festival requested $2,000 and will receive $1,700 (total budget: $6,000)
  • Black Arts requested $3,000 and will receive $3,300 (total budget: $9,630)
  • Chili, Cheese & Cider Fest (formerly the Chili Fest) did not request a specific amount; will receive $400 (total budget: $13,450)
  • Community Block Party (presented by Promise Neighborhood) requested $1,000 and will receive $1,000 (total budget: $6,000)
  • Flag Day Parade did not request a specific amount; will receive $3,300 (total budget: $45,000)
  • Hudson Halloween Parade did not request a specific amount; will receive $500 (total budget: $1,640)
  • Hudson River Exchange did not request a specific amount; will receive $1,100 (total budget: $12,300)
  • Hudson Pride Weekend did not request a specific amount; will receive $3,400 (total budget: $40,000)
  • Lincoln Funeral Train received $500
  • Summer Cirkus (presented by the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus) requested $800 and will receive $500 (total budget: $6,500)
  • Winter Walk requested $2,500 and will receive $3,300 (total budget: $52,182)

Not to Be Missed

In the aftermath of an investigation by the New York State Budget Authorities Office into the operations of the Columbia County Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) which found serious problems with conflict of interest, tonight, at the Board of Supervisors Economic Development Committee meeting, Supervisor Art Baer (Hillsdale) called for the resignations of three members of CEDC: David Crawford, Bill Better, and Robert Sherwood. Sam Pratt reports the development on his blog: "Baer calls for resignations of Crawford, Better, Sherwood."

Gossips Celebrates Preservation Month 2015 Historic Detail 18

The month is more than half over, but there's still time to join the Historic Detail Hunt. Each day in May, Gossips publishes the picture of an architectural detail found somewhere in Hudson. Locate the detail, record the address of the building on which it is found, and submit your answers at the end of the month. In addition to the awe and admiration of your fellow Gossips readers, there will be prizes for those who locate all the details. Here is the detail for today.


Another Unsettling Night Below Third

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, shots were fired in front of the Savoia, in the 200 block of Warren Street. In the wee hours of Monday morning, someone threw a brick through the window at Verdigris Tea & Chocolate Bar, nearby at the corner of Warren and Second streets.

By 9 o'clock this morning, when Gossips visited the site, the work of cleaning up and replacing the glass had already begun.


Voting: Our Right and Privilege

It's amazing when you consider what people in the past endured to win the right to vote that so many people today don't bother to exercise their right.

Susan B. Anthony being beaten and arrested for trying to vote in 1872
John Lewis being beaten by state troopers during the civil rights voting march in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 1965 (Photo: Associated Press)

With this in mind, as part of its campaign to register more voters in Hudson, Hudson Forward is partnering with the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center to present a free screening of the film Selma. The event takes place on Wednesday, May 20, at 5:30 p.m., in the Bliss Towers Community Room. Pizza and soda will be provided. Children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Gossips Celebrates Preservation Month 2015 Historic Detail 17

The Historic Detail Hunt continues. Every day during the month of May, Gossips publishes an architectural detail found on a building in Hudson. To join the hunt, identify the buildings on which the details are located and submit your answers to Gossips at the end of the month. Here is the detail for today.


When It Was New

While the Greenport School is getting embedded into an apartment complex to be known as "The Falls," it is an appropriate time to consider the former school building's past.

The building is not as old as one might think. It was completed in 1931. In the early summer of that year, when the school brand-new, it was the scene of an event that was front page news in the Chatham Courier: the first annual countywide 4-H rally.

What may have been most remarkable about this event, which took place on Saturday, June 6, 1931, is that it started at the Columbia County courthouse in Hudson, and the kids from all the 4-H clubs in the county marched from the courthouse to the Greenport School. It makes one curious to know what route they took.

The Sound of Gunshots in the Night

Last night, at around 2 a.m., someone posted the news on Facebook that shots had been fired in front of the Savoia, in the 200 block of Warren Street. At 8:15 a.m., while on my morning walk with Joey, I encountered three Hudson police officers, searching the area across the street from the Savoia. They confirmed that two shots had been fired in the early morning and assured me that they had the gun and the person who had fired it. At the time I encountered them, the officers were searching the area for shell casings. That done, they interviewed people in the neighboring houses. 

The incident brings to mind the controversy last fall over the suggestion that all bars in Hudson be required to close at 2 a.m. The discussion was sparked by a shooting that took place in the wee hours of the morning at First and Warren streets. The victim of that shooting was alleged to have been drinking at the Savoia.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Gossips Celebrates Preservation Month 2015 Historic Detail 16

Rain is expected today, but there may still be time for scouting out details. To assist in your search, there is a new Weekend Walking List, which you can download and take with you. All the details presented so far are on the walking list, including the detail for today.