Wednesday, September 20, 2017

We Are Not Alone

It was announced today that the Kingston is also the recipient of $10 million in Round Two of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, as reported on MidHudsonNews.com: "City of Kingston wins state $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant." It should be noted that, of the ten Regional Economic Development Councils, Hudson is the Capital Region, Kingston is in the Mid-Hudson Region.
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At Olana This Weekend

This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the Ancram Opera House, in collaboration with the Olana Partnership, presents Performing Olana, an original play staged throughout the Olana landscape.

Performing Olana was conceived and created by playwright and TV writer Darrah Cloud, with Paul Ricciardi and Jeff Mousseau of the Ancram Opera House. The play was written by Cloud and is co-directed by Ricciardi and Mousseau. The three have been working for months to design an immersive, promenade style theater production to be presented in the landscape at Olana, in which the audience follows the story through the historic site. The play takes the interpretation of Olana to another level--both in terms of costumed 'interpretation' and in the untold and imagined stories between the lines of letters and journals in the Church archive.

"The piece draws inspiration from Frederic Church's painting, letters, family life, and the celebrated landscape and is presented as an immersive experience in which performer and audience journey together into Church's art. This production falls between the categories of creative nonfiction and historic fiction. . . . Performing Olana brings the 19th century alive in a way that only theater can; audiences will move from place to place in the landscae as the narrative unfolds. Actors deliver scenes in historically accurate venues and subjects including Church's homes, the orchard, meadows, the barns, carriage roads, the lake, and the forest."

Photo: B. Docktor
The performance takes place at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 22, at 2, 4, and 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 23, and on Sunday, September 24. Participants are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance by clicking here. Performances begin at the Wagon House Education Center and will occur rain or shine, but they will be delayed if there is extreme weather, so in case of foul weather, ticket holders are asked to check the website for updates. Participants should wear comfortable walking shoes and should be prepared to walk about three quarters of a mile.

On Monday, Ricciardi, Cloud, and Amy Hufnagel, director of education for the Olana Partnership, spoke with Joe Donahue about Performing Olana on WAMC's The Roundtable. That conversation can be heard by clicking here.
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Bed Races Postponed

The Hudson Bed Races, which were scheduled to happen this Saturday at 3 p.m., have been postponed. The simple reason for the postponement: not enough people registered for this year's event.

The plan is to reschedule for sometime in October, but the exact date has not been announced. Gossips will let you know as soon as it has. 

Show your community spirit and sense of silly and help ensure the bed races happen. Get yourself a team (four pushers and one rider), get yourself a bed (outfitted with wheels), and sign up today to be part of this recently revived wacky Hudson tradition. To register, click here.
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Looking Ahead to November

Now that the absentee ballots have been counted and reported in the only really close races in the Democratic primary, we have a good idea of our choices in the November election. So, here's the list. The parties listed after each name indicate the party lines on which the candidate's name will appear.

Mayor
Rick Rector--Democrat, Republican, Conservative

Treasurer
Heather Campbell--Democrat

Common Council President
Tom DePietro--Democrat, Republican, Working Families, Conservative

FIRST WARD
Supervisor
Sarah Sterling--Democrat
Aldermen
Rob Bujan--Democrat, Republican, Conservative, Independence
Kamal Johnson--Democrat, Republican, Conservative, Working Families

SECOND WARD
Supervisor
Abdus Miah--Democrat, Republican, Conservative, Independence
Willette Jones--Working Families
Aldermen
Dewan Sarowar--Democrat, Independence
Tiffany Garriga--Democrat, Working Families
Victor Mendolia--Working Families
Martin Martinez--Republican, Conservative

THIRD WARD
Supervisor
Michael Chameides--Democrat, Working Families
Aldermen
Calvin Lewis--Democrat, Republican, Working Families
Shershah Mizan--Democrat, Republican, Working Families

FOURTH WARD
Supervisor
Linda Mussmann--Democrat, Working Families, Independence
Bill Hughes--Republican, Conservative
Aldermen
John Rosenthal--Democrat
Rich Volo--Democrat
Lauren Scalera--Republican, Conservative

FIFTH WARD
Supervisor
Rick Scalera--Democrat, Republican, Conservative
Aldermen
Dominic Merante--Democrat, Republican, Conservative, Working Families
Eileen Halloran--Democrat
Bob Donahue--Republican, Conservative

The wards with choices are the Second, Fourth, and Fifth, although in the Fifth Ward, the choice is only for the two aldermen. Only one person--Rick Scalera--will be on the ballot for Fifth Ward supervisor. But don't think if you live in the First or Third ward you can stay home from the polls on November 7. There will be referendums needing your consideration.
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It's Not Over Until It's Over

Today, a week after the primary election, the absentee ballots were counted, and Gossips can now report the outcomes in the only races that were too close to call on election night: the supervisor and alderman races in the Fourth Ward. With the results still unofficial, and with one absentee ballot still set aside and hence uncounted, the total votes--from the machine and absentee ballots--are as follows:

SUPERVISOR
Linda Mussmann     109
William Hughes     107
(The machine count was Mussmann 87; Hughes 72)

ALDERMAN
Lauren Scalera     100
Rich Volo     104
John Rosenthal     107
(The machine count was Scalera 67; Volo 84; Rosenthal 81)

Mussmann also bested Hughes in the Independence Party "Opportunity to Ballot" (OTB), getting 3 votes to Hughes's 2.

Despite the fact that they lost the Democratic primary, Hughes and Scalera will both be on the ballot in November, on the Republican and the Conservative lines. 
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Welcome to Hudson

Over the weekend, a Facebook friend posted this image to the All Over Albany page:


As a resident of Albany, he was concerned about the state of the bus and train stations in that city. Here is Hudson, we don't have to worry about that. Our train station--the third busiest in the state--is a handsome building, constructed in 1874, meticulously restored in 1992, and carefully maintained. Indeed, it is recognized as one of the Great American Stations

Still, Hudson and its reception of visitors has been a bit iffy from time to time over the years. A year or so ago, Gossips published a post that suggested visitors in the mid-19th century avoided Hudson because the houses and shops were not numbered, and people unfamiliar with the city lost their way trying to find their destination: "Our Ever Quirky Little City." Recently, I came upon a photocopy of an op-ed piece written by Sam Pratt in 1998 for The Independent and was reminded of how Rick Scalera, then mayor of Hudson, and the late Mim Traver, then Common Council president, got into a snit about an article Pratt had written for New York Magazine, which, in their opinion, brought visitors to Hudson who didn't "get" the city and were disappointed. In the op-ed piece, which responded to their criticism, Pratt suggested of Scalera, "he seems more likely to raise a banner across Warren Street . . . , reading 'Not Quite Stockbridge Yet--Please Go Away!'"

Hudson is still not quite Stockbridge, but, for its own unique charm, it is known internationally and draws thousands of visitors.  But, if the title of its next forum is any clue, there are some in Hudson who would rather that visitors to the city stay away. On Thursday, September 28, Affordable Housing Hudson is holding a public forum on the phenomenon and the impact of short-term rentals on the housing market in Hudson. The forum has the title, "Airbnb: Who are you and what are you doing to my city?"  

Checking out Hudson on Airbnb is always an interesting exercise. You will undoubtedly discover that, perhaps unbeknownst to you, neighbors and acquaintances are renting out rooms or floors of their houses as guest accommodations. Nobody seems to have a problem with that. Reviewing the list of proprietors and locations registered to pay the new lodging tax is even more revealing. You may find people you know who don't live in Hudson but own a house here and maintain it as a short-term rental, booked through Airbnb. You will also find instances of three or four houses owned by the same person or entity, all maintained as short-term rentals. This is what people find irksome. The owners of houses held as investment property are finding it more lucrative to rent those properties to visitors who stay for a few nights than to lease to tenants who would live there full time.    

The panel for the forum, as it has been announced, is made up of two people: Bill McKenna, town supervisor for Woodstock, "who will speak on the effects of Airbnb on community life and the initiatives he has taken to control and shape how Airbnb is allowed to do business in his town"; and Michael O'Hara, First Ward alderman, who will report "on research into resolutions that can help Hudson follow in the footsteps of other cities around the nation that have been proactive in protecting affordable housing and workforce housing."

The forum, which takes place next Thursday, September 28, starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce, 1 North Front Street. It is described as "a chance to air concerns and hopes for the future of Hudson as a thriving community with its priorities in place."
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Turn Your Radios On

WAMC is announcing that today's Midday Magazine will feature a story called "A Summer of Gunfire in Hudson." Midday Magazine begins at noon. WAMC is heard at 90.3 and 97.1 FM or at wamc.org. Who said, "All publicity is good publicity"?

Update: If you missed the segment when it originally aired, you can listen to it now here.
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Monday, September 18, 2017

A Rare Opportunity Approaches

Twenty years ago, in August 1997, Historic Hudson, in existence then for only a year, arranged a field trip for its members to the Dr. Oliver Bronson House. It was the first time in more than two decades that the public had seen the house, off limits as it was--and still is--on the grounds of the Hudson Correctional Facility.



That visit marked the beginning of Historic Hudson's advocacy for the house. In the ensuing years, Historic Hudson foiled an attempt to site a factory on the grounds, helped get the house designated as a National Historic Landmark, got the enabling legislation passed to enter into a long-term lease agreement with the State of New York, negotiated that lease, and has since succeeded in stabilizing the house and securing it from further deterioration. With another $487,000 in grant money awarded last December, Historic Hudson is poised to begin Phase III of its restoration plan for the house.

This year, to mark the anniversary of bringing attention to the Dr. Oliver Bronson House, Historic Hudson is planning a field trip to another significant historic house rarely open to the public: the Jan Van Hoesen House in Claverack. The field trip, for Historic Hudson members and their guests, takes place on Sunday, October 1, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Although the Dr. Oliver Bronson House is hidden away on the grounds of a prison, the Van Hoesen House stands in plain sight at the edge of a trailer park on Route 66, but many who pass it every day know neither its history nor its current situation. The event on October 1 will offer an opportunity to see inside the three-hundred-year-old Dutch house and learn about plans for its stabilization and restoration.

Although it was built fifty years before the founding of Hudson, the Jan Van Hoesen House has a historic connection to our city. In 1662, Jan Frans Van Hoesen, Jan Van Hoesen's grandfather, purchased a substantial tract of land from the Mohicans--along the river and upland. Franklin Ellis, writing in 1878 in the History of Columbia County, says of this purchase: "It is not probable that in selecting this domain he was moved by any other considerations than that of its agricultural advantages, nor that during all the years of his occupancy he ever dreamed of future cities, or commerce, or manufactures, or thought of the capabilities of the great river beyond the floating of the little sloops that carried to market the products of his fertile bouwerie which lay farther inland."

Ellis goes on to explain what happened to all this land when Jan Frans Van Hoesen died: 
The old patentee died about the year 1703, and among the children he left were Jurrien, Jacob Jans, Johannes, and Catharine, which last named was the wife of Francis Hardick. By the law of primogeniture, which was then in operation, the eldest son, Jurrien, inherited the landed estate, but he appears to have had no inclination to wrong the other heirs, and so an amicable partition was agreed to; and on Jan. 7, 1704, he conveyed by deeds to his brothers and sister the lands lying on and near the river, which were probably regarded by all as being less valuable than those lying farther back and nearer to Claverack Creek.
Catharine inherited North Bay and all the land on which Hudson is situated north of Partition Street; Johannes inherited South Bay and all the land that is now Hudson south of Partition Street. Johannes apparently also inherited the land on which the Jan Van Hoesen House is built and transferred title to that property to his son Jan sometime around 1711.

Photo: Jill McKenty

Like the field trip to the Bronson House twenty years ago, Historic Hudson's field trip to the Van Hoesen House is meant to raise awareness of the house and encourage support for its restoration. But unlike twenty years ago, Historic Hudson will not be stepping up to become the stewards of the Van Hoesen House. A not-for-profit already exists with that mission: the Van Hoesen House Historical Foundation. Historic Hudson is just trying to help that organization reach a wider audience.

The field trip to the Van Hoesen House, situated on the edge of the Dutch Village Mobile Home Park, 440 Route 66, is also the occasion of Historic Hudson's annual meeting. Refreshments will be served. Admission is free but limited to members of Historic Hudson and their guests. To become a member, visit historichudson.org.   
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Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Emmys and the Ellens

Tonight, awards season begins with the sixty-ninth annual Emmy Awards, honoring the best in U.S. prime time television programming. The winners of the Emmy Awards, chosen by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, will be announced in a televised ceremony that can be viewed beginning at 8 p.m.

Awards season continues, at least here in Hudson, on Thursday, September 21, with the second annual Ellen Awards, honoring local Democrats "with distinguished records of service." The winner of this year's Ellen Award, chosen by the Hudson City Democratic Committee, will be feted at an award ceremony--which is also a fundraiser for the HCDC--that will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hudson Opera House.

The Ellen Awards were inaugurated last year as a way of celebrating and honoring Ellen Thurston, who had retired from public office after serving three terms as Third Ward alderman (2006-2011) and two terms as Third Ward supervisor (2012-2015). This year, the award goes to Ed Cross, who is retiring after serving for twenty years as Second Ward supervisor.

The suggested donation to be part of the festivities in $25. Wine, soft drinks, and small plates will be served. All proceeds go to support Democratic candidates in the 2017 election. Click here to reserve your place at the party. 
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Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Whaler or the Ark?

Someone just posted the following query on the Hudson Community Board on Facebook.


Curious (and not being on Warren Street myself to see the parade), I checked the mass gathering permits posted on the City website to find out what the parade was about and discovered today was the day for the Endless Love Temple's "Religious Parade and Gathering," which started at 3 p.m. with a parade down Warren Street and will continue until 7 p.m. in Henry Hudson Riverfront Park. The Endless Love Temple is, of course, the church whose pastor is Ed Cross, Second Ward supervisor. 

On the topic of the replica ship/parade float, the last sheet of the application for the mass gathering permit contains this handwritten message:

It seems that for today at least the object is not a replica, constructed in 1985 for Hudson's Bicentennial Celebration, of The Hudson, the first ship ever built here at the end of the 18th century, but a replica of Noah's ark. The question of whether or not it is appropriate for City-owned property to be used in this manner remains unanswered.
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There's Still Time to Be Part of It

The second running of the latest iteration of the Hudson Bed Races takes place next Saturday, September 23, at 3 p.m.

Photo: Paul Abitabile
Gossips has learned from event organizers that there is still time to register for the race. All you need is a bed (with wheels), someone with a helmet to ride in the bed, and four able-bodied folks to push the bed down the street. The bed races this year take place on South Front Street, between Warren Street and Partition Street.

So, all you procrastinators, it is time to act. Click here to register your team, and we'll see you at the races!
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More Things of Interest to Do Today

It's not often that the public gets to visit the 1811 house that was originally the home of Robert Jenkins, son of Seth Jenkins, one of the founders of Hudson and an original Proprietor, but today is one of those rare days. From 1 to 4 p.m. today, Saturday, September 16, the Hendrick Hudson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is having a open house at the historic building that is their chapter house. The house was given to the DAR in 1900 by Mrs. Frances C. W. Hartley, the granddaughter of Robert Jenkins. Also today there will be limited tours of the Native Plant Garden, which is normally off limits to people touring the house. The garden was created this past year, following specific guidelines, as part of a DAR Chapter Contest held by the National Society DAR Conservation Committee. The house is located at 113 Warren Street.

Also today, from 3 to 5 p.m., the Tasty History Series returns to Olana. The three-part series explores the trade, customs, and recipes of essential Latin American ingredients and natural resources and is inspired by Frederic Church's travel and love of Latin American food and by the current exhibition OVERLOOK: Teresita Fernández Confronts Frederic Church at Olana, a collaboration between the Collección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and the Olana State Historic Site. Today the focus is on chocolate. Oliver Kita, owner of Oliver Kita Chocolates in Rhinebeck, will be providing samples of some of his most popular chocolates, including his Habanero Romantico, paired with wines from Brotherhood Winery.

The event takes place at the Wagon House Educational Center at Olana. Participants will learn about historic food trends, trade in these natural resources, and 19th-century eating and drinking customs. They will also sample chocolate and wine and go home with recipes. Walk-ins are welcome. The event is limited to those over 21, and there is a fee of $25 for members, $30 for nonmembers.

Future events in the series will focus on Coffee, on Saturday, September 30, and Rum & Sugar, on Saturday, October 7.
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Friday, September 15, 2017

Colarusso and the Planning Board

Alas, Dan Udell was not there with his video camera nor was Jess Puglisi from WGXC there with her microphone, so you have only Gossips (and Amanda Purcell of the Register-Star) to tell you what happened at last night's Planning Board meeting. There were a couple of other projects before the Planning Board, but this post will focus on the Colarusso projects: the dock (mostly) and the haul road (not much at all).

During the public hearing about the dock, which was a continuation of the public hearing begun on July 13, three members of the Hudson Power Boat Association, only one of whom actually lives in Hudson, spoke about how much the alterations to the dock improved waterfront safety for boaters. One went so far as to declare, "We owe Colarusso thanks for being a good neighbor." Comments from two Hudson residents--John Rosenthal and Julie Metz--brought the focus back to the real issue. Rosenthal said, "We have laws, and we have reviews. [Colarusso] disregarded them based on what they wanted to do." Metz reiterated the sentiment: "It's a terrible precedent for a company to do something without regard to the law."

The issue with the dock is that according to the zoning adopted in 2011, as part of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP), the industrial use of the dock is a nonconforming use. Any alteration to the dock triggers the need to apply for a conditional use permit for Colarusso's current operations. Planning Board is now reviewing the application for a conditional use permit.

When the discussion returned to the dock, after the public hearing was closed and two other applications were considered, Planning Board member Carmine Pierro announced that he had a "little narrative" about the DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative). Tom DePietro, chair of the Planning Board, initially told him it was not relevant but then allowed him to continue. Pierro passed out copies of this illustration from the DRI application and also had a larger version mounted on foam core.

Referring to a script, written out on several sheets from a yellow legal pad, Pierro cited several of the proposals that are part of the DRI application: a public pier, new pedestrian bridges, eliminating the roadway west of the railroad tracks. He then said that he had contacted Cheryl Roberts, who had been the city attorney when the LWRP was adopted 2011 and was in large part the author of the LWRP. He quoted an email from Roberts explaining conditions the Planning Board can impose on dock operations. The point of the "narrative" wasn't entirely clear to this listener, beyond perhaps being an attempt to caution the Planning Board against trying to place too many restrictions on Colarusso's activities at the dock. 

Having given Pierro his hearing, DePietro asked the engineers from Barton & Loguidice, Ryan Weitz and Donald Fletcher, who are consulting with the Hudson Planning Board, to summarize their comments which had been submitted in a letter to the Planning Board. That letter can be viewed here. Weitz spoke of dust, noise, traffic, and hours of operation, noting that the letter "spelled out what quantitative data is needed to make a decision." He stressed two things: "truck traffic volume and noise levels." He noted that thus far the information from Colarusso on truck traffic was "47 to 284 one-way trips on the haul road" and asserted these numbers were "not based on an actual count of what is going in and out of the dock." 

Weitz also made reference to Chapter 210 of the city code, which deals with noise, and noted that the current noise levels of activity at the dock needed to be known to determine if they are in conformance or what mitigation would be required to bring them into conformance.

DePietro noted that it was "the fourth month in a row we have asked for [truck traffic numbers]," and Colarusso had not yet complied. He told the board, "We can decide not to accept the application [for a conditional use permit] if they don't give us the information." A little later in the meeting, Mitch Khosrova, legal counsel to the Planning Board, asserted, "You can deny the application based on the fact you don't have the information."

Khosrova recommended that the board set a deadline for Colarusso to provide the needed information, suggesting Monday, October 2, as an appropriate deadline. When the representatives from Colarusso were asked if they could meet that deadline, John Privitera, attorney for A. Colarusso & Sons, rose to protest that the City of Hudson had sued Colarusso a few weeks ago, "so we're still dealing with that." He complained that he didn't know the Colarusso projects would be on the agenda that night and they were not prepared to answer any questions. Privitera also indicated that they were not prepared to discuss the haul road. DePietro told Privitera, "We've have asked to expedite this application, and now you won't cooperate."

JR Heffner, vice president of operations for Colarusso, who attends every meeting having to do with the projects but rarely speaks, spoke last night to complain, "If we didn't do anything about the wall falling in, we wouldn't be here. It's not fair." After remarking that his mother had told him life isn't fair, DePietro responded, "You made that decision in 2014 when you bought property covered by laws passed in 2011."

At the end of the meeting, Khosrova revealed that Colarusso is refusing to pay bills--his bills--which they are required to pay under SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) and City of Hudson code, claiming the invoices do not provide enough specificity. Khosrova maintained that attorney-client privilege prohibits him from providing more information than he is providing. "I've spent more time defending my bills," he complained, "than the bills are for."

The story of Colarusso, the dock, and the haul road continues.
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Music Events in Hudson This Weekend

This weekend, starting on Friday, September 15, and continuing through Sunday, September 17, it's Basilica Soundscape, the carefully curated weekend of art, music, and culture that's unlike any other music festival. Featuring live concert performances, conceptual sound performances, author readings, installations, collaborations, curated local vendors and artisans, onsite activities and more, Basilica Soundscape has been called in some publications the "antifestival." The full schedule of events can be viewed here.

On Tuesday, The Alt published an article about Soundscape and the creative force behind it, Melissa Auf der Maur: "How Melissa Auf der Maur rediscovered her muse through Basilica Soundscape."

Because Basilica Hudson wants to make sure that as many neighbors as possible will attend the festival, there is a discount for Hudson residents. Click here for more information.

Also on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, at 7 p.m. each evening, the renowned string quartet ETHEL will perform its newest multimedia production, Circus--Wandering City, at Hudson Hall in the historic Hudson Opera House. 

Through new music composed by the members of ETHEL, this never-before-seen concert tells the story of the history of the American circus through the John and Mable Ringling Museum's vast photo and video archives. The performances in Hudson are preview performances in advance of the premiere of the work which will take place at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida, and a world tour, which includes BAM's Next Wave Festival 2018.

Hudson played an important role in the development of Circus--Wandering City. ETHEL developed the show during a residency with the Hudson Opera House last year, which took place at Second Ward Foundation and culminated in a sold-out, work-in-progress performance. Drop Forge & Tool and Hudson Lodge have provided housing for the artists and the many members of the technical crew required for this ambitious production.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

On Sunday, September 17, at 2 p.m., Historic Hudson presents the final concert for the season at the Dr. Oliver Bronson House. 

Musicians from The Orchestra Now of Bard College will be performing two string quartets, composed at significant times in the life of the historic house. The first is Schubert's String Quarter No. 2--one of Schubert's rarely performed early quartets, composed in 1812, the year the house was built for Captain Samuel Plumb, who followed the Proprietors here from New England. The image below, from a watercolor by William Guy Wall, shows the house as it looked in the beginning.   

The ensemble will also perform Schumann's String Quartet No. 1, written in 1842--four years after Dr. Oliver Bronson and his wife, Joanna, purchased the house and three years after Alexander Jackson Davis completed the first of two "remodeling campaigns" that would transform the house into a Romantic-Picturesque estate. The concert takes place in the suite of octagonal parlors, designed by Davis in 1849--a setting that makes it easy to slip back in time and imagine that you are hearing the music as the guests of Dr. and Mrs. Bronson.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
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Election Prep: Rick Rector

Yesterday, Rick Rector, the Hudson mayoral candidate endorsed by the Democrats, Republicans, and the Conservative Party, talked with Justin Weaver and Holly Tanner on the WGXC's Something to Talk About. The show has now been archived and can be heard here. Dominic Merante, candidate for Fifth Ward alderman, is interviewed in the first half hour. The conversation with Rector begins at about 35:20.
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Meeting Reminder

Image: South Bay Coalition
The Planning Board meets today at 6:30 p.m. On the agenda are a public hearing on the plan to provide the required off-street parking at Galvan Armory, 51 North Fifth Street, to accommodate converting the basement of the building into office space and a day care center and the continuation of the public hearing on the dock alterations done by A. Colarusso & Sons.

THIS JUST IN: Tom DePietro, chair of the Planning Board, just informed Gossips that the first half hour or more of the meeting will be closed to the public. The board will be in consulting, and attorney-client privilege allows the meeting to take place without the public present.

Also on the agenda for review and discussion are Colarusso's proposal to move, widen, and pave the haul road through South Bay and a proposal by the new owners of 7 Fairview Avenue, the former American Legion Post, to convert the building for mixed use as office space, an art gallery, and occasion "reception type events." 

With a proposal for 7 Fairview Avenue before the Planning Board, Gossips takes the opportunity to remind readers of what the building looked like originally. The first picture below shows the building today; the second picture shows the building, in the background and from a different vantage point, around the end of the 19th century.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Latest on the Escarpment

Gossips just learned from Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton that the meeting with the Department of Transportation and Amtrak regarding the stabilization of the escarpment below Promenade Hill and Hudson Terrace will take place on Tuesday, September 26, at 5:30 p.m., in Council Chambers at City Hall.

Almost a month has passed since Mayor Hamilton met with senior representatives of the Department of Transportation, the Department of State, the Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, and Scenic Hudson to discuss the stabilization project that was originally intended ultimately to cover the entire rock face with shotcrete, a form of concrete that is sprayed into the rock. Some of the rock below Hudson Terrace was already sprayed with the substance before a stop-work order issued on July 28 was finally enforced on August 5. 

After the meeting about the project, which took place on August 16, Hamilton reported: "There will be a public meeting held . . . with all agencies in attendance to give the community the opportunity to learn more about proposed alternatives for the project." The meeting scheduled for September 26 is that meeting.
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If You Have Ten Minutes to Spare

Monday's informal Common Council meeting was a very tame event and lasted for less than ten minutes. If you're interested in watching what happened, Dan Udell's video is now available on YouTube.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Unofficial Election Night Results: Update

The Board of Elections is now reporting that, in the race for the Democratic nomination for Fourth Ward supervisor, Linda Mussmann leads Bill Hughes--87 to 72.
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Unofficial Election Night Results

The Columbia County Board of Elections is reporting the unofficial results of tonight's primary election. With the numbers from the Fourth Ward yet to be reported, it appears that Tom DePietro has a significant win over Steve Dunn. In the First Ward, Rob Bujan and Kamal Johnson are the winners for alderman; in the Second Ward, it is Dewan Sarowar and Tiffany Garriga. In the Third Ward, Michael Chameides defeated John Friedman for supervisor. In the Fourth Ward, John Rosenthal and Rich Volo took the alderman slots. It is not yet known who won--Bill Hughes or Linda Mussmann--for Fourth Ward supervisor. The word is the race is too close to call.

It must be noted that absentee ballots are yet to be counted.
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Local Primary Today

The local primary is today. If you're a registered Democrat or a member of the Independence Party, this one's for you. Polls are open from noon until 9 p.m.

To get yourself ready to vote, study the map below to figure out which ward you are in. The ward boundaries have changed since the last election. 

Know your polling place. Wards 1, 2, and 3 vote at St. Mary's School, 301 Allen Street. Ward 4 votes at the Columbia County office building at 401 State Street. Ward 5 votes at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street.

Check out the sample ballots. Under your party below, click on your ward to access the sample ballot for your party and your ward.

Democrats
Independence Party
Then . . .

See you at the polls!

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A Curious Circumstance: The Response

Yesterday, Gossips published the allegation made by Victor Mendolia and Tiffany Garriga that their opponent in the Democratic primary for Second Ward alderman, Dewan Sarowar, no longer lived in the Second Ward. Late last night, I received this statement from Sarowar as a comment. It has been published as a comment, but I publish it again here.
I bought the house in Greenport for future investment. And if you didn't know, I also have a house in Catskill. I have lived in 9 Columbia Street since 2006 with my family and the names you mentioned are my family members. Prior to that, I also lived with my family at 39 Columbia Street from 1996 to 2006. I have always been living in 2nd Ward and still live here. Lots of the 2nd Ward voters know me very well and my history of residency. Some people are making a big deal out of it trying to make me down. Whoever gave this information isn't right. I hope 2nd Ward voters make the right decision on election day September 12th. And thank you Virginia for pointing out that information. If you want more information about my residency in hudson you can look at my phone and electric bills here: https://m.imgur.com/a/vgVDy
If any of you want to know more about this situation you can contact me. For your information, the picture you provided for 9 Columbia Street is the wrong house.
Regards,
Dewan A. Sarowar
On the topic of the picture of the house, I must admit that I didn't take it myself. I Googled 9 Columbia Street, and the picture used is the one that came up. It seems that the picture published yesterday is actually 7 Columbia Street. This I believe is 9 Columbia Street.

COPYRIGHT 2017 CAROLE OSTERINK 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Information About Voter Registration

Tomorrow, when there is primary election here in Hudson for Democrats and members of the Independence Party, Donald Trump's controversial voter fraud commission, which is being sued by voter advocacy groups for its lack of transparency, will be meeting in New Hampshire. NPR's All Things Considered devoted a segment to it today: "Voter Fraud Commission Holds Second Meeting in New Hampshire Amid Controversy." It is in the context of this meeting and the recent allegations that one of the candidates for Second Ward alderman doesn't actually live in the Second Ward that Gossips shares some information about voter registration in Columbia County.

When people register to vote, they swear or affirm that the address they give is in fact the address where they reside. The Board of Elections does not question or require proof of residency. A few weeks before each election, the BOE sends out those little yellow cards, informing voters of their ward and their polling place. If the post office does not return the card, it is assumed that all is well. If a card is returned, the voter to whom the card was addressed is placed on a Challenge List. When voters on this list turn up at the polls, they are required to vote using an affidavit ballot. The BOE must research and verify the voter before the ballot can be counted.

Now, here is the little known part of the process. A voter suspected not to reside where he claims to reside can be challenged not by the BOE but by another voter. There is a form available at the BOE for that very purpose. When such a challenge is made, the sheriff is sent to investigate. Of course, the problem with this is that most people don't have access to the voter lists, so they don't necessarily know if there are voters registered at houses known to be unoccupied or voters registered at addresses where they do not actually live.
COPYRIGHT 2017 CAROLE OSTERINK

A Curious Circumstance

This morning on the WGXC Morning Show, in an interview with Cymon Pagnani and Willie Collins, Victor Mendolia alleged that Dewan Sarowar, one of his opponents in the primary race to be a Democratic candidate for alderman in the Second Ward, does not live in Hudson. According to Mendolia, Sarowar owns a house in Greenport and claims a STAR exemption on that house.

Using the public records readily available online, Gossips confirmed that Dewan Sarowar owns 46 Green Acres Road in Greenport, a house he purchased in May 2016 and owns with Azmerin Sanya.

Voting records indicate that Dewan Arfin Sarowar and Azmerin A. Sanya are registered to vote at 9 Columbia Street.

Google Maps
Tax records indicate that Sarowar once did own 9 Columbia Street. He purchased it in 2007 but sold the house to its current owner in December 2014. Voter rolls indicate that there are currently four registered voters who reside at 9 Columbia Street: Laila A. Afroz, MD A Rahman, Azmerin A. Sanya, and Dewan Arfin Sarowar.

After finding this information in public records, Gossips received the following press release from Mendolia:
Two Democratic candidates for Hudson's 2nd Ward Alderman have revealed that their opponent does not maintain his primary residence in Hudson's 2nd Ward. Victor Mendolia and Tiffany Garriga are seeking the two 2nd Ward Alderman seats in Tuesday's Democratic Primary. The two contend that Dewan Sarowar, their opponent in the Democratic Primary, is actually a resident of Greenport.
Victor Mendolia said "Mr Sarowar has for some reason continued to vote from a home in the 2nd Ward that he sold in 2014. He takes a Basic STAR exemption on a house on Green Acres Road in Greenport. STAR exemptions are only available to people for their primary residence. By taking the STAR exemption Mr. Sarowar has certified that the Green Acres Road residence is indeed his primary residence. We have no doubt that his full time residence is in Greenport."
Tiffany Garriga said "The people of the 2nd Ward deserve to be represented by someone who actually lives in the 2nd Ward, who sees the problems we face and is available to serve the residents of the 2nd Ward. Not someone who lives out of town."
Election law says: "The term 'residence' shall be deemed to mean 'that place where a person maintains a fixed, permanent and principal home and to which he, wherever temporarily located, always intends to return.'" Election Law §1-104 [22] 
Mendolia and Garriga do not believe that Mr. Sarowar intends to ever return to the address he continues to vote from. The people of Hudson's 2nd Ward deserve having two full time residents who will fight for the things that they care about like affordable housing, safe streets, better and accessible green spaces and public transportation.
Mendolia provided this evidence that Sarowar claims a basic STAR exemption on the house in Greenport.

COPYRIGHT 2017 CAROLE OSTERINK

Primary Prep: Second Ward Alderman

This morning on the WGXC Morning Show, hosts Cymon Pagnani and Willie Collins will be speaking with Victor Mendolia, one of the three candidates competing for the two Democratic slots for Second Ward alderman on the ballot in November. The other two candidates are Dewan Sarowar and incumbent Tiffany Garriga. WGXC is heard at 90.7 FM and online at wgxc.org.
COPYRIGHT 2017 CAROLE OSTERINK

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Primary Prep: Friedman and Chameides

On Friday, John Friedman and Michael Chameides, who are competing to be the Democratic candidate for Third Ward supervisor in the November election, were interviewed by Tom Roe on WGXC. Those interviews can now be heard online.

Click here for the interview with Friedman.
Click here for the interview with Chameides.
COPYRIGHT 2017 CAROLE OSTERINK