Monday, December 6, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since Saturday, there have been 55 new cases of COVID-19. The number of new cases being reported today is 5 more than Saturday, from which it can be inferred that, since Saturday, 50 county residents have recovered from the virus. There are 70 more county residents in mandatory quarantine today than on Saturday, but there are 2 fewer hospitalized. One of those hospitalized is in the ICU. There has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County since Wednesday, December 1.

The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for Columbia County yesterday of 7.6 percent and a seven-day average of 8.8 percent. By comparison, the daily positivity rate for the Capital Region is 6.5 percent and the seven-day average is 7.4 percent.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 13 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 1,057, and the number of active cases was 72. There were 263 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 19 were hospitalized, and 1 was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 46.

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

As we move deeper into the holiday season and closer to the end of the year, here are the meetings that are happening this week. 
  • On Monday, December 6, the Tourism Board meets at 7:00 p.m. The agenda for the meeting can be found here. Click here to join the meeting on Zoom.
  • On Tuesday, December 7, the Conservation Advisory Council meets at 6:00 p.m. No agenda is available for the meeting, nor has the link to the Zoom meeting been published.
  • On Wednesday, December 8, the Hudson Industrial Development Agency (IDA) meets at 1:00 p.m. The Pocketbook Factory project is certain to be on the agenda, and it likely the IDA will take a vote on approving the application for tax abatements. Click here to join the Zoom meeting.
  • At 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 8, the Hudson Housing Authority Board of Commissioners holds its monthly meeting. The meeting is likely to provide an update on the plans for the redevelopment of HHA properties. Click here to join the Zoom meeting,
  • On Saturday, December 11, there is a community input gathering event at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park that seems only to have been announced on Instagram.

The announcement from Future Hudson on Instagram provides this information:
Our friends at the Hudson Valley Collaborative and eDESIGN DYNAMICS are partnering with the City of Hudson to develop a design for the *Henry Hudson Riverfront Park.*
As a waterfront community on the estuary, Hudson has the opportunity to engage in a nature-based design process that will enhance the waterfront as both intertidal ecosystem and active recreational shoreline.
During our year-long process we look forward to working with the community at every step from collecting ideas and site knowledge to finalizing a design framework for an urban riverfront park that regenerates the shoreline, responds to climate change, and maintains recreational access that is critical to the Hudson community.
During this process, we will consider plans and resources previously collected and published by many stakeholders who envisioned the waterfront previously. The final outcome is a design that can be implemented by the City in the future.
Look out for announcements for upcoming public events to learn about the project and participate.
      • December 2021
Gather Community Input
      • April 2022
Share Preliminary Designs for Feedback
      • July 2022
Share Final Designs for Feedback
      • Sept 2022
Share Final Report
This Saturday's input gathering event takes place rain, snow, or shine from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park.

COPYRIGHT 2021 CAROLE OSTERINK

Sunday, December 5, 2021

About the Housing Trust Fund

Creating a housing trust fund seems to be the principal goal of the anti-displacement grant that the city was awarded almost two years ago. During the budget process, Michelle Tullo requested 10 percent of the city's American Rescue Plan Act funds and 50 percent of the lodging tax revenue, for a total of about $200,000, for the housing trust fund. (In the end, $20,000 was allocated for the fund in the 2022 budget.) The "ask" from the Community Benefits Alliance is that 10 percent of the profits from the hotel and restaurant proposed for the Pocketbook Factory go to the housing trust fund. Exactly what the trust fund will do and how it will be operated has yet to be explained to the public. It would seem plans for the housing trust fund are still evolving.

On Wednesday, December 8, there is to be a Hudson Housing Fund Open House from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Hudson Area Library.


The invitation to the event, reproduced above announces: "The City of Hudson and the Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition seek input from residents on a new fund to support housing affordability." It is later explained that the input sought is "on how Hudson should use its funds for housing affordability."

The Pocketbook Factory and the IDA

The Hudson Industrial Development Agency (IDA) meets this Wednesday, December 8, at 1:00 p.m. The public hearing on the proposed redevelopment of the Pocketbook Factory took place last Tuesday, so it is likely that at Wednesday's meeting the members of the IDA will vote on whether or not to grant the financial benefits sought for the project. The investment being made in the redevelopment is estimated to be $25.6 million. The benefits being requested amount to just over $1.3 million: sales tax exemption on materials used in the project ($800,000); mortgage recording tax exemption ($478,979); PILOT agreement ($112,500).

At the public hearing last Tuesday, Claire Cousin, who identified herself as representing the Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition, spoke of letter that had been submitted to the IDA by a group calling itself the Community Benefits Alliance of Hudson--a group made up of housing advocates like Cousin and some residents of the neighborhood. Cousin read the letter aloud at the hearing. The following are the "asks" presented in the letter, quoted directly from the letter.

Neighborhood asks (For the neighborhood) (4)
    • Engagement process with neighborhood, separate from city-wide communication; developing clear channels for addressing problems or requests. This includes clear communication to neighbors (not digital) about construction schedule--any anticipated inconveniences re: traffic, noise, dust, roadblocks will be outlined and communicated to neighbors. Problems will be resolved through a formal community accountability system, a Community Advisory Board of 5-7 longtime residents of the adjacent blocks.
    • Commitment to minimize other changes/impact in neighborhood, including withdrawal from parking lot plans across street. The hotel should not become a driver for other adjacent changes. This includes the area across the street. The hotel will commit to preserving the existing neighborhood and/or will campaign for a full environment assessment of toxic dumping/known asbestos issues near 7th street lot.
    • Sound limits/time limits for outdoor PA system
      • [db(A): 7am-7pm=60,  7pm-10pm=55, 10pm-7am=50]
      • Amplified sound off after 10 PM outdoors
    • Help instituting a residential parking permit system
      • Literature provided to guests basically laying out what is residential [and] what is not
      • Co-sign legislation that addresses the permit system

Use of Space asks (Retail, Event space, offices, Yard) (4)
  • Limit on number of large events given the foot/car/catering etc traffic impact in residential neighborhood
  • Tenant applications for retail spaces also go through PBF Community Advisory Board (see above) 
  • Retail businesses must be locally owned and operated
  • Provide indoor or grounded covered outdoor space to campers at Oakdale in the event of avoiding a rain cancellation.

Employment-related asks (3)

  • 50% percent hiring from Hudson city-proper

  • Housing support provided for a certain amount of local hires (direct or subsidized)

  • Protection of workers to organize - unionize

 Initiatives (2)
  • Promote car-free tourism and use of city through shuttle system and networking with other hotels
  • Visitor impact communication with guests and clients - how can PBF educate people staying at their hotel about contemporary housing issues in Hudson?

City Improvements (5)

    • Help make surrounding area more pedestrian friendly: level sidewalks and paths around Oakdale
    • Fund created to offset real estate tax increase for long time home owners in the area
    • Donating money to rebuild the Oakdale playground
    • If the HYC does end up doing paid Oakdale beach passes for tourists, the hotel would purchase a limited number of passes to maintain predominant use of the beach by locals
Cousin concluded that approval of the project was inevitable, there was no point in trying to stop it, but these "asks" were being presented for the IDA's consideration.

Kaya Weidman of Kite's Nest, Suzanne Snider, a neighborhood resident, and Quintin Cross of the Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition, all expressed their support for the "set of commitments" outlined in the letter. Weidman said it was important "to offset the negative impacts" on the community. She reiterated the request made by Cousin at an earlier IDA meeting that the proposed hotel accept homeless vouchers "to enable homeless people to stay in the community."

The link to the recording of the public hearing, which lasts for 36 minutes, can be found here.
COPYRIGHT 2021 CAROLE OSTERINK

A Holiday Event in a Historic Setting

On Friday, December 10, master storyteller Jonathan Kruk will perform Charles Dickens' immortal tale A Christmas Carol at the Reformed Dutch Church of Claverack. Kruk employs a treasure trove of voices to create more than thirty characters in an intimate, imaginative, and inspired blend of theater and storytelling.


The performance takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 10. The church is located at 88 Route 9H in Claverack. To secure tickets, email office@claverackreformedchurch.org or call (518) 581-3811. For more information, visit the church's Facebook page
The event raises funds for the restoration of the historic church's bell tower.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health released its numbers for today at 3:00 p.m. Since yesterday, there have been 57 new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is 8 more than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that, since yesterday, 49 county residents have recovered from the virus. There are 2 fewer county residents in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, and 1 fewer is hospitalized. The number in the ICU remains the same. There has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County since Wednesday, December 1.    


The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for Columbia County yesterday of 9.2 percent and a seven-day average of 9.4 percent. By comparison, the daily positivity rate for the Capital Region is 7.5 percent and the seven-day average is 8.1 percent.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 11 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 1,034, and the number of active cases was 63. There were 230 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 14 were hospitalized, and 1 was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 46.

Winter Walk Window Awards

The start of Winter Walk is just hours away, and here, to help you chart your course along Warren Street and beyond, is the announcement of the winners of the 25th Anniversary Winter Walk Window Decorating Contest. 
Hudson’s creative business community has once again demonstrated its many talents and true Winter Walk spirit with incredible displays, making awarding just one winner impossible for the anonymous judges. Instead, in the spirit of unity and recognition of the challenges we’ve all faced together this past year, 21 shops and businesses have been awarded as winners this year, with a shout out to Green Street businesses, whose efforts won them a "Greening of Green Street" special mention.  
The awardees this year range from old favorites and returning winners (such as CaMea, Source Adage, and the Quiet Botanist) to fresh faces like Merchants Social (333 Warren) to a new and hip bar and lounge who took out the "Most Starlit Newcomer" award. An abundance of glorious holiday trees were highlighted with the "Best Tannenbaums" award, presented to Red Dot (321 Warren), Hudson Home (366 Warren), Nine Cakes (748 Warren) and the beautiful tree erected by Friends of the Public Square in Seventh Street Park. On this theme, Green Street businesses Sprig & Social (21 Green Street), Circle 46 (46 Green Street), Izzy’s Room (84 Green Street), and The Rosary (128 Green Street) were given a special mention for their lovely "Greening of Green Street."
“We have been absolutely thrilled by the excitement, creativity, and flair with which our local business community have come out to support Winter Walk this year,” says Hudson Hall Executive Director, Tambra Dillon. "We congratulate and thank all the businesses who have participated in the annual window decorating contest on this special silver anniversary. Thanks to their community spirit, people of all ages and abilities can enjoy a safe and magical Winter Walk down Warren Street.”
2021 Winter Walk Window Decorating Contest Winners

Most Festive
Ca' Mea (214 Warren Street

Most "Crypto Current" Window
Source Adage (314 Warren Street)

Most Starlit Newcomer
Merchants Social (333 Warren Street

Best Tannenbaums
Red Dot (321 Warren Street)
Hudson Home (366 Warren Street)
Friends of the Public Square (Seventh Street Park)

Nine Cakes (748 Warren Street)

Most Caroling Carolee
Second Ward Foundation (429 Warren Street)


Most Welcoming
Hudson Clothier (443 Warren Street)

Most Beautiful
Quiet Botanist (445 Warren Street)

Oldest Santa
524 Warren Street


Most Fashion Forward
Mikel Hunter (533 Warren Street)

A Little Knight Music
Stair Galleries (549 Warren Street)

Most Cristo Christmas
Modern on the Hudson (555 Warren Street)

Best and Only Bambi
McKay Lighting (554 Warren Street)

Most Woodsy
Clove & Creek (613 Warren Street



OFF WARREN

Best Wylde Wyndows
WYLDE (35 South Third Street)

Sweet Sugar Plum Plum
Vasilow’s (741 Columbia Street)

Special Award for the Greening of Green Street
Sprig & Social (21 Green Street)
Circle 46 (46 Green Street)
Izzy’s Room (84 Green Street)
The Rosary (128 Green Street)

Friday, December 3, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been 37 new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is 1 fewer than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that, since yesterday, 38 county residents have recovered from the virus. There are 89 more county residents in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, and there are 4 more hospitalized. One of those hospitalized is in the ICU. There has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County since Wednesday, December 1.

The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for Columbia County yesterday of 11.0 percent and a seven-day average of 9.8 percent. By comparison, the daily positivity rate for the Capital Region is 7.7 percent and the seven-day average is 8.2 percent.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 7 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 1,023, and the number of active cases was 63. There were 220 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 14 were hospitalized, and 1 was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 46.

Happening Tomorrow

Tomorrow, of course, is Winter Walk, Hudson's joyous start of the holiday season produced each year by Hudson Hall. You can view the whole lineup of events here. You can download the official Winter Walk Map here

But even before the bells of the First Presbyterian Church begin ringing in the start of Winter Walk at 5:00 p.m., there are holiday things to do.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Hudson Farmers Market Holiday Market happens at the Elks Lodge on Harry Howard Avenue. It is the first of three holiday markets happening on the three Saturdays leading up to Christmas.


Another opportunity to do some holiday shopping comes in the afternoon, when the History Room at the Hudson Area Library holds a One-Day Shop from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the library, 51 North Fifth Street. All the items from the online shop will be available, as well as many historic books, including city directories, Hudson High School yearbooks from as far back as 1931, and books of local history and New York State history. The History Room will also be selling photographs, postcards, and ephemera, including one of their two framed original photographs of the 1909  New York National Guard Drum Corps Parade. Hudson history buffs, don't miss the chance to acquire something wonderful!

Thursday, December 2, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been 40 new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is 53 fewer than yesterday, from which it can be inferred, if the numbers are correct, that since yesterday 93 county residents have recovered from the virus. There are 9 more county residents in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, but the number hospitalized and in the ICU remains the same. There has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County since yesterday. 

The Register-Star reported that the two deaths reported yesterday were both people who were vaccinated. CCDOH Director Jack Mabb is quoted as saying, "Both of them were seniors, both of them vaccinated, but both of them had a lot of comorbidities."
 
The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for Columbia County yesterday of 5.2 percent and a seven-day average of 8.8 percent. By comparison, the positivity rate for the Capital Region was 6.8 percent and the seven-day average was 8.2 percent. 

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 22 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 1,016, and the number of active cases was 65. There were 183 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 16 were hospitalized, and 1 was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 46. 

Only Two Days Away

The 25th Winter Walk is happening this Saturday, December 4, from 5:00 tp 8:00 p.m. Gossips just received word that Assemblymember Didi Barrett will present a special citation to Hudson Hall to honor this significant anniversary.
Assemblymember Didi Barrett will present a special citation to Hudson Hall to honor the 25th Anniversary of Winter Walk on Saturday, December 4, at 5:00 p.m. at 7th Street Park. The presentation coincides with the beginning of the beloved city-wide event, which kicks off with the ringing of the First Presbyterian Church bells 25 times in celebration of the silver anniversary and in honor of pioneering Hudson antiques dealer Vincent Mulford, who passed away this past October. Assemblymember Barrett will then officiate the lighting of the Holiday Tree (sponsored by the Friends of the Public Square), in front of which she will present the citation to Hudson Hall Executive Director, Tambra Dillon. The young choristers of Harmony Project and the Hudson High School Band & Chorus will then perform a holiday medley.
"For a quarter century, Winter Walk has lifted the spirits of Columbia County residents with colorful storefront displays, charismatic street performers, beautiful fireworks, and an abundance of holiday cheer," says Assemblymember Barrett. "The event brings together Hudson's diverse and creative community and has secured the City's status as a must-see destination every December."
Photo: JD Urban

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been 2 more deaths from COVID-19. There have also been 44 new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is 70 more than yesterday, which suggests there has been an error in reporting somewhere along the line. There are 48 more county residents in mandatory quarantine, and 1 fewer hospitalized. None of those hospitalized is in the ICU.  

The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for positivity rate from Monday to Tuesday for Columbia County of 5.3 percent and a seven-day average of 7.5 percent. By comparison, the positivity rate for the same 24-hour period for the Capital Region was 9.6 percent and the seven-day average was 7.9 percent.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 3 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 994, and the number of active cases was 53. There were 186 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 15 were hospitalized, and 1 was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 46.

The numbers from the CCDOH do not indicate the vaccination status of the new cases or of the people who died from the virus. On Monday, however, the Times Union published the following chart, using numbers from the New York State Department of Health. 

The chart shows that there are 21,530 Columbia County residents that have not been fully vaccinated, as compared with 38,386 who have. The percentage of fully vaccinated residents in Columbia County is 64.1 percent--the fourth lowest percentage of eight counties in the Capital Region. Remember that as you go out and about.

Happening Tonight

There are two meetings of interest happening concurrently tonight. The Common Council Legal Committee meets at 6:00 p.m. The link to the Zoom meeting is now available. Click here to access the meeting.

At 6:15 p.m., there is another community planning workshop, this one having to do with the SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) process. The workshop, which takes place in the Community Room of the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth Street, will be facilitated by students from Albany Law School. According to the flyer for the workshop, "Attendees will learn how the state environmental review process (SEQR) regulates and affects development in Hudson, and the role citizens play in the environmental review process."


The workshop is an in-person event. Masks are required. Space in limited. Click here to register.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been 61 new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is 30 fewer than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that, since yesterday, 91 county residents have recovered from the virus. There are 42 more county residents in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, but 1 fewer is hospitalized. None of those hospitalized is in the ICU. There has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County since Wednesday, November 17.  

The New York Forward dashboard has not been updated since yesterday.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 7 new cases of COVID-19 and a death. The total number of cases was 991, and the number of active cases was 54. There were 243 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 20 were hospitalized, and 1 was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 46.