Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Be Advised

The Hudson Police Department issued the following press release this afternoon.

Alcohol is a leading cause of traffic fatalities. Drinking and driving kills 28 people a day in the U.S.--about one person every 52 minutes--according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That is more than 10,000 lives lives each year to drunk driving.
In response to this very important public safety concern, the Hudson Police Department will perform "High Visibility Enforcement" over the Fourth of July holiday. Working in concert will all local police agencies and supported by Columbia County Stop DWI, our police officers will be conducting stationary checkpoints and mobile DWI enforcement patrols. Increased enforcement will take place between July 1 and 5, 2022.
The purpose of this announced enforcement period is to raise public awareness, educate motorists, and ultimately make our roads safer.

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been 33 new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is 20 more than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that, since yesterday, 13 county residents have recovered from the virus. There is 1 fewer county resident hospitalized today than yesterday, but the number in the ICU remains the same. There has not been a death from COVID-19 reported in Columbia County since June 8.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 0 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 4,266, and the number of active cases was 3. There were 16 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 0 were hospitalized, and 0 were in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Columbia County at this time last year was 96.

Happening Next Week

On Thursday, July 7, the Columbia County Democrats will be hosting a virtual forum for the two candidates--Jamie Cheney and Josh Riley--who are competing in the August 23 primary to be the Democratic candidate for the new 19th Congressional District.

The forum is an opportunity to hear from the two candidates, ask questions, and learn how you can get involved with their campaigns. 

You are required to register for the virtual forum, which you can do by clicking here.

Results of Yesterday's Primary

Yesterday's Democratic Primary confirmed that Kathy Hochul and Antonio Delgado will be the Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor. The results for both the Democratic and the Republican primaries for governor can be found here. The results for both the Democratic and the Republican primaries for lieutenant governor can be found here.   

Photo: Mike Groll | Office of Governor Kathy Hochul

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Memorializing a Historic House

Back in 2018, when it became known that the proposal to create a new retail center in Greenport with McDonald's as its centerpiece involved the demolition of the Gothic Revival house once known as "The Pines," Paul Barrett and John Craig worked to bring the house and its history to the attention of the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). Their efforts were successful in persuading SHPO to make the determination, in October 2018, that the house was eligible for listing for the State and National Registers of Historic Places. But, alas, that determination was insufficient to spare the house. 

In November 2018, it was revealed that SHPO, despite determining its eligibility for listing, had approved the demolition of the house on three conditions: (1) the building must be documented; (2) a public exhibit of the building must be located in the new building or on the site that depicts the history of both the building and the site; (3) the building elements and materials should be offered to a local non-profit architectural salvage or other capable organization.

It is not known if the first and third conditions were ever met, but the second has. Yesterday, Gossips learned that the requisite "public exhibit" has been installed on the site of the building, where people can see it as they wait in line at the McDonald's drive-thru.






The exhibit was been described as "a very Readers Digest version that meets the minimum requirement."
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Thanks to Paul Barrett for all the photographs that accompany this post

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been 12 new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is 5 fewer than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that, since yesterday, 17 county residents have recovered from the virus. There is 1 more county resident hospitalized with COVID-19 today than yesterday, but the number in the ICU remains the same. There has not been a death from COVID-19 reported in Columbia County since June 8.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 3 new cases of COVID-19 after a two-day weekend. The total number of cases was 4,266, and the number of active cases was 4. There were 21 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 1 was hospitalized, and 0 were in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Columbia County at this time last year was 96.

Comeuppance for Straying Off the Truck Route

Heading out for a brief walk in the neighborhood this morning, Joey and I encountered an unusual sight. An 18-wheeler attempting to turn off Second Street onto Allen Street was blocking the intersection, unable to move forward because a parked vehicle blocked its way.



The driver claimed he had just been following the directions provided by his GPS, but he couldn't get free of his current predicament unless the owner of the blue pickup could be located and asked to move the vehicle. The pickup truck appeared to be a tradesman's vehicle, and I suggested that the driver of the 18-wheeler inquire at the open door at Talbott & Arding, which leads to the cellar or some kind of utility area. 

Apparently my suggestion worked because, as Joey and I were circling back from our brief walk, I saw the blue pickup truck drive up Allen Street and then a police car, summoned by a neighbor to deal with the problem, drive down Allen Street. When we reached Allen Street again, we watched the 18-wheeler, now freed, proceed up Allen Street, after a brief exchange with the officer in the police car.

Since truck drivers exercise such blind faith when following their GPS, wouldn't it be grand if their GPS could route them in a way that avoided the narrow streets of Hudson altogether?
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What to Do Today

Monday, June 27, 2022

Something Else to Do Tomorrow

In addition to voting, there's something else to put on your list of things to do tomorrow. 


After previously revising its schedule to postpone the hearings for several weeks, the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol unexpectedly added a hearing to take place tomorrow, Tuesday, June 28, beginning at 1:00 p.m. According to reports, at tomorrow's meeting, the committee will "present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony."

Mark Your Calendars

On Saturday, July 16, the inaugural Columbia County Climate Carnival will take place at the Columbia County Fairgrounds in Chatham from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 


The event will include:
  • Repair Cafe  Fixers will repair lamps, jewelry, clothing, vases, bikes, small appliances, as well as sharpening knives (You're encouraged to sign up for the Repair Cafe here, so the fixers know what to expect.) 
  • Free Store  Take home gently used clothing, kids’ stuff, home goods, sporting goods
  • Renewable Energy Education  Learn about clean energies available right here in Columbia County
  • Bike Recycling  Get a bike, save on gas
  • Composting  How to do it, where to do it, why to do it
  • Perennial wildflowers and “biochar”  For pollinating and sequestering carbon
  • Live Birds of Prey Exhibitions and a Beekeeper  We’re not the only ones who live on this Earth
There will also be children's programming provided by the Columbia County Library Association and the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum. Bands will play throughout the day, and there will be a live, interactive "quiz," as well as food trucks.

This Columbia County event is being presented by the Climate Smart Communities Task Force and organized by a committee of volunteers in several towns across the county, from both public and private organizations. Individuals or groups who would like contribute to, take part in, or volunteer at this event can go to ClimateCarnival.org, or send an email to ColumbiaClimateCarnival@gmail.com.

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since Friday, there have been 31 new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is 3 more than on Friday, from which it can be inferred that, since Friday, 28 county residents have recovered from the virus. There are 2 fewer county residents hospitalized today than on Friday, but the number in the ICU remains the same. There has not been a death from COVID-19 reported in Columbia County since June 8.

A year go today, it was Sunday, and the CCDOH did not report COVID numbers. On the previous Friday, June 25, 2021, the CCDOH reported 1 new case of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 4,263, and the number of active cases was 3. There were 21 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 1 was hospitalized, and 0 were in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Columbia County at this time last year was 96.

Another Survey to Know About and Complete

At the beginning of the year, when the new councilmembers were being sworn in, Common Council president Tom DePietro delivered a speech in which he urged the newcomers to the Council to emulate former councilmember Rebecca Wolff, who brought $1 million to the City in the form of the anti-displacement grant from Enterprise Community Partners. DePietro said the impact of the grant would be felt long into the future. That statement is true in different ways.

Much of the $1 million went to finance initiatives that the City will have to support with its own resources going forward. The grant paid the salary of Housing Justice Director Michelle Tullo for the first year. In the future, it will become part of the city budget. Of the $1 million, $580,000 was seed money for the Housing Trust Fund, which is defined as "a fund of money that comes from consistent public revenue sources that will be used to create and preserve affordable housing in the City of Hudson." Those "consistent public revenue sources" seem to be, directly or indirectly, the taxpayers of Hudson. In the budget discussions last year, Tullo asked for $200,000 from the City: 10 percent of the City's ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds and 50 percent of the revenue from the lodging tax. (In actuality, only about $20,000 was allocated for the HFT in 2022 budget.)


The Housing Trust Fund Board of Trustees, made up Nick Zachos, Angellic Innamorato, Rebecca Wolff, Tom DePietro, Usha Berlin, and Dustin Duncan, is currently conducting a survey to help the board "make final decisions on how to allocate funds to improve housing affordability." What appears above is one of nine questions that make up the the survey. Since everyone in Hudson will be affected by the decisions made by this board, everyone should complete the survey, which can be accessed here. More information about the Housing Trust Fund can be found here.

And Then There Were Two

This morning, Ọṣun Zotique announced on Instagram the end of their campaign for Congress.


The statement reads:
Mrs. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter channeled "you won't break my soul," and she's right. Because my soul belongs to God, and she has even bigger plans than #ny19 for me this year. And so I am ending my candidacy, effective 06/30. Onward, siblings. Onward. Stay tuned. The sun is rising, not setting, on this democracy.
The Instagram statement does not provide any reason for ending the campaign. A press release from Zotique received by Gossips subsequent to the post on Instagram alludes to the reason:
I would like to take this opportunity to say that NYS ELN § 6 is not only obsolete, it is also ableist and dangerous. In my experience gathering over 1,000 designating petition signatures, I realized that it is very challenging to make your way onto a ballot in this state. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In a world of integrated blockchain and crypto, however [an issue where Mr. Molinaro and I agree], there’s no reason we couldn’t also do this securely online in the MyNY.gov portal. Running wet-ink petitions is exhausting physically and impossible for some. And furthermore, it forces us to carry around sensitive voter information which could get misplaced or destroyed by rain. New Yorkers need reform on Section 6, full stop.
A search of the New York State Board of Elections website yields an explanation of what happened to cause Zotique to end their campaign. The designating petitions for a candidate in the August primary for NY19 Congressional District needed to contain a total of 1,062 valid signatures to meet the minimum threshold. Zotique's petitions contained 1,063, just one more than the minimum. For a variety of reasons, there were objections to 294 of the signatures. Whether or not all the objections were determined to have merit, Zotique had only one signature to spare, so if only two signatures were determined to be invalid, there would be an insufficient number for Zotique to get on the ballot. 

Zotique's press release concludes:
I urge everyone to stay tuned to the important issues we had the opportunity to elevate via my website at www.osunformy.com. Please hold my new friends Jamie and Josh to those same values, which we mostly all share.
I remain New York's yoga servant; school district advisor; PhD candidate in creativity education; OutHudson LGBTQIA+ Pride Executive Director; and, a steadfast neighbor & friend. Maybe one day soon I will get the chance to be your elected public servant again.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Meetings and Events in the Week Ahead

In this week leading up to the long Fourth of July weekend, not much is happening on the meeting scene.
  • Tuesday, June 28, is the primary election to select candidates for governor and lieutenant governor. To view the sample ballot for Democrats, click here. To view the sample ballot for Republicans, click here. The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The polling places for Hudson are: First, Second, and Third wards--St. Mary's Academy, 301 Allen Street; Fourth Ward--County Office Building, 401 State Street; Fifth Ward--Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street.
  • Also on Tuesday, June 28, the Board of the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) meets at noon. The meeting takes place in person at 1 North Front Street. 
  • On Wednesday, June 29, Waterfront Wednesdays returns to Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, from 5:00 p.m. until sunset. Click here to view the lineup of events.

And that's it for the week!

What Was the Inspiration?

Back in January 2021, when the two apartment buildings proposed for the "Depot District" were first presented to the Planning Board, Walter Chatham, then the architect for the project, said the inspiration for the building proposed for 708 State Street, now being identified as 76 North Seventh Street, was the historic apartment building at 501 Union Street, constructed in 1864.

On Friday, after the Historic Preservation Commission voted to grant the Depot District project a certificate of appropriateness, Gossips was inspired to take a look at the buildings owned and operated by Eric Galloway's Lantern Organization in New York City. Some of the buildings are renovations; others are new construction. Among the latter is this building, called Silverleaf Hall, located at 480 East 176th Street in the East Tremont section of the Bronx. Its resemblance to what's proposed for North Seventh Street is striking.



The first image above is a rendering of Silverleaf Hall, the building in the Bronx. The second is a rendering for 76 North Seventh Street. The construction of Silverleaf Hall was completed in 2006. Below is a Google capture of the building from March 2022.

The Lantern Organization, which was founded by Eric Galloway in 1996, provides permanent and affordable supportive housing in New York City. Dan Kent, known to Hudson as the vice president of initiatives for the Galvan Foundation, also serves as a director of Lantern. According to the organization's website, "To date, Lantern Organization has developed 15 buildings, totaling 1,400 units in operation, and 3 buildings, totaling an additional 225 units are in predevelopment or construction phases." 

Hudson has its own experience with the Lantern Organization. In 2010, Lantern proposed constructing a building to be called "Starboard" at the corner of Warren and Fifth streets. The building would have provided "permanent supportive housing" in 33 studio apartments for the mentally disabled, the homeless, and those with substance abuse problems.    

The Starboard project was abandoned after a public meeting at which the overwhelming sentiment expressed by the people who filled City Hall was that the project was a remarkably inappropriate idea.

Two years later, Lantern, working in partnership with the newly created Galvan Initiatives Foundation, proposed a building for the corner of Fourth and Columbia streets which they called "Hudson Civic." The first two floors in the building would be leased by the City for the police department and the city court; the top two floors would be 35 units of supportive housing for formerly homeless single adults--men and women. 

This project was abandoned because the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP) would not approve the financing for the project in the face of objections from members of the Hudson Police Department who thought it inappropriate to combine police and court facilities in the same building with residential units.

Since 2012, Lantern has not made any proposals for development in Hudson. That task has been taken over entirely by the Galvan Foundation.
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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Responding to the Overturn of Roe v. Wade

This morning, people of all ages filled the Public Square in Hudson to listen to speeches and protest the Supreme Court decision yesterday that overturned Roe v. Wade.

Mayor Kamal Johnson called the Supreme Court decision "an act of terrorism." Others urged those attending to demonstrate their outrage and dissatisfaction with their vote. Read aloud in its entirety was a statement released by the American Medical Association regarding the court's decision:
The American Medical Association is deeply disturbed by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn nearly a half century of precedent protecting patients' right to critical reproductive health care--representing an egregious allowance of government intrusion into the medical examination room, a direct attack on the practice of medicine and the patient-physician relationship, and a brazen violation of patients' rights to evidence-based reproductive health services. States that end legal abortion will not end abortion--they will end safe abortion, risking devastating consequences, including patients' lives. . . .
Access to legal reproductive care will be limited to those with the sufficient resources, circumstances, and financial means to do so--exacerbating health inequities by placing the heaviest burden on patients from Black, Latinx, Indigenous, low-income, rural, and other historically disadvantaged communities who already face numerous structural and systemic barriers to accessing health care. . . .
As the health of millions of patients hangs in the balance, this is a fight we will not give up.
The entire statement can be read here.

The video of all the speeches can be viewed here.

Another Cause Worthy of Support

The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society (HALPS) is embarking on a Once in a Century Restoration, both above and below water, of the beloved historic treasure on the river. 

In December, HALPS received a $500,000 grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation "to protect the building in anticipation of further restoration work, increase visitor safety and access, and restore the historic water system to enhance interpretative tours." Another $180,000 in matching funds needs to be raised for Phase 1 of the restoration, which will address some immediate needs of the lighthouse itself: replacing the flat roof, repairing the slate mansard roof, and addressing the gutters and downspouts, all meant to eliminate damaging, ongoing water intrusion. Phase 1 also includes a new staircase from the dock to the building's deck to increase and expand access and safety, and the installation of an upgraded marine toilet and cistern repairs.

Tomorrow, Sunday, June 26, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., Stewart House is sponsoring an afternoon of hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, and a silent auction at River Grill, 1 North Water Street in Athens, to benefit the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets to the event.  

Friday, June 24, 2022

A Preview of Things to Come

Earlier this evening, people gathered in Seventh Street Park, a.k.a. the Public Square, for the unveiling of the conceptual design for the restoration of this historic public space. 

Photo: FOPS | Facebook


The plan for the park that was unveiled today will be used as the basis for a grant application to be submitted by Friends of the Public Square (FOPS) in New York State's Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process. Applications are due on July 29. 

At tonight's gathering, Katherine Kanaga of FOPS explained that they are anticipating the restoration of the park will be done in three phases: Phase 1 will address the paths through the park and the infrastructure; Phase 2 is the fountain; Phase 3 involves the sidewalks around the park and the planting of street trees.

Tomorrow, Saturday, June 25, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., there is a benefit at Hudson Hall to celebrate FOPS first anniversary and to raise funds for the restoration of the Public Square. Click here to purchase a ticket to the event, or you can simply show up and pay at the door.
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COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been 21 new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is 2 more than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that, since yesterday, 19 county residents have recovered from the virus. The number of county residents hospitalized with COVID-19 and in the ICU has remained the same since Wednesday, June 22. There has not been a death from COVID-19 reported in Columbia County since June 8.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 2 deaths from COVID-19 that had occurred in nursing homes earlier in the month and 0 new cases. The total number of cases was 4,262, and the number of active cases was 3. There were 21 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 1 was hospitalized, and 0 were in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Columbia County at this time last year was 96.

On Our Waterfront

A few weeks ago, Gossips published a picture of the partially submerged at high tide sign at the state boat launch in Athens which, like Hudson, is one of the state boat launches to slated get a major makeover in the Hudson Eagles Recreation Area project. 

The sign in Athens seems also to have inspired an article by Roger Hannigan Gilson, which appears in the Times Union today: "Proposed state park on Hudson's shore has city nervous." 

There's not much information here that Gossips readers don't already know, but there is the suggestion that Hudson officials may be out of the loop when it comes to planning for these changes to the state boat launch because Hudson does not have an approved LWRP (Local Waterfront Revitalization Program). The biggest concerns about the state's plans have been voiced by the Conservation Advisory Council, which fears the plans do not take sea level rise, as a consequence of climate change, into consideration.
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Where to Be Tomorrow Morning

Tomorrow, Saturday, June 25, at 11:00 a.m., Columbia County Democrats are hosting a rally in Seventh Street Park in response to the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. 

Two Decisions of Great Import

This morning, while the news media and social media were reporting and reacting to the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the Historic Preservation Commission was meeting to continue its review of the buildings proposed by the Galvan Foundation for North Seventh Street, the area of the city that has been dubbed the "Depot District." I won't keep you in suspense. The five members present at today's meeting--Phil Forman, Hugh Biber, Jeremy Stynes, Chip Bohl, and Miranda Barry--voted unanimously to grant a certificate of appropriateness for the two buildings, the designs for which had been significantly modified since the last time they were presented to the HPC.

At the May 20 meeting of the HPC, there was concern about the materials being proposed, particularly for the building at 75 North Seventh Street.

What the HPC found most troubling was the proposal to use a combination of engineered brick and rigid insulation formed to look like brick on the facade of 75 North Seventh Street. The architects for the project argued they could not achieve passive house certification for the building without the use of these synthetic materials. The HPC was concerned about the appearance and the durability of these materials. 

Today, Dan Kent, vice president for initiatives for the Galvan Foundation, told the HPC, "We are excited to share that we were able to find a way to use real brick at 75 North Seventh Street." He went on to explain, "We don't want one building to stand out from the others," so they would be using a color of brick that matches the brick of the historic Hudson Upper Depot building on both 75 and 76 North Seventh Street. 


The revised design for 75 North Seventh Street has brick on the front facade and on the facade facing Rope Alley and EIFS (Exterior Insulating and Finish System) on the back of the building and the side facing the Central Fire Station. EIFS is like stucco, and it is proposed to be colored to match the brick.



The building at 75 North Seventh Street will also have cast stone window sills and window surrounds, cast stone in the pediment of the gable in the north side of the building, and a cast stone band between the second and third floors. The windows being proposed for the building are now slightly taller than those originally proposed. 

Similarly the building across the street at 76 North Seventh Street will have the same color brick on three sides of the building with matching EIFS stucco at the rear, facing the railroad tracks.


After the HPC had voted to grant a certificate of appropriateness, Stynes thanked the Galvan team for its patience, and Barry thanked them for their willingness to use real brick and to reference the architecture of Hudson without copying any specific building. Kent responded by saying, "I love the way the buildings look now, as a result of all the input from this commission."
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