Saturday, June 30, 2012

Inside the Furgary

The Furgary Boat Club welcomed visitors this afternoon, and Gossips went down to take some pictures of the shacks that Hudson city government seems bent on destroying. The Furgarians are planning another open house next weekend, and they encourage people to come and see this historic community of fishing shacks for themselves. The open house is from 1 to 4 on Saturday, July 7. In the meantime, these pictures let you preview the boat club and may inspire you to sign the online petition urging the city government to stay the demolition.


The Story of Robert Lee Jones

Tom Casey has a story in today's Register-Star about classmates who, more than fifty years after his death, organized to raise money to place a headstone on the grave of a Hudson High School football player who died during a game in the fall of 1958: "Finally at peace."

The story of the tragic death of high school senior Robert Lee Jones is told in Jewels of Moments: An Educator's Fifty-Year Recollection: 1950-2000, the memoir written by Alan W. Sugarman, who was the principal of Hudson High School when the incident occurred. In his memoir, Sugarman recalls how he learned the shocking news of the student's death: 
On Friday evening September 19, 1958, our football team was scheduled to play Catholic Central at Troy. For some reason, I do not recall, I did not attend the game, which I normally would have since my practice was to ride the team bus to almost all away games for football and basketball. That Friday evening I was at home with my family when around 10:30 p.m. I received a call from our head football coach announcing that one of our team members, Robert Jones, had been hurt on the last play of the game "and he's dead!" 
Sugarman's memoir provides some insight into why Jones' grave in Cedar Park Cemetery had, up until now, no headstone.
Robert's mother appeared to be incapable of handling the funeral, and therefore I took care of and supervised all of the details. The ceremony was to occur at the First Reformed Church on Wednesday, September 24th, and school was to be closed an hour early to allow students to attend. I further made arrangements at a local cemetery for burial, as Mrs. Jones directed. As I recall, I do not think she was present at either moment, probably because of her extreme and understandable upset.
Sugarman recalls that the question of how Robert Jones died on the football field remained unanswered for some time and reports what "after considerable investigation" was finally determined:
The coach had always advised very strongly that, before a game, particularly, players should eat lightly, if at all.
On the other hand, Robert's mother emphatically stated that he had not eaten before he left home, yet his death was unequivocally determined to be caused by his strangling on his own vomit as a result of the pressure caused by the pile-up.
His team-mates finally came forward to solve the problem. Halfway to Troy the team bus stopped at a combination convenience grocery and gas station for gas. Several of the players including Robert had sneaked off the bus and Robert had purchased a hot dog, which he then ate on the bus as it continued on to Troy. Had that unfortunate act not occurred, his death would most probably not have happened.
Sugarman goes on to say, "A few kids approached me about placing a portrait of Robert in the main hall [of what is now Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School], but nothing ever came of the suggestion." It's touching that, more than fifty years later, Robert Lee Jones is being remembered and memorialized by his classmates and teammates.

Managing the Homeless

Nathan Mayberg reports in today's Register-Star about a meeting that took place yesterday of what seems to be an ad hoc committee identified as the "Columbia County homeless plan implementation committee": "Homeless plan details floated." The plan, of course, involves Eric Galloway's Galvan Initiatives Foundation and the Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties establishing Tier 1 and Tier 2 accommodations for homeless single adults in two buildings owned by Galloway at the corner of State and Seventh streets. 

The county's expressed goal is to reduce the cost of housing the chronically homeless. Currently, it costs $70 a day to shelter homeless people in various motels around the county. The Galvan et al plan promises to do it for $60 a day, assuming that there is a 95 percent occupancy rate. That's a saving of only 14 percent, and if the facility needs to remain 95 percent occupied, what happened to the idea of ending homelessness?

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Results Are Finally In

For most of us, Dining Out for Life is now a fond memory, but the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York just released the official results of the April 26 event, and Hudson truly distinguished itself. As hosts at Club Helsinki, Dini Lamot and Windle Davis raised a record-breaking $1,945 in diner contributions. Three of the top five restaurants, in combined diner and restaurant contributions, were Hudson restaurants: Mexican Radio (No. 3 with $2,609), Ca Mea (No. 4 with $2,360), and Club Helsinki (No. 5 with $2,274). The event raised a total of $68,761, a 51 percent increase over last year. Of that amount, $10,140 was raised by Hudson's seven participating restaurants: Mexican Radio, Ca Mea, Club Helsinki, MOD, Baba Louie's, the Red Dot, and (p.m.) Wine Bar. 

Mark your calendars. Next year's Dining Out for Life, the tenth anniversary of the event, is scheduled to take place on April 25.

The Rest of the Story

Yesterday, in a comment on this blog, Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward) criticized me for "clucking" about the chicken law instead of reporting on a very tentative and preliminary discussion in the Legal Committee about creating a nuisance abatement law that would hold property owners responsible for problems created by tenants in their buildings. The kinds of problems mentioned were illegal firearms, drugs, domestic violence, child abuse, and howling dogs. Tom Casey has a story about that discussion in today's Register-Star: "City's Legal Committee discusses landlords, housing."

The third issue taken up at Wednesday's Legal Committee meeting was Mayor William Hallenbeck's request that the mayor's office become the "sole records access officer" for FOIL requests. His stated goal in making the request was to ensure that FOIL requests are responded to in a timely way. As it works now, FOIL requests are often made to individual department heads, as well as to the city clerk. Hallenbeck wants all FOIL requests to be directed to his office and all material collected by departments gathered there and sent out from there.

Friedman expressed concern that such centralizing would create a bottleneck. He also observed that, as it works now, "it would take three people in collusion to keep me from getting the information" and opined that "multiple avenues to get information is better than it all going through one way."

City attorney Cheryl Roberts reminded Friedman that there are "things that have to be redacted" from information provided in a FOIL request and reiterated that the mayor's request was "not an attempt to withhold information."

The committee moved to forward to the Common Council for consideration a resolution making the mayor's office the sole records access officer.

Of Interest

Joe Gallo, spokesman for the North Bay Tin Boat Association (a.k.a. the Furgary Boat Club), uses a little known bit of information about John F. Kennedy to argue the right of the Furgary cabins to survive in a letter to the editor in today's Register-Star: "Historical parallel?" 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

"The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends"

There's a certain frontier quality about life in Hudson. People make spontaneous U-turns in the middle of the block, roll through stop signs, dump whole bags of fast-food trash in the street, blast their car radios, roar down Warren Street on motorcycles, deal drugs in public parks--all seemingly without compunction or fear of retribution. Now there's a new law being contemplated by the Common Council Legal Committee that could set the stage for an Oklahoma! style rivalry between the owners of different kinds of livestock.

One of the agenda items at last night's Legal Committee meeting was a revised chicken law, lifting the ban on keeping chickens within the city limits of Hudson. Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward), who chairs the committee, is pursuing this change in the law because "several people," one of whom is his wife, want to raise chickens to produce eggs. According to Victor Mendolia, chair of the Hudson City Democratic Committee who was present at the meeting, there are "a number of people in Hudson who are already keeping chickens" and would like their now illegal activity legitimized.

After a brief exchange of bad chicken-inspired puns by Friedman and committee members Don Moore (Council president) and David Marston (First Ward alderman), Mayor William Hallenbeck explained that the current law (Section 70.16 of the City Code), adopted in 2004, making it illegal to keep chickens in Hudson, was adopted in response to a particular incident that occurred in the city. A dog got into a chicken yard and killed some chickens. The owner of the chickens took his own revenge and shot the offending dog with a gun. Hallenbeck expressed concern about creating a "controversy between chicken owners and dog owners."

There are enough laws in Hudson that go unenforced, for various reasons, by the police and code enforcement. What we don't need is a new law that would allow the creation of potential nuisance situations (chicken coops, we're told, attract rats) and would require a higher level of monitoring and enforcement than the current law. If there are people in Hudson keeping chickens despite the fact that it is illegal, and the Code Enforcement Office is doing nothing about it, how can there be any assurance that all the safeguards being written into the law to prevent chicken coops from becoming a public health nuisance--as well as a threat to people's quiet enjoyment of their homes--will be enforced?           

Of Interest

The Town of Greenport is planning to celebrate the 175th anniversary of its creation on September 8. Billy Shannon has a story about it in today's Register-Star: "Planning a 175th birthday party." The Civil War seems to play a large role in the plans for the event, along with an appearance by fast-food mascot Ronald McDonald. 

County Purchase Encounters Another Problem

When the Common Council on Monday passed the resolution accepting the $82,500 settlement with Anthony Concra for back taxes and PILOT payments due on 25 Railroad Avenue, it seemed the only thing left was to get the report on the Phase I environmental study done on Parcel B. At the time, Board of Supervisors Chair Pat Grattan said they were still waiting for it; Alderman Cappy Pierro (Fifth Ward) said it was done. Now it seems there is a problem with that study--not with the results but with the way the contract for $2,500 to do the study was awarded to Morris Associates.

According to a report by Nathan Mayberg in today's Register-Star, Grattan needed a resolution from the Board of Supervisors specifying the amount to be paid for the study before he could enter into a contract with Morris Associates, and such a resolution was never passed on the board: "Supervisors hire firm without resolution."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Still a Food Desert

There was vision, there was interest, there was passion, there was commitment, there was even a logo, so what happened? The Board of Directors of the Acres Co-op Market released the following letter this morning.

Dear Friends,

We are writing to update you on the efforts we - and many of you - have made to establish a co-op grocery store in Hudson. You may know that we nearly leased a space recently. But at that time, it became clear to the majority of us that we had not laid the organizational or financial groundwork to support that long-term commitment.

The principal organizer of Acres Co-op has been Peter Pehrson. Peter’s vision and presentation seemed plausible and exciting. His idea for a co-op market coupled with food education and other community-building activities addressed real needs. We were inspired by Peter to join the board and make it happen.

Peter is paid a salary, funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant through the New York Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, whose mission is the propagation of local food systems. We therefore assumed that he understood all that this project would require – the nuts-and-bolts as well as the good ideas. We followed his lead, more or less uncritically. When it came time to commit to the lease, however, we had only a fraction of the money required for inventory, equipment, and other expenses needed to establish a store. Peter and the majority of the board disagreed on how to proceed. He has since resigned from the board and the co-op.

It is now too late in the growing season to get commitments from local growers to supply a store. And we still believe it would be self-defeating to open without adequate funds to operate for at least a year. Therefore we have suspended activities, to step back, rethink and make a realistic plan. In the meantime, we will refund what remains of membership fees received. A public meeting will be held to elicit interest, energy and ideas for moving forward. (It will not take place on July 13, as previously announced; a new date and time will be announced shortly.)

Regrettably, expectations were raised that have been disappointed. But the need for a Hudson co-op remains strong. Much can be learned from this experience, and a lot has already been done that can contribute to a co-op’s success.

Mike Loki Anthony
Susan Ball
Mona Coade-Wingate
Gideon Crevoshay
Justin Goldman
Jonathan Lerner
Ellen Thurston

"Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages . . ."

The Hudson Teen Theatre Project (HTTP) is sponsored by the Hudson Opera House and founded and directed by Carol Russoff, an artist and educator known for her "talent in developing young people's abilities and inspiring them to excel." Last year, HTTP performed Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream on a midsummer night in the PARC Park across from the Opera House. This weekend, HTTP will be debuting its very own adaptation of the best known work of 14th-century English literature, Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. 

The Canterbury Tales, known to most as the second work encountered in any survey of English literature course (the first being Beowulf) and the defining example in English of the frame story genre, is promised to "come alive under the inventive direction of Russoff and the energy, wit, talent, and dedication of the ensemble." The alliterative descriptors used in the publicity for the production give some idea of what's in store: "Rollicking Romance, Daring Duels, Tragic Tristes [sic]." The performance focuses on three of the tales: "The Knight's Tale," "The Wife of Bath's Tale," and "The Franklin's Tale."

The HTTP production of The Canterbury Tales will be presented this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday--June 28, 29, and 30--at Basilica Hudson, 110 South Front Street. All performances begin at 8 p.m., and admission is free.  

Schreibman Wins

Capitol Confidential reports that Julian Schreibman has defeated Joel Tyner to become the Democratic candidate in the 19th Congressional District, to challenge Republican Chris Gibson in November. Victor Mendolia reports that the unofficial results in Columbia County show Schreibman with 810 votes and Tyner with 381. Gossips reports that voter turnout in Hudson was abysmal. Gossips' limited statistics show that only 96 Democrats voted in the First, Second, and Third wards combined.

See Sam Pratt's analysis of yesterday's Congressional primary on his blog: "Republican wins Democratic primary." 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Primary Today

Today is the Federal Primary Election. Registered Republicans will decide which of three candidates--Wendy Long, Bob Turner, George Maragos--will challenge incumbent senator Kirsten Gillibrand in November. Registered Democrats choose between Julian Schreibman and Joel Tyner as their candidate to run against against Chris Gibson in the 19th Congressional District. The polls are open from noon to 9 p.m. Click here if you are unsure of the location of your polling site.

Right War, Wrong Parade

On Sunday, I identified this photograph as one taken during the Monster Street Parade that took place on September 9, 1919, as part of the Welcome Home Celebration after World War I. A reader corrected me. The picture does not show the parade that celebrated the return of the soldiers after the Great War; instead it shows a parade that happened around the time the United States entered the war in 1917. 

According to my source, what is being rolled down Union Street in this picture is the "Victory Ball," which was rolled all the way from Buffalo to New York City in 1917 to encourage citizens to support U.S. involvement in the war by buying Liberty Bonds. When the ball rolled through cities and villages along the way, it was the occasion for a parade.

Home for DSS

The word is that the closing on the sale of this building, the problem-ridden home of the Department of Social Services for more than two decades, is set for today. The buyer is Columbia County; the purchase price is $1.2 million.  

At a special meeting of the Common Council last night, the Council passed a resolution to accept the settlement of $82,500 in back taxes and PILOT payments from the building's owner, Anthony Concra, thus eliminating the single remaining obstacle to the sale. Tom Casey has the story in today's Register-Star: "Council OKs Concra settlement." According to City Attorney Cheryl Roberts, some of the $82,500 will be used to pay the Hudson IDA's legal fees incurred in reaching the settlement; the rest will come back to the City.

Casey reports that Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chair Pat Grattan said that there would not be a closing until the report was received from a Phase I environmental study done on Parcel B, a small piece of land adjacent to the lot on which this building is located. Last night, however, Alderman Cappy Pierro (Fifth Ward), who as Council Majority Leader is on the IDA, said the report was in and Parcel B was "clean."

How Do We Sleep at Night?

Maeve Powlick, a young woman with a Ph.D. in economics, made a presentation at the Police Committee meeting on Monday night. She works with Candace LaRue and Associates, the group that wrote the successful application for Hudson's Promise Neighborhood planning grant. She was at the meeting to tell about the City of Hudson's recently submitted application for a Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program grant and to share some rather startling statistics.

Powlick explained that the purpose of the Byrne grant is to help communities "reduce crime by building community assets." Some of the assets mentioned were social, developmental, commercial, recreational. Powlick talked about the need to understand "what is driving crime in Hudson" and to define the characteristics of the people committing crimes. She described the Byrne project as an "economic development grant that insists that the most vulnerable segment of the population is not left out."

The grant application requires that a target neighborhood be identified that is the "hot spot of crime." In Hudson, that hot spot has been identified as the Second and Fourth wards--nearly half the city. Powlick's presentation included a chart similar to this one, comparing crime in the target neighborhood with the rest of Hudson.

Powlick defined Part 1 crimes as "theft, rape, murder, aggravated assault, burglary, and robbery." "Drug arrests and harassment" were mentioned as Part 2 crimes. Although there is a marked difference between the number of Part 2 crimes committed in the target area as compared with the rest of the city, the difference in Part 1 crimes is not that dramatic. According to Powlick, the number of crimes per 1,000 residents is significantly higher all over Hudson than it is in the target area of Yonkers. The rate of crime in the target area of Yonkers is less than half what the rate of crime is in Hudson's target area. Powlick more than once described Hudson as "a small city with big city problems."

Powlick also presented statistics about the types of crime committed in Hudson, which may provide some insight into why there is not a significant difference between the rate of Part 1 crimes in the target area and the rest of the city. Theft represents 83 percent of the crimes, aggravated assault 11 percent, rape 1 percent, strangulation 1 percent, arson 2 percent, and other 2 percent. No information was provided about the nature of the crimes categorized as "other."

The Byrne grant, if awarded, is $1 million over three years. The first year will involve planning and research, the next two years implementation. The grant application was submitted at the beginning of June, and Powlick hopes to know the outcome by the end of the summer because the program is meant to start in October.

Monday, June 25, 2012

By Truck or by Train

The reward for showing up at the Columbia County IDA meeting this morning at the early hour 8:30 a.m. was getting to learn a little more about the transloading facility proposed for the old Cycletech plant adjacent to ADM on Route 23B in Greenport--a very little more. The plant was purchased in April 2009 by a group of local investors who dubbed it "Lone Star Industrial Park." At that time, it was revealed that Paul Colarusso, Scott Patzwahl, and Michael Bucci were among the investors.

In December 2011, it was announced that the project had received a $2.2 million grant--a significant part of the $3.358 that it was estimated the project would cost. At that time, Ken Flood, Commissioner of Planning and Economic Development for Columbia County, indicated that the balance--$1.158 million--would be "private investments by the owners," whom he identified only as LS Industrial, LLC.

Speaking of the transloading facility this morning at the IDA meeting, Flood described it as a "dual loading facility": it will load aggregate onto rail cars for Colarusso, and there will be a "generic loading facility for other industries that may want to use rail to transport goods." Soon after Flood made this statement, the IDA meeting went into executive session "to discuss a real estate transaction." When the IDA came out of executive session, Flood asked for approval for the appraisal of "land related to the transloading facility." He cited three quotes received for doing the appraisal--$4,900, $4,000, $4,700--and asked the IDA to approve a contract with the lowest bidder for an amount "not to exceed $10,000." That approval was granted.

Exactly what's being appraised and for what purpose is not clear. What does seem clear, however,  is that the proposed transloading facility will mean a lot more trains moving through Hudson along the ADM spur, which goes through the Public Square and down behind Allen Street, and that the principal cargo of those trains will be gravel. What's more, having gravel moved through Hudson by train will do nothing to lessen the amount of gravel now being hauled through the city by trucks. The gravel traveling by train will come from Colarusso; the gravel being trucked to the dock is being mined in the Holcim quarry and hauled to the dock by O&G to be loaded onto barges bound for Connecticut.

A Portrait of Home and Family

Recently, Walter Ritchie featured the home of Augustus and Ellen McKinstry at 886 Columbia Street on his blog An Intimate Portrait of Home: Domestic Interiors in Upstate New York, 1800-1914.  To add to the intimate portrait of the Augustus and Ellen's home life, I recently rediscovered this photograph of their two eldest children: Jennie and George Augustus.   

The picture was taken in 1859, when Jennie was 8 and George was 4. Augustus and Ellen McKinstry had two more children: Nellie, born in 1858, and Susie, born in 1862. These are the children who, in 1910, sold their parents' house to Delbert Dinehart, who demolished it to build the yellow brick Colonial Revival mansion that stands on the site today. 

A curiosity about the portrait is the flag that young George is holding. One of the stars on the flag is larger than the others--a phenomenon that has occurred only twice in the history of the American flag and only once prior to 1859: in 1837, on the 26-star Great Star Flag. Like the flag in the portrait of the McKinstry children, the Great Star Flag had one larger star in the center of the blue field, but unlike the flag George is holding, the rest of the stars were arranged to form a five-pointed star. 

In 1859, when the picture was taken, there were 33 states, and 33 stars representing them on the flag. All the stars were the same size, and they were arranged in five rows of seven, seven, five, seven, and seven.

Gossip Dogs

In today's Register-Star, Barbara Reina reviews a new book, written by Jeff Johnson, who collaborates with Paula Forman to write the advice blog Short Answers, and Hy Conrad, who worked as writer and executive co-producer for the TV show Monk, entitled Things Your Dog Doesn't Want You to Know: Eleven Courageous Canines Tell All. I haven't read the book yet, but all indications are that I should be grateful William wasn't one of the eleven dogs interviewed. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hudson and the Great War

My attention seems drawn to World War I. First, there was the discovery of the letter from the Canadian Army chaplain, assuring his father that Malcolm Gifford, Jr., had died a hero's death in the Second Battle of Passchendaele. Then there was Perry Cooney's revelation that his great uncle and namesake, David Perry, had died fighting with the ANZAC forces in the First Battle of Passchendaele. Coincidentally, I happen to be watching the second season of Downton Abbey on DVD, most of which takes place during the First World War. In Episode Six, a character is introduced--an officer in the Canadian Army--whose face was severely burned and disfigured in the Second Battle of Passchendaele. 

Recently, a box of treasures was entrusted to me, and yesterday, while exploring its contents, I discovered a commemorative book from the Welcome Home Celebration for World War Veterans that took place here in Hudson on September 8 and 9, 1919. Included in the book are photographs of the men from Hudson who died in that war--there were twenty-four. Among the pictures is this one of Malcolm Gifford, Jr., in the uniform of the Canadian Field Artillery. 

The Welcome Home Celebration started with a banquet on Monday evening, September 8, which was followed by a "Block Party" with "dancing on street pavement." This event took place at Union and South Fourth streets. 

The following day, there was what was billed as a "Monster Street Parade of eleven divisions which will consist of World War Veterans, Civil and Spanish American War Veterans, Red Cross, Fraternal Organizations, 10th Regiment, New York State National Guard, School Children, Floats, Hudson Fire Department and Visiting Fire Companies." This description of the parade allowed me to determine, with some certainty, that these two vintage photographs were taken during this "Monster Street Parade" in 1919. 

The parade followed a very circuitous route through the city--uphill, downhill, and uphill again. It started at the State Armory at Fifth and State streets, and the book describes the line of march from there: "Up State to 6th, over 6th to Gifford Place to Columbia to Green, out Green to Frederick, through Frederick to Columbia to Eighth, through Eighth to Warren, down Warren to 6th, over 6th to Union, down Union to West Court, over West Court to Allen, down Allen to 3rd, over 3rd to Warren, down Warren to Front, down Front to New York Central station where the column will countermarch to Warren, up Warren to Park Place where the column will disband without form." The two vintage photographs of the parade were taken in the 400 block of Union Street. The photographer was standing on the north side of the street, probably in front of 428 Union, which is where I stood this morning to take this picture. The house across the street that appears farthest to the right in both vintage pictures is 439 Union Street.

Amazingly, after marching from the armory, up to the hospital, then down to the train station, and back up to Park Place, the parade wasn't over yet--at least not for the bands and the schoolchildren. The description of events continues: "At the conclusion of the street parade all of the bands in the parade will assemble and form one band of 300 pieces at Public Square and march from the point down Warren Street thence over South Fourth Street to Washington Park, where the massed band will give a concert and where a chorus composed of the school children of the city will sing."

The Welcome Home Celebration continued in the evening with "Vaudeville and Entertainment at the Playhouse for the World War Veterans and their guests" and concluded with a "Victory Ball" at the State Armory.

Update: Although I was right about the location of the two vintage parade pictures, I was wrong about the parade. This was not the "Monster Street Parade" that took place on September 8, 1919, during the Welcome Home Celebration after World War I. It was a parade that took place on April 26, 1918, as part of the Third Liberty Loan campaign. See "The Great War: April 23, 1918." 

Accidents Happen

The Register-Star covers a traffic accident that occurred at the intersection of Fourth and Columbia streets on Saturday afternoon: "Car flips in Hudson accident." The driver whose vehicle toppled over when he tried to avoid a car that ran the red light was artist Dan Rupe.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Security Alert

As William and I were taking our nighttime walk just now, we met up with a reader who lives in the 200 block of Union Street. He told me that earlier in the evening he had seen two men, who seemed to be up to no good, apparently casing the garages and parked cars along Cherry Alley. One of the men asked if he wanted to buy an electric lawn mower. It would probably be a good idea to make sure all cars and outbuildings in that vicinity are locked tonight.   

Parakeet Found

At about 7:30 last night, this large parakeet landed in a garden on East Allen Street in Hudson and immediately ingratiated itself with the garden's owners.

The bird is green and blue and about a foot long from its head to the end of its long tail feathers. It is clearly comfortable with people and is now residing as a guest in a borrowed cage at the home of Common Council President Don Moore. If this is your parakeet, or if you know whose it is, please contact Moore by email or phone (518 821-3397).

Support Our Local Small Businesses

Chase and LivingSocial are offering a fairly innovative grant program for small businesses. They are awarding twelve grants of $250,000 each to twelve small businesses. A qualifying step in the application process is getting at least 250 votes of support. The applications from businesses getting 250 or more votes will then be judged by a panel of business experts, who will decide which ones get the grants.   

The Red Dot is one of the Hudson businesses competing for a grant. The two others are Tortillaville and the Close Store at 610 Warren Street. You can vote for all three, but you can only vote for any one of them once.  Click here to get started.

Giant Tag Sale TODAY at the Hudson Opera House

This handsome Stickley office chair was snagged by an appreciative shopper at last night's Sneak Peek Preview Sale at the Hudson Opera House, which went on even though the lights went out. There are plenty more treasures to be found at the Giant Tag Sale, including an absolutely fascinating wardrobe trunk (and its contents, if you want them). The sale resumes today at 9 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. All proceeds from the sale benefit the Hudson Opera House.     

Petition to Save the Furgary Boat Club

Tiffany Martin Hamilton has created an online petition calling on the City of Hudson to withdraw its 30-day eviction demand and grant the Furgary Boat Club (a.k.a. the North Dock Tin Boat Association), which the petition calls "an integral part of Hudson's history and a unique living example of fishing villages of the past," a one-year lease so that the citizens of Hudson can "actively participate in discussions regarding the future of the North Bay and the importance of including and preserving the Furgary." To read and sign the petition, click here.

What's Planned for the Furgary Site?

In light of the recent court decision about ownership of the land on which the Furgary Boat Club sits and Mayor William Hallenbeck's adamant determination to evict the boat club in 30 days, the question has arisen: What does the City plan do to with that land? Gossips doesn't have the answer to that question, but here is a review of the plans that have been proposed for the site over the years.

The Furgary Boat Club has been in the sights of planners since at least 1996. In that year, the Hudson Vision Plan--a document that was never officially adopted by the City but has been religiously followed for the past sixteen years--proposed "Summer Rentals, Environmental Center & Canoe Launch" for the site occupied by the Furgary Boat Club.

The text of Hudson Vision Plan has this to say about the boat club:
Fugary Parcel There is some debate as to ownership of this parcel of approximately 2 acres. The master plan depicts this area as a site for an environmental/recreational center that would include a small interpretive center, a canoe launching area and a connected to [sic] a network of elevated pathways carefully located in the North Bay wetland area. The proximity of the environmental center to the waste water treatment facility and the former landfill could be an advantage if the treatment of waste could be part of the program at the center.
Hudson's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program builds on the Vision Plan's suggestion for the Furgary parcel. One of the projects proposed in Section IV of the LWRP is the North Bay Recreation Area, which surrounds and possibly also includes the Furgary Boat Club.

This is what the LWRP has to say specifically about the Furgary Boat Club (page 136):
Based upon surveying work and the feasibility study, the North Bay Recreation Area may also include the area known as the Fugary Boat Club. The City must improve public access to and use of this area. For many decades the property has been used by a group of people known as the Fugary Boat Club. The Club has erected seasonal structures on the City's property where the members are able to gain limited access via a viaduct to a small boat basin located on the inland side of the Amtrak railroad. The existing link to the river under the viaduct is extremely limited due to the height of the viaduct. Clearance for canoes and kayaks is only possible during low tide. 
A planned extension of Dock Street could however include improved small-boat launch facilities into North Bay for the general public. The area should also be viewed as a possible "gateway" for the proposed network of pedestrian and bike trails leading to the North Bay wetlands, Charles Williams Park and other recreational facilities.
The Furgary Boat Club is part of the study area in the Columbia Land Conservancy's Master Concept Plan for the North Bay Recreation & Natural Area. In the description of the study area, mention is made of the Furgary Boat Club:
The City also owns a parcel at the extreme southwest limit of the study area where there is a potential water access site adjacent to the CSX railroad tracks. The site is located very near a trestle over the inlet from the Hudson River to the North Bay, which offers access to and from the Hudson River for canoes and kayaks. Seasonal cabins and houseboats in this area currently occupy what is know as the Furgary Boat Club. 
The Concept Plan for the proposed North Bay Recreation & Natural Area shows visitor parking and canoe/kayak access in the vicinity of what is now the Furgary Boat Club.

The Phasing Plan indicates that development of the area that is now the Furgary Boat Club is anticipated to occur in Phases 2 and 3. Each phase in the Master Concept Plan is three years, and implementation hasn't started yet, which means that the development of the Furgary site in this plan is at least four to nine years away.