Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Putting Hudson's Sewer Issues into Context

Riverkeeper reviewed the reports made public today about discharges into the Hudson River watershed and reports the findings: "What Happens When It Rains." Sad to say, Hudson is not alone in releasing untreated sewage into the river today. Dan Shapley of Riverkeeper comments:
The Department of Environmental Conservation estimated the need for wastewater investments at $36 billion, over 20 years, including nearly $30 billion for maintaining and improving pipes, pump stations and plants to reduce these types of overflows and failures. Riverkeeper wants to see the Governor and the State Legislature continue to close the gap in wastewater funding by significantly increasing the funding for the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act and Environmental Protection Fund lines for treatment plant improvements, and non-point urban and agricultural runoff.

A Tradition Continues This Weekend

Founded in 1794, the Hudson Fire Department is the oldest volunteer fire department in New York State. Needless to say, a fire department that has been around for more than 220 years has a lot of history and a lot of traditions.

Evelyn and Robert Monthie Slide Collection, Columbia County Historical Society
One of those traditions is the annual Inspection Day, which takes place this weekend, October 2 and 3. On Friday afternoon, City officials and the public are invited to inspect the firehouses and the fire fighting equipment. The event begins at 6 p.m. at the one remaining historic firehouse, J. W. Hoysradt Hose & Chemical Company at 515 Warren Street, and proceeds to the Central Fire Station at 77 North Seventh Street. At 8:30 p.m., a memorial service will be conducted at the Central Fire Station.

On Saturday, October 3, the 159th annual Inspection Day Parade begins at 2 p.m. The parade makes its way down Warren Street, from Seventh Street Park to Front Street. After the parade, there is a ceremony at the Central Fire Station at which awards are presented to the fire companies that present themselves best in the parade.

Come out for the Inspection Day events and be a part of this venerable Hudson tradition.

New Owner for a River Estate

The Kingston Daily Freeman reports today that the not-for-profit Historic Hudson Valley has agreed to transfer ownership of Montgomery Place to Bard College: "Bard College taking ownership of Montgomery Place."

Where We Don't Want Hudson to Be Reported

The situation at the waste water treatment plant has been reported, as required by law, on NY-Alert.

The Great Debate . . Maybe, Maybe Not

Today, the print version of the Register-Star has a front page story, which hasn't appeared online yet, about the mayoral candidates' struggle to reach an agreement about when, where, and how debates between them will take place. Mayor William Hallenbeck had originally indicated that the Rotary Club and the Register-Star approached him about holding the debates. Now it seems Hudson Rotary president Brad Poster has announced that his membership voted against participating in the debates, and Register-Star publisher Mark Vinciguerra said it's not the newspaper's place to coordinate the debates. 

The article--"The debate over the debates," written by John Mason--is essentially based on a press release issued by the mayor on Tuesday and a response from his challenger, Tiffany Martin Hamilton, issued yesterday. Gossips is happy to publish both in their entirety and without editing. First, the mayor's statement:

Mayor William Hallenbeck, Jr. again challenges Opponent to debates.
After several weeks of trying to communicate debates with mayoral opponent Tiffany Martin-Hamilton, talks have broken off between parties according the the Mayor. The Mayor, after a request from the Register Star and the Hudson Rotary to host debates has attempted to have Tiffany Martin-Hamilton agree to these debates. "Over and over and time and time again there is always an excuse coming from my opponent why the location, moderator, or debate format is no good." "Enough is enough!" Hallenbeck stated.
I have secured the Elks lodge for a 6:00 PM debate with Tiffany Martin on October 14, 2015. I have advised the Rotary Club and the Register Star that they have my blessing to set up the debates as they wish with the moderators and format of their choice and that all I need to know is when they would like me to arrive. I have secured the American Legion for October 28, 2015 for a 6:00 PM debate, but now my opponent has an issue with my affilitation with Veterans which she believes makes the location for this debate and the one at the 601 Union Street building a disadvantage. "Are you kidding me" stated the Mayor. I have also confirmed a radio debate on WGXC next week October 7th, without hearing confirmation from my opponent. A continuous barrage of social media posts to the contrary continue with false information and inaccurate details coming from post created by my opponent. I am a busy Mayor running a busy City. I do not have time to play these political "Cat and Mouse" games.
I again challenge my opponent and demand that she come out from behind the computer and face the residents with that she has to offer. My position again is that I am ready to debate tomorrow if these hosts call me and advise me to be somewhere.
Now, the response from Tiffany Martin Hamilton:

This is nonsense and I am sure voters will see through it. The Mayor simply doesn't want to debate and is using his usual smear tactics to get out of it.
We have seen this sort of performance from him in the last two election cycles, including 2013 where he nixed debates altogether. At issue here is his insistence that the format and questions be left to the discretion of his supporters. He booked venues without consulting us, a "my way or the highway" approach that reveals why so little has been accomplished on his watch. If only the Mayor’s claim to be ready to debate anytime, anywhere were true.
That said, I wholeheartedly consent to a debate sponsored by the Register Star, to be conducted at the American Foreign Legion on October 14. I will agree to a second debate provided that it is also sponsored by the Register Star, to be conducted at John L. Edwards Primary School by my campaign and held October 28.
The Mayor’s smear that I am anti-veteran is an old smoke and mirrors trick, designed to shift attention away from his performance by creating false divisions. I fully recognize that we would have no elections were it not for the freedoms secured and protected by our veterans. They were willing to sacrifice everything, including their lives. To throw them into this matter for his own political expediency is deeply offensive.
Since the Mayor calls my truthfulness into question, I am making our entire correspondence on this subject available here (click links below to access each item). This supplements several face to face and phone discussions that my campaign initiated in good faith. The messages make clear that he has been nothing if not entirely confusing to deal with.
I know the voters of Hudson expect more. Let’s get on with it. I trust the Mayor will return to civility, and agree to this very fair arrangement.

NOTE: At 1:35 p.m., the Register- Star posted "The debate over the debates" online.

Beneath Our Streets

At last week's Common Council Public Works Committee meeting, a resident of lower Allen Street was there to complain about the sewer odor emanating from the storm drain. Public Works superintendent Rob Perry explained that the problem was there had been no rain lately to flush the storm drains and thus eliminate the odor.

There was lots of rain to flush the storm drains last night, and this morning, at about 8 a.m., mayoral candidate Tiffany Martin Hamilton ventured down North Front and Dock streets--just outside the waste water treatment plant, where everything in the sewers ends up--and took these pictures, which she posted this morning on Facebook with this comment:
To anyone thinks we don't have a problem with our sewer system, have a look at these photos taken just now [8 a.m.] at the corner of Front and Dock Streets. One of the city workers kindly reminded me that I was standing in 6+ inches of waste water, as is evidenced by the toilet paper and condom. All of this is going straight into the North Bay and river.

Our Board of Elections in the News

Brad Friedman is a journalist known for his criticism of election integrity. He writes a blog called The Brad Blog, and yesterday he published a "BradCast" in which he interviewed Columbia County election commissioners Virginia Martin (Democrat) and Jason Nastke (Republican). The interview can be heard here. (The interview comes after a discourse by Rush Limbaugh, with commentary by Friedman, on the discovery of flowing water on Mars, which contains this quotable quote: "It's never boring being right.")

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Everyone Wants a Parade

In June, two major parades on consecutive weekends--the Flag Day Parade and the Hudson Pride Parade--prompted Alderman Nick Haddad (First Ward) to suggest, in the interest of Warren Street businesses negatively impacted by having the street shut down for most of the afternoon, that the City consider routing parades down another street. Columbia and Union streets were suggested as alternatives. The possibility was discussed in the Common Council Legal Committee, but it went nowhere. The mayor put the kibosh on such deliberation by issuing a press release declaring that parades will continue to be routed on Warren Street.

On Monday night, at the Common Council Police Committee meeting, Chief Ed Moore raised another issue with parades that shut down Warren Street: the cost to the City. Moore pointed out that, in addition to the five parades that are regular events in Hudson--Memorial Day, Flag Day, Hudson Pride, Inspection Day, and Veterans' Day--there are countless groups that for one reason or another want to parade down (or up) Warren Street, and even parades that involve fewer than a hundred people and shut down the street for only a short time cost the City money. Police overtime is required to provide escort vehicles and to block access to Warren Street while the parade passes.

How much in demand is Warren Street for parades? To find out, Gossips checked the mass gathering permits that have been approved by the mayor, listed on the City website, for events that happened recently or that will happen between now and the end of the year.
  • September 26--The Endless Love Temple held an event that involved a parade, starting at 3 p.m., from Seventh Street Park to Henry Hudson Riverfront Park
  • October 24--United Way of Columbia and Greene Counties is having a fundraiser from 1o a.m. to 3 p.m.that begins with a Pet Costume Parade up Warren Street from the Chamber of Commerce to Seventh Street Park
  • October 25--The Youth Department is having a Halloween parade, starting at 4 p.m., from Seventh Street Park to the Youth Center on Third Street
  • November 7--The Salvation Army is having a Super Hero Fun Run, from 9:30 to 11 a.m., starting at Seventh Street Park and ending at the Chamber of Commerce, to kick off its holiday toy drive
Because of the timing, some of these events will not interfere with commerce on Warren Street, but all of them will require the HPD to provide escort vehicles and to block access to Warren Street.

Common Council president Don Moore suggested that it would be "a very good idea [for the Common Council Art, Entertainment & Tourism Committee] to review all mass gathering permits," presumably before the mayor signs off on them. Chief Moore suggested that the City "attach some kind of fee [to events that require police involvement] to cover the cost to the City," pointing out that the movie company that was in Hudson this summer filming Look Away, starring Matthew Broderick and Chloe Sevigny, paid for all the police overtime required by their activities.

Hurrah for the Booksellers of Hudson

In January, Hudson City Books was included in Abe Books' list of "10 Beautiful Bookshops That Will Stop You in Your Tracks." This month, Mental Floss published its list of "11 Unusual Bookstores You Can Visit." Two are in South America, four are on the other side of the Atlantic, and five are in the United States. One of the latter is a place we in Hudson can visit every day of the week: Spotty Dog Books & Ale.


Hudson on TV News

A reader just alerted Gossips to a report on News Channel 13 about a drug bust in the wee hours of the morning at Crosswinds which uncovered 31.2 grams of uncut heroin. You can see the TV news report here and read the story on the Hudson Police Department Facebook page.

For Creatures Great and Small

This Thursday, October 1, is World Vegetarian Day (who knew?), and on this day, you can feast on the vegetarian fare at Mexican Radio--at lunch or dinner--and benefit Peppertree Dog Rescue at the same time. Peppertree specializes in finding homes for senior dogs in need, who are full of character, charm, friendliness, intelligence, and possess a peaceful, loving nature. (The picture above shows 12-year-old Jenny Foxworth, one of the dogs now available for adoption from Peppertree.) 

At Mexican Radio on Thursday, when you order a vegetarian entree, $1 will be donated to Peppertree; if you order an appetizer/entree combo from the vegetarian menu, Mexican Radio will donate $5 to Peppertree. Embrace vegetarianism and help a worthy cause. Call 828-7770 to make a reservation.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Things You Don't Miss Until They're Gone

The little triangle at the intersection of State, Green, and Columbia streets has a name: Rogers Park. It has a history that's more than a century long, as evident from the 19th-century iron fence that surrounds it. It also had some lovely old rose bushes, but now the only things planted there are campaign signs.

This morning, a reader alerted Gossips to the fact the the rose bushes were gone, and indeed they are.

When and why the rose bushes were removed is not known, but it's regrettable. They were the best thing about this poor, sad little triangle, which now is graced only by the rather graceless classical "temple" that houses Hudson's "Olympic torch."

Hudson needs a Parks Commission.

Hudson's Final Resting Place

Our burying ground in Hudson--both the original Hudson City Cemetery and Cedar Park--is a place of great beauty and interest. It's an early example in America of the landscaped cemetery for which Christopher Wren had advocated as early as 1711.

More than thirty years ago, in 1983, an inventory of the original part of the cemetery was prepared and submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office, which deemed it eligible for listing in the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Bill Krattinger, historic preservation specialist at SHPO, writing in November 2005, summarized the features of this part of the cemetery and recommended that the City move ahead with an evaluation of Cedar Park and with the designation process for all or part of the cemetery:
[T]he portion of the cemetery located west of Paul Avenue and south of Columbia Turnpike was considered as the National Register-eligible portion, containing as it does a noteworthy collection of funerary art, ranging from typically late 18th-century stones executed by a master carver--and embellished with winged effigies and other typical design vocabulary--to tombs, such as the Egyptian Revival-style tomb which is an outstanding reflection of American romanticism in the antebellum period and the interest in that period of utilizing Egyptian design motifs in cemetery design. The cemetery would appear a virtual treasure trove for historians and enthusiasts of American funerary art, offering as it does a wealth of markers and crypts that illustrate various themes and styles within this genre.
I also understand now that there is an adjacent area of cemetery contiguous to the older section—this more recent section being known as Cedar Park— that though not determined National Register-eligible at the time the other determination was made, might well warrant consideration for such, due to the presence of landscape design elements that might well have been rendered by an as-yet identified professional hand. . . . I would also recommend that . . . City of Hudson move ahead with further evaluation and the actual designation process—for either one or both areas depending on the future evaluation of Cedar Park. . . . Cemeteries are, in my estimation, important historic resources of considerable import to communities, and often eligible for listing on the State and National Registers in association with numerous historic themes as outlined under the applicable criteria.

In April 2013, thirty years after the inventory was done and the cemetery was deemed eligible, the Common Council Arts, Entertainment & Tourism Committee agreed to move ahead with pursuing National Register designation for the Hudson City Cemetery, the original part of the cemetery. The effort was spearheaded by First Ward alderman David Marston, who two years later resigned to relocate temporarily to Minnesota. In his absence, the pursuit of National Register designation does not seem to be moving forward.

Meanwhile, Peter Jung has been making his own preservation and restoration efforts in the cemetery. In 2008, after coming upon the grave of Hudson River School painter Sanford Robinson Gifford, Jung, an art dealer specializing in 19th and early 20th century painting, set out to restore the neglected Gifford family plot, of which Sanford Gifford's grave was a part.

Jung raised the money and commissioned a stonemason to repair and clean the stones. Today, the Gifford family grave site is beautifully restored.

Lately, Jung has directed his attention to an area of the cemetery not far from the Gifford family plot, where a locust tree blew over in a storm and fell on some tombstones. With the knowledge and consent and, indeed, gratitude of Public Works superintendent Rob Perry (there is never enough money in the budget to take proper care of the cemetery), Jung is clearing the fallen tree and the brush and tidying up this area.

Earlier this month, Jung created a Facebook page to promote "an informal, ad hoc group of people who appreciate the beauty and history of the cemetery in Hudson" called the Headstone Society. On this page, you can follow Jung's work in the cemetery and post your own comments and discoveries about Hudson's final resting place.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Polish Up Your Dancing Shoes

Two weeks from today, on Sunday, October 11, those familiar with this traditional Hudson event and those who have never had the experience are invited to a "polka hop" at the Federation of Polish Sportsmen Club. The shindig, which takes place from 1 to 6 p.m., is being presented by Tiffany Martin Hamilton, candidate for mayor of Hudson, and Tom DePietro, candidate for Common Council president.     

Along with polka music by the Rymanowski Brothers and dancing, there will a special performance by Lives in Crisis, featuring Tommy Stinson, Chip Roberts, and Tony Kieraldo. And there will be food--burgers, hot dogs, pepperoni sandwiches--and craft beer. A free round-trip shuttle will be available to take people out to the Polish Sportsmen's Club on Newman Road.

The first 250 tickets sold for the polka hop are a mere $5; after that, the price is $20. Click here is purchase your tickets now.

The Other Shoe Drops

An article in the Times Union yesterday reported that Columbia Memorial Hospital has asked the NYS Health Department to approve a plan to make Albany Medical Center its parent: "Hudson hospital wants to join Albany Med." In July 2014, when CMH announced its intention to "begin an affiliation" with Albany Med, the Register-Star reported: "The move is not an acquisition or merger. Each health-care provider will maintain their own identity, board of trustees, supporting foundations, management and staff as well as individual policies."

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Gossips' Word for the Day: Demagoguery

Definition (derived from Merriam-Webster): When a leader makes use of popular prejudices and false claims to gain power

Example: When the mayor, in his list of accomplishments, summarizes the snafu that ensued (see the report in the Register-Star) when he, annoyed that the Common Council had overridden his veto of the amendments to the mass gathering permit procedures, insisted on a letter from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1314 requesting a waiver of the 120-day filing requirement and of the required $1 million insurance policy before he would issue a mass gathering permit for last year's Veterans' Day parade as "Said no to Veterans being removed from Warren Street parades."


On September 9, the first day of school in Hudson, the Tiffany Martin Hamilton campaign published a report card assessing Mayor William Hallenbeck's performance during his two terms in office. Yesterday, the mayor's response to the opposition's evaluation of his performance appeared in the form of a door hanger.

Under the subtitle "A Record of Accomplishment," the mayor, referred to as "Hallenbeck Jr.," boasts about lowering property taxes and takes credit for such things as establishing "trust and accountability in law enforcement," decreasing crime, "working on providing a new Ferry Street bridge after over 100 years," and for twenty-eight new businesses that opened in Hudson in 2014.

Mayor Takes Action

For months, mayoral challenger Tiffany Martin Hamilton has been calling on Mayor William Hallenbeck to engage with her in a debate, but the mayor has been reluctant--first saying it was too early to think about debates, then denying that he was getting emails from the Hamilton camp. Now it seems the mayor has taken the bull by the horns and unilaterally arranged for two debates--on his terms and on his turf--and he is now inviting Hamilton to participate. Hamilton's response to the mayor's proposal follows.  
Since June, we have called upon the Mayor to schedule public debates with me. We proposed we start in July; he postponed until October. We proposed that we debate without prior knowledge of the questions; he balked.
We invited him to meet in person last Thursday the 24th to discuss moderators and location, format (some of which he’d already agreed to in writing after our last meeting), and location; he accepted and then texted the campaign to cancel at the last minute.
Yesterday, the 25th, I received a surprising text from the Mayor informing me he’d secured sponsorship from the Register Star and Rotary for debates to be held at the former Elks Club location--where he held his first 2015 campaign event and past events--and the American Legion, on October 14th and 28th, respectively. He informed me that the format and questions would be decided upon by the sponsoring organizations, and that I could choose to show if I wished.
His approach notwithstanding, I do think the Register Star is an excellent choice of host. The Rotary and American Legion are venerable organizations and deserve every respect; however, the Mayor has known ties to them. Given his preference to know the questions in advance, the proposed arrangement is not so much a debate as an opportunity to stump.  
I am eager to debate the Mayor on the suggested dates provided two standards are met:
 to secure independent sponsors, moderators and venues, upon which we mutually agree;
 to enter the debate without prior knowledge of the questions.
Anything less is simply reading from a script. If that is what the Mayor wishes to do, he may, but I will not join him or mislead the public by promoting it as a debate.
I call upon the Mayor to come back to the table and finalize plans for a real debate. If we cannot reach agreement this week--and I genuinely hope we do--my campaign will hold two town hall events in October, open to the public.  
If you wish to see a true debate, one that is unscripted and open to your questions, I encourage you to make your views known to the Mayor. I also encourage all Hudson residents to register to vote before October 9th, and get to the polls November 3rd. This is your city, and your election. Make your voice heard!

RFP Moves Forward

On August 11, at the Hudson Development Corporation Quarterly Community Update Meeting, Sheena Salvino reported that the first draft of an RFP (request for proposal) for the former Kaz site at Cross Street and Tanners Lane had been submitted to the HDC Board.

Now, more than seven weeks later, with Salvino at work on the second draft of the RFP, John Mason has an article about the hopes for this vacant property, which the City acquired in December 2010, in the Register-Star: "City seeks developer for Kaz warehouse parcel."

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tall Garage Gets Certificate of Appropriateness

A proposal that has been before the Historic Preservation Commission since July--to increase the height of the garage at 829 Warren Street to eighteen feet--was finally granted a certificate of appropriateness this morning.

When the HPC first voted on the proposal, on August 14, only five of the seven members of the HPC were present. Three members--Peggy Polenberg, Phil Forman, and Miranda Barry--voted to grant a certificate of appropriateness; two members--David Voorhees and Rick Rector--voted to deny. But approval requires four affirmative votes, so the certificate of appropriateness was denied by default. 

On August 28, when the HPC reviewed and voted on the language of the document denying the certificate of appropriateness, only four of the seven members were present. Three--Rector, Voorhees, and Forman--voted to approve the language and hence deny the certificate of appropriateness; one--Polenberg--did not.

For the past month, the HPC has struggled with the dilemma and conferred with counsel, and today, with all members present except Chris Perry, the architect member, who has not attended a meeting in months, it was unanimously agreed that the HPC would vote again on the proposal. This time, four members (Gini Casasco, Polenberg, Forman, and Barry) voted to grant a certificate of appropriateness; two members (Voorhees and Rector) voted to deny. The project finally got the four votes needed to get its certificate of appropriateness.

Trees Down and Soon to Be Taken Down

Two trees at 238 Columbia Street, a vacant lot owned by Hudson Community Development & Planning Agency, were cut down today.

According to a press release from HCDPA received this morning, the trees were a sumac and a Norway maple--neither species much esteemed. HCDPA made known its intention to plant four new trees in an undisclosed local park to compensate for the loss of these two trees.

At the site today, Gossips learned that the large elm tree at the front of the lot (which appears in the foreground of the picture above) is dead and will be removed in the spring.

The Mayor's Race in Hudson

The interview with Mayor William Hallenbeck on WGXC's Something to Talk About, originally broadcast on Wednesday, September 23, can now be heard online by clicking here. This show is part of a series devoted to the mayoral race in Hudson. Back on August 26, Justin Weaver and Holly Tanner interviewed Hallenbeck's challenger, Tiffany Martin Hamilton. If you missed that show, or want to hear it again to compare what the two candidates had to say, click here.

For the final show in this three-part series, Weaver and Tanner promise to bring both candidates together for a "conversation" on Wednesday, October 7, from 10 to 11 a.m. on WGXC.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

When the Courthouse Was New

When our current courthouse was being designed and built in 1907, county officials were obsessed with fire prevention. The previous courthouse, designed by local architect Henry S. Moul, had been destroyed by fire only seven years after it was built, and they wanted to make the new courthouse as fireproof as possible.

Photo courtesy Historic Hudson
Achieving that goal involved having everything in the building, including the furniture, made of stone or metal--no wood.

This morning, Paul Barrett shared pages from what would today be called an advertorial (although the term wasn't coined until 1946) for the Dahlstrom Metallic Door Company, which was published in 1910, two years after the current Warren & Wetmore courthouse was completed.

The company's products are described in the document in this way:
We are the originators of HOLLOW-METAL FIREPROOFING. We manufacture DOORS, Electrical Cabinets and Cut-Out Boxes, Partitions, Wardrobes, and complete Trim, including PICTURE and WIRE MOULDING, CAPPING, CHAIR RAILING, and MOULDING for all purposes in Steel, Brass and Bronze.
The Dahlstrom Metallic Door Company probably provided many elements for the courthouse, for the company was clearly proud of its involvement. The Columbia County Courthouse, along with the Post Office and Office Building at Grand Central Station and the Scribner Press Building in New York, is among the forty installations cited as the company's "best recommendation" of its work.

There's even a picture of the courthouse lobby as it appeared when it was new.


The Longest Journey Starts with the First Step

Back in April, Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward), who chairs the Common Council Legal Committee, proposed a multi-step process meant eventually to lead to doing away with the inequity of the weighted vote system in Hudson. It involved a referendum for the voters of Hudson to decide if they wanted this to happen, appointing a "Redistricting Commission" that would spent a year coming up with a way to divide the city into five equipopulos districts, and second referendum to decide if the people of Hudson wanted to adopt the scheme proposed by the Redistricting Commission. Pursuing this course, we would not see the end of weighted voting in Hudson until January 2018.

Last night, the Common Council Legal Committee took the first step in the process: agreeing to move a resolution to have a referendum to the full Council. After a fifteen "Whereases," which mention such things as the Hofstra University Law School study, the difficulty for the public of comprehending the weighted vote, the constitutional norm of one person one vote, the fact that three members of the Common Council can now override the other eight, and hint at the unconstitutionality of our weighted vote system, the two-page resolution concludes:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that at the next general election held in the City of Hudson the following question shall be put to the voters by inclusion on the ballot used in such election by way of referendum:
"Shall the Common Council of the City of Hudson amend the City Charter to replace the current ward method of weighted voting utilized by the City with voting districts of equal population such that every resident of the City of Hudson is equally represented on the City Council and the County Board of Supervisors?"
The resolution will be introduced at the informal Common Council meeting on October 13 and voted on at the regular monthly Council meeting on October 20. Unfortunately, the deadline for getting a resolution on the ballot for the November 3, 2015, general election is September 28, so this referendum will not happen until November 2016.

Change happens slowly, if it happens at all.

More Air Time for the Mayor

Yesterday, Mayor William Hallenbeck was interviewed by Justin Weaver and Holly Tanner on the WGXC show Something to Talk About. Interviewed may not be the most accurate verb, since for more than twenty minutes of the hour-long show, the mayor, obviously reading from a prepared script, responded to the criticism leveled against him and his administration in the "report card" created by the Tiffany Martin Hamilton campaign.

Gossips has been waiting for the show to be archived in order to link to it and enable readers who missed hearing the mayor yesterday to listen at their leisure, but it hasn't been archived yet. Instead, half the show was rebroadcast from 6 to 6:30 p.m. yesterday, in a time slot purportedly devoted to "Local news headlines, breaking updates, national headlines from Public News Service." The second half of the show will be rebroadcast today from 6 to 6:30 p.m. 

WGXC can be heard at 90.7 FM and online at

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

S.S. Columbia Arrives in New York

Gossips has been following the progress of the S.S. Columbia ever since the project was first announced in May 2013.

When last we reported on the project back in August, the Columbia was getting set to leave the Ironhead Shipyard in Toledo, where it had been for the past year undergoing $1.6 million in hull stabilization, and make the journey across Lake Erie to a temporary berth in Buffalo. 

Today the S.S. Columbia Project reports that the Columbia arrived safely in New York on September 2. On our side of the lake, the country's oldest surviving excursion steamboat was greeted by a flotilla of sailboats and kayaks led by the fireboat Edward M. Cotter and the tall ship Spirit of Buffalo as it was towed into Buffalo Harbor.

The Columbia will be docked at Silo City in the Buffalo River for a year in preparation for its journey to the Hudson River and New York City.

Photos of the Columbia in Buffalo by Gene Witkowski for the S.S. Columbia Project