Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Parents and Education

These days, the important role parental involvement plays in children's achievement in school is received wisdom, but, as it turns out, it's hardly a new concept. This item, discovered in the Hudson Daily Star for February 9, 1855, shows that, as early as the mid-19th century, parents were being urged to pay attention and be involved in their children's school experience.


What's For Sale

The City of Hudson is holding an auction this Saturday, November 4, of properties seized for nonpayment of property taxes. The auction begins at noon in the Council Chamber at City Hall. The terms and conditions of sale and other information for prospective bidders is provided on the City of Hudson website. Below are the addresses, minimum bids, occasional comments, and pictures of the properties being auctioned. The minimum bid constitutes what is owed to the City in back taxes, penalties, and fees.

35 Columbia Street    Minimum bid: $24,211.97

255-257 Columbia Street    Minimum bid: $90,750.47 
This vacant lot was the site of the Colored Citizens Club, demolished by the City in December 2011.

243 Columbia Street    Minimum Bid: $2,770.21 

241 Columbia Street    Minimum bid: $35,907.09
This church building was originally the home of Shiloh Baptist Church. For the past eight years, it has been the rented home of Endless Love Temple.

202 Mill Street    Minimum Bid: $25,045.19
The list on the City website identifies this property as "202 Mill & New Road." In the tax rolls, it is identified as a one-family residence, so it would appear that this is it.

505 Clinton Street    Minimum Bid: $16,929.39

67 Fairview Avenue    Minimum Bid: $52,215.15
The City of Hudson demolished the house that stood on this lot in 2013.

6 Lucille Drive    Minimum Bid: $16,512.40

618 State Street    Minimum Bid: $30,380.80

There is a tenth property on the list of properties to be auctioned that is identified only as "Spring Street." The tax rolls indicate that it is vacant residential land. The minimum bid is $7,384.15.

On the Flip Side

When voting, people sometimes forget to turn their ballots over and vote on the proposals that appear there. This year, there are four of them. They are all pretty important and should not be overlooked.

Proposal Number One is a simple question:
Shall there be a convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same?
The constitution in question is the constitution of the State of New York. The Village Voice characterizes the question as "an opportunity to make profound, long-lasting, and much-needed changes to New York's outdated state constitution--or open a Pandora's box that could doom working people forever, depending on whom you ask." 

The last time the state constitution was updated was in 1938, in the New Deal Era. Proponents of a constitutional convention note that many things people value in the constitution were the product of that constitutional convention eighty years ago, but opponents--who seem to far outweigh the proponents--fear the process will be influenced by "dark money." The cynicism about change is bringing together opponents of vastly different stripes, from the Conservative Party and the New York chapter of the NRA to environmentalists and Planned Parenthood. 

A couple of things can help inform you about the issue. On October 12, on The Capitol Connection on WAMC, Alan Chartock spoke with Dr. Gerald Benjamin, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Political Science, about the issue of a constitutional convention. In that conversation, Benjamin articulates the reasons why a constitutional convention should happen, while Chartock voices the opposition. Today, Chartock talked with Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), about the constitutional convention proposal, as well as the other two statewide proposals, on Vox Pop. 

Proposal Number Two is an amendment to the state constitution:
Allowing the complete or partial forfeiture of a public officer's pension if he or she is convicted of a certain type of felony
The proposed amendment to section 7 of Article 5 of the State Constitution would allow a court to reduce or revoke the public pension of a public officer who is convicted of a felony that has a direct and actual relationship to the performance of the public officer's existing duties. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?
It's hard to imagine anyone being opposed to this amendment.

Proposal Number Three is another amendment to the state constitution:
Authorizing the Use of Forest Preserve Land for Specified Purposes
The proposed amendment will create a land account with up to 250 acres of forest preserve land eligible for use by towns, villages, and counties that have no viable alternative to using forest preserve land to address specific public health and safety concerns; as a substitute for the land removed from the forest preserve, another 250 acres of land will be added to the forest preserve, subject to legislative approval. The proposed amendment also will allow bicycle trails and certain public utility lines to be located within the width of specified highways that cross the forest preserve while minimizing removal of trees and vegetation. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?  
This amendment, which has the support of most conservation groups, was the subject of a segment of New York Now on WMHT back in September. Click here to watch. The segment begins at 18:30.

Proposal Four is a local issue:
Shall the annual contribution of the City of Hudson for the operating budget of the Hudson Area Association Library be increased by $130,000 to the sum of $250,000 annually?
The library is having a question-and-answer session tonight--Tuesday, October 31--to address concerns surrounding the proposal. The conversation takes place at 6 p.m. at the library, 51 North Fifth Street.

Hudson in the New York Times

The Shacks, a.k.a. the Furgary Boat Club, is featured today in the New York Times--in an article by William Shannon with photographs and a video by Tony Cenicola: "Preserving a Cluster of Fishing Shacks from Hudson's 'Forgotten' History."

There's also a video by Tony Cenicola, William Shannon, and Gugielmo Mattioti that made the Times Daily Briefing: "17 Shacks and a Piece of Hudson History."

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Conversation with the Mayor Presumptive

Tomorrow--Monday, October 30--mayoral candidate Rick Rector will hold a conversational meeting in the Second Ward. This is a last of a series of five community meetings that Rector has held in all five wards of the city. The meeting takes place in the conference room at the Chamber of Commerce, 1 North Front Street, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Halloween in Hudson

Tomorrow--Sunday, October 29--it's Hudson Halloween!

Photo: Andy Milford
From 2 to 4 p.m., there is trick-or-treating on Warren Street. The Hudson Halloween whale, orange and masquerading as a jack-o'-lantern, will mark the businesses where trick-or-treaters are welcomed and treats can be had.

At 4 p.m., all the trick-or-treaters will gather at Seventh Street Park, and at 4:05 p.m., the parade down Warren Street steps off.

Photo: Andy Milford
Let's hope the rain being predicted for tomorrow doesn't ruin all the fun. For more information, click here.

Update: For those worrying and wondering about the weather and its impact on Hudson Halloween, here's the word from the event organizers:
Looks like the weather might turn out to be poor tomorrow. . . . In the event of a downpour, please bring out your umbrellas, put on your wellies, and join us. Pick up your trick-or-treat bags at Lick (623 Warren) from 1:45 till 2:30. Trick-or-treat on Warren from 2 to 4 at participating businesses. 4 p.m. Meet up a 7th Street Park and march to Hudson Hall for the costume contest, complete with judges from the cast of Mother of Us All. Can't wait to see you. If you can't make it to the parade, but still want to join in the festivities, be sure to get to Hudson Hall at the historic Hudson Opera House at 4:15 for the costume contest!

Almost There!

Joey went to the dog park in Germantown this morning to brag to his dog park friends that Hudson is getting a dog park. He was disappointed. No one was there. 

So he asked me to brag to my Gossips readers that the new GoFundMe campaign for the Hudson dog park has raised $3,515 in two days! Thank you from all the dogs of Hudson to everyone who has contributed so generously. The campaign has almost reached its goal, but we're not there yet. 

After years of waiting, the dog park is finally going to happen, but the more money we can raise now, the bigger the park can be, and when it comes to dog parks, bigger is always better. Click here to learn more and perhaps also to contribute.

A Day of Indulgence

As if having Halloween candy all around weren't enough, today is National Chocolate Day. So get on over to Vasilow's or Verdigris Tea & Chocolate, and treat yourself to the good stuff.


Friday, October 27, 2017

How Many Times Can You Say Affordable?

Last night was the first public engagement workshop for the DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative)--the first of four. Additional public meetings for the DRI are expected to take place in November, December, and February. 

After an introductory presentation by Steve Kearney, from the Stantec Urban Places Group, the members of the public, seated once again at primary school cafeteria tables, were asked to work in groups of ten to define what they believed to be priority projects for the BRIDGE District. (Just a reminder: The BRIDGE District is everything from Second Street to the river, and BRIDGE is an acronym for Build Renew Invent Develop Grow Empower.) After working together for half an hour, each group was to share the five projects they'd agreed upon as priorities.

When the fourteen tables reported their priorities, affordable was the word heard most often--affordable housing, affordable rental and commercial space, affordable restaurants, affordable food. Other terms heard with some frequency were food hub, connectivity, accessibility, and workforce development. 

Dan Udell was there to videotape the event, and you can watch that video here.

Celebrating Claverack's Dutch Heritage

This year marks the 250th anniversary of the Reformed Dutch Church building in Claverack. The church itself is more than 300 years old, having been founded in 1716, but the building that exists today was built a half century later, in 1767.

To mark the occasion, the Claverack Historical Society is having a historic house tour on Saturday, November 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tour includes seven houses, the newest of which was built in the same year as the church, 1767.

Van Rensselaer Lower Manor House, c. 1700

Van Ness House, c. 1730
Van Hoesen House, c. 1715
Ten Broeck House, c. 1750
Conyn-Van Rensselaer House, 1766
Cornelius S. Muller House, 1767
Tobias Van Deusen House, c. 1740

Tickets for the house tour are $40 and can be purchased at the church on the day of the tour.

On Saturday, November 4, there will also be free tours of the church building, led by church elders Glenn Holzhauer and Lloyd Lawrence, at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., and tours of the church graveyard, led by Sal Cozzolino and Ted Hilscher, at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Ian Nitschke

News of the Historic Preservation Commission

This morning, with an agenda before it that included a public hearing and the review of two projects, the Historic Preservation Commission had to cancel its meeting for want of a quorum. Only HPC chair Phil Forman and its newest member Carole Osterink, appointed to replace Rick Rector, who resigned from the HPC on October 13, were present this morning.

To accommodate the projects that could not be reviewed or acted on today, and to avoid conflicts with upcoming holidays, the HPC has decided to alter its schedule for November and December. Instead of meeting on the second and fourth Fridays of the month, it will meet on the first and third Fridays. The dates for the next four meetings of the HPC are: November 3, November 17, December 1, and December 15. HPC meetings are held at 10 a.m. at City Hall.

One More Gathering Before the Weekend

This evening, starting at 6 p.m., Basilica Hudson is hosting Hope on the Hudson: An Evening of Celebration and Success.

The event begins with a social hour from 6 to 7 p.m., with refreshments provided by the Catskill Brewery, Bread Alone, and the Tin Can Juicery

Representatives from Riverkeeper, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Schooner Apollonia, the Columbia Land Conservancy, SS Columbia Project, and Clearwater will be present to talk about their work and answer questions. The evening will feature a special preview screening of two new films from the Ocean's 8 Films series Hudson River Stories, directed by filmmaker Jon Bowermaster.

The event, which takes place at Basilica Hudson, 110 South Front Street, is free to all.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Meeting 4 with the Mayor Presumptive

On Tuesday night, Rick Rector held the fourth of his conversational meetings in the five wards of Hudson. This one, which took place in the community room at Crosswinds, drew a smaller crowd than some of the earlier meetings--notably the one in the First Ward and the Fourth Ward, but it demonstrated something that has been a theme of Rector's campaign: there is more that unites the city than divides it. Concerns voiced by residents of Green Street, Glenwood Boulevard, and Riverledge Road were similar to the concerns of people living on Union, Columbia, and State streets: speeding, truck traffic, and the consequent damage to the city's infrastructure.

Dan Udell was there once again to videotape the conversation. The video can be viewed by clicking here.

Be There, Be Heard

The first public workshop in the DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) planning process takes place tonight from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of John L. Edwards Primary School.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hudson Is Getting a Dog Park!

The dogs of Hudson (and their humans) have been waiting patiently for a dog park, and the time has finally come!

Joey is ecstatic over the news that soon the joy of running off leash in a dog park will no longer be ten-mile drive away but only a quick jaunt across town to Charles Williams Park. The northern edge of Hudson's newest park, located at the eastern end of Mill Street, has been designated as the location for Hudson's long-awaited dog park.

The GoFundMe campaign launched in June 2014 raised enough money for 300 linear feet of fencing, to create a dog park with an area of 5,000 square feet. That's just a quarter of the size of the dog park closest to Hudson, the one in Palatine Park in Germantown. The directors of the Mrs. Greenthumbs Hedge Fund--dog lovers all--have kicked in enough to buy 200 more linear feet of fencing, which will more than double the size of the park. But that still falls short of what is considered the minimum desirable size for a dog park.

A new GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise more money to buy more linear feet of fencing and further increase the size of the dog park. When it comes to dog parks, the bigger, the better. The challenge is to raise enough money in the next two weeks to make our dog park worthy of our loyal and beloved four-legged companions. Click here to help.

Watch for Yourself

Dan Udell's video of Monday night's Common Council Police Committee meeting can now be viewed on YouTube. Click here to watch.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Learning from Other Cities

Last night, at the Common Council Police Committee meeting, the main topic of conversation was the amendment to the "disorderly house" law. As expected, the meeting drew a large audience of people with a variety of concerns--some who feared that the amended law would give police license to raid houses where people congregate, some who objected to holding the property owners responsible for what happens in their buildings, some who called for more innovative community policing, some concerned this was another way of displacing people, some arguing this was just another burden for landlords providing affordable housing, some voicing concerns about gentrification and "benign bigotry," and others who asserted that the police need a stronger tool to deal with the violence the city has experienced in recent months. Dan Udell was there to videotape the meeting, and when the video is ready, Gossips will provide the link.

Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward), who once chaired the Common Council Legal Committee, discussed at length a "disorderly house" ordinance adopted in Syracuse in 2014. The law was brought to the attention of Alderman Rick Rector (First Ward) by Rebecca Wolff, of Affordable Housing Hudson, and Rector, in turn, brought it to Friedman's attention. According to the Syracuse law, police can label a house disorderly after an arrest has been made there, and neighbors have called 911 with complaints about the house at least three times in a month. The owner of a building so labeled is notified by the police and has thirty days after receiving such notice to meet with the police and devise a plan to remedy the problems. Failure to comply subjects the owner to a fine. Friedman encouraged the Police Committee and the full Council to study the Syracuse law and begin the work of crafting a similar law for the City of Hudson.

A Second Chance

Yesterday, Gossips bemoaned the fact that the first DRI public workshop was scheduled for exactly the same time--6 p.m. on Thursday, October 26--as Peter Cipkwski's talk "A Brief History of Hudson's Experience with Urban Renewal." 

For those who feel compelled to go to the workshop but really want to learn more about the transformation of Hudson that happened a half century ago, there is good news. Cipkowski will be giving his talk a second time, on Thursday, November 2, at the same hour and in the same place--6 p.m., in the Community Room of the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth Street.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Meetings This Week

There are some noteworthy meetings and events happening every day this week.

Monday, October 23
Tonight, the Common Council Police Committee meets at 6 p.m. in City Hall. It is expected that the proposed amendment to § 188-5 of the city code, which redefines the term disorderly house, will be discussed.

Also tonight, at 6:30 p.m., there is a Third Ward Reception at House Rules Cafe, 757 Columbia Street. The event is an opportunity to meet Pete Volkmann, Democratic candidate for Columbia County sheriff; Michael Chameides, who is running unopposed for Third Ward supervisor; and Calvin Lewis, who is running unopposed for Third Ward alderman.

Tuesday, October 24
Mayoral candidate Rick Rector holds a conversational community meeting in the Fifth Ward. The meeting, which is the fourth is a series of meetings Rector is holding in each of the five wards, takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the community room at Crosswinds Hudson, 15 Rogers Lane (off Harry Howard Avenue).

Wednesday, October 25
The Common Council Public Works Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. and the Common Council Legal Committee meets at 6:15 p.m. Both meetings take place at City Hall.

Thursday, October 26
The first public workshop for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of the John L. Edwards Primary School.

This is your chance to provide input and influence the planning for "transforming the western edge of downtown into a vibrant place to live and work." 

It is a little known fact that Hudson's DRI process has a Facebook page. At present, it has only thirty followers. Click here to view it and follow it.

Unfortunately, the DRI public workshop happens at the very same time that Peter Cipkowski is presenting his talk "A Brief History of Hudson's Experience with Urban Renewal" at the Hudson Area Library.

The scheduling conflict seems particularly unfortunate given that some fear the DRI has the potential to have a transformative effect of the same magnitude on some of the same neighborhoods as urban renewal did almost a half century ago.

Cipkowski's talk, which is part of the History Room's Local History Speaker Series, begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 26, in the community room at the library, 51 North Fifth Street. 

Friday, October 27
The Historic Preservation Commission is holding a public hearing on the proposal to demolish the accessory building in Cherry Alley behind 405 Warren Street and construct a new building in its place. Interestingly, photographs of the building to be demolished, taken by Bill Hellermann (top--c. 1998) and Lisa Durfee (bottom--2008), were in the exhibition No Parking: The Alleys and Garages of Hudson at the Hudson Opera House last January.

Photo: fiveanddiamondhudson|Instagram
Peter Spear, the third photographer whose work was in the exhibition No Parking, also photographed the building and his photograph was included in the exhibition as well.

The public hearing takes place at 10 a.m. on Friday in the Council Chamber at City Hall.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Goofy, Zany Fun

Lance Wheeler's perfectly delightful video of yesterday's Hudson Bed Races 2017 can now be viewed on Vimeo. To do so, click here


Seven Years Later

It's been seven years since Gossips first posted about the Academy Hill playground and the little stone building that provided a storage area for playground equipment and restrooms for the children who used the playground. 

Since that first post, Gossips has learned that the little building began its life as the Fred W. Jones Hose Company No. 6, named, by an act of the Common Council, for the owner of the New York Coral & Shell Marble Company despite the fact that Jones lived not in Hudson but in Greenport.

In 2012, when this picture was taken, a rear corner of the building was beginning to fracture.

Now, five years later, an entire chunk of the building has fallen away.

The building seems sound except for this corner, but it won't remain so for long if the corner is not repaired. Wouldn't it be grand if a skilled mason would come forward and volunteer to repair this little building, owned by the City of Hudson and part of its colorful history?

Gossips and the Ghostly Gallop

This morning, Gossips participated in the 5K Ghostly Gallop, to benefit the Hudson Area Library, as a member of Team Rick Rector for Mayor. Two of our number--Alex Petraglia and Branda Maholtz, who were running--finished with a respectable 37:50 and 37:51 respectively, and Zoe and Keely Martin Hamilton, who sprinted off with the runners, both finished in under an hour--43:53 and 52:16 respectively. The rest of us, walking (and posing occasionally for pictures), brought up the rear, crossing the finish line after an hour and eight minutes. To our credit, though, we walked the entire 5K route and did not skip the final trek up Paddock Place and back down Riverledge Road as some did. Click here for the complete race statistics.

Photo: Kevin Hannan
We were hoping for some team distinction, but, alas, the team with the lowest average time was The Bank of Greene County, and the team with the most participants was Whitbeck, Benedict & Smith LLP. Too bad they weren't giving recognition to the team with the most handsome team T-shirts.