Tuesday, March 31, 2020

An Hour Later

At 3:30 p.m., the Columbia County Department of Health updated its daily update. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose from 39 to 41.
As of 3:30 p.m., March 31, 2020, Columbia County has 41 positive cases of COVID-19. Six of the positive cases are hospitalized, four of those are in the ICU. We have received 371 test results completed for Columbia County residents. There are 68 under mandatory quarantine and 18 under precautionary quarantine. There are 9 residents with suspected, not tested cases.

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health is now reporting 39 positive cases of COVID-19, an increase of three from yesterday. Today's update also includes a statement about why there is a discrepancy between the numbers reported by CCDOH and the numbers reported by the New York State Department of Health, which reports that, as of 3:28 p.m. today, there are 30 positive cases in Columbia County.
As of 2:30 p.m., March 31, 2020, Columbia County has 39 positive cases of COVID-19. Six of the positive cases are hospitalized, four of those are in the ICU. We have received 366 test results completed for Columbia County residents. There are 70 under mandatory quarantine and 20 under precautionary quarantine. There are 10 residents with suspected, not tested cases.
It may be confusing to compare the numbers we report here to the numbers reported by NYSDOH and other news platforms. We suspect the discrepancy comes from dual homeownership. While we get results on people who report having addresses in Columbia County, there may be people with more than one address and the state attributes their results to their other address (likely downstate). The numbers we report are the cases we are monitoring and the homes we visit to ensure compliance with Isolation  Quarantine. We continue to monitor our numbers closely and make it a priority to report information as accurate as possible to our residents.
Regardless of who gets tested, where a person is from, essential or non-essential work, it is important now more than ever to STAY HOME. We recommend staying 6 ft away from everyone but that still leaves a risk of surface transfer. Touching countertops, doorknobs, shopping carts, etc. allow the transfer of the virus. Keep your hands clean, don't touch your face, use virtual platforms to socialize. STAY HOME.

A Message from the Hudson Area Library

Gossips was asked to share the following message.

Out of concern for the well-being of our community, the Hudson Area Library is temporarily closed and all library programs are suspended. Programs will be rescheduled or offered as virtual programs when possible. Please check our website, Facebook, and Instagram pages for library updates, access to online resources, and for virtual program announcements.
Patrons are encouraged to hold on to any materials that they have borrowed from our library until we are back in service. We will waive any overdue fines that accrue during this time.
For reference and tech support, please contact reference@hudsonarealibrary.org.
For program questions and ideas, please contact programs@hudsonarealibrary.org.
For all other inquiries, please contact info@hudsonarealibrary.org
Our library team misses seeing you at the library. We look forward to connecting with you online during the library closure. Stay safe and be well.

About Those Numbers

Gossips provides links, at the right, both to COVID-19 updates from the Columbia County Department of Health and to the county by county breakdown of COVID-19 cases throughout the state maintained by the New York State Department of Health. The numbers for Columbia County from NYSDOH have been consistently lower than the numbers reported by the CCDOH. For example, yesterday CCDOH reported 36 confirmed cases, whereas NYSDOH reports just 26. Some may have assumed that NYSDOH was not keeping up with the numbers, but in his interview with WGXC yesterday, Jack Mabb, Director of Public Health for Columbia County, revealed the reason for the difference. The New York State Department of Health is recording cases by place of origin. So New York City residents, who have come to second homes in Columbia County and are diagnosed here, are being recorded as cases in New York City not in Columbia County. Given that, it can be extrapolated that 10 of the cases in Columbia County are people who also reside in New York City.

And Now This

Many of us consider this stay-at-home time the perfect opportunity for spring cleaning and decluttering, but maybe not. This message appeared yesterday on the City of Hudson website.
The DPW has reported that the City's average weekly tonnage of trash has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic. Prior to March, the City generated approximately four tons of trash per week. Last week City residents generated nine tons of trash, or more than double the usual amount, most likely because more people are home and others are cleaning out closets and doing early spring cleaning.
We encourage you to consider your waste generation. Are there ways you can reduce, recycle or reuse, find a recipe for those leftovers, or use a dish, rather than paper towel for that sandwich? Everyone can make a difference and even small efforts matter. Conserving resources and reducing trash will not only save money and help the environment but will give our overworked and potentially reduced DPW staff a break.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Upstate, Downstate

In his press briefing early this afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo stressed the need for "the entire statewide healthcare establishment" to work together during the COVID-19 crisis. "This is a statewide battle," said Cuomo. "If there is division at this time, the virus will defeat us." He spoke of balancing the load of COVID-19 patients across the state and suggested, as he has before, that upstate hospitals may have to relieve downstate hospitals.

This morning, Jack Mabb, director of the Columbia County Department of Health, in an interview on WGXC, expressed his concern that transferring patients from downstate hospitals could impact his ability to keep county residents safe. The interview inspired an article that appeared in the Times-Union this afternoon: "Columbia County health director concerned about downstate patients moving upstate." 

During the course of the interview, Mabb stated that a third of the positive cases in Columbia County were residents of New York City who have second homes in Columbia County. He also revealed that the Columbia County Office of Emergency Management has identified eleven buildings that could be converted into temporary medical facilities, should the need arise, and one of those eleven buildings is the old ShopRite on Healy Boulevard.

State of Emergency Extended

Today, Mayor Kamal Johnson issued State of Emergency Order No. 6, extending State of Emergency Order No. 4 and State of Emergency Order No. 5 until noon on April 4, 2020. 

State of Emergency Order No. 4 limited public access to city buildings, canceled all nonessential city meetings, banned the public from Common Council meetings, closed city parks, suspended alternate side of the street parking and parking meter fees, and waived late payment fees for parking fines. State of Emergency Order No. 5 allowed the Hudson Dog Park to remain open, provided that no more than six humans were in the park at one time and that humans remained at least six feet apart at all times.

COVID-19 Relief Funding in Columbia County

Assemblymember Didi Barrett just announced two community funds, established in partnership with the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation (BTCF) and the Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC), to help Columbia County not-for-profits and small businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Columbia County COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund and the Columbia County Business Continuity Fund will provide direct relief in the form of grants both to nonprofit community efforts and to local small businesses affected by the pandemic. In announcing the funding, Barrett said: 
Those of us who live in Columbia County know what a very special place it is. In this time of crisis, protecting the small local businesses and not-for-profits that are the backbone of our communities is absolutely imperative. Our small shops and businesses are the innovators and energizers of the Columbia County economy, and we will need them more than ever during our recovery from the impact of COVID-19. These two funds will be a lifeline to the friends and neighbors that we all rely on every day, and I am proud to have played a role in their creation. . . . 
The Columbia County COVID-19 Emergency Respond Fund has been established by BTCF to provide flexible resources to nonprofit organizations to meet the needs of individuals and families who are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. The fund will prioritize human services and community-based organizations with experience helping individuals and families stabilize their lives in times of crisis. Donations to the fund and applications from eligible nonprofits can be made at BerkshireTaconic.org/ColumbiaCOVID19.    

The Columbia County Business Continuity Fund has been established by BTCF and CEDC, in partnership with the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and the Hudson Business Coalition. It will provide cash grants to small businesses in our city and town centers with fewer than ten full-time employees and less than $1 million in annual revenue. These businesses can apply for grants from $1,000 to $5,000 to cover costs related to retaining employees, paying rent, and other fixed operational costs. Donations to the fund can be made at BerkshireTaconic.org/BusinessContinuity. Applications for funding can be made, beginning on April 1 until April 15, at www.columbiaedc.com.

A group of partners has committed more than $360,000 to these two funds. One hundred percent of the money contributed to each fund will go directly to nonprofits and businesses.

Progress on the DRI Continues

Since March 18 and going forward through the month of April, the calendar on the City of Hudson website indicates that meetings of the DRI Committee are "CANCELLED." With three projects in the works and a fourth getting ready to begin, Gossips asked mayoral aide Michael Chameides this morning for an update. Here's what was learned.

Although the calendar indicates it was canceled, the March 18 meeting of the DRI Committee did take place by phone. The notes on that meeting, prepared by Caren LoBrutto of Chazen Companies, assistant to project manager Chris Round, are available on the City of Hudson website. Of interest is that there will be another meeting by conference call this Wednesday, April 1. Unlike other city meetings, it appears no provision has been made to allow the public to listen to or participate in the conversation. By way of explanation, the notes from the March 18 include this statement:
This meeting is taking place during the NYS, Columbia County, and City of Hudson State of Emergency where social distancing procedures are in place. This committee, which does not a define quorum [sic], is not subject to open meetings law. Meeting notes will continue to be distributed and public comment sought.
Gossips will share pertinent information from the notes on the March 18 meeting, along with other information gleaned along the way.

Promenade Hill  
The "kick-off site walk," which was supposed to happen a week ago, on March 23, has been postponed for at least two weeks. How long the postponement will last is to be decided at the April 1 meeting. The contract with Starr Whitehouse is still being reviewed by the mayor's office.

BRIDGE District Connectivity
The contract with Arterial|Street Plans Collaborative has still not been fully executed. The "public engagement piece" of the project has been postponed for at least two weeks. It was noted at the March 18 meeting that if public engagement doesn't begin until June there would be "no substantive change to the overall schedule."

Dunn Warehouse
The repairs to the roof, which should have been completed already, had to be postponed because the metal deck needed was not available. That element was supposed to be produced last week and delivered this week, and the project was to be completed within five days of delivery. It's likely the creation of the deck is not considered essential manufacturing, or that the work to install the deck and repair the roof is considered emergency construction. Gossips has contacted Peter Bujanow, Commissioner for Public Works, to ask about the status of the project, but so far there has been no response. 

The revised request for expressions of interest (REI) was issued on March 5, with the deadline for submitting proposal set for April 10 at 4:00 p.m. A walk-through scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, was canceled. So far, there have been just two responses, both declining the invitation to make the site visit. 

Furgary Fishing Village
Public comment on the draft RFP for the fishing village, known familiarly as "the Shacks," was being accepted by mayoral aide Michael Chameides until Monday, March 16. The notes from the meeting that took place by phone on Wednesday, March 18, report: "RFP approach being reconsidered to adjust scope and intent to better reflect DRI Committee consensus." The notes also indicate: "Chris [Round] to obtain and share the DRI Application description, review comments from the public and share a draft in advance of April 1 meeting."

The 2020 Hudson River Access Plan released by Scenic Hudson last week includes the Furgary site and describes it in this way:
EXISTING USE & FACILITIES ON SITE The small fishing village has 17 shacks remaining of the many that were used over the last century. Fishermen and hunters called these home while they fished and hunted in the bays and surrounding areas. The village was going to be torn down by the City when New York State stepped in to maintain this link to the river.  
The Hudson River Access Plan makes the following recommendation for the site:
Preserve this historical resource as a historic site paying tribute to the Hudson River fishermen and their families who resided there. Re-open access to the Hudson River for fishing and recreation in this area. 

COVID-19 Update

Today's numbers from the Columbia County Department of Health: the number of positive cases has increased from 33 to 36 since yesterday; the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 increased from four to six; two of those hospitalized are in the ICU.
As of 3 p.m., March 30, 2020, Columbia County has 36 positive cases of COVID-19. Six of the positive cases remain hospitalized, two of those are in the ICU. We have received 357 test results completed for Columbia County residents. There are 69 under mandatory quarantine and 17 under precautionary quarantine. There are 9 residents with suspected, not tested cases.

Something to Remember on the Next Fine Day

The weather forecast for the next ten days appears to be one of unrelieved gloom. But if the sun ever does break through the clouds, you may want to consider heading out to Meadowgreens in Ghent--whether you're a golfer or not.

After it was determined last week that golf courses in New York could stay open during this period of social distancing, Carmen Nero, the owner of Meadowgreens, decided to open his golf course not only to golfers but to nongolfers as well. For a very small fee, you can walk the golf cart trails, which meander past ponds, beside stone walls, and around stands of trees, enjoying the outdoors and taking in views of the Catskills and the Berkshires. You can even rent a golf cart--just one person to a cart, please--and drive yourself around the course. Dogs are welcome, so long as they are on a leash and their humans clean up after them. 

For more information, call 518 828-0663.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

The End of an Experiment

In July 2016, the Warren Street Academy was inaugurated with great celebration and ceremony. Dan Udell was there to document the proceedings. The image below is a screen capture from his video.

Appearing in the picture above, from left to right, are Bruce Potter, superintendent of the Berkshire Union Free School District; Maria Suttmeier, superintendent of the Hudson City School District; Dan Kent of Galvan Initiatives Foundation; and Michael Sadowski, director of Bard in Hudson Civic Academy.

A week ago, on Friday, March 20, it was announced that the Warren Street Academy would cease to exist on June 30, 2020. In a letter to parents and guardians, Daniel Kalbfliesh, principal of WSA, explained:
On behalf of the staff at Warren Street Academy and the Berkshire Union Free School District I am writing to inform you that the Berkshire Union Free School District will be closing on June 30th. We had hoped that a takeover by our BOCES, Questar III, would have been possible to help continue the Warren Street Academy. Unfortunately, that is not the reality, Warren Street Academy will also be dissolving June 30th. Questar III has assured us that programs would be offered to meet the needs of the students in our program.
The letter can be read in its entirety here.

Of course, this raises the question of what's in store for 11 Warren Street. In February, it was reported that the Galvan Foundation, which owns the building, had reneged on its offer to create a new facility for the Salvation Army in the building. Did Galvan not know a month ago that the Warren Street Academy would soon cease to exist? Perhaps the plan is to relocate Bard Early College Hudson, now at 364 Warren Street, to the space now occupied by the Warren Street Academy as well as the rest of the building. Only time will tell.

This Warms My Heart

Governor Andrew Cuomo's email briefing, which went out half an hour ago, included something that he didn't mention in his press briefing at noon. 
Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": Self-isolation is hard, but the companionship of pets makes it easier. According to reports, animals shelters across the United States are receiving a surge of applications to foster or adopt pets due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An Appeal to the Community

In Hudson, we live with the comforting assurance that there's a hospital up on the hill, and medical help, should we need it, is only minutes away. 

On Friday, HudsonValley360 reported that Columbia Memorial Hospital was preparing for "an anticipated surge in COVID-19 cases." At noon today, Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke about hospitals and the possibility that upstate hospitals might have to be a "relief valve" for the downstate hospitals that are being overwhelmed. At 1:30 p.m. today, the Columbia County Department of Health reported that four positive cases of COVID-19 in the county are now hospitalized.

In the midst of this crisis, Columbia Memorial Health Foundation has established a COVID-19 Defense Fund to enable people to help in different ways. Click here to learn more about what you can do. Of interest for those who have dusted off their sewing machines and raided their remnant stashes to make masks is this message from the CMH Foundation website:
Hand Sewn Masks: While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not suggest cloth material as a first-line defense against the coronavirus causing COVID-19, cloth masks work well for other conditions and can help conserve previous reserves of N-95 respirator masks. Please contact us.

COVID-19 Update

Here are the latest numbers from the Columbia County Department of Health. There are three more confirmed cases since yesterday.
As of 1:30 p.m., March 29, 2020, Columbia County has 33 positive cases of COVID-19. Four of the positive cases remain hospitalized. We have received 344 test results completed for Columbia County residents. There are 77 under mandatory quarantine and 31 under precautionary quarantine. There are 8 residents with suspected, not tested cases.

Chocolate in the Time of COVID-19

For many of us, chocolate is the ultimate comfort food, and despite the closings, social distancing, quarantine, and anxiety, excellent chocolate is still available to us in Hudson. 

Vasilow's, 741 Columbia Street, is open for pick up and by appointment. With Easter Sunday just two weeks away, we are assured that Easter candy is available. For details about the delectable bunnies and chicks, send a message on their website, call 518 828-2717, or send an email to jim@vasilows.com.

Verdigris Tea & Chocolate Bar, 135 Warren Street, is giving new meaning to the term window shopping. Images of the shop's chocolate offerings are now being displayed in the shop windows. You can choose what you want and place an order by phone (518 828-3139) or email (verdigristea@gmail.com) or, when the shop is open, which it is every day from noon until 5:00 p.m., through the door. Your merchandise will be bagged and delivered to you on the sidewalk or by mail.


Things Are Getting Worse

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) issued this travel advisory late yesterday:
Due to extensive community transmission of COVID-10 in the area, CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately. This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply. These employees of critical infrastructure, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, have a special responsibility to maintain normal schedules. The Governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will have full discretion to implement this Domestic Travel Advisory.
Reacting to Donald Trump's announcement earlier on Saturday that he was considering a short-term quarantine of "hot spots" in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in an interview with CNN that he didn't believe a possible New York quarantine was plausible or legal and it would be "total mayhem." A travel advisory is not a quarantine.

Update: Minutes ago, in his daily briefing, Cuomo called the travel advisory "nothing that we haven't been doing." He also announced that last night Rhode Island had repealed its executive order to stop cars with New York State license plates at the border.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Sunday Morning

Tomorrow is the fifth Sunday of Lent, which begins the two-week period known as Passiontide. Our President thinks everyone will be back in church by the end of this period, on Easter Sunday. In the meantime, two Hudson churches are providing virtual worship services on Facebook. Christ Church Episcopal begins its service at 9:00 a.m.; the First Presbyterian Church begins its service at 10:45 a.m. Below are links to the churches' Facebook pages.

First Presbyterian Church

The Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Lent from Holy Trinity Parish, St. Mary's Church, can be viewed here

Food News

The Red Dot is doing Meatloaf Monday To Go on Monday, March 30. If you need a meatloaf fix, place your order before 4 p.m. 

An Interesting Development

Gossips has written about 10-12 North Fourth Street many times, most recently in May 2019, in the series Nine Not to Ignore

Photo: Zillow
These two Greek Revival town houses, owned by the same person who owns 402-406 Warren Street, were, in the early years of this century, part of an elaborate plan to convert all the buildings on that corner into a hotel.

The plan for redevelopment turned out to be more of a plan for destruction, as first the building at 406 Warren Street was unexpectedly demolished between Christmas and New Year's Day in 2006 and then the building at 8 North Fourth Street was gradually deconstructed in 2013.

Last night, I got a tip from a reader that 10-12 North Fourth Street are now listed on Zillow, offered for sale by the owner for $390,000.

Photo: Zillow
Whoever takes on the challenge of rescuing these two amazing houses can find guidance on how they were meant to look from this photograph found in the Evelyn and Robert Monthie Slide Collection at the Columbia County Historical Society.


COVID-19 Update

Here is today's report from the Columbia County Department of Health:
As of 2 pm, March 28, 2020, Columbia County has 30 positive cases of COVID-19. We are sad to report that an elderly individual, who was infected with COVID-19 along with multiple other co-morbidities, has passed away. Four of the positive cases remain hospitalized. We have received 309 test results completed for Columbia County residents. There are 79 individuals under mandatory quarantine and 42 under precautionary quarantine. There are 10 residents with suspected, not tested cases.

New York Democratic Primary Postponed

In his daily briefing today, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the New York Democratic Primary, scheduled to take place on April 28, would be postponed until June 23, to occur at the same time as the federal, state, and local primary. 

Cuomo also announced that the deadline for filing New York State income tax returns would, like the deadline for filing federal income returns, be postponed until July 15.

Spotlight on Hudson

Over the years, there have been a lot of articles celebrating Hudson as a destination. What makes this most recent one noteworthy is that it comes in a time of crisis, when the city we know and love is shut down and everyone is worried about the future. The April issue of Capital Region Living features an article about Hudson: "City Spotlight: Hudson." 

Photo: Turnquist Collective
The article has this prefatory statement: "As soon as it's safe out there again, rev up the local economy by hitting up The Friendly City's top hotels, restaurants, clubs, bars and more." The article ends with this statement by Bob Lucke, the proprietor of The Cascades, which opened at 407 Warren Street in 1993: "We've survived enough mini-downturns in the market and scares, and I think we'll get through this one, too. We'll end up on the upside when it's all over, because there's a lot of energy and talent in this town, and I see the future here being very bright."

Friday, March 27, 2020

Of Interest

The city treasurer announced today that the date for submitting lodging tax payments for December 2019 through February 2020 has been postponed for thirty days. The revised date for filing without incurring a penalty is Monday, April 27, 2020. Click here to read the full announcement.

COVID-19 Update

The report for today from the Columbia County Department of Health:
As of 2 pm, March 27, 2020, Columbia County has 26 positive cases of COVID-19. We have received 291 test results completed for Columbia County residents. There are 100 under mandatory quarantine and 36 under precautionary quarantine. There are 11 residents with suspected, not tested cases.
Today Governor Cuomo announced all New York State schools will be closed until April 15th at which point the matter will be reevaluated. It is important now more than ever to stay vigilant and STAY HOME. If you do have to go out, don't touch common surfaces (credit card reader, doors, countertops, shopping carts). Wash you hands for 20 seconds. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow.
Twenty-six positive cases is two more than yesterday.

Food News

The Indoor Farmers Market will be open again tomorrow, Saturday, March 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. As usual, the market is at Hudson Lodge, 601 Union Street, but, as not usual for this time of year, the vendors will be outdoors--as they were last week--to ensure shoppers can get the fresh produce, cookies, flowers, and other supplies they need while remaining a safe six feet apart. 

Today's News from the Department of Health

The following press release was issued this morning.
The Columbia County Department of Health announced today that four residents of Pine Haven Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Philmont have tested positive for COVID-19. The four cases have been confirmed by New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). Each of the four individuals are isolated at the facility. None of the four confirmed cases are hospitalized--their symptoms are being treated and managed by the facility. The families of the patients have been notified and the facility reports the patients' symptoms are improving. . . .
The entire press release can be read here.

Suspected Death from COVID-19

Late last night, Roger Hannigan Gilson reported in The Other Hudson Valley that there has been a death in Columbia County "from complications arising from a suspected case of COVID-19": "Man Died of Suspected COVID-19 in County Days Ago." The victim was Maurice Berger, a cultural historian and art critic who was a chief curator and research professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture. His death in Craryville was reported yesterday in the Baltimore Sun: "Maurice Berger, a chief curator and research professor at UMBC who was a 'major voice for justice,' dies."

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Profiteering in a Crisis

This morning, these photographs appeared on one of the Hudson community Facebook pages, showing a four-roll package of toilet paper with a sticker showing the price $12.25. The person posting it said it had been found in one of the neighborhood convenience stores in Hudson.

Photo: Facebook
This reminded me of another post on Facebook, from someone who said he worked at ShopRite, reporting that he had witnessed the owners of corner stores in Hudson cleaning out the paper goods aisle at his supermarket to stock their own shelves.

In the second press release from the county today, Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett made reference to "several incidents of price gouging . . . in the City of Hudson." Tonight, Mayor Kamal Johnson shared this message on his Facebook page:
The vast majority of business owners in Hudson are there whenever the City needs them. They're often among the first to donate or sponsor an event or cause. In the midst of this crisis, some are even risking their own health to provide food or other staples to this community.
Today, unfortunately, I need to call out a few business owners who seem to be taking advantage of this pandemic by engaging in what is known as price gouging. Price gouging is against the law and happens when someone hikes up the price of basic necessities in the midst of an emergency.
People who take unfair advantage of consumers by charging grossly excessive prices for essential consumer goods and services in the midst of an emergency can and should be fined.
Sadly, that seems to be what is happening in our community. It's not fair, it's not right, and most business owners know better.
Consumers who feel they are being price gouged can contact the New York State Attorney General's Office on-line to file a complaint. You can find the form here
It's time to come together as a community, not to take advantage of a bad situation. If we are going to get through this not only will we need all hands on deck, we need everyone to play by the rules.

Another Press Release from the BOS Chair

Matt Murell, chair of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, issued a second press release today:
There is currently no authorized treatment for those who test positive for COVID-19, Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said Thursday.
"I strongly discourage anyone from taking things they hear mentioned as possible cures," Mabb said. "Do not try to self-medicate. Some medications may have similar ingredients to those being mentioned in connection with a possible COVID-19 treatment, but they have not undergone testing for this disease and should not be considered safe."
Mabb said there was one positive test for COVID-19 in the county in Wednesday, bringing the official count to 19 in-county. [NOTE: At 3:30 p.m. today, the CCDOH website reported there were 24 positive cases.]
At this time, Columbia Memorial Hospital has some tests on-hand, but they are being reserved for medical providers, emergency responders, and the very ill, Mabb added.
"The Health Department does expect a big bump in positives this weekend," he added.
County emergency medical services, Columbia Memorial Hospital, and fire and police remain "not even close to what they need in terms of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)," said county Director of Emergency Management David W. Harrison, Jr. "We are expecting a small delivery soon--that will be going to emergency medical services and the hospital."
Several incidents of price gouging have been received in the City of Hudson, said Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett. Those who encounter a price gouging situation are advised to visit the website of the New York State Attorney General and fill out the complaint form found there.
"There has been a slight increase in petty larcenies in stores, but there hasn't been a big surge, Bartlett said, adding that sheriff's deputies are patrolling through the parking lots and inside the major supermarkets in an effort to help alleviate concerns. "If you have a question and spot a deputy, feel free to ask the deputy. If they don't have the answer, they'll get it for you."
"We are all one community, and we're doing what we can to take care of the Columbia County family," said Bartlett.

Today's COVID-19 Numbers

The following news is from the Columbia County Department of Health:
As of 3:30 p.m., March 26, 2020, Columbia County has 24 positive cases of COVID-19. We have received 279 test results completed for Columbia County residents. There are 95 under mandatory quarantine and 35 under precautionary quarantine. There are 8 residents with suspected, not test cases.

Good News for Dogs and Their Humans

Yesterday, Mayor Kamal Johnson issued State of Emergency Order No. 4, which, among other things, closed all city parks. The following is quoted from that order:
With the exception of public walking trails which may be used while keeping at least 6 feet distance between individuals who are not otherwise quarantined together, all city parks will be closed to the public, including playground areas, basketball courts, and picnic table and BBQ pit areas.
There was a question of whether or not this order pertained to the Hudson Dog Park, a big open space where humans have been practicing social distancing for almost two weeks.

Today, Mayor Kamal Johnson issued State of Emergency Order No. 5, which clarifies the situation for the dog park.
The public use of the City's Dog Park located on Front Street may continue under the following conditions:
a) No more than 6 people shall use the park at one time; and
b) Park users shall keep at least 6 feet distance between themselves and other people who are not otherwise quarantined together.
Do not be confused. Although the order makes reference to "the City's Dog Park located on Front Street," there is only one dog park in Hudson, and it is located on North Second Street.

Click here to read State of Emergency Order No. 5 in its entirety.

COVID-19 Message: Keep Your Distance

Matt Murell, chair of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, issued this press release today:
Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell today urged people who migrate from New York City--where cases of COVID-19 are exploding--to Columbia County to self-quarantine for 14 days.
"We understand that people are coming here to escape the disease, but everyone should consider they are a carrier of the coronavirus," said Murell.
On a similar note, health officials have observed that people are congregating or stopping to chat in places like the grocery store and the post office. Again, everyone is asked to conduct their business and move along, as we need to respect the space of others. . . .
In regards to the county Department of Health using private residences for quarantine purposes, county Director of Emergency Management David W. Harrison, Jr., said Wednesday, "New York State has mandated that every county have buildings ready to house county residents who cannot, for whatever reason, quarantine at home. Columbia County has been actively searching for vacant homes or appropriate residential buildings that can be used for this purpose.
"There are currently two locations that have been leased by the county, one in the Town of Kinderhook and one in the Town of Austerlitz. The individuals staying at these locations may be people who must quarantine due to potential exposure of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, someone who has tested positive themselves for COVID-19 and is not required to be hospitalized, or family members that need a place to stay due to an immediate family member quarantining at home. 
"Since social distancing and other common sense cleansing practices must be the norm during the COVID-19 emergency event, these places pose no threat to neighbors or other people living in the area. As long as social distancing is practiced and there is not contact, there is no threat of contracting the virus from the people staying at these locations.
"We ask to remember that people staying at these places are your fellow county residents. Please respect their privacy."
By being proactive in this effort, Columbia County is making every effort to contain and stop the spread of COVID-19 to the best of our ability. It is important that county residents not panic and understand that this is for the betterment of everyone. . . .

Food News

If you've grown tired of cooking for yourself, here are some options.

Thyme & Company, 437 Warren Street, is offering deliciousness in large portions, to feed a family for a day or two or an individual for almost a week. But you need to act fast. Orders must be received by noon today, Thursday, March 26, for pickup between 4 and 6 p.m.

Tomorrow, March 27, the Red Dot is serving up a limited menu for takeout. Get your orders in by 8 p.m. today.

To plan ahead, Chef D at Relish Delights, 757 Columbia Street, is offering a meal of perfect comfort foods on Tuesday, March 31--tomato salad with basil and finishing oil, bow tie mac and cheese, broccoli with toasted garlic, and lemon cake with vanilla cream frosting.

Orders must be received by Monday morning, March 30, for pickup on Tuesday between 5 and 6 p.m. Click here to place an order.

Also, just beyond our borders, Red Barn Hudson, 93 Ten Broeck Avenue (just off Union Turnpike in Greenport), is offering fresh seafood in its market and its full menu for takeout. They are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call 518 796-3976 to place an order.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Preserving River Access

Scenic Hudson today released the long-awaited Hudson River Access Plan: Poughkeepsie to Rensselaer. 

The press release announcing the completion of the document reads in part:
Perhaps more than ever before, the current health crisis has demonstrated the power of nature to provide solace and a respite from stress, while also highlighting the urgency to stop plans that would limit public enjoyment of the region's natural treasures. Permanently safeguarding long-cherished connections to the Hudson River and securing new places for people to walk, fish, launch boats and hunt along its shore are the goals of the new Hudson River Access Plan commissioned by Scenic Hudson.
The plan provides perhaps the most comprehensive evaluation ever--and the first undertaken in more than 30 years--of existing public access along the river's rail corridor between Poughkeepsie and Rensselaer. It also suggests locations for new shoreline access and recommends ways to improve crossing the rail lines safely. . . .
To read the entire press release, click here. To download the Hudson River Access Plan, click here.

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health reported today that there is one new positive case of COVID-19 for a total of 19. Test results have been completed for 254 county residents. There are 85 residents under mandatory quarantine and 30 under precautionary quarantine. There are also 9 residents with suspected but not tested cases.

Also today, Mayor Kamal Johnson issued a new state of emergency order. In it, he announced that the Historic Preservation Commission will, on Friday, March 27, be permitted to meet in a "non-public, virtual/electronic session" to vote on five certificates of appropriateness for applications that were previously reviewed and approved. The certificates of appropriateness are for (1) a sign at 558 Warren Street; (2) enclosing a porch at 542 State Street; (3) adding a porch roof at 127 Union Street; (4) making various changes at 226 Union Street; and (5) making alterations to 41-43 North Seventh Street to make it the new location of Isaan Thai Star. The HPC meeting will take place at 10 a.m., and there is some indication that it may be live streamed 

The order also announced that the Tourism Board will be permitted to meet, similarly in a "non-public, virtual//electronic session." The meeting is being convened, it is explained, "at the request of the Mayor or [sic] Common Council President to address the urgent needs of the business community in Hudson which is being significantly and adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic." There is no information about when this meeting will take place or if it will be live streamed.

In addition, the order declared:
With the exception of public walking trails which may be used while keeping at least 6 feet distance between individuals who are not otherwise quarantined together, all city parks will be closed to the public, including playground areas, basketball courts, and picnic table and BBQ pit areas.
It is not clear if this edict applies to the Hudson Dog Park, where humans have been voluntarily practicing social distancing for more than a week, or to the Hudson City Cemetery and Cedar Park Cemetery, where people have been retreating for walks and solitary time outdoors.

Pictures from the Past

On April 15, 2013, Gossips published a post to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the fire that destroyed the original St. Mary's Academy, a building designed by Hudson architect Michael J. O'Connor and constructed in 1900, which stood at the corner of Third and Allen streets: "The Anniversary of a Loss."

The post included photos taken by Howard Gibson of the building engulfed in flames.

Among the recently scanned images on the site PhotobyGibson.com are more pictures of the conflagration, the damage, and the demolition.