Sunday, October 25, 2020

Today's the Day!

Historic Hudson opens the grounds of the Bronson Estate for public visitation from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Photo: Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects


Come and enjoy a beautiful fall day in a spectacular landscape. Wear a mask (it's required) and enter on Worth Avenue.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been six new cases of COVID-19 and no recoveries, increasing the number of active cases to 47. One more person is hospitalized with the virus, and one remains in the ICU. There are 28 more county residents in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, but no one is in precautionary quarantine. There has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County since October 14.

With six positives out of 376 test results received, the positive percentage rate for today is 1.6 percent. The seven day rolling average, according to Gossips' calculations, is 1.2 percent--that is, 29 positives out of 2,411 test results.

Early Voting

Early voting in New York began today, and this was the scene at 401 State Street, the only polling place in Columbia County, when I passed by there today at about 12:50 p.m., a little more than an hour before the poll was scheduled to close.

Early voting continues for the next eight days. Here is the schedule:
  • Sunday, October 25, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Monday, October 26, noon to 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 27, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 28, noon to 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 29, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Friday, October 30,  9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 31, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 1, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Not to Be Missed

An article getting lots of attention on social media is this one from the Times Union: "Hudson makes top-25 list for small-town millionaires." In the subtitle. the Times Union attributes the phenomenon to "hip" factor and COVID-19.

This Morning with the HPC

This morning's meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission was taken up almost entirely by a single property: 121 Warren Street.

There is evidence, discovered in old newspapers, that the house was built in 1789, just a few years after the founding of Hudson. The current owner wants to replace the windows, which are late 20th-century replacement windows, remove the vinyl siding, and put on new primed pine siding. The goal of the work is to "improve the appearance of the house and make it safe."

At its last meeting, the Historic Preservation Commission asked that a significant piece of the vinyl siding be removed from the front and the east side of the building so it could be assessed what lies beneath. This was done, and at today's meeting, the applicant had photos to show what was under the vinyl siding. The commissioners were hoping to find brick, but what was uncovered was clapboard on the front and novelty siding on the side. 



The proposal from the applicant was to clean up the clapboard and the old novelty siding and put new wood siding on top of it. 

Chip Bohl, architect member of the HPC, observed, "There is a lot to discover with this building," suggesting that the removal of the vinyl siding may reveal the original window and door pattern which is not visible now. He expressed concern that new wood siding would cover the original fenestration just as the vinyl siding does now. He also maintained, "If wood siding is placed on top of wood siding, the new siding will have a different relationship to the window trim and the corner board trim." 

HPC member Phil Schwartz commented, "I don't recall people putting wood siding over wood siding. Typically, it is repair and replace where necessary [when vinyl or aluminum siding is removed]." HPC member Paul Barrett added that he would like to see as much of the original clapboard restored as possible. The applicant protested that he had neither the time nor the budget to do a complete restoration of the exterior of the house. He said if they couldn't put the wood siding they wanted on the building, they should simply put the vinyl siding back up after they had replaced the windows. He did however agree to acknowledge and preserve any historic details uncovered when the vinyl siding was removed.

When it came time to vote on granting a certificate of appropriateness, three members of the commission--Phil Forman, Hugh Biber, and Barrett--voted to approve; two members--Bohl and Schwartz--voted to deny. Forman, who chairs the HPC, declared that the motion had carried, but he was corrected by legal counsel. A majority must be a majority of the entire seven-member commission not just a majority of the five members present. so four members needed to vote in favor of the proposal. 

It was then noted that HPC member John Schobel had been trying to get into the meeting but couldn't because the meeting was in lockdown after a Zoombombing episode. It seemed some thought Schobel might cast the fourth vote needed for approval, but that didn't happen. After joining the meeting and being updated by Forman, Schobel told the applicant, "I would rather see the house enveloped in vinyl until you are able to do a proper restoration." He suggested the possibility of restoring only the facade of the building and reinstalling the vinyl on the sides and at the back. Schobel told the applicant and his colleagues, "To envelope the entire structure in a new layer of siding doesn't promulgate our mission."

Schwartz then asked rhetorically, "How is it cheaper or more efficient to buy a whole truckload of wood instead of power washing what's there and painting it?" Schobel told the applicant that he had removed all the siding from his house, which is considerably larger than 121 Warren Street, and only had to replace six boards. 

Schobel pointed out that HPC could grant a certificate of appropriateness to remove the vinyl siding and install the new windows. Re-siding the house would require a certificate of appropriateness but putting the vinyl siding back would not. The commission then voted unanimously to grant a certificate of appropriateness for removing the vinyl siding and replacing the late 20th-century replacement windows with six over six, double hung windows. After the vote, Schobel reiterated that, if anything of interest is discovered when the vinyl siding is removed, the applicant must return to the HPC.
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Where the New Cases Were This Week

As it does every Friday, the Columbia County Department of Health has released its weekly breakdown of COVID cases by municipality and nursing home. In the past week, there have been 28 new cases of COVID-19. Fourteen of them have been at Ghent Assisted Living. Elsewhere in the county, there have been three new cases each in Claverack, Kinderhook, and Livingston, two in Chatham, and one each in Greenport, Hillsdale, and Valatie. Hudson has seen no new cases this week. 

As always, in the list below, the first number is the number of cases last Friday, and the second number is the number of cases today. These are the total number of cases since the first case was reported in Columbia County on March 20. The number of active cases in the county today is 41.
Ancram  5 | 5
Canaan  12 | 12
Chatham  26 | 28
Claverack  30 | 33 
Clermont  8 | 8
Copake  25 | 25
Craryville  3 | 3
East Chatham  1 | 1
Elizaville 3 | 3
Gallatin  3 | 3
Germantown  9 | 9
Ghent  26 | 26
Greenport  40 | 41
Hillsdale  16 | 17
Hudson  53 | 53
Kinderhook  45 | 48
Livingston  19 | 22
New Lebanon  10 | 10
Niverville  2 | 2
Philmont  9 | 9
 Stockport  8 | 8
Stottville  1 | 1
Stuyvesant  20 | 20
Taghkanic  8 | 8
Valatie  19 | 20
Nursing Homes
Barnwell  143 | 143
Ghent Assisted Living  13 | 27
Livingston Hills  2 | 2
Pine Haven  51 | 51 

COVID-19 Update

Late this afternoon, the Columbia County Department of Health released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have two new cases of COVID-19 and one recovery, increasing the number of active cases by one to 41. Three more people are hospitalized with the virus today than yesterday, and one is now in the ICU. There are twenty more county residents in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, but again today no one is in precautionary quarantine. It has now been nine days since there has been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County.

 
With two positives out of 401 test results received, the positive percentage rate for today is o.5 percent. The seven day rolling average, according to Gossips' calculations, is 1.2 percent--that is, 28 positives out of 2,366 test results.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Early Voting Reminder

Early voting begins in New York on Saturday, October 24, and continues for nine days, through Sunday, November 1. There is one polling place for early voting in Columbia County, which is 401 State Street in Hudson. 

Here is the schedule:
  • Saturday, October 24, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 25, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Monday, October 26, noon to 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 27, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 28, noon to 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 29, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Friday, October 30, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 31, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 1, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been five new cases of COVID-19 and no recoveries, increasing the number of active cases by five to 40. The number hospitalized with the virus and in the ICU remains the same. Two more county residents are in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, and, as was the case yesterday, no one is in precautionary quarantine. There have been no deaths from COVID-19 in Columbia County since October 14. 

With five positives out of 402 test results received, the positive percentage rate for today is 1.2 percent. The seven day rolling average, according to Gossips' calculations, is 1.4 percent--that is, 31 positives out of 2,244 test results.

We will learn tomorrow, when the CCDOH releases its breakdown of cases by municipalities and nursing homes, if the continuing increase in new cases is all related to Ghent Assisted Living, or if there are other places in the county seeing increases.

A Tradition Continues

In this year, when we have seen so many of the annual events that define the character of our little city canceled, postponed, or reimagined because of the pandemic, it is heartening to know that one event, now marking its ninth year, is going forward pretty much as it always has: the Hudson Tweed Ride. 

Hudson Tweed Ride 2013
Because cycling, by its very nature, requires social distancing, the Hudson Tweed Ride can happen without much modification. Hosted this year by Lisa Durfee and Keith Nelson, the Hudson Tweed Ride takes place this Sunday, October 25, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. As always, the riders will assemble at Front and Warren streets, in the plaza outside Promenade Hill. This year the route will take riders to the Dr. Oliver Bronson Estate, where, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Historic Hudson is opening the grounds of the historic house for public visitation.
 
Photo: Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects
Click here for more information about the Hudson Tweed Ride and to make your intention to join the ride known. One thing to remember, to quote the event's Facebook page, "Tweed masks are all the rage!"
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Of Interest

For those watching the Planning Board these days with rapt interest, the board is holding a special meeting today at 5:00 p.m. "for the purpose of discussing attorney client administrative matters." The meeting will not be open to the public.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

It Happened at the Dog Park

MICROPOLITAN DIARY
Dear Diary,
Late this afternoon, an unaccompanied dog showed up at the dog park when Joey and I were there. We let him into the park, of course, where he would be safe, and could have a good time, while we figured out how to get him reunited with his human.  
He looked familiar, but no one at the park could remember his name or knew his human. He skillfully eluded us when we tried to get close enough to check his collar for tags. So, I snapped this picture of him and texted it to Chief Ed Moore, who promptly responded. Very soon after, Officer Stroka arrived. 
Alas, Officer Stroka didn't have any better luck than the rest of us at getting a look at the dog's collar, but she did have the brilliant idea of luring him into the vestibule of the dog park, where it would be easier to corner him. With the help of Charlie the Weimaraner, that was accomplished. 
It was then discovered the dog had his human's phone number on his collar. The number was called, but the call went to voice mail, and a message was left. Soon after the pup had been taken into custody by Officer Stroka and was on his way to the police station, his human called and was told where she could find her wayward pup. A reunion of dog and human soon followed. Happy ending, thanks to the HPD.
It turns out the dog loves the dog park and is a frequent visitor, even though none of us who were at the dog park when he arrived could remember his name. It's so nice to know that dogs, when they are out on their own, head for the dog park, where they are sure to find humans who will do their best to get them safely home again.

Afterword: I apologize if I got the gender of the dog wrong. We were all more interested in finding the dog's human than determining his/her gender.

"Micropolitan Diary" is Gossips' homage to and blatant imitation of "Metropolitan Diary" in the New York Times. The term micropolitan was coined (by Gossips) because Hudson is a metropolis in microcosm.
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COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been three new cases of COVID-19 and two recoveries, increasing the total number of active cases by one to 35. One more person is hospitalized with the virus today than yesterday, and one fewer person in is the ICU. There are seven fewer county residents in mandatory quarantine than yesterday, and no one is in precautionary quarantine. It has now been a week since there has been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County.

With three positives out of 296 test results received, the positive percentage rate for today is 1.0 percent. The seven day rolling average, according to
Gossips' calculations, is 1.2 percent--that is, 27 positives out of 2,199 test results.

Resolution to Reduce Police Budget Defeated

At its regular monthly meeting last night, the Common Council did not pass the resolution calling on the Board of Estimate and Apportionment to reduce the 2021 budget for the Hudson Police Department by 13 percent, or $630,636. Those voting for the resolution were Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward), John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward), Jane Trombley (First Ward), Rebecca Wolff (First Ward), and Council president Tom DePietro. Those opposed were Eileen Halloran (Fifth Ward), Calvin Lewis (Third Ward), Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward), Shershah Mizan (Third Ward), Dewan Sarowar (Second Ward), and Malachi Walker (Fourth Ward).

Before casting his nay vote, Merante stated that the reduction would affect public safety and went on to say, "We will lose three or four officers, in particular female officers," since female officers are among the most recent hires. Similarly, Sarowar, before casting his nay vote, said he was "all for saving money but not on public safety." Walker, who also voted against the resolution, said he felt change was needed but "we need to think strategically and rationally."

Before voting in support of the resolution, Trombley said the resolution was "largely symbolic and nonbinding." "What's important," she maintained, "is that we starting rethinking . . . [and] re-imagining what public safety can look like."

At the end of the meeting, when opening the meeting for public comment, DePietro urged, "Please don't start arguing about the resolution that was defeated." He added, "This discussion is not over." 

Michael Hofmann, one of the authors of the Hudson Breathe Act, which was the inspiration for the resolution, called it "a first step in answering a national call" and spoke of "our black neighbors who suffer disproportionately under police oppression." Curiously, the only African American on the Council to vote in support of the resolution was Garriga, who had introduced the Hudson Breathe Act to the Legal Committee on September 23. The other people of color on the Council--Lewis, Walker, Mizan, and Sarowar--all voted against the resolution. 

Mayor Kamal Johnson spoke of reducing the size of the police force through attrition but said, "First we have to build a plan." Lewis, who had voted against the resolution stressed, "I am a part of this progressive conversation."
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Let There Be Lights!

Last week, Gossips reported that the austerity brought on by the revenue shortfalls due to the pandemic were going to affect how Hudson observed the winter holidays. Today, Gossips received the following press release from the Hudson Development Corporation, sharing the good news that the fairy lights will be installed in the trees--all the trees--along Warren Street as they have been every year for more than two decades.  

HDC LIGHTS UP WARREN STREET
It is no surprise that the City of Hudson has had to make many tough decisions about discretionary spending this year. At a recent Board of Estimate and Apportionment (BEA) meeting, it was decided that half of the usual twinkle lights could be purchased to install on every other tree on Warren Street for the holidays. The Hudson community began to grumble on social media about long bleak months of winter and the possibility of Hudson Hall's Winter Walk being canceled or scaled down. Even though the community understands the needs for these decisions, no one wants to have a bah-humbug holiday on top of the crazy year we've had. 
Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) is pleased to announce that they will purchase the remaining twinkle lights necessary for the City of Hudson this year. Board President, Robert Rasner credits a conversation with former Mayor Rick Rector for the idea, "We chatted about how unfortunate it was for our city not to have the lights in the trees for the holidays. This is something that HDC can do to help our community spirit and connectivity." He adds that the lights, although small--have a great impact to provide a sense of cheer and inviting ambiance for our community and businesses. “Half a holiday decoration is not good enough. Half a Christmas, half a Hanukkah, half a Kwanzaa will not do. Decorating Warren Street for the holidays is a long-standing tradition of businesses and the City alike,” said Rasner. “We are all living under pressures of the times. A fully decorated Warren Streets says we will not give in to all of the pressures.” 
Since the initial lock-down due to the pandemic, HDC has rallied with Hudson's business and cultural community through outreach and open task force meetings to provide information, idea generation, and support. Many meeting attendees have credited the task forces for bringing the community together in a new way in uncertain times. Branda Maholtz, Executive Director for HDC says, "Hudson is full of strong, resilient entrepreneurs, business owners, and artists. Our task force meetings demonstrated our community's capability to work together to not just talk about creating change for everyone's benefit, but to also plan, execute, and have a safe, successful summer and fall season during the pandemic." HDC continues to support local business as they look towards planning for the colder months. 
The City of Hudson's Department of Public Works intends to install lights around Thanksgiving.

Following the Budget

For those who are interested, today's meeting of the BEA (Board of Estimate and Apportionment) appears to have been moved from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. To assess the meeting, click here.

Do Your Part, Complete the Surveys

The Hudson Community Police Survey, intended to assess how Hudson residents view the Hudson Police Department and its role in the community and to inform the recommendations of the Police Reconciliation and Advisory Commission, remains available until November 1. If you haven't already done so, complete the survey now. You can do so by clicking here

Now there's a second survey that needs our attention: the Hudson Connects Demonstration Project. The purpose of this survey is to get the community's response to the proposed changes at Warren and Front streets and at North Second and State streets. At those two locations, paint now marks what are proposed curb extensions and, along State Street, a proposed new sidewalk.


The survey is available now. To complete it, click here.

Reforming Policing in Columbia County

The first meeting of the Columbia County Police Reform Panel took place last night at 6:00 p.m. The purpose of the meeting was to hear from some of the thirty people who make up the Community Input Panel. If you missed the Zoom meeting last night, the recording of the meeting can be seen on YouTube by clicking here.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

You Can't Come Here from There: Update

It turns out only two states were added for New York's COVID-19 Travel Advisory List today: Maryland and Arizona, both of which have been on the list before. Although Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania exceeded the infection threshold, they were not added to the list. Governor Andrew Cuomo explained why in this NYS Coronavirus Update this evening.
Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania meet the criteria for the travel advisory but due to the region's interconnectedness, quarantine is not practically viable. As such, we highly discourage non-essential travel between these states and New York to the extent practical.
Here's the full list:
  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Guam
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been five new cases of COVID-19 and three recoveries, increasing the number of active cases by two to 34. Two fewer people are hospitalized with the virus today than yesterday, but two remain in the ICU. Compared with yesterday, there are fifteen fewer county residents in mandatory quarantine, and there are none in precautionary quarantine. There have been no deaths from COVID-19 in Columbia County since Wednesday, October 14. 

With five positives out of 277 test results received, the positive percentage rate for today is 1.8 percent--the same as yesterday. The seven day rolling average, according to Gossips' calculations, is 1.4 percent--that is, 30 positives out of 2,152 test results.

The Origin of the COVID Spikes

Channel 13 reports today on the location of the COVID clusters causing the increase in positive cases in Columbia County: Ghent Assisted Living and the Brookwood Secure Center. You can watch the full report here.

When "Here" Becomes "There" and Vice Versa

Tuesday is the day when New York State revises its COVID-19 Travel Advisory List, indicating which states and territories have met the threshold that requires incoming travelers to quarantine: at least 10 daily coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents over the past week. This is what the map of the country looked like last week. The vast majority of the fifty states--thirty-six, to be exact--were on New York's restricted list.

Today, five more states have exceeded the threshold: Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Arizona, and New Jersey. Maryland and Arizona have been on and off the list a few times since June. The real newcomers are Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New Jersey--all states that border New York. What's more, Connecticut and New Jersey have been partners with New York in the travel advisory ever since June, when the first travel advisory was issued.

The Democrat & Chronicle reported today that, given the dilemma, Connecticut governor Ned Lamont has proposed changing the metrics for making the quarantine list to include only "states that surpass the 10 case mark and have 5 percent of their weekly COVID-19 tests come back positive."

Governor Andrew Cuomo has acknowledged that New York may not be able to do much to stop travel between neighboring states. He is quoted in the Democrat & Chronicle as saying, "If you were to limit access to New Jersey or Connecticut, I don't know to what extent it would even be possible to do border patrol because you don't have (air travel) there and it would also be seriously disruptive to the economy."

Meanwhile, on Vermont's interactive travel map, Columbia County is now red. According to the algorithm used by Vermont, we now have 1,161 active cases per million. 

According to the Columbia County Department of Health, we had 32 active cases yesterday, out of a population of a little less than 60,000.

Update: The Times Union is now reporting that five states have been added to the Travel Advisory List but did not specify which five: "Cuomo: 43 states on quarantine list but Connecticut and New Jersey get a pass." 
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Monday, October 19, 2020

It Happened This Afternoon

And we thought the possibility of being exposed to COVID-19 was the greatest risk of going to ShopRite: "Police investigate stabbing at Greenport supermarket."

To be fair, the incident happened in the parking lot and is being handled as a "domestic dispute."

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been five new cases of COVID-19 and two recoveries, increasing the number of active cases by three to 32. One more person is hospitalized with the virus today than yesterday, and one more is in the ICU. One fewer county resident is in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, and there are none in precautionary quarantine. Since October 14, there have been no new deaths from COVID-19 in Columbia County.

With five positives out of 280 test results received, the positive percentage rate for today is 1.8 percent. The seven day rolling average, according to Gossips' calculations, is 1.2 percent--that is, 30 positives out of 2,500 test results.

Locating the COVID Hot Spots

On Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state's new micro-cluster strategy, intended to focus on COVID-19 hot spots and be more responsive and less disruptive. Right now, the hot spots are located in Brooklyn and Queens and in Rockland and Westchester counties. As part of the micro-cluster strategy, the state has also initiated a COVID Zone Address Lookup. Enter an address anywhere in New York State, and find out if it's in a COVID hot spot. Its greatest usefulness to us here in Columbia County at the moment may be, if contemplating a journey to New York City or other points south, to find out if your destination is in a hot spot.

Meetings and Events in the Week Ahead

It's now fifteen days before Election Day, and here's what's happening in Hudson this week. 
  • On Monday, October 19, the Board of Estimate and Apportionment (BEA) meets at 1:00 p.m. to review the 2021 budget for non-departmental expenses. The link to the Zoom meeting will be posted on the City of Hudson website. Scroll down to the calendar.  
  • On Tuesday, October 20, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., the Columbia County Department of Health is holding a COVID-19 testing clinic at the former John L. Edwards School at Fourth and State streets. The clinic is limited to 100 tests. Pre-registration is not required. A form of photo identification is needed, and masks are required for entry. 
  • Also on Tuesday, October 20, the Common Council Finance Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. and the full Council meets for its regular monthly meeting at 7:00 p.m. On the agenda for the meeting are the proposed resolution to decrease the police budget by 13 percent and the proposed law to regulate short term rentals. The link to each Zoom meeting will be posted on the City of Hudson website. Scroll down to the calendar. 
  • On Wednesday, October 21, the BEA meets at 1:00 p.m. to resume its review of the 2021 budget for non-departmental expenses. The link to the Zoom meeting will be posted on the City of Hudson website. Scroll down to the calendar.
  • Also on Wednesday, October 21, the Zoning Board of Appeals meets at 6:00 p.m. It is expected that the Galvan Foundation will pursue its appeal of the code enforcement officer's interpretation of the code as it pertains to the building proposed for 75 North Seventh Street at this meeting. Click here to join the Zoom meeting.
  • On Thursday, October 22, the Common Council Economic Development Committee meets at 6:00 p.m. This is the meeting that was originally scheduled for Thursday, October 15. The link to the Zoom meeting will be posted on the City of Hudson website. Scroll down to the calendar.
  • On Friday, October 23, the Historic Preservation Commission meets at 10:00 a.m. Click here to join the Zoom meeting.
  • Also on Friday, October 23, the BEA meets at 1:00 p.m. to review anticipated revenues for 2021. The link to the Zoom meeting will be posted on the City of Hudson website. Scroll down to the calendar.
  • On Saturday, October 24, early voting begins. From 9:oo a.m. to 2 p.m., all registered voters in Columbia County can vote at 401 State Street.
  • Also on Saturday, October 24, at 5:00 p.m., the Hudson Area Library holds an Artist Appreciation Event as part of its Online Art Auction. Click here to register for Saturday's event.
  • On Sunday, October 25, early voting is available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 401 State Street.
  • Also on Sunday, October 25, Historic Hudson holds an open day at the Dr. Oliver Bronson House and Estate for public visitation from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Click here for more information. 
Photo: Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects
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Sunday, October 18, 2020

Virtual Fundraisers for the Library

The City of Hudson contributes $250,000 every year to the Hudson Area Library, but that is less than a third of the library budget. Income from its two annual fundraisers--the gala and the Ghostly Gallop--represents a significant part of the library budget, but alas, this year, neither can go forward as they have in the past, so the library is taking to virtual alternatives. In lieu of the gala, HAL is holding its first online art auction


The library has assembled for the auction more than eighty pieces of art by local artists. The bidding began on Friday, October 16, and continues until Wednesday, October 28. Click here to view the works available and to make a bid. The auction is designed to benefit not only the library but the artists. Proceeds from the sales will be split between the artist and the library, with 45 percent going to the artist and 55 percent going to the library.

On Saturday, October 24, at 5:00 p.m., there will a live virtual event (in this weird time that is not an oxymoron) to celebrate the library and the artists that contributed their work for the auction. Click here to register for the Artist Appreciation Event.

The Ghostly Gallop will take place virtually as well. To be part of it, start by registering for the race here. Registration started on October 16 and continues until October 31. The first one hundred people to register will receive a Ghostly Gallop T-shirt, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the race and the 60th anniversary of the Hudson Area Library.

Once you've registered for the race, run or walk five kilometers--you can do that any time between now and October 31--and report your time on the Ghostly Gallop website. You can also upload a picture of yourself flushed with achievement for going the distance. The male and female runners who record the fastest time will receive the Cranna Cup, named for the late William Cranna, longtime HAL trustee who played a major role in organizing the earliest Ghostly Gallop 5Ks. 

For more information about the Ghostly Gallop and the Kids Fun Run, go to ghostlygallop.info.

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been three new cases of COVID-19 and three recoveries, so the number of active cases remains the same at 29. One more person is hospitalized with the virus today than yesterday, and one remains in the ICU. The number of county residents in mandatory quarantine remains the same, but no one is now in precautionary quarantine. Since Wednesday, there has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County.

With three positives out of 379 test results received, the positive percentage rate for today is 0.8 percent. The seven day rolling average, according to Gossips' calculations, is 1.1 percent--that is, 25 positives out of 2,220 test results received.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Seize the Opportunity Next Sunday

On Sunday, October 25, Historic Hudson invites all members--past, present, and future--to explore the 19th-century landscape that surrounds the Dr. Oliver Bronson House, Hudson's only National Historic Landmark. On that day, the grounds of the Bronson House will be open to visitors from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Photo: Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects
Past events at the site have focused on the house, but next Sunday's event is all about the 55-acre estate that is part of the National Historic Landmark designation. Historic Hudson is pursuing, with the State of New York, the possibility of making the Bronson estate a public access park. As a step toward that goal, the State has asked Historic Hudson to do a planning study for the proposed park. To fulfill that request, Historic Hudson engaged Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects. Starr Whitehouse will be present at the event next Sunday to share their research and vision for the park. 

Visitors on October 25 can see some of what has been uncovered by the archaeological investigation happening at the site, view at close hand the bracketed carriage barn, walk the carriage road that once connected the Bronson estate to the heart of Hudson, and enjoy the amazing views from all points in the landscape. 

COVID-19 protocols will be strictly enforced. Attendees will be required to wear masks at all times and maintain proper social distance. The ground floor of the Dr. Oliver Bronson House will be open to visitors, but the number of people allowed inside at one time will be limited and carefully monitored. Dogs are welcome, but they must be on a leash at all times, and their humans must come prepared to clean up after them.

Photo: Historic Hudson
The Dr. Oliver Bronson House and Estate was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2003 for its association with Alexander Jackson Davis, one of the premier American architects of the 19th century. The house was originally constructed in 1812 as a Federal style residence for Captain Samuel Plumb. A quarter century later, the house and grounds were reinvented by A. J. Davis, in two successive remodeling campaigns in 1838 and 1849, into a fully realized Romantic-Picturesque estate for Dr. Oliver Bronson and his family. The house is the earliest surviving example of Hudson River Bracketed, the architectural style originated by Davis. Its dramatic setting, framed by the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River, fully expresses the romantic vision of the Hudson River School painters Thomas Cole and Frederic Church.

For those who have never visited the Bronson House, next Sunday's event is the perfect introduction to this architectural treasure. For those who have visited many times before, it will be an opportunity to envision the house and its future in a new light.

The site will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 25. Entrance to the grounds, which are part of the Hudson Correctional Facility, is from Worth Avenue.
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COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been five new cases and no new recoveries, increasing the number of active cases reported by the CCDOH to 29. Two more people are hospitalized with the virus today than yesterday, and one remains in the ICU. One more county resident is in mandatory quarantine, and the number in precautionary quarantine remains the same. Since Wednesday, there has not been another death from COVID-19 in Columbia County.

With five positives out of 330 test results received, the positive percentage rate for today is 1.5 percent. The seven day rolling average, according to Gossips' calculations, is 1.2 percent--that is, 25 positives out of 2,101 test results received.

Cuomo Today on COVID-19

In a press briefing today, Governor Andrew Cuomo explained New York's new micro-cluster strategy, which focuses on specific targeted localities. 

The strategy involves more testing and more targeted testing in specific areas of the state that are seeing higher rates of infection and is designed to be more responsive and less disruptive. The implications for us in Columbia County are that, in the past, the significant rise in infections somewhere in Albany or, as we're seeing now, in Greene County could potentially shut down the entire Capital Region. With the micro-cluster strategy, the response can be calibrated to the specific targeted locality.

In his press briefing, Cuomo shared these line graphs, which should make all New Yorkers feel relieved and self-satisfied. They plot the number of cases of the coronavirus, from the beginning until now, in New York State as compared with the rest of country.

Cuomo also announced that starting Friday, October 23, movie theaters will be allowed to reopen in the parts of the state where the infection rate remains below 2 percent. Theaters will be limited to 25 percent capacity and no more than 50 people per screen in multiplex theaters, and there must be assigned seating. Greene County, where the positive percentage rate yesterday was reported to be 3 percent, was specifically mentioned among the places where theaters will not be allowed to reopen. 
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Will Your Days Be Merry and Bright?

Seven weeks before the traditional date of Winter Walk, the Hudson Hall website is still sharing this message:
Please note: Walk Walk 2020 has yet to be confirmed due to ongoing concerns relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Given the enormous amount of work involved in planning and staging Winter Walk, not to mention the current rising number of COVID-19 infections, it seems unlikely that Winter Walk 2020 will happen. Yesterday, Gossips learned of another holiday disappointment.

At the Board of Estimate and Apportionment (BEA) yesterday, city treasurer Heather Campbell presented a request from the Department of Public Works for authorization to spend $3,000 to put the fairy lights in the trees along Warren Street this year. Because of the City's dire financial situation, the BEA--Mayor Kamal Johnson, Council president Tom DePietro, and Campbell--decided that only half that amount would be approved and just every other tree along Warren Street would be decorated with lights for the holidays and through the long, bleak months of winter.
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Friday, October 16, 2020

Where the New COVID Cases Were This Week

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its weekly breakdown of COVID-19 cases by municipality and nursing home. Since last Friday, there have been 24 new cases, twice as many as in the previous week. Ghent Assisted Living saw the largest number of new cases with twelve. The other twelve were scattered about the county: three in Hudson, two in Claverack, and one each in Canaan, Chatham, East Chatham, Germantown, Ghent, Stuyvesant, and Valatie.

As always, in the list below, the first number is the number of cases last Friday, and the second number is the number of cases today. These are the total number of cases since the first case was reported in Columbia County on March 20. The number of active cases today is either 24 or 25
Ancram  5 | 5
Canaan  11 | 12
Chatham  25 | 26
Claverack  28 | 30
Clermont  8 | 8
Copake  25 | 25
Craryville  3 | 3
East Chatham  0 | 1
Elizaville  3 | 3
Gallatin  3 | 3
Germantown  8 | 9
Ghent  25 | 26
Greenport  40 | 40
Hillsdale  16 | 16
Hudson  50 | 53
Kinderhook  45 | 45
Livingston  19 | 19
New Lebanon  10 | 10
Niverville  2 | 2
Philmont  9 | 9
Stockport  8 | 8
Stottville  1 | 1
Stuyvesant  19 | 20
Taghkanic  8 | 8
Valatie  18 | 19
Nursing Homes
 Barnwell  143 | 143
 Ghent Assisted Living  1 | 13
Livingston Hills  2 | 2
Pine Haven  51 | 51

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been five new cases of COVID-19 and two recoveries, which, according to my math, increases the number of active cases by three to 25, but the CCDOH says the number of active cases is 24. The number of people hospitalized with the virus and in the ICU has not changed since yesterday, but the number of county residents in mandatory quarantine has increased by five. The number in precautionary quarantine remains the same. Since Wednesday, there have been no deaths from COVID-19 in Columbia County.

With five positives out of 279 test results received, the positive percentage rate for today is 1.8 percent. The seven day rolling average, according to Gossips' calculations, is 1.1 percent--that is, 24 positives out of 2,167 test results received.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Park Where You Will on the Weekends

The summer suspension of overnight alternate side of the street parking on the weekends 
ceased at the end of September, but today, Mayor Kamal Johnson announced on his Facebook page that overnight parking on both sides of the street will be allowed on weekends--Friday to Saturday, Saturday to Sunday--until further notice. The announcement was followed by this advisory.

The Plan for the "Lower Promenade"

An unanticipated and large part of Tuesday's informal Common Council meeting was a presentation by Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects, the firm planning the DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) funded redesign of the entrance to Promenade Hill, Hudson's 225-year-old park overlooking the river. 

In August, Starr Whitehouse presented two design concepts--The Meander and The Terrace--and asked the public to share their thoughts about the two concepts in an online survey. 


In addition to the survey, which received eighty-five responses, there was also targeted Zoom outreach to a parents group, Camphill Hudson, and DPW. Gail Wittwer-Laird of Starr Whitehouse reported there was a slight preference for The Meander, but it was pretty close, so they combined the elements people liked best from both concepts--amphitheater seating, plantings and trees, open lawn, a plaza free of tables and chairs--to create a final design, which is a hybrid of the two.

Speaking of the final design, Wittwer-Laird said that, in addition to providing universal access to Promenade Hill, the goals of the design were to reinforce the relationship between Warren Street and Promenade Hill, to make the space as family friendly as possible, to prioritize ease of maintenance, and to celebrate the "upper promenade" as much as possible. She said they were looking for approval of the final design concept so they can begin work on the construction documents. She also spoke of the importance of having consensus on the final concept, although how consensus is to be reached was not explained.

Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) commented, "People want picnic tables." She also spoke of a model whale for the spray shower, which is to be relocated next to the existing play area. She said of the design, "I don't see anything that is kid friendly." She insisted, "I want the park to be welcoming and friendly for residents of Hudson Terrace not just a fantasy place for tourists." She also suggested there should be some exercise equipment in the park.

Chris Anderson of Starr Whitehouse spoke of the opportunities throughout the park for exploration and discovery, mentioning in particular the rock outcroppings. He spoke of "getting rid of some of the strictly defined uses." Garriga replied, "Exploring and running around--that's what the kids do now. We want to give them something to do in the park not just run around and scrape their knees in the rocks."

Garriga expressed the desire to have the ramp completed before the rest of the improvements to the park and said she wanted Promenade Hill to be accessible during construction. Wittwer-Laird indicated that neither was likely to be possible. Rebecca Borrer defined the uses of the park as family gatherings and protests, at which time an unidentified voice asked, "Gonna have grills down there?"

It was revealed during the meeting that Mayor Kamal Johnson wants the redevelopment of the "Lower Promenade," as Starr Whitehouse is calling it, to be completed in time for Winter Walk 2021.
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