News Briefs 6/18/2009
Ulster County’s Democratic and Republican parties recently
held caucus to decide major candidates for county-wide races,
including the legislature, a judgeship, and the county clerk
position. There were a number of vacancies on each party’s
slate, however, with much talk as of press time of other candidates
being named in the coming weeks.
Local party caucuses are expected next month, although to
date the Town of Olive doesn’t seem to be witnessing
any movement against its usual slate of incumbents.
At the Holiday Inn in Kingston last week, Ulster Democrats
nominated Rochester Town Justice Deborah Schneer, who won
election to that position four years ago, to run for a county
judge position over New Paltz Town Justice Jonathan Katz and
Shandaken Town Justice Michael Miranda.
Schneer got the nomination by receiving 10,376 weighted votes
to Katz’s 7,461. The two had squared off for a second
run-off vote after neither received a majority during a three-way
race with Miranda, who got 2,880 votes.
“There has never been a women (county judge in Ulster)
or a Democrat,” Schneer said. “We are going to
change both of those things.’
Ulster County Democratic Chairman Julian Schreibman said the
nomination did not rule out the possibility of a primary in
September. Schreibman nominated Katz for the county judge
County Republicans picked former Ulster County District Attorney
Donald A. Williams to run for the judge position the previous
The Democrats also nominated Saugerties resident Gilda Riccardi,
who ran for the Ulster County Legislature in 2005 and lost,
to run for the county clerk. Incumbent Nina Postupack has
already secured the Republican nod.
Democratic candidates nominated for Ulster County Legislature
included incumbents Don Gregorious and Brian Shapiro in District
2, comprised of Woodstock, Shandaken, Hardenburgh and Denning;
and incumbents Roy Hochberg, Richard Parete, and Robert Parete
in District 3, made up of Olive, Marbletown and part of Hurley.
Ulster County Republicans had picked Williams and Postupack
the previous week while party members in Legislature District
8 dumped longtime Legislator Glenn Noonan, the body’s
minority leader, in favor of a political newcomer.The annual
nominating convention was held at the Kingston Holiday Inn,
Williams had beat out contenders Marsha Weiss, an Ulster Town
Justice, and Michael Kavanagh Jr. — whose father is
a current state Supreme Court justice and former Ulster County
district attorney, with 124, 56 and 23 votes, respectively.
The Ulster County bench has been vacant since Judge Michael
Bruhn retired in April.
Noonan, who is finishing his eighth two-year term as a legislator,
came in fourth in a race for three seats. He said he wasn’t
surprised by the outcome of the secret-ballot vote, however,
and accused political leaders of fixing the election.He added
that he will launch a primary challenge for the Republican
line in the November election.
In local legislature races, the GOP came forth with James
Monserrate, who also ran two years ago, in District 2; and
John Dittus, Shirley Paley and Arthur Bowen in District 3.
The Town of Olive held a short, relatively uneventful meeting
on June 9 in which the possibility of a Hoya lift for the
handicapped being added to the town pool was discussed. No
details were available yet. Landfill shed reconstruction was
also mentioned with Supervisor Bert Leifeld mentioning that
he and Assistant Supervisor Bruce LaMonda were to meet with
the low bidder on replacing the previous shed, collapsed by
snow a year and a half ago, M&M Construction. Leifeld
said the deal looks good and that the town’s insurance
company had finally settled for “replacement”
costs, with the town set to pay for some minor engineering
Meanwhile, no candidates except for the incumbents, again...
Is the Ulster County Jail the news item that never stops giving?
What with the various harassment charges brought against it’s
officers and the county Sherriff’s department, a pair
of competing resolutions aimed at figuring out why information
did not flow quickly about workplace complaints at the Ulster
County Law Enforcement Center, and to set policy for future
dissemination of information, have been sent back to committee
in the Ulster County Legislature for fine tuning following
a heated debate at the monthly county legislature meeting
One resolution would authorize the chairman of the legislature
to engage the state Commission on Corrections to investigate
the determinations, issued last November, by the U.S. Equal
Opportunity Commission. The other resolution, presented initially
as an amendment to the first, calls for creation of a special
subcommittee of the Criminal Justice and Safety Committee
to review the dissemination of information, and to then issue
a report and recommendations.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found last
year that evidence supported claims by the female corrections
officers that they were subjected to sexual harassment, discrimination
and a “hostile” work environment in the jail.
Three current and two former female corrections officers have
filed lawsuits that claim they were subjected to sexual jokes,
solicitation, taunts, music with sexual lyrics and innuendo
from male superiors and co-workers, as well as the use of
the plaintiffs’ cell phones to take and store photographs
of male genitalia. The lawsuits also claims the plaintiffs
were subjected to the display of pornography on county computers.
It seems the Ulster County Attorney’s Office failed
to inform county lawmakers about the federal agency’s
findings, said new County Attorney Beatrice Havranek, who
took over from recently suspended attorney Josh Koplowitz
after he admitted to irregularities handling a case for a
relative in recent years.
“It was an oversight,” said Havranek, who was
first assistant county attorney when the findings were issued
in November by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
She noted that on Nov. 28, the County Attorney’s Office
received a fax stating the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
had determined that, in four instances, there was sufficient
evidence to support the claims of four women that they were
subjected to sexual harassment by male co-workers at the jail.
Havranek said the fax was placed in a file, and “it
just stayed there.”
County lawmakers first learned of the agency’s determinations
when the women filed a lawsuit last month against the county,
Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum, former Sheriff Richard Bocklemann
and other people connected to the jail.
Ulster County Executive Michael Hein, who was county administrator
in November, said he was not told of the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission’s findings when they were issued
because the county attorney didn’t answer to him at
the time. Until the end of 2008, the county attorney answered
to the Legislature. Since January, when Ulster County’s
new charter took effect and Hein took the reins as the county’s
first elected executive, the attorney’s office has been
answerable to Hein.
Hein said he since has directed the County Attorney’s
Office to provide the Legislature with monthly updates of
all lawsuits filed against the county as well as any future
findings by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involving
Meanwhile, Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach has
said that in light of the women’s, he is ratcheting
up his call for adoption of a county whistleblower law.
Hein recently added that he had no idea of the pending litigation
against Koplovitz when he took the Kingston lawyer on as county
attorney three years ago.
Koplovitz retired as county attorney on May 1, after the Appellate
Division Third Department suspended Koplovitz’ law license
for mishandling a trust fund established by his late uncle.
But the court stayed that suspension, meaning Koplovitz and
his brother Sholom, an attorney in Florida, can continue practicing
An 18-year-old Ashokan man was stabbed about 3:00 PM. on Friday,
June 12 in Midtown Kingston after a confrontation over an
iPod, city police said, noting that the victim was visiting
people on Prospect Street there when he and two friends were
approached by a group of four young men in their late teens
or early 20s, one of whom attempted to take the victim’s
iPod. When he refused to give up the iPod, a fight ensued,
and one of the young men stabbed the victim twice in the side
and once in the back, police said. The victim was taken to
Kingston Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Police
did not provide the names of the people involved or say whether
any charges were filed.
A Shandaken Garden Tour set for Sunday, June 28 will showcase
the renowned garden of garden designer, Dean Riddle, author
of “Out in the Garden: Growing a Beautiful Life”
among other local oases featuring fabulous shady woodland
gardens, unusual organic vegetables, colorful cottage gardens,
waterscapes and gardens with fantastic views.
Gardening in Shandaken certainly is challenging. In addition
to the usual garden wreckers the deer, woodchucks, rabbits
and the pest insects; Shandaken gardeners tackle steep slopes,
odd micro-climates, too little and/or too much rain, relentless
sun or deep woodland shade. Nevertheless, yearly optimism
prevails and you’ll always find a bevy of beautiful
and diverse gardens in these mountains.
The Shandaken in Bloom Garden Tour will take place from 10:00
AM to 4:00 PM on Sunday June 28th, with map pick-up and directions
at the Catskill Rose Restaurant, Route 212, Mt. Tremper. Tickets
will be also available the morning of the tour and in advance
at Tenderland Home, Main St. Phoenicia.
Get out and enjoy the early summer! For more information call
688-2893 or 688-7493
The event is a benefit for the Shandaken Democratic Committee.
The minority leader of the Ulster County Legislature, who
recently was defeated within his own party for another term
at office, is now saying lawmakers should act to rescind a
policy that prevents county department heads from speaking
about their jobs without first getting approval from the county
Glenn Noonan, R-Gardiner, raised the issue during a recent
meeting of the Legislature’s Human Development and Personnel
Committee. He said County Executive Michael Hein’s enforcement
of a so-called “gag order” that dates to 1985
prevents the free flow of information.
Department heads were reminded of the policy by Hein during
meetings in January pertaining to the county’s transition
to a new form of government. The voter-approved county charter
that took effect in January puts the elected executive in
charge of department heads. Prior to January, department heads
answered to the county Legislature and the body’s chairman.
Hein called Noonan’s proposal a “disservice”
and “highly politically motivated rhetoric.”
Legislator Donald Gregorius, D-Woodstock, who chairs the Human
Development and Personnel Committee, said Noonan’s proposal
could be taken up by the committee in July.
A Shokan woman has been arrested on charges that she stole
and activated New York State Instant Lottery tickets valued
at $42,000 from her employer, state police at Ulster said.
They charged Susan Smith, 48, with grand larceny in the third
degree and falsifying business records in the first degree,
The thefts reportedly occurred from February 2008 to January
of this year while Smith worked at Olive’s Country Store
and Café in Shokan.
Smith was released pending a court appearance.
The H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu, officially a
pandemic that continues to infect people around the globe,
now has confirmed cases in Ulster, Delaware and Sullivan Counties.
Last week it was reported that on June 4th the first documented
case of the virus appeared in Ulster County. County health
officials refused to identify the victim or where the person
lives in the County. This week two more cases were reported,
bringing the total to three infections, with at least one
being located in the Kingston area.
In Delaware County there is one confirmed case. Nearby Roscoe,
in Sullivan County, has one confirmed case as well, although
it is said to be the same case – a student that lives
in Delaware County that attends the Roscoe Central School
District in Sullivan County.
H1N1 influenza has many of the same symptoms as seasonal flu,
including fever, headache, body aches, fatigue, sore throat,
cough, chills, vomiting and diarrhea. Precautions recommended
by health officials include covering your mouth when you cough,
sneezing into a tissue, washing hands often, staying away
from people if you are ill and avoiding touching your eyes,
nose or mouth.
In neighboring Woodstock, recently, town supervisor Jeff Moran
suggested local folk start storing up three weeks of supplies
in case there is a major outbreak in the autumn, as occurred
in 1918 with the great Flu Epidemic that killed hundreds of
thousands in the nation, and illions worldwide... and forced
the closing of local roads between towns.
In other local health news, Ulster County Public Health Director
Dean Palen was placed on administrative leave and replaced
by an interim health director, Nereida Vaytia, while the county’s
health office shifts from one run by administrators to one
headed by a county physician.
The NYC Department of Environmental Protection has launched
its first full boating access on Delaware County’s Cannonsville
Reservoir, set to run on a trial basis for three boating seasons
from Memorial Day weekend to Columbus Day weekend, sunrise
to sunset. Several different types of watercraft, including
kayaks, canoes, rowboats, sculls and small sailboats, may
now be used and launched from several specified sites around
the reservoir. Previously, only fishing boats with proper
permits were allowed on the reservoir.
A new grass roots has meanwhile started in the Route 28 corridor
to gain similar boating rights for the Ashokan. Look for petitions
from the Ashokan Boaters League or call 679 8668 for further
In other recent DEP news, the city agency recently reported
that an underwater vehicle has completed a successful inspection
of the Rondout-West Branch Tunnel portion of the Delaware
Aqueduct under Delaware, Sullivan and part of Ulster counties.
The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, a self-propelled and navigated
torpedo constructed by engineers at Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution in Massachusetts, was launched at the beginning
of the tunnel and floated down its center for the entire 45-mile
length, taking a set of photographs every eight feet while
gathering other data, such as sound. The vehicle was captured
14 hours later by a Remote Operated Vehicle and brought to
the surface where the data will be extracted and analyzed
for the next several months.
Kaaterskill Falls, a popular but dangerous tourist destination,
was the scene of a grisly death this weekend when a hiker
took an eight story fall from the trail that leads to the
top of the falls. Authorities said that Jeremy Mullins, 32,
of Savannah, Ga., was hiking down from Kaaterskill Falls on
Saturday with one other person when he slipped on loose shale
and mud and fell,
The Georgia man was hiking in dress shoes on the narrow, slippery
trail, according to Police.
Haines Falls rescue personnel reported to the scene after
receiving two or three 911 calls at about 4:30 p.m. They reported
that Mullins and his girlfriend were hiking off the established
trail in a damp and dangerous area, and that, in combination
with Mullins’ wearing dress shoes, may have led to his
Mullins was reportedly dead when they reached him, and they
carried his body from the scene.
His body was taken to St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany
where an autopsy revealed the cause of death to be multiple
trauma due to the fall, state police said.
Kaaterskill Falls, located in the Greene County Town of Hunter,
has been the site of many rescues over the years, mostly during
summers when people venture into the woods and canyons.
Last September the state Court of Claims threw out a legal
action against the state filed by a Putnam County woman who
survived a 120-feet fall from the Kaaterskill Falls in 2004.
Clarissa Marino of Patterson was flown to Albany Medical Center
Hospital after a friend had taken Marino to the falls as a
20th birthday surprise. The duo were hiking on a remote part
of the Laurel House trail when Marino slipped on a rain-slickened
rock, the court papers say. She landed in a stream where she
remained for about 90 minutes before rescue crews could get
At the time, Marino, by her own admission, had on flat, rubber-soled
slip-on shoes with no tread.
Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Congresswoman Diana DeGette
(D-C), Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), and U.S. Senator Bob
Casey (D-PA) recently introduced legislation in the House
and Senate to protect drinking water supplies from harmful
chemicals often used in natural gas drilling. The FRAC ACT
— Fracking Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals
Act, would close a loophole created in the Energy Policy Act
of 2005, which Hinchey voted against, that exempted hydraulic
fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. The FRAC Act
would also require the oil and gas industry to disclose the
chemicals they use in their hydraulic fracturing processes.
Currently, the oil and gas industry is the only industry granted
an exemption from complying with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,”
is used in almost all natural gas wells. It is a process whereby
fluids are injected at high pressure into underground rock
formations to blast them open and increase the flow of fossil
fuels. This injection of unknown and potentially toxic chemicals
often occurs near drinking water wells. Troubling incidents
have occurred around the country where people became ill after
fracking operations began in their communities. Some chemicals
that are known to have been used in fracking include diesel
fuel, benzene, industrial solvents, and other carcinogens
and endocrine disrupters.
University of Colorado researchers have found a way to scale
back the slippery algae — known as “rock snot”
— that pesters tubers, fishers and native insects in
more and more creeks, including our own Esopus. CU Professor
Diane McKnight says heavy creek flow keeps the didymo, as
the algae is more scientifically known, in check, and controlled
flow releases from reservoirs during summer could limit the
impact of this nuisance species. The high flow destabilizes
rocks, which move in the streambed.
The didymo research projects are funded by the National Science
Foundation, and the team’s research was published this
month in Hydrobiologia, an international journal of aquatic
CU’s McKnight said James Cullis, a CU-Boulder doctoral
candidate studying water resources engineering, will continue
the research over the summer to develop a two-dimensional
model to predict how much water flow it would take to create
movement in the stream bed at given points in the creek.
McKnight, a fellow at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic
and Alpine Research, said the research can help slow didymo
growth before it gets out of control, as it has in New Zealand,
where it has taken over streams and rivers.
The Onteora CSD Board of Education is currently seeking new
members for its state-mandated Advisory Audit Committee. Collectively,
the Advisory Audit Committee must possess the requisite knowledge
necessary to understand technical and complex financial reporting
issues. Qualifications for ideal candidates are: Members of
the audit committee should collectively possess knowledge
in accounting, auditing, financial reporting, and school district
finances. They should have the ability to communicate with
auditors, public finance officers and the school board .They
should be knowledgeable about internal controls, financial
statement audits and management/operational audits. Participation
begins in July. The Advisory Audit Committee is scheduled
to meet monthly. Please contact the District Clerk at (845)
657-6383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A state appeals court last week overturned one of three criminal
convictions against former deputy town clerk Annette Rose
of Rochester, who was accused of stealing $1,158 from the
town and falsifying business records to hide the theft. She
was convicted in March 2006 of two counts of official misconduct,
a misdemeanor, and falsifying business records in the first
degree, a felony. But in a June 4 ruling, the Appellate Division
of state Supreme Court reversed the felony conviction, saying
the jury in the case was improperly instructed by state Supreme
Court Justice Michael Kavanagh.
The court let stand the official misconduct convictions, but
sent the case back for Rose to be retried on the charge of
falsifying business records.
Following her conviction, Rose was sentenced to five years
probation and ordered to pay a $1,150 fine. The judge in the
recent case said the official misconduct convictions would
stand because the verdicts were supported by evidence during
Plans for the county’s first Charter School, to be situated
at Tech City outside Kingston with a possible 2010 opening,
have been inching along despite some setbacks of late.
A recent public hearing on the effort in Kingston witnessed
supporters speaking of the need for new approaches to education
while opponents said the proposed facility would siphon money
from local school districts to fund unproven methods of learning.
Approximately 70 people attended.
Russell Richardson, executive director of the nonprofit Indie
Program, which engages Onteora school district students through
film, questioned whether The Charter School of Tomorrow, if
approved, would serve the region’s most at-risk students,
as proposed, or become “an elite school.”
Others spoke for the need to offer the area’s students
A special focus of the school, which would initially serve
345 students, would be arts and technology. The school would
combine traditional face-to-face learning with online courses
to provide a range of course options not available at any
public schools in the area, as well as a strong role for mentoring
in the school. The charter school’s academic year would
last 200 days, instead of the typical 180, with each school
day would 71/2 hours long.
According to the application filed with the State University
of New York Board of Trustees, The Charter School of Tomorrow
expects about 40 percent of its students, totaling 138, to
come from the Kingston school district, in which the school
would be located.
School organizers noted, however, that school districts could
get reimbursed for most of their costs with government aid
for the first three years the school is in existence.
Heading up the effort for the proposed Charter School of Tomorrow
at TechCity is Andrew Taylor, a former Rondout Valley school
district administrator and current chief executive officer
of the nonprofit Learner First, which tutors about 1,500 low-income
students around the state, including those from several regional
school districts. The effort’s board includes James
Butterworth, a former New York state assistant commissioner
of education; Bonni Landi, program director for YouthBuild;
Colleen Dempsey Mountford, president of Big Brothers Big Sisters
of Ulster County; Allison E. West, supervisor of education
technology at Ulster BOCES; Ellen M. Clewis, assistant vice
president at the Ulster Savings Bank; Randy Conti, executive
director of the New York Conservatory of the Arts; Louis Spina,
president of Second Chance 4 Me, Inc.; and Robert Carelli,
a senior manager at Phillips Healthcare.
Twenty-eight education grants totaling nearly $150,000 were
recently approved by the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC)
Board of Directors. The awards will go to schools and non-profit
organizations serving school-age students in the Catskills
and in New York City. In other education news, the Board on
June 2 authorized a contract with the Watershed Agricultural
Council to bring WAC’s forestry bus tour grant program
and funds to the CWC, where a Watershed Education Grants Coordinator
will administer both the WAC bus tour and CWC education grant
programs. A full-time coordinator is expected to be hired
this summer to run the programs from the CWC offices in Margaretville.
Recipients of CWC Education Grants this year include, from
the Watershed: Jefferson Central School, Hunter Elementary
School and Gilboa-Conesville Central School (all with two
awards); the Arc of Delaware County (Arkville center); Onteora
Middle School; Phoenicia Elementary School; Walton and Fallsburg
Central Schools; Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County;
Catskill Center for Conservation & Development; Mountaintop
Historical Society; Zadock Pratt Museum; Pine Hill Community
Center; Northern Catskills Occupational Center and the Ashokan
New York City-based recipients are South Street Seaport Museum,
Alley Pond Environmental Center, Council on the Environment
of NYC, Neighborhood School PTA, Friends of PS 166, Central
Park East II Elementary School, Horticultural Society of New
York, University Settlement, Earth School, and Trout Unlimited.
For more information, go to www.cwconline.org, or call toll-free
Cornell Cooperative Extension is looking for students to sign
up for its Summer Internship Program for the Ashokan Watershed.
The internship is open to all young people in grades 7-12
who live in the Ashokan Watershed or attend Onteora School.
This 12 session program will begin Monday, June 29 at the
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County’s Phoenicia
office located at 6375 Rt. 28. Internship dates include Mondays
and Fridays through August 10, plus some later dates to be
determined. Most meetings will take place from 9:00am to 12:00pm,
but programs may be longer on days when field trips are scheduled.
Registration is encouraged immediately with applications to
be accepted on an on-going basis until the program is filled.
For more information or to pre-register call Kristen Wilson
at 845-340-3990 or email email@example.com.
Applications for the 2009 Summer Youth Employment Program
are now available. This program will provide approximately
300 eligible youth in Ulster County with summer work experience.
The program is scheduled to begin on July 6th and run for
approximately 6 weeks. Youth will be paid $8.00 per hour for
approximately 28 hours per week. Jobs will be at public and
private and not-for-profit worksites throughout Ulster County.
To be eligible for the program, youth must be Ulster County
residents, between the ages of 14 – 24 and have family
income that is at or below 200% of Federal poverty income
standards. Additionally, certain public assistance programs
and/or disabilities may qualify youth whose family income
is above these standards. Applications are available at the
Onteora High School Guidance Office, all Town, Halls, the
Pine Hill Community Center, Marbletown Teen Center, Ulster
BOCES in Port Ewen, Community Action in Ellenville, and other
county offices and youth-oriented sites around the county.
Additional information is available by calling the Office
of Employment and Training Summer Youth Employment Program
at 340-3173 or 3170, or either 334-8275 or 8277.
The House Appropriations Committee has approved $200,000 for
the Delaware River Basin. Congressman Maurice Hinchey of Hurley,
a member of the committee, secured the funding for the continued
upgrade and enhancement to the basin’s flood warning
“Given the severe and repeated floods throughout the
Delaware River basin in the past several years, it’s
critical that we take every step necessary to prevent the
loss of life and minimize property damage from future floods,”
said Hinchey. “Improving and updating the basin’s
flood warning system will help communities better prepare
for flooding and reduce flood damages through improved planning.”
The measure still has several legislative steps to go, but
having the funding included in the original version of the
bill is considered a critical step in the process.
Now, for the Esopus basin’s protection…
No More Wind?
The great gusting winds of the Midwest may be dying, and with
them hope for America’s most promising source of green
energy, according to a new report. A study to be published
in August in the Journal of Geophysical Research suggests
average and peak winds may have been slowing across the Midwest
and eastern states since 1973. The findings are preliminary,
but measurements by wind towers raise the possibility of yet
another side effect of global warming.
“We noted some periods in the past ... where there was
a pretty substantial decrease in wind speed for 12 consecutive
months,” Eugene Takle of Iowa State University and one
of the authors, told the Guardian. “We suspect it’s
some large scale influence we don’t yet understand.”
Areas of the Midwest have seen a 10% drop in wind speed over
the decade. Some places have seen a jump in days where there
was none at all. Takle said climate modelling suggested a
further 10% dip may occur over the next 40 years. “Generally
we expect there’ll probably be a decline in speeds due
to climate change.”
The US is the world’s largest producer of wind power;
investment hit $17bn last year, and turbines are now a common
sight in many parts of the country. The American Wind Energy
Association had no immediate comment, but a 10% fall in peak
winds could translate into a 27% cut in energy, Takle said.
The Hudson Valley Watershed Alliance has been making copies
of a recent Nature Conservancy study on the region’s
possible effects from climate change available, as well as
the focus of a growing number of key regional events. Of key
importance will be a September 29-30 conference to be held
at the FDR Library in Hyde Park entitled “State of the
Hudson River Watershed: Ecological Status of the Waters of
the Hudson River and its Tributaries” being co-organized
by the Hudson River Environmental Society, the Estuary Training
Program of the NYSDEC Hudson River National Estuarine Research
Reserve, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, the U.S.
Geological Survey, Clearwater, The Nature Conservancy, the
Hudson River Estuary Program of the NYS Dept. of Environmental
Conservation, Scenic Hudson, Hudson Basin River Watch, the
National Park Service, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential
Library and Museum.
With a central focus on indicators of the “state of”
the resource, the conference will also look at some indicators
of pressure on natural resources, and of policy and management
responses to those pressures. Who Should Attend? Public officials,
Environmental policy-makers and managers, Watershed activists,
Conservation interest groups and the general public.
Three studies this year have made newly worrisome forecasts
about life along the Atlantic over the next century. While
the rest of the world might see seven to 23 inches of sea-level
rise by 2100, the studies show this region might get that
and more -- 17 to 25 inches more -- for a total increase that
would submerge a beach chair.
The Nature Conservancy’s Rising Waters project has evaluated
80 specific ideas for improving the Hudson Valley region’s
adaptive capacity with recommendations to:
Improve community planning, communication and preparedness
for extreme weather and local climate change threats. Identify
ways to incorporate climate change information into hazard
Conduct community outreach campaigns on the local threats
posed by climate change, and what can be done in response
to maintain interest and momentum and prepare communities
for the future impacts of climate change by incorporating
expected changes, such as more frequent flooding and heat
waves, into all land-use decision-making processes. Encourage
counties and large municipalities to integrate climate change
considerations over a 20-year time span into their land-use
Guide future development out of flood-prone areas to reduce
and minimize future losses.
Create financial incentives to avoid development in flood-prone
areas and require “No Adverse Impact” standards
to ensure that activities do not change the floodwater storage
capacity of wetlands and floodplains and do not increase the
flow velocity of streams, especially during floods.
Establish a state funding mechanism to help communities enforce
floodplain zoning and flood-related land-use and building
Require all state agencies to conduct flood audits of critical
infrastructure such as hospitals, important road crossings
and wastewater treatment plants
Apply cost-effective green technologies and use natural systems
to reduce the vulnerability of people and properties to flooding
and heat waves.
Increase development setbacks from streamsides to 300 feet
to protect people from flooding and to reduce property damage
and identify the places most at risk of flooding by modernizing
floodplain maps to reflect not only historical but likely
future flood patterns.
Establish climate change adaptation funding to help communities
reduce loss of life and property damage both in advance of
extreme weather and in disaster response.
Gain support for passage of Green Jobs Bond Act, slated for
November 2009 ballot, by adding at least 10 new organizations
to the existing coalition and create a state climate change
adaptation fund to support the actions outlined above, many
of which have been incoprorated already in the state’s
pending review of the Belleayre Resort project.
Visit www.hudsonwatershed.org for more information.
Bread Alone Bakery & Café, the Boiceville-based
organic bread bakery that just celebrated its 25th Anniversary,
has launched a unique Farmers Market E-Club to help celebrate
the vitality and importance of its presence in Farmers Markets
around New York City. When customers join, every month they
will receive four weekly coupons for a different loaf of free
bread that can be redeemed at any of the 50+ New York area
Farmers Markets that Bread Alone participates in. Customers
go to www.BreadAlone.com to sign up for the E-Club and in
addition to getting the weekly bread coupons, Bread Alone
will also send E-Club members information about upcoming events
at the Farmers Markets, organic bread baking tips, recipe
ideas and more. Bread Alone has also just launched its Facebook
page so that it can alert customers and fans about events
as well. For further information, please contact Sharon Burns-Leader
at 657-3328, EXT 12. Or stop on by their fabulous shop and
bakery on Route 28…
RR To NYC?
Officials broke ground recently for a third tunnel into New
York City that will provide a one-stop ride for commuters
in Rockland and Orange counties, and possibly the entire West
of the river part of Upstate we inhabit. The $8.7 billion
project is expected to be completed by 2017.
Once completed, the rail service “will allow Hudson
Valley commuters to spend less time on the train and platforms
and more time with their families, at work and enjoying their
life,” said Senator Charles Schumer.
At the present time, Rockland and Orange commuters taking
Metro-North and New Jersey Transit West of Hudson trains must
transfer at Secaucus. Instead, the trains will go directly
to an expanded Penn Station in Manhattan.
Call For Artists
This July, Roxbury Arts Group (RAG) will decide on their 2010
fine art exhibitions for both their downtown Roxbury galleries:
the Walt Meade Gallery in the Roxbury Arts Center and the
Old Bank Gallery in the Roxbury Arts Group office building
on Hwy. 30. The Gallery Committee comprised of Board members
and curator Maggie Cullen will review artist submissions and
decide which shows will be shown starting January of 2010
and extending throughout the calendar year. The duration of
most exhibitions is about six weeks, however, some are shorter
and others longer depending on the scheduling of RAG events.
All shows feature an opening reception wherein we like the
artist to prepare and deliver a brief prepared statement about
their show (under 5 minutes). Entries must be originals works
that have not been exhibited within a 30 mile radius of Roxbury
within the last year. With the exception of film, all art
forms are eligible. There are no submission fees. Artists
chosen to exhibit in the 2010 season will be notified via
email or phone and given further details. Artists may submit
their website link for the committee to view art work, or
email 2 to 3 images of actual work to firstname.lastname@example.org,
or mail a cd of images to: ATTN: Maggie Cullen, Roxbury Arts
Group (RAG), PO Box 93, Roxbury, NY 12474. For all submissions,
include your name, bio, name of pieces with their dimensions,
type of medium, and price. Please include a stamped addressed
sachet if you wish your submission to be returned. Artists
submissions must be received by July 10th to be considered
for the 2010 season.
Fire In The Vly?
A three-story house on Vly-Atwood Road that was being renovated
for use as a bed and breakfast suffered heavy damage from
an electrical fire on June 1. Andrew Nilsen, the assistant
chief of the Vly-Atwood Fire Department, said firefighters
were called to the wood-frame house at 300 Vly-Atwood Road
at about 3:05 p.m. and arrived to find the second and third
floors aflame. Vly-Atwood firefighters began fighting the
blaze from the exterior, while their counterparts from the
Stone Ridge and Olive fire departments went inside. The blaze
was under control within 40 minutes and firefighters remained
on the scene until 8 p.m., Nilsen said. The fire, traced to
an extension cord on the second floor, was ruled accidental.
Vly-Atwood firefighters were assisted on the scene by the
Stone Ridge, Olive, Kripplebush and other fire departments.