Ulster County Transportation Council Meets August 31st, 2010

The next Ulster County Transportation Council (UCTC) Policy Committee Meeting is scheduled on Tuesday, August 31st 2010. It will be held at the SUNY Ulster Campus, Howard St. John Conference Room, Clinton Hall, Cottekill Road, Stone Ridge, NY. from 10:00am - 11:30am.

To see the complete meeting agenda, visit this LINK

If you have any questions, please contact either Dennis Doyle or Bill Tobin at (845) 340-3340.

CAC Holds Visioning Session

By Valeria A. Gheorghiu

This past Thursday, the Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) hosted a Public Visioning Session on August 19, 2010 to plan implementation of the recently passed Climate Smart and Green Jobs Community Pledge.  With public participation, the Pledge aims to reduce Kingston’s electricity use by 15% by 2015 while simultaneously developing a green economy.

The Public Visioning Sessions are quarterly community-wide stakeholder meeting soliciting public input and encouraging community leadership to help draft and implement a Climate Action Plan, as per the collaborative model of the pledge.  Additionally, Meredith Neirenberg of NYSERDA gave a presentation on her work with the Focus on Local Governments program for Kingston and the work she is doing to create a baseline implementation report using the Wendell Energy Study, an energy audit of City properties conducted in 2007.  Jennifer Schwartz-Berky from Bard College also presented the work of student research in support of the Pledge.  The meeting was held at the Common Council Chambers in the Kingston City Hall from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.

The Public Visioning Sessions feature break-out sessions in six focus areas for group brainstorming so as to provide impetus for action and to facilitate community leadership.  The focus groups include Recycling and Solid Waste, Energy Demand Reduction, Renewable Energy, Community Land Use Planning, Planning for Climate Change, and Green Innovation.  Each focus group will be encouraged to meet on their own in between quarterly public meetings and will eventually pick two members to serve on the Climate Smart and Green Jobs Taskforce.  The Taskforce will work with the CAC and city employees, including a Climate Analyst, to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.  The next Public Visioning Session is in November.

Ideas discussed by some of the 17 participants for the Climate Action Plan on Thursday included:
Anti-idling laws
More bike paths
More efficient trash pick up
A tree inventory to keep up with our Tree City USA status
More farmers markets for midtown and downtown to support the local food economy
A right to farm law
Renewable energy use by city buildings
User friendly energy audits
Public education campaigns

The purpose of the Public Visioning Sessions is also to help coordinate environmental efforts currently underway that are already accomplishing the goals of the Pledge, such as “Pay as you Throw,” “Leave it on the Lawn” (Kingston), Healthy Kingston for Kids (Cornell, KLT, Kingston), and Green Storm-water Infrastructure (Clearwater).

The CAC and the City will spearhead reducing the carbon footprint of municipally owned properties, while the community and business owners are encouraged to work to reduce their own carbon footprint in Kingston.  Creativity is welcome.  “In order for an initiative as cross-cutting and ambitious as the Pledge to work, the Pledge needs a democratic process and community leadership.  The emergent needs of the environment and our economy require us all to pool our ideas, resources and cooperative spirit together to safeguard our economic and environmental future,” said Valeria A. Gheorghiu, an active Commissioner of the CAC.

The Common Council passed the Climate Smart and Green Jobs Community Pledge in early October of 2009.  While the City of Kingston pledges to lead by example, with the aid of the CAC, the pledge also requires collaboration with the communities, institutions and businesses in Kingston.  The CAC aspires to achieve community wide participation through quarterly Public Visioning Sessions over the next year until a Climate Action Plan has been drafted.  Any supportive member of the community is welcome to attend and participate in the development of the Pledge.

If groups wish to receive information or a presentation, please contact Julie Noble, Chair of the CAC at (845) 331-1682 x 7339 or JulieLNoble@kingston-ny.gov.

About the Conservation Advisory Council:

The Conservation Advisory Council is a City Agency comprised of community volunteers appointed by the Mayor and the Common Council.  It was created in January of 2009 and its goal is to further the conservation efforts of the City of Kingston by advising the Common Council and conducting outreach to the public and City Agencies on environmental measures.  It helped draft the Climate Smart and Green Jobs Community Pledge.

Julie Noble, Chair (845) 331-1682 x 7339, JulieLNoble@kingston-ny.gov

Kingston’s Annual Bluestone Festival at the Maritime Museum in October

By Rebecca Martin

How many of you are familiar with the city of Kingston's Bluestone and its history? Whether you are a novice or an expert on the subject, plan on visiting the annual Bluestone Festival on Sunday, October 3rd at the Maritime Museum in Kingston.

KingstonCitizens.org was able to have a quick sit down with organizer Ed Pell on how you can participate and what you can expect this year.

KingstonCitizens.org: Can you tell us how you came to be one of the organizers of the Bluestone Festival?

Ed Pell: The first step in problem solving is becoming aware that there is a problem.  At a meeting in 2001 of Rondout citizens, Robert Sweeney (currently the Town of Ulster's Historian) alerted us that the work on Abeel Street was affecting the historic bluestone sidewalks and curbs.  We spoke about this and I suggested to raise awareness, we might organize a Bluestone Festival to celebrate our heritage, sidewalks, curbs and other bluestone infrastructure. The first Kingston Historic Bluestone Festival began that year and has continued annually since with more and more homeowners, civic groups and others supporting this significant component of our history, heritage and pride.

KC: How did you chose the Maritime Museum location, and how is Bluestone and the Maritime connected?

EP: Bluestone was shipped from Rondout Creek in Kingston and was the largest exporter of Bluestone in the nation in the nineteenth century. The Kingston Maritime Museum has included Bluestone shipping as a significant exhibit, so hosting the annual Kingston Bluestone Festival on the grounds of Maritime Museum is congruent with its history, message and intent. Additionally, Betty Osterhoudt and the Maritime Museum staff are warmly hospitable.

KC: What can people expect on that day? What vendors and masons will be on hand?

EP: The booklets that we sell each year give a history of Bluestone which was formed just short of 400 million years ago!  There will be open mic song and music from noon to 6 PM that will encompass folk, bluegrass, traditional, and original music. For instance, Kelly McNally, a songwriter, musician and singer whose Italian grandfather was a stone mason, will sing and play a song which she has written about bluestone and a tribute to her grandfather.  We welcome all musicians and singers and invite them to contact us at: bluestonefestival@yahoo.com to secure their time slot.  The same is true for visual artists, who are invited to exhibit and sell artwork without an entry fee or commission on pieces sold. We only ask that they contact us to register early at  bluestonefestival@yahoo.com

Dean Osterhoudt, whose family has been quarried and dressed Bluestone well before 1886 (and continuously since) will exhibit historic Bluestone quarry and dressing tools, Bluestone working, making Bluestone walks and walls.  Representative of Opus 40 will be on hand with exhibits. Local resturants will offer "blue plate" specials at their place of business and others will be on site with wares.

Tom Keegan of Keegan Ales and Howard Johnson of Johnson Signs and Tees will be on site, too.

KC: Please provide the date, location and time of the festival. Parking is available across from the Maritime and is free, is that correct?

EP: The 9th Annual 2010 Kingston Historic Bluestone Festival will be at The Kingston Maritime Museum Grounds, Rondout Landing, (next to Rosita's Resturant, 89 Roundant Landing), noon to 6 PM on Sunday, October 3. Parking is available across the street and is free.

KC: Anything else you wish to add?

EP: Come and join us for a good amount of Kingston’s Bluestone history and fun!

Kingston Residents: Interested in Helping to Developing Walking and Biking Trails in Ulster County?

By Liz Lipton

For residents who are interested in developing walking and biking trails in Ulster County, here is a LINK to American Trails' Web page with 50+  articles/ research studies on the economic benefits of such trails.

This Web page includes links to studies in the following categories: "Tourism," "Benefits," "Business," "Valuing Trails," and "Studies." Here is a sampling of the studies listed in their respective categories.  Some of the studies in "Valuing Trails" and "Studies" are of particular interest to those concerned with property values.

1. Tourism
-  Implementing Trail-Based Economic Development Programs: a handbook for Iowa communities
- Attracting bike tourists to your trail: lessons from the Canalway Trail in New York

2. Benefits
- Economic Benefits of Open Space, Recreation Facilities and Walkable Community Design
- Economic and Social Benefit of Trails in Minnesota

3. Business
- The Business of Trails: a compilation of economic benefits by Terry Eastin.
- Trails and Revitalization: A Study of the Economics Associated with Public Trails.  
- How Methow Valley grew an economy

4.  Valuing Trails
- Trails add value to new homes and give the developer the highest investment return
- Trails expenditures shown to reduce health-care costs.

5.  Studies
-  Omaha Recreational Trails: Their Effect on Property Values and Public Safety

6. Bibliography
- bibliography of economic impact studies related to trails and greenways

This is just a sampling of the 50+ studies, to view the complete listing,  follow this LINK

Imagining ‘Pop-up Stores’ in Kingston

By Arthur Zaczkiewicz

There's an interesting Q&A story in the Watershed Post about a project aimed at re-imagining empty storefronts in the town of Roxbury. Designers are beginning work on creating "fantasy" retail spaces on Main Street, which will be open to the public for a month. The article is an interview with the mastermind behind the effort, architect Andrew Williams. Read about it here.

With an excess inventory of empty storefronts in Kingston -- uptown, downtown and in midtown -- we sure could use some creative thinking just like Roxbury.

Here's another idea for empty storefronts in Kingston: open them up as temporary retail spaces.

Commercial property owners in Kingston could offer their vacant stores for two- or three- month periods at discounted rates during key times such as the current back-to-school shopping season or the holiday shopping season. These "super, mini leases" are common in the retail industry with retailers and brands such as Nike, Sharp Electronics and Target opening up galleries and temporary stores across the globe. Tagged "pop-up retail" stores, the concept has been around for about six years. Check out this story about the trend.

Five Guys Named Top Burger

Fresh off the presses is Zagat's fast food survey, which names Five Guys Burgers and Fries as its top choice in the U.S. -- beating out California-based In-N-Out Burger as well as McDonald's, Burger King and a host of other chains. After the news item here hit the wires, there was a flurry of inquisitions for where Five Guys is located. It turned into a top search on Yahoo! by Tuesday afternoon. All anyone knew about the fast food chain was that our President enjoyed the food there once. And you know what? We've got a Five Guys right here in Kingston, on Ulster Avenue by the mall.

Last year when it opened, I told a friend who frequents one in New York City. He says the line out the door of the joint is a block long during lunchtime. No wonder.

-- Arthur Zaczkiewicz

Free Bike Tour of Community and School Gardens

Join the Kingston City Gardens Coalition on a free bike tour through historic Kingston to see community and school gardens – as well as potential sites for gardens – this Sunday, August 22 at 10 a.m. The tour starts at Forsyth Nature Center and ends down on the Rondout in time to enjoy the annual Soap Box Derby. The tour is a great way to see the gardens and learn some Kingston history while also avoiding the traffic congestion of the annual derby.

Anyone interested in joining the tour should have a bike in good working order and a helmet as well as food and water. Please meet near the entrance to the Forsyth Nature Center promptly at 10 a.m. No reservations are necessary.

The Good Stewards aka ‘Project Forsyth’

There are many good works underway in the city of Kingston in the midst of some pretty tough economic times. For instance, stewards of the 'Project Forsyth' program are working to gain a substantial grant to update the park at Forsyth in Kingston for all of our families and visitors to enjoy. Forsyth is a premier location that hosts our city zoo (with a wide array of rescued animals ranging from bulls to peacocks), nature center, open space, tennis courts and children's playground.

Ward 1 Alderwoman Andi Turco-Levin is leading the way along with the city of Kingston and citizens to upgrade the park portion by securing a $249,000 (there is a matching portion by the city) grant from the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Ward 7 Alderman Bill Reynolds secured this same grant (in the tune of $50,000) several years ago to restore the playground at Hutton Park.

What's different about Andi's effort, is that citizens are invited to help steer the look of the playground. Their next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 17th 2010 at the Forsyth Park Pavilion at 5:30pm.

You can read the piece written in today's Daily Freeman by following this LINK.

Kingston’s Music Community Thrives

By Rebecca Martin

The musicians living in the city of Kingston is really astounding. Artists such as  Tony Levin, Gail Ann Dorsey, Larry Grenadier, Peter Wetzler, Vicente Archer, Peggy Stern and many more all call Kingston home.  It's fitting that series such as the one we're posting today are sprouting up here at home.  Follow this LINK to watch their last series performance.

Hope you can make this one. 

LVanHart Presents
Jazz @ WallSpace

Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Meet the Artists at 7p ~ Music at 8p
Music for ALL Ages!
323 Wall Street, Kingston, NY 12401
For Reservations: 845-338-8700
Tickets: $15 (Plus a $10 drink minimum)

LVanHart Presents Jazz @ WallSpace will host its’ second concert on Wednesday, August 18th. After a very successful first performance, we look forward to presentring the talents of Helen Sung (piano), Carolyn Leonhart (vocals) and Rich Syracuse (bass).

Winner of the Kennedy Center's Mary Lou Williams Piano Competition, pianist Helen Sung has been called "one of the brightest emerging stars in jazz today". As an Asian-American artist and composer, she challenges stereotypes with a compelling, unique voice informed by her virtuosity in classical, jazz, & popular music. For this performance she joins forces with vocalist Carolyn Leonhart and a local favorite on bass, Rich Syracuse. Sung has been steadily gaining respect as a fine composer and arranger, in addition to her reputation as a fine pianist. For Jazz @ WallSpace,
she has prepared a program of smart arrangements of jazz standards, duo and trio arrangements of Chick Corea’s “Children’s Songs,” as well as original material from all three performers.

A native of Houston, Texas, Sung attended its High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA). She initially aspired to be a classical pianist but was bitten by the jazz bug (specifically by Tommy Flanagan's solo on Charlie Parker's Confirmation) while studying at the University of Texas at Austin. She switched to jazz and was soon after
accepted into the inaugural class of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance (@ the New England Conservatory in Boston).

Helen presently lives in New York City, and has gone on to work with such jazz masters as Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Benny Golson, Buster Williams, Wayne Shorter, Steve Turre, Steve Wilson, T.S.Monk, and Macarthur Fellow Regina Carter. She appears frequently with the Mingus Big Band and is a current member of Clark Terry’s "Big
Badd" Big Band. She was also a featured performer on PBS' In Performance at the White House for the Monk Institute’s 20th Anniversary Celebration.

Sung is also a budding bandleader and has been featured on Marian McPartland’s acclaimed Piano Jazz show, NPR’s JazzSet w/Dee Dee Bridgewater, and XM Radio’s In the Swing Seat w/Wynton Marsalis. Sung's band has headlined at the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival, Fontana Chamber Arts Summer Festival, Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, Jazz Lucca Donna Festival (Italy), Kalisz International Jazz Piano Festival (Poland), Bern Jazz Festival, Tri-C Jazz Festival (Cleveland), Vermont Mozart Festival, the American Jazz Museum’s Blue Room, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and New York City’s finest jazz venues. She was recently invited to perform at the Aspen
Institute’s ‘Aspen Ideas Festival,’ where she also represented the arts community on a panel on Arts and Social Issues.

Carolyn Leonhart has been surrounded by music her entire life. Born into a family of musicians, Carolyn was singing as soon as she could talk. As a young child she traveled with her father, noted bassist Jay Leonhart, to gigs and watched him accompany legends like Sarah Vaughn, Mel Torme, and Peggy Lee. On her own, she listened to recordings of Vaughn, Carmen McRae, and Johnny Hartman as well as Stevie Wonder, The Doobie Brothers, Earth Wind and Fire, and Steely Dan. She attended the University of Rochester, where she earned a degree in Comparative Religion. While at college, she spent much time at the nearby Eastman School of Music, singing with jazz ensembles, big bands, and studio orchestras. While working toward her degree, she also completed two solo CDs for the Japanese record label, Toshiba EMI, one of which included young jazz stars Joshua Redman, Jesse Davis, Christian McBride, and Marvin "Smitty" Smith. And in her senior year of college, Carolyn was the recipient of The Downbeat Magazine  Award for the Best College Jazz Vocalist. After college, Carolyn returned to New York City and shortly thereafter won third place in the Thelonious Monk International Vocal Jazz Competition.

Carolyn is no stranger to mixing things up musically, from performing with the hip- hop group The Real Live Show, writing songs for dance remixes with the group Liquid Solution, and touring as the lead singer in the electronica/lounge project Wax Poetic. The bar had already been set high for Carolyn, who has worked as lead back-up vocalist with Steely Dan through eight years, three world tours, two albums, and four Grammy’s. Since 2000 she has been performing regularly with her jazz group and started the Sunday Vocalists Series at New York City's Smoke Jazz Club.

Rich Syracuse has been a mainstay on the New York area scene for more than two decades. For several years, he performed in the Nick Brignola Quartet playing clubs, festivals, and recording sessions. Besides his years with Brignola, he has performed with Mose Allison, Brubeck Brothers, Randy Brecker, Warren Bernhardt, Sumi Tonoka,
David Torn, Mike DeMicco, Peter Levin, Sam Morrison, Jimmy Cobb, Bernard Purdy, Adam Nussbaum, Jeff Siegel, Eddie Henderson, Jeff "Tain" Watts and several others. He has toured throughout Europe and Southern Africa. As well as touring, Rich is an in-demand Bassist throughout the northeast region of the USA. For the past 18 years,
Rich has been the Bassist for Pianist Lee Shaw.


Memorial Services for Rosemarie McGuigan

By Rebecca Martin

In the early morning hours on Monday, August 9th  Kingston lost a committed city resident. What's more, is she happens to be the mother of Diane Reeder, founder and executive director of the Queens Galley.

I loved my time in getting to know Rose and her loving partner Farmer Frank Nazarro. Together, they helped shape the garden program in the city of Kingston, delivered countless truck loads of food to all the area soup kitchens, and were always ready and willing to lend a hand to anyone in need in the community.

Services are open to all on Saturday, August 14th. A wake and Funeral for Rose will begin at 11:00am.  A reception to mourn and to celebrate her life will follow at 721 Media by the rooftop garden.

Visit this LINK to view her obituary, sign the guest book and to get more information on the weekend services.

What’s Your Vision?

By Rebecca Martin

The Business Alliance of Kingston has taken the time to post the results from the visioning session at Kings Inn last month. There are pictures, explanations and more to what each group created together.

The site explains: "The revitalization of Midtown Kingston will take a great leap forward with redevelopment of this blighted property at 615 Broadway. Leading local and national architects, with neighborhood input, conducted a Design Charrette on Friday, July 16, 2010.We hope this charrette will inform the City's efforts to recruit a developer.  The drawings and results of the eleven teams are below.