County Executive Sends Release Regarding Sophie Finn Elementary School Transition to SUNY Ulster Satellite Campus.

Below is the Press Release issued from UC Executive Mike Hein on a public meeting regarding the transition of the Sophie Finn Elementary School into a SUNY Ulster Satellite Campus.  The details are below.  Is an opportunity to hear a presentation from the key players on the proposal for re-development.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             
May 2, 2013
Contact:  News@co.ulster.ny.us
845.340.3800

ULSTER COUNTY EXECUTIVE MIKE HEIN INVITES COMMUNITY TO DISCUSSION 
OF SUNY ULSTER’S FUTURE SATELLITE CAMPUS AT SOPHIE FINN 
 
Meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 8th at 7 PM at Sophie Finn

Kingston, NY – Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and SUNY Ulster President Donald Katt invite the public to discuss proposed plans for the conversion of the Sophie Finn School into a SUNY Ulster satellite campus.  The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 8 at 7 PM at Sophie Finn: 94 Mary’s Avenue in Kingston. Officials from the County, the City of Kingston, SUNY Ulster and the Kingston City School District are expected to attend.

Converting Sophie Finn into a SUNY Ulster satellite campus in midtown Kingston is part of County Executive Hein’s Strategic Taxpayer Relief through Innovative Visions in Education (S.T.R.I.V.E.) Project.  S.T.R.I.V.E is designed to improve educational opportunities for local Kingston area students, support revitalization of midtown Kingston, and provide financial savings for taxpayers. Through the S.T.R.I.V.E. Project, the County Executive is creating the foundation for an educational corridor with a modern community college campus right in the heart of Kingston.

Officials from the City of Kingston, Kingston City School District, and SUNY Ulster will discuss the goals of the S.T.R.I.V.E. Project, and SUNY Ulster’s architectural consultant, CSArch, will explain the design.  The meeting is also intended to provide an opportunity for neighborhood residents to discuss the project with SUNY Ulster, County, Kingston City School District, and City of Kingston officials while the planning and design phase is in its early stages.

S.T.R.I.V.E. related documents can be found at: http://co.ulster.ny.us/strive.html.  For more information, please call Chris White, Ulster County Deputy Director for Planning at 845-340-3338 or cwhi@co.ulster.ny.us.

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“Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston!” Initiative Marks Its Second Season in 2010

Kingston resident Kate Lawson leads by example.

“Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston!” initiative continues for a second year in the City of Kingston.

The City of Kingston’s Mayor James Sottile, DPW Superintendent Michael Schupp and The Kingston Land Trust hope to save Kingston citizen’s tax dollars for a second year by encouraging residents to mulch their leaf landscape waste.

KINGSTON – With the recent passing of a mandatory leaf bagging law in the city of Kingston, public officials in connection with the Kingston Land Trust are asking residents to “Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston!” for a second fall season. The federal program that was initiated locally hopes to save citizen’s tax dollars by asking them to ‘help Kingston help itself’.

“Mulching leaves takes a serious waste disposal problem and stops it at its source,” says Rebecca Martin, Executive Director of the Kingston Land Trust.  “Additionally, it takes 1/4 of a persons time rather than bagging them, avoids all municipal collection costs and provides valuable plant nutrients stored in leaves throughout the season to fertilize lawns and gardens naturally.”

A helpful brochure will be available at the city of Kingston’s Clerks office, Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Kingston Land Trust offices after October 10th about the program.  To learn more on the initiative online, visit the city of Kingston’s website or contact Rebecca Martin, Executive Director of the Kingston Land Trust at 845/877-LAND (5263) or rebecca@kingstonlandtrust.org

Youth Build Helps Maintain the City of Kingston’s Foreclosed Properties

By Rebecca Martin
(excerpts taken from a letter generated by Fire Chief Rick Salzmann)

With the increasing number of foreclosures that the city of Kingston is experiencing, Building safety is receiving daily complaints regarding properties that are vacant and not being maintained.    In an effort to better deal with these properties, Ward 9 Alderman Hayes Clement suggested a meeting with Bonnie Landi at YouthBuild. As a result, Youth Build will cut grass and perform basic yard work at vacant properties, where owners have ignored the notices that the Building Safety Department have sent to them. … Read more

Why Residents Must Continue to Recycle

With the abrupt change made this week to the recycling schedule (that is now bi-weekly) we grew deeply concerned. Not because we think weekly pick-ups are ‘the way to go’. But because the change was made without any effort to inform or educate the public. As it is, through the hard work of Julie and Steve Noble and Jeanne Edwards, Kingston was sort of on the up and up on improving it’s recycling numbers. That might be history unless something is done and soon.

Sure, not every municipality offers recycling to their residents. That may even be where we are heading. The fact of the matter is, Kingston has offered it as a service and we have come to expect it. If more people now feel inconvenienced and decide to trash their plastics and all, we are not only heading in the wrong direction but we are also encouraging a whopper of an expense in the long run.

Why? At this time, Kingston pays UCRRA (Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency) $71 a ton to then ship our garbage up the river some 250 miles. That’s what makes it so expensive. Weigh that against the national average, which is around $42.08 per ton.

Landfills are close to capacity. Perhaps not this year or next, but in the very near future our garbage may be shipped even further away. Now does that make any sense?

So please, hold onto your recycling until your new scheduled pick-up day. Give your bottles and cans an extra wash out to prepare them to sit for a week longer. That only takes a few seconds of your time. If you simply can’t wait, delivering your recyclables, yard waste and brush to the transfer station is free.

Encourage your Alderman to help solve this problem through good discussion and solid examples by looking outside of Kingston to see what might be useful to us.

– Rebecca Martin

Here are a couple of helpful links.

City of Kingston: New Recycling/Yard Waste Pick-Up Schedule

KingstonCitizens.org: Why Pay As You Throw?

KingstonCitizens.org: Plastics By Numbers

Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston! Mulching and Composting Brochure

Making Citywide Composting Profitable

In today’s Daily Freeman, Andi Turco-Levin announces her desire to get behind a citywide composting program for the city of Kingston.

There are many components to discuss on the subject such as residents doing more of it themselves (by mulching leaves and composting bigger pieces of yard waste) and mandatory leaf bagging (a source of controversial discussion).

But whether it’s left curbside, bagged, bundled – whatever – the fact remains that the city is scrambling to find a place for yard waste, as we no longer have a place for it as we have in the past. So what to do?

Take a look at the City of Palo Alto, CA’s model. Interesting indeed. (Taken from the KingstonCitizens.org facebook page. Thanks Brad Will)

What can you do in the meantime?

Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston! Leaf Mulching
Leave It On The Lawn, Kingston! Composting Yard Waste

Part Three: Q & A with Ward 9’s Hayes Clement

Ward 9 Alderman Hayes Clement

Dear Readers,

This is the third of three pieces to help residents get to know their incoming Alderman with insight on those helping to shape our neighborhoods and common council in 2010.

Get active!

- RM

Arthur Zackziewicz: What do you see as the top, long-term challenges facing the City of Kingston?

Hayes Clement:  An unsustainable tax burden – on both homeowners and businesses. We’ve got to fundamentally reorient the mindset of local governments – city, school and county — from their current holy grail, keeping your annual tax increase as small as possible, to one that actually plots a path toward reducing your taxes, as difficult as that is in New York State.

City Hall, for one, has made real progress on the budget front this past year, but still more discipline, creativity and tough decisions are going to be required to bring spending into line with the simple economic realities of where we stand today: a declining population, shrinking household income levels and very shaky employment and housing markets. Old news? Not if you were a stranger to Kingston and had been ordered to describe the city using only our annual budget as your guide. Some of our expenses, particularly in the realm of employee benefits and pensions (fully $11 million of a $35 million annual budget), are truly sobering. And that’s before you even get to the “real” money – the equivalent tabs for public schools and county government. At the end of the day, when potential newcomers consider the total tax burden attached to setting up home or shop in Kingston, the results of the exercise too often shout “no way” – especially for prospective business investors.

Our “homestead/non-homestead” tax policy, which taxes commercial properties at significantly higher rates than homes, is in dire need of rethinking. It is steadily eroding the city’s commercial tax base and private-sector job market – literally emptying entire blocks of storefronts — and practically begs business owners to consider greener pastures, an especially dangerous gambit when that greener pasture might be found just a few hundred feet down Albany Avenue in the Town of Ulster.

The immediate source of distress for many tax payers remains, of course, the citywide property revaluation conducted by the city and GAR Associates several years ago. While serious flaws and inequities are apparent in the results produced so far, I consider this a near-term, not long-term, problem and one that has to be fixed, also in the near-term, in favor of over-assessed property owners.

A disproportionate share of poverty and its related problems. For years, we’ve all heard or read the complaint that indigent families in need of public assistance are routinely “dumped” in Ulster County by other less charitable (and less law-abiding) communities, from as far away as Pennsylvania. Based on my own conversations with veteran social-service and law-enforcement professionals in the area, I think the accusation is a credible one — certainly credible enough to warrant a full investigation by County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach and local Department of Social Services officials. If an investigation yields substantive evidence of the illegal practice, the county should forward the matter to the state Attorney General or other officials for help in halting the practice and seeking financial redress. If an investigation yields nothing, a finding to that effect might at least help dispel a pervasive local suspicion.
One thing is indisputable, though, in terms of poverty’s migration: Once here, the great majority of Ulster County “safety net” recipients settle in Kingston, for obvious reasons (public transportation, proximity to service agencies, etc.) but with serious financial consequences for Kingston tax payers. Alone among 62 counties in New York State, Ulster County requires that the home city or township of a safety-net recipient bear half the cost of those benefits, with the state providing the other half. In every other county, the funding formula splits the cost 50-50 between the state and the county, regardless of the recipient’s city of residence. The consequences of this for Kingston start with a sizable and growing financial burden — $1.2 million in safety net spending this year, up from $400,000 seven years ago — that by every right should be spread county-wide but, instead, is borne solely by Kingston tax payers. Not only do we take in the county’s disadvantaged, we take on the entire local portion of the bill, solo, for meeting that challenge. For Kingston at this stage, the money, the jobs and the sheer tally of local lives all caught up in the safety net are of such a scale that “poverty” is not just a local problem anymore, it’s a local industry, too . . . . and a growing one. Many of its enterprises are well-respected and successful; its “executive ranks” include some of the best and brightest leaders in Kingston; and most of its clients are deserving and law-abiding neighbors, no doubt. But none of that obliges Kingston to politely ignore the obvious: “Poverty, the industry” also reaches deep into the city’s real-estate market, driving demand for subdivided houses, changing the character of entire neighborhoods, and often undermining public safety, quality of life and, ultimately, our ability to attract other new residents and businesses. In the wake of recent and disturbing street crimes, the plainly visible deterioration of more Kingston neighborhoods, and Ulster County’s continued refusal to do the right thing and cover its safety net obligations, it’s time for Kingston to take a compassionate but clear-headed new look at local poverty, and confront a delicate but urgent question: How big a burden can one struggling city be expected to bear on behalf of other communities, and at what cost to its own quality of life and its own future?

An aging infrastructure. It’s awful to contemplate, but today’s woes might pale in comparison to the fiscal challenges coming at us in the next decade, with millions of dollars in capital improvements required to make over crumbling streets and sidewalks and, more ominously, rebuild much of our century-old sewer system. Getting through it all, at the lowest possible cost, will require, for starters, that the mayor and Common Council maintain both our strong municipal bond rating and the credibility with lenders that comes from setting conservative annual spending plans and sticking to them.

Embarrassingly low standards – when it comes to so many aspects of our shared civic life: the quality of services we demand for our tax dollars, the caliber of behavior we’re willing to tolerate on public streets, the general appearance and cleanliness of entire blocks and neighborhoods, to name but a few. I’m always struck by an insight you often hear from plugged-in Kingstonians, the very people you would call the city’s boosters. It goes like this: “Sure that’s a problem here, but we’re in far better shape on that score than Newburgh.” (or Poughkeepsie, or Middletown – take your pick) It’s a response that’s accurate for just about any problem being discussed, no doubt, and let’s hope it remains so. But if “not-as-bad-as-over-THERE” is going to be our benchmark for survival, let alone success, we’re all in deep trouble.

Upstate New York has enormous challenges on many fronts, but Kingston has unique assets that set it far apart from other cities in the region. We lose sight of this all too quickly, especially in an economic climate that serves up setbacks and disappointments on a weekly basis. It’s a mistake. The best-laid plans for more prosperous times are usually laid well ahead of their arrival. We need to focus on getting our act together now, ahead of an economic upturn, by re-focusing on the basics: cleaning up the city, cracking down on crime and blight, and cutting back on a cost structure that’s outgrown our ability to pay for it. If we do this, and steadily raise our expectations to better match our gifts, we can lay the foundation for a safer, more affordable and more attractive Kingston that can very logically become the gotta-visit, the gotta-move-to community in the Hudson Valley, a Kingston that legitimately plays in the same league as a Savannah, Ga., or a Burlington, Vt., or an Asheville, N.C. – take your pick — when it comes to luring new investment, not a Kingston that measures itself by the yardstick of Newburgh.

AZ: Despite the challenges, Kingston is often described as a “vibrant city” that has much potential. Do you agree? What are some of the city’s most promising opportunities?

HC: Of the many opportunities open to Kingston, I think a few stand out as particularly plausible over the next 2-3 years:

• We can make better strategic use of UPAC as the potential economic anchor for Midtown, ensuring that its doors remain open and able to deliver 1,200 regular concert-goers to new and existing restaurants and bars throughout the calendar year. Redevelopment of the adjacent King’s Inn site as a large mixed-use live/work loft-style complex for artists, musicians and production technologists would bring a healthy new sense of life and activity to the area and help drive awareness of an already significant, but hidden, professional music scene in Kingston.

• We can leverage the experience and hard work of the KingstonDigitalCorridor.org initiative in other fields of potential economic growth, using local entrepreneurs to sell Kingston peer to peer within their industries. One example: a targeted, grass-roots effort aimed at luring select art-supply manufacturers and working artists from Brooklyn or other locales, drawing on the embedded experience and customer traffic of R&F Paints, Bailey Ceramics and the Shirt Factory.

• We can devise a “green” strategy that focuses on job creation. Ongoing efforts by City Hall and the Conservation Advisory Council continue to help reduce our collective impact on the environment. That’s great. But we should give equal priority to devising a front-and-center role for Kingston in the region’s Solar Energy Consortium, both as a pilot site for solar installations on public buildings and, better yet, as a target locale for consortium-backed startups, via tax breaks and other incentives. What better way to demonstrate the urban applications for solar power or the benefits of recycling on a mammoth scale than through the conversion of empty commercial buildings into manufacturing sites for solar technology?

• We can finally develop a new comprehensive plan for Kingston, one that untangles, updates and spells out zoning laws, zoning overlays, historic designations and reasonable design standards for Midtown and Uptown, much as we’ve recently done for Downtown. This is essential not only to protect the heritage, charm and integrity of our neighborhoods (the biggest and best currency we’ve got when it comes to economic development!) but also to attract new investment. The developers who reject Kingston as a place to invest don’t do so because we’re overly fussy about historic preservation; they by-pass Kingston because our planning process is perceived as non-transparent, unpredictable and ad hoc. Making it less so will only help preserve our heritage and grow our tax base.

• We can radically improve the first impression we make with visitors — by easily extending the popular U.S. 209 rail trail from Hurley all the way into Uptown, and further remaking the Washington Avenue corridor with open green space and proper landscaping in place of abandoned gas stations. (Our own civic pride could use the visual boost, too.)

AZ: Some residents have expressed a need for Kingston to file for bankruptcy as a way to get some fiscal breathing room and allow contracts to be renegotiated. Do you support such a move? Why or why not?

HC:   Bankruptcy is probably not an option for Kingston, practically speaking, since taking that route would require approval by the state legislature and only after our “taxing capacity” was exhausted. By the predictable logic of Albany, Kingston’s municipal tax levy is still well below what we could legally force property owners to cough up in order to remain solvent, so until taxes are raised to Mt. Everest levels and we’re scrounging for the last nickels and dimes beneath homeowners’ sofa cushions, don’t count on Albany to entertain the notion of a Kingston bankruptcy.

And I’m fine with that. I didn’t seek a seat on the Common Council in order to help preside at a municipal bankruptcy. And I think every member of the Council would consider that particular outcome a singular mark of failure on his or her resume.

That said, the financial situation we face is extraordinarily serious. Correcting it will depend, in large part, on how we approach the renegotiation of union contracts for police, fire and DPW and City Hall professionals set to expire at the end of 2011. The mayor has indicated he plans to include members of the Common Council in various stages of discussion and negotiation with the three unions, and I think that’s the right approach, particularly since contract wage and benefits agreements for city employees and retirees represent fully 75% of the city’s $35 million annual budget. Whatever terms finally emerge from the negotiation process, it won’t qualify as a success overall, in my book, unless several key “wins” are achieved for tax payers:

• New flexibility on the part of both union members and management in the way departments are manned and job responsibilities are defined, with a particular emphasis on putting more police officers on the street at critical times each day, and cross-training more firefighters to act as building-code enforcement teams during otherwise idle periods.

• Realistic contributions by employees toward their health-care plans

• Salary and pension schedules, going forward, that recognize and respect hard – often hazardous – work performed by professionals, but also bear some semblance to the realities of the typical Kingston tax payer who’s struggling to foot the bill.

AZ: Residents have expressed publicly and privately that your election into office reflects a need for new thinking and new perspectives in city government. Do you agree with this? If yes, how do you implement some of that fresh perspective?

HC:  * I certainly like to think my election signals openness to new approaches on the part of voters. I’m sure my two other fellow freshmen on the Council agree. Delivering on that promise will depend, in large part, on our powers of resistance – namely the ability to resist giving in to conventional wisdom and the accepted pattern of how things are, once we’ve been on the Council a few more months. Complacency, or even abundant patience, are not what you want in a Council member these days.

AZ:  Could you list three of the best reasons to live and work in Kingston?

HC:   Small businesses that give great service, break the generic cookie-cutter mold and prove, despite all the challenges, that Kingston can attract and sustain entrepreneurs. My list of favorites includes Eng’s, Seven21 Media, Oxclove, Signature Fitness, Fleisher’s, Tonner Doll, Madden’s Wine & Spirits, Savonna’s, Monkey Joe’s, Stone Soup, Smith Printing and BestPlaces2Move.com.

* Our proximity to the Hudson River, the Catskills and New York City – for my money, perhaps the three most extraordinary features of the North American landscape.

* The quality and variety of our amazing – and reasonably priced — housing stock. Where else but in Kingston could you visit one street, Fair, and in the space of a 10-minute walk observe at least one example of every single significant period in American architecture, starting in the late 1600s with a stone meeting house and proceeding through all the great design eras — Gothic, Greek Revival, Victorian, Italianate, Colonial Revival, Tudor, and other more obscure styles – all the way to a 1960s ranch house?

Central Hudson To Increase Their Rates. Your Opportunity To Voice Your Opinion

In the legal notices of today’s Daily Freeman, there was a “Notice Of Public Statement Hearing on Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation’s Proposal To Increase Electric And Gas Rates”.

A public hearing is scheduled in Kingston on Tuesday, January 26th 2010. 6:00pm, Kingston City Hall Council Chambers.

To read the notice and for further instructions on how you can comment, CLICK HERE

Looking Back On Kingston In 2009

Shortly, we will have traveled through the first decade of the 21st century. Huh? How’d that happen? If you are like me, then you are a bit bewildered that the year 2000 is now ten years ago. Granted, it’s been a jammed packed decade. But still, time flies as they say. Does it ever.

Looking back on Kingston in 2009, I’d like to mark the top 10 memorable land marks from all of us here at the KingstonCitizens.org’s blog.

1. The Kingston Digital Corridor – Here’s a concept that is as timely as it is brilliant. Local resident and tech geek #1 Mark Green created a way for Kingston to capitalize on it’s digital community and it’s proximity to New York City. Working with KJ McIntyre of Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty, they communicated to our local real estate community, banks and government how an independent contractor ticks, making it easier and attractive to those who work in the ‘tech’ world inside and out of the local area.  Mark’s solid team included Arthur Zaczkiewicz, Paul Rakov, Sharron Bower, Mark Marshall and Nancy Tierney who helped to bring it. Kudos. Perhaps one of the biggest advancements to Kingston this year.

2. The Main Street Manager Program It was with great pleasure (and to some degree of surprise) that the city of Kingston hired local artist Nancy Donskoy as Main Street Manager in Kingston this year. Her part time position is helping to bring together all three business districts and to create a BID which is so badly needed. I know first hand that Nancy works 60+ hours per week in helping to keep our small business community together while marketing the city of Kingston to the outside world.  There are many people who were involved in making this position so. Patrice Courtney Strong, Larry Zalinsky and Alderman Tom Hoffay to only name a few. I hope that 2010 brings more citizen support for this important role. I’m equally hopeful that perhaps some uniform signage in all the right spots will finally be put in place. Boy, do we need it.

3. Community Gardens Let’s face it. It’s been the year of gardens in the city of Kingston. In a years time now almost all of our schools have one. So does Kingston’s City Hall, who showcased a small ‘victory garden’ in their side yard for all to see.

4.  Julie and Steve Noble I don’t mean to harp on the subject as I have many times before, but I’ve got to publicly hand it to these two. Our Kingston raised environmental eductators could have settled down anywhere in the US with their expertise. But they came back home here to make the community a more forward and healthy one.  This dynamic duo continue to provide outdoor programs for Kingston’s elderly and our youth population and are experts on many subjects ranging from garbage to our sewer system to storm clouds. They are making a tremendous contribution to our community in more ways than I think most even realize. This year, they introduced the sadly misunderstood ‘Pay As You Throw‘ program. It’s a proven concept that could save the city residents a bundle in tax dollars over time while making our waste stream better managed. I’m certain it will come up again in the next few months which is a good thing. Do a little homework on the topic before pouncing on negative sound bites so to come to a reasonable conclusion.

5. The Kingston Land Trust Finally!  A trust for properties in the city of Kingston. You’d think that being an official ‘tree city’ Kingston would have had a trust a long time ago. The brainchild of Arthur Zaczkiewicz, this is an organization ready to collaborate with future developers and residents who wish to ‘trust’ their open space to their home town of Kingston (a tip of the hat must be given to Kevin McEvoy and Barbara Epstein. The two are behind the scenes in every good way imaginable, and The Land Trust probably wouldn’t have continued to exist as it does without their expertise and support).

6. The Queens Galley Hooray for Diane Reeder! In the worst economic downturn since the great depression, she continues to provide three meals a day to our families in need – no questions asked. But that’s only the beginning of what Diane does. This year, she started the ‘Operation Frontline‘ program in Kingston and acquired land on South Pine Street with Farmer Frank Navarro to start a one acre community garden that will provide local fresh produce to her kitchen. One acre makes a whole lot of food. To me, Diane is the Queen of Kingston.

7.  New Blood on Kingston’s Common Council I’m particularly pleased to have some new people to politics elected to the common council in 2010. I think it’s safe to say, it’s a little unprecedented. For our slow changing City of Kingston, that’s a good thing. Ward 1 Alderman Andi Turco-Levin, Ward 5 Alderman Jen Fuentes and Ward 9 Hayes Clement will no doubt be a breath of fresh air in helping our alumni work through all that ails us at this time in the city of Kingston. I think we quickly forget how much effort goes into running for office – and that our council members are ‘common’ men and women wishing to serve their community. Let’s complain less and help them out this season by taking part in more of their monthly meetings at City Hall. It’s the people’s city afterall – but not so much if you don’t come forward.

8. KPATV Back On Air It’s grand to have our programs up and running again on Kingston’s Public Access TV. Whether you are a fan or not of PA, I think we can all agree that it’s important that it exists. Many citizens worked tirelessly to make it so in the last 12 monhts. A big thanks to them and to 721 Media who has provided a new space to broadcast. 721 is most certainly one of our city’s gems.

9. Kingston Natural Foods What once was a simple and small effort to help provide locals with affordable organic foods has now turned into a tsunami. Local resident Jennifer McKinley-Rakov started an organic buying club that is now one of the top ten buyers in the nation and landed her a storefront in the rondout section of Kingston (33 Broadway). 2010 looks bright for us all in finally having an organic foods market in the city of Kingston thanks to her. Look for her winter Wednesday ‘Farmer’s Market’ where she has organized local farms who are still growing or making their hearty, healthy local foods for our citizens here and in the Hudson Valley. Bravo!

10. Kingston Local Business Fleisher’s Grass Fed and Organic Meats In The National Press Have you all been following Fleisher’s Grass Fed Meat’s recent press? Joshua and Jessica Applestone have given Kingston an enormous amount of national attention and stature as our local butcher in the Hudson Valley. The New York Times, Saveur and, GQ Magazine just to name a few. Josh was recently a guest on the hit Food Network series ‘IRON CHEF’. Thank you for landing – and staying in the city of Kingston you two! Mucho Brava.

and there is more. Way more. With all the unruly and sometimes downright negative news here and beyond, take a moment to change your perspective and love the city you live in. There are so many people working hard to make Kingston great. It’s all perspective – and I hope that this post has softened yours.

We want to learn of your favorite city achievement this year. What have we missed? Please, do tell.

Happy Holidays to all of our readers.

– Rebecca Martin

Help To Secure The Future Of The Rosendale Theatre

After 60 years, the family owned and operated “The Rosendale Theatre” is looking to sell the space. Last night, I received this information from the remarkable Amy Poux who is working with her collective to help raise the necessary funds to secure the space and keep it in operation as we all know and love it. An informative meeting will take place on Thursday, December 10th at 7:00pm at the Rosendale Recreation Center. The Rosendale Theatre Collective will explain what they are doing and talk about their plans for the future. All questions, ideas and expertise welcome.

She writes:

“The Rosendale Theatre is one of the few family-owned, single screen movie theatres still operating in the United States. In Particular, this theatre has a rich history of supporting independent filmmakers, artists and civil and human rights organizations worldwide. In addition to providing high quality art films, the theatre has been a community space used by organizations to fundraise, meet, inform, inspire and educate.

The sole responsibility for this gift to the community has rested on the Cacchio family for 60 years. They have now decided to sell the theatre.

A recently formed community group, currently called the Rosendale Theatre Collective, is negotiating with the Cacchio family to purchase the theatre. The Cacchio’s asked to receive a binder in the amount of $20,000 by December 1st. They have now generously extended us another two weeks. So far, we’ve raised $10,000. Please consider making a donation and help us reach this goal! No amount is too small – or too large. Currently, the Rosendale Theatre Collective is fundraising under the fiscal umbrella of The Children’s Media Project and donate through their site, indicating Rosendale Theatre Collective in your donation instructions. Or, make out a check to Children’s Media Project. Please be sure to write “Rosendale Theatre Collective” in the memo space on your check.

Checks to:   Rosendale Theatre Collective    PO Box 250   Rosendale, NY.  12472

Thank you for joining us in this exciting and important project!  Please share this with anyone who loves the Rosendale Theatre!”

Current Board Members of the Rosendale Theatre Collective: F-Stop Fitzgerald, Ron Parenti, Nicole Quinn, Gale McGovern, Betty Greenwald, Fre Atlast, Ellen Sribnick, Beverly Keith, Amy Trompetter, Jan Melchior, Yuvai Scorer, Lisa Sterer, Abba Johnes, Dan Guenther, Dana Rudkoff, Livia Vanaver, Linda Park, Jane Hollinger, Marty Moltoris, Anissa Kapsales, Bill Brooks, Sophia Raab Downs, Laura Shaine, Bob Godwin, Nicole Fenichel-Hewitt, Ali Gruber, Louis Torchio, Annette and Max Finestone, Carol Garfunkel, Jane Hollinger, Eve Waltermaurer, Jennifer Metzger, Ann Citron.

Environmental Focus on Kingston: Plastics by the Numbers

Starting Novemember 8th the sale of all water bottles under a gallon will have a 5¢ deposit added to them.  This is the result of being included in the state’s newly expanded Bigger Better Bottle Bill.  It marks the first change to the state’s bottle deposit law since it was created in 1982.

An estimated 3.2 billion water bottles are sold annually across the Empire State.  Including water bottles under the deposit law is expected to result in increased recycling and decreased litter, which sounds good for the environment.  There’s even some good news for the state; 80% of unclaimed deposits will now go to Albany in the form of much-needed revenue, which is projected to be as much as $115 million.

Despite my long love affair with drinking the icy cold, refreshing liquid, thankfully I’ve avoided developing a water bottle habit.  I can probably count the number of times I buy them annually on one hand.  And when I do it’s usually under extreme duress, like immediate threat of dehydration or imminent death.

While including water bottles under the deposit law is a great idea that is long overdue for the state and the environment, it really got me thinking about the many different types plastics there are and how to recycle them.

Plastic is one of the most widely used materials in the US.  It’s in everything from toys, clothes, food containers, to medical equipment and devices.  It makes up 11.7% of the nation’s waste stream and is among the least recycled items.

Plastics are made from fossil fuels and their manufacture can involve the emission of toxic substances into the atmosphere and water.  When they are incinerated, toxins such as lead and chlorine are released.  When put into landfills, they can take 100-400 years to decompose.

There are over a hundred kinds of plastics that have been created, but the most common containers fall into one of seven categories.  The Society of the Plastics Industry developed this numeric system to identify the type of plastic resins used in specific products.  This helps recycling centers to sort them so they can find life in new products.

Here’s the low down on each of the seven types of common plastics used today:

plastic_tips_en-1

#1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE)*: This is the most common type of plastic and is considered to be one of the least toxic.  However, most environmentalists agree that it is fit for single use only.  PET plastics are typical of soda, juice, water, and even cough syrup bottles.  (Accepted for recycling at UCRRA)

#2 High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)*: Is considered one of the safer plastics, despite it being manufactured with chemicals such as hexane and benzene.  #2 plastics are most often used in shampoo and detergent bottles, milk jugs, cosmetic containers, toys and sturdy shopping bags.  (Accepted for recycling at UCRRA)

#3 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): Is considered a plastic to avoid and many environmentalists think it to be the most toxic, despite the plastic industry’s defense its safety.  Both its manufacture and disposal releases dioxin into the air and water.  It is used in shower curtains, meat & cheese wrappers, 3-ring binders, some bottles, plumbing pipes and many toys.  (NOT accepted for recycling at UCRRA)

#4 Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)*: This type of plastic is used for shopping bags, six-pack rings, CD and DVD cases and some bottles.  (Acccepted for recycling at UCRRA)

#5 Polypropylene (PP)*: #5 is generally regarded as a relatively benign plastic.  It is used in prescription bottles, yogurt, food storage containers, diapers, candy containers and lab equipment.  (Accepted for recycling at UCRRA)

#6 Polystyrene (PS): This plastic has undergone some chemical changes since it was phased out of McDonald’s sandwich wrappers some 20 years ago.  Ozone depleting CFC’s are no longer used in its manufacture, but environmentalists still dislike it because of the presence of toxic styrene and it is known to pollute nearby air & water.  #6 plastics are found in disposable cups, take-out food containers and packing peanuts.  (NOT accepted for recycling at UCRRA)

#7 Other: These types of plastics are “wild cards.”   They do not fall within the guidelines for the other common categories.  They include toothbrushes, protective head-gear, reusable water bottles, sunglasses and cell phones. (Accepted for recycling at UCRRA)

Remember when recycling plastic containers to remove and discard all caps and be sure to rinse all containers.  Lids are generally accepted.

*A quick word on bisphenol A (BPA), which has been a frequent media topic lately.  Scientists are studying the link between heating a plastic container lined with BPA and the potential leaching of the chemical into foods and beverages.  Some believe that BPA leaching causes neural and behavioral issues, particularly in young children.  The current expert thinking is that #1, 2, 4 & 5 plastics do not use BPA in the manufacturing of their related plastic products.

Finally, if that isn’t enough to help you understand plastics, the importances of choosing the right kinds as consumers and why/how to recycle them – then check out this article from How Stuff Works.

(Courtesy of: Silverman, Jacob.  “Why is the world’s biggest landfill in the Pacific Ocean?.”  19 September 2007. HowStuffWorks.com,  29 October 2009.)

- Wilbur Girl

Busy Bees In A BEAHIVE: Coworking Space Coming To Kingston

I received this from Jason Stern, President and Publisher of Luminary Publishing/Chronogram. Very exciting stuff. Please take their survey – and help them to make this a successful project.

INTRO

We’re setting up a coworking space in Kingston. What’s that, you say? Coworking is a growing trend in work collaboration.

Inspired by this worldwide movement, BEAHIVE (www.beahivebeacon.com ) is a new kind of shared workspace for independent professionals. At the most fundamental level, we provide a shared, creative work environment for solopreneurs, the creative class, microbusinesses and consultants.

We also plan programs and events to inspire, educate and bond members and the community: personal and professional development workshops, seminars, social and cultural events.

Perhaps more importantly, we’re kicking around ideas to collaborate on projects to help in creating a lively, living, local community.

The original location opened in May right in the heart of Beacon’s Main Street in an artisan-renovated 1907 Bell Telephone building. Now BEAHIVE is partnering with Chronogram (Luminary Publishing) to populate another hive in Kingston.

We’re hoping we can help inject some energy into Kingston by corralling talented folks out of their homes and into one place to create a buzzing community space. We should be open on Wall St. in November.

We’re looking for coworkers to join us.

Please share your thoughts with us as we prepare to roll this thing out by taking our survey. Link below. It should take no more than 5 minutes.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE SURVEY

Cheers, Scott Tillitt / Antidote Collective/BEAHIVE
Jason Stern / Chronogram/Luminary Publishing

SCOTT TILLITT PR
yogi & writer [ scott@beahivebeacon.com / 917.449.6356 ]

BEAHIVE
collaborative community workspace / join the hive. engage.
sign up for BEAHIVE Bzzz: http://eepurl.com/caxT
[ www.beahivebeacon.com / www.twitter.com/BEAHIVE ]

ANTIDOTE COLLECTIVE
socially conscious communications / apply liberally.
[ www.antidotecollective.org ]

– — – t h i n k / f e e l – — –
…an idea or product that deserves the label ‘creative’ arises from the synergy of many sources and not only from the mind of a single person.” (Mihaly Csikszentmihaly)

Environmental Focus on Kingston: Leaf ‘em Alone

It’s that time of year again.

This year’s fall season will soon blanket the area in vibrant color.  As the joys of fall harvest fade, we’ll be left with the aftermath of fallen leaves.  The city will begin collecting leaves as of October 15th.  This also happens to be when they stop collecting regular yard waste, so be sure to have your gardens cutback by then.

Leaves may be placed in paper bags or left at the curb for collection.  Bags may be purchased at the City Clerk’s Office in City Hall for $.37 each or $1.85 for five.  DPW workers will begin in Ward 1 and systematically move throughout the city.  Collection will continue until the first snowfall.  After the 15th, you can call the DPW office at 331-0682 to get a better idea of when they will be in your neighborhood.

Municipal leave collection creates serious disposal problems.  Yard waste accounts for nearly 20% of landfill space.  Hauling bags of leaves to landfills costs taxpayers money.  We have to pay the workforce for their time and the fuel for the vehicles used in collection.  Large landfill piles of leaves produce methane gas as they decompose and breakdown.  Some communities have banned yard waste collection for these reasons.

This year why not try something new?  By composting your leaves you’ll have great fibrous, moisture retaining, organic matter to spread on your garden and lawn by next spring.  Plus it’s less work intensive than all the traditional raking, bagging and hauling.

A large variety of store bought composting bins can be purchased just about anywhere in the free trade zone.  But if you’re more of a spend thrift like me, you can make your own at minimal cost.  All you need is some chicken wire and 4 stakes to get started.  Your composting cage can be sized to fit the needs of your yard.

When adding leaves to your compost pile it’s best to keep each layer about 6-8 inches deep before adding a thin layer of soil.  Anything deeper and oxygen may have a difficult time cycling throughout the compost material.  Keep your pile moist and remember to turn the mixture regularly with pitchfork or other such tool.  You can even add in some grass clippings, coffee grounds and egg shells to it.

It’s that easy Kingston.

Another more passive form of composting is to just leave it on the lawn.  For this approach it’s probably better to just stick grass clippings though.  Leaving leaves on your lawn may make you popular with Mother Nature, but it will probably just really irritate your neighbors.  Not to mention that blowing leaves can easily clog storm drains.

Throwing away your leaves is a waste of a great nature resource.  By keeping leaves in our backyards we are all doing our yards, pocketbooks, community and planet a big favor.

Want to learn more about the ease and benefits of composting?  Check out what the DEC has to say about it.

Take this topic back to your Yahoo Ward Group and find out how your neighbors deal with their fallen leaves.

How do you take care of your fall leaves?  Take our survey and let us know!  

– Wilbur Girl

Introducing: Environmental Focus On Kingston

A month ago, I put out the word looking for citizens to contribute to the KingstonCitizens.org blog’s. Thanks to those for being in touch.

I am happy to introduce a new series to KC.org called “Environmental Focus On Kingston” written by citizen ‘journalist’ Wilbur Girl. Below is her profile.

Please feel free to comment on these and all of our pieces, or to take the topic to your Yahoo! Group for further resident dialog.

Thanks, and more to come.

Rebecca Martin

Wilbur Girl is a third generation daughter of Kingston. Her roots can be found grown deep into a hill above the southwestern shores of the Rondout Creek in a home that has been in the family since 1943.

In “Environmental Focus on Kingston”, topics will focus on the simple environmental changes and actions everyday citizens can do like rainwater harvesting, composting, tips for greener living and recycling techniques. Learn more about what your neighbors and local businesses are doing to minimize their impact while maximizing their renewable resources. We’ll also look at trends and what other communities are doing to go green and improve their sustainability.