Feeding the Community

Our friends Kevin and Barbara are just back from a trip to New Orleans, and shared this site with us that was of note.

The Hollygrove Growers Market & Farm is a ” storefront retail center in Hollygrove offering locally-grown, affordable fresh produce as well as ‘green jobs’ certification programs in urban agriculture” — a program born out of the need to redevelop New Orleans, post-Katrina.

What’s interesting is that this is the sort of project that can work in an urban setting such as Kingston. The bottom line is about getting healthy food to people.

For our part, Rebecca Martin’s work with Victory Gardens and Jennifer McKinley’s work at the Kingston Food & Gardens buying club have the same aim. It’s nice to see that Kingston is trend right on important issues.

— Arthur Zaczkiewicz

The Mayor’s State of the City

We’ll try this again…

Here’s Jim Sottile’s state of the city address:
State of the City
of Kingston 2009

Before I review the state of the city of Kingston this year, I first want to reflect on the gratitude I feel for the people of this community. No matter what challenges we have faced or what the future brings, we have always drawn strength from each other. In this small, tight-knit community, that means everything. Our rich history is woven together by its people. From Sojourner Truth to George Clinton to the modern day heroes of Kingston, who care for the children, drive the busses and pick up the garbage, we can be grateful.

Read more…

Tugs Dance on the Rondout

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Ward 9 resident Kate Lawson snapped some great photos of the tugs and barges on the Rondout this weekend. The boats did a little dance to break up the ice.

“Feeney’s were parallel parking a new barge that came in earlier this week,” Kate said. “Have you ever tried parallel parking a barge? It took a good 20 men, 2 tugs, a crane and over 5 hrs of jockeying to do!”

Kate said two tugs “did doughnuts in the creek to chop up the ice. Then came the tedious process of line throwing, lining up and a little more ice chopping.”

Fun stuff.

— Arthur Zaczkiewicz

A Cooper on Brewster

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Early Saturday morning I noticed a large hawk that swooped down from my neighbor’s house on Brewster Street and grabbed a small bird that was preoccupied at a bird feeder.

In a burst of small feathers, the attack was quickly over and the larger hawk then perched itself on a tree branch to enjoy the meal. I snapped a few photos, including the one above, and looked up the bird. Based on the lateral, thick bands on its tail, I take this bird of prey to be a Cooper’s Hawk.

If you can help me confirm this, that would be appreciated. And if you have any similar bird or wildlife stories, I’d love to hear it.  That’s one of the things that makes Kingston a great place to live: we’re in a city, but also blessed with some wonderful wildlife.

— Arthur Zaczkiewicz

Fresh Veggies in the Rondout?

Yep. Kingston Foods & Gardens is now offering fresh, organic fruit, veggies and dairy at its storefront at 33 Broadway. Organic apples are less than $2 a pound and avocados are $1.09.

The store also sells 7th Generation paper products, eggs, raisins, grains and more. Today, the store is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the Art Walk.

Real Estate Agency Offers Assessment Service

As homeowners struggle with mortgage payments and rising taxes, Vetere Real Estate said it will help residents look at the market value of their property and will walk taxpayers through the necessary steps to help reduce current real estate assessments.

“We cover all angles as to re-grouping, lot line erasures, correct square footage, averaging square foot values, acquiring up-to-date comps and taking you through the proper steps to getting fair assessment values,” the agency said in a statement. “Let us provide you with information dealing with Town and City Assessors. Fees vary through representations that are required. We want you to save on your next tax bill.”

Vetere said it covers all of Ulster County and that the deadline in Kingston is March 1 for the 2010 tax year. For more information call 845 338-0571 or e-mail: kvetere@vetererealestate.com. Ask for Karen Vetere or Regina Melnick.

If there are other businesses out there who can help residents have a more fair assessment, please let us at the KingstonCitizens.org blog know.

NYSERDA Launches New Energy Saving Program

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) said today that it was rolling out a new campaign, “Power Management,” to help consumers save energy as well as money.

The program encourages consumers to use power management technology such as programmable thermostats, “advanced” power strips and other devices to better manage home electronics and appliances that can use energy even when off.

“Using power management products is one of the easiest steps to saving energy at home,” said New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) President and CEO Francis J. Murray Jr. in a statement this morning. “These devices, coupled with simple energy-saving actions, will help New Yorkers further reduce their power consumption while increasing their energy savings.”

For more details, see NYSERDA’s website here.

— Arthur Zaczkiewicz

Mayor Supports Tech Friendly Branding Effort

As the Daily Freeman reports today, the mayor is calling on residents to volunteer. James Sottile also cited accomplishments in the city under his watch, and suggested “promoting the city as a place for Web-based entrepreneurs” the Freeman wrote adding that he sees Kingston as an “upstate digital tech-friendly city.”

He must have got Mark Greene’s proposal. As reported here by Kingston Citizens on Jan. 22, Greene suggested in a report to Sottile and majority leader Bill Reynolds that the city market itself as a “Digital Tech-Friendly City.”

To read Greene’s full report, click here.

— Arthur Zaczkiewicz

Uptown Snow Removal

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City workers got to work on Wall Street early today, removing snow and ice that was piled high from two snowstorms.

Earlier this week several business owners complained out loud that the snow was eating up much of the parking, and making it difficult to park on Wall and North Front streets.

Pictured above is snow that was bulldozed in front of the courthouse before it was loaded onto dump trucks.

— Arthur Zaczkiewicz

Kingston Food & Gardens Open House

Kingston Food & Gardens, an organic and natural foods buying club said today this it will open its doors this Saturday, Feb. 7, night during the First Saturday Art Walk. The storefront, located at 33 Broadway on the Rondout, will be open between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“Come learn about the benefits of the buying club and why organic products are better and healthy for you and your family,” the buying club said in a statement. “Yearly membership is $36, which allows members to experience up to 30 percent off the price of goods found at retail venues.”

“It’s so important that people eat clean, organic food,” said Kingston Food & Gardens President Jennifer McKinley. “Whole grains such as brown rice, millet and quinoa are essential for healthy bodies. We also offer members hundreds of other products such as raw cheeses, yogurt, agave, lentils, nuts, seeds and dried fruit. At the moment, our products are sourced from one of the largest national distributors of organic products. We are also working with a local distributor who specializes in fresh, biodynamic and organic local produce and dairy. And we are in the process of working with local growers, farmers and other producers to bring in their products as well.”

For more information, email us at: kingstonfoodandgardens@gmail.com

Working Together

Here’s in interesting story in The New York Times about a landlord in New York City offering to help out a retail tenant who owes close to $14,000 in back taxes. Why is the landlord helping? Because the retail leasee is a good tenant that draws traffic.

The lesson here is that the recession is causing businesses and property owners to reconsider prior “power dynamics” — which often favored building owners. Flexible arrangements are now a necessity as tough economic times create a more symbiotic relationship between between tenant and landlord.

— Arthur Zaczkiewicz

Tubby Row Renovation

A notice is circulating around Spring Street informing folks of a renovation that is in the works at the famed Tubby Row building on the street.

The notice urges residents to attend a special zoning and planning board hearing on February 9 at 6 p.m. at City Hall. The project calls for creating 18 housing units in the structure. The unidentified creator of the notice questions where residents of the renovated project will park.

I’m not sure how many units are in the current structure, but would be interested in learning more about this. Alderman Mike Madsen wrote about the project on his blog. You can read it here. Madsen said he alderman Bob Senor have concerns about the project and its impact.

There concerns echo prior worries over a proposed communal living facility proposed by Common Fire last year. That project never took flight, and like Tubby Row, parking was a concern.

— Arthur Zaczkiewicz