Water Water Everywhere (But Not The Kind To Drink). Does Kingston Have A Plan?

I’m traveling abroad currently and have happened into the recent floods that Ireland is experiencing now. Due to unprecedented bouts of rain in short periods of time, a good deal of their infrastructure (such as roadways) and residential properties built in the last 20 years are now underwater. Most were built on flood plains. Not a particularly wise move on the Planner’s part, but not particularly unique either.

Although some are slow to blame global warming for the weather’s strange behavior, what is happening in Ireland is right on track with past predictions of warming consequences there.

Flying out of Galway this morning and seeing so much of it consumed by flood water, I wondered whether or not planner’s in Kingston have given the topic the attention it really deserves.

It isn’t unreasonable to make this a top priority, and it would be wise to hold ongoing public meetings and host special guest speakers to help flesh it out. Kingston is already in the midst of some pretty serious flooding and sewage overflow issues.

While we’re at it, how about developing an overall master plan? I don’t think the cost concerns is a good enough reason not to pursue it. Kingston can’t afford not to do it in some shape or form.


KingstonCitzens.org’s “ENVIRONMENTAL FOCUS ON KINGSTON” took a closer look at storm water collection as part of a solution. Read more  HERE

On Ireland’s current flood:    FLOOD WATERS.

– Rebecca Martin

Monthly Winter Farmer’s Market hosted by Kingston Natural Foods Buying Club

A Winter Farmer’s Market in the city of Kingston? Yes indeed.

Jennifer McKinley, founder of Kingston Natural Foods Buying Club, has started a winter Farmer’s Market at 33 Broadway in Kingston.  The ‘Winter Wednesday’s’ market will occur once a month on the following Wednesdays. Market hours are from 2:30pm – 6:30pm.

November 18th, 2009
December 16th, 2009
January 13th, 2010
Feburary 10th, 2010
March 10th, 2010

The Winter market coincides with the United Natural and Winter Sun Farms deliveries for members.

At this time, the local farm vendors present will include: Fitzgerald Farms, Four Winds Farm, Gardiner Eucalyptus, Liberty View Farms, Oliverea Schoolhouse Maple, Wild Hive Bakery, Winter Sun Farms – and more…

Find out how you can become a member of one of the top buying clubs in the nation (right here in Kingston!).  Save a bundle on natural and organic foods or learn more on Kingston’s Winter Farmers Market.  Visit the KINGSTON NATURAL FOODS BUYING CLUB website.   You can also call Jennifer McKinley at (914) 474-2676

Enjoy, and support our local farms and business.

– Rebecca Martin

Hey, Anonymous – Stand Behind Your Words

What’s up with the anonymous posts on blogs?

I frequent blogs with anonymous posters, and question their validity. The author of the blog could easily be one of those ‘anonymous’ voices. That’s not transparent. What’s more, is that it allows a person to say things that they certainly wouldn’t if their name were attached. How is that useful in moving any debate forward?

Request that your favorite blog who accepts anonymous posts move toward a member driven format.

– Rebecca Martin

Important Kingston Waterfront Advisory Committee Meeting Next Week

This just in from the office of Steve Finkle:

Waterfront Advisory Committee


other interested parties

Wednesday, November 18, 2009
5:00 – 6:30
Common Council Chambers, City Hall
420 Broadway, Kingston, New York

There will be a meeting to update the Waterfront Advisory Committee and all other interested parties  on the progress and projects currently planned or underway.  They include:

1. The Waterfront Promenade and Bulkhead Project.

2. The Trolley Museum and Sewer Plant Facade Projects.

3. The upcoming work with the Army Corps of Engineers

4. Kingston Point Stabilization and Dayline Dock Design.

5. Ferry Feasibility Study

6. East Strand Flooding and other Engineering issues.

7. Update on Senator Schumer’s rail refurbishment funding.

This will be an opportunity for members, residents and others to ask questions, make suggestions and get up to speed on the waterfront revitalization.

The meeting will begin at 5:00 pm and end at 6:30 pm.  If you have any questions or need additional information, please call (845) 334-3960.  We are looking forward to seeing you there- your input is important to us!

HISTORY AT THE STREET LEVEL by Lowell Thing: The Woman In White

One evening in May 1912, at a rather late hour, Jacob Greenwald and “his two young lady cousins” were walking down West Chestnut Street in Kingston.  Near the elaborate and perhaps at this hour vaguely ominous Van Deusen residence (the house that sits way up and back from the street and with the tower that then and still today commands a view of the Hudson), someone appeared behind Jacob and his cousins and seemed to be following them.  This someone was dressed all in white and when they crossed the street, so did the mysterious blob of white.  At any rate, Jacob’s frightened cousins began to walk ahead of him.  Jacob himself apparently kept calm enough to observe in the gaslight that the figure “was a woman about five feet eight inches in height, was scantily clad, and wore a white sheet thrown over her head.” No one believed this had anything to do with Halloween because it was not even summer yet.  Jacob’s cousins finally began to run wildly ahead toward Montrepose Avenue but soon after, when Jacob looked back, the phantom figure had disappeared.

Meanwhile, on nearby West Chester Street (not to be confused with West Chestnut as I often have to tell people delivering a pizza), another young man, presumably at a different time of the evening, saw this woman in white, who sprang up out of some bushes.  He got a good look at her, saw that she was woman wearing a sheet, and then decided to run away after she began to pursue him.  (I’m paraphrasing the story from the Kingston Daily Freeman.)

On a later night, another two people, two “drummers,” salesmen from out of town staying at a hotel, encountered the woman in white on West Chester Street.  As they were lighting their cigarettes, someone dressed all in white appeared around the corner of a house.  Apparently, the appearance was intimidating because the men immediately ran back to their hotel where they reported something that was nine feet tall with “a most terrifying aspect”!

By the time this story was reported in the Freeman, headed “Woman in White Sought by Police,” several gangs of youths had formed to look for this person or whatever it was.  Meanwhile, at least one young man who thought to have some fun donned a white sheet in imitation of the woman in white and reportedly received “a severe pummeling” from one of the youthful gangs.  All of this right here in my own neighborhood and only slightly more than one hundred years ago.

I happen to know this story because last week Margie Menard, Kingston Library Director, sent a note to the Friends of Historic Kingston to tell them that, beginning immediately, one no longer has to visit the Library to access the local newspaper archives, or at least the Kingston Daily Freeman archives from 1878 through 1969.  I quickly went to the Web site and entered “West Chestnut Street.”  Not only did I read about the mysterious Woman in White, but I learned that my neighbor up the street, Harry Coykendall, son of Ulster County’s greatest businessman ever, Samuel Coykendall, had shot himself hunting but was now at home resting comfortably.  As of October 15, 1905, that is.

In society notes of June 25, 1910, I learned that an earlier neighbor across the street, Edwin Shultz, the brick manufacturer, was entertaining Mr. and Mrs. T. Akahoshi of Tokyo, a couple he had met on the Lusitania.  More tragically, down the street right next to the Ulster Academy, recently made into some condo apartments with blackboards, a man named Clemmons disappeared, leaving a suicide note (February 17, 1904).

And finally some evidence about when the first house on West Chestnut Street met its end, a fact of interest for anyone interested in the Chestnut Street Historic District since this would have been its most historic building.  On May 11, also in 1904, appeared a notice that Samuel Coykendall had put up for sale and removal from his property the original home of James McEntee.  McEntee came to Kingston in 1825 as the resident engineer for the D&H Canal Company.  He later owned the Mansion House by the creek and built the Island Dock in the creek before buying the land that my end of West Chestnut is now on.  There he built the first house and subdivided the property into lots.  McEntee essentially built my street, beginning in 1848.  His daughter Sarah, one of America’s first women physicians, was one of the last McEntees to live in the house and sometime after she died, the McEntee home, the first house on West Chestnut, a large Hudson River Bracketed Italian villa, no longer existed.  But I never knew exactly when that was.  Now I do.  It must have been gone by well before the beginning of 1905.  And that more or less solves that.

But what about the Woman in White?  I could find no follow-up stories in the Freeman, at least in the year 1912 where the file I was looking at ended.  Perhaps the special detail assigned to the case by Chief of Police Wood, if not the gang of ruffians, was enough to encourage her to put the sheet back on the line.  Who she was remains another one of those stories without an ending.

Meanwhile, with this new and powerful local history search tool at our command, the possibilities seem worth thinking about.  You could look up what happened on your own street or, if you’ve lived in Kingston a while, some earlier members of your family.   You could look to find out what brands of automobile were being driven in Kingston in the early 1900s or who sold knickers (the advertisements are included, too).  I have a feeling that even more significant facts could be uncovered by a serious student of history.  At any rate, we owe thanks to Margie Menard, the Kingston Library, the Southeastern Library Council and all the other groups that collaborated to put this historical information online.  Visit the WEB SITE. The search engine is waiting.

– Lowell Thing

Introducing “History At The Street Level” by KingstonCitizens.org blogger Lowell Thing

I am very pleased to introduce the recent series added to our KingstonCitizens.org blogspot.

Long time city of Kingston resident Lowell Thing will write ‘History At The Street Level’. In his ongoing entries, Lowell’s theme will highlight what he calls ‘citizen’s local history’. We are very excited to not only have Lowell on board, but to also have what we feel is a very unique topic “generally overlooked by the more ‘major event’ oriented historical perspective” as Lowell points out.

About Lowell ThingLowell Thing is Chairman of the Friends of Historic Kingston’s Preservation Committee. He also served on Kingston’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission. Some years ago, he helped the Friends put the Chestnut Street Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places (joining Kingston’s three other historic districts). He helps out with the annual Bluestone Festival and, with a number of other people, is helping the County to find a future for the Persen House.

Welcome aboard, Lowell – and enjoy Kingston Citizens.


– Rebecca Martin

PS – We are always looking to add new citizen writer’s to the KingstonCitizens.org blog. If you have an idea for a series, please contact me at the email address above.


VOLUNTEER: Lend A Hand To Heart Street

We have a great volunteer opportunity for our local Citizens.

“Chiz’s Heart Street” located at 106 West Chestnut Street is looking for compassionate Kingston citizens to help around the house.

2009 YWCA Tribute to Women ‘Community Advocate Award’ honoree Mary ‘Chiz’ Chisholm has been called to some of the most important work in our community.  At her ‘house on the hill’, Mary provides residents suffering from mental illness a safe and loving home. She also maintains one of the food pantries in the city of Kingston that feeds our local families on a regular basis.

Can you make a contribution of your time? Two hours a month is all it takes to help to change lives in a profound way. Yours included.

An example of time of days and tasks:

Mondays, 10am – 6pm
10-12, Lunch prep / anytime: laundry or light cleaning / 3-6 dinner prep
* Special Monday Task: Help to re-stock food pantry once a month.

Tuesdays, 10am – 6pm
10-12Lunch prepanytime: laundry or light cleaning / 3-6 dinner prep
Special Tuesday Task: Musicians to play in-house piano or bring an acoustic instrument.

Wednesday’s, 10am – 6pm
10-12, Lunch prep / anytime: laundry or light cleaning / 3-6 dinner prep
Special Wednesday Task: Musicians to play in-house piano or bring an acoustic instrument.

Thursday’s, 10am – 6pm
10-12, Lunch prep anytime: laundry or light cleaning / 3-6 dinner prep
Special Thursday Task: Musicians to play in-house piano or bring an acoustic instrument.

Friday’s, 10am – 6pm
10-12, Lunch prepanytime: laundry or light cleaning / 3-6 dinner prep
Special Monday Task:   Musicians to play in-house piano or bring an acoustic instrument.

Saturday’s, 10am – 6pm
10-12, Lunch prepanytime: laundry or light cleaning / 3-6 dinner prep
Special Saturday Task:  Musicians to play in-house piano or bring an acoustic instrument.

Sunday’s, 10am – 6pm
10-12, Lunch prep / anytime: laundry or light cleaning / 3-6 dinner prep
Special Sunday Task:  Musicians to play in-house piano or bring an acoustic  instrument.

For more information, Contact Mary ‘Chiz’ Chisholm at   845-399-7891 or email heartstreet106 at yahoo.com

Lend a hand…and a heart.  Thank you.

– Rebecca Martin, KingstonCitizens.org

Read the short interview of Mary and press below, and click on the link to watch the short film ‘Touched’ on Mary and the residents.

TOUCHED by Malcolm Burn – A beautiful short film on Mary and the residents of ‘Chiz’s Heart Street’ by Grammy Award producer Malcolm Burn.

Press, Times Herald Record: “Heart Street Will Beat On Screen”

When did Chiz’s Heart Street begin, and why?
Heart street began in 2003, when i was working in the jail and then for Mental Health Association. I saw the sadness of those who were far out of the margins. People who were mentally ill and had not been successful in other homes. When I saw this house, I knew that it was a place that could offer a home to people who were lost and left for the street.

What does a day in the life of Heart Street look like?
I am up at 4 am to get breakfast started and to put all of the medications out. I spend a lot of time talking and getting people ready for day treatment programs, figuring out the accounting of the house, holding hearts, cleaning rooms and bathrooms. Nurses arrive at about 8 am and all throughout the day. Lunch is served at 11, and dinner at 3: 30. Each day is different. People who are ill need to get to the hospital. Time is given talking with all of the necessary agencies. Sitting with what is and seeing and recognizing the frailties and stopping long enough to stroke a brow. The work is endless. Laundry done 7 days a week. Stocking the food pantry and doing yard work. The nights are also filled with tenderness to quell the fear and anxieties that speak to mental illness. Going to the ER to pick up homeless people who have no where to go. Giving the medication sleeves to people who are resistant to taking their meds. Taking pictures, laughing, crying. Running up and down the stairs….

Describe the residents living in the house.
Most people are schizophrenic, schizoaffective, bipolar. The “throw always”, and each one a human being. A gift on this earth filled with the pain of mental illness and the joy of a moment in the sun.

If you had one wish for the house, what would it be?
That people would come here and hold what I know are the most beautiful people in the whole world.

Local Business: “Stop, Shop and Get To Know” Wants You!

With the holiday’s fast approaching, I think it’s time to turn our attention to our local business. With whatever extra money one plans to spend this season – if you aren’t going to ‘make it yourself’, than stay close to home and support your local business and neighbors.

In preparation, I invite all of our local business in the Kingston area to please take part in our ‘Stop, Shop and Get To Know’ campaign.

If you’d like to be listed, send the following in an email to info@kingstoncitizens.org

1. A short bio on your business and on you.
2. A special offer for the holidays
3. 10 fun facts about you and your business.

Keep it local…

– Rebecca Martin

Nationally Known and Critically Acclaimed Children’s Program “Gustafer Yellowgold” Coming To Kingston

Morgan Taylor — illustrator, songwriter, and creator of the Gustafer Yellowgold multimedia “musical moving storybook” concert experience — is hailed as one of today’s most original performers on the family music scene. GUSTAFER YELLOWGOLD’S SHOW makes its KINGSTON, NY DEBUT with a show at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 6 at the Arts Society of Kingston, 97 Broadway, Kingston. As a special treat, on Saturday, December 5, Morgan Taylor will offer a Cartooning Workshop for ages 7 – 12 at 10:00 a.m. and a Songwriting Workshop for ages 12 – 15 at 11:00 a.m. at the Art Society of Kingston.

Named “Best Kids’ Performer 2008” by New York Magazine, Morgan Taylor developed the Gustafer Yellowgold experience as equal parts pop rock concert and minimally animated movie. A natural storyteller with a comedic bent, Taylor has dreamed up a whole world of catchy and original story-songs about Gustafer (a friendly creature who came to Earth from the sun), performed alongside a large screen displaying vividly colored animations with karaoke-style subtitles. Gustafer lives out an explorer’s life in a slightly psychedelic version of the Minnesota woods, where he resides in a cottage with his menagerie of friends, including a pet eel, a tuxedo-wearing pterodactyl, and a dragon named Asparagus who inhabits the fireplace and loves corn on the cob. For recreation, Gustafer enjoys jumping on cake.

Since his creation in 2005, Gustafer Yellowgold has become an international phenomenon, praised by Newsweek as “full of great pop tunes and hand-drawn animation about a li’l fella from the sun.” The Los Angeles Times enthused, “Taylor’s whimsical, lightly psychedelic world forms an interesting bridge between adult and kids’ music.” The Washington Post declared, “He’s a star on stage and screen! … The mix of catchy tunes and offbeat stories has endeared Taylor, and Gustafer, to teenagers as well.” The Chicago Tribune wrote, “Gustafer Yellowgold has made kids’ music so cool that teenagers and ultra-hip bands such as Wilco want to get in on the act … a shiny blend of pop art and pop tunes.” Parenting magazine called Gustafer “The coolest little space invader since E.T. … a hip and trippy sunsation. Parental warning: You, too, will become hooked on the tunes.”

Gustafer is not just for kids! Possessing an unusual crossover appeal, GUSTAFER YELLOWGOLD’S SHOW has performed as the support act for Wilco and The Polyphonic Spree. Gustafer recently made his off-Broadway debut in a new production, Gustafer Yellowgold’s Mellow Sensation. Tours to performing arts centers, concert halls, theatres, festivals, museums, libraries, and cinemas have taken Gustafer across the U.S., the U.K., and even to Korea.

Morgan Taylor was a Grand Prize-winner in this year’s John Lennon Songwriting Contest. His other activities include playing bass for The Autumn Defense (John Stirratt and Pat Sansone of WIlco) and a recording project with Tony Award winning songwriter Duncan Sheik.

After The Election: Recycling Campaign Lawn Signs

After an election cycle, have you ever wondered what to do with those campaign lawn signs that you agreed to place on your property? Do you call the candidates and offer them back? Take them apart to recycle them? Re-use them for lawn sales?

I decided to take a look on-line to see if New York State had any lawn sign recycling program in place.

Nope. At least not so far as I could see. There are, however, several municipalities who have created such a thing (in Florida for example and of course California).

I wonder if those running for office would agree to do away with lawn signs. Not plausible? Then how about holding onto them to re-use in the case that they run again in the future. Most everyone has an attic, right?

Here is a good link to ‘Planet Green’ where you can read more about the recycling possibilities.

– Rebecca Martin

How To Follow General Election Results In Kingston And Ulster County

If you’re like me, you have children and a strict routine to follow on any given night. No general election parties for you!

Here are a few sites and tips to get up to the minute results so you too don’t have to wait for the Wednesday morning paper:

1. Board of Elections – Election results page (there will be a link to today’s election results sometime this evening. Check in periodically today).

2. Adam Bosch will probably do an up-to-the minute report on the Times Herald Record web page

3. Check out Public Access Channel 23. They are back on the air and in the past have reported accurate results.

If you have any further tips, please note them here in the comment section of this blog post.


– Rebecca Martin