“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

Brother, Can You Spare Some Blood?

The BEAHIVE of Kingston is sponsoring a blood drive next Tuesday, September 28th in uptown, Kingston. They need a few more sign-ups in order for the drive to not be canceled. Can you help?

Every 3 seconds someone needs blood and every day 2000 pints are needed in area hospitals.

To schedule an appointment, contact Kerri: kk@companykmedia.com or 845/797-3443.

Thanks Scott Tillitt, Kerri Karvetski and Amara Projansky for pulling this together.

To learn more on the BEAHIVE, visit this LINK

Common Sense: Open Arms to the Film Industry in the City of Kingston

By Rebecca Martin

Come on city officials. It’s one thing to have a lack of ideas on how to create jobs in the area, specificially in the city of Kingston. It’s a whole other ball of wax to be potentially chasing away the lucrative film industry from coming to set up shop here. Good grief.

Lets get real about our budget woes. It’s a tricky, inflated pandoras box not because of the growing costs of city services. It’s due to unrealistic contracts and pensions. So collecting a few thousand dollars from a film production company who stands to pour tens of thousands into our local economy (not to mention a good amount of free press) doesn’t make any sense what-so-ever.

In today’s Daily Freeman, the always sensible Ward 9 Alderman Hayes Clement is quoted as saying, “By all means, continue to charge, as the city has, for all direct costs associated with film shoots, such as police or other municipal workers. But beyond that, we should be looking at local film producation as an opportunity to market Kingston and develop a new local industry, not as an opportunity to generate fees for City Hall”.

You can count on me being at the front of the line to speak in support of welcoming film production to Kingston. I’m sure there will be dozens of others who will be happy to speak in favor as well.

That IBM chip on our shoulder has got to soften. Those days are over, and Kingson better get with the program to reinvent itself if it wishes to be successful and competitive. We sit in an opportune position right smack dab in the middle of New York City and Albany. It’s a bedroom community waiting to happen if I’ve ever seen one.

Cool Communication – The Town of Ulster

Have you checked out how impressive the Town of Ulster’s website is?  They’ve created a site that is easy and clear in its design and navigaton, making it simple to get important, up-to-date information. It offers timely agendas and minutes from each meeting and you can subscribe to the site and receive frequent updates on the weeks meetings/events/public hearings.

Check it out: Town of Ulster Website

Kudos to the Supervisor and his crew. 

City of Kingston, let’s follow their lead here. How hard can it be?

A Call For Citizen Input: Redesigning the I-587 & Albany Avenue Intersection

The Ulster County Planning Board is seeking citizen participation. Here’s the scoop:

The focus of this meeting is to hear from you about improving the intersection at I-587 and Albany Avenue/Broadway to help traffic flow, maximize safety, and enhance this vital gateway to the city.

The objective of this public meeting will be to gather ideas and issues from the community in order to form a vision for a plan for intersection improvements. Part of this meeting will be a “hands-on” interactive workshop to collect ideas from the public for further evaluation by the study team. We want to hear from the community to target key areas of concern in this intersection study area.

Date: Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
Time: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Place: First Baptist Church
77 Albany Avenue

* Can’t attend the meeting? Take the on-line SURVEY.
* Visit the UCPB web page and learn more about this project LINK

The Kingston Land Trust Hosts Fun, Local Events in September

By Rebecca Martin

The Kingston Land Trust, an urban trust with offices in Uptown Kingston, is hosting several upcoming events that are community based and fun.

On Wednesday, September 15th the Kingston Land Trust will host it’s first ‘Dinner and a Documentary’ series with  a complimentary screening of ‘The Chances of the World Changing” by critically acclaimed film maker Eric Daniel Metzgar. The event will take place at MINT Wine and Tapas Bar located at 1 West Strand in the historic Rondout section of Kingston. The community is invited to arrive at 6:00pm and encouraged to purchase drinks and dinner. The complimentary film will begin between 7:15 – 7:30pm and will include fresh popcorn and organic butter for guests.

Exactly one week later on Wednesday, September 22nd the Kingston Land Trust hosts its first annual Harvest Moon Benefit Concert. POOK (the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston) and the Kingston High School Jazz Combo will be featured. World renowned bassists Larry Grenadier and Vicente Archer will sit in with the combo (along with the youth musicians all being from Kingston, Larry is also currently a resident and Vicente born and raised).  The event will take place at the Falcon Arts Performance space, 1348 Route 9W  in Marlboro, NY. There is a suggested donation of $25 with children 18 and under for free.

To learn more about these event s and the Kingston Land Trust, click on this LINK.

KingstonCitizens.org: Where We’re Going, Where We’ve Been

By Rebecca Martin

This morning, KingstonCitizens.org was mentioned in Nancy Donskoj’s Main Street Manager blog. It was nice that some of the other blog efforts were being shared with her base. Thanks to all who do so much to help with outreach and community building mentioned here or not.

The piece got me thinking about KC.org in general and  how it all began, transitions, where we are now and where I believe we are heading.

KingstonCitizens.org  was an extension of a concept that came out of the Ward 9 community group that formed many years ago.  Our group met face to face each month which helped us to get to know one another and the strength of our voices and ideas.  A google group (now a Yahoo! Group) for online and ongoing communications allowed our dialouge to continue until we met again. This was an immediate tool that helped foster transparency, as our ideas were shared with a growing group of neighbors in the company of our Alderman. An Alderman, remember, is meant to reflect the collective voices (and not just those who live to their left and right) of his/her constituents when they sit on the common council to vote on their behalf. The idea was to enable citizens to become better informed to aid in that process so to make the greatest impact. Besides witnessing the new excitement and sense of possibility in my new friends and community members,  it was also a very large experiment to see if government actually did what it professed to do. What I learned from a front row seat was that at times it did, though more often it did not. It was evidence that citizens needed to take on a reasonably consistent and a more responsible role in what was happening around them.  That is if there was ever going to be a time for what was completely outdated and out of whack to come back to a current and balanced place again.

I like getting to the bottom of things no matter how difficult or uncomfortable that may be.  It’s a personality trait that embodies Mt. Everest highs and Dante’s Inferno lows.  But I don’t mind.  There is no end to unraveling a lifetime of experiences to get back to an authentic place and in learning from the cues to be more trusting, accepting and simple.

But I digress. Back on point.

The online Ward 9 Community group was a useful tool, so with the help of Beth Bengston-Gillis, Mark Greene and Arthur Zaczkiewicz, KingstonCitizens.org was launched on July 4th, 2007.  Back then, it was an HTML site. Remember those?  It was created years before we had heard of Wordpress or Ning and whatever else has come along since. Mark Greene had designed the most beautiful logo and ‘portal’  that allowed citizens to connect to any of the  nine online Yahoo! groups representing each of our nine wards. In that way, we were able to provide a current and organized place for citizens to gather, discuss and take productive action in their immediate neighborhoods.  Their updated Alderman and ward-centric information was posted at each of the group pages as it still is today.

A year or so later with the discovery of Wordpress, we joined the ranks when veteran journalist and my partner in the effort at that time Arthur Zaczkiewicz decided to write a blog as an extension of KingstonCitizens.org and to help fill in some of the blanks that indeed needed filling.

Today, our blog remains a useful tool for all Kingston citizens, public officials and local papers alike. It has never been our aim to ‘break stories’ or to participate in taking a stance on any political platform. We intend to find ways to nurture those who came on board long ago while collecting newly energized citizen voices to share their views and ideas with us all to keep the forward momentum.    We wish to grow our effort as a citizen journalism site and we would love it if you would join us.   All you really need to bring to the table is your willingness to share in the same spirit as is KC.org.

I’ll be happy to get your on your way.

Contact me at rebbytunes at earthlink.net