The Kingston Land Trust Hosts End of the Year Holiday Mixer

By Rebecca Martin

There is so much going on that is good in the city of Kingston,  it’s hard not to share it all.  Even in the form of an end of the year annual plea letter from the Kingston Land Trust,  an organization that I am Director of.  This NFP has a dynamic board, and is doing great works that I hope you will enjoy reading about here. Come and celebrate with a special KLT Rosemary/Coriander Brew on 12/29 and say hello…

To view pictures and text online CLICK THIS LINK.


What a year it has been for the Kingston Land Trust.

Since July when the KLT hired a full time Executive Director, we have done some pretty heavy lifting to establish several substantial projects.  With so much potential in the City of Kingston, it has been a great pleasure to be a key partner in many collaborative efforts new and ongoing alike. We look forward to our continued efforts in preserving and protecting our historic treasures, discovering new avenues for sustainable and healthy living and creating programs utilizing open space that encourages citizens to take full advantage of the fun and adventures in Kingston’s great urban out-of-doors.

Because we appreciate your interest in the Kingston Land Trust, we have organized a Holiday “mixer” to share our work and to socialize with old and new friends. Join us at Kingston’s local brew pub Keegan Ales in Kingston where you can meet our staff and Board Directors and share in our 2010 successes and strategic plans for 2011.

To make this event a special one, Keegan’s has created a special Kingston Land Trust Rosemary Coriander Brew (using Rosemary from my personal garden) just for us that evening. To top it off, a portion of the proceeds of each one sold that evening will be generously gifted to us (drink responsibly, and bring a designated driver).

The Kingston Land Trust Holiday Mixer
Wednesday, December 29th
Keegan Ales
20 Saint James Street
Kingston, NY 12401
6:00pm – 8:00pm

At the end of the year, we wish to challenge our friends in helping the Kingston Land Trust ring in the new year successfully. One of our generous benefactors has offered to match each dollar that we raise up to $5,000. That means that the KLT has the potential to earn at least $10,000 that will be added to our annual operating costs. We have until January 31st to reach this goal and any donation large or small plays an important role. Admission to Keegan’s is free, but we ask that you consider making a donation. If you cannot be present but wish to support us with a secure, online donation to our Annual Fund, visit our website at  You can also send along a check or money order to: The Kingston Land Trust PO Box 2701  Kingston, NY. 12402.  Contributions are tax-deductible.

Your involvement is crucial to the movement for economic revitalization, sustainability, and land conservation in our community.  Please join us.

With thanks and gratitude,

Rebecca Martin

Executive Director
The Kingston Land Trust

Kingston Land Trust Board of Directors and Advisers

Executive Committee
Steve NobleChair
Kevin McEvoyVice Chair/Treasurer/Chair of the LUAMP Committee
Julie NobleSecretary

Board of Directors/Advisors/Staff
Bill BerardiDirector
Hugh CummingsDirector
Barbara EpsteinAdvisor
Gregg SwanzeyDirector/Chair of the KLT Rail Trail Committee
Steve LiebowitzDirector
Ann LoedingDirector
Arthur Zaczkiewicz, Advisor/Staff

What’s happening at the Kingston Land Trust?

The Kingston Land Trust  BLACK HISTORY Committee

With a wide variety of churches, historians and community members, The Kingston Land Trust’s Black History Committee is organizing a re-dedication of the Mt. Zion African-American Burial ground in June, 2011. The event will help to celebrate and honor past Kingston residents and veterans who are now laid to rest there.  Research projects to help document the people and their families at Mt. Zion and in the 17th Century Pine Street Slave Cemetery are currently underway. For more information, contact

The Kingston Land Trust RAIL TRAIL Committee

Led by Kingston resident Gregg Swanzy, the Kingston Land Trust recently was awarded trail development assistance from Parks & Trails NY to engage the community in exploring the feasibility of connecting existing trails outside the city to the Midtown area. We were one of three programs awarded state-wide!  For more information, contact Gregg at


Led by KLT Vice Chair/Treasurer Kevin McEvoy, the Kingston Land Trust’s LUAMP Committee in collaboration with other key stakeholders has participated in and remains committed to the ongoing open space planning process with regards to the approximately 300 acre area proposed to be preserved at Hudson Landing. In addition, the committee participated and is committed, together with key stakeholders, in the planning process for portions of the Ulster-Esopus Ridge in Town of Ulster which includes wetlands and a highly significant Native American lithic workshop discovered during the archeology. With a growing portfolio throughout the city of Kingston, the committee handles all parcels and easements gifted or otherwise conserved to assure protection. To learn more, contact Kevin at

The South Pine Street City Farm Project

About 1/4 acre of land in the Midtown section of Kingston is currently being transformed into Kingston’s first City Farm. Led by first generation farmer and city of Kingston resident Jesica Clark, the Kingston Land Trust has teamed up with The Queens Galley, The Queens Galley’s “Cooking Matters” program and Binnewater Ice Co. to take steps in making Kingston an urban agriculture epicenter. For more information, contact Farmer Clark at

“The Dig Kids” – An urban farming program

With the help of a grant from the Columbia Foundation, The Kingston Land Trust has created “The Dig Kids”- a farming program located at the Everett Hodge Community Center in Midtown Kingston to help youth learn important farming skills while being paid a stipend to do so. Harvests will be sold at local farmers markets as well as used for cooking instruction and distributed throughout the immediate community for those in need. For more information, contact

The Kingston City Hall Victory Garden

The Kingston Land Trust will be in its third year helping to develop the Kingston City Hall Victory Garden, an organic  ‘square foot gardening’ project to illustrate the amount of food that can be grown and harvested in an 8×8 foot raised bed. Managed by City Hall employees, the harvest is donated to a different soup kitchen in the city of Kingston each year.  If you are a soup kitchen and wish to be included, contact

Yoga in the Park! Creating Healthy Communities

The KLT in collaboration with Shatki Yoga, MAC Fitness and the City of Kingston’s Parks and Recreation department, we’re excited to announce “Yoga in the Park! Creating Healthy Communities” starting on May day (Sunday, May 1st) at Cornell Park in the Rondout section of Kingston. Join your neighbors on the first Sunday of each month starting in May through October for Shatki’s exceptional yoga series that will accommodate every level in the gorgeous setting of one of our most wonderful urban parks. Contact

Healthy Kingston For Kids (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

The Kingston Land Trust is a proud partner of the “Healthy Kingston for Kids” program led by Cornell Cooperative Extension. Leading an initiative to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic in Kingston through environmental and policy change, the project is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with $360,000 over four years. Recently, a resolution for complete streets was approved by the Kingston Common Council and other such as community gardens and more are on their radar. Contact Arthur Zaczkiewicz for more information at

Public Hearing on Combined Sewer Overflow Long-Term Control Plan Scheduled.

By Rebecca Martin

A little over a year ago, Kingston resident and contributor “Wilbur Girl” wrote an exceptional piece on her “Environmental Focus on Kingston” series titled “Give me an “C”, “S”, “O”! laying out the city of Kingston’s troubled sewage treatment problems.

She writes, “On average Kingston receives 47.48 inches of rain a year, with May being the wettest month. This summer alone (2009) we’ve been deluged with roughly 17 inches of the wet stuff. While my friends are all bemoaning the loss of blight ridden tomatoes, I’ve been worrying about a problem that runs a little deeper. Yup, I’ve been thinking about combined sewer overflow systems (CSO’s).

Kingston’s antiquated sewer system is a CSO. They were all the rage and considered the newest and greatest in waste flow management along the eastern sea board following the Civil War. The EPA defines these types of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems as “remnants of the country’s early infrastructure and so are typically found in older communities.” They estimate there to be roughly 772 CSO communities in the US today.

A CSO was designed to collect rainwater runoff, domestic sewage and industrial wastewater all in the same pipe. This slurry of toxic sludge is transported to a sewage treatment plant. Periods of heavy rainfalls or quickly melting snow exacerbate the volume of storm water runoff so that it exceeds the capacity of the system. Excess, untreated wastewater instead empties directly into nearby bodies of water – in our case, the Rondout Creek. Also, because of their age, CSO’s often fail or collapse at an accelerated rate.”

I’ve included the link to her piece in full up above and encourage you to read it as a refresher. Here’s why:

Please be advised that the Office of the City Engineer will hold a Public Hearing on Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 6:30 PM in the Common Council Chambers at City Hall.  The hearing is for the purpose of discussing the recently completed Combined Sewer Overflow Long-Term Control Plan submitted to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on November 1, 2010.

All interested persons are invited to attend and express their views.

A copy of the Plan is available for review in the Office of the City Engineer, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM.

Please notify the City Engineer’s Office twenty-four hours in advance of the Public Hearing should special accommodations be required.

The plan is available at the Kingston Library also.

What are Combined Sewers?

Combined sewer systems (CSS) are sewers that are designed to collect storm water runoff, domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater in the same pipe. During rain events, when storm water enters the sewers, the capacity of the sewer system may be exceeded and the excess effluent will be discharged directly to the receiving water. A combined sewer overflow (CSO) is the discharge from a combined sewer system that is caused by snow melt or storm water runoff.

Bartering For Health: Kingston’s O+ Festival Makes Nation News

Kingston’s O+ Festival featured in Business Week. Kudos!
O+ organizer Chandler (left) checks out a mural painted for the festival

Jason Russo, a 37-year-old singer and guitarist from Brooklyn, hasn’t had consistent health care since he was a teenager. In October he saw a doctor—though in an unconventional setting: a gig in Kingston, N.Y., 90 miles north of New York City. Russo was one of 70 musicians and artists who bartered their creative services for medical care at an event called the O+ Festival. “It was kind of an amazing thing to sit down with a regular doctor,” he says. “Doctors are humans, it turns out. They enjoy rock music and art.”

A group of artists and physicians in the Hudson Valley conceived of the gathering. About 40 doctors, dentists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, and others donated 232 hours of service, valued at more than $38,000, to the bands and artists who played or created sculptures or paintings. “It really is about … helping artists and musicians who are contributing to society find health care at affordable rates,” says Arthur Chandler, a doctor at Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson, N.Y., and an organizer of O+ (pronounced O-positive).

Chandler and other organizers are incorporating O+ as a nonprofit and want to put on art-for-health-care festivals in Kingston and other cities next year. Like-minded artists, musicians, and physicians from Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Nashville, Berkeley, and Lowell, Mass., have contacted O+ looking to replicate the model. “It seems like something that should be everywhere and could definitely be everywhere,” says Julia Henderson, a 32-year-old writer and development coordinator at a San Francisco theater who hopes to bring O+ to Berkeley. A transplant from Brooklyn, Henderson says she hasn’t had insurance for six years.

In recent years, a handful of clinics and hospitals have introduced formal programs for artists to barter for subsidized care. Since 2005, Woodhull Medical Center near the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint—areas flooded with creative types in recent years—has let artists earn $40 in credit toward care for each hour of service they provide the hospital. The work can range from performing for patients, painting murals, or photographing portraits of mothers with their newborns.

Amy Duquette, who coordinates the program at Woodhull, says that 90�percent of the artists don’t have any health insurance. “The life of an artist is you’re freelancing, your pay is inconsistent,” she says. About 600 people have used the program, and some artists have banked enough credits to pay for surgery.

Such programs aside, many self-employed artists like Russo struggle to afford health insurance or treatment when they fall ill. Russo says he lives on less than $25,000 a year from his two bands—a psychedelic rock group called Hopewell and indie-folk combo Common Prayer—and freelance Web marketing work. Once, when he got strep throat, Russo used medicine prescribed for friends’ pets because he couldn’t afford his own. “The only times when me or my musician friends consider getting health care are when the symptoms are acute,” he says.

Artists who performed or created public works of art at O+ were asked to fill out forms describing the medical care they wanted. On the weekend of the festival, as music lovers poured into Kingston bars and restaurants, artists met with doctors and dentists in a makeshift clinic in the ballroom of the 111-year-old Kirkland Hotel. Mike Merenda and Ruthy Ungar, a husband-and-wife folk rock duo, each got dental cleanings and chiropractor visits. Although the couple, both 34, and their two-year-old son have coverage under a state-subsidized program, the plan doesn’t cover dental or other wellness visits. While Merenda is grateful for the care, he acknowledges that it’s no substitute for real insurance. “It was sort of a one-time fix, and even if they do it once a year, that’s not going to solve all your health-care problems as they arise,” he says.

Doctors, artists, and their advocates recognize the limits to the approach. “Bartering projects can be a great resource for a lot of people, but it’s not a sustainable model,” says Judilee Reed, executive director of artists’ advocacy group Leveraging Investments in Creativity, which estimates that nearly two in five artists lack adequate insurance. Alexandra Marvar, an O+ organizer who performs with Russo in Common Prayer, agrees that O+ and similar programs can’t replace insurance. But she says a series of such festivals around the country could at least offer “a Band-Aid solution to inaccessible health care.”

The bottom line: A festival where artists and musicians barter work for medical attention is part of a growing movement.

Kingston Farmers’ Market and Winter Sun Farms Comes to Uptown this Winter.

By Rebecca Martin

The last Farmers’ Market in Kingston of the season is Saturday, November 20th. Boy, do we need a winter market. I had heard rumors of one being organized at the Dutch Church, and have been hoping that the organizers can pull it off. We will certainly help them promote it in every way possible.

What is happening however is  Winter Sun Farms is going to do an uptown delivery over the winter at Hudson Coffee Traders. Give Donna a call at 845/338-1300.

Here is the final press release of the season.  Let’s pack the joint next weekend and give our farmers and vendors a good send off.  Thanks to those who make such an effort to make it all possible – and we are eternally grateful to our farmers and artisans of all kinds.


Kingston, New York – The last Kingston Farmers’ Market of the season will be held this Saturday, November 20th.  The Healthy Eating Series concludes with “Thanksgiving Dishes from the Market.”  Join nutritionist Noel Conklin as she prepares candied yams for the chef demonstration.   Don’t forget to stock up on locally crafted gifts for the holidays this season from Crafts on John Street. Amazing wares from talented Hudson Valley artisans are sure to please everyone on your gift-giving list.  Save time this Thanksgiving, buy your pies, tarts and other desserts fresh this year from the Kingston Farmers’ Market.   Side dishes taste better when prepared from fresh ingredients.  The wine is sure to flow when purchased at the Market from a local vineyard.  Natural and free range eggs and meats, fresh squashes and vegetables for soups and side dishes, cheeses, hearty breads, desserts that delight, fresh coffee, locally brewed autumn ales and so much more are the Hudson Valley’s finest fare awaiting you at the Kingston Farmers’ Market.  Fresh from our Market to your home, cut out the middleman, buy local.  Your holiday begins here.  The Kingston Farmers’ Market has more than 30 vendors offering organic and natural fare. Healthy eating is affordable for everyone with FMNP and EBT naturally accepted.  The Kingston Farmers’ Market will be held rain or shine, 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. The Market is located on Wall Street in the historic Stockade District of Uptown Kingston near the New York State Thruway at Exit 19.   Admission is free as is parking.

For more information visit our website at: or call (845)853-8512.  Find us on Facebook.  The Kingston Farmers’ Market wishes to thank everyone fo supporting our local farmers and other local vendors.

World Renowned Singer/Songwriter Rachel Loshak to Perform in Kingston

By Rebecca Martin

This is quite wonderful.

My old and dear friend  Rachel Loshak who recently moved upstate with her family (husband Morgan Taylor, creator of “GUSTAFER YELLOWGOLD” and their son Harvey) is performing in Kingston in December.

This is good  news for us, as Rachel is no doubt one of the best musicians I know. She spent years on the scene developing the most angelic sound, having collaborated often with Norah Jones, Jason Crigler, Dan Rieser, Morgan Taylor and many other of our pals from the NYC downtown music scene.

Now at just about 9 months pregnant with their second child, she is performing a set of her original music at Gabriel’s Cafe on Friday, December 3rd at 7:00pm. Come out and join us. You will be glad that you did.


World renowned singer/songwriter Rachel Loshak to perform in Kingston An intimate performance at Gabriel’s Café is set for Friday, December 3rd at 7:00pm.

Kingston, NY – What makes Singer/Bassist, Rachel Loshak’s music and sound so special is her sophisticated, orchestral approach to traditional pop music. Imagine a string quartet stripped of its native instruments and handed electric guitars and amplifiers. Melodic bass figures move like a boogied cello weaving with her pure and bell-toned voice, all forming an accessible foundation to the wide-eyed wonderment of her lyrics, which Loshak paints in broad strokes with a graceful sadness.  Her unique style can be enjoyed at 7:00pm on Friday, December 3rd, 2010 at Gabriel’s Café 50 John Street in Kingston, NY.

Rachel moved to New York City in the late Nineties from Suffolk, England and honed her songwriting craft with her unique ‘bass and voice’ style. She has created three full-length LP’s (Firefly in 2001, Mint in 2003 and Peach Pony in 2005) featuring guitarist Jason Crigler (Erin McKeown, Linda Thompson, Marshall Crenshaw).  The latest LP features a duet with Norah Jones.  Peach Pony has been released in several international territories to critical acclaim.  Performing with Ms. Jones at the Grammy Awards in 2005, Rachel is also featured alongside her (and with Jesse Harris) on the Best of the Living Room compilation released in 2002.  Recently Rachel has worked with Moby, recording vocals for a future release as well as performing at a Tsunami benefit concert in 2005.

Rachel has toured extensively in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago as well as internationally to Ireland, the UK, France, Germany, Scandinavia and South Korea.

After gaining extensive experience in the music industry as a touring musician, business administrator and creative graphic production designer, Rachel co-founded Apple-eye Productions with husband Morgan Taylor to create an outlet for their creative projects (that also includes their popular children’s series GUSTAFER YELLOWGOLD). They now live in the Catskills with their son, Harvey.

For more information, contact Rachel at or visit her website at:

Fund Raiser for Burma: Punch and Judy Puppet Show Available for November

By Rebecca Martin

I’ve mentioned Amy Trompetter in another post ‘trumpeting’ her creative Redwing Blackbird Theater group and their wonderful puppet creations for children  (and adults, too).   Currently, she is working to take her ‘Peter and the Wolf’ effort to Burma – and is offering private shows for children’s parties.  It’s such a great idea that I had to share it.



10 for 100

Fund-raiser for Burma

SPECIAL OFFER Amy Trompetter of Redwing Blackbird Theater 413 Main St. Rosendale is offering 10 PUNCH AND JUDY performances in the Hudson Valley for the reduced fee of $100 per show.  The fundraiser supports young people at Gitameit School in Rangoon to adapt and to tour A NON-PROKOFIEV PETER AND THE WOLF. We propose opening a door for the young generation in Burma to be free of limitation and have access to all ideas relating to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.   The workshop in Rangoon combines Asian and western puppetry techniques, and new music based on jazz and traditional Burmese orchestration. Amy leaves 12/1/10.

Punch and Judy show description: The wicked humor of Amy’s “Punch and Judy” hand puppet show, based on English tradition and New York anarchy, has stormed five continents over twenty years and is famed for a large skirt that lifts over the head and transforms into a stage.

For more information please contact: 845 658 7651.

This PUNCH AND JUDY SPECIAL is NOVEMBER ONLY, though you may pay now for a show in the spring.



Complete Streets Resolution Passes in Kingston

By Rebecca Martin

Last night, the Common Council approved a resolution for Complete Streets in the City of Kingston, which serves as an important component in support of the Climate Smart and Green Jobs Community Pledge. Thanks to Kristen Wilson, David Gilmour, Emilie Hauser and the entire team of the “Healthy Kingston for Kids” project for their hard work and tenacity.

Draft Complete Streets Resolution 11082010



Welcome to Kingston! Livingston Street Early Childhood Community

By Rebecca Martin

In most cases, a parent and child in this country are grossly under supported by our society and system. I learned this after having a son. For instance, who was the genius that came up with three months as the magic number for a woman to recover from a delivery and get settled into her new role as “mother”?  It’s a funny thing, the discussion of family values in America while forcing both parents to work full time jobs so early in a child’s life (in places like Sweden for instance, a mother has a minimum of 69 weeks paid maternity leave).

For now, that’s just the way things are and in Kingston, we are fortunate to have some excellent choices for child care and early child development. Whether you have to work, or you wish for your preschooler to be in a sensitive, nurturing and community based program, this is it.

I had the opportunity to sit and chat with the founder of Livingston Street Early Childhood Community recently to share her ideas with our readers.

*** Can you tell us a little about yourself, and how you came to Kingston?

Cheryl Demuth: I grew up in Middletown, NY and got my Bachelors degree in Psychology at SUNY New Paltz. After graduating, I moved to Kingston with my then boyfriend, now husband, Tim. Tim was accepted to graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University shortly after coming to Kingston and we moved to Pittsburgh eighteen months later. We stayed in Pittsburgh for a couple of years, but moved back to the Hudson Valley in 2004.

After moving back to Kingston, I began working as the Head Teacher in the toddler classroom at Vassar College Infant Toddler Center (ITC). The ITC is an inclusive childcare center and laboratory school. Given the lab school setting, alongside the toddlers in the room there were researchers observing and studying children in the group care environment, student teachers learning classroom management and developmentally appropriate practice, and Vassar College students in the work-study program. This type of setting gave me a solid foundation in management, communication skills, working with young children, developing innovative curriculum, and engaging parents and community (just to name a few).

I worked at the ITC for two years before deciding to go back to school at Bank Street College of Education for Early Childhood Leadership. Working full-time and going to school full-time was not easy, but after two years I received my Masters degree. My wish was to open a progressive early childhood program in Kingston.  Upon graduating from Bank Street in 2008, I left Vassar College to pursue my dream. The Livingston Street Early Childhood Community is a combination of school and daycare. Can you explain how your program works?

CD: Livingston Street operates from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday, except for Wednesdays when we close at 3:30. In thinking about what I wanted for children and families it was important to me to offer high quality care for the working part of the day. Yet, I also wanted to have a structured routine similar to school that offers engaging and challenging activities for young minds and bodies. Thus, Livingston Street meets the needs of working families with full-day care and high quality, progressive early childhood programming. What is your philosophy and approach to caring for and teaching young children?

CD: Livingston Street’s mission is to nourish the emotional well-being and social competence in young children through the creation of meaningful relationships with a diverse group of people, the development of early literacy and communication skills, and program wide participation in the process of community service.

I approach early childhood teaching and care from a social/emotional standpoint. Jack Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University said it simply when he stated, “Emotional well-being and social competence provide a strong foundation for emerging cognitive abilities. Together they are the ‘bricks and mortar’ of the foundation for human development.” With that said, I am most interested in making sure that young children believe in themselves and feel competent and effective in social settings.

What we do:

At Livingston Street, we expose children to a variety of experiences, including walks through the neighborhood, large group mural projects and individual artistic creations, music and movement, cooking projects, early literacy, and so much more. All of these experiences challenge and encourage development in a safe, nurturing environment where children feel comfortable to explore and learn at their own pace.

Part of the Livingston Street philosophy is to allow for a democratic classroom where the children lead the curriculum. This is called emergent curriculum and is based on the idea that children know best what they would like to learn about. It is the teacher’s responsibility to follow their lead and create experiences and challenges that teach based on the children’s interest.

Along with the work we do with young children, Livingston Street also has the component of community service. Twice during the calendar year, Livingston Street staff, friends and families volunteer for a community service event. The project is simple, something that the children can manage alongside the adults. The purpose is three-fold. First it brings the children a greater sense of security in the surrounding community. Second, it enables young families to learn together the joys of helping others and believing in a cause. Lastly, it connects the Livingston Street community with the broader community in a very meaningful and positive way. You have a new location that will be open shortly. Why did this space inspire you?

CD: We are located in a space at Immanuel Lutheran Church at 20 Livingston Street in Kingston. The building housed a school that closed in the early 1970’s. The classroom that we are using is a large, newly renovated open space. It has high ceilings, a wall of large, south facing windows that look back on the wooded play area, and a striking wood floor.

If ever a classroom could, this room stimulates imagination and creates an atmosphere of friendship and engaged learning. Each time I walk into the room I feel excited for the children that will be use this beautiful space and the families that will reap the rewards of delighted and inspired children.


Puppets in Rosendale

By Rebecca Martin

I discovered this really great group called  the Redwing Blackbird Theater in Rosendale.  We sort of fell into it last weekend on Halloween when their doors were wide open for the children to enjoy a free puppet show as we were wandering around trick-or-treating. I have never seen my son laugh harder than he did and I was impressed by the artistry. It was a funky space, and alot of fun.

The one behind the magic, Amy Trompetter, is presenting “Peter and the Wolf” this afternoon at 3pm at the Rosendale Theater.  She is working to raise funds to bring her show to Burma this winter. Perhaps when she returns, we can bring her to Kingston on a regular basis.

PETER AND THE WOLF, November 6, 2010, 3 pm, By Donation, Rosendale Theatre Collective

Redwing Blackbird Theater presents a puppet adaptation of PETER AND THE WOLF.

Geared for children and adults, this PETER AND THE WOLF is updated from the 1936 original by Sergei Prokofiev, as narrated by Eleanor Roosevelt around 1950 in Poughkeepsie. Like many good stories, this one begins in the forest and asks where we are going. The Full Spectrum Dominance Orchestra provides unusual instrumentation and improvisation in the spirit of Prokofiev’s beloved score.

PETER AND THE WOLF was developed as a series of Saturday improves and performances by and for the community at Redwing Blackbird Theater, 413 Main Street, Rosendale, NY.

408 Main Street, Rosendale, NY 12472
Phone:  845-658-8989

The Rosendale Theatre Collective is dedicated to preserving the historic Rosendale Theatre and enhancing the cultural life and economic vitality of Rosendale and Ulster County through film, the performing arts, and educational programming.

It Takes A Village. Giving Thanks.

By Rebecca Martin

In the midst of perhaps the busiest year yet, I’m feeling gratitude for those working hard in helping to make Kingston a safe and cool place to live in these modern and tricky times.

I just arrived home from a wonderful visioning session held at 721 Media in Midtown. I loved being there, and was impressed at how much was accomplished in just two hours. I have many favorite moments from the evening, but at the top of my list goes to Valeria Gheorghiu who coined the phrase “Midtown Mojo”.  I hope someone uses it to promote our midsection because it’s perfect.

I wish I had more time to sit and contemplate to make a comprehensive list, as there are dozens and dozens of initiatives and people worthy of praise.  The end of the year is near, when I’ll recap 2010 and share more of what I’ve seen around the city.

Until then, here goes. In no particular order.

Behind the Scenes

Kristen Wilson, Project Manager of Healthy Kingston for Kids of Cornell Cooperative Extension
It’s no easy feat to score a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, but Kristen did it. She successfully brought together people working all throughout the area in a partnership to create ‘Healthy Kingston for Kids’ – a project that addresses childhood obesity through initiatives that include safe routes to school, complete streets, gardens and healthy eating. Managing efforts, people and grant administration is a hard job, so kudos to Kristen and all of those working alongside to bring Kingston up-to-date on many important community aspects.

Megan Weiss, Kingston Cares
At 25 years of age, Megan has worked tirelessly to help the youth be better understood in the midtown area of Kingston. Her office is in the Everett Hodge Center on Franklin Street, and you’d be hard pressed to visit her when there weren’t youth hanging out in her office. Her walls are plastered with artwork and I noticed a guitar in the corner of her office last I looked.  A girl after my own heart. Megan’s intuition, compassion and grace is gifted to this community.

Jennifer Schwartz-Berky and Dennis DoyleUlster County Planning Board
These two highly trained professionals and their department work tirelessly at some of the more important projects in our communities. From comprehensive planning to main street revitalizations and more –  their office secure grants, provide skilled recommendations, host community meetings and are as approachable as those working in your neighborhood deli.  They are unsung heroes who deserve a great deal of thanks.

Kevin McEvoy and Barbara Epstein, Historians/Documentors
What’s historic in Kingston? Just ask Kevin McEvoy and Barbara Epstein. Their efforts quietly pack a punch. Whether they are composing lists to help update historic landmark records or researching properties little known to even the most hard core preservationists, they volunteer their expertise to help connect our historic city’s past to its present.

Cynthia Lowe, Community Foundation of Ulster County
I love the Community Foundation. Their efforts in Ulster County ” is guided by a local board of community leaders and monies raised for Ulster County that stay in Ulster County.  The board’s goals are to grow philanthropy in Ulster County, raise money, establish new endowed funds and make grants to make the quality of life in Ulster County even better.” Cynthia is wonderful who will give anyone with an idea in mind the time that they need to see if they might qualify as a designated fund or grant opportunity. It’s a fantastic resource.

Lawrence McCauley, Community Organizer
Ward 9 resident Lawrence McCauley for years now has taken it upon himself to organize community meetings at his home while providing some of the best baked goods in the Hudson Valley that he makes himself. His monthly meetings allow citizens in his neighborhood a place to go to discuss quality of life issues to encourage action on important initiatives.

Sean Griffin, Community Organizer
Sean might be better known as the ‘ice cream man’ of Uptown, but his little shop collects locals with a place to go ‘where everybody knows your name’. He’s a passionate newcomer, who is always on the cutting edge with one idea after another. He’s also a badass musician – one of the best in Celtic music in the country.  Julie, his wife is equally as wonderful and is a Montessori teacher. I’m so glad that they landed here.

Farmer Jesica Clark, South Pine Street City Farm and ‘The Dig Kids’ Steward
Soon to be a household name in Kingston, Farmer Clark has moved to Kingston with one wish in mind. To make Kingston a destination for urban farming and sustainable living. Her projects include a Farm on South Pine Street and the stewardess of ‘The Dig Kids’, a farming program sponsored by the Kingston Land Trust that pays youth a stipend to farm at the Everett Hodge Center. The big picture is helping to create youth jobs while making farming accessible…and hip again. You go girl.

…and Those Seen

Valerie Hannum, Principal, GW Montessori School
Who could have imagined this?  A public Montessori school in the middle of Kingston providing a heart felt education and place of respect for our youth. Valerie Hannum did.

I encourage you to visit sometime. If you go early enough when the children are arriving to school, you’ll see Valerie out on the front steps welcoming and shaking students hands – every single day.  You will not believe the peaceful environment when you enter through the front door. The kids are happy, engaged and learning. Every community should be so lucky and every school should look to her leadership to imagine ways to incorporate public education with alternative methods.

O + Festival Organizers
Here is major evidence that Kingston is a city of Artists in the Hudson Valley. Charged with connecting artists of all sorts with the medical arts, this crew has launched what will no doubt be a powerhouse of a concept in the State of New York and beyond. Their motto is to go about it alone with private donations. Have you noticed the artwork placed beautifully all around Uptown on our historic buildings? It’s fabulous. Keep an eye out in future years as they continue to drive the arts, business and good health everywhere.

Gerald Berke, The Kingston Corridor
There isn’t a meeting that this man isn’t at these days. Gerry (as I like to call him, who wears a signature cap as I do)  is working hard to connect all three sections of Kingston into one with an effort called ‘the Kingston Corridor’.  Most recently, I caught him gorilla gardening all throughout midtown with a car filled with hearty mums to help spruce up vacant lots.

Michael and Claudia D’Arcy, Kingston, NY Neighborhood Watch
These two dedicated Kingstonians have helped to create one of the more important initiatives in Kingston to date. Every day, they put themselves in the middle of hard stuff, shedding light on criminal activity through projects, events and meetings. They are also wonderful parents, and Claudia is a major advocate on adoption rights.

Hayes Clement, Andi Turco-Levin, Jennifer FuntesCouncil Members
In my short time in community work, I haven’t seen such a show of interested council members as I have in these three.  It’s a complicated balance providing stability for their parties while being out in the public listening to their constituency as they do.  Their roles come with a deep amount of baggage and quite often,  city government takes many lumps from citizens who should consider taking on a more responsible role than they do.

We have three rising stars in government and I watch with respect and patience in what they have and will contribute to the City of Kingston.

Conservation Advisory Council
Have you all caught the works of the CAC? All I can say, is thank goodness this council has arrived. “This volunteer board is an advisory body that will work to ensure the sustainable use of Kingston’s natural resources and the enhancement and protection of its environment”. Kingston is one of only 12 cities in New York State that have a Conservation Council and is now one of 16 other Ulster County Conservation Councils. Filled to the brim with volunteer professionals and experts on many subjects,  this board meets the second Wednesday of each month at 6:30pm in Kingston City Hall Conference Room 2. Led by Kingston Environmental Educator Julie Noble,  meetings are open to the general public and I encourage you to attend sometime.

Diane Reeder and Michael Berg, The Queens Galley and Family of Woodstock
Yeah, yeah. I know. We all are aware that Diane and Michael represent all that’s good in the world. I’d like to refer to them here as the Matriarch and Patriarch of good will.  But these boats float on donations and their work need our support now more than ever. With an economy that has tanked, many of our neighbors need assistance and Diane and Michael in their work have the smarts and the hearts to provide .  Remember, that giving is a person’s greatest fortune. Don’t get hung up on your taxes taking care of food and shelter, because it is only a part of it. We need organizations like these to find creative solutions, education and support to those who face downtrodden times.

Feel free to add to this list in the comment section.

Complete Streets in Kingston?

According to Wikipedia, a Complete Street is described as: “In urban planning and highway engineering, complete streets are roadways designed and operated to enable safe, attractive, and comfortable access and travel for all users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transport users of all ages and abilities are able to safely and comfortably move along and across a complete street.[1] Proponents claim that Complete Streets also create a sense of place and improve social interaction, while generally improving property adjacent land values.”

According to Kristen Wilson, Project Director of “A Healthy Kingston for Kids” program through Cornell Cooperative Extension,  an important opportunity is upcoming for Kingston citizens to help support a Complete Street effort in Kingston.

Here’s how:

“Our Complete Streets working group met with the City of Kingston Common Council’s ‘Public Safety, Audit & General Government Committee’ last summer to explore the benefits of Complete Streets. There was positive dialogue about the benefits of safe and vital streets. At their request, the working group drafted a Complete Streets policy, and last Thursday the Committee initiated review of a proposed Complete Streets resolution. While the forthcoming legislative process is uncertain, there is a good chance that the Complete Streets policy will be considered by the full Common Council this Tuesday, November 9, 2010 (meetings start at 7:30).

Interested persons are invited to attend the City Council meeting and speak to the resolution during the Public Comment part of the agenda.

A Common Council Caucus this coming Monday will determine whether the Complete Streets resolution will go forward on Tuesday. Either way, a follow-up note will be distributed on Tuesday afternoon, reviewing progress and confirming whether consideration of the policy will be part of the full-Council’s business that night. In the meantime, to review the proposal, please contact David Gilmour, AICP, Community Planner and Complete Streets Topic Liaison at or (845) 255-6528. To learn more about Complete Streets, including the June presentation, visit the City web page at:

Hudson Valley Seed Library “Pack Art 2011” Featured at KMOCA in Kingston

The Hudson Valley Seed Library is one of my favorite local businesses in the region – and they are about to show their new ‘pack art 2011’ at KMOCA in Kingston.

Hope you can make it –

Rebecca Martin

The Hudson Valley Seed Library strives to do two things – to create an accessible and affordable source of regionally-adapted seeds that is maintained by a community of caring farmers and gardeners; and, to create gift-quality seed packs featuring works designed by New York artists in order to celebrate the beauty of heirloom gardening.

In 2011, we expect to offer over 60 varieties of locally grown seed and around 100 varieties sourced from responsible seed houses. Most of our varieties are rooted in the history and soils of New York or are chosen because they do well here. Every year we plan on growing additional varieties on the Seed Library farm and contracting with organic and certified naturally grown farmers in the Hudson Valley and upstate New York to grow even more varieties.  By 2014, we aim to be 100% New York grown, though certain tricky biennials may be holdouts for a few years beyond.

At KMOCA (Kingston Museum of Contemporary  Arts), they will present “Pack Art 2011” – Original art from the Hudson Valley Seed Library.

Opening reception:
Saturday, November 6, 5-7pm.

Dreaming is an essential part of gardening in the Northeast. Throughout the winter, our dreams will hold the flavors, fragrances and beauties of the greener seasons. And the Hudson Valley Seed Library is here to help keep those dreams alive until springtime with “Pack Art 2011” at the Kingston Museum of Contemporary Arts.

“Pack Art 2011” is a an exhibit of original works commissioned by the Seed Library, which is known almost as well for their artistic seed packs as the seeds themselves. This year’s artists come from all over the Hudson Valley and New York City. Each artist interpreted one variety of herb, flower, or vegetable from the Seed Library’s catalog. Mediums include collage, encaustics, oil, watercolor, digital imagery, paper cutting, and ink. The diversity of the artworks reflects the wide variety of genetic wonders they represent.

16 different artists present works depicting such summer delights as Kaleidoscope Carrots, Velvet Queen Sunflowers, Ragged Jack Kale, State Fair Zinnias, and many more. This show marks the first time the Seed Library will be making available signed, limited edition prints of the original works in the show. Art Packs filled with seeds and framed seed packs will also be available.

“Pack Art 2011” continues at KMOCA through November 27th.

Hours: Saturdays, 12 to 4pm, or by appointment.

Kingston Museum of Contemporary Arts
103 Abeel Street, Kingston.

Community Forum Scheduled for November 4th

Kingston Cares has organized a community forum at 721 Media on Thursday, November 4th at 6:00pm. All residents are asked to join them to learn of recent survey results, develop work groups and address serious neighborhood issues that include housing, community safety, beautification, substance use prevention, community perceptions and media and job and business development.

For more on this, contact Megan Weiss,  Project Coordinator at 845/331-1110.